I love watching the full moon rise, all bold and yellow, juiced up for its journey across the black expanse, and then seeing it set the next morning, cozying into the blushing mountains, still round, but pale, white as a sky waiting to be blue.
I think a lot of folks are waiting for the blue, looking for the dawn, a fresh beginning, hankering for the hope that accompanies the start of each new day.
For me, it's the idea of how Kauai can heal, mend the fractures that have split the community over pesticides, GMOs, dairies, different belief systems, opposing points of view.
And then, among the wasteland that is The Garden Island, I saw the smiling photo of the Rev. Kaleo Patterson, and a little article on how he's going to be speaking at “The Spirit That Heals” seminar tomorrow, delivering a keynote address titled, “Aloha is Peace.”
It got me thinking about the work that Kaleo has done on reconciliation, indigenous peacemaking practices, the challenges of answering questions like these:
Can there be reconciliation without forgiveness? Can there be reconciliation without justice? Can there be reconciliation without repentance?
While these queries typically have been posed about America's illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, they're equally valid when dealing with the issues dividing us today.
Because I know that I and many others are waiting for an apology — some sense of repentance —from those who have leveled unfounded accusations against their neighbors, perpetrated misinformation, intentionally fanned the flames of fear. And they no doubt are similarly waiting for an apology from those whom they believe have wronged them.
Do have to keep waiting for apologies that likely will not come before we can move forward?
I've heard some folks say we need to engage in ho'oponopono to set things right. It's a practice that's frequently misunderstood, and in an article I wrote some time back, Kaleo provided an explanation:
While it’s often purported to be an ancient tradition, Patterson isn’t so sure. He notes that Mary Kawena Pukui, in recounting all the family traditions of Hawaiians in her 1950s book, The Polynesian Family System in Ka’u, made scant mention of ho’oponopono. “The one reference is to healing. If you want to be healed, you should go through ho’oponopono first, you should cleanse, release. It’s the beginning of any healing process.”
We don't need the apologies or forgiveness of others to cleanse, release. Just as we don't need to wait for others in order begin practicing what Kaleo sees as the foundation for ho'oponopono:
It sounds cliche, but I’m talking about aloha. This is rooted in love, forgiveness and compassion.
As someone who often uses words as lethal weapons, I know how easy it is want deliver a death blow in a dispute. It's much harder to sit down with an opponent and lay our issues side by side on the table, without the desire to dominate, or be right. But that's where I hope the joint fact-finding group on pesticides, which convenes today, can take us by collecting some body of evidence, finding some science-based middle ground, that can inform our next steps as a community.
As a farmer friend recently noted:
There's no justification on either side for banning GMOs and pesticides, or adopting them wholesale at the exclusion of any other sort of agriculture. We can use the best practices from both approaches.
Though just the other day I saw a letter from an anti-GMO activist that claimed, “There can be no co-existence,” I don't buy it. Universities and agricultural groups are developing methods for co-existence between organic and biotech farms, including buffer zones, spraying notification, GPS technology and other protocols that are mutually agreed upon by people who are highly motivated to find a resolution.
It's called radical collaboration, and we can use that same approach to find ways to co-exist as human beings with different points of view. Because nobody's belief systems are likely to change anytime soon and bullets, be they actual or words, do not deliver an enduring solution.
We've got to try something new.