Actually it doesn’t. Not exactly.
The kaona of a word or phrase refers to the hidden meaning the speaker may have in choosing to say it, and word associations, either visual or verbal, will often come into play in our Language of Intention and Language of We.
Sometimes, kaona hints to a long and involved story, and other times it is as simple as mine is with HA‘AHA‘A. I think the Hawaiian word we have for humility simply looks like another very creative, and liberating way to spell those Ha ha ha! belly tickles of laughter, and I love thinking about that.
With HA‘AHA‘A, we don’t laugh at others, but smile and chuckle at ourselves, happily embracing our blunders, our mistakes and missteps, and even our eccentricities and weaknesses, knowing they leave us totally open to what they could be, instead.
We let the sheepish (a person or expression showing embarrassment from shame or a lack of self-confidence) become the silly-looking, yet very wise HA‘AHA‘A, where laughing about it becomes the best choice we can make, for it’s the choice to invest in what we truly value — more precisely, that open-minded wonder our humility opens so many doors to.
To have an inner capacity that can always make room for awe and wonder is such a blessing. To return to child-like innocence and acceptance, to be rendered speechless, and have it feel good and right, never helpless. To not have all the answers, but feel it is perfectly fine not to, to just have wonder.
— from the Twelve Aloha Virtues
HA‘AHA‘A can also be saying “Aha! I got you!” to those marvelous times our humble modesty and acceptance of how things are (i.e. how they can actually be okay), can help us catch ourselves. HA‘AHA‘A is a magnificent stopper when we shouldn’t venture too far, not until we’ve had time to think, to self-assess, and to be sure, or at least more sure, and less impulsive.
Within our acceptance, we don’t worry about what distresses us; we Hō‘imi, and look for what else it can mean. If the visual pleasure of HA‘AHA‘A is what we keep foremost in mind, we will look for whatever can be more pleasing – we look for the pleasure, and we expect it to be there!
Hō‘imi: To look for better and for best.
To have positive expectancy, and be optimistic.
Read more, at Palena ‘ole Positivity is Hō‘imi— look for it
As I share the 19 Values of Aloha in my talks and workshops, I notice that many people hesitate to actually say HA‘AHA‘A, for those ‘okinas (the ‘backward apostrophe’ glottal stops) give them pause, and they’ll choose the English word, and say “humility” instead. If I press them, point to the word, and say, “You mean this?” they invariably look up at me, smile, and you can guess what we do next:
We laugh about it.
Ha! Aha! Aha!
When we accept we aren’t perfect,
Yet we aspire to humility,
We ask for help more than we normally will.
We let others in.
Wonder-full how that happens!
We have recently studied the value of humility in these postings: (open all in a separate page)