What is the Aloha Spirit? It’s you!

So you’ve read the book… (or several of the Managing with Aloha Resource Pages here.)

Now what?

It’s a question you should ask yourself about every book you read, and not just Managing with Aloha. Even the answer, “Now nothing. This one entertained, but I choose to not have it influence me” is self-expressive in some way; the decision was made for a reason you have validated.

You open yourself up when you read. You let stuff in. Some of your reading will flow straight through you and not matter much as you return to the real world of your life, but some will stick, lining the walls of your insides with a new kind of self-captured texturing you have woven in as inspiration, and can continue to draw from.

Inspiration is being In-Spirit

I love that you can drink of such an emotional and intellectual connection to what you read, doing so in a way that comes from inside you. Think about it: someone else wrote the words, and they aren’t reading them to you. You can’t hear the emotion in their voice, or see it in their expression. You have only the words to draw from: their words, but your meaning for them regardless of the writer’s intent. The emotional connection comes from inside you, and your mana‘o (your beliefs and convictions), not from the writer. You employ the value of NĀNĀ I KE KUMU when you read: You look to your source, and you find your truth.

Your Aloha Spirit does the same thing for you, and it does so constantly, no matter the trigger (reading is just one of our influences). The Aloha Spirit is driven by the value of ALOHA, and your Aloha is all about you.

The Breath of A Life

Aloha is the combination of two smaller Hawaiian words, ‘alo’ and ‘ha.’

Ha is derived from hanu, the breath of your life, a concept which is like DNA to the Hawaiian way of thinking.

This Hāpu‘u pulu ‘i‘i is just like your Aloha Spirit, tightly curled and regal— and ready to uncoil its abundant promise.

When you breathe in, and collect your breath, you are collecting a type of human intelligence from three centers of being, which is DNA-like in that it is unique to you. It comes from the na‘au (your gut), where your ancestral wisdom resides, from ma‘i piko (your reproductive organs), representing your intention for continuing all life in future generations, and po‘o piko (your head) as a mindfulness which is as close as you can come to being graced with divine intervention. Those three things — ancestral wisdom, forward-looking intention, and divinity — combine in each and every breath you take, the breath which will propel you toward living the rest of the following moments. This propulsion of unique being is what we mean by someone’s Aloha Spirit. It is fueled by ha, the breath of your life, and the engine of your body.

Whereas ha is inside you, the ‘alo’ of aloha is on the outside, giving your ha its human presence. Your alo is the face you present to the rest of the world, and much different from DNA, your alo is of your choosing. Alo is your demeanor, your presence, your blending into the world and opening up to what each and every day offers up to you — and to what each and every person you encounter offers up to you. You choose to make those encounters happen well, or you don’t. Alo is sort of like personality and mood, whereas ha is more like the character you have when no one is looking, character you will always have, and best of all, a character which is only borne of ancestral good.

Unconditional Acceptance, and the Expectation of Good

One of the most beautifully compelling beliefs about the Hawaiian culture, is that there is no such thing as a bad person from the standpoint of ha: People are born good. There is only bad behavior, chosen in disregard or in the manipulation of your alo for some misdirected reason, but a reason which can always be redirected toward good when you manage to purposely connect to your ha. To pause, collect yourself, and “just breathe” is a wonderful way to look at self-management, and to curb impetuous impulse, taking personal responsibility for our own behavior.

This is a belief a person can choose to have: You need not be of Hawaiian blood or ancestry to believe in the goodness inherent in humanity.

Put them together, your alo and ha, and Aloha is living your life from the inside out, where both inside and outside are a harmonious and healthy match, perfectly aligned, and willingly shared with the rest of the world.

Thus Aloha is referred to by most in Hawai‘i as the value of unconditional love:

“Aloha is unconditional love, for it is the outpouring and receiving of the spirit. It is an expression of unconditional kindness, hospitality, spirituality, cooperativeness with humility, unity and graciousness that touches the souls of others.”
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business

In the Managing with Aloha philosophy, ALOHA is a twofold love, for self and for others. Loving yourself enough to share who you are in complete authenticity and vulnerability. “What you see is what you get, and it’s me, and it’s good!”

ALOHA is a greeting hello, as in “I offer myself to you completely.” It is the Aloha of goodbye, as in “when we part our Aloha remains ever shared between us, helping us remain healthy and connected” for life is not meant to be a solo proposition.

What stayed inside?

So I ask you again. You’ve read the book… Now what?

What stayed inside as part of that intellectual and emotional connection you made, deciding to keep it close? What has “lined the walls of your insides with a new kind of self-captured texturing you can continue to draw from” so it will be a part of your ha forevermore?

Savor it. Imagine it there, within every breath you take in the days to come. Your decision to knowingly identify it (as your given ha) or choose it in some way (as your chosen alo) is a great way to start living and working with Aloha.

About Rosa Say

Rosa is the author of Managing with Aloha. She’s a writer and photo-taker, a workplace culture coach, and a zealous advocate of managers everywhere. She’s a wife and mom, sister and daughter, manager, leader and worker bee, living the best life she can, just like you. Learn more about Rosa at www.RosaSay.com