Sep 14 2012

So let me throw out this interesting fact about myself…

In estimation, I ride my bike 8 miles a day.

I work 5 days a week so that leads to 40 miles.

So, in a month I ride 160 miles.

That means in one year, I’ve done 1,920 miles.

That’s pretty much from Redlands in southern California to Alberta, Canada.

Now, thats only counting my rides to and from work. I also ride my bike around on the weekends for other errands.

So basically it’s been one year, about 2.000 miles on my bike, and I still don’t own a car.

That’s right. It’s been just me and my bike.  When I tell people this, it becomes an instant topic of our conversation and some even feel confused about the idea.

When I started working at the University of Redlands I found a place that was fairly close to work and right across the street from the grocery store, Albertsons.  I figured I would get a car at some point but I was in no rush.  One month goes by, still no car.  Two.  Three. Six months.  And here I am today still with no car and the same bike I’ve had from the beginning with a couple new additions: a head light and tail light. Safety first.

Of course there were times where I got frustrated and I had the urge to buy a car.  But then as I thought about it more, I really didn’t need it and since then I’ve accepted the idea of not having one.

Minimalism and Pono

If you’ve been following my Facebook page, you may have noticed my interest in minimalism.  One of my favorite blogs that I read is by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus called The Minimalist .  As I began to research this lifestyle and read about the journey of others toward minimalism, it reminded me of something that Native Hawaiians hold close to our hearts.

And that’s to live Pono.

It has become my personal understanding that Minimalism and Pono go hand in hand with one another.   Leo Babauta of and thinks Minimalism is about taking control of your life:

It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us — the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.

On the other hand, Jason Scott Lee, a famous actor from Hawaii who starred in the movie “The Bruce Lee Story”, believes is the true way to find inner peace and happiness:

Pono literally defined would mean “righteousness”.  Living pono in essence would mean – living righteously.  What that means in the Hawaiian culture, was that they never took more than they needed.  When they did take, they gave back.  To replenish.  To have respect, honor, and reverence for the land or for the ocean. .. Living pono, benefits everybody.

The two ideas, for becoming spiritually Ku , convey living a more meaningful and fulfilling life, and getting rid of all the clutter, stress, non-essential materials, and pilikia (trouble). Personally, although I come from a culture that promotes Pono, I believe I still have a lot to learn.  But, it has been my recent discovery of Minimalism that allowed me to immerse myself deeper into my own culture and work towards achieving a life of Pono.

I see Minimalism and Pono as a life full of positivity, optimism, hope, and creating and seeing value in everything you do.  We should all strive for a balanced life by doing what you feel is right and makes you happy.  If you feel your heart isn’t fully committed, you need to move on. As I continue learning about myself, Minimalism, and Pono, I already began taking action.  I’ve learned that it’s a slow process, but the main idea is to take action.

Everyone is in search of happiness . In the past I felt that happiness only came through material things, instead of looking for it in life itself.  I used to be in a constant competition with what others had – a big flat screen TV, nice shoes, fancy clothes, big houses, luxurious cars, and other materialistic items.

Not any more.

Nowadays, I focus much more on life itself. I found my passions and I’m creating my purpose. Pono is being smoothly reintroduced back in to my life.  My parents raised me to be Pono, but over the years I gradually drifted away.

I am finding that living Pono isn’t something that is unfamiliar to me or a big change to my lifestyle.  It’s more of a reunion with an old friend because I already learned lived it as a child and it’s part of my DNA.

Here are a few ways that I’ve began my way towards being a Minimalist and living Pono:

  • I think about what I’m grateful for every day.
  • I write every day.
  • I grow as an individual every day.
  • I make people smile.
  • I share laughs with everyone.
  • I listen to music, mostly Hawaiian.
  • I’m passionate in the work I do.
  • I build meaningful relationships.
  • I give to others as much as possible and I expect nothing in return.
  • I work on my mission in life of spreading Aloha and help others achieve their mission in life.
  • I’m slowly getting rid of the clutter in my apartment.
  • I’m working towards becoming debt free
  • I ride a bike or walk every where.

I think, me having to ride a bike for the whole year has played a role in my journey towards Minimalism and back to living Pono. I feel my bike rides have become my deepest time of reflection.  There’s nothing like waking up at 4:45AM and on the road by 5:30AM for work.  No cars are out.  The sun has yet to show and there is a coolness in the air.  Sometimes I’ll listen to music or a podcast.  But most of the times I’ll just ride and think.

When people ask why I choose not to have a car, sometimes it’s hard to explain to them that I don’t need a car or they don’t understand.  It goes against what society says people should have in their life.  It’s not that I can’t get a car, I just don’t have a need.

I’m grateful for having a bike. I don’t have to pay a car payment, or gas,  or car maintenance (although I’ve had a few bike mishaps ), or insurance.  I get daily exercise . And during the times I walk, I get to appreciate the smaller things in life – like a squirrel running up a tree, or a butterfly, or birds flying, or enjoy looking up at the moon and stars.

Living Pono, to me,  is the idea of seeing the mana in everyone and everything.  It’s a lifestyle that has been passed down through the generations of my family, and a lifestyle that many Hawaiians today have forgotten about.

You should always try to focus on what is important in life and what your mission is for the benefit of others.  Life should be about focusing on what brings meaning and happiness to your life.  It’s not about how much we accumulate over our lives but how much influence we have on other people’s lives.

Mahalo. Aloha. A hui hou.


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