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Posts Tagged ‘kumu’


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anakala Pilipo, Pilipo Solatorio, Jason Poole, Accidental Hawaiian Crooner, Molokai, Halawa Valley, Kumu, Kumu Hawaii

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POPS! HAUʻOLI LĀ HĀNAU! (Photo taken in Hālawa Valley, Molokai 3.26.13)

Guess what…

It’s Pops’ birthday today!


Today we are celebrating the birthday of my hānai Pops.  My Hawaiian Dad.  My kumu.  My teacher.  My source.

My life has been forever changed by this guy.  He rocks.

And I’m so thankful he was born.

Right on.

P.S. If you want to leave a birthday message for Pops in the Comments section, I’ll make sure he gets it.


Super Special Bonus Post: UNCERTAINTY

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jonathan Fields was one of my favorite speakers at the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR in June.

He closed the whole event with a talk about UNCERTAINTY—and it was the perfect venue for it.  The place was packed with creative types, including many who’d already “taken the leap” and left the security of their conventional jobs and were out in the world making a difference in a unique but uncertain way.

Let’s face it:  there is safety in doing what’s expected of you.  I sat behind a desk for over 10 years at a corporate gig.  And I’m so grateful for that experience.  It helped shape me as an individual.  It provided with me with the safety and security of a steady income and a daily “place to report” while I did a lot of soul searching.  It helped me discover who I am—what I like and what I don’t like.  It sustained me while I was growing.

And that safety helped inspire me to take the leap and go after my heart’s true calling.

When Jonathan spoke at the World Domination Summit, I got chicken-skin.  Goosebumps.  He echoed my philosophy of SHOW UP AND SAY “YES!” which has lead to the some of the most incredible moments of my life.

Great reward requires risk.  It requires UNCERTAINTY.  Maybe risk of failure or rejection.  (Ok… maybe risk of death or dismemberment, too… )

But it’s the uncertainty and the willingness to SHOW UP AND SAY “YES!” that makes the success taste even sweeter.

Jonathan’s new book, appropriately titled Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance, launches this week and I’m so excited.   (So excited that I pre-ordered multiple copies.)  Please click HERE to see the fantastic book trailer.

He’s put a call out to folks who read his blog to share their stories of  times where they danced with uncertainty—and won.  A story “contest” of sorts… with opportunities to win some cool stuff.  (Please click HERE to read about his “story contest” on his blog.)

But the thing that stood out most to me was the opportunity to share a story of  overcoming the nervousness and going for it.

Sharing a story of SHOWING UP AND SAYING “YES!”  After all, you never know who will read the story.  Maybe the person who needs it most.

And maybe that person is you.

Here’s my story:

broken hip, IT fracture, jason poole

An x-ray of my hip, 4 1/2 years after the accident

Showing Up and Saying “YES!” to Hula (and how that changed my whole world)

I woke up with a thud.

I was laying on the floor, having fallen out of my bed.  A loft bed about six feet off the ground.

And I couldn’t get up.  Immobilized by the pain.

At the hospital, I found out that I’d broken my hip.  Quite an unusual thing for a 28 year old healthy guy to do.   Instead of just bouncing when I hit the ground, I pulled a Humpty Dumpty.  I broke.

You know how the hip has a “ball in socket” connection?  Well, I cracked the top of my femur—essentially breaking the “ball” off.  Auē…

A wonderful team of surgeons put me back together.  But they told me that I might have some problems with my leg because they had to cut through my quadricep muscle in order to fix the bones.

They were right.

The bones healed beautifully, but the muscles healed with scar tissue that pulled so tightly, it made that leg a little shorter.  And that caused me to walk with a limp.

That’s NOT what you want when you’re an aspiring musical theater actor who’s convinced you’re  right on the cusp of career success.  Yes, I wanted my “big break” but not like this. (Insert groans here.)

I began a rigorous course of physical therapy.  My therapist was awesome. She tried a myriad of approaches to help my leg to heal, but nothing seemed to work.  The difference in the length of my legs remained—and so did the limp.

Right before my accident, I’d been introduced to Hawaiian music by a coworker.

I’d never heard anything like it.   In college, I’d been told that music had a direct physiological response, affecting both the brain and body.  This music reached down inside me and touched a part of me that I thought was dead—killed by the constant rejection in the theater world and the crazy rush of living in NYC.  Hawaiian music found my soft spot and woke it up, again.  I listened to it non-stop.  It became my refuge.

For my 30th birthday, my partner-in-crime bought me a gift certificate in the form of a class card—enabling me to take five hula classes with a teacher in New York City.  He thought it would be a wonderful way to take my love of Hawaiian music a step further.  I thought he was crazy.  I’d gotten the message loud and clear: NO MORE DANCING.

But the more I thought about it, the more excited I got.  What was the worst thing that could happen?  I already had problems with the leg.  I was already resigned to the fact I’d probably always have the limp.

Could taking a hula class really do irreparable damage?

I often hear folks describe a nervous feeling as “having butterflies in the stomach.”   And that’s a lovely and illustrative way of putting it.

I felt like I had butterflies the size of eagles flying around inside my stomach.  Butterflies with fangs.  And long talons.

I did it.  I took the class—even though I’d been told “NO” by everyone–including my physical therapist.  Even though I knew I was risking possible damage to the leg.  Even though I knew one class may undo any progress I’d made.

I did it because I had to do it.  My gut said,  “YES!”

(And I’m so glad I did!)

In hula, one of the first things you learn is a step called a ka’o—a movement that slowly stretches the hips. 

It’s the gentle “sway” you see when you watch a hula dancer.  In that first class, I spent a long time working in this position.  It made me sore—but in a familiar way.  This was the “good pain” I remembered from dance classes.   The pain that proved you’d been working hard.

Then I took a second class.  By this time, the monstrous butterflies had returned to their normal size.  No more fangs or talons.

And then it was time for me to go back to physical therapy for a regularly scheduled visit.

My therapist measured each leg at the start of the session and she gasped—my legs were the same length!  Hula had done the impossible: it had stretched the scar tissue.  I was healing!

Eventually I stopped physical therapy and turned exclusively to hula as my healing modality.

And hula lead to me learning to the play the ‘ukulele.

And the ‘ukulele lead me to study music in Hawai’i.

And those studies lead me to my kumu, my teacher.   And to my heart’s desire—helping to perpetuate a culture found in Hālawa Valley on the island of Molokai.  (And I’m learning how to do that with one foot planted in the islands and the other rooted in NYC!)

The lesson in all of this?  I’ve learned to make friends–well, at least acquaintances who nod kindly at each other–with UNCERTAINTY.  It’s a part of life.

Yes, I still get the butterflies.  But I’ve learned to dance with them. (And who knew they danced the hula?!)

Right on.