Make a trip to any of the Hawaiian islands and aloha is a word you’re bound to hear quite often. Much more than its simple use for hello and goodbye, aloha is a practice, a concept, an action and a way of life. So what does it mean to practice aloha?
In it’s most basic form, aloha means compassion, love, mercy, affection and peace. It’s the idea that the world is a place for love instead of conflict, with an emphasis on accepting and forgiving others. It’s about giving more than you receive and being willing to show others kindness through action, even in the smallest forms. Eye contact, smiling, spontaneous gestures of generosity, and positive communication are all ways to practice and “live aloha”.
An essential principle in understanding the concept of aloha is the idea that all of us are given the tools to think for ourselves, make the right choices and find or create ways to heal ourselves and help others. Moving here from Costa Rica, where I found people to be exceptionally friendly in their “Pura Vida” lifestyle, I didn’t know quite what to expect from the people on Maui, having heard mixed signals on their feelings toward mainlanders.
However, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been shown aloha in more ways than I ever expected, whether it be cooking tips from a local guy I met on the bus, an invite to a family beach barbecue, and in simpler ways through help with directions, high fives while walking down the street and even a free cup of coffee just because it was Friday.
So what about you? Have you been to Hawaii and experienced aloha or practice it yourself? We want to hear your stories, tips and examples! Read some examples of practicing aloha here for inspiration.