Episode 23 is a conversation with John “Prime,” a culturally grounded, local-to-global thinker, with deep roots in Pacific island communities. Born in Samoa and raised in Hawai'i, he is father and mentor who mixes the creativity and edginess of the hard hitting urban and graffiti art scene with a persona that is filled with aloha and a deep commitment to healing our kids and communities.
ASTWR Ep.22: Kanehunamoku–The canoe as teacher and lifelong learning, is a conversation with Bonnie Kahapeʻa Tanner, program director and captain at the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging academy. Kahapeʻa acquired her sailing skills, and many life skills, under the mentorship of Clay Bertelmann and the Makaliʻi ʻohana, as well as Papa Mau.
If we want a future based on the values of our ancestors that developed from their deep understanding of the natural world and living in harmony with long range cycles, then we must showcase what those futures would look like in equal measure to calling out how these values are being dismantled in real time.
“Life is short. Be grateful for what you have; appreciate every moment.”
A true sentiment to be sure but being “grateful for what you have” seems to have become our end point versus our starting line. Gratitude is one of the most vital values to a successful human experience. It helps an individual differentiate between need and want, between the material and immaterial, and to appreciate “what is” versus “what is not” or “what could be.”
However, I think it’s time that we transition to a higher octave version of this concept. I would like to suggest that we aim to create a “genealogy of gratitude,” versus limiting the context this realization to our discrete life experience.
The original plan for writing this post was to land in New York, taxi it to my hotel, then pen an inspired, edgy overview of CTRL+ALT: A Culture Lab on Imagined Futures. I desired to promote the show and the work of the 40 amazingly talented artists, performers and scholars that are participating. I felt that we would be successful at not only asking provocative questions of society but also asking museums to reinvent their relationships with community.
Once I landed at JFK, however, and took my phone off airplane mode, the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election brought a stark (even bleak) reality that killed my desire to be creative. I quickly made a status update on Facebook noting my disorientation and made my way to baggage claim
A year ago I made an episode for my And still the waters rise podcast that offered my thoughts on racism and violence in America and its connection to the colonial-opression experienced in Hawaiʻi. As one year later, there were bombings in Bahgdad, the mass shooting in Orlando, and #BlackLivesMatter was still a necessary movement, I took up the mic again. This time I chose to express myself through spoken word poetry.
However, as I have new opportunities opening up for me in the year ahead, I have known for some time that I must face these challenges and determine the ways in which I will navigate them more successfully. Not only is it critical to complete a project, from a spiritual perspective it is vital that the people who contributed their time and mana are reciprocated. Offering them a means to have a reproduction of the work, as a touchstone of their experience, is important.