We enjoy some delightful neighbors in the trailer parked next door to Still & Moving Center. They always serve us great food with good cheer and a big scoop of smiles: Thyda’s Tacos.
Thyda, originally from Cambodia, grew up in Fresno, California, where she developed a passion for Mexican food. Her partner says Thyda is the real cooking talent behind the business! Her dream was to make food for people that was inexpensive, healthy and tasty.
Thyda met Majed Alabdali in Venice, Ca. He and his younger brother Abdullah, born in the U.S. to Saudi Arabian parents, came from California to Hawaii in 2013.
In 2015 Thyda’s Tacos moved to town from North Shore. The three of them built their trailer from scratch. According to Majed, “It’s a good way to earn our living. We three are the only ones who work here, we have reasonable work hours and can maintain our healthy lifestyles.” This tiny powerhouse provides fast good food for construction workers, condo owners, nearby offices and others around the neighborhood…including grateful, hungry students and teachers from Still & Moving Center!
One yelper was impressed that they “provide cheap tacos to all the bros in the area.“ Thyda’s Tacos won Best Tacos in the state of Hawaii with Yelp and Best Food Truck in Hawaii by the Book of Lists!!
Majed has his bachelors in Economics. After having a corporate career, he wanted to be his own boss. This taco truck is most fun he’s ever had working. His favorite part of this business is to feed people. He loves person-to-person interactions. “When people eat good food, they’re happy” he says. He is so friendly, that he has gained a nickname “Magic” from his customers.
For Abdullah, Thyda’s has been his first non-corporate job. It works well for him because the flexible schedule allows him to indulge in his love of surfing. He also loves working with his brother.
Thyda commits herself to a healthy lifestyle. She serves fresh food with good ingredients. This last year she helped Majed convert to veganism and to cut sugar from his diet. Since then he has lost 35 pounds and – more significantly, perhaps – his gout has subsided as a result!
They provide a fairly extensive menu for a food truck. My go-to is the vegetarian jackfruit bowl!
Call 310.666.4671 to make an order. They are generally open Tues-Thurs 11-5 and Fri-Sat 11-3. They are considering opening on Mondays as well – depending on whether that allows them to continue their happy life-style. Happy cooks make happy, good-for-us food!
Most of Master Chin’s many students at Still & Moving Center know him as an inspiring, talented qigong and kendo teacher. They probably will not be surprised to learn that he’s also a remarkably skilled, caring healer.
Jonah and his wife Lina arrived at Still & Moving just over two years ago from the Seattle area to provide an intensive 3 week martial arts training to their students, some local, and some who came with them.
They also used their time here to get a feeling for Oahu: Would this be a good next landing spot for them? Fortunately for us they decided to sell their house in Washington and move here!
Jonah’s own training has taken him on a long and deep journey, eventually into an ancient lineage of Taoist philosophy. He started taking martial arts as a young kid, first with the Korean taekwondo, and then taking on one martial practice after another over the years. I’ve watched him include tai chi in his qigong classes, as well as practicing with the bamboo kendo sword, metal Japanese iado sword and a thin, flexible, double-sided live blade that moves like a hissing dragon’s tongue! (English: Dao sword, Chinese: Dao Jian, Korean: Doh Geum). His methods range from quietly intense to vigorously thundering, always calculated to train the mind/body connection and direct energy intentionally.
Intriguingly to me, Jonah himself doesn’t refer to his movement practices as martial arts, with ‘martial’ meaning war. Instead he employs them as the training ground for his healing work. The deliberate focussing of energy lies at heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine comprised of acupuncture and other hands-on treatments.
When my 88 year old dad came to visit this autumn, his legs and ankles swelled up dangerously before he was to leave again on the plane. Jonah opened up his schedule and gave him 3 treatments and a private training session in four days. His treatments included acupuncture and hands-on therapy to take down the swelling, with Epsom salt soaking at night to release toxins. The private training set my father up with an exercise regimen that he follows daily to augment his circulation of qi as well as blood. Dad flew home with almost normal-sized ankles and a safe flight.
As a devoted son as well as healer, Jonah flew to LA when his own father was going through chemotherapy this last year. Jonah stayed by his side throughout the course of his treatment, making sure his kidneys continued to function healthily. His dad is well again now.
I’m personally indebted to Master Chin for helping me through an injury sustained by falling on a boat. Jonah’s expert application of his needles and focused attention in hands-on treatment greatly relieved me of back, shoulder and hip pain. And he gives me a hug at the end of every treatment!
When I asked him recently what it is he likes about living here, he replied: “The people. It’s easier here than anywhere else I’ve been to talk with people on a spiritual level.” I’ve watched Jonah become much more open and light-hearted since he arrived, which is good, since his personal health goal is to have more fun! He even gets silly with us in Diwali performances!
Master Jonah Chin earns my high esteem for magnificence in both healing and teaching!
How do we wrap up this big world of ours to carry it in our hearts? This singing, vibrant, aching Earth carrying so many precious travelers on its journey through the universe…. How can we remind ourselves to hold it dear? Well, I came up with a crazy idea. Crazy because it took over 3 years and many people from several parts of the globe to pull it off.
When we were redesigning our house, Ciff and I, we decided to also rename it. The first name, Honu Hale, means Turtle House, reflecting my love of sea turtles. As I was traveling back and forth frequently between California and Hawaii, I was discombobulated until I learned to identify with the turtle: one who carries her home with her, wherever she goes.
The new name, Hale Honua, translates as “Home of the World”, signifying that our house is inspired by and our doors are open to people from around the globe. Indeed, with the people that I’ve met through Still & Moving Center, that Cliff has met through his international paddling experiences, and that we’ve both met through the Institute of World Culture, we’ve housed many an international visitor.
While we were in the midst of construction, I dreamt up the idea of a wood carving of the world, mounted on glass, lit from behind, featuring all the places dear to us around the Pacific Rim. The idea so captivated me that I was determined to pull it out of my imagination into the real world.
First I needed my trusty assistant in all things creative, Marta Czajkowska – who, you might be able to tell by the name, is Polish. It took her help to take a map of the globe, squish the gigantic Pacific Ocean to include everything from India to Brazil, and then blow up the size of the tiny Pacific islands we live on so that they could be seen without a magnifying glass. Not an easy feat, but Marta handled the challenge while we prepared for our house-completion trip to Bali in July of 2015.
From our guest book: Our daughter’s friend Anna arrives from Antartica to stay with us and work in our construction company.
Marta completed her design by the time we arrived in Singapore, where we were met by our dear friends Joy Lee and Ed Soon, long-time Nia students of mine. They helped us to find a copy shop able to print out a full size, 42 inch diameter image of Marta’s digital file of the world carving, as well as a bookstore carrying a world atlas with topographic maps of the world.
Once in Bali, our tasks included finding expert wood carvers. Bali has hundreds, probably thousands of professional wood carvers, yet from what I’ve seen, we found some of the very best: Kayun Heart-Touching Wood. You can tell just from their name. Cliff and the owner, Made Sudiama, hit it off wonderfully, as shown in this picture of the two of them having tea.
Made assigned our globe carving project to his skilled carvers. Never had they been challenged to take a 2-D, flat drawing, compare it to topo maps, and come up with a three dimensional wooden map. They rose eagerly to the challenge! Soon they were sculpting massive, mountainous continents and dozens of little islands.
Back home, we delightedly received photos from Bali of the finished carving, with all the carved pieces mounted to wood backing.
I was so excited to receive our first shipment of Bali carvings, coincidentally on my birthday, only to find a semi-disaster when we opened it. Some careless shipper had speared through the wooden packing box with the forklift blades, splintering the beautiful pieces inside. Fortunately, that box contained NOT our world carving, but some window decor, which our friend Robert Belforte came from California to repair for us.
My dancing friend Sonja Sironen and her two little boys visit from Germany, as does massage therapist Jivatma Massageur and her mother from India. Fellow Nia teacher Nancy Hanlon from Nova Scotia, Canada stays with us while working at Still & Moving.
We finally received the world carving from Bali in 2016. We soon discovered that it was much more difficult to find someone on Oahu capable of crafting the blue ocean glass than it had been to find wood carvers on Bali! As it turns out, I was asking for a much larger piece of flat, custommade glass than anyone generally ever tries to make around here. We moved into our finished house, and our lovely carving sat in the living room collecting dust.
Cliff’s paddling buddy Marek and his wife visit us from Poland that year, as well as Christopher Pericelli, a dance teacher from New York, and visiting Nia Green belt trainee Linda from Alaska.
A friend finally directed us to glass artist and teacher Bud Spindt in early 2017. Bud is not only an expert at glassmaking, he also has extensive contacts in the glass community, with access to the biggest glass kiln on Oahu, owned by an art professor at UH Manoa! We were back in business!
We have the fun of Nia sister Mikelle from Wyoming staying with us, with short, delightful afternoon visits from Malia’s elite Japanese hula students from Japan, as well as a group of dance students from Oklahoma.
Now came the task of designing and creating the glass. Bud first formed the clear circle of glass, grinding it smooth. He then used glass powder and Marta’s original drawing to create a color pattern that would surround all of the islands and continents with a light blue fringe of shallow ‘water’, leaving the open ocean spaces a deep blue. He fired it again.
On a sunny day in mid 2018, Bud delivered our gorgeous, finished glass piece… which, he told me, not only fit the frame of our wood carving, it turned out to be EXACTLY the largest piece of glass the kiln was capable of firing!
Marta’s little sister from Warsaw summers with us. Israeli yoga teacher Shy Sayar comes for a visit. Cliff’s paddling friend Terrance comes from Seattle. Carmen Curtis from California stays with us while she gives an aerial yoga teacher training.
Our project was STILL not complete. Now came the task of building a light box to mount the carving on – which once again Robert brought his wood skills to help Cliff create. Accurately transferring the continents and all those minuscule islands from the board to which they were originally adhered to, to our ocean glass surface was a tiny nightmare. But my dear Cliff fought his way through that difficulty, invented a circular lighting system, and mounted the piece next to our front door.
Voila! On August 24, 2018 our world carving of Hale Honua was finally hanging on the wall of our home, thanks to many hands from around the globe helping us to create it… reminding us to live by the “Mi casa es su casa” spirit it represents.
Dancing in Joy and resting in stillness with you,
And you, dear reader?
Just hit Reply – I always love hearing from you.
Bud’s love for glass is as clear as the material he works with. He finds every aspect of it satisfying.
“What I love about glasswork is its unlimited possibilities. I can make it into any shape, any color, whether transparent or opaque. I can capture and hold light with it, refract light and cast wonderful patterns. I can make sculpture out of it or even a painting with glass. The material is so seductive, so beautiful all by itself.”
Not only does Bud enjoy doing glasswork, he loves teaching it to others. He began teaching art and sculpture to kids at the Honolulu Museum of Art 15 years ago, which was so exciting he pitched a glass-fusing class to the director. He filled the first one then added a second, then a third, and bought bigger and bigger equipment.
With a Masters in Fine Arts and over 30 years experience in making glass art, Bud can now pass his learning on to others, teaching people how this unique material behaves, showing them that there are infinite possibilities, teaching them to enjoy the creative process itself. It’s a chatty class with students asking each other how they achieved this effect and that. “It’s pretty hard,” Bud says, “to make ugly glass!” So it’s very satisfying for even beginning students.
Bud also appreciates that the relatively small glass community on Oahu embodies spirit of aloha, collaborating with and helping each other. He especially enjoys working with Professor Rick Mills at UH Manoa.
Some of us fondly remember the Gallery at Ward Center, where Bud and his fellow artists of all ilks collectively displayed and sold their art and interfaced with the community for 27 years. Bud had a blast talking about art with everyone who came in, whether or not they actually purchased anything.
Paula Rath has written, “Creating art is normally a lonely pursuit. Art happens deep inside the individual artist, in a place where no one else can go. It’s all about the artist facing the blank canvas or sheet of paper or block of wood.”
So when Bud and watercolor painter Roger Whitlock – both of who worked with transparency – decided to collaborate, it was an intriguing moment. Bud provided the glass shards, Roger “painted” with them on clear glass, and Bud fused the painted shards onto the background piece. They displayed their finished pieces in a show called Trans Luxe.
“Sometimes I like to indulge in commentary on the human condition or create objects that are a focus for contemplation,” Bud mentions.
Looking back on his many works, Bud is particularly proud of the 12 foot tall bird sculpture that the State Foundation for the Arts commissioned him to make. If you can manage to get onto Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, you can see the art piece at Mokapu Elementary School. It’s made of stainless steel and glass in the shape of the Ae’o, the Hawaiian stilt bird that lives nearby at marsh on the Mokapu Peninsula where the Marine base is located.
Bud has two Holiday Sales to purchase his art for the holidays:
The Holiday Art Sale
December 5th & 6th, 4 – 8 pm
At the Atkinson Residence
603 Ahakea Street, Honolulu (in Kahala, near Elepaio Street)
- The Glass Art Holiday Sale!
December 7th, Friday 5:30 – 8:30 pm & December 8th, Saturday 9 am – 7 pm
Wesley United Methodist Church, Kimata Hall
1350 Hunakai Street, Honolulu (in Kahala, mauka of Zippy’s and First Hawaiian Bank)
Get in touch with Bud:
Bud invites you to view his work on Instagram (@budaroonie)
To contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To call him directly 808-256-0633
You can sign up here for his glassmaking classes, with new classes starting in January 2019 at the Honolulu Museum of Art.
This fascinating video shows how Bud blows vortex vases – see here.
Inspired by others to inspire others.
Who knew that our friendly, and unassuming tai chi teacher, Dr. Wong, has a long history of charitable deeds that he keeps under the radar? I only know a few of them…
Dr. Wong is a medical doctor who back in the 90’s went to Vietnam with the Aloha Medical Mission to perform hand and face surgeries for people who could otherwise not afford it. He mentioned to me how satisfying it was for him to offer only 45 minutes of his time to repair a boy’s cleft lip that would drastically shift the boy’s future life experience. Last year, Dr. Wong donated his anesthesia machine to the Aloha Hawaii Mission to Nepal and contributes monthly to The Spring at charitywater.org providing needed clean water to third world communities.
Throughout his medical career, Dr. Wong has continued to augment quality of his patient care with concepts he has learned in the martial arts. For example, while performing surgery under a microscope at medical school, Dr. Wong applied his Aikido training and focused on his “dantien,” or “one-point” center. As a result, he was the only surgeon without magnified hand tremors. Nowadays he approaches his patients with the Taoist concept of recognizing what is out of balance, and once he helps to restore that balance, the disease disappears on its own. He also employs his knowledge of energy fields by using both sound and light therapy on his patients to encourage synchronous resonance in their cells, enabling his patients to heal twice as quickly as previously. Such techniques so effectively help his patients, many other doctors could benefit learning them.
Dr. Wong takes time from his full work and teaching schedule to volunteer at Men’s Shed (HawaiiMensShed.org) on Saturday mornings, doing wood crafts with retired men who talk and bond over woodcrafting projects that they do together. The Men’s Shed brings camaraderie, laughter and purpose to retired men who miss their previously busy, interactive work lives. One member of the Men’s Shed lost his ability to walk and speak in a terrible accident. His buddies brought him regularly to the program, where he found little ways to contribute until – lo and behold – in less than a year he surprised all his doctors by regaining both his ability to talk and to walk! Dr. Wong is on the Board of Directors of the Honolulu Men’s Shed, the first such organization in the United State, started here 2 years ago, and inspired by the 20-year-old Australian Men’s Shed progam.
Dr. Wong is currently working to restore an historic, aging boat back to a sailing vessel. He was touched by the boat’s brave tale. Shortly after the tragic Japanese tsunami of 2011, a 75-year-old Japanese gentleman, Ikuo Tateo, came up with a plan to encourage his fellow countrymen and women to keep up their spirits in the face of the crisis. He christened an old boat with the slogan Ganbatte Nihon, meaning “Japan, do your best!”. He then shipped the boat to California and set out across the Pacific towards Hawaii by himself… with no mast, no sail, no motor, sculling over with only a rudder, arriving in Honolulu after a 48 day trip. The elderly Tateo accomplished this seemingly impossible journey to encourage others to keep fighting the brave fight. Tateo then donated his boat to an educational non-profit for children, asking only that the boat be used for kids educational outings and that they keep his story alive. Dr.Wong, an avid waterman so inspired by the man’s story, is working to restore the boat in honor of its noble history.
We are honored to have Dr. Wong Kai Ming as part of our Still & Moving faculty.
Nature can be a remarkable teacher when we open ourselves to learning. I recently did quite a bit of walking on a short little path in the desert. I walked on that path numerous times a day for the ten days of my silent meditation course.
The little gravel path was delineated with small pebbles and little rocks, up to a size of an apple. One morning, when the sun was just cresting the horizon, I noticed the shadows that these small stones cast. Their shadows were HUGE – easily 20 times the size of the pebbles, maybe more. A simple thought arose in my mind… “Wow, sometimes my fears are huge like these shadows, while the real problem is as small as these rocks”.
As the day progressed and the sun traveled across the morning sky, the shadows slowly grew smaller. At twelve noon they almost completely disappeared… only to start growing again, this time casting themselves to the east of the pebbles. Sometimes, I reflected, the same circumstance gives rise to opposite fears! Wow, my metaphor just kept on giving.
How often do I see only shadows and react to them? What if I could keep shifting and adjusting my perspective on the challenges that life brings? I’ll give it a try.
Being alert to nature provides me with instructive insight. Especially when I’m struggling with anger, worry, fear or anxiety, if I notice and take in Nature’s built-in lessons, I can dispel my mind’s imaginings, which may be untrue, useless or destructive. Thank you Nature for the reality check!
How often do we encounter someone who really does not act from the standpoint of the ego? Rarely, right?
As we approach Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday in 2019, I’d like to tell you about Shashi Tiagi from India, a living, breathing, working Gandhian whom our family is privile ged to know and to have recently spent time with. We call her Shashiji, adding the respectful “ji” to the end of her name.
I can imagine that in her moments of doubt, she asks herself not, “What’s best for me?” but something along the lines of Gandhi’s suggestion below.
A slight woman wrapped in a faded blue and white cotton sari, with serviceable pink tennis shoes, Shashiji wears a single red plastic bangle on her wrist, scratched by hard work and desert sand. The holes in her earlobes, beneath her home-dyed henna hair, have long grown over since the passing of her younger days of gold earrings. Her dark eyes miss nothing, bright, perceptive, warm at their depth.
As a young woman, her family chose a husband for her with the right credentials per their respective families, and Shashi agreed to the match. She soon came to learn that her husband – Tiagiji – was involved in the Bhoodan Movement, started by one of Gandhi’s most effective devotees, Vinoba Bhave.
The plight of India’s rural poor – working for nearly nothing as virtual slaves to the landowners of the time – greatly concerned this compassionate man, Bhave. Shashiji tells us of the first meeting Bhave convened with some wealthy landowners. He went straight to their hearts, saying, “If you have 4 sons, think of me as your 5th son. Whatever land you would give as an inheritance to your 5th son, give it to me. I will distribute to the poor farmers of your community who are struggling to barely feed their families.” The room went quiet until one landowner stood up, taking all by surprise.
“Vinobaji,” he said, “I will take you as my 5th son. Here is my gift: At dawn tomorrow, come to my land and begin walking. Keep walking all day. Whatever land you walk upon between sunrise and sundown, that land I will give to you on behalf of the farmers.” Bhave accepted the offer, walking over 80 acres of his land the next day. With that generous gift for the poor, the Bhoodan Land Gift Movement commenced. Within 13 years, Bhave “owned” more land than any other person on earth – though he continued to walk in sandals, loincloth and a shawl, without any personal possessions, giving every inch of the land away.
Shashiji mentions her parents’ worry when they learned that her new husband was connected with Bhave. To be associated with such a movement, Shashi and her husband were going to have to live like the poor themselves – as Gandhi had done and Vinoba Bhave continued to do. All her nice saris and gold jewelry – where Indian families generally stored their wealth – would be given away to feed the poor. They would live without luxury or convenience. This Shashi did, as a devoted wife and as a person of conscience. We can imagine her as young bride discovering the harsh life style in front of her – though we have never heard a word of complaint from her.
Following in Bhave’s footsteps, Shashiji and her husband L. C. Tiagi, or fondly known as Tiagiji, carried out their own arm of the Gandhian campaign to gather land for the poor. They were particularly drawn to the Thar desert of Rajisthan. There the farmer families could barely eke a living where there was only a possibility of rain one month of the year, and whatever water they managed to catch had to last them the remaining 11 months. The scattered community of about 50,000 inhabitants had no access to healthcare and no schools.
As a college graduate, Shashiji created a school for the children. Her husband set out to help the desert villagers more effectively catch and sequester water. Here women often died in childbirth, girls were treated as property, the “untouchable” cast had no rights, and workers in the mines died young of lung disease. In 1983, the Tiagis founded a nonprofit organization called GRAVIS near Jodhpur to address the pressing needs of their struggling brothers and sisters on the Thar desert. See their website here.
Shashiji tells of a time near the beginning of their efforts when the wealthier people resented the help and empowerment the Tiagis and their co-workers were bringing to the underprivileged. Some teenage sons of the rich people took it upon themselves to break into their simple huts, stole or destroyed whatever they found and smashed their roofs. This continued for 4 nights – with the GRAVIS people never responding in kind – before the police finally stopped the young marauders.
Another time as Shashiji and her husband took different paths through the town, Shashiji looked back and saw a young man with a knife approaching her husband. Without a moment’s hesitation, Shashiji ran up to the youth and grabbed his arm, refusing to let go while he held the knife. When the police intervened, she and her husband refused to press charges. The young man was ashamed of himself, and what he had contemplated doing to these good-hearted people. He changed his life.
Life on the desert is hard on women in any case. Walking to collect water can consume many of the waking hours of a woman’s day. One day, Shashji and a co-worker met a village woman and asked about the bruises on her face, which the women explained as having come from a fall. However, when they left woman’s house together to collect water, the woman unfolded the true story of how her husband mistreated her. Later the husband later came to Tiagiji to complain that Shashiji and her co-worker were corrupting his wife and turning her against him. Tiagiji asked the man how long he had been married. Eleven years, the man replied. “Eleven years!” cried Tiagiji , “And yet in eleven years you have not won your wife’s trust as these two women have in a day?!? They have succeeded where you have failed.” The man bowed his head and conceded that Tiagiji was right. From then on, he gave his wife freedoms that other women did not enjoy, and she became one of GRAVIS’s workers herself, with her husband’s blessing.
GRAVIS has done enormous good over the past 35 years, creating 98 schools, building a hospital, getting higher educations for some of the village boys and even girls, helping to secure water rights, and now serving 1.5 million people.
Our family came to know Shashji 11 years ago when our daughter Sandhya did a internship during her junior year of college. In an eye and heart opening few months, Sandhya learned a lot about service from Shashiji and her son, lived a simple lifestyle, and helped to further GRAVIS’ efforts to help the rural poor. Sandhya and I later invited Shashiji to California to help us lead a weeklong Gandhian retreat on sustainability.
Just recently we all had the chance to reunite with Shashji where she was being interviewed at the Metta Institute in Petaluma, California. Shashiji and Sandhya then spoke to a class of at-risk youth about the work GRAVIS is doing to improve people’s lives on the Thar desert. The American kids were especially interested to hear about the child marriages GRAVIS had helped to prevent.
Before Shashiji flew back to India to resume her work, Sandhya, Cliff and i spoke with her about the idea of bringing fat tire bikes to the desert to make it easier for girls and women to gather water. Cliff was particularly wondering how to convince the mine owners in the desert to improve their drilling practices to protect their workers from lung disease. No challenge seems too daunting to Shashiji. We said goodbye feeling so privileged to have spent precious time again with Shashi Tiagi, this strong, humble crusader, for the less fortunate of the world.
Dancing in Joy and resting in stillness with you,
And you, dear reader?
Just hit Reply – I always love hearing from you.
Get to the Honolulu Art Museum School by this Sunday, November 11th to see on exhibit the ceramic work of Still & Moving Center’s student Domenica Sattler. Her piece, called “me too!”, she says might be better entitled “me too, not alone”. The museum was so taken by the piece, they have purchased it! Three cheers, Domenica!
The figures in Domenica’s ceramic piece express how different women/people deal with sexual harassment and more severe matters. She explains that looking at each of the figures sitting there, we get a feeling of what pain has done with each of them. Each has a unique story to tell – whether minor or more painful – and yet, they are sitting together, not alone.
Dominica invites us all: “ If you have time please drop by!” And of course you can find smaller, similar figures of Dominica’s work at our Boutique-E!
Domenica says of herself: “My creations are varied – from the stillness of a classic Ikebana vase to sculptures reflecting the grace of movement and feelings. With my figures and faces, I like to describe unspoken feelings and relationship to ourselves and others.
“I was born in Switzerland and have traveled through Europe, Asia, South and North America throughout my life. I always imagined myself working with clay. Having settled with my family in Hawaii, I finally took my first sculpture class in 2005. The technique and art of ceramics have held my attention ever since. Now it is my sincere effort to combine my love of dance and the compelling beauty of Hawaii and what touches me while living my life, in each ceramic creation.”
The Hawai‘i Craftsmen 2018: 51st Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition features artists from throughout the state at the Honolulu Art Museum School, formerly known as Linekona School.
Hawai‘i Craftsmen 2018:
51st Annual Statewide Juried Exhibition
1111 Victoria St, Honolulu, HI 96814
Tue – Sat: 10am–4:30pm,
Sun: 1–5 pm
until Sunday, November 11th
Sunday, Nov 11
Indian meal $10 at 5:30 pm
Free performance at 6:15 pm
This year marks Still & Moving Center’s 8th celebration of the Indian festival of lights, Diwali. Each year members of our faculty, staff and student body joyfully contribute their energy, creative juices and enthusiasm to this joyous fête – celebrated in our unique multicultural way. This year is no exception!
Perhaps Malia Helela, our kumu hula, is the sole 8 year participant. Even director, Renée Tillotson had to miss a year! Malia has choreographed special hulas for either trained or totally untrained (!) dancers, narrated our enactment of the Ramayana epic, acted, given solo dance performances herself, and cooked tasty dishes! Her sons Kaiehu and Waiea graduated in their roles – or perhaps demoted! – from young princes to members of the demon hordes, and this year for the first time perform with the hula kahiko group doing ancient style hula.
Sooriya Kumar of Mouna Farm Arts and Cultural Village has also regularly participated, usually chanting a Sanskrit mantra, often providing Indian food from his organic farm, once hosting our Diwali at his farm for an overnight celebration, occasionally providing beautiful copper art pieces.
Doris Morisaki – like many of her fellow students – has danced hula on repeated occasions, with Doris making the additional contribution of coordinating practices and filling in for nearly every part in the play during practices. Ms Willow Chang frequently features her Bollywood dancers and has even performed the female lead Princess Sita. Yoga teacher David Sanders has appropriately played the part of a yogic sage.
Dayl Workman has made her mark on the stage with memorable performances of the demon princess and bitter step-mother, this year roaring onto the stage as the demon king Ravana. Nia Black Belt Krista Hiser and her aerialist daughter Violette Skilling have often contributed their talents, with Aerial teacher Kezia Holm coordinating airborne performances.
Members of the Indian community of Honolulu have frequently lent their talents, with Abhilasha Garg providing costume consultation this year, and India Cafe often catering the Indian dinner.
Some of our memorable performances include Jivatmata Messageur and Sarah Hodges each as the beautiful Princess Sita. Both Amit Heri and Bharat Das nobly carried the role of Prince Ram. Unforgettable Ravanas include Jerome Mester de Trevino and Murat Demirtas – both powerful dancers. Our notable battle scenes have included Kung Fu by Bruno Ballestrero, and Kendo contributed by Master Jonah Chin’s students this year.
One of Renée’s favorite Ramayana experiences was playing the flying monkey hero Hanuman!
Everyone is reserving seats early… only 108 places. We’ll see you there if you can make it!
Do you have people come into your life who make you feel as if you two go way back and have a long history together… even though you are meeting each other for the first time? It happens fairly often to me at Still & Moving Center.
My most recent new old friend hails from New Zealand. The story starts a while ago and goes like this:
In 2003, I attended a seminar by a gentleman named Barry Brailsford from New Zealand. He had been initiated into the oldest of the Maori tribes, the Waitaha, in order to convey to the world their long-kept-secret history. “That should be easy,” he thought to himself when they asked him to do so, since what was known about their tribe at the time filled about one sheet of paper.
Suffice it to say, he was in for a surprise. As he delved into their ancestral memory, they recounted details of their tribe’s life on Aotearoa (New Zealand) going back seventy-some generations! Their memory included such detailed tribal history, they recalled from 47 generations ago what symbol was inscribed next to the third seat of one of their sea-faring canoes, in which they traveled far and wide.
One of their most astounding – to me – ancestral memories that they told to Mr. Brailsford was of the many peoples who lived on Aotearoa long, long ago with their tribe: black people, brown people, yellow people and pink people – all living together with each other… Now, in publishing their story, he up-ended all the academicians’ shorter estimates of the age of Maori habitation in New Zealand, winning their scholarly wrath, and causing him to lose his job and his family. Nonetheless, he has never recanted the tribe’s story as they told it to him. His seminar 15 years ago impacted me deeply.
This September we held an international Nia Green Belt training at Still & Moving Center, and Cliff and I hosted the trainer and visiting trainees at our house. Among them was Belinda from… yep…. New Zealand. While we drove over the Pali Highway together in the mornings, I noticed her natural reserve begin to fade away as I asked her about her homeland.
I asked whether she had much interaction with the Maori and what their status was at this time, since I had recently heard that they were the only native people who had not been conquered by a colonizing nation. She replied that her father had spoken to her part in the Maori language, and part in English, per the country’s treaty with the Maori. She spoke of inequities between the treatment of the Maori and the rest of the New Zealanders, with Maori receiving better access to health care and education, wedging resentments amongst the people of her country.
In fact, she went on to say, the Maori were NOT the native people of New Zealand. “What?!?” My ears pricked up. She looked at me as if to assess my receptivity to that notion, then forged ahead. Before the Maori arrived from other Pacific islands, Belinda explained, there were two other groups of people living side by side, a dark-skinned one and a light-skinned one. They were both peaceful people who navigated on the sea by the movement of the stars and planets, and tracked solstices and equinoxes by how the shadows fell on a certain rock faces.
Wait, this was the same kind of information Barry Brailsford had spoken about so many years ago!
The lighter-skinned group were a tiny race, maybe only four feet tall. The Maori call them the ‘Turehu’ or the ‘Patu-Pai-Arehe’ and consider them to have been fairy-like. They were evidently a Celtic people – probably pink! According to at least some researchers these pre-Maori people in New Zealand used the same stone-building techniques as the builders of Stonehenge in England, as the mound-builders in Ohio, and as one of the many waves of inhabitants on Easter Island.
Since this take on the history of New Zealand has not been universally embraced, Belinda is circumspect in sharing it. I felt honored that she would tell it to me.
Belinda’s grandfather had owned a summer cottage on the beach until his land was confiscated by the government and given to the Maori. All the other whites who lost their land that way burned their cottages to the ground before they left. Not her grandfather; he gave the key to his cottage to the incoming Maori family. In appreciation for his large-heartedness, the Maori took him to the new land that the government was giving to white New Zealanders in exchange for their lost property, and they helped Belinda’s grandfather find the very best new piece of land, right on a beach, which their family still owns to this day. Thereafter, her grandfather collected New Zealand greenstone and became certified to carve it in traditional designs, with all of his pieces then receiving the blessings of the Maori.
Greenstone?!? Why, that stone was important in Barry Brailsford’s initiation into the Waitaha Maori tribe, who sent him on several peace-bringing journeys through Aotearoa and to ancestral peoples throughout the world, bearing healing gifts of greenstone. Belinda told me that no one can purchase greenstone for oneself, but only receive it as a gift.
Our Nia Green Belt training completed, the trainees flew away, one by one. Belinda and I planned a sunrise trip to the beach on her last day. As we were about to leave the house, she asked whether she could give me a gift that I might want to take with us to the beach. Of course I said yes, and she shyly brought out an amazing piece of jewelry of carved green jade, inlaid with abalone. She gifted me with greenstone.
She explained that her grandfather had passed away earlier this year and that her family had gifted her with some of his greenstone pieces. While packing for Hawaii, she had looked at her stone collection, and this particular piece seemed to sing out, “Take me!” So she did. This traditional carving of curving lines denotes mother-and-child and care-taking in general. It is customarily given to new grandmothers. And now she was giving it to me. Wow.
Oh my, how many times do we meet someone and a week later have them bestow upon us a family heirloom? Never, right? I was enormously touched.
So we went to Kalama Beach, my new old friend and I, and we blessed the stone, that the spirit of care-taking be strong as long as the stone was in my care, and beyond to when I bequeath it to someone else. She then chanted in Maori, and I in Hawaiian. Then she departed for her home in Raglan, New Zealand, carrying with her a piece of my heart.
Dancing in Joy and resting in stillness with you,
And you, dear reader?
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