Ea Mai

In Hawaiian “ea” means “sovereignty,” or “rule, ” which could refer to power over. Another way to interpret/use this is “personal sovereignty,” or a sense of inner freedom or independence.

In this way, “ea” is about sovereignty at the highest level, the power within.

An example of ea would be Victor Frankl or Nelson Mandela and the way that each of these men—from a concentration camp or a prison cell—experienced themselves as free. 

“Mai” is a word that reflects flow, a give and receive, a to and from, a back and forth. 

“Ea mai” functions similarly to the more familiar “Namaste” (Sanskirt, “the divine in me respectfully recognizes the divine in you”). It says, I see you and your power and I call on you to access your personal sovereignty. I challenge you to be, to elevate, to strive, to fulfill your potential. And I promise that I’m doing that work too. 

Since the Hawaiian language only has 12 letters, every word has multiple meanings and the language functions poetically to carry a lot in a compact way. That’s why it takes so many English words to explain 2 Hawaiian ones!

Full Disclosure: I don’t speak Hawaiian or study it in a systematic way; what I know and understand comes from elders from whom I’ve learned hula and Hawaiian culture. 


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