E Hānai `Ai, A Hewa Ka Waha

To feed until full…

There are many times as a hula practitioner where one can feel as though there is nothing new under Wākea, and that one has reached the end of a long journey.  It is at times like this that one must either learn to take a detour from the journey they are on, ho`opuka through ka nahele mamua (burst through the forest ahead), or noho ilalo me pēlā iho (sit down and wait a while) for guidance.

In taking a detour from that path that one is on, there is an `ōlelo no`eau that comes to mind which is `A`ohe pau ka `ike i ka hālau ho`okāhi (all knowledge is not taught in the same school). This is to say that there are many forms of hula to learn, and if done in a respectful and pono (correct/righteous) fashion, one can gain learning from other kumu to expand one’s knowledge and scope of hula and culture.  A practitioner can also avert their attention to another avenue of the Hawaiian culture and learn to make implements, or lei, or to craft `a`ahu (clothing).  There are many detours that can be taken that will eventually lead back to the path one is on, or maybe lead to an entirely new journey.

If one is set to ho`opuka, or burst forward, it is that practitioner’s duty to remain engaged in their learning and practices in order for continued growth.  It is important that there is a constant growth, otherwise one can become stagnant and lose interest entirely… which brings a small, sad end to that journey into cultural learning.  Part of learning is also teaching, since as one teaches, they too learn either by realizing a minute detail never before noticed, or by figuring out the best way to explain a movement so the student will be able to pick it up.  Either way, it re-ignites the fire of learning.

Finally, sometimes one just has to take a moment of time to sit and wait for guidance or a sign.  It can come as anything from a request to dance to a little voice in the back of one’s head saying it is time to get up and continue on.  It can be the echoes of a favorite mele or a dream of a conversation with a kupuna saying pau sit down! Get up! It allows for a refreshed outlook on being a hula practitioner and a renewed energy for keeping on.

All of these allow for fulfillment of a necessary part of life for a serious hula practitioner.  It is the way of life for many who follow this path in its many incarnations. As it is passed along from one generation to another to another, we keep to the tradition of “e hānai `ai, a hewa ka waha”, or feeding until full. Thus we keep alive our hula and culture.

~Sharna Mahealani Weaver

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