I was honored to be asked to perform for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama at an event called "Pillars of Peace" at the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii. It was a student and teacher only event on Saturday afternoon. I shared the stage with ukulele sensation Taimane Gardner and my musical IDOL Jack Johnson, so that was already a bonus. But when they asked if I would do the honor of presenting His Holiness a beautiful Hala lei, my bucket list flashed before my eyes
I recalled my soul searching odyssey back packing through Australia back in 2007. I was so inspired during that trip, becoming a young woman, and realizing the world is so much bigger than just Hawaii, than just AMERICA even. I purchased a book in a small town called Nimbin near Byron Bay that I STILL have on my bookshelf. "How to Practice the Ways of a Meaningful Life" written by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.
I performed for the packed stadium full of students and teachers, hearing CHEE HOOO's when the host introduced me as being a Kamehameha grad. Trying to do something special for the occasion, I chose to perform a brand new song I wrote called "Forever Summer" that I've fallen in love with-- almost like my gift to the whole situation.
When His Holiness came out in his traditional red robe during Jack Johnsons 3rd song, he gave Jack a little tap on the knee to show that he was cool. The crowd went wild! I was so nervous, but when I was beckoned, I proceeded with the 3-tier red hala lei. In the Hawaiian tradition, you must honi (kiss on the cheek) when giving someone a lei, and I felt like the Dalai Lama shouldn't have been any different. Funny thing was, his wireless microphone was pressed on his cheek in preparation for his speech to follow, so when I made the little *muah* sound that's normal when giving a honi, it ECHOED louder than God's thunder in the big arena! So much for a sweet little honi on the cheek! It turned into the kiss heard round the island...
The video of the event was on the local news later that evening, INCLUDING the kiss! I had to leave before his speech was over, to go to sound check for the MayJah RayJah at the Waikiki Shell... but I heard that he asked the audience if he could remove the lei from around his neck! Because "although beautiful, it was uncomfortable".... so cute! Honestly I would have chosen a Maile lei for His Holiness, but the Hala lei was made by a master lei maker of the age of 89 especially for me to give to the Dalai Lama, so it was a sweet honor for me too. I'll bear the burden of being the girl with the "uncomfortable" lei in his Holiness's Hawaii memories:)
Anuhea's Bucket List
#56: Get to first base with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama..... CHECK!!!