Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year Unfolding--Straw into Gold

Straw Into Gold, ©Hannah K. Hunter, 2011
The other day my sister Amelia and I spent our last morning of vacation exploring a small store in Kauai, which sold beautifully crafted jewelry and sarongs. Brilliant colors and patterns wafted in the temperate air, rivaling the nearby hibiscus. The store was called "Live a Little," ever a good motto for me.

We spoke with the owner, an enthusiastic and friendly man slightly younger than I. We exchanged first impressions of our home states and he told us a story of his first trip to the mainland in 1992.

He'd landed in L.A. during the Rodney King riots of 1992 and he described for us the empty freeways, the closed shopping plazas and the unsettling quiet.

I was both surprised by his candidness and embarrassed, hearing about this disturbing welcome to California. 
Later on that day we were wandering through a small town when we suddenly heard a man's voice yodeling and looked up to see the same store owner waving to us with the shaka sign, a common greeting gesture in surfer culture. Surf boards were strapped to the top of his car, which was headed for the beach.

When I looked up this greeting, I learned that in Hawai'i, it expresses a spirit of friendship and understanding between the many cultures living in proximity there--in other words, the spirit of aloha.
Hawaiian Highway sign
I did some more looking and found that "aloha" not only means hello and goodbye--but also refers to a means of  solving a problem, accomplishing a goal, or finding a meeting between mind and heart

This seems like a gentle and ease-filled way to go about meeting my goals; bringing together my mind and heart, finding my way to my Source.

That's what I'm striving for this year. All too often, 'Mind' heads off in the direction of her choosing and 'Heart' sticks around wondering "What just happened here?!?" Or, vice versa.

Surfboard Memorial for Andy Irons, 2010
The collage at the top of this post was made during my time away. I was thinking of the coming year and wanted to express my deep wish to spend as many hours as I can in the studio; making. I chose the hands of this older woman to signify the power that aging brings, the skillfulness brought to bear on materials and the absorption that is possible when you've given yourself over to your heart and mind's desire.


  1. beautiful every possible way ♥

  2. I love the idea of having a sign up everywhere that is a greeting to all coming and going; and a symbol of brotherly/sisterly love! The other 49 states plus DC could use this too along with the rest of the world.

  3. I love how you amplified the gestures and greetings!

  4. Beautiful post!
    I was wondering if you have any ideas for what I can do for an art project with children in India. I just found out I will be working with Tibetan families - mostly young children. They are in exile and are a part of a foundation that gives them day care for both parents to be able to work. I would like to do some healing art expression with them, but am not sure what is appropriate. Something that has a playful feeling that encompasses color and mark making, but somehow touching upon using art as a tool for healing the soul.
    any suggestions would be deeply appreciated.
    with gratitude,

  5. Hi Hannah,
    I can't remember how I got to your blog, but I'm so happy I did. It is a very gentle place, with flourishes of beauty and wisdom. I really like the collage -- the hands spoke to me. I also liked reading in your bio about how you became an art therapist. Aloha (from Wisconsin...)

  6. Thank you Phoenix--sometimes I get frustrated with the limited meanings that get assigned to words and gestures, so this time, I decided to investigate!

    Jennifer--thank you visiting. I have an idea for a project and will e-mail you.

    Hello Crayons--Aloha as well! Thank you for your generous comment:) I have lovely memories of Wisconsin...

  7. what a colorful beautiful collage that captures the spirit of Kauai- where I grew up and graduated from Kauai High school.

  8. Hi Hannah
    Such a lovely bit of traveling along with you to Helloha-land...your collage has such a settled gentle do you ;-)

    Sorry about the broken link on this week's's the connection:

  9. Aloha Hannah! Wonderful post! I love what you wrote about the mind going one way and the heart wondering what happened. I didn't realize until I read that, that when I am feeling a bit "squirrely" I can probably pinpoint it back to feeling that disconnection from my heart. I always learn something when I read your blog. Thank you!

  10. Your post is ono. (another Hawaiian word for you to have fun with. I love the word aloha, it is so powerful and wonderful. Glad to have "virtually" met you.

  11. Hey Donna--thanks for mending the link and for your warm support.

    Dianne--I love your phrase "squirrely"--I find that fits just right for that feeling of disconnection.

    Karina--Ono is good! Thank you for coming by--could we all be building a virtual ohana?

  12. Hi Hannah. Such rich and beautiful thoughts and colors.

    My daughter loves Hawaii...someday I'll make it there.

    Peace and love.