To begin to understand the richness of Aloha is simple but complex. I have been working on it for at least 12 years, and may always be working on it...
It's easy to go to Maui for a week and feel the mellowness that comes from breathing and relaxing for what seems like the first time in your life. It's great to bring those good vibes, love, freshness, freedom and joy home with you. And then you begin to practice that feeling regularly; awesome! Go for it!!
But, I have learned that it's not always so good to always have that "Pronoia" Aloha vibe going. (Sorry Rob Bresny...)
Aloha is not all about dismissing those uncomfortable feelings in favor of a more positive outlook.
To replace feelings that may be uncomfortable with a glorified feeling of love can be a way of not taking responsibility for a part of life that seems to be a downer at that moment.
This usually happens around anger, frustration, or deep sadness that seemingly comes from nowhere. Maybe you don't appreciate those feelings you are having, or perhaps what someone says triggers something in you you don't want to face. (Ram Dass said we are all a mirror to keep polishing...) But these feelings are just as important as the happiness and joy that follow their acceptance and letting go.
There is nothing supportive about, and more spiritually and emotionally halting, than telling someone not to feel what they are feeling, or telling them to replace it with a false feeling of joy and good vibes. To me it feels akin to shaming, or "stuffing things under the rug", which we all know leads to even darker places.
Aloha is also about accepting those feelings with love, acceptance and grace. It allows you to look a little bit deeper, if need be, to fully realize where they stem from, and then move on to a better place where you can bring genuine joy and happiness to the place that is part of you right then. In this way, Aloha can be a valuable lesson in embracing all that occurs in your life, good and not so good.
To those new on the spiritual path, and those not so new, it is a good reminder to accept and value every feeling that comes up - including the bummers.
They all have a place and a time.
With that, I say to you, Mahalo for listening and Aloha to every part of your being.
Lisa Kai is a licensed bodywork therapist in Chicago Illinois. She specializes in transformational bodywork including Lomi Lomi and Craniosacral. This blog contains her insights on bodywork and everyday inspirations for health and wellness. Lisa also practices Aloha, is a tiki freak, loves nature and double dipping her veggies, is an artist, and embraces change.