Archive for the ‘Mahalo’ category

Mahalo in 2020

December 29, 2020

Happy New Year, Better Hawaii readers!

Rising out of the challenges of 2020, there are so many bright lights of compassion, generosity, and selflessness. I’d like to share my thanks for just a few of the wonderful people who have shared their knowledge, passion, and commitment:

Mahalo to Debbie Oliveros, Admissions Chair for the 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii, who organized volunteers, ensured we were trained, and made us feel appreciated.

Mahalo to Elizabeth Kent, an experienced mediator and proprietor of Meeting Expectations Hawaii, who taught me that there’s a name for the anxiety I sometimes feel while working in a counseling office: “vicarious trauma” or “compassion fatigue.”

Mahalo to Dr. Leonard Sax, author of “The Collapse of Parenting,” who gave a talk about evidence-based parenting and reminded us to “Be the parent!” Teaching children self-control and virtue should be every parent’s top priority.

Mahalo to’s Ebook Club for giving away all four of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries books in April – science fiction novellas about Murderbot, an awkward, sarcastic, unintentionally funny SecUnit who just wants to be left alone to watch entertainment serials who is motivated by the concern that “If the humans were dead, who would make the media?”

Mahalo to Anisa Wiseman, program director at NAMI Hawaii, for presenting webinars about coping with stress, such as writing down long-term goals, setting intentions for time at home during a pandemic, practicing breathing techniques, and creating a gratitude inventory.

Mahalo to Malama US Hawaii, a group of eight high school students who support and speak out about mental health. They presented an informative webinar, “Well Being Mana’o” with speakers Dr. Loretta Chun, who talked about the power of perspective and reminded us that optimism is a practice; Allison Silva, who shared her video poetry; and Dr. Maya Soetoro, who shared a River of Life activity and asked, what helps you cross the river from sorrows to joy?

Mahalo to performer and entertainer Henry Kapono, for sharing his music, his gracious spirit, and generosity to brighten our lives and support those in need in Hawai’i, through virtual concerts, the Henry Kapono Foundation, and supporting initiatives like the 2020 Census and honoring veterans, military, and their families.

Mahalo to you, Better Hawaii readers, for being open to respectful discussion, practicing optimism, and helping to make Hawaii better.

Who are you thankful for? What do you appreciate most about living and working in Hawaii?

Celebrating 10 years of Better Hawaii

January 7, 2020

Better Hawaii is written for you.

And because of you, Better Hawaii celebrated 10 years of ideas, reflections, and commentary about making Hawaii and ourselves a little better.

In Better Hawaii, I focused more on personal wellness and education. I decided to make a few changes, like ending the monthly book reviews, because they started to feel less enjoyable and more of an obligation. And I continue to be committed to writing with optimism, respect, and a focus on solutions.

Since starting Better Hawaii in 2010, there are three values that have helped me keep blogging.

Commitment. Set a reasonable, achievable goal, and stick with it. I know you’re busy and your inbox is full, so I write one post a week, and try to keep it short – which often takes me longer to write than a longer piece.

Courage. Share your opinions confidently, and acknowledge that most people have good intentions, even when they disagree with your point of view.

Courtesy. Be positive and respectful in all of your communications, both online and in person. And be considerate of your time, keeping posts short and easy to read.

Blogger Paul Jarvis got it exactly right in his post, “I’d rather be a blogger” – “Content on the internet currently is designed for scale, for sharing, for the masses. This runs counter to blogging, which is for a specific niche, a specific group, a specific interest a few people might have.”

I don’t write Better Hawaii to grow the number of followers or gain the most “likes.” I write because I want to offer something optimistic and thoughtful in your day. If just one person makes a positive change in their life, it’s worth it.

Thank you for your encouragement, your comments, and being open to different points of view.

Mahalo in 2019

December 31, 2019

Art by BWL, age 8

Happy New Year, Better Hawaii readers!

I’ve been taking more time to appreciate the good things in life. Every day, I write down at least one good thing that has happened. I also try to express gratitude more often.

Gratitude is not just saying “thank you” – it is also extending the most generous interpretation possible to the words and actions of others, as Brené Brown reminds us when she identifies the seven elements of trust. And that is sometimes a more challenging mindset.

I would like to recognize just a few of the people and organizations that have touched my life and help make Hawaii a beautiful and compassionate place to live.

Mahalo to caring teams of educators who are teaching my son about critical thinking and being part of a community – seventh grade teachers, Allison (science), Heather (math), Joseph (English), and Renee (social studies) and eighth grade teachers Allison (science), Kylee (math), Diandra (English), and Rachel (social studies), as well as PE, art, language, engineering and coding, counselors, librarians, school administrators and support staff.

Mahalo to the Department of Parks and Recreation for enriching our lives with playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, baseball fields, seniors’ groups, and classes like yoga and drawing. And a special mahalo to Koko Head District Park for their support of a community ceramics studio, giving us space to be creative, social, and introduce others to pottery.

Mahalo to the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation for their Visitor Industry Charity Walk – a friendly walk for nonprofits in Hawaii, with refreshment stations, music, and entertainment.  We sometimes criticize the tourism industry, but they do so much for our economy, jobs, and community.

Mahalo to NAMI Hawaii (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) for co-sponsoring a fantastic “Wellness and Self-Care Conference” that addressed coping with stress and avoiding burnout. Keynote speaker Paul Hutman, PhD taught us that positives are in abundance; mental health counselor Christine J. Heath taught us that mental well-being is always with us; and Kumu Ramsay Taum taught us that we can make things right through forgiveness, repentance, and letting go.

Mahalo to Project Dana, a nonprofit organization that provides services to the frail elderly and disabled to ensure their well-being and independence. At their 30th Anniversary Luncheon, we heard from Keynote speaker Dr. William Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative and Eden at Home, remind us that there are three “plagues” of old age – loneliness, boredom, and helplessness – and they are absolutely curable. The cure for loneliness is companionship. The cure for boredom is variety. The cure for helplessness is service.

Mahalo to you, Better Hawaii readers, for helping to make Hawaii better.

Who are you thankful for? What do you appreciate most about living and working in Hawaii?

Mahalo in 2018

December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, Better Hawaii readers!

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude recently, after taking “The Science of Happiness,” an online class from the Greater Good Science Center. More than just feeling gratitude, we need to express our gratitude.

So I’ve been committed recently to expressing gratitude more often. I started a gratitude journal at work and invite everyone, staff and clients, to share a message or just reflect silently. The new year has been a wonderful time to express my appreciation for the people I work with and the relationships that have helped me grow.

Let’s take time to thank the people and organizations that have made our lives brighter and strengthened our community in 2018. Send an email, make a phone call, or thank someone in person. You’ll brighten their day and your day, too.

Here are just a few people and organizations on my mahalo list:

Mahalo to sixth grade teachers, Bob and Valerie, who challenged students on an impressive Immigration project; Eric who taught swimming and Zachary who conducted orchestra; and a team of seventh grade teachers, Joseph, Heather, Allison, and Renee, who encouraged students to be global citizens.

Mahalo to our neighborhood parks, museums, libraries, and volunteer groups: Koko Head District Park for their ceramics studio; our neighborhood public libraries for Free Comic Book Day, summer reading programs, and keeping up-to-date with thousands of books, magazines, and newspapers.

Mahalo to the community organizations who make Hawaii better: Aloha United Way for community services and grants to nonprofits; the Friends of Hawaii Charities for grants to nonprofits through the Sony Open in Hawaii; the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation for their Visitor Industry Charity Walk; Foodland for their Give Aloha Community Matching Gifts campaign.

Mahalo to the Clarence TC Ching Foundation for sponsoring the “Inspired in Hawaii” Essay Contest and the Hawaii State House of Legislators for sponsoring the “Hawaii: Next 50 Years” Contest, encouraging students to think of ways we can make Hawaii better.

Mahalo to 7-Eleven for free slurpees on July 11; Barnes & Noble for a free cookie for my son’s birthday; and Burger King for free French fries, cones, Icees for a $1 donation to the BK Scholars fundraiser, helping hard-working Hawaii students.

Mahalo to the Greater Good Science Center, for teaching me that happiness is about joy and meaning, that we can train our mind for happiness, and that being kind to others – and ourselves – can make us happier.

Mahalo to you, Better Hawaii readers, for helping to make Hawaii better.

Who do you want to thank this year? What are you grateful for?

Mahalo in 2017

December 26, 2017

Happy New Year, Better Hawaii readers! Let’s all take a moment to thank the people and organizations that have made our lives brighter and strengthened our community in 2017. Here is my mahalo list:

Mahalo to our teachers, Kelsie in fifth grade, who led students to create impressive and inspiring Exhibition projects; Speech festival advisors Terrie and Leslie, who gave students good feedback and helped them build confidence; Zachary in band at summer school, who made learning the alto sax fun; and Bob and Valerie in sixth grade, who created an amazing Underground Railroad experience for their students. Mahalo to instructor Jessie and all the volunteers at the UH Manoa Saturday Gene-ius Day Program, who volunteered their Saturdays to make science entertaining, and coordinated a fantastic graduation extravaganza.

Mahalo to our neighborhood parks, museums, libraries, and volunteer groups: Koko Head District Park for their ceramics studio; our neighborhood public libraries for Free Comic Book Day, summer reading programs (the online reading log was easy to use and I liked the reading challenge), and special events (we appreciated author Stan Yogi’s presentation about Fred Korematsu).

Mahalo to the thoughtful clinician at the Kaiser Permanente Honolulu clinic who makes hair scrunchies for women getting mammograms (I wish I knew her name).

Mahalo for family-friendly events: Home Depot’s Kids Workshop, where my son’s last project was a Valentine’s Day box; YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the Bishop Museum, where my son enjoyed the obstacle course and fitness cubes; the Mauka to Makai Expo at the Waikiki Aquarium, which taught me that the City will recycle SPAM cans; University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute of Astronomy Open House, where my son learned a little about spectroscopy and launched a bottle rocket; the Ellison Onizuka Day of Exploration, where my son had a blast at the Rockin’ Robots workshop with Lego, Vex, and Dash.

Mahalo for generous giveaways: free yogurt on International Frozen Yogurt Day from Yogurtland; free Slurpees from 7-Eleven on July 11; a free kids meal during Family Fun Day at Panda Express; a free cookie for my son’s birthday at Barnes & Noble; and free French fries and Icees for a $1 donation to the BK Scholars fundraiser from Burger King.

Mahalo to the Hawaii Council on Economic Education and HawaiiUSA for sponsoring a calendar contest that energizes students to learn about economics and encourages creativity.

Mahalo to Rock-a-Hula for an energetic, exciting, and memorable evening of hula, song, dance, pearl divers and beach balls – and for their $6 kama‘aina tickets. On the spur-of-the-moment, we finished work, packed up my son’s homework, and headed for Waikiki.

Mahalo for giveaways that introduced me to new authors and exciting movies. I was lucky to win “The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2015” edited by Paula Guran from Worldbuilders and “The Space Between the Stars” by Anne Corlett from Berkley Publishing and Mahalo for free tickets to “Justice League” to celebrate DTRIC Insurance’s 25th anniversary.

And thank you, Better Hawaii readers, for thinking about ways to make Hawaii better.

Who has made a positive impact in your life? Which events and celebrations did you enjoy this year?