Today is Saturday, November 5, 2016 – and the presidential election is just three days away. Everyone seems to be teetering on the edge these days and I am no exception. Everywhere you turn, there is anxiety, divisiveness, anger, fear. We in the United States are watching our country fall into a place of un-kindness at an unimaginable level.
This led me to think about loving kindness and the slogan of my favorite restaurant on Maui, Ma La Ocean Tavern: Practice Aloha (http://malaoceantavern.com/index.html). While I knew that the word ALOHA is used as hello and good-bye – similar to the Hebrew word SHALOM – I did not realize that there was a much deeper meaning. When I ran a search on the internet, I learned the following:
The literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life.” It comes from “Alo,” meaning presence, front and face, and “ha,” meaning breath. Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. Its deep meaning starts by teaching ourselves to love our own beings first and afterwards to spread the love to others. (http://www.to-hawaii.com/aloha.php)
How can we use this to get through the next three days and the months to come? We can breathe deeply. We can treat each person with dignity and respect even if, especially if, their beliefs are different from ours. We can help heal our country and our world by spreading love.
I’ll end with a blessing for everyone on our planet – an interpretation of meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg’s loving kindness meditation:
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be safe
May you live with ease
Neshama Mousseau, MSW