I would like to begin by extending a heartfelt thank you, mahalo nui loa, to the Hawaiian people and culture, for their wise teachings and example of living pono and aloha in the world. We can all aspire to ʻlive ponoʻ.
On the North American mainland, I am often saddened to see the values being cultivated and encouraged - ego, greed, selfishness, competition, anger, judgement, blame, scarcity/poverty consciousness, money-seeking and selling as the primary focus of everyday life, power hierarchies that separate and exclude, and exploitation of people and nature. Often people are so preoccupied with these imbalanced pursuits and perceptions that they seem to be ʻracingʻ and may rarely slow down to question, feel, breathe, let go, and release their own suffering and imbalance. Therefore we can see and experience unhappy, reactive, mentally and physically imbalanced states of being, in a culture that has more money and ʻstuffʻ than almost anywhere in the world! At times it seems as if the dominant North American culture has lost its way, in an empty pursuit of money, status and things, at the expense of more meaningful heart-based values and true well-being – personal, relational, in community, and with nature. As we become more aware, we open our eyes to see this imbalance in ourselves, and in fractured family and personal relationships, in communities, leaders, and businesses of all kinds (from corporations to wellness businesses).
We understand true wealth and well-being as:
- clean water, soil and air, and a healthy diverse natural world,
- fresh natural food,
- healthy, heart-based, honest relationships,
- a friendly community,
- a healthy body and mind,
- a creative, fulfilling life,
- feelings of peace, love, and happiness.
PONO with self -
Pono with self means you are in harmony and alignment in your relationship with yourself:
- You love, accept, and respect yourself.
- You do not choose patterns of abuse, diminishment, enslavement or exploitation for yourself, nor impose/encourage it for others.
- You understand that the source (god, spirit, soul, consciousness, however you view it) that moves through you and all things is abundance consciousness, and that you are here to flourish through your inspiration and joy!
- You are honest and live as authentically as possible. You are aware of your feelings and needs and dreams, and know (or learn) how to express them effectively and to tend them well. You are not trying to be something you are not, and you donʻt cultivate your ego. You understand the value of surrender, humility and grace.
- You take steps to heal and release your own suffering and imbalance, as early as possible. You expand your own awareness beyond limited conditioned thinking. You open your heart and mind to learn and grow and expand throughout your life, to live your best life! And you use your inspiration and creativity to create upliftment and beauty, balance, ease however youʻre inspired!
- You take total self-responsibility for your thoughts, choices and actions every day (i.e., how you behave, how you treat others, what you create, buy, and invest in, and its impact in the world). You are aware of the feeling tone or energy field you create every day, and strive to leave a gentle, kind, inspired (ʻin spiritʻ) energetic footprint.
- You move with integrity, and in alignment with the source moving through you.
- You cultivate practices that help you maintain your own well-being, peace, presence and ease (eg., meditation, mindful movement such as tai-chi, chi-gong, yoga, conscious dance, being in nature, and any other personal or spiritual practices that support your presence, ease, happiness).
- You practice unconditional love and acceptance of yourself and others as you move in the world.
- You share with others, as you value true community and recognize everyoneʻs well-being as your own.
- You move in the world in a friendly, honest way, sharing aloha, bringing the best of yourself, and recognizing everyone as equal and as 'ohana (extended family : ).
- You aspire to harmony, peace, and happiness, and hold the highest vision for yourself and others, valuing a happy, fulfilling life for all!
PONO with others –
Pono with others means you are in harmony and alignment in your relationship with others:
- You love, accept and respect others, and cultivate healthy, heart-based, honest relationships.
- You seek win-win solutions, where everyone is viewed as equal, as ʻohanaʻ (extended family), and can thrive together!
- You release patterns of ego, competition, manipulation, control, repression, judgement/blame, exploitation, or abuse of others.
- You learn skills that allow you to be true to yourself, and to communicate with others in compassionate, honest and honouring ways.
- You open your heart to be able to truly listen to others, to their feelings and needs, and to understand and accept others for who they truly are, and their choices and dreams in this life.
- You support others in living their dreams and their best life, in ways that feel true, and inspired for you. You understand that your intention, energy, enthusiasm, and belief are valuable co-creators in the process of manifesting and expansion for yourself and others.
- You take steps to address imbalance in your relationships as soon as possible, using helpful practices such as the wise Hawaiian Hoʻoponopono (reconciliation/ forgiveness practice), among others.
- You recognize your own unskillfulness and the unskillfulness of others at times, and are able to forgive and work together to release conflict and suffering and to create better, more loving relationships. When a relationship feels hard or imbalanced, you keep the faith that healing and reconciliation is possible, and you envision/pray for this possibility and take steps to resolve the conflict/entanglement as early as possible. You trust that sorrow and suffering can be transcended and that people can live together in more joyful, creative ways on earth.
- You understand that when we live pono with others weʻre able to create new, high-vibrating realities together on earth - healthy sustainable communities based on unconditional love, sharing, and mutual thriving.
- On a daily basis, living pono with others personally means moving about in the world sharing aloha, with a friendly, kind, playful energy, and treating everyone as ʻohana! : )
PONO with the Earth –
Pono with the earth means you are in harmony and alignment in your relationship with the earth and all of nature:
- You cultivate a loving, caring personal relationship with the earth, and treat the earth as a loving mother and friend. You open your heart and feel a deep spiritual connection to the earth, and “kiss the earth with every step”. You understand that we are one with the earth, and that if we are not pono in our relationship with the earth, then the earth reflects this imbalance.
- You embody and practice the beautiful Hawaiian cultural values of Aloha ʻĀina and Mālama ʻĀina – deep love and respect for the land, and loving stewardship of the land for future generations. I am so happy to feel this deep love moving through me every day as I appreciate our beautiful mother and all the ways she so abundantly and lovingly sustains me – the beautiful trees, plants, flowers, birds and other animals, waters, soil, rocks, minerals, sky, clouds, winds, sunshine, and more! : ) I feel her loving grace and abundance and say, “Thank you, Mahalo ke Akua”, and take steps to tread more gently, to listen to her, and to maintain her natural beauty, balance and diversity however I can.
- You move in loving appreciation and awareness of the interconnectedness of the web of life, and strive to leave the earth in as good or better condition than you found it (Mālama ʻĀina), so that future generations can enjoy the natural abundance that was so lovingly gifted to us. You no longer defer health and harmony in the present, through a false belief that technology will ʻbailoutʻ a great imbalance in the future. You no longer choose to support any depletion (eg., over-consuming, over-fishing), imbalance or exploitation of the earth, based on short-term thinking and greed. You understand that local sustainability* and living in harmony with your local environment is a light footprint solution for humans.
- You shift to invest in long-term healthy, sustainable solutions for the earth, such as:
- Organic, bioregenerative, permaculture, local agriculture;
- Clean renewable energy sources (wind, solar, wave, etc). You support your community/country moving to 100% clean renewable energy as early as possible, and support other elegant light footprint, earth-friendly living solutions as an expression of loving care of the earth. Mahalo Hawai'i for leading the way to a 100% clean renewable energy goal! http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/29269793/gov-ige-signs-bill-setting-100-percent-renewable-energy-goal-for-state
- You appreciate that your small choices every day can make a big difference – and you align your daily choices to reflect your intention to live with a lighter, gentler footprint. As an example, on a personal note, Iʻve made choices to live more simply and gently as described before (http://irenabliss.blogspot.ca/2013/11/be-earth-steward.html), including: giving up use of plastic bottles and paper cups for 8 years now (by making a simple choice and investment in a double-jacketed stainless steel bottle), buying fresh organic local food as much as possible; choosing to ride, walk, blade, or take public transit for my transportation needs, and on occasion using a car share/rental service; eliminating almost all consumer snack or packaged products (recycled materials are really just another waste stream to manage/process, so minimizing packaging like cans, plastic, cardboard is helpful; and eating natural whole food close to the source is key); picking up litter when Iʻm outdoors and promoting the awareness to take care of the earth; using simple natural earth-friendly cleaners in the home; choosing to enjoy lots of time outdoors in nature!
As you become aware that so much of our ʻmodernʻ way of life is propped up by mindless consumerism based on ego, greed for money, competition, and exploitation of the earth (and other peoples), you will be personally guided to what feels true as you cultivate a more personal, loving and mindful relationship with the earth.
And together we can create a NEW ECONOMY, based on true well-being and ʻponoʻ heart-based community on earth! : )
When we live pono with the land where we live, we begin to release patterns of domination and exploitation and tune to the broader consciousness, as reflected by native Hawaiian and other Frist Nations/indigenous peoples whoʻve lived in harmony with the earth for thousands of years. It is important to be aware that the consciousness that strives to create skyscrapers, to dominate and change natural landscapes, to commodity and sell almost everything, and puts money at the top of a pyramid that enslaves and exploits people and nature, is very different from the consciousness that is tuned to nature, to the value, equality and sacred interconnectedness of all of life, and strives to tread lightly on earth. This latter way is my natural tuning in this life. As we choose to live more pono, we will dissipate egoic mental patterns, and move into a more balanced, heart-based way of living with ourselves, with others and with all of nature, cultivating harmony, kindness, compassion, equality, creativity, and true well-being.
Personally Iʻm inspired to continue to learn, and to live more gracefully and harmoniously with the earth. Iʻm inspired by practices that support living pono within ourselves (eg., meditation, conscious movement, art, nature, energy awareness, etc), in our relationships (Hoʻoponopono and other practices, nonviolent/ heart-based communication skills, therapies), and by grassroots initiatives such as: community gardens, local organic bioregenerative farming, local farmerʻs markets, fair trade, local lending initiatives, knowledge/skills sharing, education centres, nature conservancies/land trusts, environmental and social justice advocacy groups, clean renewable energy initiatives, off-grid living solutions, and other light footprint creative ideas.
Iʻm also inspired by a Mālama ʻĀina conversation proposing a long-term sustainable, food self-sufficient vision for the island of Maui: http://www.futureofmaui.org/.
Iʻm also deeply inspired and grateful to the Hawaiian culture and other First Nations/indigenous communities, for their leadership, values, and wisdom that serve as inspiration and guidance during this time of change.
Please get involved with what inspires you to create more balance and harmony in yourself, in your relationships, and in the community where you live! Yes we can be the change! : )
The Hawaii state motto: “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono” may be translated as "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness".** What we can see in our modern culture is that where exploitation, conflict and greed are fostered, people, their relationships, and the earth become imbalanced and dis-eased. We can each choose to live pono, and create more harmony and well-being within ourselves, with others, and with the earth.
“All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones that we have been waiting for."- The Elders, Arizona Hopi Nation
It is time to live PONO. Will you join me?
love and aloha,
Please consider supporting groups that support living more pono with the earth, such as:
- Hawaiian Islands Land Trust http://www.hilt.org/ - Protecting the Lands that Sustain Us
- Maui Tomorrow: http://maui-tomorrow.org/ - Protecting Mauiʻs Future,
* Note: “Sustainability” can mean different things to different people. I understand “sustainability” as relating to self-perpetuating, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, with an awareness of ecosystems in a state of balance and equilibrium, and with the awareness that imbalance/dis-equilibrium create dis-ease, depletion, suffering.
**Note: The Hawaiʻi state motto “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono” may also be translated as: "The life of the land is preserved in righteousness of the people.", and also, "The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." And so it is!