On October 14th of 2006 I had the chance to go to the City of Refuge on the Big Island. I got up really early since I wanted to walk around there as the day was beginning. I managed to get there at 8am and for a glorious half an hour I had the whole place to myself! I realize that the City of Refuge is a place that transgressors would flee to for forgiveness and purification but my half hour alone there had no sense of anything negative. In fact, I think it was the most peaceful and peace-filled half hour of my life!!
I suppose tourists could look upon the City of Refuge as a way of preserving the past, along with the word Aloha and the dancing of the Hula. I think that would be the wrong way to view these things. My take on Aloha is not about preserving the past in amber but of connecting to the life-fullness (the hā) which fueled the people of the past. Using the word Aloha is a way of taking the generosity of their breath and breathing it out into today! Try saying Aloha and you will see that the final syllable is a simple exhalation of breath which you give away.
Spirituality is defined not so much by concepts as by how you live, and by how you treat other people and God. Hawaiʻi’s spirituality for me is summed up by Aloha, ʻOhana, and Kuleana. Spirituality is not something that we invent. It is something living passed on to us from our Ancestors, a breath that they exhale upon us in order that we might live rightly. Aloha, ʻOhana, and Kuleana are a living inheritance which should be valued enough to be lived and thereby passed on to those who come after us. What comes to us from the past, by being lived today, is then able to be passed on to the future… one long exhalation of Hā !!
I just finished several hours of work on the photos of my new Kona Airscapes series and uploaded them onto my art site. With these paintings the series I began twenty years ago has moved into a maturity not possible earlier! To see the refinement of these paintings fills me with a feeling of completeness and gratitude and even of peacefulness, much like that profound peacefulness that I experienced at 8am on the morning of October 14th, 2006, at the City of Refuge!