Kalani Honua Blog - ram das

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Taylor Powell
One year ago, I was sitting at Kalani and I read a book. This book was unlike
others. It "followed" me. It kept peaking in my life and presenting
itself to me, nudging me along to read it, even thought I thought I already
knew what it was about. After all, how could a book published in 1971 have
additional insight into the blissful existence I was already experiencing?
Hell, I was 3 months into Kalani, I now had a beautiful A-frame and more
abundance than I had realized in a long time. Sure, Ram Dass is a great
author - I remember a particularly special high school english teacher
loaning me this beat up, pitiful light blue colored paperback that had
oranged pages. Something about meditation. I read 3/4s of that book, and I
felt I wasn't ready for what it was saying, or I didn't care - I was too
wrapped up in being a high schooler, so what could this blue bound wide book
called "Be Here Now" have for me?

But it did have something for me. It came into my life at Hale Aloha, when
Hanna the receptionist finally caught me prancing around this old novel and
declared that I take it immediately and inquire about the gems inside. So I
did. And after a few weeks I finally got past the intro story and into the
meat of the book. Wild illustrations, deeply beautiful words, reminders of
experiences of finding God in oneself whipped me into late nights of
reading, giggling and awe in my red light lit A-frame. I was floored, to say
the least.

Then one night I shared this book with someone. I was reading in my A frame
loft and a visitor approached and cuddled up next to me, while I read aloud
this masterpiece of light. As soon as I did, my voice changed, I felt a
charge, a connection and deepening with what I was reading, yet a
separation. I started to recite the book's passage loudly and I continued at
a perfect rate and perfect pitch. Each word was taken in by us both - we
both knew what Ram Dass was expressing - as if we had wrote these words in
this book. This connection took an absolutely spectacular turn. While going
threw this oration, I began to get ahead of myself - literally. I found I
would read a whole page, but continue onto the next page without looking at
it. I was reciting, word for word, a book (which I have never read before) a
page ahead of what my eyes were experiencing. I was speaking words
universally, without even looking at the page that they were already written

This was quite an experience. This is all true. I have a witness, but I
don't even need one, as I am a very honest man. And this, well, this had a
profound effect on me. And I liked it.

Time went by. Things changed. New books were read. But I really liked this
book, and I really was happy that it connected to me with so much
extraordinary immersion. I felt a certain homage to it. I felt that this
book was very, very special and that it was a book out of time. The authors
of enlightenment that I love - eckhart tolle, don miguel ruiz, etc. were so
awesome, but this Ram Dass book needed a push into the modern times. After
all, the pages look to be printed by hand, with stamp typeface and
delightfully rough and intricate illustrations. So I had an idea. I would
take a sliver of this work, and put it to my experience, with only the
intention of creating beautiful art, with capturing a point in my life, and
maybe that would turn someone else, just as oblivious as I, to an "older"
spiritual work, that was so, so great.

So I started what would eventually be called "Heading East". In 2012, I was,
well, "Heading East". I had determined by this time that I was going into my
love of video production, which would take me from my current location of
Puna, Hawaii to Los Angeles, then attendance at Burning Man, at Black Rock
City, Nevada, then onto New York City. I wanted to chronicle this in an
intimate, personal way, but still rely on others to showcase this journey.
So I decided to make a video piece that would do just that. I was quickly
granted permission by Ram Dass's charitable organization and I began, with
the gracious help of friends, to create a project of deep love.

Kalani was my first location. I had spent 7 mind exploding months there and
it dominates this peace. Water, birth, love, sex, relationships, work,
employment, green, lush, jungle, ocean - all dominate the Hawaii portion of
the piece. Fire, lava, angst, fear, power are sprinkled in as well - they
are in their right place.

Serendipity followed this project. Upon arriving to LA, I started to shoot
glimpses of my experience there. I moved away from the elemental, nature
based quality of Hawaii that I had captured and more into people, dreams,
lift, air, flight, lightness. I was drenched in sweat, laying on a Manhattan
Beach yoga studio floor, after my ass had just been handed to me by a
rigorous asana practice, when I heard a tone. It was none other than a
Tibetian singing bowl, played by Anne Spinner, the yogi who had just guided
me through a physical, and honestly, emotional practice. It was like I knew
exactly where that part of my human experience should go in my work. I asked
her to play it for me, and she contributed the audio that sets THE tone for
this piece.

I followed the Eastward movement and immersed myself in the hustle of New
York City. Captured here was the enormity of it all, the question of where I
was, the comparison of who was in relation to the buildings, movement and
people around me. Hustle, loud, dominance, confusion, relation, humility,
reawakening was experienced here and captured as well.

So with another time around the sun in 2013, this project got eclipsed by
other ideas, new pages in new books, but it wasn't forgotten. I knew I would
finish this, but I didn't know when. More honestly - I was scared to. I was
scared to put my work out to the public, that.... well.... It wouldn't be
good enough. "Heading East" sat in the editing drive of my computer, only
known by the digital world of myself.

This week, I had some profound perfect serendipitous life experiences to
show me that it was time to publish this project. I had dreams of death, of
cancer, of end of life, of peaceful realization that life is finite. So in
some way, I know that contributed to me finishing this project. I completed
a final edit on this video today. I am putting it out for the world to see.

And I absolutely love it.

So now you know a story behind it. This is my art, this is me and this is

I present to you,

Heading East.


Taylor Powell

PS - When I started this email, I had no...clue that I would write a
novel. It just came out. But here it is. So share this with the staff and
loving friends at Kalani. In all incredible causation and effect in the
world, you never know what Kalani, or anything else might provide.