We are on the brink. A pair of twin brothers who are part of the lifeblood of Still & Moving Center have only a few months left as 12-year-olds. American teenagehood can strike with a vengeance, and one never knows what may be printed on the next page of the book of life. So let’s tell their story up to this point, and ‘get it while the gettin’ is good,’ as my dear ole’ grandma would say!
Waiea and Kaiehu Helelā came into my life almost 7 years ago when their mother Mālia and I opened up Still & Moving Center. They were cute, but noisy, uncontained little chaps. I have to say I’d sometimes bite my tongue when they’d interrupt our conversation yet again. Normal, healthy, self-expressive boys - I’ve had two of them myself, so I know how to put up with their occasional annoyances.
For a long time their Hawaiian names were difficult for me, and even though they looked somewhat different, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t give them the attention to determine which face fit with which name. They DID look a lot more similar then than they do now, I will say in my defense!
How is it these two little rascals wormed their way into my heart? You know, I think that they EARNED their way into my heart. They have won my respect for their integrity, their never-failing politeness and their sincere, genuine aloha.
Their distinct personalities and charm began to emerge for me as Mālia told their stories. Remarkably and symbolically, they were born a few minutes on either side of midnight of the Spring Equinox, March 19th & 20th of 2005. She describes the first, Waiea, as Old Man Winter: wizened, measured, deliberate, born the last day of the Winter season. Kaiehu, more fair-haired and light-hearted, popped out a few minutes after midnight as the Child of Spring, face up and smiling.
Some of those characteristics persist to this day. Waiea, more serious, tends towards engineering. Kaiehu is enchanted by music. He began to meditate on his own when he was 7 or 8 years old after studying and replicating the hand mudras of Still & Moving Center’s Buddha and Kwan Yin statues. Waiea, always playing the sceptic, has a wry sense of humor that will come out the side of his mouth as understated wisecracks!
Mālia has been great at putting their boy-energy to good advantage. Eager participants, Kaiehu and Waiea have probably participated in every single children’s class or event at Still & Moving Center. They had sharp eyes for finding the Easter eggs during our celebration. Nowadays, they play Easter Bunny for us and hide the eggs for the little ones.
From children’s Nia to yoga to partner acro, they were always good sports. I loved watching Waiea spin in the hanging lyra at Circus Camp. As boys, they especially relished Kung Fu, Zen Archery and recently Axion Swords.
The one activity where I observed a lackluster, half-hearted effort was hula class - taught by their mother, of course, our kumu hula (traditionally trained hula teacher). They’d begrudgingly slog through the opening warm-ups of hula class, pleading to be excused at the earliest possible moment. Eventually they got into an Hawaiian immersion school, and I watched the boys change at our hula classes within months. In school they were with others who had equally difficult or MORE difficult Hawaiian names to pronounce than they do! They were now surrounded by children their own age participating in the cultural practices of the school that they had previously engaged in with only their parents.
Not only do they now dance hula, they are often in the front line! Kaiehu has even started to accompany us, the hula dancers, on a pahu drum, allowing Mālia to dance with us! Along with their little sister Ilana, the boys stand next to their mother as we chant our request to enter the dance space. It gave me chicken skin the first time I ever heard their voices chanting back a welcome.
They’re even performing hula in front of audiences. A few months ago my heart filled up to overflowing as I watched them perform in front of 700 guests in a Waikiki ballroom - I was so inordinately proud of them!
I loved clearing a traditional taro patch with them - thigh deep in mud - at a sacred site called Ulupo where they help their family care-take the ‘aina (land). The boys and their mom have also just finished 3 years of training in a traditional form of lomilomi massage called a’e. Over the summer, they participated in and completed Mālia’s own lomilomi course right alongside the grown ups. They’re really diving into Hawaiian practices. At this point they are humbly proud (if you know what I mean) representatives of their culture. They accompany Mālia on many of her blessing ceremonies, learning to play a role.
Speaking of cultures, these kids are as diverse as Still & Moving Center is. They’ve done everything here from Brazilian Capoeira to Korean Zen Dance. This year at our annual enactment of the Ramayana story during the Indian festival of lights, the twins delightedly changed from their traditional roles as the virtuous young princes to becoming swordfighting members of the demon hordes!
When I saw the boys change their roles from princes to demons, I realized that their years of childhood were swiftly coming to a close.
My impulse is to write their story now, while we so obviously have lots to celebrate about them! I’m a total sucker for a happy ending, and I realize that ends are just beginnings. “Happily ever after” would be SO BORING if it just kept rolling along, same old same old. What about growth, progress, evolution, learning and all that good stuff?
As I write, these boys are inquisitive, eager learners. In our hula prayer circle they give thanks and blessings for others in the group, or for anyone who may be sick or unhappy. Kaiehu was recently the only child in a yoga and spirituality workshop, and he gave us a clear, cogent description of his self-created morning meditation practice. The two of them walk over to greet Aunty Renee - any every other aunty - with a warm hug every time they walk in the door. I love these kids.
I have no doubt that Waiea and Kaiehu will grow into kind, responsible, and honorable men. Who KNOWS what’s going to happen in the intervening years when teenage takes place?!? The boys turn 13 in March, just after Still & Moving turns 7. Maybe their Hawaiian traditions will carry them through unscathed. They’ll probably be just as wonderful, but in a different way than they are now. In any case, let’s take this moment to celebrate a happy ending - the last pages of two wonderful childhoods - as they prepare to enter the next exciting volume of their life story.
Resting in stillness and moving in Joy with you through the holiday season,
And you, dear reader?
Do you remember wishing your kitten or puppy would stay adorably tiny forever? Simply push Reply to tell me about when you wanted to stop time!
Magnificence in our Ohana
Kevin Ralbovsky - 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Graduate
Our professional golf instructor Kevin broke the mold when he started teaching his golf students to improve their game by turning upside-down, and he’s been teaching handstands at Still & Moving ever since. Now Kevin’s most recent accomplishment, after many years of yoga and meditation, was to squeeze a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) into 18 days in Bali! click here to keep reading....
TruBodyBliss - Henry’s Tonics
Henry Kisitu’s healthy, tasty tonics originated in his Ugandan grandmother’s kitchen. There she boiled down pineapple and apple cider vinegar to create a restorative drink. She knew a lot of African herbal medicine, was a nurse, and knew principles of Chinese medicine. When she passed away, Henry decided to continue her legacy here in Hawaii. He’s been in business on island for about 6 months, and we’re pleased to carry his healthy, local drinks! click here to keep reading....
Healthy Life Tip
Try Intermittent Fasting aka Time Restricted Eating
Contributed by Kevin Ralbovsky
This eating pattern is based on the body’s circadian clock: eat your meals during the daytime hours, allowing your organs to rest at night. Specifically, eat your meals within 8-10 hours of the day, and take in nothing but water the rest of the time. This pattern of eating aligns with the traditional vedic yoga culture of eating only two meals a day, breakfast and lunch. click here to keep reading....
A Word to the Wise Let Your Lamp Shine
If it is true here that many exert a spiritual influence they are unconscious of, it is still truer of the spheres within. Once the soul has attained to any possession like love, or persistent will, or faith, or a power of thought, it comes into spiritual contact with others who are struggling for these very powers. The attainment of any of these means that the soul is able to absorb and radiate some of the diviner elements of being. The soul may or may not be aware of the position it is placed in or its new duties, but yet that Living Light, having found a way into the being of any one person, does not rest there, but sends its rays and extends its influence on and on to illumine the darkness of another nature. So it comes that there are ties which bind us to people other than those whom we meet in our everyday life. I think they are most real ties, most important to understand, for if we let our lamp go out, some far away who had reached out in the dark and felt a steady will, a persistent hope, a compassionate love, may reach out once again in an hour of need, and finding no support may give way and fold the hands in despair. Often we allow gloom to overcome us and so hinder the bright rays in their passage; but would we do it so often if we thought that perhaps a sadness which besets us, we do not know why, was caused by someone drawing nigh to us for comfort, whom our lethargy might make feel still more his helplessness, while our courage, our faith, might cause "our light to shine in some other heart which as yet has no light of its own".
GEORGE WILLIAM RUSSELL
A Pep Talk from Kid President to You
This cheery little fellow’s name is Robby and he has a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. He has had over 70 broken bones and over a dozen surgeries. What a spirit!
About the Author
Renée Tillotson, Director, founded Still & Moving Center for teaching mindful movement arts from around the globe. She is inspired by the Joy and moving meditation she experiences in the practice of Nia, and by the lifelong learning shared at the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara, California. She intends that Still & Moving Center always be filled with laughter and friendship!