Step off a plane onto a Hawaiian island and riding the tropical breezes are 3 syllables that immediately tickle your ears–}}}}} a }}}} LO }}} ha– The word aloha is marinated in sincerity. Its use is extended generously by gracious Hawaiians to their guests, to fellow citizens, and infectiously, by visitors grateful to be in paradise. *Hello,* *goodbye,* and *love* are all interchangeable with the word *aloha.*
As you sip your wee umbrellaed blue drink and your grey matter sighs and softens with the rhythm of the waves, you begin to ponder this paradise. The setting is indeed a masterpiece; painted in azure, teal, cerulean, lime, pineapple, fuchsia, papaya, crimson and lava. Lolling beachside in your chaise, you’re the guest of an authentic spa here-courtesy of Mother Earth. Deluxe it is, complete with sun-kissed radiant heat that warms you to your core, hot rocks, sand/salt scrub, lava foot pumice, and a potpourri of frangipani, jasmine, gardenia, pikake, and lily flowers emitting the truest, most intoxicating aromatherapy. Duck from under your big umbrella and dunk into the BIG blue drink that refreshes, restores and baptises you in the South Pacific. Down, down, down, your goggled eyes are stunned by the kaleidoscope of riotous colors and swimming shapes; Nemos and Dorys found all around. Like seaweed, your weightless body melds to the flow of liquid freedom. True Bliss.
There are many blissful paradises on Earth. What is it, then, that makes Hawaii more special than its setting alone? The answer lies in Aloha, but is deeper than the word and its meaning. The answer lies in the expression of the * Spirit of Aloha.* Spirit of Aloha is a code for living- a way of life. It derives from “alo” meaning presence and “ha” meaning breath and can be summed up as: **Joyfully Sharing Life.** Kahuna teachings say Aloha stresses love and respect, starting with one’s own body and soul. It is then extended to everyone and everything. The Spirit of Aloha encompasses kindness, unity, agreeability, humility and patience. In the article from Aloha International, “The Deeper Meaning of Aloha,” Curby Rule relays what children in Hawaii are taught about living Aloha:
“Aloha is being part of all, and all being part of me
Where there is pain-it is my pain.
Where there is joy-it is also mine.
I respect all that is part of The Creator and part of me.
I will not willfully harm anyone or anything.
When food is needed, I will only take my need, and explain why it is being taken.
The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish, to protect.
This is Hawaiian. This is Aloha.”
The Spirit of Aloha can be felt throughout the Hawaiian Islands through the interaction with the Hawaiian people and can be seen historically expressed in their vibrant art, music, dance and culture. It is even expressed by wearing a colorfully joyful “aloha shirt,” known simply as a Hawaiian shirt to most of us. The raw beauty and Spirit of Aloha makes a visit to Hawaii a profoundly restorative experience worth repeating. Come along, see what I mean…Ahoha!…….Georgia Vincent
Mahalo, Mahalo, Mahalo
-Photos & text (c) by Georgia Vincent