Over the past few months our nation has experienced change on a massive scale. On-going protests and discussions surrounding race as well as the coronavirus pandemic has created the perfect political, social and economic storm of epic proportions. As a result, we are learning to live and operate within the confines of a hyper-partisan society with quickly shifting societal and cultural expectations. In my previous blog I talked about how to live aloha. As we all anxiously await the start of the fall term, I believe it is important to discuss the critical nature of living aloha.
Yes, change is happening at a fast pace and no one is certain what kind of change will eventually materialize. We all have different theories and perspectives. In my last blog I talked about small every day actions each of us can take to navigate through the “new normal”. I emphasized practicing humility and encouraging inclusiveness in our everyday interactions with others. I also discussed the importance of sharing aloha and the strength that comes from these values. While these are traits that we all should share and practice there is a greater message here and that is the importance of sustainability, growth or e ulu.
I live in a community that is isolated physically. We understand not just the critical nature of preserving resources but finding alternative ways to grow, develop and progress. Living aloha means constantly exploring ways to maintain forward momentum with the understanding that resources are finite. Hawaiian communities of the past were known for working short but intense hours. Men and women would spend 2-3 hours per day harvesting crops with the rest of the time used for fishing, surfing or other leisurely based activities. Early European settlers viewed this lifestyle as counterproductive and questioned the work ethic of the indigenous population. On the contrary the people understood the importance of sustainable development and that living aloha meant maintaining precious resources so that future generations may enjoy.
As our world undergoes a social evolution we as MPACE members must hunker down and continue to progress and practice inclusiveness, compassion and patience with our fellow human beings. The coronavirus will not simply disappear on its own neither will equality be achieved overnight. But we can set the plans in motion. Like the Native Hawaiians before us who understood the importance of overcommitting and exploiting resources, we too must learn to think long term. Preserve energy and direct resources where needed, value the time we have with our friends and family, learn to balance the demands and most importantly continue living. When we learn to view change and inclusive practices as not just correcting past injustices, but also long -term community investments then are truly living aloha.
By Ryan Tin Loy, Senior Career Advisor, Hawaii Pacific University