The power of envisioning—for better or worse

12 12 2010

Ti, lauae, and red ginger

The rain pounded our island on Thursday, giving the tropical foliage in everyone’s gardens a nice boost of freshness for the “Lei Garland for the Holidays” craft workshop I gave at Kaneohe Yacht Club on Saturday.

Twenty-five people came, each with a bucket of rain-washed ti leaves and lauae ferns, their own tools, and an expectation to create a pretty decoration to take home. I put together the purchased supplies, some extra plant material, red ginger flowers for everyone, and take-home instructions.

Last July, several club members expressed their interest in learning how to make lei as they observed a crew make 12-foot lengths of the garland to welcome the arriving boats in the bi-annual Pacific Cup race.

So I envisioned showing members and their guests how to adapt the Hawaiian wili style of  lei-making to holiday wreaths, table decorations, and botanical gifts.

The longhouse smelled so fragrant, and after some background, a demo, and a few questions, people became quiet and engrossed in their work. It was satisfying to pass on the how-tos. The finished pieces were lovely and sparked “oohs” and “ahs” from the group.

Everyone had fun. No one was disappointed. And they left thanking me for the instruction and guidance and asking for more.

I’m tickled the workshop was such a success. It happened just as I envisioned it in the first place. No, better than I envisioned it. The yacht club sponsored and supported this activity, especially because it brought its members together. Thanks to Ken, Jean, Vel and staff; to Georgia and Kim who drafted me for the boat lei committee in the beginning so I learned how to do it; and to DH who has always been my easel.

I believe, though, that the outcome was a result of my envisioning it in the first place. What we visualize and direct our attention and energy toward manifests!

ON THE SAME THEME … A big, controversial project in our rural Koolauloa community is occurring because its proponents are envisioning it. In fact, the project title is “Envision Laie.”

Laie is one of several-plus smallish coastal villages and towns in the moku (district) of Koolauloa. The Polynesian Cultural Center—a theme park type of visitor attraction, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Brigham Young University-Hawaii make up the economy and the socio/cultural environment of Laie.

Last week a public meeting was held by the City and County of Honolulu for the community to comment on the “Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan Five-Year Review” draft document. The current version includes an amendment that would permit major development in Laie that would spill into neighboring Malaekahana, an area that has been natural green space.

Brand new roads inland, new homes, new student and faculty housing for a larger college enrollment, rezoning ag land for commercial use—a whole new town to accommodate population growth and make it possible for families to continue to live in Laie rather than move away.

While the residents of Laie may envision resurrecting an island ahupuaa (land division from the mountains to the sea) that is self-sufficient as in times of old, the fact is, modern commerce occurs across ahupuaa along the seashore, along the busy two-lane Kamehameha Highway, the only road that connects one community to the next.

In the Hawaiian Islands, communities preserve sense of place and indigenous culture by incorporating Hawaiian traditional knowledge and time-honored Hawaiian values. Is this type of land development the wisest use of the remaining natural resources that now define the area?

The hundreds of people who attended the public meeting dressed alike in blue shirts, contrasted to the few dozen community members who were not in blue, indicated the degree of organizational sophistication behind Envision Laie.

People who oppose the development worry that City officials will be persuaded by numbers alone, that the blue shirts represent all of Koolauloa, when they likely do not. Will they consider the fact that Envision Laie’s vision is not everyone’s vision?

The public may address comments on the plan to the planning consultants of the (Honolulu) City Department of Planning and Permitting until January 15, 2011.

My wish is that we envision peace for our Islands and our planet. And that we listen to the aina, the land.

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke



2 responses

22 12 2010
Rebekah's Studio

I’ve heard that too. You’re right about the City. Some who do not live in Laie but in the surrounding neighborhoods of Koolauloa say the community plan ought to be “Envision Koolauloa” and reflect the “extensive community-based planning process” you mention, instead of “Envision Laie.”

19 12 2010

Scuttlebutt is that the church is holding a community dinner to attract its members to attend the meeting. But this summary hides fact that the city brushed aside an extensive community-based planning process and created its own plan in private consultation with developers.

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