Steven Kalas: You see, not everyone who admonishes you to “just be yourself” is issuing an authentic invitation. In some friendships/families/workplaces “just be yourself” is a kind of gamesmanship. A chess move. More good form than content. I confess that I often experience the utterance as a kind of “red flag.” I’m on alert when I hear it. Because, sometimes and in some cases, “just be yourself” is more a fair warning than a sincere invitation. Sometimes I find myself making a mental note that this is the last person on earth around whom I should let my hair down and be my vulnerable, uncensored self.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=be+your+true+self+images&qpvt=be+your+true+self+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=495C16249284EF18BD3E09CE6C63E2351736B303&selectedIndex=25

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If you can be loving and compassionate and kind to others, and be true to yourself and comfortable in your “own skin,”

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then those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

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Finding Happiness Within

Create More Luck

Best New Books

Self Improvement

No Gym Calorie Burn

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Stress Inflammation

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father son note coming out

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Redheaded Babies

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“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you,

would you forget who you really were?

What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”    

Jodi Picoult   http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/75298-if-you-spent-your-life-concentrating-on-what-everyone-else

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http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/saying-and-meaning-just-be-yourself-can-set-someone-free

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Think about the times that friends, family and colleagues have urged you to “just be yourself.” It sounds so encouraging and affirming. And, sometimes it is just that. Encouraging and affirming. An authentic invitation to truly set yourself free in your own identity. An urging from someone whose only desire is to welcome you and include you, perhaps because they really like and admire you, or perhaps because the person doing the urging believes welcoming and including is a way of life. The right thing to do. Some people just place a high value on welcoming and including.

These are my values, too. Though, I confess my life experience sometimes leaves me with the idea that there is often a lot more room in my universe for others than there is room in others’ universes for me. I said these words, verbatim, to my then-bishop, just before I exited institutional priesting for my current life as a writer and counselor.

You see, not everyone who admonishes you to “just be yourself” is issuing an authentic invitation. In some families and in some workplaces “just be yourself” is a kind of gamesmanship. A chess move. More good form than content. I confess that I often experience the utterance as a kind of “red flag.” I’m on alert when I hear it. Because, sometimes and in some cases, “Steven, just be yourself” is more a fair warning than a sincere invitation. Sometimes I find myself making a mental note that this is the last person on earth around whom I should let my hair down and be my vulnerable, uncensored self.

In my private practice, I often work with people who are experiencing this slow dawning irony. To wit: They grew up in families where it was imprudent to risk selfhood. The unwritten, unspoken ethos of these families was never to challenge the fiercely guarded personas and ego-defenses of those in charge. Those who needed to be in charge. Those whose crippled egos could never tolerate the liberated authenticity of individual family members.

Well they say be yourself/ But they’re just teasing/ The self you must be is the one who is pleasing/ To the folks who prefer/ The you who just pretends/ They call themselves family and friends.

I got into a nest of Christians last weekend. It’s called Via de Christo, a four-day church retreat for adult men and women. In psychological terms, I would say the curriculum is designed to open gestalts. That is, to sneak around our everyday ego defenses and crank open our souls in such a way that we might hear again, deeper and more meaningfully, that we matter. That we are cherished and loved. That we have work to do in the world. Christians would call this last piece “our ministry.”

It was a series of coincidences, actually, that got me involved at all. I’ve spent the past seven-plus years fiercely guarding a polite distance from institutional Christianity. See, the church is my family. Those folks are my kin. My earliest memories of childhood include my maternal grandmother taking me to All Saints Episcopal Church in Phoenix. I remember her firm hand on my shoulder, physically insisting that I genuflect as I approached and exited the altar. I remember the smell of incense the way some adults remember the smell of Christmas cookies as a child.

I was one of five members of what they call “the spiritual team.” A Lutheran, a Methodist and three Episcopalians. Ages 55 to late 70s. We took our work seriously, but, in between events and at lights out in our dormitory, we were like five junior high boys at summer camp. My belly still hurts from laughing.

I came with no agenda other than to watch, listen and serve. I was committed to be only myself and to welcome and include other selves. And my four new colleagues quickly became friends. I knew that, chiefly because of the ease with which they made fun of me. Satirized me. And me of them. See, I come from a family where you wouldn’t know you were loved if people weren’t regularly lampooning you.

Whatever the participants got out of the weekend, it didn’t hold a candle to the riches I received. A healing of sorts. Because I got to be myself. I was able to rekindle a hope that I, too, might find a way to belong again. To make peace with my family.

They invited me to be myself. And they meant it.

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In praise of problem-solver/peacemaker Shannon Kane born 1972 [Raymond Kane’s mo’opuna/grandson]:

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http://archives.starbulletin.com/2008/02/29/news/story02.html

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Raymond Kane: He was one of the first to promote slack-key guitar instruction 
RAYMOND KANE / 1925-2008

Young fisherman became ambassador of slack key

The guitarist’s sweet sound and lively spirit endeared him to fans

It wasn’t many years ago that slack key tunings and playing techniques were zealously guarded secrets that musicians shared only with trusted members of their families. So when young Raymond Kane heard a neighbor playing slack key and asked for lessons, the man’s answer was quick and unmistakable: “You’re not my family!”

Fortunately for slack key fans, the 9-year-old was a persuasive negotiator and also a skilled fisherman. Kane offered to catch the man’s favorite fish in exchange for lessons, proved that he could deliver the fish, and the rest is Hawaiian music history.

Kane would become one of the greatest slack key players of the 20th century. He was also one of the first to decide to share his knowledge rather than hoard it. His well-known tune “Punahele,” which features quick ornamentation that represents the skittering of sand crabs across the beach, became one of his favorite teaching tools.

“That was his life’s dream, to perpetuate that music until the day he died, and he sure did,” Elodia Kane said yesterday, remembering her husband of 41 years. “Up until last year he was still teaching, and even after he stopped teaching, students and people would come from all over the world to our home and he would play.”

Kane died early Wednesday morning. He was 82.

Eddie Kamae, a famed musician and filmmaker who shared a place in Waikiki with Kane in the early 1960s, recalled him as a man who had “a sparkle in his eyes, very kolohe (mischievous), and a great sense of humor.”

Myrna Kamae met her future husband at a party where the two were playing.

“Can you imagine hearing authentic Hawaiian music for the first time with Eddie Kamae on ukulele and Raymond Kane on guitar? Both of them were playing really nahenahe (sweet, melodious) music. That music has been with me from that day until today.”

Puakea Nogelmeier described Kane as “a role model and a mentor to generations.”

Kapono Beamer found him inspirational.

“He was charismatic, he was powerful, he was soulful, yet he had a sweetness that personified the Hawaiian voice of mellifluousness. … It struck me that I needed to perform with such passion.”

Amy Stillman, ethnomusicologist and professor of American culture at the University of Michigan, took a broader view.

“We are fortunate that he lived in a time when he could share so much of his music and his life with us, and privileged to have acknowledged his presence while he was alive.”

Born on Kauai and raised first in Kakaako and then in Nanakuli, Kane grew up with music. His father, Herman “Manu” Kane, played ukulele and slack key guitar; on his mother’s side, his relatives included Andy Cummings and Genoa Keawe-Aiko. He got his first ukulele lessons from his father, but his parents were divorced by the time his hands were large enough to play guitar.

Kane’s father died a few years after the divorce, leaving his son to follow in the footsteps of another teacher.

“Ray celebrated the musical heritage of the Waianae Coast,” said UH-Manoa ethnomusicologist Ric Trimillos, who sees him as a “bridge musician” between two generations of Hawaiian musicians. “I honor him as a kupuna ki ho’alu (source of slack key) and celebrate his friendship in all its expansiveness — generous, kolohe, spontaneous and unconditional.”

Kane spent several years in the military and worked later as a boilermaker and welder on isolated military outposts, but music remained an important part of his life. In 1966 he met his wife through an “only in the movies” scenario.

She was at a piano bar with an ex-boyfriend who was trying to win her back. A tourist couple asked for “Ke Kali Nei Au,” and Elodia’s ex volunteered her to sing the female part. Kane stopped by on his way home from playing in Waikiki and was called up to be her partner.

The impromptu duet was a hit, and although Elodia’s ex told Kane they were married, and her brothers “lost” the messages he left for her, they eventually went out. Two weeks later they were married.

In 1973 the Hawaiian Music Foundation featured him in a precedent-setting all-slack key concert at Orvis Auditorium. From that point on, as long as his health permitted, Kane worked tirelessly as a teacher, performer and recording artist to promote slack key.

Keith Haugen, one of the producers of the show, says Kane’s playing was “the purest, most Hawaiian of all the slack-key guitarists today. His was THE nahenahe style, with a delicate touch that resonated on every song he recorded.”

Grammy Award-winning record producer Daniel Ho hailed him as “one of the original ambassadors that brought slack key to the rest of the world.”

In addition to his wife, Kane is survived by sons Dennis and Michael; daughters Joann Kailiwai, Raynette Moana Arakaki and Faith Kane; “about 28 grandchildren,” his wife said; and several great-grandchildren.

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