A Saturday Recap: 2011 ~ First 8 Days

8 recalls Makawalu for me: Did you happen to catch it within the Joyful Jubilant Learning project? I’ll add a post reprise at the ending of this one, for a moment’s leisurely reading during your weekend, but let’s start with a quick Beginning 2011 on Talking Story Recap, shall we?

Love when this happens, that collections of posts can flow from one question as it did, for I learn to re-frame, and refresh my own learning too ~ so mahalo nui, thank you!

Happy to see the sun

If you’ve been following along (or want to catch up with us), might this help with your Weekly Review?

I had actually started by declaring 2011 The Year of Better Habits, and then Value alignment [the all-important Key 3 on our Managing with Aloha learning grid] became topic of our beginning-to-the-year talk story: It was great to get grounded that way… you could say that it was our first “best clue.”

Day 1: Wayfinding to Use Your Best Clues

On-purpose, well-chosen habits are generous helpers. With the company of good habits I can trust in the quality of my inputs. Then good begets good; my habits help me determine the quality of my resulting outputs. They’ve become a great success structure.

Day 2: Value Alignment for 2011

…my ‘Value Your Month to Value Your Life’ program will not be resurrected in 2011, at least not in the same way as before — but don’t let that stop any of you! Adopt and adapt the program for your own work team: Getting started is easy. Here’s the Take 5…

Day 4: Value Alignment for Projects

A key advantage of both Value Immersion and Value Steering is that decisions get made much quicker, and with greater clarity because criteria parameters have selectively, purposely been narrowed… Perhaps most important, is the authorship shift

Day 5: January Coaching: What are you really managing?

This is definitely a wayfinding exercise, because in starting with that first question you are confronting your existing habits and being truthful about them. I guess you could say that your answers to the second question are your goals, but in my experience it’s been much more effective for those I’ve coached to think of them as wants; they’re more basic that way, visceral even. Wants are Aloha-instinctive, and more emotion-charged compared to how pragmatic and strategic goal-setting is, and so energies ramp up quicker that way (I hate the SMART acronym. There, I’ve said it. I hate it because it’s boring.)

Day 6: Value Immersion, Value Steering” Why?

At the heart of the matter: Values drive behavior. We do stuff because we believe in it, and we resist or refuse when we don’t. You can’t, and won’t pass Go if you don’t buy in.

Day 7: Your values and your DNA

At their core (in their DNA within you), your values are good. They’ll serve you well when you choose to grow them…

Day 8: Is today :)

Thank you so much for sharing this first week of a fresh new year with me!

Now a reprise, as promised: This was originally published on Joyful Jubilant Learning in August of 2008, and I think it suits our present mood well too, in the spirit of wayfinding.

Hungry Koi

Counting Fish, Taro, and Thinking

The study of cultural values has been my keenest interest, and as we decided on our theme for August (Learning from 8) it struck me that I haven’t really paid too much attention to the fascinating language of our numbers. I’ve taken them for granted.

Simply by merit of growing up in Hawai‘i, I have always known that multiples of four and eight are highly regarded in our culture, but why? Up until now it wasn’t something I thought much about, I just accepted it. Leave it to JJL to pique my interest enough to suddenly ask out loud, “But why?”

I went digging in my own library of reference books, and this is what I discovered.

Kauna, Ka‘au, Lau” Counting Fish and Taro

“Numbers is the special language of mathematics and Hawaiians had developed a numbers system of their own long before the arrival of Captain Cook” Hawaiians had adopted a base unit of four in addition to a hybridized base ten numerical system” The Hawaiians’ base four units were called kauna, or four; ka‘au, or forty; lau, or four hundred; mano, or four thousand; kini, or forty thousand; and lehu, or four hundred thousand.

According to J.H. Kānepu‘u, a Hawaiian author of a letter to the editor of the Hawaiian newspaper Ke Au ‘Oko‘a, dated January 21, 1867, the number four was used for a very practical reason: a fisherman could hold four fish by their tails between the five fingers of each hand, or a farmer could hold four taro plants in the same way. Incidentally, fisherman and fishmongers in Hawai‘i today still count fish, particularly ‘ōpelu, according to the old method, in units of four, forty, and so on.”

—from KÅ« Kanaka, A Search for Hawaiian Values by George Hu‘eu Sanford Kanahele

I have seen fish counted this way, and it’s just been one of those things I figured as a fisherman’s habit. Handy, simple, practical” hands, fish and food together; very Hawaiian.

However then there is makawalu, for to the Hawaiian, the spirit factors into everything. Where four is baseline and binary, eight is expansive and exponential. Beyond two hands is beyond eight and predicates using one’s spirit, thus 8 opens imagination and possibility. We call it makawalu.

Makawalu” Counting our Thinking

Makawalu is the concept of abundance in thinking, giving in to all the possibilities of the physical and the spiritual world. Maka is the word for eyes, and walu is eight, thus makawalu literally means to look for eight ways or facets of thinking connected to and extended from wherever you may start.

If you begin to use a tool, think of eight ways you might be able to use it.

If you plot a garden, think of eight sections that will rotate your earth in season.

If you consider a friendship, think of eight ways you will be able to share it.

If you write a song, think of eight voices who will help you sing it.

And then for each of those eight ways, think of eight more. Within your spirit, all is entirely possible.

Makawalu stems from a belief that our intelligence is infinite: For each of the eight perspectives one might come up with, another eight will be possible (making 64), and on (to 512), and on (to 4,096), and on to infinite possibility. It is the expectation of abundance over scarcity— always.

Thus in Hawaiian, makawalu is also the word we use for numerous, many, much, in great quantities, and sometimes, it is “used with implication of chiefly mana [divine power].” —Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert in the Hawaiian Dictionary

So my fellow JJLers, here is my challenge to us all this month:

For every post to come go for Makawalu!

Seek to learn with eight eyes and your spirit.

Could we get beyond our own two hands, a collaborative community 4,096 and “on to infinite possibility?” I believe we can.

P.S. And the next time you go to a fish market, see how good you might be holding four fish between your five fingers! Not as easy as it sounds (cheeky Hawaiians).


    • Rosa Say says

      It’s wonderful Chris! I love that you started with your own story as you did, welcoming us in so openly to learn with you. I’m eager to read more… you just went to the top of my A-List in my feed reader :)