Kalani Honua Blog

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stitch H. Lerios

Stitch's SunsetIt's not often that a canine volunteer gets to come to Kalani, what with the strict quarantine laws of Hawaii and Kalani's "no dog" policy. But my parents, Toli and Christine, insisted that my assistance was required in the IT department, and I soon found myself in paradise.

After my wonderful 3 month stay at Kalani, I was asked to share my thoughts, so I thought it would be helpful to share some advice for incoming volunteers, human and otherwise.

1. Make new friends

I really learned all about "aloha" here and enjoyed making friends everywhere I went. There is such a diverse group of people who work and visit Kalani, and I made sure to greet as many of them as I could with a wagging tail and a friendly heart. The hardest thing about leaving Kalani was leaving behind all of my wonderful new friends.

2. Break out of your comfort zone

Even though I am great with humans large and small, I have always felt shy and awkward around my fellow dogs. Lucky for me, Kalani's resident dogs Po and Kobo were very patient and encouraging until I grew more comfortable around them. Toli and Christine were very happy one day when I started playing and chasing Kobo on the grass - they had never seen me play so well with another dog before! Hopefully now I can play better with dogs I meet on the mainland.

3. Be helpful

Kalani is a big place that needs a lot of people and energy to keep it running. Even though I was officially part of the IT team, I always lent a helping paw whenever it was needed. I protected the office from noisy lawnmowers, hunted rats that lurked in corners, and gave fertilizer to help the jungle grow.

4. Stay active and try something new

I don't get outdoors a lot in Texas because of the coyotes, so I took advantage of all the outdoor time I got in Hawaii. I also made friends with a nice lady from the Priya Yoga group who would bring me to attend yoga sessions with her. If you have never tried yoga, Kalani is a great place to start. I think I really improved my downward dog.

5. Don't forget to explore the rest of Hawaii

With a 30-hour a week work commitment, that leaves plenty of time to explore the rest of Hawaii during your time off. I got to visit Hilo, Waimea, and Kona on the Big Island, and my family flew to Maui on our week off. Maui was great because they allow dogs on the beaches.

6. Don't eat the cane toads

I know that it can be really tempting to chase and eat the cane toads that come out when it rains, but DON'T! I learned the hard way that these toads have toxic glands and taste really yucky. No one likes to visit the vet while they're on vacation.

I hope you found my advice helpful and that you come to Kalani soon. Woof!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Tiffany Manchester

Tiff the SurferIt started just over a year ago. I took it slowly at the beginning, even withholding a little bit to be honest. I knew myself enough to know that if I decided to be in this relationship I would commit to it 100%, and I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted. But in the end I was swept away. I seem to have swallowed the red pill and there is no turning back. Sometimes, when it seems like we are not connecting I feel defeated and I start to question our relationship. For a split second I’ll actually think about breaking up with her, but then I immediately remember the many sweet, divine moments that we’ve shared and I realize that leaving isn’t the answer. I just could never do it. I won’t. She is the Ocean, and I am a surfer.

She, the Ocean, is a great teacher and demands respect. Some days she is soft and gentle, while other days she is fierce and raging…but she is always in control. If I come to Pohoiki (the local surf spot here in Puna) and get my butt kicked, I know it’s because I came full of ego, holding on to my emotions and disregarding what she has to offer. Ultimately it means I am working against her because I’m working against myself. When I can be out there and let go completely of my thoughts and concerns with the world and the role I play in it, it means I can give her my full attention. When I feel the fear wash off of me and the peace settles in I can connect with her vibe and feel her movements, listening to her guidance. In these moments, ‘being’ is effortless, and the waves appear just in front of me.

She is my guru, and in this relationship I am learning how to live my life with more joy and trust in the process. When I have visions of being a pro surfer, I start looking ahead at what I want to be instead of where I’m at. She’ll tolerate my ego driven desire for a while, but eventually she’ll give me a gentle (or rough, depending on her mood) reminder to be right here, right now. And this is a reminder for me to have patience in all aspects of my life, to accept and love myself at every moment.

I understand now that the choice to be in this relationship really never was mine to make. I love her with all of my heart, she brings me peace and I am committed to her 100%. I could never leave her, I just couldn’t do it. She is the Ocean, and I am a surfer.

6 comments

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jaime Palmera

Aloha `Ohana, Jaime Palmera

I am on the airplane on my way to Mainland. As I wonder thought me memories and look into the numerous photos I have taken during my stay in Hawaii and I couldn’t but get caught into a lot of emotions: Happiness and sadness, excitement and anxiety, a sense of accomplishment but at the same time desertion. But above all I realize I have learned to be grateful and a bit more aware. Learned to Breathe, learned to Feel, learned Acceptance and E ho mai – To let it come and let it flow- I learned the meaning of Aloha, and with it I learned about a better way to live.

How can one live without Aloha once we’ve felt it? …How can one get through the days without all the smiles and the hugs? …How can one may manage to step on a continent full of walking snakes who have given tears the connotation of sorrow and loss? … How can one may manage to get through the nights without seeing the moon and the stars and where people avoid and shelter from the wind and the rain? …How did I do it before and how would I be able to do it now?

This reminds me of the greatest love of my life: how we all learn to live on our own until one day we cannot live without that we once didn’t have before. It becomes indispensable, it changes us forever, it advances us, it becomes part of our energy, it pumps our lungs. LOVE is spelled ALOHA. And I am happy to have shed some tears, wipe my eyes, smile and look up again.

Happiness and Joy do float in tears. I fear no sadness for it will bring me a bigger joy at its end, just as the rainbow often appears after the rain. No Rain, no Rainbow. I will sorrow and day dream of my new corner of Heaven in Earth and remember that it remains there, hidden in the clouds, a gentle slope washed by the ocean full of plumerias and ginger flowers, warmed by Pele and the Sun, and enjoyed by many who like me are surrendering to Earth and its wisdom so to become a better part of Heaven.

A Hui Ho,

Jaime

Jaime Love

2 comments

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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Saturday, August 22, 2009

PK

Cloud at The Point Aloha Richard,

Just stepping out to attend my first yoga session at a local establishment, and I felt the need to drop you a line.

Thanks for everything at Kalani last week. Sometimes the right people and settings line right up to give us the perfect experience needed for our life's journey. I didn't expect to experience that after spending a week at your retreat village, but that sure was the end result.

Everything I experienced fit together like the perfect puzzle to create a better understanding of the big picture in life. Thanks so much!

mahalo,
PK

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Michael Salita

Michael SalitaAloha. I am Salita, the Volunteer Coordinator here at Kalani. We had a group here last week called ‘Chillaxin," as in 'chilling out and relaxing.' The concept is to introduce guests into the lives we lead here at Kalani and in Hawaii. I was a bit anxious since I didn't know how mainland guys would respond to ‘hanging out’ with this dreadlocked dude who is living so unusual a life.

You see, I live a very minimal life here in the jungle. I have a dog, I watch movies on a TV which does not have channels, my commute to work is a 5 minute walk through a tropical rain forest, and my colleagues are people I hang out with naked at the pool. Chillaxin week is about inviting guests into our lifestyle! But I met a terrific group of men and I learned something I am always working to discover about myself, which is that ‘me’ just being ‘me’ is okay. This simple life I chose over seven years ago is comforting, interesting, and even sometimes inspiring.

Chillaxin week goes pretty much like this: On opening night we (the locals) introduce ourselves to the visitors. The rest of the week we go to the beach and/or snorkel every day, eat meals together and drink wine during dinner. On the last night we have a basic closing circle to finish up the week. And that’s it. That is a week of Chillaxin!

What is so brilliant about Chillaxin is its simplicity. People go on vacation to relax, but how often do people make sure to rest and relax in a quality, bonding way? A way of spending time which we all want to have more of in our lives? A life of beach, dining with others, and wine with dinner sounds pretty good, right? All week we share with the guests what we, who live here at Kalani, do on our days off. We specialize in this stuff, right?

It's amazing to see what happens when guests take a Chillaxin break. In this last group there was a man who had just ended a 19 year relationship and wanted to get away and be around people. He was laughing the whole week and completely forgot about the breakup. There was a successful lawyer, who is doing some amazing work for people who need a strong voice. Another guest wanted to return to Hawaii because his last visit was so relaxing. This time it turned out to be about having fun as well! There was a couple from Seattle looking for a new way to have a holiday away from their busy lives and to spend time with each other. There was a man who has fallen in love with Kalani and been here many times.

It felt really good and touching to hear the stories that people had to share from the experiences of the week. My life feels enriched in having been able to connect with each person, and I am so grateful for the diversity of the group and for the fun we had together. I believe that this is what we are all wanting to experience in our daily lives…to be accepted and to play. Chillaxin is a reminder and a practice for me to step out of my comfort zone and open up to those around me.

I look to promote more of these types of relationships in my life here at Kalani. I am ever so appreciative for the opportunities to facilitate openings for people to live a more complete life.

3 comments

Monday, July 27, 2009

Elsa Thomsen
Elsa

Just wanted to tell you that I have really enjoyed my two months here. Being surrounded by so much natural beauty; fresh air; eating wonderful food and making new friends/ extended family. I feel extremely at peace with myself and I have learned a lot (not only from the kitchen) but from courses I have attended here.

I've been amazed at the "miracles" of the free box - how you just put the wish out and it materializes in the box. Talk about manifestations - again I have been amazed at the speed of these in this place.

I will miss several people from here; the sounds of the night, the coquis, the beautiful colours; the food (of course!); the fun activities we get up to; the walks to the point to play my guitar; swimming in the pool at night time and so on and so on...

Thank you for letting me stay here and for all I have received. I hope I have given back some in return.

love & hugs,
Elsa

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Veronica Rains

Veronica Rains So I’m leaving Hawaii. Leaving the tropical weather, the smiling faces, jungle attire, nude sunbathing, my beautiful, handsome, strong, loving boyfriend. I’m leaving it all behind so that I can work (hopefully) at least 50 or 60 hours a week and live with my mother. I’m moving back to my hometown of 14,000 people, complete with two grocery stores and two dingy bars. Believe me, I’m wondering the same thing: What the hell am I thinking?

This decision comes as no shock to those close to me. I did this same thing last year. I packed my bags, left this beautiful paradise and went back home to work, clear my mind, get away, and search for something new and better. I bid my friends farewell, quit my job and bought a one-way plane ticket back to the mainland. Looking back, it was quite dramatic. I had no plans of returning, I was on my way. And, then I came back to Hawaii two months later.

But this time will be different. I’m leaving for good. Getting’ outta here, goin’ for the gold. Gonna make that money. My plan is to work my sweet little (or big, depending on who you ask) booty off until I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to save all the moola I can in the next two months while dreaming of the future. TRAVEL. That is my main objective. I’m going to travel the WHOLE WORLD! I’m going to see every tiny town, every gigantic mountain, every peep show and dive bar. I’m going to see the BIG people, the tiny tiny little people, the jungle, the snow, the glaciers! I’m going to be the first person in the world to see EVERYTHING.

Well, maybe not quite everything. And maybe not even the whole world, but I know I’m going to see something. And real soon too. Remember that “beautiful, handsome, strong, loving boyfriend” I mentioned earlier? The one I’m leaving behind? Well, I’m going to see him again after my two months of, I’ll be frank, possible tiring hell. He’s coming with. He’s packin’ his bags too and our first travels will be around the US in my tiny Ford Focus and all our camping gear. Needless to say, I’m really excited.

So, I’ll be leaving my home at Kalani Oceanside Retreat center on the Big Island of Hawaii. The place which has lifted my spirits and brought me closer to myself, nature, and my fellow human peers. I love Kalani more than any other place I’ve lived, from the bottom of my toes and extending out my crown chakra. Though, it is time for me to take my departure. Into the scary world of the unknown I will go, where bathing suits are required and papayas probably won’t be served on breakfast platters. Though I will be leaving, I don’t feel like I am leaving anything or anyone behind. Instead, I feel like Kalani will be coming with me on my magical mystery tour. I’m sure it will help guide me to the light when all I can see is darkness, and bring a big smile to my face when I reflect back on my experiences here. Farewell Kalani! See probably in two months!

5 comments

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tara Pollock

Tara Pollock
Since I arrived at Kalani a little over a month ago, I have felt a surge of creativity flowing through me. Perhaps it is Pele, the Goddess gracing this island, the alive landscape, the people… I can say for sure that I am feeling joy and presence more than ever before and for that I am grateful. This is a poem written in an inspired moment~

Grace bestows bounty to beautify
inner fires stoked by passion,
lessons in creation moving
from sorrow into change…
The harvest has come;
it is time to reclaim the wild.

Inability to constrict means
deep breathing into all aspects
which might have seemed scary.

Don’t want to relay the message
of truth today because
the mosaic keeps shifting
which lifts yet another veil
from my wondering eyes
now wandering the room.

Come from cocoon to full bloom
the butterfly sees far beyond the times,
settled down with transcendence
finding floetic rhythm of expansion
that means more than we know.

Humanness creeps in
deeply blending former selves
as an integration
of beauty and wealth
the abundance is astounding when
the echoes are left
to resound around the room
without pauses.

Actions have set cause into effect,
the sensual revolution
gaining respect with the
checking in of rebellious spirit
reflecting reasons beyond
the seasonal cycles which
predict us all.

We are falling
into realms beyond.

I am blessed out to realize
I know nothing,
humbling bowing before this wave~
a warrior of the heart
emerging from her cave.

- Tara Pollock

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ana Paola Luna Lopez

treeI want to thank you all for being part of my experience here. I know there is nothing casual so if we were here at the same time it was for a reason. I can’t know exactly what reason but I know it is a good one. As Pele, I went with the flow.

You know I’m a city girl and it’s been a great experience to jump from the concrete and asphalt jungle to the real one here on the Big Island. I’ve been here in the middle of the jungle and working in nature made me feel so blessed.

Now I can tell people really are like flowers, all with different shapes and colors and fragrances. The people I had the privilege of knowing better I can further distinguish their special characteristics like those of a flower, the texture, the fragrance and the season of their blossoms. Thank you all for being a part of this beautiful landscape.

You can tell I spend a lot of time weeding… my wrists are not very happy about it, but my soul is! I found so many different kinds of weeds. Some of them stink and are hard to pull. Others are sort of dry and even if they look so hard, they are easily broken. Yet a different kind attach to trees and kill them, and when you are trying to rescue the trees the weeds pinch and hurt your fingers, even with gloves…

Some times we humans are attached that hard to our emotions, beliefs or judgments that even if we mean well we hurt others…

But you know, there is a particular kind of weed, with the shape of a heart, that gently soars around the trees, snuggling with them. They look pretty, at least to my personal taste, like gently exposed roots, green, lovely ribbons that that create a beautiful connection with the earth. I think this is love, we are surrounded by love.

So don’t let bad weeds grow around our dreams, let’s raise them with a heart shape, and do something helpful for the earth and everything that lives on it.

Thank you, Richard, for sharing your dream and project with us. Kalani is like a big banyan tree with many different roots and branches, all creating something beautiful and alive…

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