Embracing the Tiger

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Diane Haynes Woodburn

The Chinese New Year is just around the corner, an event that calls for a big celebration in Hawai‘i, complete with fireworks. With each new year, the Chinese calendar moves ahead to the next animal in its 12-character zodiac, an animal which is then matched with one of five elements: water, air, wood, metal or fire. This year is the Year of the Water Tiger, which (according to chinesezodiac.org) is “brimming with opportunities and prosperity … a year that can dramatically change our lives for the better, as long as we are not afraid to turn our dreams into reality.” Well, that sounds good to me.

As a fellow jungle cat (albeit a metal tiger), I was delighted to see that my sign is once again the center of attention. (Tigers are known to love attention.) After all, it’s just once every 12 years that the animal zodiac comes full circle, and just once every 60 years that both animal and element are once again matched. For me, the metal tiger roared again in 2010 on my 60th birthday.

That’s why turning 60 is so important in many Eastern cultures — it’s the celebration of one’s life coming full circle, a starting over, if you will. A chance to celebrate a “new” you.

But lucky we live on Maui, where you don’t have to wait 60 years for a fresh start. Here, renewal opportunities abound, proffered every day by the beauty that surrounds us. I invite you to immerse yourself in the pages of this issue, where you may find inspiration to celebrate both the new year — and a new you.

According to Chinese I Ching, a tiger represents thunder or motion; thus a water tiger translates to something moving in the water. In “Breaking the Ties that Bind,” something thunderous is indeed moving through the water. An entangled humpback calf was literally given a new lease on life, thanks to the heroic efforts of Ed Lyman and the NOAA rescue team, who successfully liberated her from a deadly plastic corset. And in our story “In Whales We Trust,” Whale Trust co-founder Meagan Jones details what we know — and what we don’t know — about humpbacks, and how to best protect them from the perils of today’s oceans. (Our water tiger at work.)

For a more dramatic example of rebirth, read about the life of artist and cultural leader Herb Kāne in “Renaissance Man.” In the ’70s, Kāne answered his calling to document the beauty of Hawaian culture through art. But no one could have predicted that his passion to tell the story of a wa‘a kaulua (Polynesian voyaging canoe) on canvas would so profoundly influence an emerging Hawaiian cultural awakening.

Of course, we haven’t forgotton the “you” in this picture, and to satisfy your inner tiger’s need for attention and make her purr, indulge in a little self-care. In “The Sensei Way,” editor-in-chief Lara McGlashan (or shall I say, Lucky Lara) traveled to Lāna‘i to experience Sensei, a retreat that takes a 360-degree approach to wellness —  in a purrrfectly luxurious setting. To attain similar nirvana without crossing the channel, check out “Treat Yourself,” a directory of heavenly treatments and packages from some of our favorite Maui spas.

And so, as we close this issue and embark on our 26th year of bringing you Maui stories, I realize once again the importance and blessings of community, family and friendship. I am, as always,  grateful to you for your friendship and readership. In this New Year, I hope you will embrace the optimism of the Water Tiger and greet 2022 with a roar, opening your heart to opportunity and renewed prosperity. 

A hui hou,
Diane Haynes Woodburn, Publisher

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