Finding ‘third path’ solutions

These columns are dedicated to kupuna Aunty Abbie Napaeahi, a Hooponopono teacher.

Hooponopono is a cultural practice of great wisdom, using aloha where it is most needed. In conflict.

She told me it was time to connect my head and heart and to speak for the community. I didn’t like this much. Aunty Abbie said “It is time to speak your truth.” However, the truth often offends us. It challenges our beliefs and opinions, and sometimes we would rather cruise in the comfort of denial.

Between right and wrong, there is a third path. You can never see it from the center of either of the two sides.

You can only see it in the place where the two sides connect. Straddling that energetic border takes work, patience and faith in the power of community.

That path is hard to detect. It isn’t visible unless you look for it. Only a few walk that path. Like the overgrown trails our ancestors walked, it will not be wide — unless you follow it, maintain it and make it wider for others who come after you.

Sometimes it is hard to see, because we aren’t looking for it. It takes work. We are emotionally lazy, and would rather trade the comfort of denial, than face the effort of adjusting to the challenging realities at our door.

The mind is a driven by habit patterns. Our primal brain, the prehistoric, oldest part, is driven by reflex, the need to escape danger. It reacts without thinking. But our brain has two other rich areas, millions of years old, developed to ensure our survival, and that of our children.

It is only by harnessing the creative processing of our higher level thinking to our instant reactions that we can create the real solutions to our current problems.

We live in three worlds at once, regardless of our ohana, history or genetics. We live in the world of our past — history, genealogy and traditions. We live in the world of our present — all that we see, hear, feel and think about what surrounds us. Finally we live into an imagined future, that of our hopes, our dreams, and our children’s children.

Kauai does not belong to any of us. Rather, we belong to the aina in the same way that the trees cling to the cliffs of these immense mountains rising from the ocean floor.

For us to argue and fight and make each other wrong — without realizing that we fundamentally agree on the one, most important thing: preserving Kauai for all generations — makes about as much sense as a bunch of mynah birds bouncing around the branches, fighting and jabbering about who owns the tree … all this, while the tree is getting ready to fall.

Real solutions for real challenges requires deep thinking. Not opinions. Not our old notions how it ought to be. Not our habitual thinking. It requires the wisdom of every one of us, working together to protect Kauai and this planet.

Kauai is the jewel of the planet. Let it shine. Let us, like Hokule’a, lead the world home — in aloha. Let’s build a new, third path, which all can use to grow and prosper.


Virginia Beck has lived on Kauai since 1971. One of KCC’s first RN graduates, she was a nurse practitioner here, and in the Stanford community, a Certified Trager practitioner, and a childbirth educator. A rich educational experience in European countries, Pakistan, and the mainland were good preparation for our multicultural chop suey Kauai life. A wellness coach and writer, at Healthy by Design Hawaii, she helps her clients erase stress and design “Lives they Love.” (808) 635-5618


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