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Posts Tagged ‘Pops’

Aloha, gang!

Here’s a quick video check-in about the upcoming word premier of the documentary Sons of Hālawa!

I am so excited!  One week from today!

Let the magic begin.

Right on.

*Please be sure to check out the Quazifilms website (click HERE) for more information about other exciting projects.

*For the schedule of the film’s showings, please click HERE.

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You’ve seen it, right? The trailer for the soon-to-be-released documentary SONS OF HALAWA?

(Be sure to click on the photo above to watch it!)

As of this writing, the trailer has been viewed on Facebook over 54,000 times!  And it’s been shared almost 2,400 times!

This amazing documentary will be making its WORLD PREMIER at the Honolulu International Film Festival next month on O’ahu!

(Please click HERE for more details about showtimes and ticketing.)

I wanted to make sure you guys knew about this.

But you already did, right?

Because this “little film from Molokai” is already making a lot of beautiful noise.

Right on.

How many times have YOU viewed the trailer? Drop me a line and let me know!

**A giant CONGRATULATIONS to my hānai Molokai brother, filmmaker Matt Yamashita and Quazifilms!   AND… Sons of Halawa will be shown as part of a double-feature along with another fantastic Quazifilms production, The Roots of ʻUlu!

 

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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?

Yup.

A L O H A.

Right on.

Aloha i kekahi i kekahi.  Love one another.

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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 Hālawa Valley when I was back on Molokai in March.  I sent it to the Zentangle folks last week and it was released in their newsletter yesterday. I was delighted to see it pop up on Facebook and blogs yesterday.

And when I woke up this morning, I was shocked to see that the video had been viewed over 1,500 times! (What?!  Crazy!)

Here’s some backstory for the song:

Many of you may know that I became a CZT™, a Certified Zentangle Teacher, back in 2012. I was part of the 10th graduating class of teachers (CZT 10).  Here’s the crazy thing: if you would have told me that one day I would be able to call myself an art teacher, I would have laughed.  Really hard.  But Zentangle is more than just art, it’s a method of drawing that unites the mind and the body. It rocked my world in ways I wasn’t expecting.

I didn’t become a teacher so that I could teach Zentangle classes.  Well, that wasn’t my primary reason, anyway. It was really so that I could go and study with Rick and Maria in person, to find out what this was and to learn directly from the source. Nānā i ke kumu.  Look to the source.  That’s what Pops is always telling me.  (Note: the only way to become a CZT is to study directly with them at one of their teacher-training workshops. It’s done face-to-face. I loved that aspect of it. It made it even more real, more authentic.)

I’ve taught classes here in NYC and in Chicago. I’ve held classes in Pennsylvania with students ranging in ages from 6 years old to 86 years old. And we ALWAYS have fun. It’s hard to explain. I think the best way to understand it is to take a class from a trained teacher who can lead you through the process, someone who can help you create with confidence.

Anyway… last year, the Zentangle folks asked me to come back in September and speak at one of their teacher-training workshops. They wanted me to talk about how I use Zentangle–sharing stories from classes, both formal and informal.

Now you guy know how I love to play with writing songs. Well, maybe it’s better to say I love to START writing songs. (It’s the finishing of songs that is the tough part!)  And I had this idea that I would write them a song as a makana, a gift, a way to say MAHALO and THANK YOU for all that they do.  I had a little snippet of a melody line I’d been playing with but I didn’t have any lyrics.  While I stood in line at Port Authority Bus Station, waiting for the bus to take me to the workshop in Providence, Rhode Island, it dawned on me: I would write the song in the style of a 1920s-1950s hula.

When I got to Providence, I spent the first night sitting in the hotel lobby scratching away in my notebook, writing lyrics about the Zentangle method of drawing and fitting them into the melody that I’d been playing with. (I wanted to be kind to my roommate for the weekend. He’d traveled all the way from Taiwan to attend the teacher-training!  Night owls like me do better sitting on couches in the hotel’s lobby than sitting at a desk in a room, anyway.) My goal: I wanted to have the song “ready” to share when I gave my presentation the following night. I wasn’t sure if I would share it, but I wanted to have ready. Just in case…

The next night I gave my presentation. I shared about taking Zentangle to Hālawa Valley on Molokai and how we used sticks to draw the patterns in the mud, how my young Hawaiian nephew showed me how to draw patterns he saw in nature around him. I talked about the meditative qualities of the method and how I use it in my own writing process–especially when I get stuck and my hands (and brain) won’t cooperate.

And then it was time. I took the leap into the unknown and while wearing a cordless headset microphone (like a rock star!) I strummed and sang the Zentangle Hula for an audience. For the first time.

It was so much fun.  And the coolest part? Before the end of the song, the teachers-in-training were singing along with me!  The song followed me all weekend long, in the classes, in the dining room, in the elevators.  People sang it and smiled.

Awesome.

So that’s how the song came to be. I recorded it over the spring when I was back on Molokai.  Then I lost the video. (gulp!)  Then I found the video. (phew!)

And now it has a life of its own.

Wanna learn more about Zentangle? Check out their website: https://www.zentangle.com/  (Note: the Zentangle Kit is wonderful. It’s how I got started.)

And you can read more about my story of how I reclaimed my “inner art dude” by clicking HERE.

(P.S.  Because I attended the teacher-training again last year, I’m now a DOUBLE certified teacher!  Ha!  Me–this guy that swears he can’t draw a straight line.  Do you feel that way, too?  Then Zentangle is for you.)

And please share the song/video if you feel inspired to do that. Let’s start a whole Zentangle Hula movement! (Smiles are contagious, you know.)

Much Aloha to you and your families.

Right on.

 

6 Comments

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; drinking enough water; sleeping (as) soundly (as possible) at night; meditating; filling my mind with healthy things, beneficial things.

I haven’t been doing those things lately.  Well, not with any sense of regularity.

Earlier this month, my young nephew received a FitBit as birthday present. Do you know about these things? A “simple” bracelet that tracks your steps, your sleep, the number of floors that you walk up.  It’s pretty incredible.  It helps to make the wearer more aware of what they’re doing.

And because I’m competitive, I got one, too. (James got one, too. We compete, seeing who can accrue the most steps every day.) And it’s made me very, very aware.  I didn’t know how sedentary I’ve become.  I wasn’t aware of how little sleep I managed to get every night; and how the sleep I did get was restless and UNrefreshing. (Maybe the “spare tire” around my waist and the dark circles under my eyes and the  should have been clues?)

Having that little device on my wrist has allowed me to “see inside myself” a little bit. It’s allowed me to get a better picture of what’s happening in my body.

This weekend, I took a good, long look at myself in the mirror. I looked tired and out of shape.  And I wasn’t happy.

So this morning I went back to the gym and M O V E D these ol’ bones and muscles. I reminded myself that it’s a privilege to be here on this planet.

And as I walked (and jogged, thank you very much) I could hear an echo of Pops’ voice in my head, saying what he always says just before we hang up the phone. “Mālama kou kino. Take care of yourself!”

I’ve got an important job to do–sharing Aloha is no small task!  And now, maybe more than ever before, it’s become even more important.  And I can’t share Aloha well if I’m not living the example, if I’m not “walking the talk” as Pops calls it. (“Walking.” How appropriate.)

So I’m moving. I’m moving.

And my eyes are open. Becoming more–even just a little more–aware.

And Iʻm writing it about it here on the blog in hopes that my “full disclosure” will help keep me accountable.  And maybe, just maybe, it will inspire you to Mālama Kou Kino, too.

Right on.

**How are YOU taking care of yourself these days?  Drop me a line in the comments!  I’d love to hear from you.

 

9 Comments

Father’s Day

Sunday, June 21, 2015

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

2 Dads. I’m a lucky guy, for sure.

When I work in the schools, sharing Hawaiian culture and music with the kids, I run into some tricky territory.

I call my kumu, my root teacher, “Pops.”  Because he’s MORE than just my teacher; he’s my Hawaiian Dad.

But when I talk about my life outside of Hawai’i, I often reference my family back here in the continental U.S.  So to make matters a bit easier to understand…

I tell the kids I have a Pennsylvania Dad, the man who helped make me, the man who raised me and has always been my father.

AND…

I have a Hawaiian Dad, my Pops, the man who has raised me from a tadpole in all things Hawaiian.

I tell them I’m the luckiest guy in the world.  I have TWO Dads.

And you know what?  The kids totally get it.  No questions asked.

(Well… that’s not quite true. A little boy recently asked me, “How can I get two dads?”  Ha!)

I love my two Dads

And you know I’m not lyin’

One’s a Pennsylvanian

And one’s a Hawaiian.

Happy Father’s Day, gang.

Aloha Lā Makuakāne.

Right on.

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