LAHAINA, APRIL 3—The blogger is upset about an incident that occurred this weekend. A simple request was rejected in a very disrespectful manner, insulting not only me but two prominent people standing nearby who were the subject of the request.
Most people consider me nice, and I try. to be a person of aloha. and believe I succeed 99 percent of the time. I do not lash out to others. My suspicion is that most people who are not nice never think about being nice.. Never think what is pono, the right thing. And do not realize that a strident question or comment ..even if a legitimate one—can be distressing to a recipient.
This is a land of aloha and it can be found everywhere. It is spiritual. It is what sets Hawaii apart from the rest of the world.
Remarkable people of aloha is the title of the first selection in my new book. I reprint it here as a reminder of what we should all strive for.
The biggest failure along these lines these days are speeches in the election campaign filled with vitriol and nastiness directed at other people. What a role model for youth!
We are better than this as a country.
“IN HAWAII, WE GREET FRIENDS, loved ones and strangers with ALOHA, which means love.” the great Olympic champion Duke Kahanameka.
You have heard it as s luau begins, at music venues, , ice cream parlors and ABC stores sometimes pronounced in three syllables: A…lo…HA. And you hear some simply pronounce it ALOHA in one breath. (continued)
ALOHA is not an affectation. It is real. Despite the popular bumper sticker, ALOHA is not practiced. It is lived and comes from within.
One theory is that the word ‘aloha’ sprung from the missionaries since compassion for others was at the heart of the Christian message.
Aloha has within it the word “ha” which means breath in Hawaiian.
Even to this day, many Hawaiians greet each with exchange of ha (breath). Impressed with this distinctive way of acknowledging others, missionaries may have incorporated the two letters in a word they believed was at the core of what they wanted to preach. Alo…ha.
Still others believe that living aloha was a way of life long before the first tall sailing ship landed on these shores.
Either way ALOHA is real . Kahanameka, known as an ambassador of aloha when his Olympic success made him well-known around the nation, went on to say that “Aloha is the key word in the universal spirit of hospitality that makes Hawaii renowned as the world’s center of understanding and fellowship.
“Try meeting and greeting people with aloha, “ he said. You will be surprised at their reaction. I believe it and it is in my creed. Aloha to you.”
ALOHA is empathy for others that resides in the heart and it can be acquired naturally.
If given a chance. ALOHA can take the form of a smile, a friendly manner or an act of kindness. Growing up in Hawaii in cherished na ohana (family groups) Hawaiians learn ALOHA by example in youth and see it flourish in adulthood.
Newcomers can become persons of ALOHA too and many are.
ALOHA is an acquired approach to living available to those of us who live here who are passionate about Hawaii, to newcomers, and to visitors who catch the spirit. ALOHA, however, isn’t automatic. There are some Hawaiians (those with Hawaiian blood) who find the concept of ALOHA alien.
ALOHA is subject to many interpretations. Duke Kahanameka, the six-time Olympic swim champion and Hawaii ambassador, wrote:
“In Hawaii, we greet friends, loved ones and strangers with ALOHA, which means love. ALOHA is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality that makes Hawaii renowned as the world’s center of understanding and fellowship. Try meeting or greeting people with ALOHA. You will be surprised by their reaction. ALOHA to you.”
Pastor Laki Ka’ahumanu is also fond of saying there would be no ALOHA without Hawaiians. The good news is you can find ALOHA without even looking for it. ALOHA is just one of many of the island’s gifts to the world.
Reprinted from Voices of Aloha Beyond the Beach, a series of profiles of remarkable people of aloha, and a few who do not meet the definition. Available on amazon.com
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KA’ANAPALI BEACH MAUI HAWAII, Dec. 21–Santa Claus landed on Kaanapali Beach late this afternoon in a special sleigh outfitted for HAWAII (a canoe) but a heavy surf found toys tumbling into the sea. (continued below).
Just joking. Santa went to Hula Grill on a dry run, so t speak, on the way to a secret workshop on Haleakala Crater where he assembles toys for Hawaii. His assistants are overfeeding the dolphins who will pull his sleigh over the pali (cliffs) through the warm Maui night so they will have plenty of energy to swoop from the volcano across to West Maui where hundreds of Mainland kids await and locals. Watch for big report tomorrow in this space. By the way, Maui is his favorite worldwide stop. Since it is at the end of his journey, he discards the red suit for a red trunks so he can enjoy the beach for a few days. Kids are urged not to bother him because he will be on vacation.
Nov. 10 —HE TALL-MASTED SAILING SHIPS are gone but the legacy of hula remains. The king and queen are gone. The missionaries are gone. Numerous flowing streams are gone. The ancient temples are overgrown or gone. The taro patches are few and far between. What remains in full flower is hula, both the kahiko (ancient) hula and ‘auana (modern). EXERPT FROM THE FORTHCOMING BOOK. VOICES OF MAUI BEYOND THE BEACH. SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE.
This is particularly true on Maui, with a Lahaina native son, kumu hula and recording artist Keali‘i Reichel and his Halau Ke‘alaokamaile winning in both the kahiko and ‘auana competitions for women and overall wahine honors at the annual Merrie Monarch Festival in 2011 in Hilo. The Maui News called the wins “unprecedented.”
Just what does it take to become an accomplished hula dancer?
Answer from those passionate about hula: years of study and practice, knowledge of both the Hawaiian language and the inner meaning of Hawaiian mele (songs) and chants, and most of all dedication.
To learn the authentic hula of old Hawaii or the modern, dancing it has to become an obsession for haumana (students) of Kumu Hula Keili’i Reichel, the demanding teacher of hula says.
Let’s listen, via scribbled notes (no tape recording allowed), as the kumu instructed his dancers on the beginning “grounding position” at one of the first classes.
“Everything starts from here with flat feet,” said the kumu, pointing to the ground. “Feet flat, toes touching each other, shoulders and body relaxed, arms extended.
“You don’t take big steps. You will lose control of your body if you do. Check the position of your feet. Use your extended arm to bring yourself around. You need to control your body from the tips of your toes. That is the name of the game—control. “Up and down, up and down.