Last Saturday was my pae (a.k.a. big ass hula test). In our hālau (hula school) every couple years we do a ritual/testing. We are responsible for knowing all our mele and oli, songs and dances. It isn’t just the moves or even the meaning of them. It is knowing them in my bones. A knowing deeper than my head, deeper than the mechanics and translations. It is a body-mind-spirit knowing.
The first time I did a pae, I was terrified. As someone not born or raised in Hawai’i, I was scared I’d do something wrong, I’d forget what I was supposed to do or make some cultural mistake. I was scared that I would let my other hula sisters down or worse, my kumu. These thoughts raced through my head. My first pae went fine.
In the moment when I was dancing, there was no place for the voice in my head telling me all the things that could go wrong. All I could do was dance and be in my KNOWING.
The thing about a test is you need to know your stuff. When you’re prepared, you are confident and have an inner knowing, a power. If you are not prepared, you can feel it. So can others. When you’re not prepared, you’re weaker. There are places for that voice in your head to take control.
It is the same in life.
How do you prepare for it?
My preparation is my personal care practice.
When you love and take care of yourself, your energy increases. You have more energy to take care of those you love… your partner, your kids or your work. The spaces for your insecurities and negative thinking diminishes. Your confidence increases. All that from self-care? Yes. And that is why it is ALWAYS the first thing I teach my clients… the first thing I always come back to myself.
Knowing your stuff is knowing yourself.
If you come to your decisions from a place of not knowing yourself, you will be doing what you think you should… and that really comes from what others think you should (your parents, your friends, your spiritual tradition, your culture). You are swayed by everyone else. That energy of not knowing is going to permeate what you are doing. People will sense it off you. They will not offer the same opportunities they would if they felt your confidence. If you don’t know for sure whether to start a business, send your son to camp or start dating a guy, that is fine, but don’t rely on others to tell you what to do. That is giving your power away.
I know it is easier to let someone else tell you what to do, but in reality it doesn’t work. It’s it is nice to think that someone else can tell you what your life path and purpose is, but the point is…
You know yourself better than anyone ever will.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I had a really great doctor. She was a traditional OB/GYN and also encouraged me to get a doula to help my birth. She was one of the only OBs who encouraged birth support (I loved her rebellious nature). As I read more and more about the power of birth and a woman’s own ability to take care of herself, I stopped looking outside of myself for answers. I stopped relying on my OB to tell me what to do and I started tuning inwards to my body, listening within. I noticed what felt right and what didn’t. I stopped doing what I was told was the best thing to do, and instead, started listening to what I felt was the best thing to do.
That changed my childbirth experience from me feeling like a little girl doing what she was told, to me becoming a mother, listening to my intuition and KNOWING and making decisions best for me and my son.
You know yourself better than anyone. You know your body. You know your hearts desires. You know your spirits calling. You know what lights you up and sets you on fire. You know what frustrates you and makes you upset.
You might have forgotten what it’s like to tune in to your KNOWING and remember what’s important to you but it is there waiting.
How do you KNOW? Leave a comment below and share how you KNOW what you’re supposed to do.