Preface: This is an excerpt from today’s newsletter for Valentine’s Day. Let’s Talk Story—subscribe!
Aloha mai kākou, and Happy Valentines Day!
Let’s talk story about the heart in this month’s immersion, our Mahalo “Way of Living.”
“And love is also watching, waving, wondering if love remembers you,
and knowing in a happy instant, that love has lasted…and grown some, too.”
—Diane Adams from Love Is 💖 —image from Chronicle Books
As I still live in Hawai‘i and do the majority of my work here, I start with historical Hawaiian reflection as my means of looking to the sources of what we believe in, and why as my habit. My book started as a capsule of my past explorations, and studying our past has stuck as a very enjoyable working routine for me, and a useful one. Our beliefs shape our values, and our values drive our behavior.
My research is by no means exhaustive, yet one of the things which jumped out at me early on in my study of the Hawaiian values, was how little the stirrings of the heart were mentioned in anything beyond romantic love, courage in battle, or childlike innocence. The heart wasn’t connected to intention, work’s passion and purpose, or a search for meaning and fulfillment. As I briefly covered in Managing with Aloha’s chapter 18 on the value of Pono, much more credence is given to mind, body overall—mostly na‘auao as gut-gut-level intuition, mana and spirit.
Hawaiian Proverb 869 in ‘Ōlelo No‘eau is a good example. “He ‘ōpu hālau” is translated as “a house-like stomach” and transcribed there to mean “a heart as big as a house. Said of a person who is kind, gracious, and hospitable.” [In Managing with Aloha, I refer to that person as Mea Ho‘okipa.]
In the Hawaiian Dictionary, Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert list pu‘u wai as the word for heart, yet they immediately point out, “use of pu‘u wai as a center of emotions (instead of na‘au, ‘ōpu, or loko) is probably a Western concept.” [loko refers to the body within, and our human organs altogether.]
All that said, today’s workplaces are a smidgen of Hawaiian teaching at best, and mostly a blend of Western and other international influences, despite our recent decades within the 2nd Hawaiian Renaissance.
Thus, Valentines’ Day celebrations can be what we want them to be.
Image taken from the blog archives;
Our happiness at work leads to our readiness to do it: They seem happy enough. — Goal!
What, in their heart of hearts, do my people want?
Many wish to keep this a romantic holiday, free from any workplace inclusions at all, and I can understand why, as a means of keeping things simple, or within more manageable boundaries. And goodness, few workplaces even celebrate the Labor Day holiday beyond taking an extra day off!
I prefer to make holidays meaningful by stamping them with a workplace culture signature of our own. Think persuasion versus any defined practice, the persuasion of your values’ intent. If you’re a manager, intent on the mālama of your people, and mahalo as your way of living and working, ‘What, in their heart of hearts, do my people want?’ is a good question to keep exploring as you care for them. Books like mine are written to help you, but good managers don’t work by the book; they manage by the person, and by merit of their Aloha Spirit.
Archive Aloha: Visit the blog’s index on Good Questions.
Values are a result of history, as housed in our ancestral beliefs passed down through generations, however, it is also a composite, primarily influenced by what we now believe, right here, and right now.
For instance, I’ve always believed, and taught, that motivation is an inside job; self-motivation is the only kind of workplace motivation there is. Yet motivation does connect to stirrings of the heart, and soul, and spirit. Motivation is also very good at ignoring the rationalization of our minds. Only good can come from making your workplace a safe place to talk about what the heart wants, and Valentines Day provides us with one of those fortuitous circumstances which are timely, relevant in the Alonui way of full presence, and not off the wall at all.
So today, talk story about what the heart wants—listen carefully to those you care about, and thrill in what you learn, and can better understand.
2 bibliographical postscripts to this week’s thoughts;
1. Wanting is a good thing. Wanting has had a place of honor in my vocabulary ever since I first read this quote from George Bernard Shaw: “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die.” To read the full quote in context, and its connection to ‘Imi ola, Kuleana and ‘Ohana, go here: The instinctive, natural selection of Wanting.
2. For those who, like me, are fans of Dr. George Kanahele’s teaching, his essay on the Hawaiian Renaissance is a good read. It is archived in the primary documents of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, a fascinating resource housed in the Kamehameha School archives available online.
“Like a dormant volcano coming to life again, the Hawaiians are erupting with all the pent-up energy and frustrations of people on the make. This great happening has been called a ‘psychological renewal,’ a ‘reaffirmation,’ a ‘revival’ or ‘resurgence’ and a ‘renaissance.’ No matter what you call it, it is the most significant chapter in 20th century Hawaiian history.”
—Dr. George Kanahele
“Talking story” is one of our verbs in Managing with Aloha: Talking Story is Thriving. It’s What We Do.
Ho‘ohana Kākou. If you know a manager who might benefit from joining our Ho‘ohana Community, please share this newsletter with them.
- Our theme for 2019 is Alonui.
- Our value study for the months of January and February, 2019 is Mahalo.
- Ke Ola Essay for our #AlohaIntentions: Mahalo, Way of Living.
- About our Practice of Value Immersion, and About our 5 Aloha Intentions.
- Managing with Aloha preview page. Buy on Amazon.com or order from your local bookstore.