When Hawaii Talks, You Listen

A relaxing locale can inspire myriad creative thought processes. In our case, inspiration came while we floated in the gentle ocean waves near Wailea, Maui.

Every time we visit the Hawaiian Islands, our first thought is, “Ahhhhhhh...” as we feel our cares and stresses drift away with the warm trade winds. That thought is always quickly followed with, “Why did we wait so long to come back?”

Hawaii is our favorite place to recharge our spirit and connect with nature's elements. “Aloha spirit” isn’t just a cute phrase, it’s a palpable feeling. It seeps into your soul and warms you from within, making you feel one with the ocean and the land. Invariably it renews our commitment to live pono with the environment, others, and ourselves.

A relaxed state of bliss is very good for the imagination. Away from workaday life, your mind is free to conjure all sorts of wondrous possibilities. It searches through your mental filing cabinet and pulls out long-forgotten dreams, and presents them to you one by one until something sparks.

Floating in the ocean that day, we pondered these questions: What are we passionate about? What are we good at? What meaningful work can we do that will direct the flow of our mana, our life energy, in the most meaningful way? As we drank in the vibrant colors, the landscape, the indigenous creatures, and the aloha spirit that connected it all together, we had our answer: We would handcraft fine writing instruments that capture and express earth-bound paradise, both in physical location and state of mind.

We continued our planning when we reached the Big Island while joyfully celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I ordered a traditional Hawaiian gold bracelet to mark the occasion, which would be engraved with images of native flora, and delivered once we returned home. As I had done on two other bracelets before, I chose to add the word “Kanilea” in black enamel, a translation of my own name into Hawaiian. What a nice surprise it would be when it finally arrived!

Recharged and back on the mainland, we struggled to name our new endeavor. Nothing we came up with felt quite right. Days later, tendrils of inspiration reached out to us from Hawaii—the bracelet was delivered in all its serendipitous glory. Sliding the bracelet on my wrist, I stared at the beautiful lettering and ran to pair it up with the others. All three gleaming together reinforced the message we were meant to receive: Kanilea, Kanilea, Kanilea.