Today was my day to go to ‘town’ – Kona – and do my chores and shopping. As it happened, I was behind a car most of the way, about 45 minutes, that had a “Live Aloha” bumper sticker, and I got to thinking about what that was supposed to mean.
It turns out that there is a formal definition, and even a website (http://www.ealoha.com/livaloha.htm) devoted to the idea of living aloha:
- A stands for AKAHAI, meaning kindness.
- L stands for LOKAHI, meaning bring unity.
- O stands for OLU`OLU, meaning politeness.
- H stands for HA`AHA`A, meaning humbled.
- A stands for AHONUI, meaning enduring.
Some of the suggested ways you can live aloha include:
Respect all elders and children.
Leave places better than you find them.
Hold the door. Hold the elevator.
Drive with courtesy. Never drive impaired.
Attend an event of another culture.
Return your shopping cart.
Get out and enjoy nature.
Pick up litter.
Share with your neighbors.
Create a list and share it.
You don’t have to be a politician.
Or the president of a company.
Or a famous doctor,
To make everyone’s life better.
Sometimes the smallest things make
the biggest difference.
While I was going through my day, I realized that a lot of what we love about living here has to do with the ideas behind living aloha. The pace here is slower, people seem kinder and more considerate, kids are taught to respect their elders, people stop to let you make a left hand turn.
Just today, I had a young woman with a small child in the grocery store notice that I was waiting for her to finish looking at the cereals so I could reach the one I wanted and she turned to her little boy and said “Go ask the auntie which box she wants and go get it for her.” Which the little boy did – it was really sweet and she was certainly living aloha and teaching him, too.
By the way – if you are a ‘woman of a certain age’ you are an auntie – when you are older than that you become a tutu. For now, I’m still an auntie, though. I haven’t figured out when you make the transition – my mom was always a tutu, I’ve been an auntie since we moved here. I guess I’ve got a few more years to go to achieve tutu status. Men are mostly uncles – they have to be really older to be a tutu – same for both sexes, means grandparent, but it is more commonly used for older women and in families for actual grandmothers and grandfathers.
Driving in, I noticed how often people slowed down to allow others to merge, or stopped to let someone turn. I’m so used to this now that when we went to the mainland (happened to be in Florida) and someone in the lane opposite me was trying to turn left, I stopped to let them. I thought we were going to be shot or run into, people behind me started honking, plus the poor soul I was waiting for didn’t know what to do. Dennis started yelling at me to just go before someone attacked us out of road rage. He was right, but I was automatically trying to live aloha – unfortunately not in the right place as the drivers in Florida don’t seem to have heard about living aloha!
A lot of living aloha seems to me to have to do what what used to just be common courtesy and good manners. Unfortunately, that, along with civility, is sadly lacking in the modern world, and it makes me sad and also makes me wish that everyone, everywhere (and especially everyone in politics and in traffic) would learn to ‘Live Aloha!’