These past few months from have been quite “eye-opening”. Several events have occurred which tugged at my heart, humbled me as well as made me re-evaluate where I am in this world; and my part on this small island.
The first event was the Hawaii Injured Workers Educational Seminar or Summer Fest held at the Kroc Center in Ewa Beach on September 15, 2018. With the help of officers and directors of HIWA along with the staff of Vocational Management Consultants, about 60 injured workers heard doctors on their “take” on the workers compensation system, we heard other injured workers and their stories of tragedy and success as well as professionals who work within the system trying to make change occur. So, we learned in order to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” we must start with ourselves.
The Kintsugi Project was also held at the Kroc Center with the volunteers from VMC and made that point succinctly. Taking a broken bowl, gluing it back and painstakingly painting the cracks with gold, was a metaphor for all of us; that we may be broken and hurt, but these “cracks” and crevices are our experiences and past that made us who we are now. We need to be proud of our past so we can heal and be the “change agents” in our world. With the help of the Master gardeners, we left with this beautiful pot and a growing plant to encourage healing. We were reminded that our healing must start within each of ourselves in order for us to be able to help others.
Then I moved forward to the next calendar event. I thought that this event being a “Birthday Bash for ’71 Hilo High School Classmates” would be self-indulgent and just “for fun”, however it became more than that for me.
My classmates and I planned a service project with the Kahauiki Village near Sand Island Access Road. This is the homeless project of Duane Kurisu - where he built a village in the plantation style of houses with the voluntary help by companies in town creating a permanent place for homeless families. We asked him as well as the village support (IHS) whether we could provide a “kumiai” picnic for the kids there. “Kumiai” I have always thought meant “picnic” because we would always go to the picnics when I was a kid living in Hilo but I actually think it means “neighborhood”.
We brought games that we did so long ago (like Jan Ken Po, paper plane making and competition, origami making, bean bag throw and water balloon toss). With each game came a prize to the delight of the children. Before all the classmates wrapped up all the games and ice cream snacks, one of the children came up to one of my classmates and exclaimed that “This was the best day of my life!” What an incredibly powerful and humbling moment. Once again it was a magical moment that made us stop in our tracks and realize that in a small way we made a difference in a child’s life.
Taking a breath with these moments, I launched into another environment and a global view of our world in Hawaii– The Hawaii Executive Conference held in Kona. Little did I know that there would be more lessons to learn. Once again, Duane Kurisu’s vision for Hawaii and how we all can make a difference was highlighted. But we need to be “All In” in order to flourish.
We got to speak to the Crew of the Hokule’a and listen to their perspective of the Worldwide Voyage and how their experiences impacted them and their lives today. From these Ambassadors of Hawaii, there was clear understanding and urgency that the different countries need to have better understanding of each other, better ways to keep our world safe and sustainable for our children and the need for kindness in each and every act. The conference spoke to the fact that Hawaii can be that beacon of light to the world.
At the end of the conference, what the meaning of our “kuleana” was clear. If comes down to – What are you going to do about making change happen in Hawaii and in the world? It comes down to me and you on a personal level and what you or I am going to do to work together to make things happen here and eventually for the world.
It started with one boy, Micah enjoying his day of fun and activity at the Kuhauiki Village with a bunch of Hilo High classmates. It continues for me in helping HIWA provide an opportunity to educate and create a place of hope for other injured workers in the community. So we all have to take a step to find a place where we can contribute in our community; connecting and in the end finding in your heart what makes us hopeful for the future and what makes us happy. Don’t walk away from this responsibility; walk toward it and be brave. Begin today.
“Rise and take control of an oar”…..