The ancients Hawaiians lived in a world that was essentially tiny bits of lound sorrounded by a vast expanse ocean.
They used a phrase "he wai e ola" meaning "the waters of Life"...this metaphor expresses their understanding that life is not static.
It's dynamic, fluid. Like the ocean. Life is constantly changing, like a huge, overpowering and awesome force.
They understood that you really cannot hope to live for any time in the ocean. You can surf out there... swim out there...and survive for a brief period of time....but unless you've got a canoe, you cannot survive indefinitely in the ocean. It's just...too big...
That's how they felt about life. They understood that life was just too big...too variable...too unpredictable. That's why they say, when you're in PONO, you're in the canoe, because PONO is the safe and reassuring state of being connected to Spirit, and to your higher Self (your sense of personal power, greatness and gratitude).
It doesn't describe life's situations, it describes your reactions to them.
Life's circumstances are like the waves...constantly in motion...they go up and down...in and out...they're calm or they're rough.
When we are in PONO we're reacting to life in a calm, connected manner. And we know also, when we're not.
Spirit gives you the starting point...the advice. But you have to work it, in order for it to work and for the actions you can take to become a life preserver. ALOHA.