I am so looking forward to my upcoming journey to Hawaii – my friends, the hiking, the food. I imagine what it will be like exploring the forests – ones of bamboo and of dense, lush greenery. And woven through the green will be brilliant splashes of color from flowers or birds. All around me will be the sweet smell of nature, bursting with freshness. Then there are the beaches with the tang of salt in the air. A myriad of blues in the water trying to reach the sand. Being outdoors has always helped restore my equilibrium and almost always puts me in a good mood. So, hiking, swimming and enjoying nature in Hawaii should make me one of the happiest people alive. Hawaiian natives even have a special word for this – mana. Mana is a spiritual energy present in people, animals, plants and the earth itself. I am looking forward to experiencing this mana for myself and hopefully be so infused with it that I bring it home with me – the best souvenir ever! This mana is also a big part of the ‘Aloha spirit’. Aloha spirit is a coordination of the heart and mind in every person. Thought of as part of the natural life force, it requires people to actively think about and share good feelings with others. It is so much more than a simple greeting or way to say goodbye. In fact, the state has even made it a law! All government officials, citizens and visitors are supposed to embody the Aloha spirt – and I can’t wait to share it all with you! By: Rhonda Brunett

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