As I finish making a Caramel Macchiato that’s Cali Style with Nonfat Milk, No Foam, and Extra Drizzle; I can feel it. Without even looking up, I can feel the crossed arms, the stern looks, the glazed over eyes thinking, “I need caffeine now, why don’t you just hurry up already.” I’m only four drinks deep, (this isn’t a lot, 15 is) and the negative vibes directed my way are enough to cut through the foam on the steamed milk and curdle it.
Regardless of what’s being directed my way, I don’t let it bother me. I’ve gotten used to it. I love doing this and as cheerily as I can, I chime off their drink giving them my “smile that could melt a glacier” (a customer wrote this on a comment card once – it was like a Hallmark card) and hand it off to a grunt as they march off. Not all days are like this. Some days, people are cheerier. Some days, you get the Hallmark card moments.
Most would dread this job, being a Barista, but I love it. It gives me permission to make people happy, to inspire them, to cheer them up, and make them feel just a bit better. I’ve given myself the title “cheer maker”. No one else knows this of course, it’s my way of remembering my purpose – to always be kind, grateful, and happy no matter the circumstances.
You could say I live aloha every minute I can. That’s the impact visiting Hawaii has had on me.
We’ve let life get so fast that we barely interact with each other. We grunt, we act miserable way too often, and we’re so stressed out with meetings, comparing, playing follow the leader, being stuck in traffic, and rushing from A to B to C to D, that we’ve forgotten to love ourselves, love each other, and keep things simple.
Hawaiians are simple living experts, they Live Aloha 24/7.
What is Aloha? Aloha is a Hawaiian word typically used to say hello or goodbye. The literal meaning is “the breath of life” or “presence of breath”. It comes from “alo” which means, presence, front and face, and “ha” meaning breath. For Hawaiians, it’s “The Aloha Spirit” or living with Aloha.
Living aloha is the Hawaiian secret to living a full and happy life. It’s a lifestyle and in its simplest form, means: be kind and be mindful toward others. Aloha means no judgment, honoring and respecting family, friends and all those that enter your life. Aloha is love for yourself and for others.
They embrace a slower pace.
“Ahhhh…I could live here forever.” I say this every time I visit Hawaii. On the islands, it’s like time stands still (sadly, it doesn’t), no one cares about busyness, what car they drive, or how many lattes they can consume in a day. All the stress and anxiety from life at home melts away.
Life is different in Hawaii. It’s simple and peaceful.
It’s 8AM and I’m sitting outside sipping a coffee, watching the sun slowly rise higher in the bright blue sky. Birds are everywhere singing joyful melodies and flitting about. Sure, every once in a while a car goes rumbling by, but for the most part it’s quiet, peaceful and most of all, abundantly simple.
Most mornings I wake to the light of dawn and the resident bright red cardinal chirping his wake up tune. There’s no alarm clock jolting me out of bed, and the last thing on my mind is reaching for my phone.
In fact, there are days I don’t even turn it on. It doesn’t fit in here.
Also known as Hawaii Time or Hawaii Style, everything moves at a much slower pace. Many aren’t in a huge rush to get somewhere. People take time to savor and enjoy life.
Everything is simple in Hawaii.
They consider everyone family.
Ohana means family. Yep, we could all learn from the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch. Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind…or forgotten.
Complete strangers will give you a cheery “Aloha!” or hello, then ask you how your day’s been. There’s no shortage of generosity or happiness.
They live SLOW.
In case you haven’t come across it yet, Slow living stands for Sustainable, Local, Organic, and Whole. Most Hawaiians live the Slow life, you’ll see solar panels in abundance, they shop farmers markets whenever they can or grow their own (local + organic), and although they love SPAM, most foods are whole and not processed. Part of why I love visiting is experiencing local and organic foods. People on the islands grow/produce Tangerines, Lemons, Kale (yes, Kale), Pineapples (of course, duh!), Dragonfruit, Tomatoes (Kamuela are yummy), Papaya, Breadfruit, Lettuce (oh, Maui lettuce = yummy), Honey, and of course, Macadamias and coffee.
If you’re not a vegetarian, you can buy local eggs, meats, and seafood (fresh Ahi sashimi = yumm!).
So you see, many things are grown in Hawaii, consumed and then the leftovers are either composted in a puka (hole), or fed to farm animals.
While we can’t always do this in mainland North America, I always do my best to grow fresh foods during the summer months and preserve what I can for winter.
We could all use more Hawaii Style in our lives.
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