Schlag Byte 1/6/03 – “Happy New Year from the Big Kahuna”
Spent a glorious week-and-a-half in paradise over the New Year holiday. We visited our daughter in Kaua’i where she teaches Yoga in the North Shore village of Hanalei accessible only via a single lane wooden bridge. This is the home of big wave surfers, Hollywood moguls, Puff the Magic Dragon and a wonderfully dizzying assortment of hands-on healers.
The morning after our arrival our daughters treated us to a surprise anniversary gift — a traditional Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi massage that lasted four hours. Lomi-Lomi means to soften and we were softened to the melting point.
That morning I was introduced to Allen Alapa’i, a fourth generation Kahuna, a traditional healer. His name means “makes one ready to wake up”. Allen lives at the literal end of the road at the base of a mountain in the midst of a lush, dense tropical jungle. A big teddy-bear of a man with a headband and a high pitched giggle, he greets me with a bear-hug embrace saying, “Welcome to Kaua’i Papa, today we will let out your baby boy spirit out to play.”
I’m not sure what it means but i am ready as he leads me into his treatment room that is filled with guitars, ukeleles, candles, totems and paintings all surrounding the massage table. I undress and wait for the Big Kahuna to release me.
He starts by chanting a prayer in his native language. He asks Akua, the Great Spirit, to bless him in his work and to bless me in mine. He wants to release the knots of painful memories and liberate my uncluttered baby boy spirit to become whole again. Moving his fingertips over my body he does a diagnostic assessment. He picks out all the sore points and tells me they are old stored memories that block the flow of healing energy. Allen says that working on these knots and blocks may bring up some feelings all of which are okay to express. I can scream, cry, laugh or go to sleep, it is all okay.
He says he learned all this from his Grandmother, who picks him out of 12 grandchildren because he had the patience to learn. “This is what my Grandma taught me,” is the repetitive refrain, “you have to get out of your head and hear your body talk. On this table old memories are forgotten. Those knots that are the result of suffering, fear, sadness, anger or jealously and I will rub them out. They will be replaced by a healing energy that will let your baby boy spirit soar. This is what my grandma taught me.”
After four hours with the Big Kahuna there was not a knot left in my body. Floating in a state of tensionlessness, my muscles like jelly, my head separate from body, my baby boy spirit was ready to play.
The following morning I dropped my wife off for her four hours with the Big Kahuna and on my way back I passed two young men butchering a hog at the side of the road. I stopped to shmooze and found out that the whole island was crawling with feral pigs. The wild hogs destroyed crops and landscapes. The hunters, Jesse and Wendell, were the Big Kahuna’s nephews. They are part of a federal funded eradication program that pays licensed hunters a bounty. It keeps the pig population in control, supports the economy and provides food.
Jesse tells me the secret to hunting pigs successfully is having a pack of dogs. They track and corner the wild hogs until he catches up with them and finishes the animal off. Sometimes the boar’s razor sharp tusks finish his dogs off. In fact, he loses 6-8 dogs a year. Jesse has trained over 300 dogs, all coon hound mixtures with Dobermans, Airedales and Pit Bulls. He says the Pit Bulls are the dumbest. “They never last more than five hunts, Jesse says, they want to kill the hog themselves and hang-on even when they are dying.” Of course, I find this a metaphor for life: “If you don’t know when to let go it’ll kill you every time.” I’m thinking this has got to be another one of Grandma’s stories about letting go of your head.
This is another year, so if you’re living like you’re dying, resolve to let go of those pigs on your brain, all those dysfunctional knots and memories and welcome your baby boy/girl spirit.
Happy New Year from The Big Kahuna.
Dr. Carl Hammerschlag
Reprinted with permission