A Veteran’s Prayer: “No Soul Left Behind!”

My first hour in country and everything appeared to be moving at a heart racing pace.  As an Air Force “Buck” Sergeant, I had to adapt quickly with the rhythm of Vietnam, at least for the first few hours.  It was daylight, and my eyes had to adjust quickly to the blur of everything going on around me as we were ushered off the C5A military transport onto the hot tarmac

We just got in from the marshes of Florida, U.S.A. after some intense survival training, which was required as a part of a unique Air Force unit called, “Red Horse.”  This was a combat ready, highly trained and specialized Civil Engineering squadron that could be deployed at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world.  It is or at least it was then, similar to the “Seabees” in the Navy.  The unit I was trained with and now catching a ride with had their separate orders.  Mine were to find my own team, which was in another direction.  There was no gentle ease in transitioning into this combat zone.  There was only heads-up and trusting my instincts to guide me since I had no seasoned senior sergeant or commanding officer to tell me what to do and how to get to my destination safely.  It was like trying to get around Europe without a map or GPS and getting lost, but at the same time learning and remembering how to get from point A to point B all the while adrenaline kicking into full gear.

I remember my first thought on that first day, “wow, Vietnamese people are very short.”  I also remember seeing individual soldiers falling asleep with their weapons in hand while sitting at the edge of the tarmac waiting for a smaller air transport to go somewhere.  I finally got to Saigon City (now Ho Chi Minh City) aboard a C123 transport, resting overnight in a U.S. joint military barracks.  That night I was jolted out of a deep sleep from a screaming soldier who was apparently having a nightmare.  It scared the crap out of me, as I had no idea what was happening.  The guy in the upper bunk above me explained that it was common with some field soldiers who had experienced severe combat situations and not to worry.  It took a couple guys (not from his unit) to hold on to him until he calmed down. This happened with another soldier that night, needlessly to say, I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.  Little did I know then that I would be having my own nightmares from my own experiences years later.

Although this is the very fist time I have ever shared any significant thoughts about my two tours in Vietnam (’69 – ‘71), this article is not really about my personal experiences in combat or what I had to endure in Vietnam or even what I did there.  As with some vets, there is a nondisclosure agreement with the military from specific activities, especially if it involved sensitive missions.  For example, and I feel ok about saying this to you today, I was in Cambodia when the U.S. president at the time told the world that the U.S. military was not in that country.  I know many other soldiers personally that had to keep a “zipped lip” on their activities including rescuing POWs! 

What I really want this article to focus on is the question, “what about the souls that were left behind?”  We all know the phrase, “no soldier left behind,” but no one that I am aware of has addressed our responsibilities to souls that may still be wondering the plains of a foreign land.  When you care deeply for your buddies in your unit, that you have known through dark times and joyful times of military life, especially in a combat situation, you would never consider leaving any one of them behind, no matter what the consequences.  This is true even with those that we don’t know personally.  It is a basic rule in all branches of military service; one that still goes on well after a war is over.  Today we are still going back to past combat zones looking for and recovering soldiers and airmen lost in combat.

If we really understood the possibilities and potentialities of trapped souls on the earth plain caused by a sudden trauma (there are other causes of course) to that individual, we would be just as committed to retrieving these souls as we have done for their physical bodies.  Some time later in one of my ho’oponopono training, one of my Hawaiian elder teachers took me through a more detailed process of helping a soul stuck on this plain from a suicide.  I realized that most are in a confused state of being and we just have to help them see the light to go home.

Not only is there a possibility of a soul being left behind, but there is also the possibility of a soul being fractured.  This is when a traumatic event can cause the connection between the soul and its physical and spirit self to be more distant than when we were born.  When the soul has been forced apart (not separated, but more distant) from the rest of itself, it affects the behavior of returning soldiers including severe bouts of separation anxieties, depressions and coping issues with daily living.

After my first tour, I was able to return home for some needed R&R.  Not realizing that my soul was showing signs of fracturing, I was approached by my Na Kupuna (Elders) to have a “once over.”  It was sort of like being scanned by wise souls who looked into the eyes with an energetic connection of love.  In an instant, I felt as if I was asleep for some time and now I was beginning to wake up.  I had been in a dream state of life experiences and suddenly the present moment felt more real.  I was told that there were some personal obligations that I was responsible for in Vietnam and a specific ceremony was in order.  I further learnt about souls trapped on the earth plain for one reason or another and that I could help some of them to “cross over” if they so chose.  Through a form of energetic ho’oponopono, I participated in a ceremony of disconnecting from my responsibilities of past experiences and actions that did not serve my highest good before returning to Vietnam.  Before leaving Vietnam for the last time, I did a private ceremony that involved the thousands of footsteps that walked before me on that land and my actions while there as a visitor.  My mantra was, “if I have harmed any one knowingly or unknowingly in any way, forgive me and I disconnect from that responsibility.”  It also included, “if anyone has harmed me in any way knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive you (them) and I disconnect from that responsibility.”  I then did a ceremony for those souls I was aware of that could have been stuck on the earth plain in that combat zone.  I did not want to leave Vietnam with any possibility of souls that I knew being left behind.  I wanted to be sure that those I knew got to the other side if they needed help! 

My last tour involved working with VC (a term used for Viet Cong – a made up name by the U.S. for the enemy) sympathizers to help build market places for their villages and other living needs important for them.  I received many awards and recognition for my efforts and by the time I got home with an honorable discharge from the Air Force, I felt good about my future and about myself.  The past was the past, good or bad, as I disconnected (‘oki) from any responsibilities from those experiences.   I am truly grateful for my na kupuna as they continue to support me from the other side of the veil.

I would like to end this story with a touching experience a fellow vet and dear friend of mine shared with me recently.  Her story is similar to the many other Vietnam vet’s story I have personally had the privilege of hearing.  I have left out personal identifications from her story for obvious reasons, but left her words and sentences intact.  I love you S5.

 

Unable to sleep…  Vietnam fills my mind… remembering a Vietnam “brother” who died recently.   He’d been living off the grid in the Pacific NW.  He came out to my town to see if I could come visit him.  He was dying of cancer, compliments of Agent Orange. When I arrived, I found him living deep in the woods surrounded by other vets also living there. 

We talked… it rained… we remembered… it rained.  We kept warm by the fire… it rained… we laughed… it rained.  He was in pain, so I held him and sang. The sun came out.  He smiled, then was gone… I sang.  I only knew him as  “S2” (Soldier 2).  I was “S5”.   He was a “brother” that wanted to have lots of children and teach elementary school.  He was a good soldier… a good man.

 Some think of the military as black and white, even some vets.  There are those of us who completed our obligations in a military that was more various shades of gray.  Some of us got lost there, left behind by a government that didn’t know what to do with the warriors they had created.  We are like ghosts moving amongst our fellow veterans, memories intact but not allowed to speak.

Here’s to “S2”

 

My prayers go out to those left behind and to those that have fractured souls.  May you all find your way home and be in the light of love.

Maka’ala

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Understanding Hawaiians (Na Kanaka Maoli)

It is the year 2012 and the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi (PKOA) is finally recognized by the United Nations as an indigenous sovereign nation.  After many years of painstaking struggle, we as Hawaiians can finally return home.  The government of Atooi now has jurisdiction over the U.S. government, occupying Hawaii according to international law and the recognition by the UN.  You can find the headquarters of this nation on the island of Kauai.  The Ali’i Nui (High Chief) is Aleka (Dayne) Aipoalani (a direct descendant of Kaumuali’i) and the kingdom’s website is http://www.atooination.com.  PKOA is composed of peoples from diverse cultures whose relationships share the mission of ho’opono ‘aina (to make right with the land).  Hawaiians now have an opportunity to regain their stolen lands and government (1893 colonial possession by the U.S).

Atooi is a far cry from my young days growing up on the Big Island of Hawaii, when land was continually swindled from the Hawaiian people by the corrupt practices of the new invaders.  My father knew every Hawaiian living in West and knew that these people never sold their land to anyone.  I believe the term he used was “adverse possession.”  This is when an individual or a group pays taxes on a specific parcel of land, and after seven years, can claim that land if no one else has paid taxes on it.  You can look it up in Black’s law dictionary for a more detailed description.  Of course, Hawaiians never knew or told about this new law.

When my father was attending Kamehameha School on Oahu (an all Hawaiian elementary and high school) he was reprimanded every time he spoke Hawaiian, his first language.  English was forced upon the native people of Hawaii (Kanaka Maoli) as well as a new foreign culture and religion.  The point is, if you want to eradicate a culture, you first take their land away, then their language.

In order for the Hawaiians to survive the events of the past, they were forced to form organizations based on Western systems of thought that were confusing to them.  To survive the restructuring of their way of life, they had to adapt.  They had to have representation in this new order, to protect and defend what little they had left.

This was the beginning of an unhealthy seed of exploitation being planted on sacred land.  Today there are many Hawaiian organizations that carry the signature of an idea of a democratic organization that is based on a wrongful form of democracy.  These pseudo Hawaiian organizations are using the same model that our ancestors had seen practiced against them and their ‘aina hiwahiwa (precious land).  There is a deep history of self-interest, greed, and political corruption that we have experienced by a country that turns an eye on its own sacred ideals as stated in the American Constitution.

An example of this is Bishop Estate, which controls lands, worth more than 6 billion dollars.  The original intention of Bishop Estate was for the education of native Hawaiians.  Bernice Pauahi Paki, the great granddaughter of Kamehameha I, married Charles Reed Bishop and together they created a trust for the Hawaiian children.  Unfortunately, today Bishop Estate is filled with a dark history of corruption, nepotism and greed.  My uncle who was a surveyor for a private company noticed many instances where Bishop Estate encroached on other Hawaiian lands by moving the boundary markers.

For anyone looking in from the outside, you can start to understand how challenging it is for a Hawaiian to develop a clear sense of his or her own identity.  We were told in many ways and in many forms that if we are to survive in the new world we had to let go of our traditions.  We had to let go of a fairly complex system of deep understanding that people and government did not own land, but that land was a precious gift from the gods (Kumukahi).  As a young man, my father always taught me that our kuleana (responsibility) to the land is to perpetuate it for future generations where people and nature prospered harmoniously.  Imagine what went through my na kupuna (parent’s, grandparent’s, ancestor’s) mind when a foreign government came in and took them over, against their will!  This new colonial invader then introduced a new system of land management.  Land was now to be divided amongst those that wished “private ownership” for personal gain.  They also introduced “government ownership” for personal gain.  How were the Hawaiians to react when these private individuals became government officials creating laws that served their own personal interests?  The new Hawaii perpetuated money, power and profit with no concern for the people or the land.  It created a wound to the spirit of the people whose heart and soul was deeply rooted to the sacred land and sea.  It has taken Hawaiians many generations to digest and realize just what this wounding has meant to them, and to the land that they love.  Today, almost half of the Hawaiian population lives outside of Hawaii mostly because they can’t afford to live on their ancestral land.

In 1778 it was estimated that about 400,000 Hawaiians lived throughout the islands of Hawaii.  One hundred years later in 1878 this population decreased to about 40,000 people due, in large part, to diseases introduced by contact with foreigners.  These diseases included venereal disease, small pox, measles, whooping cough and influenza.

I remember my sister and I, as young kids, trekking along the cliffs of Ka’awaloa (near where my ancestors came from) finding a small cave with eight children’s bones neatly wrapped individually in tapa cloth.  We both wondered what happened to them and why so many in one spot?  I realize now that it was probably one of the diseases that killed so many in such a short period of time.  Imagine the impact this might have on you and your family.  It could have been my relatives buried in that unmarked grave.  I can’t imagine the deep sadness to lose so many people who were so precious to me.  When you value family as a source of joy and renewal, it becomes a serious loss, a deep wound, especially if it is your own children.

Add to these deep wounds to the spirit of the people the introduction of religion.  A religion that tells the host culture that traditional customs, dances and ceremonies are immoral and blasphemous.  They were told to turn their other cheek, to be passive and forgive those who have ruined their way of life.  It is interesting to note that the five biggest landowners in Hawaii today are descendants of missionaries.  To add insult to injury, the Hawaiians must forget their own language, their own customs, and their own sacred traditions.

It has been a long struggle over incredible odds to find our voices and to regain our own identity.  Today we are experiencing a non-religious spiritual renaissance, a reconnection to our true past from the pre-warrior period.  In 1976 when I sailed on the double hull canoe “Hokule’a,” I didn’t realize at the time, that it was to become the turning point for us as Kanaka Maoli, to heed the calling of our ancestors and our lands.  It became the reawakening of our consciousness and the resurrection of our voices and sacred traditions that were buried with our na kupuna (ancestors) generations ago.  It is the aloha (love) of our people, the Hawaiians and those that are Hawaiian at heart, that will bring harmony and peace to the ‘aina (land) and the na kanaka (people) for generations to come.  It is the heart of Aloha that is unique to Hawaii’s secret past, buried deep in the heart and souls of those who love the land.  This is Hawaii’s true calling and its gift to the world.

Maka’ala

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Indigenous Medicine Mindset

“Health is a matter of wisdom,” says Kupuna Hale, one of my Hawaiian elder teachers in years past, “not scientific knowledge.”  She further expressed to me that what I was learning in the “scientific” school of thought (pre-med and Chiropractic) was considered child’s science as compared to the wisdom of our ancestors.

The scientific medical view of disease is that disease is centered in the body.  The Indigenous Polynesian’s view of a so-called disease or illness is an imbalance of the soul, a disconnection of meaning, of purpose, of essence.  The task of the Kahuna Lapa’au (in this case, a master in Hawaiian medicine) is to heal the soul from its disconnection, to aid in bringing the soul back to the One.  Our modern society is riddled with lost and disconnected souls.

The Kahuna Lapa’au recognizes each soul as sacred and always connected to Kumukahi (One Source).  They viewed life (living) as a spiritual practice, not a dogmatic religion or other mind controlling system.  Bringing health back into balance was a spiritual practice.  Therefore, based on the mindset of the ancient Indigenous medicine Kahuna, disease is caused by the disconnection of the soul in one form or another.  Living an empty life, which is living without meaning or with meaning that is too trivial or too materialistic for the needs of a sacred soul.

I feel the western culture has purposefully persuaded us to shut our eyes to see the truth.  It feels as if we have abandoned the feminine principle.  We have lost sight of whom we truly are, sacred beings living on sacred ground connected to Kumukahi.

The feminine way is one of understanding the world, a way of finding solutions that affect the whole, and a way of taking action for the highest good for all.  To have a sacred experience requires a balance of our feminine capacity.  It’s valuing the individual: the intuitive, the character of the person.  It allows us to dive deeper down the rabbit-hole (not just focusing on the surface of things).  Don’t get me wrong; I am not about getting rid of the masculine principle especially when it pertains to healing.  I am for reclaiming wholeness, and integrity

Below is a Hawaiian chant of empowerment that I have modified to include all people.

E iho ana ‘o luna            –            What is above is eventually brought down

E pi’i ana ‘o lalo            –            What is below is lifted up

E hui ana ka honua            –            The world is united

Ikaika ko kakou ‘uhane –            Our Spirit remains strong

Imua ka lahui na po’e

     kanaka a pau loa            –            Let us all move forward together (as one wind)

The imbalance in the western medical system is the over emphasis on a masculine principal approach that permeates our entire culture. This essentially belittles all of those that are brave enough to ask questions.  It lessens the integrity and soul connection of the people that operate within that system and it diminishes the self-confidence of the people who seek out that system for their health care needs.  When you enter a typical doctors office, there is an immediate sense of disconnect, a sense of diminished self-power.  Granted, some of this is self-induced, but much of it is the sterile environment of the office.  There is literature littered throughout the waiting room and pharmaceutical advertising reminding us of our individual limitations to bring health back into balance.  It feels more like a business than a relationship to heal a sacred soul.  “How will you be paying for this?”  “Do you have insurance to pay for today’s visit?”  When you eventually see a doctor, rarely is there any physical contact (except from the nurse perhaps) and lucky you if you happen to get an eye contact!  When you leave the doctors office, you may feel even less capable, even though you have been given the correct diagnosis and treatment protocols.  When you experience a strong masculine principle style, you feel their strength, their dominance.  Even if you are helped, you end up feeling lesser of a sacred person.

When someone interacts with you from the feminine side of themselves, you feel empowered, you feel your own unique self, the full capacity of your possibilities.  Every medical Kahuna understood this balance and the importance of establishing a relationship with their patients including the connection with the treatment protocol or medicinal prescription.  Imagine if the western medical system was like this as well as provide the right diagnosis and treatment protocol.

We no longer need a disease-centered medical system.  We need a form of health care that embraces the interdependence of all living things.  What we need is an indigenous medicine mindset approach based on relationships that are pono (aligned, balanced, whole).

My father always reminded me about how the little words, not the big ones, that can make a difference in a just relationship between two people.  Complex and foreign words unfamiliar to the general community can cause a separation between people, just like the medical profession has done.  The medical field has conveniently developed a communication system that encourages separation from themselves and the rest of the world.  Their scientific language makes others feel less than competent and perhaps in the doctor’s mind, superior to the layperson? There is absolutely no reason why the medical profession couldn’t use a language that everyone could understand.  The medical profession has created a masculine principle of what some call a “practice of professional isolation.”  Maybe we should start the healing process by first healing the professional isolation?  We definitely need to change medicine as a culture of competition, independence and separation.  The masculine system can prescribe and possibly cure (a legal term only they can use), but the feminine principle heals the soul.

Mahalo. Maka’ala

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Daily Ho’oponopono Practice

Relationships: Correcting Your Mistakes

Your relationship to others should have more value than the need to be right.  Accepting responsibility for an offense or mistake that you have made and expressing regret for the wrong that was done, is essential for a long lasting relationship.  Doing it in a truthful manner and committing not to do it again is a critical part of repairing a mistake.

Don’t wait to correct a mistake, do it immediately! Many of us delay correcting a mistake, due largely in part to fear of the consequences from the person they need to direct the correction to.  Some may be unaware that they have offended another person, while others just don’t know how to correct the mistake.

Growing up in Hawaii as kids, we were always taught by example from our na kupuna (elders) how to immediately correct any wrong that was created toward others.  It never felt forced or demanded that we do the right thing.  It was our way of life growing up in Honaunau, Kona.  Seeing the positive outcome was rewarding enough for us to understand the right thing to do.

My son, at the age of nine, was already practicing correcting mistakes or making right what was wronged.  I like to think that he got this from observing my wife and I correcting our mistakes with each other in a gentle and kind way.  His cousin was visiting us for a week and upon returning home complained to his mom that my son broke his toy.  Overhearing my wife and her sister on the phone discussing this incident angered my son because he felt he was innocent.  I remember him shouting, “I didn’t do it mom!”  Minutes later he called his cousin to discuss how his cousin put the toy on his shelf, which suddenly fell and landed on the floor.  “Maybe it broke then, my son said?” I think the conversation took less than five minutes when I overheard my son saying, “No problem, I love you too.”  Dealing with correcting complex mistakes at an older age is easier when you are raised with this concept at a very young age.

I understand the apprehension some people may have in ‘owning up’ to their mistakes.  It takes courage and humility to correct a wrong.  It is the right thing to do for the sake of those we have offended.  It’s also healthy for the creator of the mistake to rectify the conflict.  The outcome is a healthy dose of self-awareness and it keeps us accountable and brings clarity so we don’t have to repeat the same mistake again.  My father once told me, “An unintelligent mistake is when you repeat the same mistake more than once.  An intelligent mistake is when you don’t repeat the same mistake again.”

Accepting the fact that you have done something wrong, melts away Ego and allows for self-correcting.  A strong soul is one that doesn’t need to strive for perfection, but one that recognizes when their mistake hurt others.  A strong soul is one who takes responsibility for one’s actions, expresses their wrong doing, and never repeats the action every again.

Admitting to our mistakes is not easy for some, but the cost for the alternative – denial, hiding from the truth, deception – is far more costly.  I have seen on many occasions, patients in my clinic suffering from a debilitating condition that had some aspect of someone creating a mistake on them or the other way around in years past.  Holding on to or living with an old mistake is not healthy at all!

The first step in correcting any wrongdoing is to take the initiative to acknowledge you created the mistake.  When you do this, you are taking responsibility for your actions.  Doing something with meaningful commitment is the foundation for an integral life or a harmonious life.  It builds integrity when done from the heart.  Eliminate any excuses and don’t take things personally when there is a response from the receiver of the mistake.  Having pure intentions of making things right puts a higher value on the rekindling of the relationship that is agreeable with the receiver.

The next step is to undo what you did.  By “owning up” to your actions or behavior with the other person indicates that what you did was wrong and you are asking “what can I do to make it right?”  Your body language, facial expression, and tone of voice should be consistent with your words and heart.  Let your intentions on the inhale breath be pono (aligned) with your words on the exhale breath.  Your intentions should be for the highest good for all parties concerned.  Watch and choose your words wisely.  Eliminate words such as, “if, but, I want to, and using a passive voice.

Finally, cut the energetic cord to the entire incident.  Transmute this energy by surrounding it with white light.  Recycle this transmuted energy into the air (universe).  Create a positive mantra for the outcome such as, I am love, we are love, our relationship is a positive loving one, etc.

There are a few things that are very real: accidents, human flaws, and forgiveness.  The first two may be out of our control so we must do our best with the third.  The purpose of correcting our mistakes is to build upon a sustainable, healthy, and rich community of supportive citizens.  Honoring each other and practicing self-awareness may not be easy at first, but one thing is certain, you can’t lose by correcting a mistake.

Mahalo.

Maka’ala

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CHD and Cholesterol

It was on a flight from Medford, Oregon to New Haven, CT last month when a strong desire hit me to write about the possibilities of preventing heart problems.  I was thinking about a few friends of mine from different parts of the country that experienced a heart attack and yet they appeared quite healthy when I last saw them.

For many years, medical thinking about heart disease was primarily based on their “lipid hypothesis.”  This theory proposes that foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol leads to blockages to the heart. Cholesterol gets into the arteries in the form of plaque, which over time causes blockage that starves the heart of vital oxygenated blood that leads to a heart attack.  I know I have been out of school (BS in Human Biology and Doctorate in Chiropractic) for some time now so I had to do some digging around to bring me up to speed on preventative measures and the latest thinking regarding heart diseases.

Research and data (CDC/NCHS National Health Survey, 2009) indicate that native Hawaiians suffer some of the worst health inequities in the State of Hawaii and perhaps the continental U.S.  I feel this is equally true for Polynesians in general. They have one of the highest risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD).

Some researchers are now questioning the theory and finding serious flaws that “foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol eventually lead to heart attacks.”  Heart disease in the U.S. increased during the period when the use of saturated fats decreased.  There is evidence showing that children who were on low fat diets and adults who were on cholesterol-lowering drugs, CHD still rose.

If not cholesterol then what’s causing heart disease?  It’s a question that cannot be entirely solved in scientific labs, but perhaps on the front lines working directly with people may help find some clues.  The clues are all there and you don’t have to be a “rocket” scientist to figure it out.  It is not that complex that the general public cannot make reasonable life-style adjustments based on some common sense clues.

CHD is not from one cause or a single element, but from multiple etiologies.  Some of the elements that can contribute to heart disease include damage to heart muscles or valves (congenital defects); inflammation and damage associated with various viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic diseases.  Rheumatic fever can lead to heart disease, as can genetic or autoimmune disorders.

According to CDC statistics, heart disease was relatively rare in 1900, accounting for approximately 9% of all deaths in the U.S. (www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/lead1900_98.pdf).  By 1950, CHD was the leading cause of deaths in the U.S. (48% of all deaths)!  It went down to about 38% by 1998, but that could be due to improved surgical procedures (angioplasty, by-pass, etc.).

Some risk factors for heart disease as cited by medical viewpoints include high blood cholesterol, smoking, lack of exercise, stress and overweight.  There are of course the obvious chemical imbalances and nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A and D that is not high on their radar screen.  Heart researchers for the most part have ignored the possible role that vitamins, minerals and natural foods have in protecting the heart.

Vitamin A and D for example, act as catalysts for protein and mineral assimilation.  They support endocrine function and protect against inflammation.  Vitamin A is needed to convert cholesterol into steroid hormones, but is depleted by stress.  Of course stress contributes to a lot health problems.  Cholesterol lowering drugs increases the body’s need for vitamin A.  Vitamin D helps prevent high blood pressure and protects against spasms.  It is needed for calcium absorption, assist in the body’s nervous system and helps prevent arrhythmias.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents free radicals from causing damage to cells and it plays an essential role in cellular respiration especially in cardiac muscles.  It helps in the dilation of blood vessels and inhibits coagulation of the blood by preventing clots from forming.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and prevents against free radicals and it helps support the integrity of the artery walls.  Stress diminishes vitamin C, however.  Many other minerals such as magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc play some role in cardiovascular health.

It is the opinion of this writer that the actual nutrient content of our foods has declined during the last 60 years or more due mostly to intensive farming practices including genetically modified organism.

The challenge in all of this is that it is difficult to turn clues found in fieldwork into solid scientific research.  For example, vitamins and minerals work in synergy therefore impossible to accurately assess their effects as separate elements.  Vitamin A and D are needed for magnesium and calcium absorption, vitamin C works with vitamin E and vitamin E works with selenium.

There is also the physical insufficiency that more and more people are exhibiting such as the digestive and endocrine system, which may inhibit nutrient absorption even if the food is high in nutritive value.  Furthermore, the vitamin and nutrient content of our foods varies tremendously so we cannot rely on nutrient tables to determine the quantities of vitamin and mineral we are consuming.

Synthetic supplementation is not the answer and wouldn’t be my choice of therapy as it can often times be counter productive.  For example, vitamin D2 was added to milk in the past, which was causing decalcification of the hard tissues and calcification of the soft tissues such as the artery.  For this reason, D2 was quietly dropped as an additive and replaced with D3.  Synthetic D3 however, is showing that it has poor absorption qualities.  In general, vitamins from food work more efficiently and are needed in smaller quantities than synthetic vitamins.

We also have to look at the role that fats have in our diet.  The Masai in Africa for example, get 60 percent of their calories from fat and are free of heart disease.  The original diet of the Eskimo and North American Indians contained up to 80 percent of calories from fat and there is no evidence that they suffered from heart disease.  We now know that too much of omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acid may lead to blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks.

What I have observed in the field is that those that are trying to avoid eating to much fat often replace their calories with carbohydrate calories, which usually is in the form of refined flour or sugar.  Yet several researchers have published studies that show a link in refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, with increased heart disease.  Of course excess sugar consumption is also associated with increased incidence of diabetes, and diabetes can be prone to heart disease.  Butter fat and coconut oil contain fatty acids that protect against viruses and pathogenic bacteria and enhance the immune system.  Polynesians of not to distant past consumed coconut milk on a daily basis, but had no or low levels of heart disease.

Studies on the effects of vitamins and minerals with cardiovascular health must continue to be conducted with great care.  Experts in the biochemistry of human nutrition should be involved in designing the studies, something that rarely occurs.  The studies should be designed to include built-in protection against bias outcomes – from those that are strongly against the view that nutrition plays a role in heart disease.  Of course there has to be a protection mechanism from those that want to capitalize on the supplement industry.

From a Hawaiian healing perspective, to maintain a healthy body is to build it from the bottom up.  The foundation to health is to start with an appropriate colon cleansing program or supervised fast to suit your condition and needs.  It is from this point that we can rapidly restore healing or to break the blueprint from disease including coronary heart disease.  I have seen high blood pressure normalize after a period of fasting and a committed lifestyle change.  High blood pressure is a tell tale sign that may eventually lead to heart disease.  Dr. Al Wolfsen, a chiropractor/naturopath and friend of Auntie Margaret’s (one of my Hawaiian teachers) told me of how he was able to immediately help a person who was having a heart attack using aggressive amounts of cayenne pepper.  So small amounts of cayenne may prevent clogging of the arteries.

Another aspect to consider is the prolonged emotions of being lonely, which may lead to heart problems.  We have to look into our societal separation mentality and stress factors and how it might be contributing to heart conditions.  There are so many things to observe and to consider, but we should look into all possibilities.

So what can we do to protect ourselves against heart disease?  Most of the guidelines out there today are pretty straightforward although when considering these guidelines take into account your individual makeup.  Whatever you decide, if you are still afraid of saturated fats and cholesterol, you will find yourself on a continual struggle to dietary health.  Avoiding foods with saturated fat and cholesterol will not only deprive your body of essential nutrients, but the substituted foods you use will contain elements (polyunsaturated oils, trans fatty acids, refined flour and sugar) that may be associated with higher risks of heart disease.

Something to think about:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise to your abilities and capabilities
  • Eat nutrient rich foods (live foods!) – organic fruits and vegetables
  • Don’t overwork (find equal play time)
  • Get out of a polluted environment
  • Eat high quality meats (wild fish, grass fed animals, fats)
  • Supplement diet with foods rich in protective factors (cod liver oil, brewers yeast, flax oil, coconut oil [raw], kelp, supplements made from fruits or vegetables, etc.)
  • Do periodic supervised colon cleansing or supervised fasting programs
  • Live in a sustainable, supportive community
  • Educate yourself and take responsibility

Mahalo (thank you)

Maka’ala

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Kumu: A Title of Fact, Fiction or Distraction?

In the past, it was very respectful to address a teacher of a particular profession in Hawaii as Kumu.  Traditionally, it was an identifier given by a community to a master teacher who carried on the responsibilities within their profession.  It was an honor given to this master by the collective based on that person’s abilities and connection to their community.  Part of the Kumu’s responsibilities was to offer their expertise to the needs of the community and in return the community provided whatever support the Kumu required to meet those needs.

Today, I am seeing more and more people identifying themselves as Kumu “so and so” or Kumu of “this or that.”  This is especially true when it comes to teaching a form of Hawaiian healing class.  I guess the term kumu has evolved into a title of authority?  I’ve often wondered, does the title make the person or does the person make the title?  Why do we need a title in the first place?  Who assigns these titles anyway?  None of my Hawaiian healing teachers ever called themselves a Kumu nor did they advertise themselves as a Kumu.  They neither demanded nor required that they be addressed as a Kumu.  This is also true with the recognition as a Kahuna.  So why is there a noticeable increase in the word kumu in front of people’s name?  Some of them are Hawaiians and some are non-Hawaiians.  Is there a school of Hawaiian healing that certifies these people that I don’t know about?  Is there a revised system of traditional Kumu-ism that is being revisited?  What’s going on?  I know there are protocols within the hula groups, but within the Hawaiian healing circles that I have been involved in, it’s much different.  Learning to assist in the healing of the body, mind and soul requires a lifetime of experiences.

Kumu is a term usually used in the context within the Hawaiian culture although not limited to it.  Some examples are; Kumu Hula – a teacher of hula; Kumu Lomi – a teacher of lomilomi; Kumu La’au Lapa’au – a teacher of herbal medicine; and Kumu Haha – a teacher of diagnostics or medical intuition.

The word kumu has many translations.  It refers to a red fish (goat fish), a trunk of a tree, a source or origin of something, a sweetheart, good looking, foundation, title (as to land or position), a purpose or reason, and a name of a variety of red stalked taro.

I have been involved in the Hawaiian healing ways since the age of 6.  In all those years not once did any of my Hawaiian teachers require that they be addressed as a Kumu or promoted themselves as a Kumu.  It was not something that they aspired to become one day within their community and within a certain profession.  I should mention, however, that up to a certain point in the evolution of the Hawaiian people, children went through a selection process to carry on a particular profession.  It was a lifetime of learning that the child was committed to, but to my knowledge, this has not happened since the early 1900’s.  This is true in Kona at least.

The basic premise in learning a skill or gaining knowledge especially from a Hawaiian perspective is to have the ability to provide the best service or expertise possible to others without causing injury or emotional distress to the receiver.  The skill or expertise gained can be used for the exchange of energy, be it money, products, services etc.

The intentions of why an individual wants to learn something, however, will determine the quality of that outcome.  For example, taking a class for one’s personal agenda versus genuinely wanting to expand one’s awareness in healing creates two entirely different outcomes.  In my thirty plus years of teaching Hawaiian medicine and modalities, I have seen those with personal agendas falter and have limited success.  Those that applied their studies for the greater-good almost always sustained financial success as well as growth in wisdom.  Going into a lomi class with the idea of teaching the course one day takes away from the potential of being the best practitioner possible.  Whether you see the correlation or not, the fact is from a Hawaiian indigenous mindset, you must have experience just to become a good practitioner.  From time to time I have seen a few students from my class and other Hawaiian teacher’s class return to their hometown and immediately offer the same class as if they were experts.  In the early 80’s a student of Aunty Margaret Machado wrote a book on lomi verbatim from Auntie’s notes!  She did this the same year she took the class!  In my sixteen years with Aunty Margaret, not once did I ever consider becoming a teacher.  It was later in life that the community-at-large expressed the need for me to carry forward the knowledge and wisdom handed down from a lineage of Hawaiian healers.

The role of the Kumu is to help students strengthen their sense of responsibility.  The role of the student is to help the Kumu lighten that load.  It is a key element in the relationship between student (Haumana) and teacher (Kumu).   It is a connection that lightens as it strengthens.  Sadly, a few so called, “Kumu” mislead many followers with embellished information and fictitious or no lineage connection to a Hawaiian source.  I can see why it is so hard to find the “real deal!”  How can anyone become a teacher just by taking one class? The “rabbit hole” goes very deep in Hawaiian healing concepts and modalities.  I know some of my Hawaiian teachers questioned the integrity of a few self-proclaimed na Kumu (teachers).  In Aunty Margaret’s words, “what are they teaching?”

Often I am asked, how does one find a true teacher of Hawaiian healing knowledge?  How will I recognize him or her?  Can you point me in the right direction?  Aunty Margaret was unique.  She practiced what she taught and taught what she practiced.  A teacher should live their talk and talk what they live.  It is about continuous practice of expansion and self-study.  For a teacher, the student is never wrong or slow or inept.  When I hear a teacher complain about a student, I think there is trouble with that teacher.  There is a famous quote by William Arthur Ward.  “The mediocre teacher tells, the superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.”  If the student does not understand the information given, then the teacher must inquire within as to how to better impart that knowledge.  What other avenues can be used to explain a concept.  Creativity is a key ingredient in the bag of tools available to the teacher.

The bond between a Haumana and a Kumu is like two outrigger canoes in the open ocean, each filled with paddlers and a steersman.  If the canoe in the back gets close enough to the lead canoe, it can assist that canoe by pushing it forward from the wake it creates at its bow.  As long as the lead canoe keeps its momentum going forward the rear canoe can assist its progress. The rear canoe represents the Kumu and the lead canoe represents na Haumana (the students).  I like this metaphor because it suggests the deep bond of trust that must exist between teacher and student.  The more the student advances, the more the teacher can give to the student.  I have always felt the nudging by my teachers in my voyage of learning and I still feel them long after they have left this plain.  I shall always seek the expansion of knowledge and wisdom for the greater-good.

The teacher’s entire responsibility is to the student. Their role is to help each student evolve to their highest potential.  There is no agenda to mold a student according to the teacher’s ideas or purpose.  The teacher can provide a safe environment by holding sacred space. This allows the opportunity to guide the student with tools beyond the subject matter of the class or workshop.

My role as a teacher is one that encourages the waking of our group consciousness so each individual can see what his or her true potential can be.  There are eleven instructors in the Mana Lomi organization and every two years we get together to share and discuss how we can better ourselves as teachers.  We don’t look down or up at anyone, but rather “eye to eye.” You will never hear me ask to be called a Kumu nor will you see me advertise as one.  My name is Maka’ala and my title is “Life.”

Mahalo

Thank you

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Ho’oponopono: Living in balance (part 2)

Ho’oponopono is the answer to bringing peace, harmony, wisdom and love into ones life and ultimately the community, society, the world, and the universe.  Meditation is an important element for ho’oponopono because it can increase and refine the receptivity of the Divine consciousness (Kumukahi) within all things.  Meditation is the indigenous Hawaiian way of reuniting the soul with our higher consciousness and with Kumukahi (the One Original Source).  The soul manifests its consciousness and mana (life-force) through the ‘piko’ (chakra) or centers of light or energy centers within the human cerebrospinal axis.  It is within this bodily prism that the soul consciousness and mana become identified with physical limitations.

Our body is programmable by language, tones, words or thoughts, all of which carry a frequency.  The kind of frequency created determines the desired outcome of the producer.  Each individual must work on the inner process and development in order to establish a conscious communication with the DNA, which is our super—conductor that can store light, therefore, information.

When a large number of people collectively come together with higher intentions such as meditating on peace – violent potentials will dissolve.  It is through meditation that all questions, all troubles, and all difficulties can be resolved or answered.

The following is a sample of a simple Hawaiian meditation technique called “Alo Ha.”  If you would like to learn more go to www.manalomi.com and see about one of our three-day ho’oponopono workshop.

Aloha

  • Alo refers to the connection we have to all things including source or Kumukahi.
  • Ha refers to the essence of life from where the evolutionary process unfolds.  It is commonly used to describe the variations of breath.
  • Watch the inhale breath and exhale breath.  Without forcing the process of breathing observe the inhale breath and visualize the ‘Alo.’  Observe the exhale part of the breath and visualize the ‘Ha.’
  • This is good to use while sitting, walking, running, exercising or any of your favorite activities.  This meditation technique is important to use when the mind wonders especially during meditation exercises.
  • Pay particular attention to your intentions during the inhale part of your breath at all times before you exhale your words to others.

The objectives of Ho’oponopono

  • Release and severe (‘oki) unwanted energetic cord(s) or connection with a person, place or thing.
  • Restore balance (kaulike), harmony (lokahi), and tranquility (maluhia) within the self and outside the self.
  • Healing manifestation for yourself and others.
  • Transform your consciousness by including qualities of conscious living such as:
    • Love, Kindness, Unity, Discernment, Patience, Responsibility, Humility, Grace, Mindfulness, Gratitude, Engaged Detachment, Compassion, Truthfulness, and Giving Unconditionally.

For many of us spirituality comes later in life.  In our first half or more of life we foolishly weave a net of fear, worry and ignorance around ourselves until disease and/or health destroys us.  We find ourselves in chains created by ourselves.  What is worst or most destructive, our misguided thoughts or our wrong ways of living?  We must make changes in our lives now from things that deaden our spirituality such as anger, hatred, judgment, greed, and selfishness thoughts or from inharmonious living!

Before Kupuna Hale’s [1] passing, I would visit Oahu as often as possible on my summers away from Chiropractic school so we could have the opportunity to “hang out” with each other.  She was well known throughout Hawaii and was respected for her knowledge on the Hawaiian culture, its language and history.   She wanted me to remember the language as much as possible since I was living on the U.S. Continent.  While reviewing the Hawaiian language with Kupuna Hale I was able to help as many of the Na Kupuna (elders) in her area with my traditional hands-on skills (Mana Lomi) as my time offered.  As we drove around the village to offer mana lomi or other health remedies we would speak in Hawaiian with each other and discuss all kinds of things such as the old ways versus the modern ways of living.  How the kanaka maoli’s (original Hawaiian people) health had changed for the worst since her childhood days.  She asked me what I would do for a particular physical complaint or what kind of foods or herbs to suggest to help some of the ailments that the Hawaiians had.

On one occasion she told me about a recent gathering on Oahu for the sole purpose of discussing the concepts and principles of ho’oponopono.  There were five Hawaiian Kupuna panelists including her and about 100 people in attendance.   I could tell she was not happy with the outcome of that Kukakuka (talking story) by the intensity of her words.  She proceeded to tell me that the entire evening was spent discussing aimlessly whether the concept was called ho’opono or ho’oponoponoKupuna Hale always had a humorous side to her and brings laughter and joy in everything that she did, but on this particular day there was a serious tone to her voice that made me pay particular attention.  She told me “your work on indigenous Hawaiian medicine and bridging the gap to modern health care systems is very important Maka’ala, but don’t get caught up with wasted energies of useless discussions with any circle of people!”  “Keep doing your good work and let your actions speak for itself and don’t get caught up with discussions that go nowhere.”  Her words of “pa’a ka waha, hana ka lima” stood out for me and I carry this motto in everything that I do.  This phrase literally means to keep the mouth shut and work with the hands.  What she was telling me was ‘action speaks louder than words.’  Her concern at the time was that there were many “camps” of Hawaiian speakers and non-Hawaiian speakers on Hawaiian healing that had conflicting ideas about the old ways of treatments and remedies.  She said sometimes getting too stuck on traditions could stagnate expansion of an idea or a community.  She encouraged me to focus on getting the job at hand done without causing separation in others and to think outside of the box.

The following are four simple steps using the concepts of ho’opono.  For it to be effective, however, requires action, clarity and determination.  Of course you must first come to the conclusion that disconnecting or cutting the cord of any unwanted energies is essential for you to move on or to initiate change.

  1. Sever (‘oki) the unwanted energetic cord between you and the person, place, or thing.
  2. Transmute (loli’ana) or surround that which you are disconnecting into clear white light.
  3. Recycle this transmuted energy into the etheric space or universe around us.  It is like pouring a cup of water into the ocean where it becomes one with the seawater.
  4. Replace the empty energy receptor, which was created when the cord is cut with the feeling of joy or positive outcome that you would like.

You are now on the path of using the ancient Hawaiian principles to being well!  Remember,” cutting the cord” is about letting go, forgiveness, surrender and transition into a positive outcome.  MY


[1] Lydia Hale, known to many as Kupuna Hale, was one of many elder Hawaiian teachers in my life most of which were women. She was from Waimanalo, Oahu.   She insisted that I not forget the language of our Na Kupuna by speaking mostly Hawaiian to me when we had the fortune of being together.

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