I have recently moved to Hawaii. When I first arrived there, a sense of awe and anxiety crept over me. What was I doing here…really? How was I going to fit into this culture that I knew NOTHING about?! Stepping off the plane and feeling the humid, cool air, I reached for my cell phone to text my friend waiting to pick me up at the airport. The “Aloha Spirit” was one I had not personally experienced but had heard a lot about. I was soon going to get it blasted to my core, and willingly so!
My friend and new roomie rushed to meet me at baggage claim with the biggest smile and hug. All my worries started to melt away; my introduction to this “spirit” was beginning. We went to the van waiting to bring me to my new home. The man driving greeted me with a kiss on the cheek (a local greeting for women here) and helped with my bags. “Welcome to Hawaii!” he said with a large grin… as if I were just embarking on a new discovery and he already knew what was coming. The man who picked me up was a groundskeeper for the place I was moving to. He in no way was obligated to go out of his way to pick me up, yet here he was! As we drove through “town” (as Honolulu is called by those who live and play here), he gave me a descriptive rundown on Oahu history and local culture. The vibe of love and total acceptance he exuded is one that is shared by many of the people here on the island. In a matter of minutes I began to feel at home.
In the past month of being in Hawaii, I have experienced what it is to live in “The Aloha Spirit.” People I have never met just seem to care about my personal well-being. From the clerk at the beach market to the drivers on the street, everyone is in touch with this kindness for each other. Even in the mosh pit at the punk concert I attended, the moshers were courteous of one another! The friends I have made, although not in recovery, seem to have an understanding of life and how we are all connected. In this connectedness we serve each other, in turn serving ourselves in the highest, most loving way possible.
Members of the community yearn for me to feel comfortable and accepted, even in “party” atmospheres. As I am being open about my recovery, questions are asked as to why I am not drinking. I give a brief blip of an explanation about my lifestyle and it is left at that. I am accepted and have a great time enjoying music and being of service as a designated driver at gatherings. My presence is appreciated and I feel free to be me! As I am fed this “freedom of spirit,” I have impulsively spread the energy. I amplify it and reach out to my loved ones on the mainland. It’s community outreach in the most organic of forms.
As my journey in Hawaii continues, I learn about what it is to be connected to the people, the land, and the “Aloha Spirit” within all things present. What does having “Aloha Spirit” mean to you, and how could you utilize what you know of it to reach out in your own communities in a positive way?
Love and Light fellow travelers! – Adventure Vanessa