Hawaiian Island Wisdom for the World with Kainoa Daines [Episode #807]
This week’s topic is: Hawaiian Island Wisdom for the World with Kainoa Daines
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Kainoa Daines, who is currently the Senior Director of Brand for the Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau. Listen in as Kainoa shares his thoughts on cultural misappropriation regarding Hawaiian ideas, the concept of oral storytelling and how to have deep reverence towards community and connection.
Cultural misappropriation regarding Hawaiian ideas…
Remoteness of Hawaii and how this informed some of the cultural ideas, traditions, wisdom practices, and connection to the land…
The concept of oral storytelling…
Deep reverence to community and connection…
About Kainoa Daines
Kainoa is currently the Senior Director of Brand for the Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau. In this role, Kainoa oversees and integrates all Hawaiian cultural aspects within the Visitors Bureau, as well as for HVCB Members across the state. He sits on several community boards, including the Hawai‘i State Art Museum and the Friends of the Judiciary History Center, and Chairs the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission, a state commission designated to honor and commemorate Hawai‘i’s first monarch. He’s also an adjunct lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa teaching “Management by Cultural Values” in the School of Tourism Industry Management.
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Kimberly: 00:01 Aloha loves and welcome back to our Monday interview show. I am so excited to share a very special conversation that I had with Kainoa Daines, who is the co-author of the book Island Wisdom, which shares many teachings and practices and perspectives from the Hawaiian Islands. And he’s also the senior director of brand for the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He is also part of many different organizations and boards. He is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Hawaii teaching management by cultural values in the school of tourism, industry management. So today we talk about many teachings that can benefit all of us. You don’t have to go to Hawaii, you don’t have to live in Hawaii to benefit from this incredible wisdom, even this term, aloha, which we have most all of us have heard, has incredible meaning behind it. And the more that we can tap into this wisdom of these, you know, traditions around the world, and specifically today as we talk about Hawaii, we can gain a lot in modern, modern society.
01:21 We can learn a lot about ourselves and living in harmony with the world around us, finding deeper meaning and deeper connections. So as someone who spends a lot of time in Hawaii as a local, not a Hawaiian, but someone who has been honored to steward some of the land in Hawaii with great love and with great respect, I am especially excited to share this show with you today.
Fan of the Week
Before we get into it, I wanted to give our shout out to our fan of the week. And his or her name is MooreMomentum and he or she writes, great. Kimberly is such a great person and I truly enjoyed our convo when I got to say hi and chat with her. She has so much positivity to share with the world and can influence you to make better decisions about your mindset and health, MooreMomentum.
02:18 There isn’t a photo here, so I thank you so much for your kind words and I’m so happy we got to talk in person and hopefully give a hug and thank you for your review. Thank you for being in our community. I send you so much love. I I just love that we’re all connected and we all get to share. We all get to support each other and it really means the world. So big virtual hug, no matter where you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Kimberly: 02:58 And for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week, please take a moment or two out of your day and leave us a review , even if it’s one word or maybe a sentence, <laugh>, it can be very brief, but it is using your free will to support and that’s what really matters. And I thank you so much in advance. Please also be sure to subscribe to our show and that way you can stay in the flow of these podcasts, which come in and are around a whole variety of topics around our four cornerstones. So you don’t have to take further action. You can just receive and receive. And on the other end of it is sending the show out to anyone that you think would benefit as an act of pure love and support for others, which always does tend to come back to us. And finally, little announcement that now that we are in summer, it is a wonderful time to try our holistic waterfall three day cleanse, which is sort of a refresh of focus mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. It includes a plan with recipes, guided meditations, stretch video guided journaling, and more. So you could check it out on our email@example.com. All right, all of that being said, let’s get into our show today with the wonderful with the wonderful and wise Kainoa Daines
Interview with Kainoa Daines
Kimberly: 00:00 Um, organic, and we’ll capture everything on there, what
Kainoa: 00:04 We say can and will be used against us in a court of law. Excellent.
Kimberly: 00:08 <laugh> Kainoa, thank you so much for joining us today. I have to say that I absolutely love your book, island Wisdom. I’ve gone through <laugh>, essentially, the whole book, and yeah. Thank you so much for making time in your schedule to be with us.
Kainoa: 00:25 Oh, happy to. Thank you for Thanks so much for having me.
Kimberly: 00:28 So I am particularly interested in this incredible rich wisdom that comes from Hawaii. I’ve been spending a lot of time there. I go back and forth to Kauai. Oh, nice. And working with the land. We have, um, a farm and lots of bees. Uh, we have
Kainoa: 00:47 A million. Okay. That’s right. Yes. Good
Kimberly: 00:49 Cow. So, um, coming there I was very sensitive to and the importance of being respectful of the land and the local Hawaiians. And then I started getting there and learning so much Yeah. About the depth, these incredible teachings that I think can benefit everyone. Yeah. And then your book came across my desk. I know this journalist Annie Daley, and she said, yeah, yeah,
Kainoa: 01:13 Yeah.
Kimberly: 01:14 I thought, oh my gosh, this really encapsulates so much in this book. So thank you for bringing this forward in a way that’s accessible. It’s, it’s a very readable book, and I love the size. Yes.
Kainoa: 01:26 It’s super palatable, super digestible. You know, that was kind of the intention for the, those who don’t have the attention span. Um, yes. Now, you know, we have the attention span of a goldfish resources or, or worse than, so being able to, you know, this is a quick flight from California. You know, you can read this, you know, before you land, you know? That’s right. That’s the idea.
Kimberly: 01:51 That’s right. And to get into the top line teaching. Yeah. Like, really be able to absorb. So we’ll start with <laugh>. I like how you write this. There’s a whole chapter on Aloha. Yeah. And you talk about this deep sigh when it gets brought up. Yeah. Because, you know, let’s face it, in culture, there’s been a lot of, um, cultural misappropriation about Hawaiian ideas and the hula skirts and just sort of this,
Cultural misappropriation regarding Hawaiian ideas
Kainoa: 02:16 You know, oh, over a hundred years <laugh>.
Kimberly: 02:19 Yeah. And, and so the purpose, our intention today in our conversation is to really bring forth some of these incredible, um, the, the, the wisdom and the teachings, which I have to say kainoa as also a student of Vedic philosophy and yoga. There is, um, there’s a lot of sort of unity there, right. Even when you think of aloha and how deep it is, there’s a whole chapter on it. You know, the greeting, Namaste, which is, I bow down to the light inside of you. It’s not just a simple Hello. Yeah. So maybe we could start there about aloha, which most of us have heard, but we have no clue. Yeah. How deep the meaning of it really is.
Kainoa: 02:59 Yeah. So, aloha, um, is a feeling. It’s an emotion. It’s a way of life. And so when we ask the 20 subjects in island wisdom, what does aloha personally mean to you? All of them were just like, wow, what a deep question. Question that we don’t often ask each other. We greet each other with aloha, aloha. You know, it’s that, you know, or farewell, aloha. It’s just that common, um, it’s a common greeting. But when you really begin to ask that question, what does it personally mean to you? We did notice that everybody kind of just like, oh, here we go. Because now where they’re looking is in, they’re looking deep within themselves. So how do I define this value? This, this notion, this spirit, this connection between people. Um, so when the missionaries pulled up in the 1820s, they saw and heard people saying, Aloha.
03:56 And so in the dictionary just said, hello and goodbye and love. Those are generally the three things that people know about the word. And we could have practically written a whole book on everyone’s answers, you know, and not just one chapter on it. But aloha is showing up for people. Aloha is looking at people as they are. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> aloha you being responsible and accountable for your own actions, in addition to the actions of your ancestors. Wow. Because it takes you farther back and out of your own self to connect to the past, to be accountable that they did all that they did for you to be here today. So being able to have that connection to not just you and I right now, for example, having this aloha for each other, finding time in our schedule, the, you know, the, the greeting between each other.
04:48 That’s all aloha that we’re connecting on right now. You know? But having that aloha in initially also for yourself, that you took the time to wake up and brush your teeth in the morning and to have your breakfast and to take, have aloha for yourself. Mm. Cause you don’t have aloha for yourself. How can you have aloha for someone else? Wow. Or even we not collectively have aloha for this planet we live on, and others that come into our life. The, the, the animals and the plants and the, you know, everything else around us, you know, having aloha for, you know, another phrase that we talk about in the book is Aloha aina. Aloha a’s love for the land. Um,
Kimberly: 05:23 Oh, yes. We kind of, I’m gonna, I’m gonna pause there for a minute. Please. Please. I wanna go into that whole other topic, which is so beautiful. But first on Aloha, I wrote, I love what you wrote here on page 33. I’m going to to quote you here. Okay. Where you say, aloha, these two parts. Alo means being in one’s present face-to-face. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Ha is your breath or life force. So you say on a larger metaphysical level, it’s about connection. Yeah. It’s the recognition that we are all sharing the same breath. Yeah. The breath of life. And therefore we are all one. So you talked about meeting, coming into this space and this deep, this recognition of this, this one heart, this one life, this, you know, yoga talks about this underlying e uh, energy matrix of all things, you know, that we’re not these isolated beings. Right. You know, it’s just sort of cohabitating, but there’s deep connection. So aloha is this, I mean, I get goosebumps when you think about it this way, this <laugh>, we are one
Kainoa: 06:24 Connected by that breath that we share, you know, even though you’re not, we are not in the same room. Yeah. That one thing that is connecting us
Kimberly: 06:33 Yes.
Kainoa: 06:34 The air that we’re breathing, you know? Yeah. And, and or the earth that we’re sitting on, you know, while we’re sitting in different parts of that earth, it’s the same thing. So that, that aloha is that reminder that we are all smaller parts of a much bigger, um, force or energy, you know? And there’s different schools of thought where some, some language practitioners don’t like to break down the word aloha. It’s, it’s just what? It’s <laugh>. So that’s fair. That’s fine. And then you’ve got other schools of thought. Who, but no, let’s look at the, the, the what it, how it’s made up. And so we took that path in the book. And so alo is, you know, us being face-to-face right now, we’re alo to each other. But that ha again, because we’re so far apart from each other, we are connected by that.
07:18 And so yeah. I appreciate that. Um, you’re, you’re getting that, you know, like, like getting that ideal is what we were trying to project. And it’s a such a wow moment, I think for a lot of people. Like they have heard and associate the word aloha with Hawaii and the Hawaiian Islands. But again, it’s just, hello, hello comes from your mouth. Aloha comes from your heart. Yes. Comes from your gut, from your na from your inside. Aloha comes from way deeper down than hello. You know, that’s just a different, like you said, it comes from a, it comes from well within deep within you. And that’s what we’re projecting when we, and when you genuinely have aloha for someone, that genuine love, genuine connection, genuine patience, perseverance, respect, genuine respect, respect. It just naturally comes back to you, right? Mm-hmm. So aloha is reciprocal. Like the air I exhale is air that the plants will breathe in, that you will breathe in someday. And the air that you exhale and breathe in, we’re all breathing. It’s a cycle, right? So when you give of your aloha, it’s meant to come back to you. Aloha, aku from me, Aloha may from you. So it’s this connection, this, this constant connection between, again, not just people, but everything around us. Everything that’s just, everything that oxygen and air sustains that is aloha. That is aloha Wow. In, in Hawaii.
Kimberly: 08:39 And, and then you started to go into the connection with the land. Yeah. And it was really interesting at the beginning of the book, you point out how remote Hawaii is. It’s the most remote landmass on the planet. You go in thousands of miles in any direction, and you don’t, it’s water for thousands of miles. You look at other archipelagos, you know, my mother’s from the Philippines, right? Or you know, Malaysia, whatever it is, it’s closer to Asia. It’s closer to landmass. Why you
Kainoa: 09:05 Can see the land.
Kimberly: 09:06 Yeah, exactly. So can you, um, speak a little bit about how that remoteness informed some of the cultural ideas, traditions, wisdom practices, and, um, the connection to the land?
Remoteness of Hawaii and how this informed some of the cultural ideas, traditions, wisdom practices, and connection to the land
Kainoa: 09:19 I think the idea of isolation for Hawaiians, you know, Hawaiians originally came from Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands, you know, you go back perhaps 2000 plus years ago, and they were, they were, um, wayfinders navigators getting on a canoe and not sure if there was land, but getting on that canoe with that faith and that hope that, you know, we need a new life. We’re not sure why they left Tahiti or why they left the Marquesas Islands. We just know that a group of people said, let’s go and look for something else. And so they, they found Hawaii and in our history for a little while, they went back and forth for a little while. Mm. It’s a long journey though, on a boat from to Hawaii,
Kimberly: 09:57 It not easy. Oh my
Kainoa: 09:58 Gosh. Thousands of years ago in
Kimberly: 10:00 Those little canoes,
Kainoa: 10:02 Well, they were double holed, you know? Yeah. Um, alua, these double hold canoes, sailing canoes. So they weren’t just paddling, but they were using, they were master navigators where they didn’t need a compass, a sex tint, a map. They would look up at the nighttime sky, oh. And use the stars as a map. They would use the swells of the water, the, the, the ocean, the wind waves, the birds. Oh, there’s that certain birds that would know that land is nearby. So they,
Kimberly: 10:25 But how did they know the first time to go out there Kaa? Like, how did they first go? Is there any record of
Kainoa: 10:31 That? You know, the way we look at poly Pacific Ocean, the way Polynesians look at the Pacific Ocean, it’s sort of the blue continent. Mm. Right. So it says, instead of looking at is there’s a bunch of isolated islands and surrounded by water. We look at the mass of the blue continent, Moana, and that we’re all connected by water, we’re connected by water, not separated by water. Mm. And so they navigating amongst the Southern Pacific Islands for generations, for generations, and for thousands of years, making their way from as far back as, um, the native peoples of Taiwan 5,000, 6,000 years ago, coming through Malaysia, Melanesia, you know, Micronesia, et cetera. So they had the idea of wayfinding and navigating already in their d n A and already in their mind. But again, I don’t, I don’t per, I don’t think anybody quite knows why they chose to go the way they did. Right. To go find land that was the most isolated chain of islands in the world. Um, so they, they went back for and forth for a little while, but then they stayed right in their staying in this isolation. It wasn’t a negative thing. It was a positive thing. Cuz they had everything they needed absolute sustainability, absolute live off the land. Everybody had a job
Kimberly: 11:41 Abundant.
Kainoa: 11:42 Everybody at home, everybody was fed. Everybody was taken care of because they began through strict rules, if you will. And, and that’s where that idea of aloha aina, the strict of land and sea, like where it’s not just land ina it’s land, but the strict love so that we have love for the land and that it loves us back. Cuz you know, we look at land is mother earth, uh, concept. So when the Westerners came and they’re like, we’re gonna buy the land, how do you buy your mother? How do you own your mother? You love her and she loves you. You take care of each other. That’s how, who the Taisha and Marques people who el lady later became known as Hawaiians, um, looked at sustainability and looked at le living in a place where, where resources were limited. And so this whole, like religion even came evolved around it with rules that you only fish when the moon, when this moon phase is in the sky.
12:37 And when that moon phase changes, you stop fishing so that that fish can then have a chance to breathe and breed and grow until there’s always fish. Mm-hmm. This plant is only planted and only harvested under this moon or in this season. Mm. Right. When, when this certain fish is spawning, that’s when you can plant this current. So it was all connected so that they had enough so they could feed each other, feed themselves. The idea of water, um, is so important. So the Hawaiian word for wealth, well, excuse me, lemme back. The Hawaiian word for water is vai or Y W A i, depending on the pronunciation. And the Hawaiian word for wealth is vai Vai. So meaning you have plenty of water because now you can grow plenty, you can have enough for to sustain your family and the families that live around you as we’re all one big family in a sense.
13:27 And so, understanding that love for the land of aloha aina, aloha aina later became the phrase for patriotism, the Hawaiian word for patriotism. Because we were overtaken, you know, by America, if you will. I mean that the Yes, the gist of that is actually shared in island wisdom. And it was hard for me. What do I share without turning people away from being able to learn and understand who we are as a people? Yes. We were, we are native people. A lot of native peoples were overtaken, like you mentioned your mother’s family taken over by the Spanish. Yes. So you’ve got all of this colonialism and we need to address that today. This needs to be addressed today. And so island wisdom for me was sort of a hope to begin to share the beginnings of that on a safe set of not safe. I went a little bit deep in certain areas, but to share that we are not American.
14:22 We’re the 50th state. Sure. But, you know, and my father’s from Utah. So in that regard, I’m, you know, Hawaiian and I mean American in that way. But my mom is from ha, Hawaii, Hawaii. My grandma is from Hawaii, her grandparents are from Hawaii. We are Hawaiian. Yes. Where we trace our ancestors back to those tahitians that that came up here, pulled up 2000 plus years ago. And we know nothing different. And this is our home. Yes. This is our place. And so there’s a lot of that injustice that, not saying that this book is answering that and or you know, but at least acknowledging it so that those that read it, you know, Americans or fellow Americans can read it and understand, ooh, the 50th state has some differences from the other 49
Kimberly: 15:03 <laugh>. I mean, to put it lightly. Right. And I think you did such a great job of, um, just calling light again to this, this, I don’t even call it a, a state this incredible Yeah. Um, place, you know, place <laugh>, um, has so much wisdom. Right? Yeah. I mean, we talk about topics and the book about, you know, which I’m very interested in, um, listening to the inner voice. I’m gonna call out a few and we’ll talk about them. And then, um, you said talk about, you know, being one with the land and this deep, I think I’m saying ma maana maana
Kainoa: 15:39 Malama
Kimberly: 15:40 Maana to to care for
Kainoa: 15:43 Malama. Yeah.
Kimberly: 15:43 Malama beyond, beyond just, you know, again, this limited self. We think about a lot of the problems in culture today where it’s just me, me, me, isolated me. Yeah. And we’re not in this harmonious, expansive connection. And I think there’s so much Hawaiian wisdom around that. When you look at, um, the Hawaiians I meet when I’m there are, um, there is a different energy, there’s a wisdom, there’s a groundedness. Yeah. There’s this a laugh, like you talked about the aloha coming from defense side. There’s like this soft acceptance, understanding this, this depth Right. That I think is important for anyone that’s going to Hawaii to respect and to know about. And people, like you said, even if you don’t go there, there are teachings, there are things that are for all
Kainoa: 16:29 Of them, it that you can pull from here and live in your daily life. Like you said, malama, malama is another Hawaiian value that Yeah. It does mean to care for.
Kimberly: 16:39 Yes.
Kainoa: 16:39 But it means to protect, to preserve. Uh, malama is also like shining the light on something that we need to take care of it. Cuz llama means light in that regard. So again, not trying to break apart Hawaiian words, but that’s part of the root of that word. And so shining a light on a problem, quote unquote, if you will, to then how do we take care of it? How do we salvage it? And so like, aloha, we have to make sure that we malama ourselves so that we malama can then malama each other. And then for us here, so that we can then malama Hawaii, which is interestingly the current, um, program and or slash campaign for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau on the Hawaii Tourism Authority where I work. You know, so we’ve taken this value my day job if we’ve taken this value and turned it into, um, we don’t like using the word campaign, you know, as a marketing campaign, but it’s a program of sorts. Yes. And idea being that this place, Hawaii, and again, this is true for anybody who travels this place, is someone’s home. Not your playground.
Kimberly: 17:44 Exactly.
Kainoa: 17:45 Just your playground. You’re coming to my home. And when you come to my home, my personal home, if you will, if you’re invited to my personal home, I only ask that you take your footwear off at the door. Yeah. Because I have, it’s a rule I have for my home. Yes. But then come inside and enjoy and there’s food and there’s beverage and there’s a restroom if you need like, come in and enjoy and relax. But there’s parameters and there’s rules to visiting people’s homes. Yes. And I, I think that and hope that island wisdom was, um, an introduction to that notion for that mindful traveler or for the non mindful traveler, the one who’s like, I’m entitled, I’ve saved all this money. I’m gonna go wherever the heck I wanna go because I’ve saved all this money. I’m gonna do what I want. I’m going to TRAs where I want.
18:28 I’m gonna go where I might not be welcome. I don’t care. It’s not my home. I’m going home after this. Yes. We trying to let people know when you travel, you’re going to someone’s home. And so the idea of malama really is a deeper sense of care for so much more than yourself. But, and we learned that through covid, right. That we have to take care of ourselves. I feel like that was something that people came together around that idea of caring, that idea of caring for not just ourselves, but then for each other. Cuz you know, that, that, um, when you’re on the plane and the flight attendant says, when that mask drops from the, from the, from the ceiling that you put on your mask before you put it on your child’s mask, uh, face so that you can, cuz if you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of them?
Kimberly: 19:08 Right. Right.
Kainoa: 19:09 Maybe. And that’s the idea of, of that value of ma Lama. And so we do take a bit of a dive, you know, I believe, um, on that value. But it is such an important value, you know, about Oh, who we are as a place.
Kimberly: 19:23 It’s so important. And I’m glad you bring that up. And also there are some, um, you know, there’s some, it, it’s bulleted. So I really like how easy it is to read. Yeah. And there’s this one here that I wanna call out, ask permission to enter the places you visit. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> terms of when think about, and I get goosebumps when I think about these hikes and these walks and how sacred the forests are there. And to really pause before you go into the trail and think about, wow, like this is a real honor, this is a blessing. Like you said, it’s not to take something for granted. And also in all the ways, obvi the obvious ones, not leaving any garbage, not leaving any trace, but also thinking about what you’re putting on. You people are wearing sunscreen. It has to be reef safe. If they’re going swimming in a hole or whatever it is. Just being really mindful that it is, like you said, it’s someone’s home and it’s the home of, I mean, it’s some of the most sacred forests in the planet.
Kainoa: 20:19 Yeah. And to use that metaphor of sacred spaces and water. Yeah. So imagine you’re, you know, you’re visiting and you’re, you go up to the top of a waterfall and you’re as a visitor and you see this waterfall, but you’re covered in bug spray, you’re covered in all kind of sunscreen, whatever. And you jump into that pond cuz that fresh water high, it’s a hot day and you just wanna swim. But what’s downstream from that potentially is maybe a family who gets their drinking water from that mm-hmm. From that waterfall. And so you’ve now created that, that sort of butterfly effect, if you will. That analogy of what you do does affect everyone else. You know, not just people, but the environment in general. So being mindful of how our, and how impactful we are to everyone around us and ev the environmental. Yes. And so those ideas of, of having aloha for the land and not just aloha as a greeting or love for a person, but really caring for the land because that land cares for us. That takes us out of our head space in, in a way that, you know, a lot of, you know, I, I hate to a Americans in general though, I feel like just kind of look at things differently, um, than we do out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean <laugh>. Cause our resources are limited. We only have one home. We can’t drive to another state and make homes somewhere else. This is it. Right.
Kimberly: 21:37 For us, this is it. And also growing up with these, um, the deep respect of the land and nature in a, in a different way. Right. Because sometimes people live in, you know, um, cities or suburbs where it’s just, you know, here’s my little yard and this is for me. And it’s not these expansive forests. Yeah. It’s a bit different. And I like how you make the distinction too, in the book, and I think this is really important to recognize. The Hawaiians, like you said, are those that have been, you’ve been on the land, your ancestors are from there, and locals are people that, you know, have bought property. You know, we included have a farm there. Yeah. But we’re not Hawaiian. We are stewards of the land and hopefully done with great respect. Yeah. But, um, but there’s a distinction. It’s different. And
Kainoa: 22:24 I think what the distinction in my mind that is that we’ve been here for a long time. So we’ve made the mis we made the mistakes a while ago. Like when we first moved here 2000 years ago, we made mistakes. Right. We’ve over potentially overfished in an area mm-hmm. Or planted in an area that shouldn’t have been planted in. Or maybe built a hale or a house structure in a very windy area. And we didn’t know we shouldn’t have done that or, or whatever the case may be. So the fact that we’ve been here for 2000 years successfully, it doesn’t hurt to listen to the ho to the indigenous culture of that place. Yeah. Of any place. And, and I think it’s a very western concept to never look back, just look forward. But in Hawaii we have, uh, in the Hawaiian language, we have a proverb uae, which basically says, look to the past to help guide you forward.
Kimberly: 23:18 Wow.
Kainoa: 23:18 So we’ve been here, so listen to our advice. We’ve, we’ve, we’ve gone through it. We know where to plant certain things. We know where to fish for certain things. We know where not to build certain things. But go ahead and go ahead and build that resort in that area. And your lobby is now a wind tunnel. Good luck with that. You know, listening to the people of the place, <laugh>, wherever it is, is a mistake. You know,
Kimberly: 23:44 A hundred percent
Kainoa: 23:45 Encourage that. Like if you, wherever you are, who are the native peoples of that place and hone in on their lessons and their, and their culture. Cuz you’re gonna learn so much more. And that’s what again, hopefully island wisdom is, is accomplished, will accomplish.
Kimberly: 24:01 And one of the things that you point out, which I love, is this concept of oral storytelling. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it’s funny because, um, my son goes to Waldorf School where they only learn through history, through stories because, you know, Waldorf Steiner believed that they, we best absorb teachings through stories. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and our beekeeper, our local beekeeper always says to us, I’m going to come over and talk story. Yeah. And we loved that term and he meant, you know, he would teach us about the bees, but he also wanted to catch up. Yep. Right. Our lo our Hawaiian and local
The concept of oral storytelling
Kainoa: 24:32 All encompassing
Kimberly: 24:33 Yes. Would use that term. I’m coming to talk story. Yeah. Which we let, it’s not just hang out, but there’s this sharing Yeah. Aspect, this connection, this, you know, another deep part of the tradition.
Kainoa: 24:44 Yeah. I think talks story when you phrase it that way, it’s, it’s pigeon English, right. So Yeah. It’s a slang, but talks story when you tell somebody, Hey, come over, I wanna talks story. You, there’s, there’s implications in a sense that one, it’s just to catch up.
Kimberly: 24:59 Yes.
Kainoa: 25:00 For sure. But that there could be and should be, and often is a little bit of a deeper connection sometimes, you know? Yes, definitely. It could be both. Two, it could be just, um, catching up and that’s it, you know. But from that wall down, like, we’re just two people, like you and I right now we’re just talking story. Yeah. Like we have a subject to talk about the book, talk about Hawaii. But really we’re just talking story and it’s casual. Um, it’s just a way to connect. It’s there. There’s aloha in that you’re just connecting with people and you’re taking the time out of your busy day to check in on your friend or your family member and say, how are you, how are you doing? You know?
Kimberly: 25:38 And listen,
Kainoa: 25:40 <laugh>, and listen, you know, Hawaiian teachers prior, you know, anciently speaking, if you will, even to some extent today, you just sat and listened. The student, the student would just listen. You didn’t, cuz we prior to writing, we didn’t write anything down anyway. But you didn’t talk either. You shut ’em out and you listen with your ears and you just sit there. And that’s how you would learn. You don’t, you know, you get too caught up in, well what about this? And what about, you know, all of those questions. You’re not, you can’t hear the teacher anymore. Mm-hmm. You’re missing something. You’re missing it. You know? And oftentimes, traditionally you would then you would listen and then you would do, they would teach you, here’s how you make this lei. You don’t say anything. You just sit there and listen. And then they show you how, tell you how, show you how, tell you why. Right. Not just the how, but the why. Cuz the why is so important. And then now you go make the lei from what you just heard. And if you were to ask a million questions during, you would never be successful at making that lay. But you just sitting there and just opening your mind up, your heart up and your yourself to that moment, you’ve heard far more than was said.
Kimberly: 26:43 Wow. Yeah.
Kainoa: 26:44 So that’s, that’s, that’s how, so that’s why I talk story too. Sometimes it’s reading between the lines. Cuz sometimes you’re realizing, oh, my friend really wants to talk about something else. I think, you know, they came to, to see how I was. But I think they, I need to see how they are too now. So it’s really this cha this cha this chance to really connect this human beings. Cause I don’t think we spend enough time doing that.
Kimberly: 27:05 Right. Well, it’s, it’s, it is meaningful, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when we make the space, the aloha. And whenever, um, Jimmy’s saying to us talk story, it is sharing. Yeah. Um, it’s more than, oh, here’s what happened today. But it’s, you know, feelings. It’s, it’s experiences. It’s like learnings. Yeah. And it’s, you know, instantly we always say Jimmy’s, you know, part of our family, you feel that connection, that depth, that that wisdom and that respect. Um, then I think there’s a lot that we could all learn about that because a lot of people live in, like you said, in such a fast surface way, don’t really get to, to know the people around you. And it’s just, it’s, it doesn’t feel fulfilling. And then you think, what’s the point of life? Where is this richness can come in these interactions in everyday life. I think that’s part of the, um, the island wisdom in sh showing this magic that can be there when we come from this place of depth and listening and love and saying, Hey, this moment can be a transformational, incredible moment if we open up to it. Yeah.
Kainoa: 28:06 Listen to it. Yeah. And listen with the right ears. Yeah. You’re so another phrase, I dunno for if I’m jumping around too much, but Na Nahal is n a u and naau
Kimberly: 28:17 Yes. I wrote that too.
Kainoa: 28:18 Refers to your, it, it literally refers to your intestines, your, you know, on that, on that physical surface level. But when people say, listen to your gut, that’s your naau, that’s your intestines. Yes. Yes. Your word is naau. And so when you’re not, when something doesn’t feel right, the universe is telling you, giving you the answer. If you’re listening for it. And that’s listening to your naau, listening to your gut, your heart is right above your naau. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So listening to your heart is fine. Right. But your heart sometimes takes you in the wrong direction. You know, your heart and your minds. You gotta find that balance for sure. But your gut, your na Oh, there was a, a journey during the book where we were, um, realizing there’s a portion of the book that we weren’t super happy about. And we were, we weren’t communicating that to each other.
29:09 So Annie and I and our photographer Liz, uh, Barney, the three of us were all separately. Not we, we, we talked about this later, but all three of us were feeling in our, in our <inaudible> in our gut that what was happening in that moment wasn’t right. And so the two of them started talking to each other. Like they finally opened up to each other and like, how do we tell Kainoa that this doesn’t feel right? Cuz it was something that I was originally very adamant that we needed to do. And so when they kind of were like, um, I was like, um, I feel the, um, like we, and then all of a sudden we’re like, the, the sky opened up and we were like, oh my God, let’s not do this thing. Right. Because we were all hesitant to listen to our gut in that moment. And once we all realized and acknowledged it, oh, the weight off our shoulders, it was so right. And I’m so glad that that, you know, portion didn’t make it to the book. Cause it very would’ve if we weren’t listening to our naau
Kimberly: 30:01 Wow.
Kainoa: 30:02 And it would’ve, there would’ve been negative repercussions. I’m not gonna get into detail. There just would’ve been negative repercussions if we hadn’t been listening to our naau. And another person in the book talks about our, the d n a of our ancestors are in our bloodstream, right? Mm-hmm. So they’re mm-hmm. They’re literally part of us. And so that idea of looking back to them for guidance is part of that, like, listening to that they’re in <inaudible> they’re telling you, Hey, Kimberly, don’t do that. It’s not a good idea. Yes. But you’re thinking, oh no, it’s fine. It’s gonna be fine. No, it’s not. We’re telling you we’ve got thousands of years of experience. Don’t do it if you’re not listening. Yeah. It’s probably not gonna work out. You know what I mean? So that I, that idea, that notion of quieting and, and, and I think she’s the same woman that said, unplug for social media for a minute. Oh, unplug from your phone, unplug from your computer. Unplug and just have a quiet day.
Kimberly: 30:53 Yeah. Mo more than a minute kind of periods of time, I hope, right? Yeah. Day hours. Have a day.
Kainoa: 30:59 Take a, take an hour. Try an hour. See how that feels. Disruptive.
Kimberly: 31:03 E Exactly.
Kainoa: 31:04 Um, unnecessary.
Kimberly: 31:06 And you know, there’s, there’s so much research even now backing up this, you know, this wisdom around intuition and listening to this deeper place inside of you and Nobel scientists use intuition when they’re discerning which area to study or where to put their research. So, um, we know that it’s, you know, there’s tru real, even measurable truth in that, that backs up the wisdom that we know. I also love how Hawaiians have such a love of Ohana family, and I love this term, cakey. We have a, a sticker on our truck that says, you know, cakey on board. Yeah. Just this real celebration of the children. Yeah. Right. And sometimes we don’t get in every culture, sometimes, you know, children are seen as sort of noisy nuisances. But this idea that ohana isn’t just a blood relative, but you know, the, the people that are around you that feel close. Yeah. Yeah. That there’s this, um, no, this, this, again, this keeps pointing back to this deep reverence of the community, the tribe, the connection
Deep reverence to community and connection
Kainoa: 32:05 Village. It takes a big raise. The children. And that’s how, you know, when I was growing up, if I didn’t follow the rules or whatever it was, I knew that I would be in trouble for my mom. But I also knew that her sister would also be giving me cracks if I needed them. I also knew that my grandmother, that my aunties and uncles were all looking out for me. Mm-hmm. They were all looking out for me. And now as, um, this, this is, this is my, she’s about to be four years old. Oh. Um, but her, her, um, cousins from the other side of the family, you know, whatever. Those are my nieces and nephews too. And if they’re, they’re needing a hug, uncles there to hug if they’re needing a school holding uncles there, toold <laugh> with aloha. Because that’s another part of aloha is there’s discipline in aloha.
32:54 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. Or there’s aloha in discipline if, excuse me. So like, when you’re telling your children, make sure you watch you, you cross, you look both ways before you cross the street and then one of ’em doesn’t. And they need a little, you know, reminder. Yes. It’s because you love them. Yes. It’s cause you have this love for them. You want them to succeed. So there’s, that’s a part of the aloha part, the chapter that we talk about, that discipline. It’s almost a quote unquote darker side of aloha. But it’s not, it’s actually that probably the more educational part of aloha. Cause that’s how you’re gonna learn. But yeah, all of my cousins, for example, who have children, I’ve helped raise them. And those are my nieces and nephews. Yeah. You know, they’re part of the family. And I’m there to celebrate and to love and to scold and to share and to educate them just as much as Naya my Mm.
33:38 Right. So we’re, we’re, they’re all my, our cho our children. You know what I mean? So beautiful. I think that, I feel like it’s kind of a native people’s thing too, where I feel like western world in a sense has kind of gotten away from that. And what’s funny, and I, and I only share that from experience because I watch my mom’s family versus my dad’s family. Mm. So mom’s the Hawaiian Chinese, little bit of Caucasian, but Hawaiian Chinese family dad is Caucasian. And so when we go to family functions, it’s super different. And these family functions where we’re a very hug and kiss family. On my mom’s side, men, women, I don’t care. I’m hugging and kissing you. You’re my family. I love you. When I go to my dad’s side, they’re now used to me and my sister doing this. But we’re gonna hug and kiss you two cousins.
34:24 I know, you know, you guys, they wave, they wave at each other. I’m like, put your hand down, get over here. Give me a hug. You know, so it’s just this, I, I see it. Or they’re surprised When one of my cousin’s, um, little girl, she was trying to hold her baby and make a plate for herself. I said, give me the baby. So I took the baby. She’s like, your shirt, make your plate. Go. And not only make your plate go eat, I have. And she, she fell asleep on my shoulder. And my cousin, it’s fine cousin. I’m beautiful. Her sleep. I have a very comfortable chest. Let her sleep, let me take care of her. You go eat, you go take care of yourself. And the older kids who need time with mommy. So she’s like, really? Are you sure? It was just so confusing for her as her cousin, not only cousin, but male cousin coming to help her in that moment. I’m like, gimme the baby. I’m gonna carry this baby. I’m, it’s my, she’s my family too. Right. So that, that idea is just of, it’s foreign to some people. But for us here in Hawaii and other native places, we’re all, you know, even my coworkers, they’ll bring their kids into the office, come, give, go, come give hug. Yeah. Come sit, come. You know, it’s all part of the, of who we are as a place. We’re all one big family.
Kimberly: 35:30 It’s so beautiful. It’s so warm. Yeah. It so feels so nourishing. Thank you so much. Canoa. There’s, so you’ve shared, is there anything else you would want any, everyone to know that we haven’t covered about Hawaii culture, traditions, people visiting people that aren’t gonna visit? Just anyone? Anything we haven’t
Kainoa: 35:50 Said? Thank you. No, just I think in closing that, um, well just side note that this book almost wasn’t written because I, you know, we had already named the book Island Wisdom. And as a practitioner of Hawaiian culture and language, I still felt no island wisdom. That’s not, I can’t put my name on a book with that name Mm. Until I realized I could become a funnel. And so we were able to sit down with 20 individuals who, who I had consider have the wisdom and, and they were able to share. And so the sharing was meant for two audiences. That one audience that we’ve talked about are those people who might come to visit Hawaii, um, or who maybe just wanna learn more about Hawaii. And we want them to be able to have, again, that parameter of please take off your shoes at the door before you come inside my house.
36:33 But once you’re inside, come in, enjoy. So having that, that parameter, but the other audience was to ourselves here as a gentle reminder to people who live in Hawaii, like you said, or the Hawaiian word ina who live here in Hawaii, who maybe are from Hawaii, who are part Hawaiian. And we’re forgetting who we are. Mm. Or forgetting our own identity. And that’s sort of, um, for the visitor to say like, this is who we are. This is our identity. Welcome to the family. Welcome. Here’s a seat. Welcome to the table. You know, so that idea, when you travel, you are going to someone else’s home. And I know we mentioned that, but I just wanted to reiterate that, that this book is full of people who are sharing from the heart, sharing from the al sharing from a place of, of learning, generational learning.
37:17 Um, and the, and the another Hawaiian proverb, all knowledge is not taught in the same school. So you may pick up another book that talks about hula a little bit differently. That’s okay. Right. We all bring balance. We all bring an opinion, we all bring knowledge. We all bring something to the table. And it through Allah. It’s about finding that balance, that unity that we connect. Cause we might not agree on everything, but we still are human beings who should connect with each other and find that space of commonality and of, of, of love, if you will. Uh, whatever kind of love it is. But, you know, aloha just encompasses all of it. So finding that space of aloha between people, because we have this, you know, only one life to live. So thank you for allowing me this platform, us, Annie and I, this platform, um, to, to share what we were able to learn from these amazing individuals and mahalo to them for being willing to share.
Kimberly: 38:10 Well, Mahalo to you, to Annie, to everyone who’s part of this book. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s also filled with beautiful photography.
Kainoa: 38:20 Yeah. That was Liz, Liz killed it on the pictures.
Kimberly: 38:22 I mean, it’s, it’s just gorgeous and it’s, it’s easy to read. Like we said, it’s, it’s really distilled down to core teachings. It also, I wanna mention makes a beautiful gift for, you know, for yourself and for anyone that you know that is interesting, you know, interested in culture, anyone traveling to Hawaii, um, many, many different <laugh> ways that you can, um, you know, gift this book out and enjoy it. So thank you again so much. Ka we will link in the show notes directly to pick this book up. Of course it’s sold. It’s, you know, wherever books are sold. Yep. So again, thank thank you so much. Deepest Mahalo.
Kainoa: 39:01 Thank you. Aloha.
Kimberly: 39:03 Aloha.
I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with Kainoa. As much as I authentically loved learning from him and being in the conversation with him, there is so much that these indigenous cultures and cultures all around the world can teach us if we look, if we listen for these teachings, right? And the Hawaiian Islands are an example of an incredibly wise culture that has so much to offer us in the modern world. So please check out his book, island Wisdom and Willing to it directly in the show notes. Please check out other podcasts that I think you would really enjoy and articles, recipes, meditations, and more. It’s all over firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s mysolluna.com. We’ll be back here Thursday for our next show. And now you’ll start to hear me say quite a bit. Aloha. Now that we have shared together how deep and profound the message of what this is, the meaning behind it, really this connectivity, this really acknowledgement that we are one. So sending you so much love and much aloha.