The complexity of modern day living has clouded our ability to recognize and embrace the simplicity of life itself. Our preoccupation with a calendar of events and tasks is so tangled and knotted with never ending demands of deadlines and projects, that we fail to see the wealth contained within life. Money is directly associated with our time and has become our measurement of happiness. Our lives are filled with ongoing attempts to stay on track, to keep our head above water, which eventually conditions us to accept frenetic behavior as normal. We begin to allow multiple distractions as a daily occurrence instead of paying attention to the present moment or focusing on one thing at a time.
Our electronic lives allowing us to be connected to more and more people, have kept us more distant from each other than ever before. We have developed an obsession with obtaining a newer toy of telecommunication and have adapted to over-stimulation, clutter and excess. Our sleep patterns and biorhythms have been altered. We have learned to disconnect ourselves or at least partially, from the frequency of life.
Perhaps you have felt the need to take a break from the expenses of a holiday or the high cost of family travel. Maybe you are starting to realize the consequences that go along with the security of being able to have the necessities of life and its multiple possessions. Maybe you haven’t even thought about it, in which case I say, “wake up!” Perhaps you are one of the few that are aware of this dilemma, but can’t figure out how to get off the spinning wheel of financial entrapment? Well all is not lost, there is still hope and there is still time to reconnect.
Living PONO is a Hawaiian principle of constantly living in balance. It is about thinking and contributing toward positive outcomes for the whole, in this case, your community – personal and professional. In old Hawaii, you never did things for self-gain without understanding and taking responsibility of the consequences that go with it. Every thought, word or action has an effect on you, the people around you and your environment. Living PONO is about knowing who you are and understanding the value of giving to others without expecting anything in return. Your success is the success of others in your community.
My experiences growing up in Kona, Hawaii with my na kupuna (elders) was one that taught me the importance of living in balance between hana (work) and Pāʻani (play) or activity and stillness. It is a concept that baffled the religious immigrants in the 1800s and is still not understood in today’s modern western way of thinking.
The old Hawaiian way of life valued simplicity while at the same time welcomed complexity as is in all things in life, the people, the environment and the universe we live in.
E mālama pono kakou: We deeply care for and live in harmony with one another.