Daybreak at Ka‘Å«pÅ«lehu and The Lesson of the ‘Opihi

Took the day off yesterday and went ‘opihi picking with Ker. Well, he picked. I took pictures.


Daybreak at Ka‘Å«pÅ«lehu. It is Ka lā hiki ola, the dawning of a new day.


Waiting for the next wave.

These are ‘opihi and you may remember my mentioning them in Managing with Aloha in connection to the value of Ho‘omau, the value of persistence. To Ho‘omau is to persevere. To never give up:

The lesson of the ‘opihi

Obstacles can test you. They can also build you and strengthen you. They build your conviction, your poise, your leadership, your tolerance, your persistence, your self-discipline. Obstacles will shrink when stacked up against the powerhouse of energy in Ho‘omau, and they magically become catalysts. They make you better.

Every business faces obstacles. What are those you are facing right now? How can you Ho‘omau? How can you dig in, take stock of who you are and what you have, and persevere? How can those obstacles actually make you better, because they have forced you to rise a notch higher than you would have because things were easy?

One of my favorite whiteboard lessons is a roughly drawn picture of the rock formations common on Hawaii’s shoreline. In this simple and easy-to-draw picture, the rocks are dotted with small pyramid shaped shells that are the distinctive homes of ‘opihi—tasty limpets prized at our best Hawaiian lÅ«‘aus (feasts).

TsyellowsFierce and dominant in the picture are the ocean waves, continually pounding against the rocks, and these little ‘opihi are getting quite a beating. It is the perfect picture of a being that is strengthened and made better by their obstacles.

You see these limpets thrive on the wave action that beats them against the rocks—they need the agitation!

The waves cause them to be better; to grow larger; to have more meat and gain the yellow coloring that every island fisherman knows is the mark of the tastiest ones.

As the ‘opihi cling to them, they take on the character of the rock that is their anchor; their shells get tougher, and their strength such that the man who is a thousand times their size must employ a knife’s blade and the leverage of his back to pry them loose.

The ‘opihi never give up.

The story of our day is posted on
Flickr in a 47-image photo set, and starts here. When you click through them, I hope they will give you some energy for your day, thinking of all the new possibility you can welcome into your life when you step outside and take in your inspirations.

It ends with this picture of two of my Alaka‘i Nalu, Daniel and Mahea, keeping the ‘imi ola legacy of MWA alive and well at Hualalai! It was good to talk story with them again.


Alaka‘i Nalu Daniel and Mahea

Who haven’t you talked story with for quite a while, who is from your brightest history, and who would be sure to give you that extra oomph for your Ka lā hiki ola this month?

Seek them out, and welcome them into the joy of your June too. Welcome them to remain in your new day, practicing the value of Ka lā hiki ola with you. Kākou: Together we are better. Together we are stronger. Waves or no waves!

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  1. Rosa Say says

    Mahalo Joanna! It does feel great to be in sync with my own Ka lā hiki ola goodness right now; even better to know this resonates with you!
    I greatly appreciate your feedback, for you do know me in my ups and downs enough to know the difference (and thank you for being with me in that ebb and tide too :)

  2. says

    Aloha Rosa and Mahalo! These were exactly the words I needed to hear today! Through the power of your words I felt my spirits soar with renewed energy…I will become stronger from the agitation. Thank you Rosa for sharing these words with me and uplifting me just when I needed it on my journey. :-)

  3. Rosa Say says

    Aloha Karen, I am so pleased to hear the lesson of the ‘opihi may help you too. You have such a terrific demeanor in these public spaces we share on the web, one that just radiates with energy, so it is a bit hard for me to imagine you would need more inspiration! Yet of course I know we all need it at times.
    ‘Opihi fishermen (seems irreverent somehow to call them “pickers”) and marine biologists will say the waves bring the algae and brine shrimp the ‘opihi feast on – and that is the main reason they put themselves in such wave-whipped rocky places. However I am convinced it is the agitation they thrive on too; a good lesson for us to reflect on when adversity strikes and we need that half-full attitude of perseverence.

  4. says

    Tuesday Essay #2: Ka lā hiki ola and KÄ“ia Manawa

    ALOHA ~ ~ ~ If you are just joining us, you might want to take a quick look at this month’s publishing schedule to get your bearings. Our value for the month of June is Ka lā hiki ola, the