What’s My Pilgrimage?

Two of my favorite movies are The Way and Walking The Camino, and one of my favorite books Rebirth by Kamal Ravikant, are set on the Camino de Santiago Compostela. The Camino, as it is often called, is a 500 mile pilgrimage through Spain to the tomb of St. James. Often beginning in France the pilgrimage takes about 30-35 days.

I think I relate to the Camino because in my late preteen and teen years I took long walks contemplating life, people or God. Those walks almost always left me with a complete sense of peace. Like the walks of my youth the pilgrimage of the Camino is said to return the pilgrim to harmony. The outer struggle of the trek brings to surface the inner struggle where it can be seen, faced, and resolved or accepted with grace. The Camino restores the pilgrim to harmony with life allowing for a deeper happiness.

As a traditional Hawaiian healer I perform a healing ceremony called ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono is formally described as the act of setting things right. Less formally it reestablishes harmony within and between people. On one level the process is psychological. Participants speak and hear grievances and concerns in a safe place. On another level it is a spiritual practice where prayer plays a significant role in setting an intention or calling on a higher power to influence the mana or life force energy of all involved to aid in setting things right. The higher power need not be an ancestor or a god. A higher power may simply be harmony or homeostasis relative to disharmony. Ho’oponopono can be a long process taking many hours, or even days. I have come to see it as a pilgrimage.

The Camino is a perfect balance of the inner and the outer, of yin and yang. You walk through nature to see inside yourself. Jesus said heaven is within and at hand, so when we walk the Camino we walk on earth to touch heaven. Qi, pronounced chee, is the subtle life force energy acupuncturist manipulate to improve health. Qigong is an exercise designed to circulate and gather qi exchanging personal and environmental qi. It is similar to the way breath and blood circulate oxygen through the body. In my qigong practice I strive to be conscious of my qi as it dances with the qi all around and within me.

The ability to play with qi is not a gift some have and some don’t. We just haven’t been taught to pay attention and learn how to use it. It is similar to the way we have to learn good exercise and diet habits. It is easy for humans to forget we are a apart of and composed of nature, and that all matter is formed from energy. Most people primarily obtain qi through breath and food. Qigong allows you to pull qi directly from the environment and circulate it through your body. Qigong is similar to life force detox. After a qigong session I feel relaxed, energized, light, and harmonious inside and out.

I’ve been writing a book. Well actually three books. Until recently I could not find my voice. I also did not want to write simply to express myself or worse, as a marketing tool that has no real value. As a healer many of the experiences I’ve had and witnessed leave lessons that are applicable over a broad range of problems. I don’t claim to have discovered anything new. I have learned that every grand idea I thought I discovered had already been discovered hundreds or thousands of years ago. The ability to offer the fruits of experience simply with respect and usefulness has turned out to be more daunting than expected. In this way writing is a pilgrimage. Writing a book is not the only way writing is a pilgrimage; writing a journal or diary also fit the bill. Books too take you on a restorative journey; such books are also pilgrimages.

What’s your pilgrimage? I posted the question and one friend said being a parent was his pilgrimage. Being a father of three I have to agree. The journey with a child or children can be a pilgrimage; one that doesn’t end when they leave home. Marriage is a pilgrimage. Divorce is a pilgrimage. Sickness and caring for the sick are pilgrimages. Obtaining a degree is a pilgrimage. What’s your pilgrimage? Write me, or better yet, write a blog or social media post. #WhatsMyPilgrimage so we can share our pilgrimages with each other. Bon Voyage!

Pohaku Passage: Growing Through Dark Times

The majority of my work isn’t prediction. It is guidance keeping you in grace and blessings so you avoid, or go easier through, rough times. I have been given predictions when appropriate, when it helps you understand. Of course many people can’t understand and so the rough times happen to them full force. When that happens it sets up the lessons needed to accept guidance in the future. You will have ah ha! moments where you see much more clearly than in the past.

When a client cannot grasp guidance and heads straight into dark times I call this Pohaku Passage. Pohaku is the Hawaiian word for stone which I interpret as po-night or darkness, in which the ha-spirit learns to ku-stand or be upright. The dark time is a rite of passage where you are strengthened.

Sometimes the darkness isn’t happening directly to you as when a parent, spouse, or child gets sick or goes through a dark time of their own. These are still times of Pohaku Passage where you learn to be strong for others. Your compassion and kindness are strengthened and your heart softens.

Prediction during dark times rarely helps. It’s like you are about to crash into a wall and someone tells you the obvious. During dark times it is best to learn to surrender. Surrendering as a spiritual practice is not giving up and feeling helpless; it is the ability to flow with a higher vibration like skillfully maneuvering river rapids on a raft versus being in the water flailing, being pulled under and crashing into boulders and trees. Surrendering is learning to go with the flow, but also learning to choose the right flow.

When you are facing dark times keep repeating to yourself, “It will all work out,” like a mantra. Let those words bring you ease. Trust that things will work out even if you cannot see how at the moment. If you believe in God then say, “God will work everything out perfectly.” If you want you can replace God with Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, the Tao, the Universe. Give it a shot you have nothing to lose but doubt.

Reflection

You see yourself as a reflection in a mirror, the sky on a still lake, the moon on a calm ocean, street lights on wet pavement. Most people have had an experience but don’t know it to be a reflection of God. As children many of you, while gazing at a clear blue sky, a starry night, lapping waves, rustling leaves have dropped into a reverie and felt completely at peace. That peace is a piece of God. A state of heavenly grace. We are reminded of our souls source. This is another kind of reflection where we experience the divine reflected in all of creation.

Today’s busy life crowds out time for reflection. Reflection isn’t just for seeing what is around you, it is also for seeing what is within. Just as it is difficult to see our own faces without a mirror, it is also difficult to see our souls. Calm moments of solitude allow the soul to come to the surface of our consciousness. Any blank surface like a crystal ball, pool of water, blank wall allows the mind to still and the soul to be seen.

The difficult thing is that this state of calmness cannot be forced. It must be allowed to happen naturally. In today’s world there is very little humans do naturally. We have to learn practically everything from making love to raising children so letting something come natural, well, it isn’t natural. Reflection is a natural process. You don’t need to learn it, you need to let it happen, like daydreaming. So get really real and take some time to be natural, reflect, and get to know your soul.

Face to Face

 

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” -Jesus

One of the many ways aloha is defined is alo – touching face to face, and sharing ha – the breath of life in a spirit of love. When was the last time you really came face to face with yourself. I’m not taking about looking in a mirror, but rather about reflecting on your being. Can you recall the last time you deeply took in the moon, wind, rain, a stream, the sea, a rock, flower, plant, or animal? Huna, the secret of Hawaiian spirituality, begins with ha – spirit and life force in all things.  From this perspective seemingly lifeless matter like a rock is alive.  Weird?  Consider the way minerals in a body are a part of your life and relate that to the way rocks are a part of the living earth.  Where does organic soil and stone begin and end?  Recognizing our composition being of, respecting our make up, and it’s connection to the earth and the earth to the cosmos allows us to experience our connection to all of creation.  It is not a secret in the sense of something to be kept from others.   Huna is a secret because it is not obvious   Huna is hidden in plain sight, but it takes insight to reveal it.  This sounds mystical, but as with maturity some things are obscured by a lack of experience or education.  Experience cannot always be be directly conveyed, but sharing my education my allowyou to have your own experience.   If anything I write allows that to happen I will consider this blog a success.

Let’s begin with you. Take a breath and be aware that every breath is a rebirth for you, not just you, but also the air. You exchange yourself with the air and the air exchanges itself for you. The air that was in you reincarnated as the atmosphere around you and the air around you reincarnates as you. You are the air and the air is you. The same can be observed about the water in your body and the water in the world. Stone elements like minerals that make up your body are the same elements that make up the earth.

The word for land in Hawaiian is aina. I like to remind people that they are the aina and the aina is them. When we speak about taking care of the land we are also saying we take care of yourselves. When you see yourself this way you are aware that you are already a part of everything and everything is a part of you.

Awareness of oneness naturally evokes compassion, kindness, and joyfulness. A deeper meaning of aloha is living the oneness that reveals joy. This is why aloha has the meaning of coming face to face in the breath of life. Life being all of creation. So breath is not simply air but every energy that sustains life. The ultimate aim of life is joy. No one wakes up hoping for a bad day. There are many people who give up their right and power to have a good day by expecting and in a sense hoping, for a bad day. From the view of oneness it is easy to see that you are not born and you do not die, you don’t even transform, you are everything.

In Hawaii we greet with the honi. Honi by touching nose to nose and forehead to forehead with another person. You could even honi an object like a tree or a rock. Then inhale sharing the breath of life and the awareness of oneness with all of creation. The honi makes it easy to stay joyful because you are less tightly closed into yourself. A good handshake or hug will often do the same thing. An open heart and mind is a more relaxed atmosphere due to openness being less tight than being closed.

Recall the last time you conversed or argued with someone who was closed minded. Then recall a conversation or argument you had with someone who was open minded. You will easily recall extra tension with the closed minded person and an unusually relaxed atmosphere with the open minded person, even if the conversation or argument got a little heated.

With an open heart the potential for the intellect to turn cold is prevented. A warmhearted person will always have clearer mind contributing to increased competence than a closed hearted person. The reason is that a broader view allows more information to be taken into consideration when making decisions. So there are very practical reasons for having an open heart and mind. While there is nothing wrong with being sentimental, sentimentality is not effective when a person is focused on satisfying their feelings instead of engaging the person or situation at hand.

The causes of happiness or suffering in any situation in your life are you and your thoughts. In fact you and your thoughts contribute as much or more than other people or persons. Facing yourself allows you to consider your thoughts. Are your thoughts constructive, positive, kind, loving, and compassionate to all involved? Remember you are included in all involved. If you feel upset or hurt, stop, calm and refresh yourself in the moment by drinking ha consciously. Say to yourself, ‘I am taking in life.’ When calm give yourself time to reflect. Time is space. Openness. Kindness. Decide the way you want to exist regardless of the way the situation, or other people, seem to influence you. Don’t let anything eclipse your ha and aloha.

Remain aware of the ha and the way it keeps you connected to life. Breathing provides you with refreshment, a constant sense of renewal, and feel good energy. This is the huna, or secret, I discovered for living life rather than being distracted from it. Being open is the only way to receive fullness. I joyfully share with you my huna. If you stay with your ha, you too will discover your own huna about yourself and life. When you discover your huna, share it with me, and we will honi wisdom. Aloha

You Are A Blessing: Part 2

The thing about being a blessing is noticing that everyone and everything else is too. You realize there is nothing special about being a blessing, and yet, everything is special about being a blessing. When you look at everything and everyone, including yourself, as a blessing it changes everything. And it changes nothing. So what the point? It’s not a point. It’s a power. One of the real and true powers we have is perspective. We can either look at everything as an offense or a gift. We can be the pawns and victims of life, the universe, God, whatever or we can be the benefactors of challenges that bring the seeds of opportunities.

Truth is I’ve yet to meet a life without stresses and challenges. And even that reality can be disheartening and distressing or encouraging. We can take it as life is a constant struggle that will never get better or that since everyone struggles we can get better and stronger in our ability to face struggles. Life favors no one and yet we have the power to favor life. We must use our intelligence to interpret things in a way that allows us to create solutions. Without a clear goal our heart has no where to focus its immense power. Used in harmony with our intellect the heart will rally the body and spirit to amazing and heroic accomplishments.

Try this. For one day think of everything you see and everyone you meet as a blessing. Oh it’s easy with the obviously beautiful things like flowers, birds, trees, the sky, but with situations and people who threaten, annoy, and irritate the crap out of us it is much more difficult to see it or them as a blessing. But if you can gain the mental and spiritual muscle to see the blessing in everything you will astound yourself with your own strength.

You Are A Blessing: Part 1

Nearly everyone says or feels it when gazing upon a new born; What a blessing! Immediately thereafter human education begins and depending on your luck of the draw, karma, fate, whatever you either learn to respect, honor, and make the most of the blessing or you end up in therapy, rehab, prison, prematurely dead, or spiritually seeking. If the stars were fucked up when you were born and you landed in a shit hole whether that shit hole was parents who where abusive to you, themselves or both, parents who spoiled you into helplessness and insecurity, parents so strict you ended up with a good degree and well paying job that you hated, well meaning parents who also led you to a good degree and a well paying job that you hated, or the all to rare well adjusted parents who raised you to be boringly well adjusted, it doesn’t matter. All paths lead back to the same premise, you are a blessing. On the off chance you were born to loving and wise people who nurtured your sense of blessing allowing you to actualize yourself, um, why are you reading this?

To be continued.

Saying Grace

I am sometimes asked to offer a blessing on food. The request is well meant, but ill educated. It is redundant. The food, the people gathered, the earth, sun, and rain that made the food are the blessings. Grace serves the purpose of recognizing the blessings of the people and the food. Recognizing the blessings of the people and the food should naturally inspire gratitude and appreciation within you. Saying grace is an expression of thankfulness.

Thanksgiving is not a yearly event. It is a daily and hourly event. Any moment you recognize the blessings in your life you also recognize the grace in your life. It takes a clear and humble heart and mind to see that our lives are full of grace, but the instant you do, you are filled with peace and joy.