Welcome to my third and final post about my Hawaiian vacation! I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting the beautiful island of Maui with me this month! You know, I’ve always heard people say that Hawaii is a special place. I always assumed that they meant it was beautiful and fun and a good place for a vacation. While these things are all true, there is really something special about that place.
While visiting, I spent as much time as I could learning about the history and culture of Hawaii. I talked to a few locals, including some fabulously interesting Uber drivers, and I feel like I really gained so much from their insight. You see, Hawaiian culture is incredibly inclusive, respectful, and spiritual – something I think the mainland needs a big lesson in right now.
It seemed like everything done and everything said had special meaning and history. People would go out of their way to help or to share a smile with you. This was at the resort, restaurants, shops, tours, car rides… literally everywhere I went. People were so happy to share their culture and stories with me, it was really wonderful!
You’re probably familiar with “aloha” meaning both hello and goodbye? That is true, but it also conveys respect and love and spiritual connection. One tour guide explained that native Hawaiian language has limited words and many words are combinations of words, so “alo” is like the uplifted face – the connection you have with another person or god or nature, and “ha” is like your life breath – your spirit and being. So, “aloha” is that respectful, spiritual connection to people, to god, to nature, to… everything. And remember in Lilo and Stitch when Lilo says that “ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind”? That is true, but ohana also extends to all Hawaiian people. And notice that “ha” also shows up in ohana? They put caring for the whole community very high on their list of priorities.
Every encounter I had while in Maui was extremely positive and I could feel the energy of the people around me. Once away from other tourists, I could sit and think and absorb the good vibes that I’ve only ever felt in Hawaii. I took as much time as I could to meditate on the things people told me, to really feel their words. One gentleman I met spent a good bit of our conversation encouraging me to bring Aloha to the mainland – to spread their love and peace to a nation that is in turmoil and feeling so much hate right now. I hope I’ve done this… I hope people meet me and feel loved and respected. I hope I don’t lose the lessons I learned in Hawaii in the coming months and years. And, while I don’t necessarily expect that you really get what I am trying to convey by reading these words alone, I do hope that you will also go out and be a light to your community. Connect with your life breath and treat every relationship as sacred.