The Importance of Tradition

Today (Dec 28, 2012) my daughter cut her hair. Now that may not seem like a big deal, but consider this: She is six, and this is only the second time she has cut her hair.

 

She began dancing hula at the age of two (2). My Kumu Hula Etua Lopes, who wrote the foreword to my book The Foundation of Huna, is her godfather. He is a Master Kumu Hula (teacher of Hula), and a cultural expert. He is the Kumu at Hulihe`e Palace on the island of Hawai`i and in my study of Hula, chanting and the Hawaiian culture, what he says goes! He was a student of the late Uncle George Na`ope, and now teaches where the masters have always taught, at the palace.

 

When my daughter Skylar was born, he told me that we are not to cut her hair until he says so.

 

By the way, like many other cultures, my background includes “the first haircut” where you get a locket of the hair. This was an important event that my mother was looking forward to, and we never did it.

 

Hawaiian and Hula Perspective on Mana

 

Once Kumu Etua had agreed to be the godfather, and when he began to teach my daughter, he said from a Hawaiian and Hula perspective, the mana (energy) is in the hair of the wahine (female). And when you cut the hair, it is meant to be a sacred event, as well as a special time. Additionally, there are very specific things that you need to do with the hair.

 

I mention all of this, because another thing that I learned from my Kumu is that there are three things that are so important to know about your path. There are three things that you need to understand to become more empowered. These three things help you become pono (right) with who you are. They are:

 

1. Know where you came from.

 

2. Know what you are doing now.

 

3. Know who you are.

 

Knowing where you come from teaches you about your past and your foundation. By knowing your roots, you know how to ground. A tree cannot grow tall without roots, so by knowing your history, and the history of those things that are a part of your life, you have a better understanding of your foundation and what helps you ground or center in life. Without this, you can experience imbalance in the various areas of your life.

 

Knowing what you are doing is next. So many people live in the future and/or the past. You think about what you are going to do tomorrow while doing something that day. Then when it becomes tomorrow and you are doing what you dreamed about, you start dreaming about next year! There are many teachers in the field of Personal Growth that talk about being present, and that is what this is. You need to focus on what you are doing now. That will bring mana (energy) into your work.

 

Finally, you need to know who you are. We live in a world of Human-Having’s. People always seeking the next “toy” or tangible goal. Nothing wrong with that. I like my iPad and my toys, and those things mean nothing if you don’t know who you are. Who are you meant to be? We are Human-Beings! Therefore, you need to be actively working on knowing your purpose and statement of being.

 

Strengthening Your Tradition

 

So, what does all of this have to do with cutting hair? It’s simple. Knowing your roots and adhering to tradition is a part of strengthening your foundation. The ceremony and approach that we took to cutting hair goes back generations. It is something that you do as a wahine to connect with the energy of the feminine.

 

My wife and I took Skylar through this, and we have talked about it for months now. Everything building up to today. And, by going through this, you strengthen your tradition of where you have come from.

 

During this season, did you share with your family why you do certain things? Why did you light that candle? Where did that ornament come from? Why do you say grace before your meal? Or why do you cook the foods that you do?

 

By sharing this with your friends and family, you share your roots.

 

Remember, a house without a foundation sinks and falls apart, so enjoy your foundation and malama (cherish) your roots!

 

Mahalo,
Matt

 

Photo by Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ

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