KEYS TO FITNESS: Focusing on the Important Things in Life



While on vacation in Hawaii recently, our tour guide not only gave facts and figures about the island, but also used the time he spent with us to give us a little about his philosophy for living.

He talked about his experiences when Hurricane Iniki hit the island of Kauai with over 100-mile-per-hour winds ripping off roofs, uprooting trees, and making it necessary for all the neighbors to take refuge in a well-protected room for about seven hours. It sounded pretty harrowing, but everyone came out alive and safe.

The aftermath of the hurricane with no food, no fresh water and other inconveniences for weeks was also an ordeal, but he talked about the coming together of the community to help each other. People collectively brought their food to share with their neighbors. The PTSD Vietnam vets came out to put together equipment that would pump out fresh water, and everyone helped each other.

He also talked about the changing economy of Hawaii with sugar cane and pineapple moving out of the country and leaving a lot of people, including himself, without a job, no health insurance, no benefits, and how they had to cope. The main thing he felt was the strength of the family and community helping everyone through the bad times.

He reminded all us tourists to remember to take time to cultivate strong relationships with family, friends and the overall communities in which we live. Not bad advice coming from a Hawaiian tour guide who adopted a baby wild boar that now weighs 500 pounds.

He told us stories that his grandfather told him as a child and how these stories stuck in his head better than any scientific, logical explanation he heard later in school. These stories reminded me of fairy tales that I heard in my childhood that have mystical, magical qualities but with a moral to the story that sticks and are fun to share and teach a lesson.

He reminded us to tell these types of stories to our children while we can, and to create the bonds, the memories and the joy in our families that will last a lifetime.

He left us with the concept of “aloha,” which he interpreted to mean “give and take.” Don’t always take, but also remember to give. So be thoughtful on the road, in your dealings with friends and strangers, with the environment, in business dealings, and when you travel.

Probably the thing that impressed me the most with the way he gave his tour, which he did with humor and an intent to educate, is that he used his time with others to impact them in a meaningful way. Plus, he found a way to feed his boar with lunch leftovers from the tourists and gave them a chance to pet a wild boar’s head.

Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years, specializing in integrative manual therapy, utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. She also offers a qigong “Chinese energy” exercise class. Your first class is free. Call (626) 576-0591 for more information or visit



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