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The Kaieiewaho Channel – Part 2 of 4 – Honoring traditions

December 6, 2010

It is important to honor traditions when heading out on any swim or adventure.  I know that I always offer up a little prayer before the start of a swim and at the end.  On this swim, we were blessed to have many people who knew how to honor the Hawaiian gods, spirits, ancestors and energies.  At dusk on Friday, we all went up to Pu'u O Mahaku, an ancient place of worship.  Mike's good friend, Bob, gave us some history of the location and pointed out how the walls aligned to point to different locations.  I felt a little like I was back at Stonehenge in England.  One of the walls pointed straight to Kauai.  We all turned and looked into the distance across the ocean.  I never expected to really see Kauai, but there on the horizon very very far away was the deep grey cloud color of land.  I was stunned.  It seems like this is not a normal occurrence on Oahu to be able to see Kauai.  We took it as a good sign.  

This felt like the right time to offer up our prayers and thoughts to the gods, spirits and energies that surround us.  As I stood in the circle joining hands with my new friends I felt like we were becoming a family.  It was an amazing experience.  We left behind an offering that we all had the opportunity to hold and infuse with our thoughts and prayers.  We also each expressed our thoughts to our teammates about our upcoming adventure.  I explained that I was thankful to find such crazy kindred spirits who thought launching ourselves into the unknown was a good idea.  In this circle, I felt love, gratitude, and safety.  A very good start to the adventure.  As we drove away, I looked at that blue ocean and that thin grey line of land and contemplated what was to come.

We all joined back at the boat to enjoy a pasta dinner and again resume conversations and talking about the swim.  Too soon the evening came to a close and we all went off to our respective host homes for a short sleep before an early morning start.  We were to be back at the boat and motoring to the start at 4am.  

At the beginning of the swim, we again honored tradition.  One of our crew, Rob Phillips, has been blessed to be a spiritual guide.   He has studied Hawaiian traditions and can take your breath away with his leading of prayers and chants.  Again we joined hands and hearts, formed a circle and listened as Rob offered up a chant and prayer.  I don't know exactly the words or what was said, but I felt a lightness about what we were going to undertake.  I knew whatever the outcome, I was going to be forever changed.  I reached out to my past loved ones and just offered up a quick prayer of my own "Please keep us safe."  And with that, Mike Spalding jumped into the water and started to swim.

I know throughout the swim I had to reach back to that connectedness that I felt during our prayers.  The swim was proving to be very difficult.  After much adversity, we did reach Kauai.  Our final act to honor each other, our ancestors and the spirits, we joined hands and hearts a final time.  Rob lead a heartfelt emotional chant and prayer.  We each held another offering of thanks infusing it with our love and energy and then we dropped it into the sea.  

I am forever changed by this swim and this experience.  My family continues to grow.  For that I am eternally grateful.

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