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Kalani is home to me...
It is what you see when looking back that makes a place a home. I had to get away to discover that. So, it’s good I left when I did. I’m talking about October, 2008. I had been at Kalani for a year. I needed to go. I needed new adventure. I needed new sights. I needed new people. And I got all that. I traveled the world. Parts of it anyway.
Most of my travels were great. I saw the Redwood trees of California for the first time. I visited a dear friend in Oregon. I got caught up with my family in Virginia. I tutored Tibetan monks in India. Those monks, they speak English that much better now thanks to me. That’s something I’m proud of.
Then I ended up in a place where I just wasn’t thrilled to be. Turned out, this was the best part of my travels. It’s what I figured out while there that made it worth while. I took a job as an English teacher in Korea. So I went to Korea. Korea didn’t turn out to be such a good a place for me. I didn’t much care for Korea.
The thing is, at Kalani, and on The Big Island in general, the aina, the land, the Earth is treated with reverence. I love that about this place. As an empath, empathic to the planet itself, I appreciate feeling this oneness with nature. Here, we live in nature. We live with nature. We live of nature. We are nature.
I feel it when I take a deep breath, remembering that this air is the freshest on the planet. I feel it when I watch the cycles of the moon in the sky night after night, watching the stars- the shooting stars. I feel it when I meditate at the point or swim in the ocean. At night, the coqui frogs lull me to sleep, often speaking to me personally as I meditate on their voices.
We do not hide from nature here. We do not escape it. We do not alter it to suit our needs. We breathe it in and hold it. We eat our meals on the lanai- outside, breathing. We do yoga and dance within view of the ocean. When it rains, we walk in the rain. When the sun shines, we walk in the sun.
In Korea, it was different. Where was nature? I couldn’t find it. I’m sure it was around somewhere, but from where I was, I couldn’t see it. Where I was, nature- our Mother Earth, my Mother Earth, was held in bondage. Her flesh rotted over with cement and pavement, blistered with an endless sprawl of apartment buildings and retail establishments and buildings and more apartment buildings. Where was the moon? Where were the stars? When I breathed, my lungs hurt from the pollution. I got a sinus infection and needed medication. That didn’t set well with me.
It occurred to me that I was home-sick. I found myself looking back, missing what I had. Funny though, I wasn’t missing my old life- the life I lived in Virginia where I spent thirty some years growing up and existing. No, I wasn’t missing the house I used to own or the car I used to drive or the job I used to go to or even the sixty five inch television I used to watch reality shows on. That’s not what I was missing. Nope, not at all.
Know what I was missing? I was missing getting my hands dirty pulling weeds. I was missing my connection to the earth. I was missing Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. I was missing it all. I was missing Hawaii. I was missing Kalani. So I said goodbye to Korea and went home. Now I am home. This is my home. Kalani.
I see that now. Kalani is home to me. It’s not just a place to visit. It’s not just a place to pass through. It is a place, for me, to set down roots. I realized that while being away, while looking back. Home is what you see when looking back. It’s where you want to return to when away. That’s what I have done. Returned. Here I am. My home. My headquarters. The vantage point from which I watch the universe expand its inhabitants evolve. This is where I want to be, so this is where I am. It is good.