top of page


September 28, 2019

Journeys to Wellness VIII touched many lives- young and old, able and disabled.  As one ecstatic participant wrote in her feedback sheet, “It was fantastic! Had I known of this event before, I would have come to all the others.”

Over 185, representing the diverse cultures of Hawai`i, had registered either by mail, email, online or at the event.   Of these, 43 were scholarship recipients. Those who were seated by 8:30 am in the striking stained-glass sanctuary of the Community Church of Honolulu were greeted by the sounding of the pu and the chanting of the oli to welcome and bless them.

Caroline Sakai, Ph.D., then presented her highly anticipated keynote message on overcoming adversity by Energy Tapping.   Minds were awakened, hearts were stirred, and healing occurred.  Respondents, Pōkā  Laenui and Rev. David Rivers, gifted us with a rich tapestry of personal insights into her talk. 

Following a break, the annual Puaka`ana o ka lā (“Rise Up!”) Awards were presented. The award honors those who have given longstanding and significant contributions toward the promotion of integrative health and wellness to our community. This year’s honorees were Alice K. Tucker, Kahu William H. Kaina and Robin M. Kitsu.  13 talented students from Nanakuli Middle and High Schools, performed two spirited song and dance numbers to honor their teacher, Mr. Kitsu.  Their professionalism was impressive.

We also honored with a plaque the late Sr. Joan Chatfield, a member of the original Sunrise Foundation board, established in 2010.  She faithfully served on the board till her passing on March 1, 2019.  “Ave Maria” (B.S. Bach/ C. Gounod) was sung by Woody Chock in her memory.

Then came the first of two presentations of six hour-long workshops that offered various  spiritually-based paths to wellness.  The workshops and their facilitators included:  Blue Zones Project (Molly Mamaril & Pono Shim), 21st Century Medicine (Norman Oshiro & MOA staff), Acupuncturists Without Borders Community Clinic (Corey Wong), Tao Calligraphy and Meditative Movement (Diane Fujio & Orlena Wong), Centering Prayer Meditation (Carol Alevizos) and Energy Tapping (Dr. Caroline Sakai).

Throughout the day, participants were given the opportunity to be blessed with a free massage therapy by Chad Imano.  Thank you, Chad, for your generous gesture.

At noon came the awaited lunch, creatively catered by Sarah Loui Lum. It is a perennial highlight of the Wellness event. Stephen Mark Hall became abuzz with feasting, connecting, community building and laughter.

Now energized, the people then sought the second workshop they had chosen to attend.

When the workshops were completed, we again gathered in the sanctuary for a summation session. Several participants gave moving testimonies of life-enriching and -transforming experiences they encountered in the course of the day’s program. 

It was fitting that to bring the day’s activities to a closing, Corey Wong awed us with his Tai Chi presentation in honor of Sr. Joan Chatfield.  She was a client of his during the past several years and until her passing.

The event ended with the participants, while standing and holding hands, form the Circle of Aloha as one ohana. We then received a blessing and a charge from Zen priest, Rev. Gary Omori and sang together, “Hawaii Aloha,” accompanied by Hari Bayani.


The following are comments on the event from some of Sunrise Foundation’s board members.

1. Rev. Flohr, Executive Director of Pacific Health Ministry: What an inspiring day it was!  As there are ripple effects, so also for me….Caroline Sakai will work with all of our Pacific Health Ministry chaplains and look at secondary trauma in our work and self-care.

2. Dr. Ruey Ryburn, Founding Director of the Sacred Path Healing School: The Journeys to Wellness VIII was well crafted and executed. I thought the keynote, Dr. Caroline Sakai, as well as the responders were the highlight. They were informative, heartfelt, and had meaning for all in attendance.  I also thought the performance by the Nanakuli teens was a fun change of pace. Of course, the lunch was delicious as always.

3. Rev. Gary Omori, Zen priest, teacher and recipient of the 7th degree black belt in Aikido: I felt the most uplifting and meaningful experience was the performance of the Nanakuli Performing Arts Program. [It] reinforced in me the universal language of music and its value in bringing people together as one. The energy and enthusiasm of the performers was truly contagious as evident by the reaction of the audience.  The total acceptance and love for the performers transcended all dualism and dissonance in our society.  It was truly a moving and rewarding experience.

4. Art Lum, physical therapist and member of Community Church of Honolulu: What impressed me the most was the “Rise Up Award”.  Story after story, each of the three awardees offered their unique life’s journeys.  Their teachings, accomplishments and tireless spirit have transformed lives, and continue to do so this very day.…..Their message and conviction brought nodding heads, laughter and warm hearts to the audience.  Their legacy has bought happiness to our beloved community and their “seeds of aloha” will continue to make Hawaii brighter in the future.

5. Sr. Bitrina Kirway, M.M.,   serves on the Central Governing Board of the Maryknoll Sisters and is certified as a HeartMath trainer:  What stood up for me were the joy and excitement that flowed as participants signed their names and walked into the church. There were several expectant things that sparked their excitement- the keynote speaker, Dr. Caroline Sakai, PhD, who was to speak on “how Energy Tapping transforms one’s life worst experience” and the Nanakuli High School students, who were to provide a very energetic song and dance performance. 

At the end, for the closing ceremony, the Tai chi presentation by Corey Wong that honored Sister Joan Chatfield was powerfully appropriate. It wrapped up a whole day’s experience into a silence in our hearts!  

bottom of page