Hawaii, sometimes referred to as The Aloha State, was my home for the passed 10 days. My time was spent with none other than Steph Corker, Britni Bakk, Dave Frey and many other athletes, tourists, locals and undoubtedly the Hawaiian Gods. Hawaii is the only US state made up entirely of islands. In fact the state is comprised of hundreds of islands spread over 1500 miles as a result of encompassing nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian island chain. We chose to spend our time on the Island of Hawaii (the Big Island), home of the World Ironman Championships hosted annually in October. What unfolded was 10 days of Ironman training appropriately referred to as Camp Awesome lead by B78 Head Coach Jasper Blake. We put in a sold 30+ hours of endurance work in the pool, the ocean, along the infamous Queen’s K highway and up and down Ali’i Drive. The heat was melting, the winds never disappoint and the water was alive. Hawaii is special.
This was my 9th visit to the Big Island. Six time for the Ironman, twice for the Honu Half Ironman and this trip for Camp Awesome. Hawaii is inexplicably sacred and unquestionably powerful. From the moment you step foot on the tarmac to the moment you leave, many experience a sense of calmness mixed with vital ferocity and how these two feelings intermix is what makes your experience on the islands unique. If its been said once, its been said a million times, the Gods of Hawaii are unpredictable, passionate and definitely in power. They command respect and surrender and will punish you for any misstep or mistrust. If you choose to accept everything Hawaii has to offer and leave the natural earth intact you will learn to love Hawaii more than anywhere else in the world.
This was my first trip to the Big Hawaii with Steph Corker. It was such a joy and inspiration to visit the island with someone who loves, lives for and breathes in Hawaii far more than I originally did or likely ever will. Steph is destined to someday live on one of its islands, running a wellness retreat with bike-nics and core-o’clock daily sessions. She will serve papaya’s and chubby bananas to everyone after sharing her Aloha passion and heartfelt gratitude for this life. Steph nurtured my Aloha every moment helping it to blossom and take a shape I never knew possible. This motivated me to look further into the meaning of Aloha and helped me to understand the emotions I would experience while on the island. Thankfully, Julie Hamilton of Artificially Afflicted, blogged about its meaning and offered insight to the aloha word:
“Most believe Aloha is just a greeting, but the word is a way of life for most living here on the islands. Here, Aloha is an attitude, guidance towards living a certain way of life. Aloha can also mean affection, peace, compassion and mercy. ~ the Aloha Spirit”
A, ala, watchful, alertness
L, lokahi, working with unity
O, oia’i’o, truthful honesty
H, ha’aha’a, humility
A, ahonui, patient perseverance
Learning the true meaning shows us just how much the Aloha Spirit embodies a way of life. In fact it captures all one needs to know to interact with the natural world. Children were taught early of the Aloha meaning connecting them with the natural world and instilling a feeling of at oneness.
“One early teaching goes like this:
Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me.
When there is pain – it is my pain.
When there is joy – it is also mine.
I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me.
I will not willfully harm anyone or anything.
When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian – this is Aloha!”
– The Deeper Meaning of Aloha, by Curby Rule
Being a professional athlete with my own athletic potential at the root of my existence and following an intentional path towards some juicy goals, the Aloha Spirit resonates deeply. Sport has an impact on everything in our lives and on everything we are. Work, family, friendships and our passions. It affects our outlook, our decision making and ultimately our way of life. Pursuing a life of sweating every day, pushing your body to new limits and following a path of finding enticing start lines demands you show up with courage, confidence and a lot of aloha. Sport commands alertness, so does Aloha. Sport thrives on working together as one, so does Aloha. Sport teaches you how to cope with tough situations, in truth and honesty, so does Aloha. Sport can be humbling and asks you to dust off with your head help high, so does Aloha. Sport, especially Ironman and endurance sports, requires patience with perseverance and so does Aloha.
Camp Awesome delivered and so did Madame Pele (Goddess of Volcanoes) in all her glory. Some moments were filled with power and strength, some with passion and emotion, some with uncertainty and despair. Most moments started and ended with a lot of Aloha. While we left the island intact, the lava, sand, and fauna, we brought home as much Aloha Spirit as possible hoping to spread it around and carry forth the sense of unity and richness life has to offer.
Mahalo for reading.