Last week I had the opportunity to get away with my family for a bi-annual trip. This time we were able to visit Hawaii… specifically Oahu. Yes… Hawaii is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. From the lush vegetation that hugs the exquisite mountain ranges, the array of various colors that allow you to see parts of the ocean floor, to the captivating blue skies with white puffy clouds that float across the sky, the islands are incredible. And yet while I was inspired by these sights and the experiences we had, on this particular trip there were two different things I took away.
The first was the sense of peace and tranquility I felt walking around and exploring the island. While you might expect it to be because I was on vacation, but I feel like it was the culture and the people. I have always believed that it is the people that make a society or a community. If they are warm, generous, friendly, and welcoming then that mentality permeates into every aspect of their lives. And from what I saw, it was clearly evident that their Happiness Quotient (HQ) was extremely high.
There is a large collection of books and studies done around the idea of HQ and the impact a high HQ can have on a person’s life. With everything we have experienced and witnessed these last several years, it was refreshing to be in a place that values and encourages high HQ. There is just a different mentality, I believe it comes from both the Hawaiian culture and from the people who have chosen to live on the island. I also felt that it was something else which leads me into my second takeaway from my trip.
I have always thought California was at the forefront of the sustainability movement. While it may seem that way due to the state’s size, I found myself questioning this when I was in Hawaii. The concept seems to be embedded in the connection the people have with the land and nature. I don’t think I have ever seen as many people carrying and using reusable water bottles or the sheer number of restaurants that only use recycled plates and silverware as I did on this trip. It was refreshing to see, especially with the increased concern around climate change. None of it was heavy-handed or over-the-top; it was just what was done.
One final note… I also saw a lot of similarities between the Hawaiian and Jewish cultures. Both hold a strong reverence for a higher power and deep appreciation and gratitude for what they have. Plus, there is a powerful connection to community and a celebration of traditions that each carries forward, even after being exposed to “outside” cultures.
I hope you enjoy these last final days and weeks of this year’s summer as it slowly comes to an end.