Navigating Life

by | Mar 5, 2019

ʽIke i ke au nui, me ke au iki. Know the big currents, know the little currents

 As with other sea-faring cultures, Hawaiians used nature to guide them on their journey.  At sea, the sun, moon, stars, wind, waves, and birds were used to navigate.  Vigilant study of all these sources was paramount to a successful voyage: the destination reached and lives saved.

I was recently reminded of an important lesson of Hawaiian canoe paddling that may often be overlooked when it is being viewed as just a sport. Every seat in the canoe has a purpose and function and when they don’t work together the journey is made more challenging. However, once all the paddlers are in sync, the canoe can move swiftly toward its destination. The slightest mistroke can be felt by everyone in the canoe and can create tension. Or, it can create an opportunity for everyone to refocus and encourage each other to work together.

This ʽōlelo noʽeau, Hawaiian proverb, applied today, in terms of navigating partnerships and new ventures, reminds us that in any journey we cannot let either the big or little things go unnoticed or unanswered.  What may be little to us, may be big to another.  Even the smallest wave moving under the waʽa, or canoe, has something important to tell the navigator.

Be attentive to your place in the canoe your are paddling in.

A hui hou…