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Crooner Break: Elizabeth Gilbert and Big Magic

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aloha gang!

It’s time for another Crooner Break!  This time I’m checking in from the street after watching the always lovely and eloquent Elizabeth Gilbert at a taping of the Dr. Oz Show. Liz was there to talk about her book Big Magic as well as share some of her tools for living a creative life.

After receiving an advance copy of the book a few months ago, I’ve read it several times and highlighted the heck outta my copy. I keep it within arm’s reach while working at my desk. I’ve even downloaded the Kindle version so that I can take it with me everywhere I go.

It’s probably one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

My favorite part about the book? It’s a mix of magic and pragmatism, both of which you need (in abundance!) while pursuing a creative life.  She writes about ideas and how she believes them to be something that seeks out the individual who will help bring them into being. But then she writes about “working like a farmer” at whatever creative task/project is consuming you at the moment and sticking with the work until it’s done. (As Pops says, “We work until it’s pau. That’s how.”)

AND… she writes about how she went from being a “scaredy cat” kid to the person she is today, one who has a healthy respect for and relationship with fear–without letting it rule her life.

(I know, right?  Each time I’ve read it, I’ve asked myself, “Do you know me, Liz Gilbert? Did you write this book for me?”)

Because I’m always working on Project Natalie and new songs, I know I’ll keep this book close to me for a long, long time.

Please check out the video above.  And please check out her amazing book by clicking HERE! (You won’t regret it!)

Right on.

With warm Aloha


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Crooner Break #1: What the heck is a “Crooner Break?”

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Aloha, gang!

A new addition to the website and the Crooner Video YouTube channel:

Crooner Breaks!

After talking with some folks about what they’d like to see more of here on the blog, we think this might be exactly what we need.

Check out Crooner Break #1 to see what this all about.  And then be sure to subscribe to the Crooner Video Youtube Channel (Click HERE) so that you’ll always be caught up on what’s happening.

Right on.

Sending warm Aloha to each and every one of you!



How do you say “compassion” in Hawaiian?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

jason poole, metta, lovingkindness meditation, halawa valley, pilipo solatorio, compassion, aloha, molokai, hawaiian language, kumu hawaii

The other day, someone asked me:

“What’s the Hawaiian word for compassion?”

August has been called Metta Month or Lovingkindness Month. (Metta is the word for lovingkindness or compassion in an ancient language called Pali.  Not to be confused with the Hawaiian word pali which means cliffs.)

And lately there’s been a lot of buzz on social media about compassion, mostly about offering traditional phrases associated with a metta meditation practice:

May I be safe.

May I be happy.

May I be heathy.

May I dwell in peace.

In the meditation practice, the phrases are directed inward, toward the self, first.  Then they are directed outward, toward another individual.  And then they’re directed toward all beings everywhere.

So when I was asked what the Hawaiian word for compassion is, I had to stop and think about it for a minute.  Why? Well, because I couldn’t remember Pops and I ever talking about compassion with each other, at least not in a formal sense.  And because I didn’t have my Hawaiian dictionary with me.

I’m not a native Hawaiian speaker. I started learning the language late-ish in life from Pops.  (A little backstory: When my “official studies” in Hālawa Valley began—even before I even understood they were beginning—he suddenly refused to speak English to me. He only spoke Hawaiian. I tried to explain to him that I didn’t understand what he was saying and he said that was ok. I could learn by observing. And the only way I’d learn how to speak Hawaiian would be if I HAD to use it to communicate.  More on that whole experience in an upcoming blog post.)

So I imagined being in Hālawa Valley and trying to communicate with Pops.  Not having a dictionary has forced me to be resourceful and creative with the language. (Note: Pops assures me that this is how people used to speak a long time ago, figuring out how to convey what they meant to say on the spot, even though vocabulary varied from island to island or even district to district. I trust him. Kind of.)

How would I convey the word compassion to him?

I thought about what the practice really meant, about what those phrases were really saying.  And it came down to this one word: A L O H A

Aloha is love. And yes, it can mean love in a romantic way. But really it’s love at its most basic essence.  Love between friends. Family love. Some might even say Divine Love.

I added the words I love you in front of the four classic metta phrases and it made perfect sense:

I love you. May you be safe.

I love you. May you be happy.

I love you. May you be healthy.

I love you. May you dwell in peace.

That got me thinking about the four traditional metta phrases.  Did anything exist like that in the Hawaiian culture?

The answer came to my mind immediately.  Not four individual phrases.  Only one:

Aloha i kekahi i kekahi.  Love one another.

Pops always says that’s the old Hawaiian way, the old Hawaiian greeting.  Aloha i kekahi i kekahi. Love to one another. Love to us all.

I explained this all to the poor soul who’d asked me. I’m sure I gave way more information than she was looking for. But it was good for me to think about.  And it was great to find a way to share that with another person.

Later, when I got home, I pulled out my favorite book, the Hawaiian Dictionary (Pukui & Elbert) and looked up the word compassion. I wanted to see what they wrote, to see how far off the mark I’d been.

And you know what the first Hawaiian word in the definition was?


A L O H A.

Right on.

Aloha i kekahi i kekahi.  Love one another.


A video of a NEW SONG: Zentangle® Hula!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Aloha, gang! I’m so excited to be able to share a new song (with a VIDEO!) with you today!  And it’s a hula! I wrote it as a gift for Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, the creators of Zentangle®. I wrote the song last September and then recorded a selfie-style video while I was in … Click here to read more…


Planting Seeds of a Song.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

One of the best parts of writing a new song is at the very beginning. The song could go in so many directions. At this stage, it’s all about potential. I went for a walk yesterday to clear my head and get some movement in this body. And I was pleasantly surprised when a new … Click here to read more…


Mālama kou kino. Take care of your body.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Aloha, gang. I went to the gym today.  I’d love to tell you that I’ve been going regularly for the last several months. I haven’t. I haven’t gone in a while.  But there are things that need to be done.  Simple things like taking care of this body I’ve been given: eating well; exercising regularly; … Click here to read more…