Hawaii is one of the major tourist spots in the world, and if you spend all of your time in Honolulu and Waikiki, a tourist experience is exactly what you will have. However, when I ventured outside of the blatantly tourist areas, Hawaii began to really show herself to me. I discovered islands of breathtaking tropical beauty, a slower speed of living, a quiet grace, and inevitably I found the spirit of “aloha”.
It’s not just a word, but a way of living
Aloha. From the native Hawaiian language, this word is rooted in “alo”, meaning presence or face, and “ha”, meaning breath. Aloha is most commonly used for both hello and goodbye, however, this word runs much deeper than these superficial meanings. In the Hawaiian culture, words have “mana” (pronounced: mah’nah, meaning spiritual or divine power), and aloha is among the most sacred. Aloha is a greeting of love when expressed with sincerity.
Aloha is embraced by Hawaiians and haoles alike. (Haole is the Hawaiian term for anyone not native Hawaiian or Polynesian.) The culture as a collective practices the spirit of aloha in daily life and human interaction. The essence of Hawaii has this subtle way of pulling one back to the basics of life – the beauty of nature, and what is important between human beings.
Your words have great power
Aloha. This one word typifies the power of our language, and how we affect other people with it. Words are potent, therefore it behooves us to choose and use them wisely. In this muddled up, confused and too-often-angry world, sometimes we feel powerless to change it in any significant, positive way. However our words, over which we have sole control and responsibility, are one way we can do that.
Aloha. Change the world.
Hawaiians & the Sacred Aloha © Susan L Hart
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