My Gramma Margret was instrumental in caring for me as a child. Born and raised in Koali, Hana, she grew up speaking Hawaiian fluently at home and with her relatives. In fact, with `ōlelo Hawai'i as her first language, she often felt more comfortable speaking it than English.
Flash forward to my childhood, she would often speak to my brother and me in Hawaiian. Whether it be a simple greeting, or a musing to herself, we had grown up around it while never really understanding the depth of its meaning. However, when I was 5 I suffered grand mal seizure, and again when I was 7 which left me in a coma for a day. After the second seizure, my grandmother gifted me the name Keolamau, or Everlasting Life. Ironically, it would not be until after her death that I would understand the profundity of Life and my personal responsibility on this path.
I believe that I am here to serve Life. Whether named God, the Universe, Buddha, Gaia - the title is irrelevant, only my service. I fought this for many years. Wanting to do and be 'more' in my life, I journeyed on a divergent path. I was afraid of the responsibility, and this manifested in every aspect of my life. My relationships were riddled with self-sabotage. In my personal life, I kept myself poor with the decisions I made concerning money. With my spiritual self, I attempted to intellectualize everything. As Spirit is a matter of the heart and soul, you can image how well that went!
We all have responsibility in this world, and it does not come about as most of us perceive it. You, me, we are all part of a system larger than ourselves. This system called Life gives to us all that we need in abundance. Food from the earth when we are hungry. Water from the streams when we thirst. And yet, how many of us actually stand firm for the world around us? How many persons realize that community is more than a geographic preference - it is what defines us a human beings? Loosely speaking, kuleana is the Hawaiian world for responsibility. Yet it is so much more. It is the concept that we all belong to something greater than ourselves. That each and every one of us have a place where our genius shines. And that the world can only truly be whole when we assume our places in it. Consider this next time you are in traffic and someone cuts you off. Remember this when watching those suffering a world away, when the world asks us to be compassionate. Keep this in your heart always, and look at how your perspective shifts to account for what is true - the world is truly what WE make of it.