Ohana Means Family

by | Dec 1, 2016

I get asked this question all the time, “what does Ohana mean”? Technically, “ohana” means family but it is so much deeper than that. The word comes from oha, which is the highly revered taro plant, and it signifies that all ohana come from the same root. No matter how distantly we are all related, we come from the same root and are therefore from the same family. What a wonderful concept especially during this time of such divide. To me this runs very deep for its one thing to think ‘it’s a cool concept’ and another to live its truth.

My sister Rachel is 6 years older than me and she is part Hawaiian. The whole half/step sibling thing can be strenuous. There can be a sort of disconnect with some, or a rivalry with others. Some might harbor feelings of being less important. Luckily, that was NOT my experience at all!. When I came into the world, I was immediately considered part of the family with ‘her side’. I was always embraced by my grandparents just as their own blood. I never felt the slightest difference. They loved us all immensely and looked at us with the same amount of pride. They have always had more than enough love to go around.

When I moved to Hawaii in 2001, I realized that this is truly their culture. Everyone is either called auntie, uncle or cousin. I loved this so much and it really spoke deeply to me. When you shift your thinking and begin to see everyone as family, you immediately feel kindness and respect towards everyone. Whenever I talk to someone who has visited Hawaii, they all say the same things. “There is something about the energy there” or “everyone is so kind and happy”. I attribute this to living Ohana.

When I expanded my business in 2010, I wanted to bring some of that feeling here to DC. The metro area is definitely a place that could really benefit from some ohana! My goal was to create a space that embodies the spirit and energy of Hawaii. I want everyone to feel a sense of calmness and security when they walk in. By creating this tranquil environment, I hope to ease the stress of the outside world, even if only for a short time. By the time you leave, I can only hope that you feel relaxed, rejuvenated and hopefully a bit loved. We all need Ohana to enhance the beauty of our lives.

Try to bring this into your community, what if you look at your co-workers as family? What if you look at the barista at starbucks with the same admiration as your sister? If you can shift this thinking we will all live in a kinder, more loving place just like Hawaii!

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