Once Waikiki
Mixed Media on paper
2010

I had an incredible opportunity to go to Hawai’i last month and I jumped on the chance. I went to the island of Oahu, home to the mythical Waikiki Beach, Hanauma Bay, Pearl Harbour, North Shore, The Dole Pineapple Plantation, and on and on.

It was amazing place with remarkable contrasts. High tech, high end wealth and very low-tech, simple living. From unending riches to aching poverty, it was easy to get overwhelmed by the non stop overload. The cure: The Ocean.

Warm, inviting, violent, gentle, white with wrath, clear, pristine blue with quiet calm. It took all these strange extremes and washed them together, mixed them up, made them one.

Waikiki is now a tourist haven. Gorgeous vistas, magical history…I fell in love. Once upon a time, the whole basin stretching between the volcanic mountains to the smooth beaches was a wetland. A swamp. A place that naturally lent itself to crops of all kinds. It was a bountiful harvestland for the native Hawai’ians. Now it has a different sort of riches and I couldn’t help but daydream while the sun set and the stars came out.

I imagine the land without buildings, as it might have looked hundreds of years ago when surfing was the sport of Kings, a spiritual pursuit, and the people sang and danced for the pure joy of it, edifying and teaching each other, the Ha -the inspiration of the gods- living in and permeating everything…

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A bit o’ history:

When Capt. Cook landed on the Hawaiian islands, no matter which island he was on, when he asked the natives what island he was on, he got the same answer: ” I live in Hawaii”. What the overly educated fellow didn’t realize was that the natives were sharing a profound spiritual insight with him. An insight that has completely escaped western culture to this day. The indigenous Hawaiians were actually trying to convey that they didn’t just live on a clump of real estate like western man does.

The Hawaiians were saying that their life force dwells within the one Supreme Force of the Universe and rides upon the breath which causes our own heartbeat. That divine breath is called “Ha”. The medium which nurtures life, is water or “wai”. Epitomized as the supreme causation, known as “I”.

They were saying that they live, dwell, and find their being within the true meaning of paradise, sustained by the supreme force of the water and the divine breath of life, which is everyone’s connection to paradise who would understand this…Ha wai i”.

From the book entitled: “Secrets & Mysteries of Hawaii” by Pila of Hawaii

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