By Emily Harris, Facilitator for Talk to Me Speaking and Discovery Classes
I Am the Amazing Flying Kūpuna! Okay, then. What’s a kūpuna and how did I become one? Kūpuna is the Hawaiian term for a respected elder. The Hawaiian culture is based on strong communities, and I lived in one on the Big Island this past summer. Being of a certain age and a certain hair color earned me the “elder” part. Conquering several lifelong fears and serving my community with appreciation, participation, enthusiasm, great love, and joy earned me the respected part.
But I got to be amazing from the gifts that I received from each of the valiant women of Truth Be Told whom I have served for the past two years. Those gifts include acceptance, acknowledgement, wisdom, love, support, encouragement, generosity of spirit, and a joy in each moment of life I only dreamed of experiencing.
I flew to Hawaii on an airplane. I flew back on wings of my own. And here I am, amazing, and loving every minute of it. With my newfound wings I dance and laugh and play and recognize miracles large and small each day.
Because of you, I can fly to the farthest reaches of my imagination where I find you waiting for me.
Time for take-off.
The part below was written for the women at the Hilltop Unit and is going to be in The Book of Wisdom along with all of the women’s writing to commemorate their graduation from Truth Be Told classes.
A Graduation Gift from the Amazing Flying Kapūna!
Congratulations! Another feather in your cap! By now you have enough feathers to build a set of wings and fly! And not just fly — SOAR!
There is a belief in some cultures that every living thing on earth — down to the most delicate blade of grass — has an angel by its side whispering “Grow, grow.”
You are each an angel to me, repeating that message over and over. For the past two years, I’ve watched and listened as you have grown into, around, and through your personal stories. You have graciously included me on those journeys of discovery and liberation.
In return, I took you on mine. And this past summer your whispers became the wind beneath emerging wings that made it possible for me to fly! In that moment I conquered a lifelong fear of being lifted off the ground.
I don’t know why I had such a fear in the first place, why I held on to it for such a long time, and why it was so transformational for me to conquer it, but it was and I flew and I am proud of myself for doing it. And it was really fun!
I offer this gift of inspiration to you in recognition of your courage, determination, and wisdom in seeking your truth and speaking it loud and clear! Rachel Naomi Remen has inspired me for many years. She is a medical doctor who uses healing storytelling and respectful listening in her practice. May her words whisper to each of you as you continue on your journey of recognizing and sharing your many gifts:
A single act of kindness may have a long trajectory and touch those we will never meet or see. Something that we casually offer may move through a web of connection far beyond ourselves to have effects that we may have never imagined.
~ From the book My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen
Flying may have its limits, but my thanks to each of you is without limits. To that I add heaps of love and light.
November 14, 2013