Living Aloha – In Your Body

You can “Live Aloha” anywhere, any time. It’s a quick trip below the neck, back into your body and your heart…

At first glance, living aloha means treating others with kindness and respect. It can be simple things like letting the other driver in, returning your shopping cart when you’re done with it, and saying “please” and “thank you.” All of that behavior begins with energetically coming into your body, with your breath, your ‘ha’, and feeling from the heart.

We spend so much of our lives in our heads, doing and producing and meeting the demands of work and family. We’re socially conditioned this way from a very young age. Socialization has its place. It’s appropriate to learn not to punch people when you are angry. But before and underneath that is our innate ability to BE in our bodies, to feel easily and intensely, and to love with our whole being.  This begins and ends with breath. When we are in our bodies, we feel – everything. We feel tired, hungry, sad, angry…whatever is really going on in the moment. That’s how we all started out as babies.

When we have too much energy in the head

As we grow up, we learn that feeling, especially when the feelings are too big and uncomfortable, can be scary and inconvenient. We become good at swallowing down painful emotions and holding on a little tighter each time to keep them down. If you have a deadline to meet and your tired and hungry, you’ve developed the ability to concentrate around those sensations. “Suck it Up” and carry on. You pull the energy into your head, tighten your neck and shoulder muscles and ask your body to run on less and less. But it works. Mostly. Until it doesn’t.

If you find yourself at the end of the day with your neck and shoulders tight as a drum, your body feeling empty and your head feeling like it’s overfull and about to explode, you’ve probably spent the day thinking and breathing minimally. Your energy is out of balance and it feels yucky. Your missing the ‘ha.’ The solution is simply to catch yourself not breathing – living up in your head – and take a full, deep breath to come back into your body. If you have any questions about how to do that, watch an infant or small child. They are the wise teachers we once were ourselves.

Come back into your body

Try it right now. Take a full breath, letting your belly expand deep and low, and come into your body. (Yes, put down the magazine. You can come back to the symbol @.) Feel what’s going on in there. Is your waistband too tight making it hard to take a full breath? What else do you feel? Sensations. They’re underrated and under experienced. And they don’t kill you! It’s amazing to spend a moment in your busy day simply feeling your feet in your shoes, your bum in the chair, and your tongue in your mouth. Your tongue!! Imagine what life would be like without your tongue?! Aside from not getting to taste ice cream, and poke, and perfectly ripe fruit, how would you push the food around in your mouth to chew? It’s the strongest muscle in your body. Appreciate what is it to have such a glorious thing as a tongue!

The rest of your body is just as amazing. Your fingers let you feel the softness of a baby’s skin; your ears let you hear music that sets your feet tapping; and your heart feels love, sadness, and the palette of emotion that makes you human. When you are able to grieve fully, it’s a bittersweet pain that feels SO MUCH BETTER than bottled-up grief. There’s the pain of loss and also the joy of opening your heart and letting someone matter to you that much.   

Living Aloha means living fully from your heart and your whole body and it’s available to you now. Take a breath and feel the gift of love that is your birthright.

Copyright 2014, By Denise LaBarre   Thank you for quoting and citing respectfully.

**This article appeared in the March/April 2014 issue of Living Aloha magazine.