Lanterns Floating Hawaii

It was an amazing gathering of 50,000 people at Ala Moana Beach in Oahu. People from various backgrounds gathered to send candle lit lanterns into the ocean in honor of their deceased loved ones. The ceremony itself involved the blessing of a Japanese Buddhist High Monk, a Hawaiian chant by Uncle Hau’ole, and a send off of canoes which gather the lanterns that have been sent out to sea. I felt enveloped by glowing comfort as I stood in waste high water, surrounded by lanterns with my future wife.

Categories: g kamana hunter, george hunter, hawaii, Huffington, ocean, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Engagement Ring in Oahu


Her engagement ring slipped off!

The day just started off on a bad note.  My father in law let the dogs out in the front yard by accident…again.  Leina, my fiancé, dragged herself out of bed early to watch the dogs.  Sasha, our oldest dog, was not the problem.  It was Pa’a, the one year old puppy, who was trouble.  He had a history of chasing anything he could hump.

By the time I woke up to greet my future wife, she looked like a crab surrounded by a tornado of hormones and moodiness.  There was only one way to reclaim the day at this point.  “We’re going out for breakfast,” I said.


Sasha on the left and Pa’a on the right.

We took the high energy dogs with us, being sure to give them a long walk before going to the diner.  Then we planned to go  hike to the Lighthouse at Makapu’u. But we only made it ¾ around the block before she turned around and gasped.  Her look of panic hit me like a flash flood.  It only took half a second for me to read her mind.  I sprung into action, retracing our steps as she muttered the dreaded words, “My ring!”

It was gone. Leina walked like a stunned zombie, bare finger in tow.  Before I turned the corner, I said, “I have a feeling that it’s back at the house, but I’m going to circle back just in case”.  My heart pounded as I knew we only had a matter of minutes before someone else could pick up the ring.

Thoughts pounded in my head.  “What do we do if it’s not at home?  Does this mean I need to buy her a new ring?  I can’t afford a new ring.  My poor baby…I hope she’s OK.”  Through the high speed flow of mental notes, an image of the chestnut dresser next to our bed floated into my mind.  A wave of calm came over me as the feeling in my gut told me that the ring is by that dresser.  But there was only one way to find out for sure.

Thoughts pounded in her head.  “How did this happen?  What is he going to think of me?  Is he mad at me? The thought of going to work without my ring makes me feel ashamed.  Where is it?!” I felt her fear all the way around the block.

By the time we reconnected, I had already sprinted around the block with Pa’a.  No luck. I ushered the family back to the car.  “We’re going home to look for the ring,” I said with urgency.  Once Leina hit the passenger seat, the tears poured down her face.  “I’m so sorry!” she sobbed.

“Don’t apologize.  I think I know where it is.”

Believe it or not, this is the third time I have been in this situation with someone I love.  The other 2 times were with my mom.  The first time, I must have been 12 years old when my mother put too much sunscreen on her hand at Jones Beach.  The wedding band catapulted from her finger into the sand.  Mom freaked.  That calm knowing came over me as I walked over to help her.  My hand just knew where to go, as it dipped through the smooth surface of the sugar sand.  When I retrieved the ring, mom looked at me like I was the second coming of Christ.

The second time, my Mom lost her ring in our garden.  Her acrobatic ring struck again, jack knifing into the 3 inches of fresh soil she just laid down.  I have the distinct memory of my deceased great grandmother over my shoulder, guiding my hand to the pin point location of the ring’s burial ground.  My mom seemed less shocked this time, and smiled at the news that Great Grandma Kennedy was watching over us.

Leina never took off her ring.  Her rude awakening this morning made her frazzled, so she lost track of the ring on her finger.  Damn her low-carb diet! Her fingers had obviously shrunk.

I barged through the door to our apartment, and stood in front of the chestnut dresser.  I tossed the top drawers like scrambled eggs.  Nothing.  Had I lost my mojo? Despite the calming vision, another surge of anxiety surfaced when the ring didn’t immediately turn up.  The zombie arrived in the room, fussing with the little corners where she stored jewelry.  Nothing.

“I keep seeing this corner of the room, babe.”  She helped me toss the pile of laundry at the foot of the dresser.  Our comforter had oozed off our bed during the night to attack the laundry pile, making it a huge lump of cloth.  3 layers later, Leina’s hand retrieved the hiding engagement ring.  She held the ring in a waterfall of tears.  The shock, the pent up drama, and her gratitude poured through her eyes.  I held her, feeling relieved that my intuition had helped me in another heart wrenching situation.  It turns out that sleeping with a psychic has its benefits.  “I’m so glad that you have ninja skills, babe,” she said.  “You were so confident that we would find it here. I’m so lucky to have you.”

Relief! We found it!

Relief! We found it!

Leina looked at me with relief.  “You know, there must be a lesson in all this,” she said.  “Yea.  Life is telling us to do the laundry,” I replied.


Leina got her smile back.

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Categories: engagement, g kamana hunter, george hunter, hawaii, hawaiian beaches, oahu, ring, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Touched by Healing in Hawaii


Oahu, Hawaii.  Kaneohe

At the Papahana Kualoa Waipao taro farm, I was invited to a public gathering of healers and hula dancers called the Pā I Ke Ola – Touched by Healing event.  It began with a Hawaiian oli (chant) to open the honoring ceremony, followed by traditional Hula dancing.  Each song  that was sung and danced honored a different aspect of Hawaiian culture, including the beautiful land of Kaneohe where the event took place.


In the distance, a wonderful mist covered the tops of the Ko’olau mountains in Kaneohe.  Participants crossed the nearby stream to view the taro patches that were fed by the fresh water.  Taro, which is the staple traditional food of Hawaii, had been planted in traditional fashion and used to make poi (mashed taro).


There was a tent for people to receive lomi lomi, the Hawaiian bodywork that incorporates massage, bone/joint adjustment, as well as spiritual cleansing.  Students of Kumu (teacher) Alva Andrews set up their stations, with some working on massage tables and other working on traditional Hawaiian mats.  The traditional Hawaiian music gave way to more modern blues as a live band played in the background as they began to serve the delicious food.

Traditional Hawaiian foods were served including Ulu (breadfruit), Kalo pa’a (steamed taro), and Laulau’s (meat and fish filled taro leaf packets).

In the past, I have received powerful lomi lomi sessions from Enrick Ortiz, one of Kumu Alva Andrew’s original students.  After years of hearing about uncle Alva from Enrick, I finally had a chance to meet his mentor who was being honored at Pa I Ke Ola. Kumu Alva has studied with lomi lomi master Kumu John Kalua and also studied ho’oponopono (traditional Hawaiian counseling/mind healing) with Aunty Abbi Napeahi.  His big hearted approach to healing lead him to also study outside of his own tradition with Hindu Master Gaush Supun.  These trainings have melded together to craft his own unique style of healing which he shares openly with people of all backgrounds.


The Hula dancers and lomi lomi practitioners, honored lomi lomi Kumu Alva Andrews.

Under the Lomi tent at the conference, a mutual friend, Aunty Diane Stevens-Poire, introduced me to Kumu Alva.  As we engaged in honi, the traditional Hawaiian greeting where our noses met and we breathed in each others’ breath, I felt a rush of care from Kumu Alva. The purpose of the honi is to have a pure exchange of each person’s Ha (breath of life), a moment to truly share each others essence.

We talked story, as I shared with him my training in the Iroquois healing arts that were transmitted to me through my uncle. He said, “your tradition is Native American, and mine is Native Hawaiian, but in the end it’s all the same spirit.  We just have different vocabulary.  All peoples come from the same source.”  He smiled brightly, then invited me to gather with him again to talk more about how to build that bridge between our different approaches to healing.  I felt honored by his respect.

It really warmed my heart to see these ancient practices in Hawaii continue on with the younger generations.

Categories: george hunter, hawaii, healer, healers, healing, holistic, Huffington, Hula, Kamana, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Merrie Monarch Hula Festival


Merrie Monarch Festival 2012, Kanaka’ole Stadium, Hilo, Hawaii

The elevated wood stage is well lit by the flood lights above. A giant arch serves as the ceiling, giving the feel of being in a wind tunnel as two sides of the arena are open air. Through that wind, comes a bouquet of smells; fresh night rain, tropical flowers, and big green leaves. Tonight is the first night of Merrie Monarch, the largest Hula competition in the world. It represents the continuation of an ancient culture through live Hawaiian music and expert storytelling through Dance. The theme of the first night is Exhibition, a free show to the public before the competitions begin.
The King and Queen of Merrie Monarch 2012
As I sit down with friends and family on the hard wood bleachers, a dance group from Japan is assembling onto the stage. They are dressed in flowing floral prints. Their Kumu (Hawaiian for teacher) has brought them out from Tokyo for a once in a lifetime chance to perform Hula in its homeland. After they announce the group, there is an awkward silence. Why is everyone just standing there? A dramatic pause? Did the musician’s mic get unplugged? Did they spontaneously forget their moves? As I scan the stage, my eye catches an elder Japanese lady ambling up the steep ramp which brings the performers to the stage. She obviously has some type of neurological challenge, such as Parkinson’s Disease, as she jitters her body forward in a controlled upwards stumble. She assumes her position next to two elder ladies, and the group commences to dance. The 40 women move with respect, turning and pruning their arms in well practiced moves. If they are under stress, it is hard to see as pure elation beams from the group.
Merrie Monarch 2012 Hula Kahiko
The elder lady who last entered the stage at first struggles to move here body. It stiff stops, then starts again with a flutter. Her mind knows what she wants to do, and her spirit pushes through her body, trying to move it. Then, something gives way in the Japanese Tutu’s (grandma) body, and her hands unexpectedly flow like water waves in perfect unison to the group. She flows to the left, hits an imaginary wall, changes direction, and once again falls into harmony with the group. So often, I have been taught in American society to feel pity or shame at the sight of someone with a debilitating disease. If this woman feels shame or embarrassment, I could not find it. In fact, the look on her face is pure amazement that she is dancing Hula at Merrie Monarch.
My eyes well with salt and water, and I wipe a tear away at the triumphant sight. This Tutu moves me, putting all of her heart into these movements with a large smile on her face. None of her fellow dancers pity her. They just patiently wait for her to enter the stage and fall into the groove as they have hundreds of times before. For me, the Japanese Tutu embodies pure celebration through the movement of her body. Would I have the strength to dedicate myself through that struggle and still have my dignity? Can I, a young, fit man celebrate like her? The crowd full of Hawaiians cheers for the group, without reservations. These women are truly doing honor to the art they have come to hold dear.
The next remarkable event was a small group of dancers from Rapa Nui. They are a Polynesian people associated with the Easter Islands who have become known throughout the world for their Mo’ai seen in the movie ‘Night at the Museum’. The Mo’ai is the large, statue head that says, “Hello Dum Dum, you got Gum Gum?”. But I think if the world was able to see their unique style of dancing, characterized by a rolling heel swivel movement, people may begin to associate the people or Rapa Nui with their dances. Experienced Tahitian dancers sitting next to me remarked at the distinctive knee movements and how even the muscle structure of the Rapa Nui dancers was different than other Polynesian dancers. Their legs were sleeker with well developed muscles by their shins and inner thighs. The dancers in the crowd wanted to try it!
After a few rounds of storytelling in motion, it’s time for the Pick-up Dance. This is the point where the experienced dancers on stage go out into the crowd and purposely try to find people who have never danced before. The guy sitting a few places from me was taken by an attractive dancer and coaxed onto the stage. He looks to be a man in his late 50’s, possibly from Europe. He stands in front of the woman, still in shock, and the drums begin to play. Then, his body starts moving in ways he didn’t know was possible. The crowd has a laugh, all in good fun. I think to myself, “whew, that was close. That could have been me up there if she had only walked a few more steps.”
They finish the song, but they are not done. They come around again. Another Pick Up Dance. Usually, they only do one. My friend Heather, an award winning competitive Tahitian Dancer, begins her campaign. “This one right here. His name is Kamana. Pick this one!” she says as her hand points down at me from above my head. All of my stealth techniques are destroyed. The young, light skinned Rapa Nui dancer dressed in black and white feathers pulls me from my chair; first with her stage charisma, and then with her hand. I follow her up the ramp onto the stage in a gravitational pull.
As I step onto the stage, the white hot lights come with an air of invigoration. It’s hard to see the crowd, so I forget about them and move in unison with the mysterious feather woman. I glance at the Rapa Nui male dancer, who had roped in a few women from the crowd, and try to copy his movements. It’s not working. So I just cut loose and dance, smiling at the women across from me and trying not to be blinded by the surrounding lights. She giggles. The dance feels like forever, and my legs start to burnout from the movements which I am not used to performing. Plus, I have no idea what I am doing and feel a little bit silly. For a moment, I remember the Japanese Tutu puttering up the ramp. She needed no shame and she was treated with respect. Her reminder to me helps the last remnant of conditioned embarrassment to shake away. I’m celebrating. This is Merrie Monarch. We’re on TV and all of Hawaii is watching. This moment is pure merriment. My spirit is fed, and my untrained body is toast. Just before I drop to one knee, the drums stop and I catch my breath. My blood pumps with a an amazing high, and I laugh freely. “Thank you” I say to the bird dancer as she directs me back to my seat.
“So, did I do alright up there on stage,” I ask my girlfriend, Kaimi, a Tahitian dancer of many years.
“Well…the important thing is that you had fun, honey.”
We Laugh. Luckily, she caught the whole scene in a bootleg video on my smart phone. I posted it on my Facebook wall.
Send a friend request to my Facebook page G. Kamana Hunter, http://www.facebook.com/people/G-Kamana-Hunter/669812856and you could be laughing too.  All will be accepted. Mahalo (gratitude).
Categories: 2012, hawaii, Hilo, Huffington, Hula, hula Winner, japan, Japanese, kamana hunter, Leis, Merrie Monarch, Parkinson's Night at the Museum, Rapa Nui, Tahiti, Tahitian, travel | Tags: | Leave a comment

Champagne Ponds of Hawaii

Champagne Ponds, Big Island Hawaii
We stopped at the hard, black lava rock road in my 4 wheel drive Tucson. While technically, my car was four wheel drive, it’s suspension was not high enough to handle most 4 wheel drive jobs on Big Island. After a few chunky clanks to the chassis, I backed out of the rough road. Our car was not going to make it.
“Well, we can always park in front of the gated community and walk in!” That was plan B. You see, there are only 2 ways into the Champagne Ponds in Puna District. The first way we tried was to go four wheeling through an unpaved road. Your standard Jeep rental will do the trick, just in case you plan to visit. I don’t recommend using standard SUV’s for the job. The other way into the pongs was through a gated community where you either need to be a guest of a community member or you need to park outside and walk ¾ of a mile through the town. 
As my partner and I walked our 2 dogs through the neighborhood, we were amazed by how many houses had their very own lava rock ponds. The water table was so high that you could dig down 10-20 feet and discover a well spring filling your private pond. It looked like a scene out of Lord of the Rings, where elves had taken over the land and built pools for rejuvenation near their ornate houses. We didn’t mind the walk through the secluded village, and neither did the dogs.
Our puppy Pa’a bounced with each step, a sure sign that he was 7 months old. Our other dog Sasha, arrived a few days earlier after having knee surgery 2 months earlier. She flew in from New York back to Hawaii, drained from the travel and still recovering from her rebuilt knee. It had been a rough 5 months for our budding family as we sorted out Rabies boosters and orthopedic doctors from afar. But now, the turmoil was over. Sasha was home and our family felt complete. 
We all needed to refresh our mana (life force), so swimming in the brackish water, a blending of cool spring water meeting the tides of the ocean, made for the perfect day trip. There was a lava rock platform where you can put your stuff before diving into the 2 smaller ponds connected with the very large pond.  If you swam to the end of the, you discovered that it opens up to the ocean. Some people camped out in tents for the day on the beach side of the ponds. Other just grabbed their snorkel gear and swam through the pristine water that felt even cleaner than the ocean. The sea waves at the mouth of the pond became slight currents by the time they reached the body of the ponds, making it safe for kids to swim. Another couple brought two Pomeranian mixed dogs named Snookie and Poki who swam freely back and forth to their owners. Even Snookie (no relation to the Jersey Shore) felt safe in the pools. 
As we fussed over how to best transport our recovering doggie into the healing waters with minimal strain to her knee, our conversation was interrupted by the splash of a meaty kur-plunk! Sasha had found her own way into the water and she peddled around like an expert seal. It was her way of saying, “Stop worrying already. I’m fine!” 

I took it as a reminder to cut loose and enjoy! As I swam through the ponds towards the ocean, I had the unique experience of the saltier water pulling away the residual stress that I had felt from the difficult task of caring for Sasha from afar. I decompressed the worry and angst, like a thick cloud escaping from my body. These feelings had been contained in my chest and guts, a necessary containment so that my brain could handle all the moving pieces without the floods of emotions. But now it was time to let it all go. As I released the emotional clouds into the salt water, there was more room to breathe, more space inside. I felt relief, as a merciful bliss took over me. How often do we allow ourselves to dump out the stress so completely?
As I turned around and swam back towards the connected ponds, the cool streams from the fresh water jets tickled my belly. The rush of cool brought an invigoration to my body, as if the new space inside was filling up again with life giving mana. I felt renewed, quenched, and at ease. Most of all, I felt grateful to this natural spot for being an oasis of healing in my backyard. Luckily, you can come visit.

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Categories: Champagne Ponds, dogs, hawaii, healing, hot ponds, lord of the rings, new zealand, pristine, puna, rental, snorkel, vacation | Leave a comment

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