Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Considering the shape of hope

Hope is like a road in the country: there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
- Lin Yutang

An 8-sided shape gives lots of people, lots of options for contributing to what the bumper sticker on our Subaru says:
 I'm at the keys in our Quonset with the door shut against the sound of machines clear-cutting trees across the road. I have sent the prayers, done pikai (sprinkling salt water) across all corners of the space and though there's a kink in the left side of my neck I consider the shape of hope. I imagine the shape of hope where many who are particularly 'sensitive' with conditions like MCS can be in public spaces season in season out. If you are interested in learning more about growing that space join Pete and me when we pitch the storytelling tent once more... coming in October, 2014.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

(Re)creating Sacred Space

"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it."       
-Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Makali'i (The Pleiades)
Yesterday we spent most of the day, and part of the evening cleaning up the original Safety Pin Café: our Quonset. We live in tiny spaces, and perhaps, you'd think no problem, easy breezy cleaning time. After hours on the vacuum cleaner I heard the Master Elf say, "It takes as much time to clean an 8 x 12 as it does to clean a 'whole house.' " From the tops of the curved roof, down the fabric covered insulated mylar packets of shredded denim, into the dust-mite corners mingling with seasons of cat hair, and across the tiled floor the Master Elf cleaned. When MCS came the deep cleaning duties shifted; Mr. Master Elf carries most of those chores. I am his back-up and Mrs. Cooking Elf. I know. I am a lucky woman.

Our Quonset Hut is tucked under the Tall Trees, including the dear guardians the White Pine who are challenged by blister rot; their branches are turning rusty brown. I pray for them, hoping the larger of them can survive. We live with the Tall Trees and know that what happens to them affects us. We prepare for winter when the winds will come. We prepare for winter when it will be more damp and cold. Cleaning the original Safety Pin Café means we bring back the rugs and the layers of warmth to keep the small cooking-office-kitty bedroom-hanging out for eating and chatting space. We prepare for the winter and make time to (re)create sacred space for the new season, and new year.
Between the two blogs I write the internal and external art of being human spreads itself with words, images and practices pin together the journey.
From Here
From There
Across the Bridge
Into that Cave
With help from this voice
And a trip over that stick
From Here
From There
Across the Bridge
Into that Cave
With help from that keystroke
And that voice
........ this voice
(click to hear it)

We, Pete and I, have just listened to one of our favorite teachers, Kalei Nu'uhiwa speak about Kaulana Mahina, the Hawaiian Moon Calendar. The audio-broadcast we listened to was recorded in April, 2014 and was an updated version of information we first heard several years ago. What happens when one is open to noticing is ... the messages come!

When my husband and I began to count on the moon (Mahina) we were made receptive to recreating a life based on the need to survive. Not unlike the motivation our ancestors our kupuna had to be attentive and responsive to the Natural World to eat and procreate, the onset of a life-threatening illness cleared the way for counting on the Element(als). As we learned how, and when, to build a life that would sustain a healthy body and soul, we began by noticing the thirty phases of the moon and the wisdom of my Hawaiian ancestors who lived with the moon.

(click for a larger image)
We have practiced observation, and noted how we feel during the different phases of the moon. We have noticed how we (a Moon-rule Man, and a Saturn-ruled Woman) inter-relate during the different phases of the moon. We have shared what we learned through on-line workshops. All of these experiences have been trial-and-error journeys pinning information and personal observations while reaching out through the web of the cyber-world ... who else might want to know this stuff! We continue to practice. We continue to observe. We continue apply the knowledge. We grow.
The week-end cleaning and clearing of our Quonset, the original Safety Pin Café, was blessed with the shared experience of hearing Kalei Nu'uhiwa's mana'o (thoughts and philosophy) about Mahina the Moon. This space needed to hear the words, filling with the courage, humor, wishes and trust we need to keep on keepin' on. We needed the chant she shared. It a chant we can study together. It is one more of the one hundred songs, stories, or chants I need to learn to be a storyteller worth her salt. I am thrilled to be given the answers, the data, the chants.

...... this message
(click on it to see it and read the post I wrote on Makua O'o)

The rituals involved in becoming Makua O'o an elder in training took a significantly elevated left-turn when I met and began learning from Aunty Betty Kawohiokalani Ellis Jenkins. I was in need of a broader path, Aunty Betty offered me the practice of Makua O'o. Since then, my path has been a web of chaotic connections, perfected suited for my personal evolution. Could she or I have imagined the Quonset Hut, Vardo For Two, or the shared life with a former nun and a retired anthrologist? Not I. Aunty? I don't know for sure.

What is true for me, and my husband Pete, today is we live a full and grateful life. We live a life where Nature helps us, and often forces us, to notice what is important, and how to call for the data (chants) that will serve the greater good. My teachers today reveal the language and the protocol that have been tested over eons: the chants, the observation and the consequences are all there if I notice and apply the knowledge.
Akua willing Pete and I will pitch the tents of The Safety Pin Café one more time in October and share more stories. This time I will add a story about Makali'i (The Pleiades) and Makahiki (The Season of Peace, and time of Lono). With permission, and the support of the ancestors I will tell those who come a story about I'ole (the rat) and his experience with Makali'i. We will prepare for the season of peace, give thanks by asking what is needed, and invite the ancestors to be with us. We will ask our neighbors to come join us under the tent. We will ask the neighbors to create sacred space.
Stay tuned to be kept abreast of the details for
"Hana Hou Story Sunday" One More Time Story, 
one Sunday in October. 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Second Annual Storytelling at South Whidbey Tilth, September 21, 2014

 It was a sunflower kind of day.
 The tents were pitched, the banner hung, winds blew through with kisses
as the 'oli E HO MAI asked for what was needed from above.
 Grounded on that sweet place of pesticide-free 'aina, the stories filled the air.

 And, everybody there got into the magic, making rattles to call on the 'true, beautiful, and real' the common magic of beans and bottles asked for our hands, our ears, and our hearts.

 The stories touched hearts
The storyteller was bursting with a full-heart in the floppy funky hat,
and was glad.
The ancestors were appreciated, included, acknowledged
with the voices of Raven, the Clacking of Sticks, and the rattle of beans.
Initiation was recognized as the girl Pele became a goddess, a metaphor for our lives.
Our kuleana of Care highlighted. It's everyone's job.
Mahalo nui loa a pau thank you very much to all of you who joined us under the storytelling tent, and contributed so generously to the tips in the hat.
Special thanks to the 'ohana of the South Whidbey Tilth and Farmers' Market, and silk and dye fabric artist Pam Winstanley for the beautiful art that decorated the tents (and my neck) during the storytelling.
Together we raised $150.00 for the
Good Cheer Food Bank.
Mokihana and Pete
If you would like to listen to the tales I told: email me at mokihanacalizarATgmailDOTcom.
Snail mail a check $ 5.00 (or more) PAYABLE TO 'GOOD CHEER FOOD BANK' and mail it to P.O.Box 483 Langley, Washington 98260 (that's our mailing address) We'll forward all contributions.
The mp3 files audio files will be emailed back. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Light your fire

"So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us."   - Gaston Bachelard (The Poetics of Reverie)

The miracles of everyday make up more and more of my life. I'm glad for the company, integrating the research of my curious mind and the mantra 'Eli'eli Kau Mai. "Dig deep, deepen the revelation." My belly is warmed and satisfied after a bowl of freshly toasted quinoa laced with smashed and minced garlic steamed with string beans. A side of plump red grapes made a beautiful breakfast. The Abascal Way eating approach is calming the inflammation brought to a head because I was eating my way through grief. It happens, perhaps not to all of us, but maybe many of us reach for the comfort of old habits. Habits that used to work needed to be let go: giving up the sugar, wheat and bulk of cereals. Reaching for food to comfort was the response of a girl-child who had not (yet) been initiated into the rituals of lighting her fire.

The internal fire of creativity needs a base. The metaphors of a fire-starting base today come from my study of the mana'o of Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele. Her TED-X Talk "Living the Myth, Unlocking the Metaphor" has fed me for the last couple of years. I watch her body language, listen to her words, and make space within me for the stories and lessons that tap my personal kuleana my life's gifts. In a couple days, I will re-tell a version of Kanahele's exquisite story in my second annual The Safety Pin Cafe's storytelling event. The Safety Pin Café is the virtual café created when magic showed up in winter -- a season only a duck could love. With the webbed feet of a creature who is facile with crossing the mythic realm of imagination and soul retrieval The Safety Pin Café grew an adventure with life; and the community from which it was born entwined itself in a grand medicine story. Setting up a storyteller's tent, involving friends and family in the making of treats, props, and an environment of welcome for the ancestors and audience ... that is the offering.

The space, the time and the story is now. The base ... that lives in the backbone where the quality of courage resides; the funny bone where the quality of humor plays; the wish bone which carries the quality of hope; and the hollow bone like that of birds who have the quality of trust that carries them(us) into flights of fancy because we trust.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The storytellers' art

"Words and pictures are not the same. Another interesting difference between them is that words work in time, and pictures work in space. Pictures are very good at showing you where things are, what things look like, how far away things are -- that sort of thing. But a single picture on its own cannot show us the order of things happening. Stories are all about the order of things happening... I would rather consider myself in the rather romantic position of the old storyteller in the marketplace: you sit down on your little bit of carpet with your hat upturned in front of you, and you start to tell a story."- Phillip Pullman, The Storyteller's Art

Later today my husband Pete and I will drive over to the grounds of the South Whidbey Tilth not far from our tiny homes. We have some preliminary setting up and laying things out before we host our second annual fall storytelling event: this year I will use a microphone and speaker(s); the weather may or may not be the clear and sunny skies so we will consider the options. And then, no matter how long I have been speaking in public, the jitters do stir in me and my need to attend to details works on me. So ... we will go to the grounds, chant for what we need to know, and prepare.

"Chants were composed to be chanted and committed to memory. Memory was the computer of years past. All chants have a purpose and are packed with information to be utilized as needed...Chants describe forms and patterns in the natural world, including nature's endowment for life and destruction. These natural elements were visible, immediate, and constant for our ancestors, and the generic term accorded to these forebears is akua, or gods." - Pualani  Kanaka'ole Kanahele, Ke Honua Ola

The Safety Pin Café returns to the South Whidbey Tilth, Sunday, September 21st. A virtual café was created (2012) when magic showed up in winter, "a season only a duck could love". With the webbed feet of a creature who is facile crossing the mythic realms of imagination and soul retrieval The Safety Pin Café grew an adventure with life, and the community from which it was born wove into the magic.

"Story Story Sunday" is the second season of telling stories that hold life together in common ways. We are in it together, there are protocols and rites of passage we could integrate into our lives, if we ask for them. In this production of tales and common magic, three stories are told in the first half of the day and the ancestors and audience are welcomed to join in. An audio-recording made available for download captures the essence of trio of tales. A story from the people of the Salish Sea calls upon Raven, remembering his part in the creation story. A second story, from my home place (Hawaii) beckons to our definitions and comfort with initiation. The mana of chant will cross time and space. The third tale, about Care and clay reminds us of our responsibility to care for our bodies as the precious vessel it is.

The audio recording of the three tales from across this Island Earth is a collaboration between my family and the places and people who have made life whole again. Your purchase (Donation of $5.00 or more) of "Story Story Sunday ... three tales that hold life together" will go to the Good Cheer Food Bank located in Bayview, Whidbey Island, Washington. Everyone needs a safety pin to hold things together from time to time. My mother was 'the safety pin queen' teaching me early on how efficient and portable the magic of security could be put in place. It was she who dropped into the Langley Post Office that winter only a duck could love and left a bronze safety pin on the floor for me. I pinned it to my jacket, and went home to let the medicine of story layer me with comfort.

The grounds, campus and people of the South Whidbey Tilth was the first place my husband and I could safely be with others after many years of an unraveled life. A pesticide free public space is a major puuhonua place of refuge. We pitch our story tent, and bring stories here to say thank you. And, this fall, we add to our chants and stories, the other source of refuge and support that holds life together for us, and thousands of others in our community. Good Cheer Food Bank & Thrift Shops have a simple, and powerful mission "Creating a hunger-free community in South Whidbey." The art and gift that I can give back to this organization is to share stories. As I sit, stand and chant the stories, I'll put my upturned hat in front and me and let the words and images fly. And all contributions into that hat will keep making a hunger-free community in South Whidbey.

TO CONTRIBUTE, and purchase the audio-recording "Story Story Sunday ... three tales that hold life together", email us: mokihanacalizarATgmailDOTcom for details.

Thank you so much,
Mokihana Calizar and Pete Little

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Na 'Aumakua

Na ‘Aumakua or Pule Ho'uluulu
*Adapted from Hawaiian Antiquities by David Malo

Na ‘Aumakua mai ka la hiki a ka la kau!
Mai ka ho’oku’i a ka halawai
Na ‘Aumakua ia Kahinakua, ia Kahina’alo
Ia ka’a ‘akau i ka lani
‘O kiha i ka lani
‘Owe i ka lani
Nunulu i ka lani
Kaholo i ka lani
Eia na pulapula a ‘oukou ‘o ka 'ohana Calizar ( insert your family name)
E malama ‘oukou ia makou
E ulu i ka lani
E ulu i ka honua
*E ulu i ka pae’aina o Hawai’i a me ke'ia moku o Salish
E ho mai i ka ‘ike
E ho mai i ka ikaika
E ho mai i ke akamai
E ho mai i ka maopopo pono
E ho mai i ka ‘ike papalua
E ho mai i ka mana.
‘Amama ua noa.
Ancestors from the rising to the setting sun
From the zenith to the horizon
Ancestors who stand at our back and front
You who stand at our right hand
A breathing in the heavens
An utterance in the heavens
A clear, ringing voice in the heavens
A voice reverberating in the heavens
Here are your descendants, the (name of your family)

Safeguard us
That we may flourish in the heavens
That we may flourish on earth
That we may flourish in the Hawaiian islands and in this Salish island
Grant us knowledge
Grant us strength
Grant us intelligence
Grant us understanding
Grant us insight
Grant us power
The prayer is lifted, it is free.
LISTEN to the original 'oli.

*I have adapted this 'oli to be used during telling on Whidbey Island ('this Salish island').

In the Hawaiian culture Na 'Aumakua are our ancestors who have died, passed from the physical body into the realm of spirit. These ancestors, our family, are those recently passed as well as those we have known through the telling of their legacies ... their antics, their heroics, their mishaps. Then there are those we have never met but know them in our gut or in our dreams. Those never-seen-with the-eyes-of- today's-body are nonetheless important, and present. I feel them in the winds, the breezes, the shift in temperature and the voices of the seven ravens that dance above me. Natural presents. When I need their help, I ask for it. I call them. They get used to the sound of my voice, and come.

"Sometimes musical instruments are used in connection with the ancestor spirits. The clicking of sticks or bones is another way to ask for ancestral help: each clicking sound represents our commitment to break harmful family patterns or harmful cultural patterns." - The Four-Fold Way "The Way of the Teacher", Angeles Arrien

I am preparing to give thanks and share my gifts as storyteller and elder-in-training through an interactive presentation. The preparation has been a year in the making, with sixty-six years of practice. Gathering elements of nature for the offering of story, I walk the beaches and keep my eyes and my belly open to the sticks that call to me as kinolau (representatives) for the ancestors. "Who will you call when someone clicks and clacks you? What patterns and legacies will be broken when the soundings are made?" I ask these things as I walk the beaches. I ask for knowledge, strength, intelligence. I ask for insight, power. I ask for a prayer to learn, and to practice. I am given the one that begins this post, and ends this way ...

"E ho mai i ka ‘ike
E ho mai i ka ikaika
E ho mai i ke akamai
E ho mai i ka maopopo pono
E ho mai i ka ‘ike papalua
E ho mai i ka mana."

Grant us knowledge
Grant us strength
Grant us intelligence
Grant us understanding
Grant us insight
Grant us power

The way I can be present with my gift as storyteller begins by honoring my past. Clearly and humbly asking for what I need, though it may not be what I want. The gathering begins and I give thanks. The sticks that collect in my car, and along the walls of my hale (house) wait to help me. They wait to bring their medicine, and they will sniff for the hands to hold them as we chant and dance together at STORY STORY SUNDAY. The gift is in the gathering. The joy is in the living. The connections are timeless.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Story Story Sunday" Fall Storytelling Event September 21, 2014

Mokihana Calizar
creator of The Safety Pin Café
Tells stories that hold life together
Sunday, September 21st, 2014
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
at the South Whidbey Tilth Farmers' Market
2812 Thompson Road Langley

Join Mokihana and help apply the healing salves of story, chant, movement and laughter in this interactive production.

This Fall's program "Story Story Sunday" includes tales that recognize Raven of this Salish Sea space, stories of initiation from the storyteller's home-place Hawaii, an ancient Roman myth about clay and snippets from Mokihana's medicine stories "The Safety Pin Café Trilogy." Come to listen, chant and create simple instruments to call on the Ancestors to help us tap the common magic of Everyday.

Dress warmly just in case.
We will pass the hat when the tales are told.
Your Donations  go to the Good Cheer Food Bank
a place that holds life together for many of us,
season in and season out.

This is a Fragrance-Free Event.
Please come unscented: free of perfumes, hair product and essential oils.


To Read Why & How we built a safety pin sort of life: go here
To Read What that life is like today: go here