There were way too many years I dreaded the arrival of December.
The thought of the holidays and what they held in store for me was not at all the “Peace, Joy, and Goodwill to all Men” kind of promise. It was more of a Stress, Frustration, and Avoidance of Unnecessary People period of time because December had come too soon, and I simply wasn’t ready for it.
Photo caption from Flickr: ”I’m ready for all your xmas cards and pressies now!”
The fact that I had young children with the glitter of tinselly tree reflections in their eyes and Santa Claus magic in their dreams was borderline cruel in the mommy pressure it created for me. As horrible as this sounds, I’d find myself wishing they wouldn’t expect so much from Christmas. For I also had the customers and the staff of a 24/7 industry counting on me, and they were nowhere near as understanding and easy-to-please as my children. How we who worked it referred to this so-called “festive season” from the Friday before Christmas to the Friday after New Years was the “15 days of pure hell on earth” for Hawaii’s hotel and resort business.
Not an aloha-filled attitude, not by a long shot, but our all-too-predictable holiday reality. We always survived it, but the holidays were never as happy as I felt I could have made them for me and my family. I would never admit to it out loud, but we came second.
Therefore, in July of 2003, just two weeks into my newly unemployed status, and after thirty-one years working Hawaii’s holiday madness, I decided I would never, ever, work during those 15 days again. My family had waited much too long to become first.
Then, in an act of pure excess, just because I now could, I extended those 15 days of vacation into a four week sabbatical, and my annual Ho‘omaha (time of resting) for holiday joy plus nānā i ke kumu was born. I have my own business now, and during Ho‘omaha I shutter it; no one works. We all belong to our families, and the last coaching everyone associated with Say Leadership Coaching gets from me is “Nānā i ke kumu.”
I think of Nānā i ke kumu as the Hawaiian value of self-respect and dignity of spirit. This is the description of Nānā i ke kumu from the pages of Managing with Aloha; it is found there as Chapter 17.
Nānā i ke kumu.
Look to your source. Find your truth.
There is an inner wellspring inside all of us, and we will go to this inner well to get healthy. We find reason. We find heart. We find soul.
Nānā i ke kumu are words of encouragement, telling us to look inward to this source of well-being as our constant and our truth.
Nānā i ke kumu. Look to the source you have revealed, and let it inspire you. Let it energize you. You will not hesitate, and you will not falter.
You will Ho‘omau with renewed strength. You will be warmed by the Aloha of your own spirit. You will continue.
Magnificently wonderful things happened for me in the rest of 2003 because I made room for myself to get my inner spirit healthy again. I had been practicing Managing with Aloha in managing my own staff, but I wasn’t sharing it yet, and I do believe it was my personal investment into my Nānā i ke kumu reflections, looking toward my own sources of well being, which enabled me to finally sit down and write Managing with Aloha. My book was published in 2004.
During my 2004 Ho‘omaha (my mid-December to mid-January hiatus) Nānā i ke kumu came to mean much more study was in store for me, and as the year progressed I re-studied the nineteen values of Managing with Aloha as compared to principles and virtues, simply because I wanted to come to this ‘blending with clarity’ in my own mind. As a result, last December I published a Ho‘ohana of Faith and Family, and my Aloha List of Virtues, and I am loving the thought that they have been added to this season as a new annual tradition for us too. We’ll talk about them more in the days to come.
I am not sure what Nānā i ke kumu will mean for me this year. However, I do know that it has forever changed my Decembers and I no longer dread them. I relish them, and the holidays have become that merry, magical time they are supposed to be.
My hope is that I can share Nānā i ke kumu with you in our ho‘ohana this month in a way that you can look to your own source too, uncovering the bounty it holds for you.
Self-respect and dignity of spirit is the gift we give ourselves this season. Others may try to give it to us too, with the unconditional love and acceptance of Aloha as its spectacular wrapping, and that is a profoundly special thing too. However when we give it to ourselves we create our own abundance, for only we can look to the source which is the pure light of self.
Ho‘ohana with me, and let’s talk story, shall we?
If you are new to Talking Story, Ho‘ohana „¢ is the monthly newsletter of Say Leadership Coaching, sent on the first weekday of each month to our email subscribers (You can learn more, and subscribe here). Talking Story is home to the Ho‘ohana „¢ online essay of each issue, and we explore more on the newsletter’s theme periodically through-out the rest of the month right here on the blog.