I was running yesterday near my home in Keauhou and started being passed by professional cyclists and runners and it occurred to me that they must be training for the Kona IronMan being held here this weekend. So, this morning I drove near downtown Kona and parked my car and started running on the road towards downtown. (I can do three miles, not 26!) I was running amidst some of the best athletes in the world! I even tried to keep up with a group of three seniors who were training, as well. Having my butt whooped by people nearing 60 was humbling. (although, being here for the LavaMan race last month, I have seen seniors that are in amazing shape and have no goal of stopping anytime soon!)
What was cool this morning was a smile. I was running up a hill and a triathlete was running down and we were both in the middle of the shoulder. Since he is a visitor, I made it clear that I would move out of the way for him. He seemed to understand this gesture and gave me the brightest grin I can remember. It felt good to know that I showed the Aloha Spirit that many of my fellow residents show to these athletes and to out of town guests. We feel so lucky to be here that it just comes out in a sense of joy, which then emanates to those around us.
I wish the world could share in this feeling and outpouring of the Aloha Spirit. It is felt everywhere! At the airport when you first arrive, to all the people you meet along the way to your hotel, and even when standing looking at the surfers and people enjoying the ocean. Then it extends to you as you drive and see people watching the scenery instead looking for the break in the road that they can push into. When people need to get into traffic, they are good naturedly waved into the roadway by a shaka and a smile. The smiles are prevalent in the shops and restaurants, too. And how can you NOT smile when you are treated to a sunset every night into the ocean?
When you sit still long enough to just relax, count your blessings that you are here and listen..that’s when you hear the Aloha Spirit, too. Yes, to those who are open to it, you can feel and hear spirit/Pele around you like a warm blanket. I traveled to Kauai last weekend and realized that was not the case on that island! It’s here in Kona, though!
So, as we welcome hundreds of athletes who appreciate and need our well wishes and Aloha Spirit this week, we greet and welcome them with a smile and hope they take some of that Aloha Spirit home with them.