“Hawaii – A State of Being” by Abraham Kawai’i

Hawaii: A State of Being

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.” Abraham Kawai’i.

“Hawaii – A State of Being: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii” (2007) is a beautiful coffee table book of color photographs of Hawaii and Hawaiian kahuna principles of living by Abraham Kawai’i, a Hawaiian kahuna and founder of Na Pua ‘Olohe0, with words by Ho’okahi Ho’oulu Kawai’i and photography by Heather Titus and others.

Here are some of the photographs and words that made me pause and reflect:

* The sun in a purple sky is reflected on the ocean below and a calm inlet. “As the moon reflects the sunlight, the mind reflects the soul.” Ho’okahi Ho’oulu Kawai’i.

* A surfer is returning to shore, and nearby are three shadows that puzzled me: are they rocks? people lying down in the shallow water? peals with their heads uplifted? “I am that which I seek.” Abraham Kawai’i.

* This mysterious photograph of Pu’ukohala Heiau captured my attention: a dozen curving trunk-like grasses are bending toward a simple wooden pole structure. Are they trees, paths through the grasses, or illusions? “To see expanses is to be in motion. To be in motion changes consciousness.” Abraham Kawai’i.

* An unnamed waterfall. We see the falling water and how the water is smoothing the rocks and nurturing the plants; we don’t see the water’s source or the pool where the water collects, but we have faith that they are there. “Each moment is a living prayer.” Abraham Kawai’i.

* A stunning photo of a calm beach, orange-lavender clouds radiating from the horizon, and two birds in flight. “Lean into that which you resist and your horizon will expand.” Abraham Kawai’i.

* At first glance, the land is barren and the pools of water seem stagnant. But these still ponds are ancient salt ponds on Kauai where Hawaiian sea salt is collected. “Nothing is taken away. All is given to those who see.” Ho’okahi Ho’oulu Kawai’i.

* Three young girls from Halau Hula Pua Ali’i are waiting to perform, one fixing her hair, one talking, and one smiling. “The fewer the expectations – the freer you are to be.”

“Reach for it and it moves away. Relax… breathe… it comes to you.” Abraham Kawai’i.

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