the balance of opposites, part three: what benefits you won’t always be what you like

Growth. It’s hard. It’s unlearning and undoing a whole lot of “truths” and beliefs about the world and about yourself. It’s becoming completely undone, stripping everything down to make way for new creativity to flourish. At least, that’s what it is and has been for me, lol holy crap..

From the outside, it looks like a highkey mess and on the inside it’s a war; with the old thoughts and emotions and reactions vs the new kids on the block, trying to implement change and embody a new set of thoughts, thought processes, feelings and the rest.. it’s te ira atua (the gods) deliberating how to separate their parents, it’s leaving Hawaiki for Aotearoa… it’s in our whakapapa (ancestry, genealogy), so of course it’s natural and will be part of what we experience in our lifetime.

I use the seed analogy a lot, when what that seed grows into is its greatest expression - not remaining the seed. Coz then it’s just unrealised, underdeveloped potential… so whether that seed grows into kai, humans, rākau (trees) or otherwise, the growth part is crucial to the seed becoming the greatest expression of itself.. ya still with me?

Committing to any change in our lives will be met with resistance, and if you’re lucky (sarcasm), not just from your ‘current/old self’ but from people around you too… our bodies are super intelligent and can pick up when something changes from the usual script. It’ll send you all the alerts and distress calls under the sun to let you know your new wake up and bed time, your more nutritious kai (food), your new behaviours - no matter how good they are for you - your body (the subconscious mind/autopilot/programmed responses based on what you’ve fed it over the years) will have a haka and make you feel bad for wanting better for yourself..

Expect the resistance, expect to go through a withdrawals and transtitioning phase where it feels and could very well look highkey messy.. physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and every other way! But draw strength from the fact that it’s repeated, successfully, in our whakapapa many times before, and since were whakapapa in action - the pattern will surely repeat.

Āku mihi ki a koutou,

Hana.

the balance of opposites, part two: dreams require sacrifice

Why would I turn away something beautiful and good in my life, for an unknown, unseen and unrealised future? “Kotahi tonu te hiringa i kake ai a Tāne ki Tikitikiorangi, ko te hiringa i te mahara…” there was but one reason Tāne (atua of the forest, light) ascended to the heavens, to Tikitikiorangi - an unwavering belief to actuate his potential.

This is a verse from an oriori (lullaby), you can read more about by clicking here, while we get on with why it features in this post.* Coincidentally enough, this story is also depicted in tāmoko on my right leg. TMI?? haha maybe not… maybe an insight into why this verse and why this story means so much to me. Me hīkoi tāua, let’s walk.

Earlier in the year, I lay awake in bed, and my conscience reckons, ‘is this it, Hana? Is this your life, is this all you can give?’ and to give context, I was doing pretty ok. I had Te Urupū Media up and running, Cass and I were happy and doing well, we were enjoying life as 25 year olds, cruising and having a good time. Life was good. But this night, for reasons I’m still unsure of, I was confronted with a truth I’d been trying to ignore;

that I could give more to life and be more, and I hadn't been giving or being that.

I was comfortable - I mean, it’s a nice place, but nothing ever grows there. I stopped demanding the best from myself and this internal conversation was the catalyst to change that. The next day, I started to make changes. I began to research how to plan and prioritise better, how to be more productive and set about experimenting with a few different approaches. This is when I first tested the 4:30am wake ups by the way, and oooh once I got my routine going and into a nice flow, it felt good.

The mahi (work) I was doing online and my platform began to grow, I was growing, I felt like I was finally giving more to life.. but there was still something not quite in the right place, something was 'off' and I had no idea what, not that I was conscious of anyway. I came back to NZ for my cousin’s wedding in April and home does what home does - something happened and it felt like a switch flipped, and I knew I had to move back, soon.. Upon my return to Perth two weeks later, the pull to move home became so strong, I couldn’t deny or ignore the momentum that had built up.

Within a month and a half, I moved back to Aotearoa.

As you may or may not have noticed, I returned alone. A month after the move, Cass and I separated and I broke up with my best friend. All in the spirit of wanting to experience my potential... of this unseen future that didn’t even exist anywhere but in my mind (yet). To describe the feeling, it’s like there was no way I couldn’t pursue this, not if I was being true to myself and what I believed I was here for. There were other contributing factors and details to why our relationship ended, which are for him and I to reflect on, but this decision played a major role in how things have unfolded. Which begs the question,

was/is it worth it?

In my book, I write about how becoming the best version of yourself is your contribution back to the world and to your whakapapa (ancestry). Realising your potential, developing and refining the skills and abilities you were born with, unbecoming everything you’re not to embody who you are on the inside, at your core, growing into the greatest expression of yourself - this is what life’s about. Throughout that journey, you connect with others to collaborate, create and live a meaningful life together - another part of what life’s about.°

So to finally answer the question… painfully, not without it’s challenges and a heaviness in knowing I hurt someone in the process - 100% worth it. And I don’t say that to belittle or dismiss Cass (who proof read this before I shared it), or our relationship in any way; our time together includes some favourite moments of my life. I say this in terms of the fact that we all grow. It’s natural and necessary, but also painful AF sometimes.

Sometimes we grow together, sometimes we grow apart, sometimes we grow out of/into relationships - with ourselves, other people, even circumstances.. And at this particular stage in my/our journey, we’re growing in different directions, working on different things - with the hope, nah not hope.. with te hiringa i te mahara, the unwavering belief that for both of us to live into our potential, to become the best versions of ourselves

- means time apart.

In the spirit of realising potential and with so much aroha and appreciation for you Cass, me koutou katoa, tēnā tātou.

Hana.

 

 

*to introduce and explain it properly means a full intro and whakapapa - a whole blog series in itself, so please don’t assume I can’t be bothered. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to learn more about it, the link is there, otherwise I’ll give you the practical application for how and why it’s relevant to your life, k? Ka pai.

°My understanding of the meaning of life, not the meaning of life lol it’s your life, decide for yourself what it means to you and live that.

the balance of opposites, part one: te mana o te wahine, te mana o te tāne

If balance looks like 50/50, or like everyone doing exactly the same thing, that’s not what I’m offering here. Think, equity > equality; the google definition when used in this context is, ”equity” is giving everyone what they need to be successful. ”equality” is treating everyone the same. By now we should know that by whakapapa (genealogy, origins, nature) by environment (upbringing, experiences, nurture) and everything in between - we’re all different and should celebrate that, as well as all the similarities and connections that bind us together. I mean, if we were all the same pieces to the puzzle, we’d just have a lot of one piece + a very incomplete puzzle… Right?

Cool, now we’ve got that out of the way…

let’s apply that same whakaaro (thought) to how we understand and prescribe mana (authority, prestige, spiritual power), specifically, te mana o te wahine (the mana wahine possess) & te mana o te tāne (the mana tāne possess). With the unfortunate tendency of trying to fit and thereby reduce our ancestral knowledge and philosophies to mainstream/Western models, I’ve observed what I believe is

a misuse of the term ‘mana wahine’ to equate to feminism, or feminist.

What about the mana tāne have? How do tāne contribute to this space if their mana isn’t acknowledged? Stay with me, as this is nothing against feminism, ‘advocacy for the equality of the sexes' - I’m all about that. Hey, you know who else was all about that before it was colonised out of them (amongst other things)? Our tupuna (ancestors).

The patriarchy game is strooooooong in Western society, but not so much in pre-European Aotearoa. For instance, pāpā (fathers) were heavily involved with their child’s upbringing and there were observations of how after pēpi had been weaned off waiū (breastmilk), most of the duties were taken over by the men.° Speaking of duties, the different roles within the hapū (sub-tribe) and iwi (tribe) considered multiple variables, including how they affected/protected/enhanced/maintained one’s mauri (divine energy/life force) and mana. As women were blessed with the responsibility of bringing life into the world - if they chose to - you could say the operations and dynamics around the pā (village) pretty much revolved around wahine.

To an outsider, with no/limited understanding of mauri-protection or mana,

seeing women not do what men were doing, or even behind men during a particular phase of a ceremony definitely would look like an act of anti-feminism. When in reality, our tupuna were refining the balance of opposites down to an art form. They understood how masculine and feminine energies complemented each other, could be expressed and also be affected in various ways and so set up rituals to accommodate this, which as you may have guessed, wasn’t a 50/50 split down the middle. It was more like equity, providing opportunities for both wahine and tāne to express their mana.

The balance of opposites doesn’t just apply to men and women; Tūmatauenga (atua of war) and Rongo (atua of cultivation, peace), te ao me te pō (day and night/light and darkness), Ranginui rāua ko Papatuanuku (Sky Father and Mother Earth), whaikōrero me te waiata tautoko (speech on the marae and supporting song), give and take (not just take…) and so on. Even Newton knew that every action has an equal and opposite reaction…

Any force, element or being must have its opposite.

It’s in our whakapapa (genealogy, processes), it’s in our stories, it’s in each of us. And in the case of a Māori equivalent to feminism - it requires both te mana o te wāhine & te mana o te tāne to reestablish the balance and equity between us, in our world today.

Tēnā tātou,

Hana.

*We see the world not as it is, but as we are” so when anthropologists and other observers arrived to study our tupuna - they saw from their own lens and worldview, which as we know differs greatly to an indigenous outlook. They didn’t understand the deeper meaning behind why or how our tupuna lived the way they did - including the mana wahine had, within the community. Much of our kōrero has been lost throughout the years and we must rely on these observations and the fragments we’ve been able to retain, here are some of the books I’ve referenced in this post, not included are the pūrākau (stories) I’ve grown up with.

° Māori Symbolism, by Ettie Rout & Hohepa Te Rake

° Māori Religion & Mythology, by Elsdon Best

instead of asking, what next? ask how are you going to prepare for whatever 'next' is?

It’s been an incredible ride so far. Having more time to rest lately has allowed me some space to take in what’s actually been happening over the last few weeks and months and process through the different learnings I’ve been able to experience and grow through and far out, it’s been something else. In the very best way. So grateful. Check this out,

Seven months ago, the book never existed. Five months ago, I was still in Perth. Three months ago…

Something would’ve happened lol there was a theme going and I didn’t want to ruin it. Anyway, from seven-ish months of intense focus and energy to try bring a book to life, becoming the person who brings a book to life, moving back home, ancestral games events, starting new mahi, getting back into rugby and other little things in between, I’m enjoying the other side of it and having less mahi outside of me to focus on and more time for internal systems and processing work. I haven’t been intentionally focusing on what my next kaupapa (cause, initiative) will be, because there were other things I needed to do first, in order to prepare myself for the next adventure.

But I remember at the book launch in September, someone asked ‘so, what’s next?’

and I was taken back, I thought it was the most bizarre thing to ask, considering I’d just finished THIS kaupapa (project). Mind you, I’d only planned my life up until that night hahaha so that’s probably why I thought it was bizarre, but my first reaction was ‘to enjoy the moment right now, then probably some sleep…’ I didn’t really get that though, oh I did… but not to the degree I wanted to, because there’s a lot more to writing a book than the writing - especially if you self-publish.* There was preparing the waste-free shipping, setting up various accounts, prepping orders and admin side of things which my overconfidence was not aware of initially… it’s all been fun and the perfect experience and insight for upcoming books over the next five years. A huge learning experience I couldn’t get anywhere else, but flip, it took a lot out of me…

It took for me to go back to Hawaii, to have my first proper break that lasted more than a day, it was amazing. It makes sense to me that I had to go back home, to my tupuna (ancestors) to heal. It was the catalyst to this phase of reflection, processing and healing I’m currently in now. I’ve been able to make sense of some ideas, I’ve got rid of a ton of thoughts and beliefs and even relationships that had grown as far as they could. I’ve been working on designing my ideal life: clearing out in every way, from material items and habits to rituals etc., in order to make room for more of what aligns to my ‘best life.’

Because how could I do the next thing, whatever it is°, if I’m still carrying and practicing ineffective habits, thought processes and values? Trusting the process is one thing, but knowing the process and living it is another. So whatever kaupapa you’re working on, just finished or you’re think about ‘what next’ for you - maybe take a second to review how you’re doing things and ask yourself instead,

how are you going to prepare for whatever 'next' is?

Nāku noa,

Hana.

*I’ve almost finished the blog and vlog about this, so I’ll leave the details for that post.

°I know what it is, and it’s freakn awesome. A little more refining and I’ll be able to share. Get. Ex. Cited.

Who’d’ve thought we’d gain so much wisdom by observing the environment? Our tupuna, that’s who.

On our last night in Hawaii, we were down by the beach having a hākari (feast) and ngahau (celebrations) with our Polynesian whānau. Hina (the moon) caught my eye, as she usually does and I noticed she had a haze over her. But there was something else, something about her that puzzled me, like she was trying to tell me something. Compared to when I usually have my moment with the moon, it’s either in a trance of adoration, pure wonder and excitement that I get to witness such beauty, or a “chur, I see you” and I get on with whatever I was doing. Tonight was neither of those.

I kept watching her throughout the night and the haze didn’t dissipate. She was like a puzzle I was trying to figure out. Why’s she still hazy? Why’s she looking at me like that?

then it hit me.

Well, this is what I interpreted anyway and could very well not be what the environment was trying to communicate with me lol but it’s what I got, so that’s what we’ve got… the moon is always there. Obviously the moon is always there but what I mean is, no matter how much of the moon we can or can’t see, no matter that we can only see the parts where Tamanui/the light hits such as Ōuenuku or Ōkoro (phase she was in that night); she’s always there.

Considering the phase I’m in at the moment; recovering, replenishing, refining my systems etc. and processing what I’ve learned and accumulated over the last few months, compared to my usual “doing”, grinding and giving my all to kaupapa, being output-heavy with little to no input going back in - this is super significant. I’m slowly unlearning the programming that I’ve been conditioned to believe it’s all about output and performance.

— hard to produce anything if there’s nothing to work with.

Since finishing the book and not really knowing on what to do next, I’ve put more of my time into implementing and refining my systems and processes and how to be more efficient and effective but with a feeling that I could be doing more. More of what though?! How do you do more when you don’t even know what that’s supposed to be?!! That moment with the moon my last night in Hawaii though reaffirmed that like Hina, I’ll move into a phase to execute and perform soon enough, but until then - it’s time to prepare, to learn, to unlearn, to refine, to experiment, to heal so that I can shine bright, like Rākaunui, when the time is right.

“Different phases for different phases”

Who’d’ve thought we’d gain so much wisdom by observing our natural environment? Our tupuna (ancestors), that’s who.

Tēnā tātou,

Hana.

the stairway to heaven, is it worth the hike?

No, not the illegal one here on Oahu.. that I climbed last year.. legally.. lol anyway… yes that was fun and I saturated my clothes in sweat during the first five minutes, lost the ability to breathe and control of my legs, had the thrill of the $1k fine if we got caught, but it was worth it. It’s in my top five all time favourite climbs, but the maunga and tracks we have back home including Hikurangi, the Routeburn track down south and Tarawera claim the top spots. But that’s not the hike I’m talking about…

walk with me (figuratively, ha you already know).

For the context of this blog post, let’s equate heaven with achieving something and we’ll equate the stairway as the process of getting there. It’s a given, but just so we’re on the same page with our definitions, k? Cool. So, to paraphrase our title, is the process of achieving something worth pursuing? Is the cost of making dreams a reality, worth it? Then once you decide on your answer, how do you know?! This platform and the book are the most obvious examples I can give for this context: I’ve learned so much about myself I never would have, otherwise, during this process. One lesson in particular is,

a taste of the price that must be paid,

the toll it takes when climbing the stairway to heaven. There’s the usual neglected health (physical, psychological, spiritual), but there’s also the dynamics with relationships which were a lot harder to comprehend in reality, than in theory. Who would’ve thought…

You learn that not everyone wants to climb with you, or even climb their own stairway to their own heaven and you find ways to process and understand how that’s actually totally ok. You learn that some people want to appear like they’re climbing with you but after they’ve taken their photos with you as ‘proof’, that was probably all they wanted. Again, totally ok - that’s their buzz. You learn that people want you to climb, but only so far… any higher and it makes them uncomfortable, so you’d better get comfortable where they’re comfortable with you being. You learn that you sometimes can’t give as much of yourself as you’d like to to other people or kaupapa (causes/projects) because your dream is taking up all the space in your life.

You learn a different degree of loneliness as you climb and even though I’ve always enjoyed my own company, I’ve learned how crucial this is to the climb: to have my mind and thoughts in my corner, on my team, deafening my ears and mind to the kōrero iti (negative talk).

Just when you thought it was all doom and gloom, you also attract people into your life, new and old, who are climbing up to their heaven and offer you; advice, wisdom, moral support, validation, snacks, inspiration, a safe space, affirmation that your pursuits will be worth it and remind you of how

you’d be performing a disservice to the world if you don’t realise your potential…

Some relationships in my life have been weakened by the climb, some haven’t survived this far into the journey, some have been reaffirmed and are stronger than before and some are new and refreshing. Having that blind trust in the universe and believing what’s meant for me will never miss me and who’s meant to be in my life will be there and whoever’s life I’m meant to be in, I will be is turning out to be one of my favourite attributes because that’s how I decide my climb so far has been worth it and why I continue to climb.

I mean, I don’t actually know, because I can’t see the bigger picture yet and how all the different components unfold, but trusting in the universe, by whakapapa (origins) means I trust my tupuna and their knowledge systems and philosophies, means I trust myself.

Because what’s the alternative?

Ngā mihi,

Hana.