LIVING ALOHA

image13

  In  order to "live aloha," you have to know what aloha really is.   Generally, it is used as a greeting of "hello" or "goodbye,"  mostly by  itself, but in Hawaii it often has additional words added, to   designate time of day, intensity of expression, warmth of feeling, or   other meanings.  The basic meaning of the word aloha in Hawaiian is  "love." So  instead of a simple greeting, it is really a blessing of  love, for the  person being greeted and sometimes with the speaker  included, depending  on extra words.  "Love" is only part of the  meaning, however. The dictionary  meaning includes "love, affection,  compassion, sympathy, pity, kindness,  sentiment, grace, charity,  greeting, salutation, regards, sweetheart,  lover, loved one, beloved,  loving, kind, compassionate, charitable,  lovable, to love, be fond of,  to show kindness, mercy, pity charity,  affection; to venerate; to  remember with affection; to greet, hail." And  implied is "friendship."     

image14

  More meaning can be obtained from the roots of the word. Alo means "front, face, presence, upper surface (as of a bowl). Oha means "spreading, as vines; thriving; to grow lush; affection, love,   greeting, to greet; show joyous affection or friendship, joy."  Sometimes  Ha is included as a root because of its meanings of "breath, life, spirit; to breathe upon (as in a blessing)." Ha  has many other   meanings that might or might not apply.  One way of  expressing the meaning of aloha from its roots, then,  could be  "Joyfully sharing  breath and love face to face." What makes  this  interesting is that it also describes the honi, a traditional Hawaiian form of physical greeting. In doing the honi,   two people grasp each other's shoulders, press their noses side by side, and inhale each other's breath. Some say that in the old days   Hawaiians could do this to tell whether a person was a relative or not,   friend or foe, healthy or sick.   

image15

 Some  Hawaiians have borrowed a Western technique of explaining  things by  giving a separate meaning to each letter of a word. The are a  number of  variations on this, but a popular one is: Akahi, meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness. Lokahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony. 'Olu'olu,   meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness. "Ha'aha'a,"   meaning humility, to be expressed as modesty. "Ahonui," meaning   patience, to be expressed with perseverance.  A very important thing to  realize is that the Hawaiian concept of  love does not include any  negative thoughts, feelings, or behavior.  Anger, fear, jealousy,  dependency, pain and hurt are not a part of  aloha. Another very  important thing to realize is that aloha requires  reciprocity. Aloha  has to be returned to be fulfilled. It is not  unconditional love, in  other words. It is a gift or a blessing to be  exchanged. If you offer  aloha and it is not returned, you are not  obligated to keep offering  it. If you are offered aloha and do not  return it, don't be surprised  if it isn't offered any more until you do.  One Hawaiian proverb,  though, says "Ua kuluma kanaka i ke aloha -  Love is natural among  people," and another adds, "He manu ke aloha,  'a'ohe lala kau 'ole -  Love is like a bird, there is no branch that it  does not perch upon."    And finally, "He punawai kahe wale ke aloha - Love is a spring  that  flows freely." If you don't fight it, and don't fear it, love is  always  available to everyone. In fact, as some say, it is the very thing  that  makes the world go 'round. 

 Some  Hawaiians have borrowed a Western technique of explaining  things by  giving a separate meaning to each letter of a word. The are a  number of  variations on this, but a popular one is: Akahi, meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness. Lokahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony. 'Olu'olu,   meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness. "Ha'aha'a,"   meaning humility, to be expressed as modesty. "Ahonui," meaning   patience, to be expressed with perseverance.  A very important thing to  realize is that the Hawaiian concept of  love does not include any  negative thoughts, feelings, or behavior.  Anger, fear, jealousy,  dependency, pain and hurt are not a part of  aloha. Another very  important thing to realize is that aloha requires  reciprocity. Aloha  has to be returned to be fulfilled. It is not  unconditional love, in  other words. It is a gift or a blessing to be  exchanged. If you offer  aloha and it is not returned, you are not  obligated to keep offering  it. If you are offered aloha and do not  return it, don't be surprised  if it isn't offered any more until you do.  One Hawaiian proverb,  though, says "Ua kuluma kanaka i ke aloha -  Love is natural among  people," and another adds, "He manu ke aloha,  'a'ohe lala kau 'ole -  Love is like a bird, there is no branch that it  does not perch upon."    And finally, "He punawai kahe wale ke aloha - Love is a spring  that  flows freely." If you don't fight it, and don't fear it, love is  always  available to everyone. In fact, as some say, it is the very thing  that  makes the world go 'round.