Kalani Honua Blog - EMAX

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Aubrey Vora

Dawnya Clarine is a singer/songwriter who visited Kalani in November of 2012, while she worked on her one-woman show, as part of her participation in the Artist-in Residence (AIR) program, She also facilitated a Creative Song-Writing workshop for the volunteer community, with the focus to awaken the natural flow of creativity within.

Dawnya uses songwriting as a tool to awaken honesty within, which benefits her beyond her creative work to impact her personal evolution. She believes that by first embracing the unique lens with which we view life, we can discover the truths that allow us to relate to one another.

Unwound and unwind
“It’s not that one day you wake up and you’re blocked,” Dawnya reflected. “There are a series of little kinks that get you wound up. A teacher says something and you think ‘I can’t paint,’ another teacher says something and you think, ‘oh no, I can’t sing.’ A parent says you write really well, but you need to be a doctor. You become wound up.”

“What must people think?” is a question that stops us in our tracks again and again. Alongside the winding and wounding instigated by others, we carry all of the assumptions we make about how we are being viewed and judged by others. We may act in a way that we think others want, even though we aren’t aware of it.

If creativity is wound up, it can feel wounded, degraded, and powerfully painful. Through the course of the workshop, participants had the chance to identify, shift, and heal the blocks that knotted their creative expression. Among one of the most effective tools offered was an exercise that called upon the 6-year-old self to edit the work.

At age 6, everything is huge, adventurous, and full of potential. In the same exercise, the 90-year-old self is also called in. The elder voice reminds us that the task at hand is just a small piece of this enormous puzzle. In order to progress, we must identify priorities. By putting the mind aside and allowing the imagination to play, there is a more direct line to the heart. What matters when you were 6? Rolling down a grassy hill or finding a cloud that looks like a dinosaur. When you are 90, the concern may be whether or not you ate right, had fun, and took risks. Quite often we may find that our inner-elders and inner-kiddos are on the same page: keep it simple.

What’s Your Story?
Dawyna’s grounded, light-hearted energy can be felt through her lyrics as well as in conversation. With her gentle tone and easy-going nature, one would assume she is confident and comfortable taking a leadership role. Yet this songwriting workshop was her first teaching experience, and presented an opportunity to face her own fear of public speaking. While she is used to performing, speaking to a group of people as herself is a different kind of vulnerability.

“If your story is that ‘I’m painfully shy and don’t speak in front of people without falling apart’, that’s your story. So it was a matter of being determined to look at the possibility of there being a new story out there”

This started her process of reimagining the future, and by the third class of her workshop, she felt at ease with the group. There was still fear leading up to final performance, especially after she was told by one of the workshop participants that people “expected greatness.” But she reminded the group, as well as herself, “This is your gift. You are offering this. And they are going to accept it and be grateful for it.”

Like her participants, the gift Dawnya found in this experience was an opportunity to grow. Together they stood proudly in front of others and expressed themselves honestly and with creative integrity. Sometimes the best way to learn really is to teach.

Further Along the Path
In her most recent chapter in life, Dawnya has seen many significant changes. She has seen that if one trusts when feels right to say yes, the rest will follow. She did not expect that her time at Kalani would bring her so many instant connections, deep understandings, or opportunities to grow. She went with the intention to focus on her project and leave with a product. But as many discover, (the fire goddess) Pele often puts fire under our unknown desires and manifests our needs in ways we could not have directed from our mental command post. If we are willing to follow the “what” that feels right, we will be open to our truest self, and the “how” will fall into place in the perfect way.

Kalani offered Dawnya her first teaching experience, and inspired her to continue helping others reconnect with their creativity through song-writing workshops. She has primarily worked with teenagers, and has found it to be wonderfully rewarding on many levels as she helps these young adults tap into their playful side. Her confidence level in teaching has improved and strengthened, as she keeps in mind that the most important responsibilities are to show up, be present, and forgive mistakes. She learned that in order to lead, one needs a well stocked “tool belt”, the ability to listen, and the willingness to remain open and flexible in collaboration.

As for her one woman show, Dawnya gathered a lot of material during her stay at Kalani, and was delighted that the volunteer community was so willing to be open and vulnerable right away. The baggage was left at the door, and she was able to get to the heart of the matter quite quickly. “People were just willing to blurt out truth, emotionally connect, and be real.” She continues to share her truth through her songwriting and performing, and is thrilled to now have another way of sharing her knowledge and passion for creativity. She feels humbled and honored to have the opportunity to give people something that will make their lives better, not just for the day, but for life.

To hear more from the woman herself, you can visit http://dawnyaclarine.com/ ">http://dawnyaclarine.com/

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jim Larsen

There are certain things that people routinely talk about at Kalani. Generation after generation of volunteers come through here, many with the same ideas on their mind. Some of it is not worth repeating here; just a bunch of redundant jibber-jabber about how “amazing” this or that is. But some of it is quite profound.

When I overhear of people “expanding” and growing, I stop and tune in. It is interesting to hear their stories, as they remind me of my early days as a Kalani volunteer when I was growing from what I was to what I became, to what I am now.

I first became a volunteer in January of 2007. In those days, I didn’t know who I was, or who I was supposed to be. The life I had lived was fine for getting me to that point, but it was time to take that next step and shed my old skin of worry and self-doubt and government contracting and emotional pain and big screen TVs and excessive junk food snacking and buying useless junk at the store and all the rest of that stuff that didn’t serve me. It was time for the next step, and it was over-due.

I had inklings that somewhere there were doorways to my true self. I knew I needed to figure out some way to listen and hear what my inner guidance was telling me. Somehow, someway, I was drawn to Kalani to find what it was that would shake me awake and introduce me to my true self. I decided not to try too hard to find it, and just let it come to me. So I just relaxed and didn’t think.

That’s why I wasn’t thinking when I took my first ever class at Kalani. Like many new volunteers and guests, I took many classes simply out of curiosity. I really didn’t have much of an idea of what was on the schedule, but I was open to trying something new. I wanted to learn. I wanted to discover. I wanted to expand my awareness by experiencing all I could. So, not having any idea of what I was in store for, I found myself at the Osho Active meditation class.

Immediately I knew this class was going to offer something profound. I had never heard of an “active meditation” so I had no idea just how deep into the reality of my own self it would take me. I discovered things in that very first class. I discovered that there existed in my being so many levels of consciousness. So much was shaken loose inside of my being, that I felt like I was literally transforming into an entirely new being before my own inner eyes. And I was.

Kalani is, of course, an extra special place. Many things draw people here, and everybody has a unique experience. When you are here, for however long your stay may be, be open. Push your boundaries. Try new things. Yoga. Meditation. Aerial. So many things. See which of these things will be that profound life-changer that introduces you to your true self.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Richard Koob

Aloha Kalani supporters,

Heiau offering

Mahalo to the hundreds of you who sent letters and/or signed petitions requesting that the Planning Department reinstate Kalani’s EMAX greenhouse as a perfect location for Kalani’s community nature-culture-wellness programs.On September 3 the Planning Department Director BJ Leithead Todd, the County’s Corporate Council, Amy Self, and the Zoning Inspector, Scott Leonard, all came to visit us here at Kalani. Together we made offerings at our preserved heritage sites, walked much of the property, viewed structures and dined together.

Richard sign

The following day BJ sent a letter thanking us for the visit, rescinding the violation, and saying “We agree with you that working together will help better serve the needs of the community.”

So your Kalani ‘ohana is now confident that we are back on track with more of the co-creative collaboration that we have had with the Planning Department for 34 years!

- Richard Koob

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Mike Bailey

Mike Bailey I voted for George W. Bush. Not once, but twice. I’m from a conservative Christian town in the mountains of Virginia. The monotony of my life was overwhelming. The same cup of coffee, the same bagel, the same shirt and tie. I didn’t smile enough. I needed a change.

I felt common. But, Kalani was uncommon, and I feared I would never fit in. I was afraid of people I thought I would never understand. I was afraid to be open. I was insecure and defensive, and I judged you before I knew you. At times my wall wouldn’t let you in. I was afraid to put my foot on the EMAX dance floor. I feared I would look silly. My soul heard the music and longed to explode into feverish dance. My brain talked me out of it. I envied those who were braver than I. I was surrounded, but felt alone. I was afraid of what you might think of me. Real men don’t cry. I’m a coward.

Risks are never easy, and change doesn’t always come fast. But, I remembered how I was as a child. I remembered how I dance when no one is looking. I remembered the joy of Christmas morning, and innocence of youth. I felt like letting go of all the burdens the world told me carry on my back. I wanted ignore the voices that said I wasn’t good enough. I wanted to tell you what you meant to me. I wanted to love with reckless abandon. It scared me to know you could see right through me. I wanted to be more like you. I wanted to be me.

You and I became friends. Sometimes you couldn’t tell if I was joking, or being serious. Sometimes I couldn’t tell. You and I went to the mountain top, saw the sun set, allowed the rain to fall onto our skin. Each conversation, each hug, each soft kiss, removed a brick from my wall. You were real. This was not a dream. I have the power to change. I have the privilege to change what I can. Change is my responsibility. Love changes hearts. I must remember you.

Three months passed. You were a part of it all. Even if I didn’t know you well, you were a part of it. An internal revolution occurred. A war between the dreamer and the cynic. The cynic looks pretty beat up. The dreamer has had a second wind.

I danced my last ecstatic dance. You saw me smile and you smiled back. No words necessary I read your mind. I wanted to dance so hard my feet would hurt. I wanted to remember why my feet hurt. I danced with fire. Sometimes the flame came from the staff, sometimes it came from inside. They both burned so bright.

I hugged you goodbye. You managed to squeeze a final smile from my lips. We were strangers to start, but friends as we part. I am sad to go, but am happy to have met you. I realize what you really mean to me when I know you won’t be in my life every day.

I waived goodbye from the car window and honked my horn as I drove from Kalani. I cried in my car, and cried all the way to the airport. Real men can cry. I have 16 hours on a plane. I dread being alone with my thoughts for that long. I wish you were with me to talk to. It’s so quiet without you. The world I return to feels black and white. Kalani gave me a paint brush. The colors are brilliant. Time to start painting. The pages of tomorrow are blank. I have a pen. Time to start writing. Will you take my hand?

It was never about fitting into Kalani. It was about fitting Kalani into me.

The following is the poem I shared at the `Ohana night. I hope you enjoy it!


Michael’s Poem

From Virginia to Kalani, what would I find? A place I could really be me, body and mind?
A frames of ants, ecstatic dance, kirtan chants, hold onto your pants.
I had found a place of open hearts, open eyes, and open doors. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.
Surrounded by nudity and gay men I thought I was in trouble.
I just wanted to go home to my safe, conservative, Christian bubble.
But, all bubbles burst and worlds collide and this time I decided I’m not going to hide.
Because you can’t live life like a game of hide and seek.
So hours became days, and days into weeks.
My mind began to open like a flag unfurled. I was experiencing all of this strange new world.
Capoeira moves, hip hop grooves, nature walks, opening circle talks
I witnessed people being true and free. I witnessed what sometimes the eyes don’t see.
Although there were many moments from August to November, surely it is you I will
Always remember.
A full lunar eclipse, volunteer trips, hula moving hips, songs from Kimo’s lips.
Perhaps it was Gerard in the café, going to Hilo bay, or watching Charlie’s DVD’s on a rainy day.
I saw human tenderness between Kathy and Kasi, and got dressed like a woman with a little help from Bree.
Or what about talking story late on the lanai, or the crystal clearness of the night sky.
I saw rainbows and moonbows, went ecstatic at EMAX, and saw the passing of the torch when we said goodbye to THE Max (Fathom).
Hemi Sync and mystic thought, I even got little naked. Who would have thought?
But not all days was I happy and glad. I’m know I made mistakes that made you mad or sad.
And although there were storms in our spiritual weather, my only regret is you….that I didn’t know you better.
It’s only now I truly understand.
I have gay friends, straight friends, friends from far away lands.
So now I pray for you to God above.
And I bid you farewell, Aloha, from Michael with love.

Love,
Michael

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