It was an afternoon of aloha (love) to remember.
Halau i Ka Pono celebrated its 10th anniversary with a performance in our new home. I started the program and began to chant but could hardly hold it together. I was so overcome with gratitude and love for what everyone in the Halau throughout the years has accomplished together to bring us to this day. Tears immediately sprang and my voice weakened as my heart claimed the moment.
Our dancing began with a chant to Laka, our male/female deity of hula. Next we humbled ourselves as we came into the presence of the sacred. We danced the hula pahu (drum dance) in honor of Poliahu, our goddess of compassion and of the snows of Mauna Kea.
Young and old danced from their pu'uwai (hearts). There were 28 dancers ranging from our youngest, Chloe Hernandez age 7, to our eldest, Cissy Plekavic age 87. Jason Poole, our dear hula brother, traveled from Pennsylvania to be with us. He wrote a special song for the occasion called "Aloha is Spoken Here."
Our finale was danced to the song, Kukaniloko (to anchor the cry from within), written and choreographed by Kuana Torres Kahele. Kukaniloko is the name of a place in Wahiawa, Oahu where certain female chiefs were allowed to give birth. Hawaiian Civic Club of Wahiawa historian, Kalimapau notes, "This is a place of spirit. Spirit doesn't know language, nationality or color. It only knows heart. We all have a cry from within."
To anchor the cry from within...but how? When grappling with life's issues and challenges, I find it useful to sit down and anchor myself through the process of mindfulness meditation. I notice a lot of thoughts swirling around causing discomfort, pain, confusion, hurt, anger, and fear. Meditation and breath are my anchors in this rough sea. It's the way I can truly calm my heart.
Letting go of any judgment or opinions when they arise is also helpful. Saying "not now" when they arise is helpful in returning focus to your breath. This is practicing not knowing and then bearing witness to what you do - all with a gentle touch. It is a practice that you can do for the rest of your life.
Cry can mean many things. According to the dictionary, cry can mean, "a sound or call of an animal; to shout; or shed tears due to pain, distress, rage or anger." Tears also come when one is deeply joyful. To anchor the cry from within watch how your heart feels. Is it broken? Does it ache? Is it overflowing? Be brave and anchor here for awhile. Notice what happens.
Your heart is your anchor, moment by moment. In your true heart, there are no walls or barriers. No separation, no fear, no loss - only love.
Malama pono (take care of body, mind and heart),
June Kaililani Tanoue
Kumu Hula and Sense
P.S. Here is a slide show of the 10th Anniversary Performance. Photographs by Elizabeth Carabello, music by Kuana Torres Kahele. Enjoy!