This work requires you to take your time, to be intentional with every single step, to keep your eyes sharp, and your mind ever sharper. It requires just as much of your strength as it does your grace. This work requires you to trust yourself and to trust your instincts completely. It requires you to learn how to forgive yourself every day. It requires patience, steadiness, and the deepest kind of care. The kind of care you tend to people who are hurt with. The kind of care you offer to babies when they have just entered this realm and to elders who are making their way into the next realm. It requires the kind of reverence and respect we give to the living gods and goddesses because this land is living and it is a goddess.
We, as humans, have become so accustomed to living out of balance with this sacred earth and all of her creation. We have become so accustomed to instant gratification and finding every single way for our lives to be lived with as much ease and convenience as we possibly can obtain no matter what the consequences are. If the last decade has taught me anything, it is that healing is slow and it requires time. Time looks different to us than it does to the land. Aunty Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe reminds us that humans are the short-timers on this planet and that the land is the long-timer. We are here for just a moment across all time and space. And because of that, we must reflect on how we are spending our time in this realm, in this life, on this earth. Do we slow down enough to realize that even in the most micro of ways, we can offer healing to the land? It is as simple as choosing to kneel and pick off the seed heads of plants that do not belong here and give thanks knowing that every seed that we collect is one less seed in the ground and is one more space for Holaniku to reclaim. It is one more space for the alena and nohu to weave and cover the land. It is one more space for the naupaka to become a forest. It is one more space for birds to nest. Is one more space for Kanaka Maoli to remember who we are and where we come from. It is one more space for us to plant our prayers for our lands and our people. It is one more space for us to sing sweet songs to our ancestors.
This work cannot be done without prayer and protocol. This stage of her healing requires our healing too. It requires us to carry ourselves with the same conduct we do in ceremony. This work calls for a particular kind of spiritual, emotional, and mental strength – the kind that women who have survived the heartbreaks and oppressions of life carry. The kind of strength mothers carry. The kind of love grandmothers carry. The kind of enduring aloha that kia’i aloha ‘āina carry.
This work requires you to sacrifice many of the human comforts of the world as we have come to know it and to “make do” as our mother says, with what you have. This land reminds us that it can and will survive without us but we cannot survive without it. This sacred ancestress land and all of the living beings that call her home have suffered immensely at the hands of people who were not from here and had no connection whatsoever to the sacredness of life. And so now this land’s healing requires the presence of humans to do everything we can to help her restore and reclaim her ea. And this work is not easy but it is not as hard as it could be if you remain in the right relationship with yourself, your ancestors, your purpose, and your team. There is a ritual in every step even if you don’t know it yet. Holaniku is a stern and firm teacher and the lessons learned out here do not come easily but you adapt, learn faster from missteps, and apply them with intention because your health and survival literally depend on it. Her health and her survival really do depend on how we, as a human race, choose to live our lives. And this sacred space is a microcosm to the macrocosm of the entire earth. Humans are a part of this ecosystem and we have the gift of free will. It is a choice to live in harmony, respect, and reverence for everything we see and do not see. It is also a choice to live in disharmony and we have been living like this for a long time. The prophecies from indigenous people around the world are revealing themselves and we, the descendants of the knowledge keepers, have the responsibility to show up, stand up, and speak up for the rights of honua.
What I know for certain is that this works requires your deepest love. The kind of love you have for ‘ohana. The kind of love that you have for your companion in life. The kind of love you have for your children and their children. The kind of love you have for the generations upon generations of Kanaka that will come after you. The kind of love our ancestors had and continue to have for us. Aloha ‘āina is the legacy we continue to honor because these words remind us that the land is our family and since I know a lot of you will probably finish that sentence this way, I will end it with a quote from a movie we all know – “and family means no one gets left behind.”
E ola Hōlanikū!
na Hawane Pa’a Makekau
Lā 27 o Augate 2022