On one of my trips to Hawaiʻi Mom, Dan and I went to see Doris Duke’s estate on the other side of Diamond Head which she called Shangri-La. It is one of those rare places completely held together by a singular vision. In Doris’ case it was her love of Moorish art and design. Leaving Shangri-La that day I found myself challenged to define the vision at the heart of my own life.
At the heart of each person’s moral life is the question, “What kind of person am I?” How I live expresses the person I am and not who I think I am. How I live is the result of what I don’t value as well as what I do! Just because I don’t take time to reflect upon what I value doesn’t mean those values are missing in the heart of my relationship with myself, with others in this Canoe and with God! Refusal to look at the values driving one’s life does not mean there are no values there. It simply makes one blind and ignorant.
I can speak authentically from where I am right now. I am an Orthodox Christian Priestmonk. I am obsessed with Hawaiʻi and I intend to move there when I am 70. Having entered monastic life in 1971, for 40 years been in an ongoing search for God in the here and now. I guess that would be the vision driving my life.
I come from a tradition of discipleship to a spiritual mentor, an Abba, where one learns how to see, how to question the self, how to decide what needs to change in order to become as one should be. In June of 2004 Hawaiʻi became my new teacher, my new Kumu. From the Mainland I sense that Hawaiʻi is a culture rooted in the spirituality of respect for others and connection with the Divine in the here and now. I hear God’s voice in my relationships with others, in creating my artwork, in music, and especially in Hawaiʻi. How can I not but follow?