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INSIGHTS
by Susan Pa'iniu Floyd

Aloha and Mana, these principles are the backbone of Huna. Applying them is a skill worth mastering.

Aloha: to love is to be happy with. If we love someone or something we are happy with them, we don't judge them. Sometimes we might prefer it if they made different choices, but love is being happy anyway. Deep love is wanting another's happiness, even if that leads them away from us. What if "being happy with" is hard? This is where Mana helps: remembering you have the power within and then using it. Making decisions.

This year my cat Fred stopped eating. The vet said Fred had a cancerous tumor in the intestines and was beyond help. Did I want him to put Fred to sleep? Not right away, as long as he wasn't in pain. I took Fred home and kept him indoors so I could spend as much time with him as possible. Then I had to decide, should I end his life? I asked a wise friend, SKK, who said, "It's your decision." I asked what he would do if it were his decision and he said "I would honor the cats instincts." This meant to me to let Fred outside. He was often sitting staring at the door. Once free, Fred chose to leave home and stay at a neighbor's yard under their car. This choice hurt me (no, I decided to be hurt by Fred's choice. See the difference?), but it was his choice and I love him. I visited him several times a day, so he'd be sure to know I loved him, until he finally disappeared. Even then, I knew Fred was helping me prepare for other life experiences.

Not long ago a good friend decided to move away from Kauai. I miss her a lot. And yet, I honor her choice every bit as much as Fred's. I love her and want her to be happy wherever her path leads her. Like with Fred, it was a difficult decision not to impose my values on her, but unconditional love means just that, unconditional. My prayer for them and all my friends, is that their choices continue to bring them happiness.

Another friend moved in a different direction last year. Annemarie Assmann took a swim to be with the dolphins and didn't return. She drowned on the Big Island during our Kino Mana Teacher Training last November. I thought I had made peace with the experience, transforming my anguish at losing her physical presence (her spirit is often present), and yet a recent experience showed me otherwise.

I was sitting in the sun on the beach, gazing into the calm, blue ocean when a thought occurred to me. Was I deciding not to swim because I was afraid of the ocean? (Lately I had been refusing to join my friends in the water, saying it was too cold or I was too tired) I love the ocean, so this radical thought got my attention. Was there a ku conflict? Out came the shaman stones. Sure enough, after a few questions, I learned my ku was feeling at least partly responsible for Annemarie's death. Time for reprogramming with the stones. Each time I checked ku's learning, however, I discovered it still felt partly responsible.

Obviously I had some teaching work to do on a deep level. I began by examining my conscious beliefs so I could be very clear what they were. I believe in Mana-all power comes from within. If power is within everyone and everything, no one can make things happen to another. We influence events but all elements involved are there by their own mana, sometimes consciously participating, often unconsciously cooperating. Whose mana was it that our whole class was present at Annemarie's passing (it was a free morning)? Whose mana was it that 50 or more people were on the beach or in the water and no one ever heard a cry for help or saw a waving hand? Shamans are activists, healers. If we could have saved her, we would have. God knows we tried. But the very fact that we couldn't, despite all of our efforts, all of our prayers, all of our love, must mean a greater mana was holding course. We salute your mana, Annemarie. One way we have of showing our love is to stop being sad or feeling guilty for our part in your dance and instead be honored. Ich liebe dich, Annemarie. Aloha nui.

Today I decided to be happy with me too, AlohaMana. (Ku understands the teaching) Tomorrow I swim!


Susan Pa'iniu Floyd is an Alakai of Huna International and the Managing Director of Aloha International. She trains practitioners of Hawaiian massage and teachers of Huna, and teaches classes and courses on Huna, Hawaiian Massage, Hawaiian Shamanism and Hula throughout the world, especially in Europe. Check the Activity Hut for her schedule and contact her by the information given below.

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