It’s been over a month since I left Aloha and I can still way too often hear in my head the sound of the voices coming together at lunchtime. Standing in a circle holding hands, we would share our gratefulness for the food and then do a wave and harmonize a (sometimes) cheerful “AAAAALOOOHAAAA’’.
That memory instantly brings the warmest, most nostalgic sensations to my chest. When I think of Aloha, the first word that comes to mind is Love. Love in its purest, rawest form. Love for the land, the community, for myself, and humanity as a whole. I feel there are no better words I could use to describe what Aloha truly means for me.
Anything I write in an attempt to express my appreciation and gratefulness somehow doesn’t feel like enough; Aloha to me is more than words can describe. It’s that warm, sweet sensation in my heart.
I must confess that feeling didn’t come instantly upon my arrival at the farm. On my first day, after a short tour of the place, I was left in the kitchen scared and confused. Seeing all the beautiful, soft-spoken hippies pass by, laughing together, expressing their love and joy. I don’t know why but it all seemed too good to be true, and although I hate to admit it, my initial thought was that I had to be in some sort of cult. I guess I had never experienced so much freedom and I was suspicious. However, when confronted with situations that my old ways didn’t recognize as ‘’normal’’ I had a chance to express my concerns and discomfort in a safe facilitated space, where instead of judgment I encountered kindness and openness. It became so clear to me that I was at a place where my fears, doubts, and anxieties were welcomed. A place where I was accepted for who and where I was in life, and was given the space to grow freely.
Whatever initial shock I felt quickly started fading away and my resistance was soon replaced by a strong sense of safety, friendship, sincerity, and support. There was no need to “fit in” at Aloha, simply being was enough. These beautiful (and intense) feelings kept growing stronger and deeper with time, carefully nurtured by the various community practices; spaces such as Forum, morning meditations, women’s circles, and workshops; where I was held and supported through the sometimes-scary rollercoaster that is growth. I witnessed grown men break down crying, women roar, loud sighs, and soft songs, people sharing some of their most intimate fears and desires… Things that are usually kept painfully bottled up inside coming out in the rawest most powerful ways.
In my relatively short time there (which in the Aloha time warp felt like a lifetime), I developed a connection with the earth, talking to the trees, singing to the flowers, taking care of the garden, and enjoying its abundance every day. A connection with the people, creating some of the strongest bonds of my life, seeing and loving the people for who they truly are, in their light and their shadows. I developed a connection with my roots, allowing myself to be seen in all of my beauty and vulnerability, no masks, and no bullshit… Only truth, trust, and transparency. Values that I adopted in my time there and aspire to live by for the rest of my life. For this and many more reasons I will always carry the essence of Aloha in my heart, spreading its wisdom and magic wherever I go.