Saturday, December 4, 2021
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Grief as deep as you Love

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Grief is a complex human emotion. It can produce love, anger, confusion, depression, anxiety, regret—well you get what I am saying.

Humans seem never prepared and not in the least taught how to cope and resolve grief. Like anger, another confusing human emotion, there are few common sense coping strategies or tactics to deal with the cascade of emotion.

Grief is as ignored as peace-making—we devalue and sabotage peace-making in our lives.

Grief, Anger, Jealousy act on humans like a water/mudslide. It seems we can only guess at the onset, where it will go, or how to cope with the sheer force of these emotions. Mostly, we lash out and hurt others in our expression of a fundamental human emotion.

If I take the meta-view, to look at my life as an observer would, at the thousands of cascading emotional episodes, contemplating the trauma creating the triggers, in the light of the deaths of so many friends, it is clear, what we take for real is not permanent.

From the perspective of our own death, and the wisdom of our meta-view, our existence is unreal, just as our solid material world is not real, at least in the light of timelessness and eternity.

Rainbow bridge over Hawaii

A wonderful poet, Hafiz once spake so, “To take for real that which is ephemeral, is like the ravings of a madman.”

Yet as I watch those I’ve walked beside, friends, colleagues, citizens, frenemies, who have been around me, pass across the rainbow bridge, I see it as a promise and a warning to be in alignment with your highest purpose, or be in fear and regret.

Choices are our greatest power

The warning: Those who seek to “rule” their worlds are distracting you from creating your world through your choices, narrowing your sense-of-power to better manipulate you by their words and decisions.

The promise: When what you think, say and do are in alignment, there you will find happiness. Happiness and a collaborative co-creative world that benefits the many not the few is a choice. Choose carefully, think focused, visualize the thought forms of what you prefer, and then act to choose it in the material world.

Align>Ask>Accept>Act>Receive is the promise

It’s not the journey that crowns you but the end.

As day turns to night, like flowers, we are here, then gone, so are also our lives in the broad span of time. We are soon forgotten, even if we are famous.

So, make the most of your one wild and crazy life.

Robert Kinslow is a coach, consultant, change agent and sustainability expert. Connect with him here or LinkedIn

SureFire Powerpak

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Mobile video light review

When it comes to a video light, I used to lug heavy camera gear around to capture the funny, meaningful or downright awesome moments that can spontaneously arise during the days of our lives. Since the cellphone revolution, my camera has become my choice mostly for it’s light weight, flexibility of use and features, and reasonably fast time of operation.

Let’s say an important moment is emerging, I reach for my cell and in a second or two am ready for the moment to present. Or, perhaps a moment is in full swing, in a few seconds, I’m recording without having lost much of the meaningful moments.

A serious impediment to night-time photography, recording those “dark moments,” is the cellphone camera itself. Cell cameras are notorious for their poor low-light performance, making low light spontaneity unable to be visually recorded. Also, cell flashlights have limited range and focus. External video lights can be cumbersome and lack flexibility. So, if I’m holding a light and trying to focus/exposure, AND point-n-shoot, frame the image, I’m not going to get optimum results.

SureFire video light and mobile case
The video light mounted on a iph6

FirePak video light

Along comes the FirePak video light, charger and flashlight. SureFire’s design strategy is simple enough, integrate a phone case with rechargeable storage and 2 high-performance mobile LED lights with enough lumens designed for video for 16:9 video frames in a form factor compatible with multiple sizes of phone cameras. USB and micro-USB ports allow charging your cell phone from the charger, or an included cable can be used to recharge the FirePak video light. SureFire says it has an effective range of up to 50 feet and while the light does travel that far, usable lumens land in the mid-range.

When I picked up the FirePak for the first time, I was struck by the wedge shape that fit comfortably in my hand. At first, the squished wedge shape looks cumbersome. Pick it up and it feels completely different. If you can imagine a drip coffee cone with the tip cut off and both sides squished flatter into an oval shape, you can imagine the shape of this flashlight. The FirePak slides smoothly under the molded rails of the phone case snapping securely onto a stop that positions the LED lights in two positions with respect to the iPhone camera.

SureFire video light and mounting case
Features of the video light and mobile case

The durable case is built for rugged use (not moisture or water) with a 4-level light switch and distinct illumination levels. Design-wise the features are functional while dramatically expanding your performance—as a video light or a back-up battery.

LED lights create enough lumens for 16:9 video frames

When I switched it on, the double LED “eyes”  emitted two blinding rays of light, even at the lowest setting. I wondered when I might use that much light? However, once you turn it on at night, you discover the benefit of blinding light.

At the highest setting the bulbs create significant heat, so don’t be surprised when you touch it. As an illumination device, there is enough light to do fine work, like reading or repairing, too. A distinct setting for faces for interviews would be a good user feature, just in case you are listening, SureFire?

It’s kinda tough to steady the cell when the light is installed on the case because of the extra weight and thickness requires your normal hand position to block the LEDs. Your hand size and strength will discover what position is best for you. I had to adjust as shown in the pictures below. It’s quite difficult to switch on/off the light without shaking the image. Shooting vertically is difficult for the same reasons, so you’ll have to learn how to control the frame with two hands.

SureFire video light
Normal hand position for mobile recording

SureFire video light
You may have to modify your hand position for this video light

If I were a DP on a film using cell-phone video, and this light, I would make sure there were several on charge at all times. No one wants to wait for your only battery to charge. A question a newbie DP might ask is: How long will one last? So, test your equipment before shoot day, OK?

Charging the unit

Charging the unit was problematic, as my first attempts failed, due I believe to a mismatched charger plug. Initially, I began charging the Firepak using a USB port built into a small power strip. After two days, the blinking red light indicated it was not fully charged, though I thought it might be close to fully charged, so I began to charge my cellphone at 5%. I recorded the time and charging rate at 10% intervals but at 57% the FirePak fully discharged and stopped charging the cell battery. I reached out to Rob Kay of Guns and Tech, he suggested using a direct charging plug and trying again. Once I plugged it into a 2A charger direct to the plug, it charged up overnight.

All in all, this unit is a good buy for those who want to expand their video capabilities to low-night-time conditions. It is small and powerful enough to have in your toolbox, just in case. It is durable and useful for most cellphone recording situations. And, it serves well as a flashlight illuminator during emergencies and when you might need a torch to light your path.

Whether you already have a youtube channel, are a budding professional videographer, or just want the firepower to be able to record life’s dark moments, FirePak is an excellent choice for all. You can see the FirePak in action at the manufacturer’s website: surefire.com/firepak

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GoalZero & Sunjack reviews

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Portable Powerpack Solar panel reviews

As everyone who lives here knows, Hawaii is no stranger to power outrages. The last big storm that came through knocked power out on the North Shore for half a day, yet that of course would be child’s play, if we got hit by something the magnitude of Iniki or Irma. As we all know, it’s just a matter of time.

So, how to charge our devices, in this event? Not everyone can afford a gas-powered generator (at least $1000) much less deal with the hassle of storing fuel. There are a few fixes that will at least keep small devices like your phone, pad, flashlight or radio powered up.

The first option, and the least expensive, is to stock up on batteries. The industry standard for modern flashlights, radios, lanterns, etc is the 18650 Li-Ion battery. Get yourself a battery charger to keep them topped off.

If you want to charge devices such as tablets, cell phones, etc., you’ll need to get some type of powerbank, essentially a battery with ports that allow you to charge any USB-based device. I’d suggest, opting for a portable solar panel which can assist in charging small devices, and keeping powerbanks topped off. There are a number of them available for backpackers or home users.

Input: Solar panels with charging cable arrangement. Output: Panel—>Powerpak—>Phone is the correct order

Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Kit

With a little research, I soon came upon the weatherproof GoalZero Zero Venture 30 portable power-bank phone, tablet & solar panel combo. It is a compact kit that includes storage and recharger. The kit is designed for the backpacker or traveler but anyone with charging needs in an emergency can benefit from this system.

Designed to charge point-of-view cameras, tablets, phones and other USB compatible devices, it’s 28 Wh (3.6V 7800 mAh) rechargeable battery can be coupled with a Nomad 7, 13 or 20-watt solar panel. Together they weigh a little more than 1-½ pounds. Built for travel or backpacking, for home use, it’s a bit under-powered.

Output kit showing cable types and solar panel chaining feature

The battery unit has been designed to be weatherproof (light rain not submersion) and shock-proof (moderate impact resistance) and can remember charging profiles of the devices you connect. The battery can be placed into a protective shipping mode designed to avoid self-discharge during periods of storage. For natural disasters, fully charging the battery and then placing it in storage mode for future use, is recommended prior to the event. Such a practice extends battery life significantly. The manufacturer claims “hundreds of life charging cycles” for the battery. The battery has two USB ports each capable of dishing out 2.4A each just like a plug version would. Apple, Android and Windows devices compatible with the output cables above.

This system included a 7-watt panel. While a standard 2A USB plug-in source can charge the battery in as little as 5 hours, charging times will vary from 16-hours with the 7-watt panel to 6-hours with the 20 watt panel. Priced accordingly, an innovative aspect of this kit is up to 4 solar panels can be chained together via the chaining input port.  Remember, battery and device charging times will depend on both the panels capacity, the angle of the sun to the panels, and the amount of sunlight available in your geographic location.

Test setup: Input (solar panels) and Output (cable types): Panel—>Powerpak—>Phone is the correct order

During periods of use, charge the battery fully first, then connect to the battery and charge your devices is the recommended use cycle. And, don’t forget to place the recharger in storage mode before you put it away for future use. Prior to an emergency, I suggest a dry run with the devices you plan to use before the emergency occurs so you understand the limits and capabilities of your Venture 30 Solar panel recharger kit.

SunJack 14W solar charger with 1o000mAh battery pack retails for $169 and is a good bet for camping or home use.

Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger + Powerbank

Another solar panel/powerbank combo we tested was the Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger + Powerbank.

The solar charger has four panels and when folded is about the size of an Apple iPad. It folds into a rugged nylon case, which can be quickly unfolded and hung up to face the sun. A mesh pouch on the rear holds the charging port and cables, the devices to be charged, and the battery pack. It has a series of grommets along the edges of the panel so that you can easily attach it to your backpack.

The panels provide up to 14W of 5 volt USB power under a bright sun ideally producing 2,000mAh every hour. That means you can recharge the powerbank that comes with it in about 4 hours (under a bright Hawaii sun).

Sunjack’s powerbank includes Qualcomm’s “Quick Charge 3.0” technology, which speeds up charging appreciably if the device on the other end (in this case my phone) also has “Quick Charge” capabilities.

The panels provide up to 14W of 5 volt USB power under a bright sun ideally producing 2,000mAh every hour. That means you can recharge the powerbank that comes with it in about 4 hours (under a bright Hawaii sun).

According to the experts I spoke to at Illuminationgear.com 1.5-2Ah is the minimum acceptable usable panel output.

Otherwise, charging your powerbank, or anything else, will take a full day. The Sunjack 14 W system, which retails for $149 (with the power bank) is a good place to start. You could also consider their 20W kit with 2 lithium battery packs, for $169.

The Sunjack’s 10,000mAh Advanced Powerbank, which comes with the solar kit (or sells separately for $29) has three ports, the standard USB, the micro USB and the new USB-C. What I really like is that it comes with Qualcomm’s “Quick Charge 3.0” technology. This means if you have a phone or other device that is “quick charge” compatible (such as my Samsung 7) this little unit will charge your device (according to the manufacturer) up to 80% faster.

A mesh pouch on the rear holds the charging port and cables, the devices to be charged, and the battery pack. (Courtesy Tim Yan photo)

Whether it’s 80% or 59% faster is anyone’s guess but it’s fast. My cell phone was charged in about 20 minutes. In an emergency situation this could be crucial.

I’d certainly recommend this nifty little combo from SunJack.

The takeaway on this piece is the larger solar charging unit you can afford, the better. What’s more, if you can get a combo that comes with a fast-charging powerbank, assuming your devices also have this capability, get one.

Editor’s Note: Rob Kay contributed to this article

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Earth Day 2017

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Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.10.37 AMHow many of you remember the first time you saw our Earth? This view of ourselves embedded in a living planet, wrapped in oneness, exploded into our collective consciousness.

Did you know soon after this view of our whole planet was available to us, the modern global environmental movement was birthed?

“Once a photograph of the Earth, taken from the outside, is available, a new idea as powerful as any in history will be let loose.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, 1948

For many Americans, perhaps the entire human population, this picture has sparked a collective shift about our planet. For the first time in history, we saw that we are all on a canoe—one race of islanders afloat in a sea of space.

This photo was taken from Apollo 8 on Christmas eve 1968 while scouting for a moon landing site. The crew lost radio contact with NASA going around the back of the moon and took this photo when they re-emerged from the dark side of the moon.

Imagine… as they rounded the moon’s edge, they saw our Earth some 240,000 miles away—glowing in deep blue framed by white clouds—embedded in seemingly empty space. The surface features in the foreground are on the eastern limb of the moon as viewed from our planet.

Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders had become the first humans to leave Earth orbit, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968. In a historic live broadcast that night, the crew took turns reading from the Book of Genesis, closing with a holiday wish from Commander Borman: “We close Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.07.03 AMwith good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth.”

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.” — Apollo 14 astronaut, Edgar Mitchell

As a species we had ventured beyond our Earth’s atmosphere into the sea of emptiness around our planet home. It was the first mission to leave Earth orbit and these were the first astronauts to see the Earth as a whole. Now we have the meta-view, a view of ourselves as one system, held together in space with no one to save us and no one more responsible than us for our shared destiny.

Within 2 years of publication of this perspective, 1970, the modern environmental movement was birthed, the first Earth Day was held, and the Federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were passed by a Republican, Richard Nixon, who clearly recognized the values of conservation, of clean air and water to all our people.

In 1970, with nine staff members and a $125,000 budget, a Washington, D.C.-based group organized the Environmental Teach-in, which would become became the first Earth Day.

 With then senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin as their champion, the staffers brought together volunteers in dozens of cities and college campuses around the country.

04221970
Judy Moody and Denis Hayes on April 22, 1970 with the first Earthday teach-in banner in the background

Hayes, who had dropped out of Harvard Law School the year before to join Senator Nelson’s project, also chaired the Earth Day anniversary celebrations in 1990 and 2000. 
”[Hayes was] the one who did the unglamorous, wearisome job of starting it up,” Ralph Nader told the New York Times in 1990. “[Hayes] is an orchestrator of environmental events which were national … and now are global.”

Like Earth, Hawaiian islands are remote and surrounded by a sea that restricts passage, yet, unlike Hawaii, humans do not have ships bringing food or water to Earth. There is no Planet B. We have no other home nor do we have alternative sources of food and water.

BruceJustinAlGore1999LtrEarth day 1970 celebrations in Hawaii were led by Bruce Justin Miller and his team at University of Hawaii. The events of the first Earth Day, were called the First National Environmental Teach-In. While I do not have any pictures from that day, I ran across this letter written from Al Gore to Bruce and his team in 1999.
[Click on the pictures to expand them into larger sizes for reading or to download.]

And, these micro-fiche snippets from Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser, are illustrative of the energy and interest of folks then. Thanks to Dave Atcheson.

HonoluluAdvertiser_EarthDay1970In the Honolulu-Advertiser article was an a column advocating green practices. Notice it mentions the UH Earth Day event, and proposes ways for islanders to reduce waste by using reusable bags, making laundry soap, reducing car miles, and eliminating toxic cleaning products, and pesticides, such as DDT, etc.

Yet, here we are almost 50-years later debating those same ideas, because fossil fuel businesses have such a stranglehold on politics and people, we still cannot believe we can change our behaviors, it seems.StarBulletin04221970

 In the second article from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, dated April 22, 1970, a prophetic quote from scientist, Dr. J. Murray Mitchell Jr. who said, “…The release of increasing quantities of carbon dioxide and thermal pollution into the atmosphere threatens to change global weather and melt the polar ice, flooding wide areas. Man may begin to notice the change by the end of this century.”

For many GenX’ers, perhaps even Boomers—ahead of our time—that our society is still _talking_ about changing our behavior, almost 50-years later, reducing our waste and footprint on our only planet—still talking and not doing—induces major depression and climate angst. Yet, it is also the driving force for social improvement of our continued advocacy. As the 50th anniversary approaches of that moment when a picture of our Earth shimmering in space changed us forever, why not get involved with the Earth Day Network?

Riseup folks, we are much better than we have been programmed to believe! Stand up for the Earth on which you stand.


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Preparing for the Future of Work

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Future of Work is Here

Each generation’s ability to advance their own destinies and contribute positively to subsequent generations is dependent on their awareness of how important it is to be future focused. The hourglass of time does not stop running, and it will take all of us, starting now, to imagine and work our way beyond the past we and our ancestors have created, yet where many surprisingly find ourselves stuck.

Look… the future is coming for you. Can you imagine a future-focused—worst and best-case scenario—a scenario largely dependent upon what we do now?

Starting with a pragmatic understanding of reality, as it is today—this moment—is crucial to effectively create our dreams in the future. It has been said, if you are anxious, you are focused too much on the future. If you are, regretful or depressed, too much on the past. If you are content, then you are present focused. Too much of one and you are stuck!

Near Future Scenario
Anyone Born after 2000 and Today’s High School Students

man-76196_1920Scenario…The year is 2025. Hawaii, like most of the U.S., has accelerated their shift to a model relying upon extended family groups. College debt has continued to rise and further compromised meager savings; increased long-term debt has become an unsustainable challenge for many parents and students, alike. Little attention has been focused on what courses and degrees will result in work (or jobs) for these youngsters who have grown up in an age of uncertainty. The poor have grown poorer, educational systems have not kept up with emerging market-driven needs and the middle-class, especially has continued to erode. The U.S. world educational ranking grade remains at a “C” – i.e., the bottom of the middle of the pack.

A different scenario…The year is still 2025.

Ostock-exchange-911608_1920ur educational institutions have responded to the revolutionary needs of students and provided them with expert guidance as to the set of courses that will ensure their best options in the future. Likewise, college costs have been eased by the inclusion of more virtual courses taught by world-renowned educators who inspire as well as instruct. Targeted technical knowledge, specific skills, flexibility and lifetime learning are now embraced by highly diverse mainstream workers. U.S. world educational rankings have risen to a “B” and we are on our way to an “A” ranking.

Now, today, ask yourself:

Playbook4Teens
The Playbook for Teens is co-authored by Hawaii Wingman, Carleen MacKay, who is the originator of a series of work-focused playbooks for several generations.
  • Are your children’s schools teaching robotics and new technologies at every age and level – from kindergarten on? Do you know?
  • Are you involved with your children’s teachers – challenging them to advocate for continuous improvement in teaching methodologies?
  • Have you read Playbook for Teens on Amazon? Might you inspire high-schoolers with the real-life stories of people, just a few years older than they are; people who can demonstrate winning game plans that will matter to their own futures.
  • Are you building blocks for future-focused viable careers by helping your children to find opportunities to learn well beyond the classroom walls?

The future will be determined by what we teach our children today


Pivot to the Pacific, into YOUR future.

workforcewingmentaglogoWe are your Wingmen

Reach out to your favorite wingman—we are multi-generational coaches. You will benefit from our proven 8-Step process. Let us guide you to what you need to know and do in order to advance your career in a time of hyper-shift. We can help you implement a plan that will work for you the day after the day after tomorrow.

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow
Authors, Speakers, Emergent Workforce Experts


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Riseup

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What’s your calling?

What motivates you to get out into the urban world to stand and speak for positive vision of the future?

timrobiblogpic
My inspiring brother, Blue eyes Tim Kinslow

In 2007, as he lay in the hospital, his body succumbing to the ravages of chemo and cancer, my younger brother called me out. I was there with about 30 of his family and friends. Tim had been sitting quietly in his bed, propped up, yet with his head lowered, listening to the muffled banter from everyone. I was over at the door, opening and closing it softly so that the sudden sounds would not jar him, as he loved quiet stillness.

Suddenly, he raised his head, looked me in the eyes from across the room, and asked, “What are you doing over there, Robbie?”

Continue reading the rest of the story…


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Future of Work Trends

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Think about five short years from now, UNLESS something radical changes…

By 2021…

  1. The old will be older and broker and millions, in this fastest aging of U.S. States, will increase dependence upon younger generations amid overburdened social and healthcare systems that are ready to plunge our economy into a state-of-disaster.
  1. Gen “Z” will be out in full force – half won’t be ready and many more will be denied access to specific skills and competencies the future demands. Increased negative economic and societal challenges will increase major differences. In Hawaii, for example, college costs will continue to rise much faster than subsequent wage growth.

    wakeupwithpurpose

  2. Hawaii’s workers will not be in the full-time, “job” workforce. In the private sector, needed skills, competencies and talent will be used when needed, if needed and as often as needed. The race to a safe haven in the public sector will be overtaken by underfunded pensions. Our ability to pay for the last of the “lifetime” jobs, already standing on shaky ground, will be vulnerable to changes you might not want to experience.

Yet, IF we straighten up and fly right… support our people,

By 2021…

  1. Old age will be re-defined and Kupuna will be encouraged to continue to contribute to the world of work – well into their 70’s, perhaps 80’s. Likewise, a shift to emerging active aging programs, such as health-focused Blue Zones project, will prove beneficial to all.generation-z_infographic
  1. Gen “Z” will have many more opportunities to learn at modest costs. Much of this learning will be online and will be augmented with the dedicated help of pensioned, older folks who will have the time and interest to actively mentor the most challenged of Gen Z’ers. And, by the way, the youngest among us will also mentor up to help Gen Y, X generations learn what they have to teach.
  1. We will all learn to manage our work lives as our businesses – not as simply jobs! We will embrace lifetime learning, a term that, once-upon-a-time, was simply granted lip service. We will grow our careers, re-align our lives in line with our own changing interests and changing technologies, re-boot old interests and help others to succeed.

We are your Wingmen

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay ::  Rob Kinslow

The Science of Consciousness & Healing

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I want to share a little-known secret for improving your quality of life, achieving deep healing and radiant health… even living longer… and better.

stream-1106336_1920(1)It’s not a new super-food.

It’s not a new yoga practice.

And, it’s certainly not a new pill…

It’s your own consciousness.   

Consciousness is the “x-factor” behind deep healing, radiant health and living a long, productive life — even as you advance into your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond!

Yes, health and longevity originate in human consciousness and finds expression in body, mind, heart and soul.

If you’re curious about WHY this is so and, more importantly, want to discover tools you can use to shape your health and happiness, connect with Dr. Marilyn Schlitz. Marilyn has been at the forefront of fascinating and game-changing work in consciousness research, integrative medicine, longevity and healing. She brings more than 30 years experience and study with leading-edge scientists, healers and shamans.ConsciousnessHealing_intro_skyscraper

On Saturday, July 23, she will present a fascinating FREE online event: Using the Power of Your Consciousness for Healing: Discover the X-Factor in Creating Radiant Health.

During this exciting event, you’ll…

  • Receive a more complete picture of how healing really happens through consciousness
  • Discover the power of expectancy in creating pain and discomfort (and what you can do to shift it)
  • Recognize the importance of loving relationships in any healing process
  • Receive insights into the remarkable new findings that show you can consciously influence your genetics, as well as your endocrine and immune system

I invite you to join me for a mind-expanding hour on how to use the power of your consciousness for health and healing. 

True holistic health is so much more than managing your weight and cholesterol and hoping for the best… Marilyn will show you how you can work with your consciousness to achieve a quality life. Register here

be-1358282_1920Using the Power of Your Consciousness for Healing you’ll receive the latest scientific insights that demonstrate the power of your thoughts, emotions and relationships in shaping your health and happiness.

You’ll also be given simple practices to apply in your daily life.

If you can’t listen live, you’ll receive a downloadable replay of the event.

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Disclosure: The link in this post is an affiliate, which means I receive a small commission if you clicknpick. Affiliate link or not, my promise is to only recommend and link to resources I believe will add value to your life and/or work.

 

Let’s talk about the Future of Work

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Enough about the past; let’s talk about the future of work.

How, when and where will we work? 21stCenturywork

We are already working full-time, part-time, on-demand, temporarily, once-in-awhile… from home, from our car, a train, plane or automobile and from across town or across the world. We work for free, for a fee, for ourselves, for the good of others, for learning and/or for the fun of it! We gain-share, bargain or are paid an hourly rate.

The speed of change is accelerating. Within a year or two, few people will ask the question we are asking.

The more you have to offer the changed market, the more choices you’ll have to work in any – or all – ways we have just highlighted.

The more you prepare to meet the demands of change, the more adaptable you’ll be. The more you will be able to accommodate swiftly moving life circumstances and interests.

What are a few of the most recent changes that have affected how, who and where some of us will work in Hawaii in the near future?

hand-1112469_1920First, take a look at the on-demand world and you’ll soon have help with everything from Spring Cleaning to furniture packing. Haven’t heard about the hundreds of on-demand companies in Hawaii? Take a look at how many home food delivery options are a short 808 call away. Want a glass of wine with your dinner? Google “home wine delivery – Honolulu.” Prepare to see well over 150 home delivery options. Your favorite food and wine will be on your table within 24 to 48 hours.

These, and many other firms are delivering services and goods in new ways that will affect you—including, how you work, where you might work, or… how you shop!

The tip of an iceberg of change is floating your way. Keep looking. A new option will emerge tomorrow or the very next day. We’ll keep you posted to many of the changes.

Speaking of changes… here’s one to watch: reasonably long-term jobs with a good company began to change in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Such jobs are now only one way of working and if trends are to be believed, also diminishing in numbers.

The On-Demand, Hyper-Shift, Work from Anywhere Economy is here. Everyone is now a business – including you!

It’s time to learn how to run You, Inc.
But, it’s a bad idea to solo,
at least until you are ready to fly without a wing-man.

Ask us how we can help you to prepare for a future that matters. Let’s #makeworkbetter, ok?

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow :: Fabian Lewis

Story of a Freelancer

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Story of a Freelancer
by Carleen MacKay
:: Rob Kinslow

In our April 5th post, we introduced you to the new world of work, to “Freelancers,” or people who work on behalf of organizations when and wherever needed.

pexels-photoBy 2020, according to a raft of experts, 40%+ of American workers will be “freelancers” in all sectors of the economy. Other experts predict the number may be as high as 50% by 2020.

Situation: This is the story of a real-life person. Our freelancer is someone who migrated from a dozen years of full-time work where he had been designated the “Employee of the Year” to being laid-off and forced to taste the painful and “Unexpected Freedom” of freelancing.outsource-1345109_1280

Goal: Although he submitted resumes for numerous full-time editorial and corporate communications positions, the response rate was low to non-existent. He was further encouraged to pursue freelancing by the lack of interest among prospective new employers, who tended to view his extensive experience and knowledge, not as an asset but as a negative option. Especially, when considered against hiring recent college graduates for a fraction of the salary, our story-teller felt he wanted or his experience deserved. He discovered the world of hiring in the new decade is not about experience and capabilities, but about casting ones portfolio within the needs of prospective clients. He learned to explore and market for this new business of freelancing.

Actions: He undertook face-to-face networking activities, while simultaneously expanding his LinkedIn profile and building a network of 500+ contacts. He accepted freelance opportunities that did not pay well, simply in order to gain experience. He began building a portfolio of work samples.

As time went by, he became adept at turning in quality work on tight deadlines, which drew the attention of new clients. Soon he landed two or three “anchor clients,” giving him a solid foundation of steady work at a respectable wage which, in turn, led to several large-scale web content projects.

By the end of his first year as a freelancer, entrepreneur-696966_1920he began to reap the benefit of client recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals.

Consequences: Our freelancer is now established in a successful freelance business. Not only does he have the comfort of working from home, his daily schedule allows time to play tennis and swim laps at his neighborhood club. He is no longer dependent upon a single company for his earnings, but instead works regularly for a wide range of clients – most of whom he has never met in person and with whom he stays in contact via various online modes of communications.

Lesson: Our freelancer learned the value of persistence by making strong use of online platforms and staying in touch with prospective clients. She has become adept at establishing his brand, at creating sales documents, at maximizing his profile on LinkedIn as well as at leveraging various social connections online as well as in person. He learned to set boundaries to client requests for uncompensated hours in order to prove his worth. Eagerness to work should not be over-used to extract uncompensated commitments or outcomes.

Credible experts predict that the workplace may be dominated by Freelancers in the next decade. Here’s a snippet, summarizing these predictions, from Thomas Frey (futuristspeaker.com).

“Virtually any company that cannot find ways to do things more efficiently and reduce costs will not survive. Business colonies are an organic process of matching labor to projects for the exact duration of the contract.  No more, no less.”                                                                                                                        

Do you want to learn how to Freelance? Ask us for help!

Look us up on LinkedIn:  Carleen MacKay :: Rob Kinslow

Would you like to learn about another way to work in the 21st century?

Look for our next post…


Questions? Answers? More posts by the author.
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Future of Work

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Did you know? The Future of Work is HERE and NOW…

Jobs are disappearing from the future of work

The world is saying no to many traditional jobs these days.  Take a look at the truth of Work. Ensure you have a Future of Work

  • No political party can promise you a job. At best, they attempt to create platforms that will encourage business success, thus (presumably) encouraging hiring.

  • No private sector organization will hire you full-time, if you’re not needed full-time.

  • No public sector organization or institution can afford to ignore their enormous pension debts by continuing to hire as they have in the past.

Layoffs are the future of work

  • No large company is any safer, than any smaller company in terms of providing job security. The Fortune’s 100 companies (the largest employers) have had more than double the number of layoffs than non-Fortune’s 100 companies.

  • No, invention is not a birthright. New technologies have created thousands of new jobs, while causing the loss of thousands.

Future of Work is YOU

  • No end is in sight for the economic unrest that the world is facing. Economic unrest works for and against “jobs” in this country as elsewhere.

  • If pension-less workers do not continue to work, in some capacity, later in life, our economic system will be challenged to cope.

  • No, we cannot afford to overlook the aging of America. There are millions of Americans age 65 and older. Put this in perspective, in the United States there are more people 65 and older than in each of the entire Canadian and Australian populations. This demographic will double by 2030. More than 30% of the US workforce is 50+ years young.

  • No, the U.S. workforce is no longer competitive in the high-demand areas of mathematics and the sciences. Our children are fragmented into the haves and have-nots; our boomers are under-prepared for new massively disruptive challenges, retirement requirements and longer work lifetimes.

What are you willing to do to win your battle for the Future of Work? Will you find new ways to work? Can you see opportunities embedded within the many threats? Will you dare to do something different than experience dictates?

Join us now, fasten your space-suits, summon your reserve of courage for there are many, and often better, ways to work beyond the old world of the familiar. Let us tell you the stories of the pioneers of the future who have turned tomorrow’s threats into today’s opportunities!

Visit us at NewWorkForceHawaii and explore stories of inspiration written just for YOU.

Or, contact us via our LinkedIn Profiles:

Carleen MacKay ::  Angelica Lewis :: Fabian Lewis :: Rob Kinslow

Leadership Learning from the Wheel

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Movement Model of Behavior

Learning from the Wheel of Life
Figure 1: Movement Model of Behavior

Leadership Learning:

According to my Native heritage, teachings and wisdom, recognition of Our ancestors, who’ve prepared the path of life for us, must be acknowledged. My teachers and mentors inspired me to leadership. Our relationships can include those with those who have gone before and those yet to come. Honoring and acknowledging those on whose shoulders we stand, connecting and communicating with our past and future, are fundamental practices of sustainable development. Me, you, we are all a bridge between the ancestors and those yet to come. Leadership from Learning is key.

Figure 1 shows how you may exemplify leadership learning. Read more here, or connect with me on LinkedIn


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Interview with Deloris Guttman, Director, Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum

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President Barack Obama regularly referred to his home state of Hawaii as a big, harmonious community, where he was born and spent his boyhood and adolescence. In fact, his Hawaiian background is, in many ways, a key to understanding who he really is.

There are other important parts of Obama’s past that also provide insight into his values and his modus operandi, but Obama says the “aloha spirit” remains his personal and political inspiration. He stated that “I do think that the multicultural nature of Hawaii helped teach me how to appreciate and navigate different cultures out of necessity.

Obama’s friends and associates say his upbringing in Hawaii is much closer to the experience of everyday, middle-class Americans. Even though he stood out, Obama seemed to fit in happily with his peers. Teachers and friends from that era say he was affable and good-natured and never showed the inner turmoil that he wrote about in his memoir, ‘Dreams from My Father’.

He was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, to a Kenyan father, Barack Hussein Obama, for whom he was named, and Dunham, a Caucasian woman from Kansas. They met while students at the University of Hawaii. The couple eventually divorced, and his mother remarried. The family moved to Jakarta for a while, then they moved back to Hawaii with Barack and his half-sister.

Museum Director Deloris Guttman discuss the mission of the institution to honor the birthplace of the 44th U.S. President and 200+ years of Africana history in Hawaii

IN THIS INSIDER EXCLUSIVE NETWORK TV SPECIAL, “Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum” our News team is on location in Honolulu meeting with, Deloris Guttman, the Museum Director, and her colleagues who will share its history, its purpose, and how you can help them achieve their goals.

Their mission is teaching Hawaii schoolchildren in pre-K to 12th grade about diversity and the history of people of African descent in Hawaii, and to establish a permanent home for their museum.

Deloris served on the committee that in 2014 submitted a proposal for a Barack Obama presidential library in Honolulu, and is now seeking a permanent home for her nonprofit museum, originally founded as the African American Diversity Cultural Center Hawaii in 1997. For a possible permanent site, they are looking at places where Obama lived.

Please contact Deloris Guttman, the Museum Director, at the Obama Hawaiian Africana Museum: 1-808-597-1341 https://kanuhawaii.galaxydigital.com/agency/detail/?agency_id=121273

Tax Isn’t a Peanut Butter Cup

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Once upon a time there were some property developers on Oahu.

They thought that agricultural development would be a good thing.  There were lots of tax incentives associated with agricultural development.

Then they got the idea that putting some solar panels on the land would be a good thing too.  There were lots of tax incentives associated with renewable energy.

So, they put some solar panels on the agricultural land too.

We have agriculture.  And we have renewable energy.  Are these two great tastes that taste great together?

Come on.  Let’s be real.  We’re talking about property tax, not a peanut butter cup.  It turned out to be a recipe for disaster.

Clearway Energy Group, for example, submitted testimony to the Honolulu City Council of their plight.  These folks built two solar projects on agricultural land, and, they said, incorporate compatible agriculture into their ongoing operations.  Solar energy generation is an allowable use on agricultural zoned land under the city’s Land Use Ordinance, they argued.

But the real property tax folks saw the situation a little differently.

To get the special ultra-low property tax rate for agricultural use, the landowner had to make a “dedication agreement” with the tax authorities.  Basically, the landowner promised to use the property for agriculture for a certain period of time.  The tax folks saw solar panels on the properties and said, “Uhm, that’s not agriculture.”  So, they took away the ultra-low tax rate, and, while they were at it, they took away the property’s agricultural classification.  It’s industrial property, they said, which happens to be taxed at a rate more than double the agricultural rate even without any dedications.

At the end of the day, Clearway had a real property tax bill of $30,154 for the 2020-21 tax year (they go with a fiscal year ending June 30), but for the 2021-22 tax year the bill jumped to an eye-popping $835,710.

Clearway’s tale of woe attracted a lot of attention, so much that the Council is now considering Bill 39, which is supposed to address this problem, and state agencies aplenty, including the Governor, the State Energy Office, and DBEDT, have weighed in.

One of the reasons behind this kerfuffle is that this is not just Clearway’s problem.  Any solar project that is located on agricultural land is subject to this kind of reclassification, and the financial impact would vary depending on how much solar went on the land and how much of the land was previously subject to the ultra-low rates for land dedicated to agriculture.

And then, of course, there is the issue of who is going to pay the enhanced tax if the real property tax folks’ methodology is upheld.  Clearway and the other power producers have long-term agreements with power buyers such as Hawaiian Electric.  If this enhanced charge becomes Hawaiian Electric’s problem, it then becomes a problem for all of us who pay electric bills.  If the enhanced charge impacts the developers, it will send shock waves through the industry of people who finance renewable energy projects because of the risk of a property developer getting overwhelmed by this tax surprise and thereby going into default on its financing.

What a mess!

Ultimately, the City might legislate itself out of this situation, making some allowances for solar and agriculture peanut butter cups.  But for the rest of us the moral of the story is that two great tax-favored tastes won’t always taste great together, and one must be extremely careful when mix-matching tax incentives.

Fiji Tourism reopens after two tough years–interview with Makaira Resort’s Roberta Davis

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I recently had a chance to connect with my old friend Roberta Davis, who has spent the last two years at her B&B-style property called Makaira on the Garden Island of Taveuni. Located in the north of the Fiji Archipelago, it’s far from civilization and remains unspoiled. The Honolulu-born Davis and her husband, John Llanes, a Hawaii Island native, enjoy life in Fiji which they liken to Hawaii generations ago. The property consists of four bures (cottages) perched on four acres of a hillside, once the site of an ancient village. Located a few miles from an old dirt airstrip, the resort on Taveuni is a 45 minute prop flight from the international airport in Nadi. In this interview Roberta shares her experiences of the last two years and happily offers news of Fiji’s reopening in December.

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1. Now that tourism is opening up in Fiji, how do I go about visiting Makaira? What are the protocols that must be followed to get to Taveuni?

The New Normal is here. Of course regulations will change as time goes by. Right now guests must have a PCR test within 72 hours of departure to Fiji. Travel Insurance is mandatory or you can’t board your flight. Arrivals must stay for the first 3 days in an Certified Fiji Care (CFC) facility. During those initial 3 days they can go anywhere within the CFC corridor like diving, fishing, snorkeling and CFC  stores.

After 48 hours they are required to take a “rapid test” at the resort. They can bring their own test or purchase one at the resort. 

They must have a staff member witness or administer the test and view the results. If guests test negative they can go where they please on day 3 but will be advised to avoid low vax areas as some resorts might not let them come back in.

Roberta Davis, owner of Makaira

If a guest tests positive some of the larger hotels on Viti Levu have reserved quarantine rooms. On the outer islands, with the smaller boutique resorts, no one will want to accommodate a guest who has tested positive at another resort. (So far there are no quarantine rooms designated on Taveuni).

Those who test positive will need to quarantine in their room. Incoming guests will need to find other accommodations, hence the need for travel insurance as the quarantine is 10 days. If some members of the group or family test positive and others test negative, the negative ones have a choice to return home or spend 10 days in quarantine with the ones that tested positive and hope they don’t contract Covid during that period. 

Restoration of the reefs by replanting coral is practiced at Makaira by guests and management.

During their stay the same public protocols are in place of mask wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing and avoid low vax areas. Every conceivable precaution has been taken to insure everyone’s health and safety. There is not more that can be cone short of everyone becoming bubble people. 

2. How has Taveuni handled the pandemic and the vaccination process?

Fiji should be commended on how they have handled the vaccination process. I don’t think any place in the world has done better. By December 1st 97% of the target population, 18 and over will be double vaccinated mostly with AstraZeneca. Right now 90% are double jabbed. Although we might get a handful of cases a day, there have been no deaths for a while.

The bures at Makaira are spacious and offer privacy.

They are working on teenagers right now so they can open up the secondary schools.  16-18 year old are mainly vaccinated and back in class. Now  they are working on the 12-18 year olds, the policy is no jab no job, no school, no church, no travel. That just about hits everyone on one level or the other. Here are a couple of the aside funny stories. We got the first load of vax’s in April this was before the no jab no job mandate. 

Some of my staff was reluctant to take it but I had to tell them as much as I care about them, “no jab no job”. This is for their own and the guests safety. So I dragged them to the hospital. Some tried to hide in the hallway but I corralled them up. My Karma was I could have written the brochure on the side effects of the shot. Luckily Rosie, who runs the restaurant, got the last dose that they had. 

Views from the property are stellar.

When the death toll started to rise and we were all ahead of the vax game they were so happy to be part of the few percent that was double jabbed. One woman wanted to go to church and you have to show your vax card which she didn’t have went to the hospital and told the nurse since she needed both jabs to give her one in her right arm and one in her left. She was told it doesn’t quite work that way and everyone had a good giggle at her expense. 

3. How has Taveuni weathered the economic downturn? Have businesses and restaurants survived?

Taveuni is an interesting place and everyone here is resilient.  But this had to be the toughest economic time ever.  We had the cyclone before Christmas so there went all the bush food and farms. Then in January was the international lock down that has been for two years. Resorts had to lay the majority of their staff, this meant the locals had no money to buy food and no foods growing in the wild. I kept all of my staff on a part-time basis so they would have enough money to buy the basics and they all live in the staff quarters. 

Isoa and Rosie run Rosie’s Sea View Dining, the restaurant on the property.

Since I am on my own and have a huge area for a veggie garden, we shared  out sections to each staff member and myself as a victory garden. Finding seeds was nearly impossible. Luckily I had a stash of some seeds and we have a lot of second generation veggies from the first batch. Not ideal but okay, it is something. But it was in fits and starts because we had to wait for the first harvest to start all over again for the second batch to grow.

Only in the last couple of months has the island started to get papayas and bananas and watermelon. During that lean time all we were lacking were blood sucking zombies to add to the scene to make it a trifecta. For me it has been one heck of a diet plan haha. But really not fun juggling the finances to keep everyone going and surviving. There was no way I could completely lay off my staff in good conscience their loyalty deserves my loyalty.

They don’t call it Sea View Dining for nothing.

4. Anything you’d like to share about yourself and what you may have learned during this period?

Sure. One of the nice things since we were isolated Covid never really hit Taveuni thanks to the diligence of our Health inspector who did a great job. BUT we were completely isolated and had to rely on ourselves and the island. Luckily supply ships were still allowed in without passengers. We NEVER had a toilet paper shortage, people were more worried about where their next meal was coming from rather than the luxury of stocking up on toilet paper or anything for that matter. None of us could afford it and there were no stimulus checks either. You are on your own. 

The rooms are comfortable and cozy.

Citizens who live in countries of abundance have no idea how lucky they are where the government will support them and if no one got greedy they would never run out of toilet paper. 

One of the things I learned while looking after the Makaira family and myself is how little anyone needs to survive. A lot of people in civilization waste a lot and some are self-entitled. What really floors me is the percentage of anti-vaxxers and how gullible they are. According to them we should have all been dead by now from having taken the vax. 

Big Island native and Roberta’s significant other, John Llanes, doubles as a charter boat captain, at home in Taveuni.

Another nice thing is we had no communicable diseases on the island like colds, flus, pink eye etc. I would guess that during this two year period our immune systems had a chance to revitalize. That is a good thing since guests bring in all kinds of little contagious bugs.

5. Anything new with Makaira? 

Captain John Llanes, who runs the charters, should be starting his operation by the first of Feb. He needs to do some things to get the boat back in the water. Hopefully sometime during the first quarter or so we can finally take delivery of the 24’ center console boat for up to 2 anglers that are more budget minded. 

6. Anything else you’d like to add?

We can hardly wait to welcome guests back to Makaira and Fiji. I hope they are patient because after two years we might be a bit rusty as we dust off our businesses. This is why we aren’t opening until Jan 2 so we can get everything as near perfect as possible and see how the New Normal goes, hopefully without a hitch. 

For more information visit Makaira online email Roberta at makaira@connect.com.fj.

Top Photo: Beach below Makaira Resort.

Tax Workers’ “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

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You might not know this, but our tax workers enjoy all kinds of special privileges.

Suppose, for example, a tax auditor told all your customers you were a tax cheat, rifled through your garbage, asked embarrassing questions of your friends and maybe some enemies, and even called you a “lazy Hawaiian.”  Could you haul the auditor’s tushie into court to be vigorously sued?

Apparently, the answer is no.  Hawaii Revised Statutes section 662‑15(2) says that state actors are immune from liability for “[a]ny claim arising in respect of the assessment or collection of any tax.”

In more recent years, the Hawaii Supreme Court has been giving the tax office even more help and protection.

In a case called Medical Underwriters of California, 115 Haw. 180, 166 P.3d 353 (2007), a taxpayer associated with an insurance company was assessed 4% general excise tax, while the taxpayer contended that it was an insurance company and should be taxed under the special 0.15% rate that applies to an insurance solicitor or agent.  The taxpayer argued strenuously that it was licensed by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs as an insurance company, so that the Department of Taxation should not be able to classify the company as something else.  Our supreme court rejected the argument, saying that the doctrine of equitable estoppel, which the taxpayer was trying to use, “may not be used in such a way as to hinder the state in the exercise of its sovereign power.”  The power to tax is a sovereign power; therefore, taxpayer loses.

In the 2019 decision Priceline.com, Inc. v. Director of Taxation, the court was faced with assessments against online travel companies for allegedly underpaid general excise tax for facilitating car rentals.  The companies noted that they already had endured punishing litigation over general excise tax for the same periods for facilitating hotel stays, and that litigation was resolved by final judgments already entered in the tax appeal court.  The court reasoned “that the actions of a specific government official may not deprive the State of Hawai‘i of its sovereign power to collect the taxes it is legally due,” and held that the termination of the hotel stay litigation did not preclude the car rental litigation, even though it was for the same tax and the same years.

That language is broad, perhaps several degrees broader than it needs to be.  It remains to be seen how far the Department of Taxation will push this get-out-of-jail-free card, and whether the courts will allow it to do so.  If, for example, the Department makes a deal with a taxpayer, such as allowing the taxpayer to settle five years of back taxes by paying four of them in full and skipping the fifth, is the Department going to be able to come back a few years later and say that they didn’t like the deal and the taxpayer needs to cough up the money for the fifth year too? 

We don’t think that any agency should be allowed that much latitude.  There is a fundamental difference between saying that the government can be spared from acts of a well-meaning employee having unintentional or inadvertent consequences, and saying that the government can get a do-over on decisions it makes purposefully and intentionally.  Yes, the government needs revenue and it relies on the Department of Taxation to collect it, but it needs to remember that the Department needs to do so fairly and not tyrannically.  Government is supposed to wield only as much power as the people give to it, and needs to respect where that power came from.

A Niu Way–Vili Hereniko’s Polynesian take on living with Coconut Trees in the Aloha State

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Gracing hotels, resorts and high rises around Waikiki and throughout the Aloha State, there’s nothing more iconic than the coconut palm.

However, when the corona-virus pandemic forced hotels and the tourism industry to shut down, it threw into stark relief the coconut palm’s importance not as an ornament for tourists but as a source of food and sustenance for Hawai’i’s residents.

In any Polynesian diet, it’s a staple.

Thus for islanders, that swaying palm is more than just some South Seas motif. There’s a cultural and even spiritual element to this tree which for For Polynesians, is the tree of life.

This awareness is seen through the eyes of Vili Hereniko, a Pacific Islander from Rotuma, a Polynesian outlier in the Fiji Archipelago. Vili is also a Honolulu-based filmmaker and Professor at the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawai’i.

His award-winning animated short, Sina ma Tinirau recently premiered at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Given the litigious society that is America, it’s understandable that hoteliers don’t want coconuts falling on the heads of visitors. However, this is a virtually non existent problem in island cultures. People know it’s not a great idea to spend a lot of time under fully laden coconut trees. They are taught this from a young age. It’s called common sense.

Thus, one doesn’t generally see mature coconuts still on the trees.

However, Vili noted, that changed during the Covid shutdown.

Seeing them in their proper place struck a nerve with Vili who became an activist, arguing for the return of a thriving niu culture in Hawai’i.

He became involved with NIU NOW! whose goal is to reclaim the sustaining properties of NIU for Hawaii’s residents and to prepare for the future.

His little video goes a long way in understanding the Polynesian point of view when it comes to the plight of the coconut tree in Hawaii.

NOT the End of Gut-n-Replace

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On November 4, the Supreme Court of Hawaii released its decision in League of Women Voters v. State.  That decision involved a bill enacted by the 2018 Legislature that went through some different incarnations before finally becoming law.  The bill was titled “A Bill for an Act Relating to Public Safety.”  As introduced, the bill required annual reporting of recidivism statistics – those who went to jail or prison but did bad things again after being released.  In its journey through the Legislature, it morphed into a bill regarding hurricane shelter space.  The question was whether there was enough opportunity for lawmakers of the other house, and for the public, to give input and discuss the bill in its morphed form.  The court held that there was not, and in a 3 to 2 decision voided the bill.

Government transparency advocates, including the parties to the suit, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, and my organization the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, hailed the decision.  And justifiably so.  The decision was a huge step in the right direction. 

But will it get rid of all gut-and-replaces and eliminate Frankenbills (where pieces of dead bills get new life by stuffing them into tangentially related other bills with a suitable title)?  Probably not.  Amendments are still allowed.  A person challenging a bill still needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the bill is unconstitutional.  And remember, it took a 3-2 vote to hold that recidivism and hurricane shelters are unrelated.  There is still lots of wiggle room that the courts apparently will allow lawmakers before finding that two versions of a bill are “not germane” to each other such that the second version needs to be read three times in each chamber without counting the number of times the first version was read.  The standard the court seems to be adopting is “whether the amendments and the original bill constitute a unifying scheme to accomplish a single purpose.”  Determining what is or is not germane is not going to be easy in most cases.  Let’s take, as examples, the tax-related Rusty Scalpel Award (given to the bill in which the final version least resembles the original) winners for a few prior years.

The 2017 winner started off as a bill to amend income tax rates so that people at or below the poverty threshold would not be liable for income taxes.  It passed as a $1 million appropriation for projects to address homelessness in resort areas.  That bill, if considered today, would probably flunk our supreme court’s test because it changed a bill about tax into one about spending tax money.

In 2016, the award winner started off as a bill to overhaul an existing ethanol fuel production tax credit and replace it with a broader credit to produce renewable fuels.  Toward the end of that bill’s legislative journey, lawmakers snuck in a tax credit for production of organic foods.  That bill, if considered today, could probably pass muster because both versions are about income tax credits, even though one chamber of the legislature was seeing the organic foods credit for the first time late in the session.

In 2014, the winner began as a bill to tweak some of the earmarks on the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT).  It passed through both the House and Senate in that form.  In conference committee, the bill was gutted and then transformed into one that required refinancing of the debt of the Hawaii Convention Center, raising money by selling revenue bonds tied to a new earmark on the TAT, and using $40 million of the resulting savings to pay for a new conservation easement at Turtle Bay.  That bill, if considered today, would probably pass muster as well, because it would be dealing with the general subject of how to spend TAT money.

This new decision by our supreme court, at the very least, should keep lawmakers on their toes.  At a minimum, those seeking to gut and replace, or considering making Frankenbills, need to be a lot more circumspect and careful on how they accomplish what they intend.  We will see in the 2022 legislature, which opens in just a couple of months, how this will play out.

Mission: Joy – Documentary celebrates friendship between Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama screened at HIFF

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“Bromance” has been a staple in cinema, literature, and popular culture for a long time. Perhaps the latest incarnation of this genre is Barrack Obama and Bruce Springsteen’s “Renegade” podcast series.

Not to diss Bruce and Barrack but they have nothing on Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

Talk about occupying a rarified demographic.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the subjects of this documentary must be the most cherished spiritual leaders of our time. Both are unflappable, “cool” and beloved. Well maybe the Dalai Lama is not so beloved by Xi Jinping, but I’d say that’s to his credit.

Mission: Joy, a new documentary by Academy Award-winning director Louie Psihoyos, which recently screened at the Hawaii International Film Festival, offers an up close and personal glimpse of Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.

The theme of the documentary revolves around their friendship. Despite their very different “upbringings” (also presented in the film) we come to realize they share a visceral knowledge of tragedy—both on a personal and global scale.

The premise of the film is simple.

The Dalai Lama and “Arch”, as Tutu is known to his friends, want to spend some quality time together. Organizing this is complicated, to say the least. Both have rather busy itineraries. Arch invited His Holiness to South Africa for his birthday celebration but the mean-spirited African National Congress Party (which runs South Africa) made it impossible for Tutu’s buddy to get a visa.

Suffice it to say, Arch was not pleased. He has the patience of Job and a Christ-like disposition most of the time but the ANC (Tutu’s former political allies) were determined not to do anything that would upset the PRC. As we note in the documentary, this really pissed him off.

Although a visit by the Dalai Lama to S.A. was not in the cards, Tutu accepted an invitation to visit the Dalai Lama’s stomping grounds in Dharmsala, which was the setting for the documentary.

Once there, the two resumed their very comfortable rapport, ribbing each other like the best of friends—which, they are.

Of course, their lighthearted banter illuminates the flip side of their day jobs which are more often than not, very serious in nature.

How the two spiritual icons do what they do is an underlying theme. Dealing mindfully with some of the nastiest people on the planet is no mean feat. However that’s part of their job description.

The lessons for us are forgiveness and compassion, which they have in abundance.

Getting to the root of their personal development is a large component of this film. The documentary provides bios that illuminate the two protagonists.

Through archival footage and animation we learn about their respective struggles and growth as human beings. We see footage of Desmond Tutu at great personal risk, opposing the forces of apartheid by addressing throngs of his countrymen, giving them comfort and courage to fight on.  

Likewise, we witness the Dalai Lama’s transformation from a young child, plucked from his family in Tibet emerging as the conscience of humanity. Like his good friend the archbishop, it’s the Dalai Lama’s role to take on the burdens of an entire people.

But we needn’t get too filled with angst.

Back in India, it’s a lovefest in Dharmsala, with the two men constantly cracking jokes.

However, it’s not all fun and games.

At times, in the course of hearing their personal stories we get surprisingly intimate details, particularly from Desmond Tutu who recounts the guilt he felt not being present for his father’s death. We see that this still haunts him.

During their week-long visit, the Dalai Lama introduces Arch to some of the youngest members of the Tibetan diaspora, children smuggled out of Tibet by their parents who are convinced there is no future for them at home. In fact they have become orphans–they may never see their parents again. Arch encounters these young refugees at a ceremony where he witnesses their heart-rending stories of separation and hardship.

The beauty of this film is the undiluted truth and humor that comes from these men of conscience. However dismal things appear, both find joy – both in their friendship and in their work.

So what is the takeaway from this film? There are a few but one lesson that Tutu articulates is that if you hate your enemies it will destroy your own humanity. 

Towards the end of the film Tutu playfully tells the Dalai Lama that he’s heard of the scheme to decide who his next incarnation will be. In other words the Chinese Government has decided that they will pick the Dalai Lama’s successor.

“That’s pretty funny,” Tutu tells His Holiness. In a jovial manner Tutu makes it clear how outrageous and corrupt this idea is.

As Tutu says, we should thank the Communist Chinese for the presence of the Dalai Lama. “Without intending it”, he said, “the Chinese have given the world a wonderful gift.”

If you’re even remotely interested in these two iconic figures, the story of their mutual admiration society will be inspirational.

Turning Polynesian Myth into Digital Art–“Sina ma Tinirau” screened at Hawaii International Film Festival

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Vilsoni Hereniko, known to his friends as Vili, has come a long way from his native Rotuma, a Polynesian outlier in the far reaches of the Fiji archipelago. Inspired by the island’s folklore as told to him by his father, the Honolulu-based filmmaker and Professor at the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawai’i has just released his latest film, Sina ma Tinirau, (Sina and Tinirau) which is currently being screened (online only) at the Hawai’i International Film Festival.

Sina, a beautiful woman, and Tinirau a handsome man, are two mythological icons in Rotuman oral literature. Their story goes something like this:

A prince, who is cursed to become an eel, has to win the love of a beautiful woman to become human again. He gifts her with his body in the form of a coconut palm in a seductive display. The film is narrated in English with some dialogue in Rotuman, that is subtitled. This lends an authenticity to the story.

(See trailer below).

In his retelling of an ancient tale for today’s world Hereniko takes a page from Carl Jung by interpreting a legend that is as central to the Polynesian collective unconscious as the Crucifixion of Jesus would be in the West. In doing so, he makes the wisdom of traditional Polynesia accessible to the rest of us.

In the words of Selina Tusitala Marsh, New Zealand Poet Laureate Hereniko “combines sonorous storytelling with visually vibrant animation to tell a hanuju, a Rotuman mythic version of Oceania’s greatest love stories of all time.”

“Sina ma Tinirau” says Hereniko, “is an ancient, oral tale that has endured the test of time because it embodies our sensibilities, worldviews, and aesthetics as Polynesians.” It’s not a conventional romantic love story between a man and a woman.”

Rather, he explains, “it’s an unconditional, Christ-like love exemplified by forgiveness.”

“Even though Tinirau’s head was severed and Sina betrayed him, he gave the Polynesian people, personified by Sina, the tree of life. This gift enabled us to survive. It’s the most useful and most important tree to us.”

The coconut palm is the tree of life to Polynesians. In Hawai’i the tree is stripped of nuts in any public areas.

For Vili Hereniko, the coconut palm’s appeal is quite personal.

“As one of 11 kids, growing up on a remote South Pacific island,” says the filmmaker, “on several occasions that tree saved my life. We didn’t always have enough food to eat. When the weather was bad, we survived on coconut meat and water.”

Hereniko said that when he first came to Hawai’i and observed that coconuts had been removed in all the parks and public places, it upset him in a visceral way. He called the trees “eunuchs”. It also disturbed him that many people were seemingly not bothered by what he observed as a kind of cultural castration.

“It’s a matter of education, learning how to live with trees,” said Hereniko. “I mean, no one in Fiji would have a picnic under a coconut tree. They know better.” By transforming a source of food and water (at least) to become just a pretty dance tree and symbol of Paradise, local residents are denied the food and sustenance that the trees provide.

Sina lures the eel to come ashore where her brothers lay in waiting to slay the creature.

Hereniko also said his film also touches upon the “shadow” side of the Polynesians, specifically their prejudice against black skin.

“It’s something that no one talks about in public”, says Hereniko, “but it’s ubiquitous in my culture and in Polynesian society in general. The bias is there and I wanted to bring it to the surface”. (In the myth Sina is fair skinned and the eel is black. Sina rejects the eel’s advances at first because of its black skin).

A collaborative effort

Hereniko said the film was a collaborative effort between several UH faculty at the ACM and their animation students.

Sina ma Tinirau was also a recent award winner at the Los Angeles International Film Festival.

The university provided funding to make the film through the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Collaboration in Film and Animation Strategic Investment Grant. However, in order to complete the project, Hereniko had to tap the European Research Council, a European Union entity, which provided more funding.

He said he was “most grateful for the support of both these funding sources, and the support of Philipp Schorch (co-producer).

The UH Manoa faculty involved were Laura Margulies (animation producer), George Wang (editor), Brittany Biggs (Consultant), Vilsoni Hereniko (Producer, Writer, Director, and Narrator).

Animators from UH Manoa ( some of whom are now alumni) are as follows: Gavin Arucan (animation director), Alexis Nelson (sound designer and sound editor), and Sophia Whalen, Molly Tapken, Mirren Hollison, Danae Naone, Jewel Racasa, Angela Isidro, Alex Narimasu, and Samuel St. John.

You can visit the link here: https://hiff.org/films/16501/

Hike Traffic Fines for Profit

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The Honolulu City Council wants to raise money for the Honolulu Police Department by adding a surcharge to traffic fines.  As KHON2 reports, they say that the money can and should be used to recruit, retain, and equip police officers.  It’s definitely a creative idea to raise additional revenue without hiking the property tax.

There is a small problem, however.  All traffic fines go to the State, not the county, under current law.

The City tried to get around the problem before.  In the 1990’s, the City passed an ordinance saying that anyone convicted in Honolulu would need to pay a “user fee” of $250 in addition to any monetary or other punishment that the court imposed.  That fee was to pay for the costs of prosecution and law enforcement.

But our supreme court didn’t buy that story, in a case called State v. Medeiros, 89 Hawaii 361 (1999).

Counties don’t have the authority to tax anything other than real property.  They can, however, impose user fees.  So, if someone wants to visit the city zoo, the City can and does charge an admission fee.

Charging a criminal with the costs of law enforcement and prosecution is just and correct, the city said. 

The court then wondered what kind of services are being supplied to a convicted person that would justify the fee.  That would help distinguish the fee from a tax, which the City had no power to impose.

Plenty, the City argued.  Prosecution and arrest assist the person convicted in preventing further harm to themselves and others, and hopefully, also helps to convince the offender to stop being a lawbreaker and become a productive member of society.

Yeah, said the court.  It’d be like charging the zoo animals for the service of keeping them caged.  We all know what kind of damage a rampaging elephant can do to itself and others.  This actually happened in 1994 when an elephant named Tyk got loose and caused havoc before being shot to death by police.  So, the argument goes, the Dumbos of this world ought to pull his own weight in connection with the city’s costs to protect him.

The court then went on to observe that in George Orwell’s 1984 one of the characters, who had been caught and imprisoned for various crimes, wondered to his jailer whether he was brought to the jail to punish him, or to make him confess.  The jailer’s reply:  “No!  Not merely to extract your confession, nor to punish you. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane! Will you understand, Winston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands uncured?”

Ultimately, the court found that the $250 charge was a tax, not a user fee, and struck it down.

This time, the City Council seems to have learned from that unhappy past.  The Council might pass a resolution politely asking the State Legislature to jack up traffic fines and to share the money with the county in which the infraction took place.  As to how much, Council Chair Tommy Waters said, “I don’t think they like to be told by the county what they need to do. So I’m asking, I’m asking them to consider it, and we can work on a number as the process goes forward.”

State legislators to which KHON2 reached out for comment had nothing to say.  Which might have something to do with the fact that all of the legislators in the square building on South Beretania Street need to run for re-election in 2022. 

In a few short months, the 2022 legislative session will start, and then we will see what fate will come of the request for higher traffic fines.

In the meantime, you might want to visit the zoo.  Before the admission fee gets hoisted again.

Making the Spalding House a Filmmaker’s Hub—Interview with HIFF founder, Jeannette Paulson Hereniko

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Jeannette Paulson Hereniko is someone who never shrinks from a challenge. 

A former writer and producer for Hawaii Educational Television, she is best known as founder of the Hawaii International Film Festival and was the festival’s director from 1981 to 1996. Currently she’s president of the nonprofit Hawaiʻi Film Foundation of Nuʻumealani whose purpose is to purchase the Spalding House, the former Contemporary Museum, which has been on the block since 2019. It’s her goal to turn the $15 million, 3.4-acre property into a hub for Hawaiʻi filmmakers and film organizations.

I had a chance to sit down with her recently to discuss this ambitious project.

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Rob: Why the Spalding House?  There’s plenty of commercial space in local warehouses or other venues? How can you justify the expense?

An aerial view of the Spalding property, which is 3.4 acres in size.

Jeannette:  The Spalding House has historical and cultural community memories of meaningful ohana gatherings, childhood explorations, artistic and architectural milestones. It is a place where dreams and visions were created and realized – such as when the Spalding House became the Contemporary Museum The history, charm and beauty of the Spalding House nestled in the hills overlooking Honolulu offers visitors a sense of awe and wonder. For Hawai’i storytellers and filmmakers, the unseen but deeply felt connections to our shared history, environment, identity and community stories found at Spalding House is inspiring and unleashes creativity. This rare sense of place that seems to call out for continued community historic and creative gatherings is not found in local warehouses or commercial spaces.

Rob: What’s your vision of who would use it, and how exactly would it be used?

Jeannette:  Hawai’i Film Foundation at Nu’umealani, a non-profit organization, has been formed to oversee activities taking place at the Spalding House that will strengthen Hawai’i’s growing film industry and empower Hawai’i Storytellers whose stories have been underrepresented in mainstream media.

Jeannette Paulson Hereniko was the Producer of “The Land has Eyes”, a feature filmed on the Fijian Island of Rotuma. Above, Jim Davenport plays the district officer and Sapata Taito is Viki, the film’s protagonist.

We will be providing space for non-profit film organizations with meeting rooms, desks, storage space, screening rooms, reception areas, and housing for their visiting filmmakers. By sharing spaces and resources the participating nonprofit organizations can more efficiently imagine, plan, coordinate and present public programs throughout the State that nurtures an appreciative film culture and an economically strong film industry that supports and empowers Hawai’i filmmakers.

We will work with Hawai’i storytellers to turn their stories into films that will excite and inspire global audiences. We will provide a dynamic collective space and resources for local filmmakers from every zip code to meet with mentors, film industry leaders, potential sponsors and peers. The purpose is to create the synergy needed to take Hawai’i stories all the way through the creative process until the film is distributed and seen globally. We want to help our filmmakers achieve their goals so well that Hawai’i filmmakers do not have to move to the Continent to realize their dream.

We are particularly excited to encourage the creation of movies and creative media written by people living in Hawai’i who are at home with Asia, the Pacific and indigenous values honoring environment, spirituality, and community.

Milton Cades Pavilion in Spalding House gardens

Rob: How exactly would the House be utilized?

Jeannette: Spaces at Spalding House have been identified that can provide these resources to make the vision reality:

  • Filmmaker in residence apartments where internationally known filmmakers can stay and work on their projects while mentoring Hawai’i filmmakers; giving master classes for university students; talking to high school students; and showing their films to the public with after-film discussions in public venues such as Honolulu Museum of Art, commercial theatres, public libraries, etc.
  • Screening rooms for Filmmakers, such as University of Hawai’i Manoa’s Academy of Creative Media students, to show their colleagues, juries, potential sponsors, media, film programmers and distributors.
  • Seminar rooms for master classes featuring visiting filmmakers, film industry leaders, film teachers
  • Space for auditions, readings of scripts, and meetings between cast and crew members
  • Meeting space for nonprofit film organizations to hold board meetings, meetings with staff and volunteers
Balanced rocks, Spalding House gardens
  • Storage space for nonprofit film organizations supplies and equipment
  • Space for an exhibit on the history of filmmaking in Hawai’i with guest lectures. Nearby is an area for include screening historical Hawai’i movies, tv shows as well as contemporary films made by Hawai’i filmmakers with discussions afterward.
  • Desks and space for use by ten nonprofit film organizations who have expressed interest to date
  • Cafe run by restaurant business mentors who work with students studying to catering meals for movie crews. Patrons of the cafe include mentors meeting with emerging filmmakers; nonprofit film organization executives meeting with donors and volunteers,
  • Space for filmmakers to learn about tax benefits; film permits, cultural protocols
  • Reception areas for use to honor filmmakers, donors, volunteers of nonprofit organizations
  • A library of past film festival programs, digital and printed film books, journals, film posters – including resources for film producers interested in making a film in Hawai’i such as a library of local film talent, cultural protocols for making films in Hawai’i, film permits needed, library of locations, tax benefits, etc.
  • Garden walks as creative space for filmmakers, film programmers, and nonprofit film organizers

View of Diamond Head from great lawn of Spalding House

Rob: What educational opportunities would you foresee happening for up and coming local film makers, writers and the like

Jeannette:  There will be master classes with the filmmakers in residence at Spalding House presented for film students and Hawai’i filmmakers, storytellers, media. The filmmakers in residence will also be visiting school classrooms and public events organized by participating nonprofit film organizations in public venues throughout Hawai’i.

Screening rooms will allow opportunities for after film discussions with filmmakers as well as a chance for student filmmakers to see their completed film on the Big Screen.

Rob: Where would the funds come from to purchase the place?

Jeannette: There will continue to be donations from individuals who want to see the vision of Spalding House become a Center for Hawai’i filmmakers and nonprofit film organizations.

There will continue to be donations from individuals who want to save the Spalding House for the creative arts benefiting the public rather than it purchased as a private home.

There could be future donations from people who: needs a tax benefit – wants to do something that benefits Hawai’i’s people -wants to encourage an alternative economic driver of Hawai’i’s economy other than tourism and the military – wants to honor the memory of a person who was passionate about movies or storytelling.

Monkeypod tree on the great lawn of Spalding House

Rob: So, let’s assume you can raise the money. How would you finance the cost of maintaining such a place?

Jeannette:  While there are some organizations and foundations who cannot give to buying property, they can use funds for operating and programmatic expenses. Many have indicated that once the Spalding House is purchased and becomes a place for Hawai’i Film Foundation at Nu’umealani, they plan to donate annually toward the operating costs. Also the nonprofit film organizations using the space will be contributing toward the monthly operating costs.

Rob: Do you think you can get the financial assistance of some of the local studios who have had success in Hawaii?

It is certainly possible.

Rob: Who is helping you with this endeavor?

Jeannette: The original Founders of “Save the Spalding House for the Arts” who have been active since the beginning and remain active:

Sarah Bakewell and Jeanie Schmaltz – Realtors Hawaii Life

Marion Philpotts-Miller, Partner, Philpotts Interiors

Shaunagh Guinness Robbins, Community Leader

Actor/Producer Daniel Dae Kim has been an active supporter the effort to establish the Spalding House as a film hub.

Board members of Hawai’i Film Foundation at Nu’umealani are very active in this endeavor: Jeannette Paulson Hereniko, President

Jason Cutinella, Vice President/Treasurer

Heather Haunani Giugni, Secretary

Jason Suapaia, Director

In addition to the individuals named as our Community Partners and the Board members of

Hawai’i Film Foundation at Nu’umealani, other individuals who have been particularly helpful to this endeavor who the public might be aware of include:

Former Governor Neil Abercrombie

Actor/Producer Daniel Dae Kim

Actor/Filmmaker Henry Ian Cussick

Rob: Thank you!