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We Must, My Spiritual Journey
I have repeatedly read Change We Must, My Spiritual Journey
, Nana Veary's autobiographical book rich with love and wisdom.
Veary, 1908-1993, shares with us her inspiring spiritual journey which
begins in her childhood Hawaiian home where she was influenced by both
her traditional Hawaiian grandfather and her Christian mother who
happened to chant to fish in Hawaiian. She writes “I am
pure Hawaiian and grew up in a Hawai’i of another era, a place
that was entirely different from what we know today. Life was
simpler and its rhythm was more natural”.
For about 10
years as a young adult for Nana participated in the Pentecostal
Church. About that experience she writes, “The Pentecostal
Church [...] taught me that anything is possible. It gave me a
faith so strong it is unshakable. No matter how dismal things may
seem, I believe that all things are possible to those who believe and
learn to love God within themselves”.
early 1940’s, while in her 30’s, Nana worked as a lifeguard
in Honolulu while she and her husband raised their 3 children.
One day Nana learned that 21 of the boys/young men who hung out at the
pool had been picked up by the cops for vagrancy. She bailed them
all out of jail and took them home with her to her two bedroom home to
join her family of five – all 21 of them! She called them
“my boys” and they lived with her family for about 6
years. Nana titled the chapter Change We Must
in which she shared this story, "The Happiest Time”. And indeed, this story warms my heart!
the next era of her life Nana lived as a Science of Mind
practitioner. In the final years of her life she was drawn
to live a life guided by Zen.
What I love about Change We Must
is the way Nana fully embraced various spiritual teachings at different
times in her life, and how she naturally moved from one era of her life
to the next in a most unexpected but wonderful way. She fully
embraced her communities, and yet when she was faced with conflict of
values between herself and various spiritual groups she was part of,
she gracefully moved on, with full appreciation for the gifts she had
been given. She embraced change.
I return to reread
this inspirational book whenever I need a reminder to ground myself in
love. The natural life
rhythms in Hawaii that Nana describes ease me away from the rush of
life and into an awareness of what is important in my own live.
On every stage of Nana's spiritual journey she lives a life of
loving service. May I follow her example.