“The new expanded spirituality is all inclusive. It is inclusive, because it comes from unconditional love. In the concept of unconditional love there is no exclusion. Everything and everyone is seen as a part of oneself. It is a beautiful spirituality as the one who lives by its principles cannot by definition be a part of any conflict.” – Raphael Zernoff
If you have ever seen the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch then you probably remember hearing the word “Ohana”. The movie explains the meaning of this word with simplicity. I can’t help but be reminded of the movie every time I hear the word, ohana. As with most things, the meaning of this word can be different among cultures and it has an interesting history of where it comes from. Ohana means family, but let’s take a look at the deeper meaning of this word and its history.
I thought it was only fitting to put in a quote from the movie Lilo and Stitch:
“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind… or forgotten”.
Family is just as important in Hawaii as it is in other places; However, ohana, which is the Hawaiian word for family, extends beyond the core family to include both blood related and can also be used informally such as a close friend to the family. For many people, the most important thing for them is family. Whether its blood related or informal, having a family can be beneficial for all of us. Belonging to an ohana is beneficiary, but with that also comes the responsibilities and obligations. For example, in order to have your ohana pleased to claim you, you must behave responsibly and with integrity.
As mentioned before ohana extends beyond the core family. Some different kinds of ohana that you can belong to, but not limited to are family/clan ohana, work/recreational ohana, and church/school ohana. Having these different types of ohana are helpful for other people to understand who you are. For example, one might say that they belong to the “Castle High School Ohana”. Now-a-days ohana frequently describes relationships among work or within the community. Here is the history and why it is important to prepare for the next generation, nourish each other, and maintain a give and take relationship within an ohana:
- The word ohana is rooted in the taro plant – oha-ana: ohā is the shoot, the part of the taro plant which is cut from the plant and planted to become the next generation; ana is a conjunctive word connoting regeneration or procreation. Procreation and regeneration carried important implications for Polynesians, and Hawaiians think of kalo (taro) as the older sibling of man.
- Ohana includes all who are brought into the family group. Your ohana nourishes you.
- Once in an ohana it is a give and take relationship among the members whether they are past, present or future. It is said that an ohana should always be preparing for the generation ahead, typically those in seven generations from now.
TRY TO THINK OF A FEW DIFFERENT TYPES OF OHANA YOU HAVE IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT ARE THE GIVES AND TAKES WITHIN THOSE OHANA? WHAT CAN YOU DO TO NOURISH EACH OTHER? WHAT CAN YOUR OHANA DO TO PREPARE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION – IN SEVEN YEARS?
Internationally recognized Positive Psychology Coach Lisa Cypers Kamen is the Founder ofHarvestingHappiness.com, Director of 501 (C)(3) nonprofit Harvesting Happiness for Heroes (HH4Heroes.org), and Host of weekly Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio.
Currently living in Los Angeles, California, Lisa Cypers Kamen is the mother of two active children. She is philanthropically dedicated to the success of various charities related to children and military issues.