Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halo'i Nui

Beautiful sculpture "Pu' ino Kulo o Hina," of the goddess Hina, mother of Moloka'i. Sculpted by artist Alapa'i Hanapi, and dedicated in a blessing ceremony last week, she rests in Kaunakakai, in the courtyard between state buildings and the Moloka'i Library.

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been eleven days since my last post. It’s the longest I think I’ve gone, except when my sister was here visiting. Once again words elude me, this time because what is happening feels unnamable.

The owaka that I wrote about last time, the opening of my eyes (and trust me, this is not something I did, but something that happened), resulted in some huge shifting. From one minute to the next, my reality altered, as if before my very eyes, a magic wand was waved and suddenly so much was different. Not just a shift internally about going “home,” but outwardly as well, with new people, places, opportunities, and experiences entering my life that feel so substantial, so extraordinary, so unexpectedly expected, they are literally like gifts being showered upon me.

This much I can say. Moloka’i has become my home; her people, the ones I am beginning to know now, my ohana, family. It may sound crazy, it might even BE crazy, but that is the magnitude of what I feel happening right now. I have come home, or returned home, on some deep and intangible level.

The English translation of one of Old Style Hawaiian singer/song writer Lono’s songs goes:

If you could only see the beauty
The kukui leaf that glitters as it turns
May the healing be granted Moloka’i
By the utterance of prayers, rain falls
You are in the forest of Lanikaula
Let the healing be granted Moloka’i
How can I travel on
The bird is singing
Let the healing be granted Moloka’i

Last night I got to talk to Lono for quite a while after he sang. (Lucky me...!) He is so animated, so full of the spirit of this island, and such a fun and natural storyteller. He told me about how Moloka’i heals on every level, body, mind, emotion, and spirit, that she wipes clean anything and everything that is no longer needed. I thought about his words on my way back from Hotel Moloka’i, where he sings and talks story every Saturday night; how it was true, that the sadness and fear that had consumed me before I left the mainland had vanished the moment I stepped foot on island; the grief, the trauma of suddenly facing the world “alone,” the shattered dream about nuclear family, none of it had accompanied me off the plane. I'd seen it, but not nearly as clearly as I did remembering his words on the long, dark drive back to the west end.

That shedding was a completely unexpected gift. Also unexpected, the way she (Moloka'i) graciously (and sometimes not so graciously!) gives daily opportunities to grow on so many other levels; trust, gratitude, balance, forgiveness; living and eating simply; joy, love, discernment, reverence, slowing down, embracing, listening, letting go, and the big one, being in the now. So up for me right now, especially given that, at least from this moment as I write, it looks like I’ll be returning to the mainland more uncertain than ever about the logistics of my “future.”

This week's "Word of the Week" from the Dispatch is halo'i, which means to "well with tears; to form a pool of tears." I can't think of a better word for my last week here. So much about this place, its people, and my experience and experiences here has brought forth heartfelt halo'i. I already know that when my little Island Air plane takes to the skies next Monday and banks north over Moloka'i and toward Oahu, away from one home, toward another, I will know halo'i nui... pooling of tears BIG time... in fact, it is happening already, just thinking about it... and not just pooling, but overflowing, my heart so full of love, of longing, of gratefulness and gratitude it's impossible to contain it.

And in closing, if you really want proof positive that things really are shifting, even the lovely little toads now have the power to make me laugh out loud. Here they are congregating outside my sliding glass door, staring in near rapture at an insect crawling just out of their reach up the door.

With aloha nui, from Moloka'i


  1. Aloha Debby

    I took the same photo of Hina this summer!
    And what an awesome post. Moloka'i IS a healing place for those looking for it.
    I'll miss your posts from my favourite place in the world.
    Best of everything to you Debby.
    Aloha nui loa

  2. Aloha, Lindsay,

    Thank you! Needless to say, I'll miss writing about Moloka'i!

    Yes, the stulpture is beautiful.

    My last couple of weeks have been full of wonderful experiences and people (mostly in town and at the east end). I'm feeling more connected than ever to this place. I'm sure I'll be back. And who knows, maybe we'll be on island at the same time one of these days. These things happen here. :)

    Aloha nui loa,


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