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One guiding light can change the world

I was recently in Hawaii for the first time since childhood and on many levels, it was an incredibly moving experience. We visited Oahu, Lanai, the Big Island and Kauai in three days and what struck me were the vast differences island to island. 

I had the great fortune to attend a story-telling at the wonderful Four Seasons Oahu at Ko’Olina with Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson, who was leader of the Hokulea expedition.

The Hokulea story is one of perseverance, a quest to find one’s source, a vision to explore and strengthen the global community while working to save our oceans and island “Earth.” 

The Hokulea crew sailed around the world on the boat in the photograph below. They experienced every storm imaginable, waves at times 80 feet high and many near-death events. Yet they made it. 

The voyage in itself is a noble enough cause, but not enough. This was ultimately a story of survival, rediscovery and the restoration of pride and dignity. 

The Hawaiians and their culture are absolutely beautiful, yet over many decades both have been suppressed and not appropriately honored. So, while island people around the world are drowning in plastic and pollution this expedition was a call to action in that regard, the higher purpose served as a symbol to elevate and honor their culture and themselves. It became a guiding light for Hawaiians to reinstate their pride, belief in themselves and the understanding that “anything is possible” and that as a people “we are good enough.”

No government or large corporation or huge group involvement. Just master navigators who had the skills to navigate with only nature as their compass (stars, winds, the moon, etc., and nothing else) and some youngsters brave enough to embark on the greatest adventure of their time. This was how Hokulea found its way around the world. 

Nainoa Thompson said something that will always stay with me: “We can only protect what we understand, we can only protect what we care for, and we cannot do it alone.” 

I think that we sometimes fail to understand the great peril that earth is under. We chose not to care as the issues are just too vast for us to grasp, so we ignore and go about our daily lives. Nature people from parts of the world such as Polynesia truly do understand and care and are coming together to create change with powerful messaging while we continue to pollute our waters, air and mother nature. They and others can be our inspiration to come together and do something. 

The real fact however is that we do have a choice and each one of us can shape the world in our own way. In sustainable practice, saving the oceans, sharing wellness, showing compassion and kindness in our daily actions or whatever. It’s in our hands. 

The Hokulea story touched me deeply and reinforced my belief that we have the power to create change and each one of us can be that change. So, go out there “and be the change you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi).

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