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Health Being Human


Campfire kids

Our cultures teach us what it means to be human. Photo by Guy Holt.


“I was raised by my grandmother," Guy begins. ‘She is the one that taught me about the lā‘au lapa‘au [plant medicine], and she always instilled in me that life is to be lived. And not always just work, but there is always work as you’re living. If you can just kind of collaborate into your lifestyle, everything seems to work out all the time and when you’re going one way, you can grab something and go that way and take it there and then on your way back you can grab something and bring it back to where you know it’s supposed to go, instead of just leaving it, and then you have to double track and back track. You can get a lot more things done that way.


Enjoying life. Photo by Guy Holt.

“So it started off like that: learning to live. When you’re a kid, let the kids run and play. But at the same time, you’re teaching them and instilling in them, ‘Okay it’s time to clean up, it’s time to eat, everybody sit down,’ and all together. Everybody eats all three meals together, and we always clean the yard together, just taking care of the house in general. Do the laundry together. Everything works out where everybody works together, then it’s not just on one person, so nobody is cranky, and everybody is all content when it’s all done. Then we just go to the beach and have fun. Or go up in the mountains and hike and have fun in the rivers.”

“Life is to be lived and enjoyed. And share with our community. Its makes our community more healthier and more beautiful. I’ll clean my yard and then the next thing you know, the other neighbors are cleaning their yards, and the next thing you know, the whole neighborhood is looking nice. Nobody is getting it out of control or anything. Or if somebody needed help then you just go ask them if they need help, just volunteer. It only takes a little while, so it’s not hard. But if we could all do that more, that would be a better lifestyle for everybody. And then everybody will get a chance to live. We all go together, we never go alone. And that’s the bigger picture too.

Rainbow in hand

Connecting with the universe. Photo by Guy Holt.

“So she always said, ‘We never go alone, so always volunteer, always help somebody,' because when something happens and you’re stuck, you’re just going to get the karma, it’s going to come right to you and they’re going to lift you back up and help you get to safety or whatever you are in need of. It happens all the time. You just give, you give, you give and then you get, and it’s not like you’re expecting it.

“Each person’s body is your own universe and it’s connected with the whole universe that is out there and that’s the main thing is becoming one with yourself then you can become one with the Universe.”

“Respect is also part of understanding our connection,” Leilani says, "followed by appreciation and compassion. When you have respect for something you’re learning, you’re open to learn it and understand it a little bit more, and hopefully that compassion comes in. Many people would probably say compassion is number one, or love—you have to do it with love. But to me, it’s that respect first, and then compassion comes through, automatically. It’s a given.

“Even as a practitioner and in teaching, I have found that over the decades you’ll have find new norms of approach. In my view we’re at that cusp of having to find a new norm again of what works. Whether through hula, through photographs, through poetry, poetic writing that expresses our culture, people seem to be more inclined to gravitate towards that, then we need to sit down and tell you all the ABC’s. That is like the second step.

Kapu sign

Respecting places and traditions. Photo by Guy Holt.

“If you’re from here, you see the beauty, but you want to learn a little bit more and you really want to do the work, because I’m the kind of person where I won’t teach it if you can’t do the work. If you’re going to be lazy about it, go, go. Hopefully more people will want to do the work.

“Hawaiian is such a great foundation that extends to any of the other cultures. Whether it be American Indian, and going back to what they learned even in Iran and the Middle East and China and wherever, this is a global human thing to me. We just all have different ways of doing it. We’ve all found different ways, different plans, different words, different language, different songs to do the same work. And I just hope light still holds, because it is a strong light and it will beat anything else if we really want to be there and are attentive and again, respectful of that knowledge that we carry.

“So that you can continue to perpetuate that essence, that kindness, and compassion.”

Being Human pertains directly to how health and disease are understood, and ultimately, how they are treated.


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