LŌKAHI: nvs. Unity, agreement, accord, unison, harmony; agreed, in unity.
HOʻO.LŌ.KAHI to bring about unity; to make peace and unity; to be in agreement.
For us here at Kapalai, lōkahi is our pūnāwai, our spring from which flows our ala pono, our path that is pono. Thus, lōkahi is the means by which we ʻe ola ponoʻ, can live in a pono way. Please forgive me for I use the word pono instead of translating it. If one were to check out the Hawaiian Dictionary, or wehewehe.org, and search the word “pono,” you will see why I refrain from choosing one definition from the many, many profound concepts to be found there. And even that by no means is an exhaustive list.
Continuing on, we shall return to lōkahi. When we speak of lōkahi, we are including all aspects of Creation, not just us as kānaka. We are simply a small, humble piece of the entire Web. We look at lōkahi, as harmony with ke Akua, us as people, our ʻāina as well as our beloved primordial womb, the kai. As it reads in our E Ola Pono newsletter tagline, me ke Akua, me ke kānaka, me ke ʻāina a me ke kai. This pretty much sums up the lōkahi paradigm for us here.
As kānaka, we hold the analogical worldview, that we are intrinsically part of the whole. We are inseparable from the rest of the infinite facets of Creation. We are ultimately all related to the smallest insect, to the largest mountain, elemental beings, all our human, animal and plant brothers and sisters, and of course Ke Akua that animates us all, binding us in a common unity – of community. Through lōkahi, we are co-cultivating this community.
Aunty Michele highlights this in a past blog with the manaʻo, that we cannot ever say we are truly “independent”. We do things in a “sustainable” way that aligns with the ʻāina, yes, but we are ultimately entirely dependent on the sun to keep shining, the rain to fall, the spring water to flow, the soil to have nutrients, through the bugs, the fish, and the birds. Especially reading this from an ʻohana that lives nearly entirely off the grid to have the realization that we are not living on our own independently, but we are, in fact, living together, collectively! We are co-cultivating our blessings that we are entirely dependent on. We are not independent from, but we are harmonious with.
It is because of our ultimate dependence upon all of these relationships and their harmony that we share with our learners our lesson on the lōkahi triangle and ways to make sure we are stewarding the peace and unity of lōkahi. We remind ourselves to check in and ask, how is my relationship with ke Akua? How are my personal relationships? How am I cultivating my relationship with ʻāina and kai? Where is there room for an improved and strengthened connection here? Because if one aspect of the lōkahi triangle is out of balance, eventually the others will veer as well. Likewise, when one is strengthened, the whole benefits. Just like us.
We see so many examples from the ancestors pointing to the paradigms found in the lōkahi triangle. We see simple proverbs such as “ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia.” If done together, “alu ʻia,” there is no large task. We see this in the loʻi all the time. If you were all on your lonesome to weed out a patch, it would be very daunting! But when a bunch of hands join you, who happen to be your friends, its such a good fun time! And not only that, we end up accomplishing a task that just seemed near impossible. Not to mention we enjoyed ourselves with Hāloa while improving the environment around us for all. AND we are growing good food! That is lōkahi triangle in action. We steward ourselves through good fellowship, ʻāina and kai, through cultivating our ecosystems in a life-giving way, and we honor Creator through our humble work with the blessings bestowed upon us.
Written By: Pomai Stone, Education & Research Assistant