- Push through the first few days. Your body and mind are not used to the pace, peace and beauty of this place, or the kindness and love of your new ohana. (Your soul is, that is why you came. It felt a calling.)
- At first don’t sit in the middle of a table at meals. It’s difficult because you feel torn between two conversations. Aim for the end seat, it’s much better. Listen to the flow of the conversation and join in when you feel like it.
- Smile at people and introduce yourself. Don’t worry about names. Ask again if you can’t remember. No one will be offended and the names will come faster than you think.
- Be kind and talkative with your new roommate. If you are lucky, you’ll find an amazing new friend who you can share your experience with.
- If you work in the kitchen, serve the food as much as you can in the beginning and get to know the faces of your fellow ohana. Watch the joy in their faces when you serve something that they love! When you’re up for a new challenge, become one with the Hobart Dishwashing machine!
- Keep an eye on the Free Box – you’ll find some pretty amazing things!
- Do YOGA! If you haven’t done yoga before, start slowly and tell the teacher that you’re new. When they ask if everyone is familiar with something, don’t say yes because you’re embarrassed. Learn the right techniques and sooner than you know it you’ll be doing poses you didn’t think were possible at the start.
- Go to Restorative Yoga on Saturday mornings with Kathy. Find relaxation and inspiration and then go out and seek the color RED!
- Keep a journal, and write in it EVERY day! Not only will you have a great memory, but it will help you work through and process things.
- Ask yourself questions. You have the time and are in a loving space in which to do so. Why did that upset me? What is it about that person that bothers me and WHY? And you’ll almost always find that it’s NEVER about them! It’s about YOU!!!
- Take deep breaths all the time.
- Enjoy the pool – in the sunshine, in the rain, under the stars - in your birthday suit!
- Go to The Point whenever you feel you need a recharge. Marvel at the ocean’s beauty and power. Find the tree swing and watch for Honu (Sea Turtles) to pop up for air – polarized sun glasses help a lot! Watch for whales and dolphins – a surprising treat! And if someone says they’ve never seen a turtle from the swing, take them down and share the experience with them.
- Make friends that will last a lifetime.
- Go to Ning’s for Thai in Pahoa! Do Happy hour in Pahoa Village Café or Luquin’s!
- Go to Sun Dance and shake your booty!
- Put yourself on the A-Frame waiting list and have fun decorating it and making it your own space! Don’t keep food in it and watch out for Gecko Poop and Hornets!
- If you can, EXTEND YOUR STAY!!
- Rent a car and go on a road trip! Take as many people as you can fit! Find a fun road trip song and play it over and over and over! Laugh and sing, and practice your car dancing skills!
- Respect the island and all it has to offer you. Ask for permission and for safe passage from the universe when you go on your adventures. Do magic fingers and say, “Wooooo!” Works every time!
- Go visit the following (optional): Kahena Beach, Tide Pools, South Point and Green Sand Beach, Captain Cook and Two-Step, Ho’okena Beach Park, Waipio Valley, Kilauea Iki in Volcano National Park, drive over the Saddle Road.
- Go visit the following (mandatory):
- The Top of Mauna Kea at Sunset and the Visitor Center for the star show – an amazing experience you’ll remember forever! Bring a jacket.
- Pololu Valley – Amazingly beautiful and there are tree swings at the bottom – connect with your childhood self!!
- Sunrise at Kalapana! EVERYONE should see the sunrise with its beautiful orange glow.
- The Secret Lava Tube at Kalapana (that makes its way to the ocean)! Take someone along who has been before, and don’t let the first few feet of the cave scare you. Like difficult times in your life, take a few deep breaths, let go of any non-essential stuff that is weighing you down, and press forward. Just around the corner is one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see! (And if someone is scared, hold their hand and help them through.) Stand in the large chamber with your traveling companions and turn out your flashlights. Marvel at the darkness and the quiet and meditate for a while. Move forward and literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Do the limbo to get to the ocean and when you do, celebrate the beauty of this magical place by taking beautiful pictures in silhouette. Show off your Yoga or Meditation Poses. Carefully venture to the very edge of the cave and if you’re lucky you’ll see lava hitting the ocean off in the distance.
- Practice the art of the self-photo (on your own or with friends).
- Publish photos of your adventures on the internet so others can see how wonderful this place is and maybe make the journey themselves someday.
- If you meet someone new in your life shortly before your meant to leave for Kalani, go anyway. If that person loves you and the universe wants things to work out, they’ll still be there when you get back and you’ll be that much more at peace with yourself to start a new life adventure or journey with them.
- Maybe get a tattoo to permanently remind you of what you experienced and learned here. It’s meant to remind you of a special time in your life. How could you regret it?
- Be sad when it’s time to leave (don’t hold back on the tears if and when they come), but also be joyous at what you’ve experienced.
- Tell yourself that you’ll be back someday and manifest it, make it happen.
- Bring the Spirit of Aloha back with you to your life outside of Kalani. And if you feel its power slipping away from you, take a moment, close your eyes and journey back here. Find that special place that you found for yourself (be it The Point, The Swing, The Pool, The Lanai…). Say hello to those special people you met, your ohana. Feel the love that you have for them, and they for you, the universal energy that connects us all. Then open your eyes and greet the present moment (which is all we have) with a smile and with love in your heart!
Kalani Honua Blog
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
My ten days at Kalani were gloriously rich in so many ways - I was immersed in extravagant nature, surrounded by incredibly luscious tropical flowers and fruits, exotic plants, beautiful trees and elusive dragonflies. The well-worn cliche about the ripe fruits dropping off the trees was in fact true; I enjoyed many very ripe guavas and a few tasty mangoes. The huge mango tree at the Kalani entrance was bent double with its load of fruits, and quite symbolic of the abundance within.
Guests have the rare privilege of swimming in a non-chlorinated Olympic size pool with two outdoor hot tubs and a lovely sauna nearby, all nestled in a garden setting with palm trees, flowers, and both Ganesha and a reclining Buddha looking on. I loved heating up in the sauna, then diving into the cool swimming pool, sans bathing suit. Just walking on the property was really enjoyable; there seemed always to be a new flower or tree to discover, and the varying elevations of the land provided a good workout. I loved sitting on the big front verandah, listening to crashing waves below while eating delicious local ice cream. I also liked the cozy lounge next to the office, where one could check email, read, or just relax in a comforting environment. Dining al fresco on the lanai was a great pleasure, not only because of the healthy, delicious food but also because one could survey the broad lawn with its flowering trees and happy birds while eating. The salad bar was fantastic, and what could be better then fresh local fruits - papaya, pineapple, soursop, mamey, bananas - at breakfast? The desserts were delicious as were the entrees. And the company was marvellous.
The staff, volunteers, and guests were seemingly in a state of bliss - virtually everyone greeted me, with a smile, when passing and conversation flowed freely. Being at Kalani, in such a lush environment, seems to bring out the best in everyone. I certainly felt great every day I was there, and the intimacy of happy people in nature was lovely to experience. My greatest thrill was being close to big hawksbill sea turtles at several nearby beaches - I was able to swim with them, look at them closely, and just sit near them in awe.
The water, the lava, the plants and the flowers all seemed to conspire to enchant me - and the trade winds helped, too. Kalani is truly heaven on earth, and I hope to return this summer for more. As I write this from San Francisco, I miss it all keenly.
Mahalo and Aloha - LadyBee
Monday, March 22, 2010
How wonderful it is to know that nature can heal and bless us! To find a place where this can and does happen is a great accomplishment in any lifetime.
At Kalani the wonder and power of nature is multiplied by kind and loving souls who work with nature.
Here each day becomes an even greater opportunity to commune with the gentle and infinite healing powers.
"Natural Paradise" is an inspiring phrase; to live in one is the greatest blessing.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Hey yo, your little sister will now decree
that Kalani Kalani is the place to be
It took a long strange trip to get me here
and I'm-a tell the story so lend an ear
I'm a gypsy pirate kinda ballerina
started trekking this land at age nineteen
About five months in I needed new direction
so I found a spot for some self-reflection
in the Gumboot Cafe, Robert's Creek
It was so fortuitous that I should meet
Ambassador John Paul, he knew what I needed
and his advice, I had to heed it:
"Kalani, Kalani, they're throwing down right now
ain't just a retreat, girl, it's an Ohana!
Keep ya bags packed, gonna love it, you'll see
when you get your butt down to Hawaii."
I was fancy free and so footloose
moving down south like the Canada Goossen
Washington, Oregon, Califor-nye-aye,
I was making new friends most every day.
Made Frisco baby, and lived in a van
with some musical soulmates, doing the can-can.
Hellos and goodbyes all blurring together,
Hell no, you can't reach me but I'll write you a letter
from Honolulu, mama, Waikiki
you'll find me hustlin' tourists and turning Japanese
for a bit, until I renounce all this
and take a little sojourn into consciousness
spent ten days as a nun, day and night
splayed out my hipbones and my insight
but by day ten I was screaming for more,
motored to Sundance, and I hit the floor.
Kalani Kalani! I came sight unseen,
didn't know I'd be living in luxury!
All these beautiful faces and nubile nubs
sipping OG juices in hot tubs
"Cool down mama, don't set up your tent,
we got half a room for you to circumvent.
And hey, what's that what's that ya say?
Ain't just desserts, it's dessert buffet!"
So merci beaucoup, powers that be,
nosotros tenemos suerte d'esta aqui.
Any way I say man, you oughta know
the sentiment is Aloha and Mahalo.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Zen. Sublimity. There are few words to conjure the world of Kalani Honua, a place of rhythms and life. Fortunate are the happy souls who come here, intermingle, and experience such contact with earth, air, volcanic fire, and water-- the ocean and the waterfalls, and the pools of clear healing water. People here connect to the land in a holistic way difficult to imagine on the mainland of the U.S. Everything flows in a harmony that resonates in those who live and work here.
It is easy to photograph the flowers, the pristine beaches, the steam from Kiluea, from Pele. It is easy to imagine, to recall, the joy of sitting in the swing pictured here, gazing at the ocean for whales, for the spume as they catch their breath, dolphins, black crabs scurrying over the black lava rocks. Life is exquisite here, like a rare orchid. The lizard on the sunny sill has found enlightenment.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Aquaponics is the buzzword around Kalani these days. When I moved to Kalani a year ago, I had never even heard of the word, and now, I seem to be the local expert.
It all started in Kalani’s drive to become more sustainable on this island that currently imports 90% of its consumables. Gardens to feed the guests, volunteers, and staff that number between one and two hundred at any given meal were an obvious place to put our energy. There’s only one problem … living on a part of the island that was flowing lava as recently as a hundred years ago, there is very little soil to grow in. While considering trucking in soil which hardly seemed sustainable, my boss discovered a system of farming being developed in the Virgin Islands that not only did not need soil, but produced fish to eat as well….Aquaponics.
The word AQUAPONICS is a combination of AQUACULTURE which is the raising fish, and HYDROPONICS which is the growing of plants in nutrient filled water instead of soil. Aquaponics marries these complimentary forms of food production into a stable ecosystem that solves many of the problems that occur when each is practiced independently.
When I heard Kalani was interested in exploring this new food producing technology, I knew I was the person to do it. After leaving my engineering profession 4 years ago for the simple island life, I had been missing the challenge of problem solving and experimentation that had been such a part of my every day life on the mainland. Combined with my knowledge of fish and filter design from working at an aquarium store in my youth with my more recent interest in gardening and sustainability, I began a project that has brought me more joy from creating than I ever felt in my whole engineering career.
I researched ways people were doing Aquaponics locally and on the internet, primarily influenced by Friendly Aquaponics located here on the big island. It became apparent that the size system required to supply our kitchen’s demand for 900 pounds a month of greens would be a bit risky to jump right into. We decided on something much smaller to prove the concept and started construction in November. Due to the thorough training from Friendly Aquaponics as well as the simplicity of the design, things went very smoothly and we had our first harvest in early February. There is still much experimentation and learning to be done before we stop buying greens for the kitchen, but plans for a first stage of expansion are already underway.
I’d like to acknowledge Barcus Adams, Richard Koob, Stuart Blackburn, and especially Tim Mann and Suzanne Friend at Friendly Aquaponics (www.friendlyaquaponics.com) all of whom were instrumental in this project’s success. Thank you for bringing joy and gratification back into my work life.
Note: You can read more about Jacob's aquaponics adventures at his blog: http://aquaponics.totallytuft.com
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I came to Kalani with about 10 books to read, but I never got past the first one. I was always happily distracted doing other things. There was always plenty of great conversations to have at the Lanai, by the pool, just walking around doing our work, everywhere. Last night I had a great conversation with two great friends Joe and Davey, and a stranger who quickly became a friend.
These final days have been a rollercoaster of emotions, and that conversation help me see it all. Closure. It brought closure to my experience here.
I’ve been taught here what it takes to be happy, and the importance to be true to ourselves in our quest for love. All of you are part of me and happiness and gratitude embodies me for it.
No book can contain what we live here.
Learn from each other.
Share with each other your soul.
Open your heart and allow life into it.
I take you all of you and what we shared with me.
Even if I wasn’t very close, or without even talking to me, you where able to give me a lesson. ACCEPTANCE is the biggest lesson I learned. To accept ourselves as we are true to our deep solid and pure emotions.
Thank you all.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Dearest Kalani Ohana-
Not one usually at a loss for words, I struggle to vocalize what my heart and soul feels. My time at Kalani is sacred to me, it transforms me, nourishes me, strengthens me, and fills me with blissful peace. The land serenades me with her gorgeous elegance, Pele humbles me, and each and every one of you touches me with your unique beauty.
I am blessed to have found you, to have experienced you, to have been loved by you. Mahalo to each smile, each hug, each sunrise, each sunset, each spray of salty ocean mist, and every moment of my time in your presence. You are all a rainbow of hope to me, thank you for filling my heart with your sunshine...I miss you. I love you.
I dedicate this poem to you, to Kalani, to my renewed sense of life, and to every person who knows that miracles do happen...Kalani as my guide and you as my encouragement and support. Nearly lost, I have found my spirit once again.
Clouds thicken and suffocate her empty heart like smoke in a lonely bar
Desperate, unheard, the soul leaves her temple
Lost and alone, droplets of rain fall like weights in her psyche
Emotions seep in, her portal of pain is flung open
Vulnerable, raw...it hurts
Fearful but curious, she reaches deep to find a flicker of hope
Soon blazing like a campfire flame, energy begins to pump through her veins
Churning, burning, there is life
The clouds clear, the rain ceases, sun breaks through
Her heart blossoms like a flower at dawn
A full rainbow emerges, she steps into her light
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Everyday at Kalani (ka lani, heaven) on the Big Island of Hawai’i is perfect, but some days are more perfect than others and today is one such day.
Saturday and the second day of the new year and a new decade started out as usual; always a good day for revitalizing mind, body and spirit. My day begins with Wuji gong (chi gung) for an hour, which finishes with free form movement - following one’s own chi; always powerful for me. After a quick half hour breakfast comes restorative yoga, which takes away all the aches and stiffness from my weekly work shifts in the kitchen; this week more wearying than usual with New Year’s Eve taking the majority of staff leaving us short staffed for the two morning shifts either side. This left me spent and drained of energy, so there was a lot of restoring to do. There was a bigger difference to this Saturday in store for me today.
Ten minutes into the Restorative Yoga class, I heard what sounded like whale song; listening more closely it sounded like a circular or chain saw. December sees the return of the whales around the islands when they seek warmer climes after Alaska, where they feed. They come here to breed and frolic. There have been many sighting in the past few weeks.
Although the sound I was hearing was not whale song, I took it as a message that the whales were waiting for me. I had not yet sited whales in Hawai’i and I had a strong urge to leave the class after 10 minutes, but stayed the two hours because my body needed it. Then unquestioning I walked to The Point a short distance away. First I saw some small charcoal grey crabs scurrying about on the rocks below. They wore perfect camouflage, blending in perfectly with the smooth rocks; their movement caught my eye. Initially I thought I might climb down to watch them, good sense prevailed when I realized that I probably would not be able to climb back up. The Point is a rocky cliff.
Returning to my purpose, I made my way to sit on the bench and gaze out at the sea to whale watch and immediately saw what looked like an upturned boat with the bottom just surfacing the water not far from the shoreline. I felt troubled and looked closely to make out exactly what it was, looking for other debris. To my surprise, even though they had called me, I saw two noses surface, spouts from blow holes and then a tail twice coming out of the water. What I thought was a boat had been the back of a whale. How exciting to spot my first whales; yet, there was more to come.
After restorative yoga I feel completely relaxed and at peace, so I was in the perfect frame of mind to sit and watch for a long spell. Now I knew what to look for, so I scanned the surface of the water in different directions and spotted them again far off near the horizon, spouting and flashing their tails. I noticed that the surface of the water tended to be disturbed when the whales were in a particular area and then changed when they moved on. Other areas looked disturbed more permanently and these were indications of rocks just below the surface. So a gazed out to sea with this in mind studying the movements of the water. I have come to accept my ‘knowings’ when they occur and these come more frequently here; one came that said ‘Third time lucky’ (an English expression) – wait and you will see them breach. This is a far less common sight, what I had seen so far being more typical.
After sitting awhile more without any activity, I stood up to get a better vantage point to look along the shoreline to the left. It was difficult to see in this direction from the bench. A palm tree stands on the edge with a trunk the bends out towards the ocean. This made a perfect leaning post for my body with my arm wrapped around it – so cozy. Now I can clearly see a group of whales close to the shore further down spouting away through their blowholes. One breaches, then two together, then another and another, while a gazed on in perfect wonder, gasping with choked sighs of WOW, WOW, WOW and again WOW; the tears nearly falling from my eyes – yet not quite, it would blur my vision. The soft grateful emotional wows were followed by thank yous and mahalos. What a perfect gift for the New Year and the New Decade; a gift from Na-maka-o-ka-hai, Pele's older sister, who belongs to the powers of the sea.
According to the legends: Na-maka-o-ka-hai, a sea-goddess, as a result of family trouble, became Pele's most bitter enemy, fighting her with floods of water. Thus the original household represented the two eternal enemies, fire and water. Some say that the two sisters, Pele of the fire and Na-maka-o-ka-hai of the sea have now made peace with each other.
I walk in a dream for the rest of the day feeling in awe, truly an awesome sight; that word is far too overused, when to be in awe is not commonplace. I am perfectly blessed on this most perfect of all perfect days.
Mahalo nui loa, Na-maka-o-ka-hai
Marilyn Hammill (Volunteer & Kalani Mauka Steward)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I will call it a blur
But it has meant more than that
I've been dropping
Pieces of my past
Layer of my hands
Sometimes, my heart
Groves in the coral
Colors in the sky
Hints of pain, in every pupil
Wait for a wave
Break the surface
In every face
My shoes at the door
Among other things
Revising the plan
Using an eraser
To sharpen today's picture
Shavings of cruelty
From the page
How beautiful we are
When we're destroyed
How many hands it takes
To put one person