Mahalo – Being Present with Gratitude

The expression for gratitude we often hear in Hawaii is “Mahalo.” This word however  does not translate directly into “thank you” even though that is a part of the expression.

MAHALO is a pause with a purpose. “Ma” loosely meaning within, “Ha” referring to the breath of life, and “Alo”  an expression for being in the presence of. In other words, it loosely means to be thankful to be in the presence of the divine breath of life.  

In mindfulness, we invite the present moment to become a bigger and bigger part of  our experience with living. Even though the past and future are significant and need some of our attention they are not HERE. At least not right NOW. And the Now needs our attention too. 

Connecting to the breath is a common way to become more present with the moment at hand. Pause for a moment and notice how you are breathing, notice this divine breath of life we are all experiencing at the same time. Perhaps at a different  pace or rhythm, but still in this moment, our breath is woven together throughout all  of existence. Every living thing is sharing this same moment. 

Paying attention to one sense at a time is another way of anchoring into the present  moment, which can generate a great deal of peace. Focus for a moment on one  sense at a time. Pause and notice what you are seeing. Now, shift your focus to the  sounds you are hearing. Next, experience the taste sensations in the mouth. Touch your fingertips together and feel each texture. Soak in the smells from your  environment. Notice what you experience from isolating each sense one at a time.  Did your awareness shift? 

Gratitude is another method of bringing your attention into the present moment. In  yogic science, Pratayahar, one of the 8 limbs of yogic science, means to contract or  synchronize the senses and thoughts. It can also be described as an integration and  realization for having gratitude for all of life’s experiences recognizing that each one  can be seen as reflections of the sacred expressions of life. This state of awareness  holds a vast spaciousness for peace. 

This time of the year is full of reminders to be grateful. It is also a time of sharing in  the harvest of the fruits of our labors. As you move about the season, rather than  being swept away, invite the synchronization of gratitude to have a stronger presence in your life. Invite the pause of MAHALO. Take more moments to be thankful to be in the presence of the divine breath of life. Lengthen these moments. Stretch them. More and More. Until we have all been weaved together in the aloha spirit and co-created a connection to the journey of life.  

Start the Journey to living well and living in gratitude by working with one of our skilled psychotherapists or join us each Monday for any of our meditation groups.

Contact Mindful Living Group today to get started. 

By Jessica U’ilani Brazil, LCSW, RYT
Mindful Living Group