Health Practitioners Share ‘Talking Circle’
“Close your eyes,” began Molokai Kahupono Francis Wong.
Young and old, patient and practitioner followed suit and allowed Wong to guide them in an exercise to empty their minds and let go of their problems.
Wong explained that our emotions guide us throughout our day and it’s important to calm that emotion sometimes to prevent injury to yourself and others.
Hawaiians have long believed that thoughts and words can become a reality, manifesting in our daily lives and affecting those closest to us. Wong’s exercise was a lesson in meditation and ho`oponopono, a Hawaiian practice used to restore and maintain good relationships within a family or group.
“Ho`oponopono is all about balance. When everything is balanced, nothing is wrong.” Wong said.
Wong was just one of many local practitioners from Maui County who participated in a Talking Circle event at the Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) on Tuesday, March 19. Family therapists, ho`oponopono specialists, mediators and others came together to discuss how to best bring their practices and specialties to the community on Molokai.
Max Tornai, Executive Director of Mediation Services of Maui, discussed the value of mediation. While often court-ordered, he emphasized that mediation is a viable option for most disputes out of court as well. Led by a mediator, a group of two or more people will come together to work out a particular problem to find a mutually acceptable solution.
To foster mediation services on Molokai, a training session will be offered in April.
“We have a few mediators on island,” Tornai explained. “We are hoping to expand that mediator pool with the training program.”
According to Tornai, a mediator needs to remain neutral. A preexisting relationship with a mediator can be counterproductive to the process. With more local mediators available, participants who are not comfortable with one mediator can be referred to another.
Tornai emphasized that not just those interested in becoming a mediator can participate in the program.
“These skills are universal and can benefit anybody,” he explained. “They are common sense skills that once you are aware of them, can become very powerful.”
Tomani also announced a grant that will be available to Molokai residents for mediation services. The grant, through the Harry and Janette Weinberg Foundation, will help pay for the cost of mediation for those in need.
To find out more information about the practices, programs or the grant, contact Kanoe Davis, cultural health navigator at MCHC, at 660-2629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.