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Two shadows on the sand

Written by editor

Honeymoon season is upon us, reminding us that Hawaii, long a port of call for surfers, sailors, and snowbirds, has long beckoned as a Shangri-la for lovebirds.

Honeymoon season is upon us, reminding us that Hawaii, long a port of call for surfers, sailors, and snowbirds, has long beckoned as a Shangri-la for lovebirds. Ever since the first European sailors ventured into the balmy blue latitudes of the South Pacific, viewed the jagged and massive slopes of a volcanic summit gradually emerge above the horizon, slipped through a pass in the reef into the calm of a lagoon, and viewed brown, mostly bare bodies on the shore moving in long sensuous gaits, visitors have been entranced with the winsome charms of the Polynesians. In this way, romance became associated with white sandy beaches and swaying palms, so, naturally Hawaii soon became a hub for honeymooners.

After the reception, honeymooners remove their wedding attire, pack their bags, hop on a flight to Honolulu, and soon find themselves passionately embracing in paradise. However, there is only one problem: when they pack their bags they often slip in a copy of the ancient Indian Kama Sutra, one of those ancient Chinese pillow books, a Japanese bride’s book, or the teachings of the latest love guru MD on the New York Times best-seller list.

It seems that whenever lovers have escaped to the land of Aloha, they have never packed a love guide of South Sea sensual secrets. This is because such wisdom was never written down in traditional Polynesia, but conveyed orally from generation to generation, whispered as softly as trade winds blowing in over the reef and fanning the palms. In fact, if you examine all love manuals written in the history of the human race, you will find that they were written by people dwelling in more temperate climates, who wear a lot of clothing most of the time. Those peoples living in cultures near the tropics, however, traditionally had no need of protecting themselves against the cold and often went about nearly naked. Although the early Polynesians wrote no pillow books, they have much to teach to lovers about the intelligent use of the sense of touch and the peace this brings to heart and mind.

In the old days, before adopting Western attire, Polynesian women held and caressed their children both day and night against their bodies. The infant, constantly in touch with mother’s body, soon began to use subtle nuances of touch to communicate with mother and other caregivers, signaling his or her wants: hold me, feed me, set me down, stimulate me, leave me alone, and so on. Children raised in such an environment of loving and communicative touching develop mentally and physically much differently than children deprived of such touching. As children from a touch-intensive environment mature into adults, the warm and enveloping universe of touching they knew as children is translated into their romantic life. The Polynesian way of loving is about playing in the blissful zone between stimulation and stillness.

Some aboriginal South Sea cultures thought of sex like waves in the ocean. The waves are the stimulating part and the ocean is the stillness lovers feel in their hearts when in a deep embrace. The teachings of South Seas sensuality pay close attention to the oceanic part of loving, yielding a more prolonged and more profound union. This oceanic element can be fathomed through attention to the three oceans: touching, breath, and the heart. Some pointers:

1. Prolong the time spent in full-body contact with your lover, just resting or sleeping in each other’s arms, even on days when you are not actively “making love.” This will give you a basis of deep peace that will carry over into your lovemaking. Your lovemaking will then ride the waves of this deep ocean of peace.

2. The magical energy in the breath connects the body, the heart, and the spirit. Sit and meditate on the waves of breathing as they rise and fall. Soon you will find there is a vast ocean of spirit deep within the waves of the ocean of breathing.

3. Pay attention to your lover’s thoughts and feelings, every day. If you mirror your honey’s feelings and thoughts by repeating them back, your lover will feel he or she is really being listened to. The ocean of the heart will expand.

Simply by paying attention to these three oceans, lovers can discover more Aloha within their relationships and enjoy a more oceanic union.

More knowledge of practical romantic tips from ancient Oceania can be found in James N. Powell’s Slow Love: A Polynesian Pillow Book.

James N. Powell is a writer on Polynesia. He holds a Master’s degree in tribal religions an another Master’s in English literature.