It was hard to imagine moving away from Hawaii. There is something about the energy of the land that makes me feel alive, refreshed, relaxed, at peace….. Everything and nothing. Maybe it has to do with being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or magnetic energy from magma being so close to the surface, or the rich cultural history of Native Hawaiians? Something overcame me the first time I was in Volcano, a feeling that I needed to be there. For 15 years, I lived in wonder and appreciation that I was able to call Volcano home. I can summon the magic at any time because those feelings are ingrained within me and exist in my dreams. I love that culture is at the forefront in Hawaii and am grateful I was able to learn about Hawaiian values. They touch on the essence of what it means to be a healthy and happy human here on earth.
(Mauna Kea Summit)
We all need cultural values to thrive. Values tap into an inner source of profound knowledge and strength. It is kind of hard to translate into English because the words are concepts and envelope so much more than one word. Simply translated, some Hawaiian values are: Respect, family, humbleness, respect, being a steward of the land, helping others, personal responsibility, integrity, accountability, quest for knowledge. Again, that is a very superficial explanation, because the concepts are so much more encompassing, it’s almost a way of living life. Learning about those values and seeing them practiced, has been a treasure. I hope to practice and spread the values I have learned about.
(Running the Volcano Half Marathon for the 12th year last July)
Moving from Hawaii to Southwest Virginia was not an easy decision to make. What is crazy is how fast it happened! There was never a plan to move, more of a rapid realization it was the best decision for our family, the value of Ohana. The process of deciding to move, selling our house, buying a house in Damascus, Va, finding a job, and coordinating moving all happened in a month. I think I am finally catching my breath from the madness.
Six months later, I can see a similarity between Hawaii and the Appalachian region. The geographic landscapes of both have an abundance of beauty. The Appalachian region has a rich cultural history of food, music, farming, spectacular scenery, outdoor adventure and art. Much like in Hawaii, culture is celebrated and at the forefront of communities. I like being in places where traditions and customs of the past collide in the modern world to create a reimagined vision of the future.
Constellations of mountains
Humming old songs
Wavering shades of green
Floating through cold water springs
Shedding light on the mind
Where the living were once dead
But now are free