Kalani Honua Blog

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Alexandra K. Ambrose

What are the benefits of volunteering at Kalani?

This might be your biggest question before filling out the volunteer application. Kalani offers volunteers a full schedule of classes and events (including lots of yoga); 3 healthy - and mostly organic - meals per day; and lodging in a tent or shared room. While all of this helps to make your extended stay in Hawaii’s Puna District comfortable and memorable, there is so much more to be found here:

Discover a simpler way of life.

Kalani life is a change from the routine. Before arriving here, many of us get caught up in chasing a standard of life that leaves us feeling stressed, tired, frustrated, or some combination of the three - but that certainly doesn’t make us happy.

All it takes is a tent or a simple room, letting go of excess stuff, and having all your basic needs met, to free up time and energy to discover what actually does make you happy. Even volunteers who have never lived so close to nature or never considered off-grid living, adjust easily to this simplified way of life.

Feel at home.

A week’s vacation goes by like nothing at all - usually leaving us feeling rushed and depleted when we have to go back to the regular 9 to 5. This is a different story when you stay for 3 months, which is our standard volunteer commitment. With the extra time, you can visit all the places on your list and maybe even discover one of the Big Island’s hidden gems!

Not only does volunteering at Kalani take the rush out of traveling, but an extended stay also allows you to feel like more than just a tourist passing through. Whether you frequent Ecstatic Dance, Kehena Beach, or Uncle Robert’s night market, you’ll begin to feel a part of the sights and sounds of Puna. Before long, Kalani becomes home.

Make meaningful connections.

While there are many ways to connect with others, an intentional community offers the opportunity to create a unique bond. As we live, work, and share meals together, every day, this intimate setting embodies the Hawaiian tradition of ‘ohana, or extended family. This is why many volunteers leave Kalani with some of their closest, lifelong friendships - even if we only spent a few months getting to know each other!

Balance work and play.

Let’s face it, spending three months anywhere without structure would get monotonous. We all require a schedule of some kind in order to maintain focus and discipline. That’s how our 4 day a week volunteer requirement works: the short workweek allows for a balance of volunteering, exploring the island, meeting new people, and taking time for yourself.

In fact, balance is the intention set for Hawaii Yoga Festival - October 11 through 16. With a schedule of classes and events designed to help inspire balance, you’ll end the week ready to set your life on a renewed course. Get here soon and stay for this enriching event!

Get outside your comfort zone.

There are so many opportunities! Visit lava flowing from an active volcano. Snorkel with fish, turtles, and dolphins. Try yoga for the first time. Explore vulnerability with a new friend or in a group workshop. Live in a tent. Maybe just the act of coming to Hawaii on your own is a giant step outside your comfort zone.

Getting out of your comfort zone is an incredible learning experience. It teaches you more about your likes and dislikes, how to communicate effectively, and what you may be missing out on. Take a chance and see how you grow in the process!

Learn more about yourself.

This time is devoted to you - whether you decide to journal, meditate, practice yoga, or any other activity that helps you to look within. Volunteers can also join special one-day events, workshops, or retreats (for a reduced rate) to create community and discussion around the process of self-reflection. These activities and the community support help make Kalani such a transformative environment.

Find your bliss.

“I learned to have fun again” is a common quote we hear about Kalani’s Volunteer Program. There’s something to be said about the spirit of aloha on the Big Island - it’s a constant reminder to be kind, slow down, and practice gratitude.

Puna is also a place filled with opportunities for inspiration. These include the natural wonders of the lava landscape as well as the people culture made up of artists, healers, and yoga enthusiasts. You will find yourself immersed in ways to rediscover and rekindle your passions, with friends by your side.

Take part in social transformation.

In many ways, it is the estrangement of people that causes us to disconnect; we often forget that our actions can have far-reaching impacts on others. In the frequent interactions of a volunteer community, it’s easier to see your role in the collective and to work on ways to improve these interactions. It is also an opportunity to discuss and reflect, with like-minded people, about how to address conflicts amongst each other, in our culture, and in the world.

Embrace change.

There is a reason why so many of us are called to Kalani with a great desire to change our lives. Located next to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea, the Big Island - and Puna in particular - is a living model of the constant nature of change. Here, we can literally witness new earth being born and, often, the birth of a new self as well.

There are so many benefits of volunteering at Kalani - this is just the beginning. Check out our Volunteer page to find out more and take advantage of our $300 off special!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Did you know that honey bees are responsible for about 80% of pollination worldwide?

Bees pollinate fruit, nuts, and vegetables - which include 70 of the top 100 crops that provide us with food. Naturally, a bee colony loses 5-10% of its bees in the winter, and then replaces those losses in the spring. In the U.S, winter losses are now as high as 30% to 50% or more due to Colony Collapse Disorder - when the majority of worker bees abandon the hive and their queen.

Hawaii, however, has seen a much lower percentage in the loss of bees. This climate supports lush tropical plant life - including numerous fruit trees and macadamia nuts - that provide an abundant food source. It also helps to have incredible beekeepers like Jen Rasmussen who are committed to making a difference. Jen began learning about bees here on the Big Island eight years ago and, soon after she began her journey, encountered major problems with pests that paved the way for her intuitive beekeeping method. She brought this method to Kalani in August, starting us with two of her top bar hives.

Defining Intuitive Beekeeping

This natural method relies on the bees themselves to care for their hives - without treatments or chemicals. When Jen experienced an infestation of varroa mites and small hive beetles that devastated her earliest hives, she discovered that the best method of dealing with these pests was to take direction from the bees. They understood how to best protect themselves through hygienic behavior - meaning the bees located pests and other diseases and treated them appropriately themselves.

In essence, intuitive beekeeping is simply observing the bees’ natural behavior and working in harmony with them. It’s about creating a relationship between the beekeeper and bees that fosters a safe environment where bees flourish.

The Bee Basics

In a bee colony or hive, there are three types of bees: drones, workers, and the queen. The drone bees are the males, whose role is to fly up about 400 feet in the air and wait to mate with a queen. The female worker bees provide many functions for the hive, which are carried out in a cycle during their 35 - 45 day lifespan. These tasks are dependent on the age of the worker bee, and they know instinctively when to move from one duty to another. The queen bee is notably larger than the other female bees and lays twice her bodyweight in eggs each day. She produces a pheromone that communicates the condition of the hive to the rest of the bees.

Usually during the spring, bees reproduce their colonies, and essentially clean house, through a cycle called a swarm. When swarming occurs, the old queen flies off and takes about 75% of the other bees with her to look for a new hive. At this time, a queen cup - a specialized cell designated for a new queen - will be utilized in order to create a new queen for the original hive.

Bees are nature’s architects. As bees build their hives, they make a string with their bodies that measures the size of the cells. In fact, this action actually determines the sex of the bees that will be produced. The top bar hive works with the bees’ natural inclinations as builders, allowing them to build with gravity.

Importance of Treatment-Free Beekeeping

Another problem Jen came across was a commonly used pesticide called imidacloprid. The bees brought it from the plants to their hive, where it made them confused, then paralyzed, and eventually killed them. However, once she knew what to look for in the bees’ behavior and could instruct other beekeepers on what to look for in their hives, she found that these chemicals could be banned from communities with bees because of their adverse effects.

Although the dangers these pesticides present to pollinating bees are noted, some beekeeping strategies treat pests and disease within the hive similarly. Bees are treated with antibiotics, miticides, and stimulants to combat these issues. The problem with such treatments is that they create more disease-resistant pests, rather than stronger bees. As Jen explains of her experience, “my strategy has changed from battling the pests to empowering the bees.” Her treatment-free hives are a way of working with nature to help the bees adapt to their best ability and fight pests off themselves.

Harvesting Abundance

Since our bee hives were established, we have harvested over 20 gallons of honey to share with the community. Honey is created from nectar that bees stir with their proboscis (tongue) and then dry by fanning their wings. Typically, it is used to nourish the bees during the winter when they can’t often leave the hive to forage for nectar. Hawaii is unique because there aren’t many days when the bees are cooped up in their hives and therefore, honey must be harvested regularly.

We are grateful to not only share honey, but also to host workshops about Jen’s intuitive beekeeping methods regularly. For more information on bee workshops and others in our Permaculture Series, like our Permaculture Facebook page. The bees are a model of how to create a sustainable community where all contribute to the abundance.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Alexandra K. Ambrose

Ahhh, home sweet tent.



Never thought you’d be about the tent life? Well, living in Hawaii just might change your mind. Here are five reasons why living in a tent rocks:

1. Minimalist living.

We live in a consumer-driven world, bombarded with the message: buy this now! It’s important to take the time away from advertising overload. Living in a tent is an opportunity to really utilize your space and get rid of what you don’t need - we even have an excellent “Free Boutique” where you can share with others! Take this time to disconnect from consumer culture.

2. Ultimate freedom.

Now that you’re living without the burden of all that extra stuff, you’re free to pack up and go on a trip - any time. You’re as mobile as you want to be, which is excellent because the Big Island has so many great places to explore. You can even bring your tent with you to great campgrounds, like Ho’okena, where you can wake up to see dolphins in the morning.

3. Get in touch with your natural biorhythm.

Without the distractions of technology or electricity, you’ll be able to discover what your body really needs. Fall asleep to the sound of coqui frogs and wake to the birds singing. You’ll find yourself getting deep, restful sleep away from all the hustle of urban life. Let all the rush and anxiety just melt away as you discover how good it feels to be in touch with the natural cycle of daylight.

4. Be sustainable.

Yes! Make a positive impact by living without electricity and by passing your tent on to a new owner after you leave. You’ll get to live close to nature in the lush beauty of the jungle - without leaving a harmful footprint behind.

5. Simplify.

Suppose you don’t want to leave the Big Island (it’s happened before!) and you decide to extend your stay. Usually it is an enormous pain to sift through all the clutter just to move somewhere new. However, once you realize packing up and moving the contents of a tent is a snap, you’ll fall in love with a simpler way of life. Whether this inspires you to pick up and go more often - or just to keep your travel options open - tent living is a great traveler experience.

Let’s be honest, given the year-round warm climate, living in a tent in Hawaii is more like glamping than your average camping trip. Our retreat center is the perfect place to experience tent life while rejuvenating in luxurious simplicity and abundant natural beauty. You’ll definitely be a happy camper!

Ready to try camping life? Learn more about volunteering at Kalani Retreat Center.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Shinzo Fujimaki


“My role as a healer and teacher is not fix a client or student or make outside change; instead, I open energy channels to their higher selves, and together we recognize and empower our own capabilities through self-healing, self-expression, self-awareness, and self-love.” -- Shinzo Fujimaki




Imagine your body as the earth.

Both the earth’s surface and our bodies are made up of about 70% water. This water is constantly moving in the form of currents and tides, due to the powerful pull of the sun and moon. This movement is just like the energy flowing along the meridians of the body. Can you imagine no movement in the ocean? When water stagnates, natural life within it dies. Our bodies, like the earth, rely on the free movement of tides to bring forth and maintain the fragile ecosystems that support the continued existence of life. Energy is constantly moving smoothly throughout the body’s meridians with the pull of both the sun and the moon. Shiatsu is the tool that allows us to live harmoniously with this flow of tides along our body’s meridians.

What is Shiatsu?

Shiatsu is Japanese healing massage. The term Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese and is practiced on the body with hands, fingers, and knuckles that stimulate and direct the natural healing powers of the body. Oriental medicine dictates that healing energy is flowing throughout our entire bodies all the time through meridians - energy lines that run along the body. As long as energy flows smoothly and without blockage, we are healthy. We become ill when the energy stagnates along the meridians.

How does it work?


People who experience Shiatsu healing sessions quickly discover the healing energy that exists naturally in the body and mind. Shiatsu practitioners understand the complex body processes of both physiology and energy, working constantly to maintain equilibrium and health. Japanese Shiatsu is based on the principle that the body can and desires to heal itself and enables us to maximize health through the use of healing touch on particular points along the body - using many of the same points an acupuncturist uses when treating clients.


When you have a headache, you naturally touch your head where it hurts. Our hands automatically reach out to relieve pain; we find comfort in pressing lightly or massaging an aching spot. Through gentle touch on a painful point, we open up the underlying energy of that point with our hands. Shiatsu seeks to understand not only the area in which you feel pain, but the whole body, so that healing energy is allowed to flow freely throughout all the meridians. Pain becomes an important teacher that instructs us about the imbalances in body and mind. After a Shiatsu treatment, you will feel a strong sense of vitality, often vibrating through your whole body; that vibration is your body’s natural healing energy at work.


Where can I learn Shiatsu?


At the end of the summer, Shinzo Fujimaki - an internationally renowned healer and teacher - will bring Shiatsu to Kalani for the first time. Born in Japan, Shinzo first learned the art of Shiatsu at an early age, massaging his ailing mother and other family members. Because of a natural gift for healing, he chose Shiatsu as his course of study and vocation. He has been practicing and teaching for over thirty years. Shinzo fervently believes we all possess Shiatsu’s wonderful natural gift of healing. Therefore, his passion is to teach and empower each person to touch others with healing hands and communicate from the heart.

His classes will offer Oriental Philosophy and the theory of Yin and Yang through Aikido, Yoga and, Qi Gong. Students will learn the techniques of Shiatsu necessary for the effective practice of massage. Students will practice how to release and tonify along the 12  meridians as well as Oriental breathing practices, Qi flow, intention and physical postures of the practitioner.

Register here for Shiatsu I and Shiatsu II. For more information about Shinzo, visit his website.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Alexandra Ambrose

Aquatic bodywork consists of floating massage, dance-like movement, and stretching in a warm water pool. Major forms of this type of bodywork include Watsu and Healing Dance. Kalani is currently a leader in offering aquatic bodywork treatments, as well as in training practitioners from around the world.

Upcoming Courses
This summer, our teacher training opportunities begin June 12th with Watsu 1, facilitated by Alexis Lee. This will cover the basics of Watsu - including the introductory moves used in all Watsu sessions, learning your own body mechanics in relation to supporting another person during a session, and adapting your style to the different needs of the recipient. Alexis has worked with aquatic bodywork pioneers Harold Dull and Alexander George to shape her approach.

Inika Spence will also offer Healing Dance 1, beginning June 19th. As the former director of the Harbin School of Healing Art, she brings passion and expertise to our program. This Healing Dance training will teach the paradigm shift of seeing the body as at home in the water, where movement creates healing.

About Watsu and Healing Dance
Watsu was created in the early 1980’s by Harold Dull at Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California. Initially, Watsu was an adaptation of Zen Shiatsu massage for the water - emphasizing the creation of synchronized breath patterns between recipient and practitioner and establishing a deep meditative state. Healing Dance was developed by Alexander George in 1993. This powerful aquatic technique combines movement on the surface of the water as well as submerging the recipient beneath the water.

Aquatic bodywork sessions foster deep relaxation and meditation, which help increase circulation and mobility and promote general wellbeing. Practitioners float the recipient while gently moving and stretching them. The effect has often been compared to that of being in the womb - a space where we are completely supported and secure. Being in the water creates a special space that is free from gravity, unlike traditional bodywork practices on land.

Kalani's Watsu Offering
Kalani’s own Watsu pool is a large and well-maintained facility nestled in our lush and peaceful tropical setting. Enjoy the privacy of an individual session as well as the opportunity for an intimate class setting of 12 - 14 people. Our staff is comprised of compassionate and skilled practitioners and teachers focused on creating the optimum aquatic bodywork experience. In the future, in conjunction with our continued sustainability efforts, this pool will include even more eco-friendly features such as solar heating.

Our aquatic bodywork training offerings will continue with more courses expanding on Watsu and Healing Dance. Scholarship options are available in collaboration with the Aquatic Bodywork Fund. To register for courses and sign up for your aquatic bodywork session, visit upcoming workshops.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rob Dorgan

I have mentioned my mom Dottie in several of my articles. Dottie was a huge influence on me - she still is and always will be - but, recently, I experienced an unexpected visit with a different Mom, one who had always been part of me but that I had forgotten…Let me explain.

Fourteen years ago, Steve and I went on a retreat to the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed at an Eco-Retreat Center called Kalani Honua, meaning, The Harmony of Heaven and Earth in Hawaiian. It was a magical time, and we went back once more, a few years later, to experience the same magic. The last time, as we pulled away from the property, we cried. It is the only time either of us could remember crying at the end of a vacation.

The experience of those magical days are etched clearly in our memory. We pulled our red Mustang convertible to the end of the Kalani driveway and waved our hands, as we walked to “The Point” - a secluded, yet accessible jut of land right across the Red Road at the entrance to Kalani. It overlooks a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. We waved goodbye, threw some kisses, then climbed into the car and pulled onto the Red Road. And we cried - hard - as we headed towards the airport.

We talked about that departure many times over the last decade. We also talked about returning to Kalani at some point for an extended stay.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2015.

After many years of “life” happenings, we decided to take the leap. In May of 2015, we applied for a Sabbatical at Kalani. We wanted a 5 week stay to recharge, rejuvenate, relax and get creative about our lives. We asked to come the last week of December to the first week of February. And we were accepted. Yes!!!

The past 12 years we spent New Year’s on Key West, another Island. It was hard to change that pattern as we knew the staff at the Guest House so well. We knew the other guest, the places to eat...it was easy to relax immediately on arrival with so much familiarity.

But we both knew we needed something different. We needed to shake things up and to challenge ourselves to spark our creativity.

Enter Kalani.

We knew it would be completely different as we would be unplugging from our life for 5 weeks and going to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where California is 2,500 miles away and Japan is 4,100 miles away. We would be 10 or more hours and 5 times zones away from home.

As the departure day from Cincinnati got closer, we got nervous. To uproot ourselves and move into somewhat unknown territory is not the easiest thing to do for two Earth Signs (a Capricorn and a Virgo). In spite of that, we felt there was a reason, something was pulling us to Hawaii and to Kalani or The Puna Coast, specifically.

We arrived late to Kalani on a Tuesday night. It was dark when we got to our room. We were very tired from a long day of travel. Kalani is an eco-retreat, which tries hard to keep the footprint we are all making as small as possible. It is earthy and rustic in its simple elegance and charm. Being tired, we were not so receptive to its simple charm on the first night; it was more like, “What the ______ have we done?”

Our inner “princesses” were making an appearance. We realized the expectations which where in our heads where not meeting with reality in our arrival moment.

But even that first night we could hear beyond the coqui frog’s mating song, to the lullaby of the crashing waves on the nearby black cliffs. She was calling to me. She - the Ocean - my different mom!

The next morning was spent in orientation to the Kalani campus and a few other logistical things regarding our stay. The following day, we worked a full day in our first volunteer housekeeping shift. It wasn’t until about 4pm Hawaii time that we got to walk out to The Point to see “Her” with our own eyes. As we entered the canopied sanctuary they call The Point, I spontaneously said out loud – “we’re back!” And just as spontaneously, I began to cry. Not just streaming tears but deep, full sobs as I felt I was back with someone dear who I had not seen in a long time, and for whom I had great longing.

I was surprised at my own reaction, at first, but I went with it. I let the tears come and I let the ecstasy of our reunion flow through me in a series of inner waves. It was magic.

Two days later we made our way to the near-by black sand beach, Kehena. To get to this little gem, you have to climb down a steep rocky natural lava staircase which takes some effort and a certain degree of mindfulness. Once on the beach, you are surrounded by the black cliffs, the lush deep green foliage, and the coarse black sand. Steve and I laid down our towels. I perched on a nearby tree stump to do some writing – but, I was distracted. I wanted to get in the salty water - “Her”. I closed my journal and coerced Steve to go in with me.

We walked out to where the water came up to about mid thigh and then back in to sit in the shallow water to feel the waves wash over us. Instantly, I was a little kid again. Actually I was more a baby-child of about 2 or 3 years old - I was being held. The waves got a little rambunctious and knocked us over. It was rolling us around- back and forth. I was covered in black sand. I was overcome with spontaneous, uncontrollable deep laughter. It was the laughter of a child being lovingly moved around by its Mom. A slight tickle and caress. I let go. I rolled. I laughed. Again I let the ecstasy of this nurturing love move through me. Ahhhhh...

This sense of being cared for by Mother Earth in all Her forms, but, especially this salty embryonic fluid of the ocean, had erased any doubts I may have had about being here.

The love I felt from the sounds of her waves and her touch were more nurturing than anything I can possibly describe.

I am from the mid-west. There is no ocean. It’s not like I grew up with Her caressing me daily. What is it about Her that calls me, calms me and nurtures me? My good friend and teacher, Bobbie Corbean, used to say, “My spirit needs to get to the ocean. I need a shot of the ocean water and sun on my face.”

Nature is our ultimate mother. She doesn’t subtract anything from the relationship I have with my Mom, Dottie. As a matter of fact, our relationship with nature adds to all of our personal human relations. We can go back into nature when we need to feel we are being held, nurtured and loved unconditionally.

I am now coming to realize that being in and with nature, in her many forms, is a necessity for me. She brings a sense of calmness to me. I feel like wounds I may not even be aware of, are being healed. Is there stuff in our DNA which we inherit from our ancestors that needs to be released by a personal connection to nature?

I still ponder these thoughts and my spontaneous crying and laughing as I came back to Her presence. Sitting with Her and in Her, in stillness and in silence, I feel love. I do. I feel love.

Steve and I can hear Her from our room at Kalani. Yet we find ourselves wanting to be closer to Her, so we walk to The Point frequently. Many times we don’t speak. A few days ago, after sitting there for about 5 minutes, I started to cry again. My best friend Steve, pulled me to his shoulder. My control freak inner self, let myself be comforted by him and Her. I had a deep long healing cry. About what, I am not sure. Afterwards I felt better. There were no words.

I share this with you because I am surprised at what is happening here in Hawaii, at Kalani Honua - meaning where Heaven and Earth meet. I suggest that you plan an unexpected visit with your Mom - Mother Nature. She holds us when we are weary. She smiles when we are in ecstasy. She loves us unconditionally, always.

Wherever you are in the world, find a place to be with Her and get quiet. Imagine yourself being held and loved to the depths of your being - and then know it to be true.

Originally published at: http://simplestepsrealchangemagazine.com/an-unexpected-visit-with-my-mom/

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Andrew "Ellard" Resignato

Andrew “Ellard” Resignato has served as a chef at Kalani and in our Housekeeping volunteer program. Ellard's a nationally recognized speaker on health, a journalist for the Fog City News, and the host of a cooking show called the "Culinary Edge" which airs weekly in San Francisco on Channel 29 and on Na Leo ‘O Hawaii on the Big Island. Ellard has been in our community for years and recently shared this for Monday Morning Inspiration -

Ellard's 8 S’s for Happiness - 

1. Sleep - Sleeping is my drug, my bed is the dealer, and the alarm clock is the police.

2. Sun - That bright ball in the sky gives us life. Meet it at least once a day.

People who don’t get enough sunlight have altered cellular defence mechanisms that predispose them to excessive inflammation, which can result in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma and skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. A little sunlight can reduce the numbers of the activated cells that lead to inflammation, and so the risk of getting these diseases.

3. Sustenance - good food, sourced well and prepared with joy and gratitude is nurturing to body and soul. 

Our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.

We are extremely lucky to be eating good food and I feel blessed to have been a chef here for over a year and half. The Kalani kitchen has taught me a lot about food and more about life. 

4. Sex - “Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex” -Oscar Wilde

Woody Allen said "Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions."

Do it with yourself and others! Be safe and respect boundaries without shame for your kinks, we all have them. Sex is a beautiful, messy, and zesty enterprise. Go get it. 

5. Sounds - Music and nature, the world is talking to you. Listen and sing along.

William Shakespeare said “Listening, is nothing less than our ‘royal route’ to the Divine.” There's a lot of great things to listen to around here.

6. Silliness - Embrace the lightness of the absurd. Humor is the medicine for the heaviness of life) Like Dougy I says, “Embrace it. Stay open to it.”

7. Surf or Swim -

JFK said - "We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to swim – we are going back from whence we came…"

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused." - Rainer Maria Rilke

8. Spirit - Whatever lights you up and gets you excited about living. Embrace love, presence, wonder, and if your spirit is suffering make a change.

I want to thank you for the support, humor, nourishment, encouragement, challenges and love you have given me. 

I am proud to call you my Ohana. 

Mahalo nui loa,

Ellard

 

* Photographs taken by Matt Bulger

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stephanie Juris
Thanksgiving - a time to be with family  and friends; your chosen or the ones you were raised with. It’s time to connect and give thanks for all the abundance in ones life. This past Thanksgiving - a group of individuals gathered together to take part in “Designing for Abundance: A Thanksgiving Permaculture Course” hosted at Kalani. Many participants were current Kalani volunteers while some made the trek from Alaska, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
Each participant challenged their minds by embracing the 12 Permaculture Principles and applying them to each question and topic that was raised. 
1. Observe and Interact – 
“Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
2. Catch and Store Energy – 
“Make hay while the sun shines”
By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
3. Obtain a yield – 
“You can’t work on an empty stomach”
Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – 
“The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – 
“Let nature take its course”
Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
6. Produce No Waste – 
“Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
7. Design From Patterns to Details – 
“Can’t see the forest for the trees”
By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – 
“Many hands make light work”
By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – 
“Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
10. Use and Value Diversity – 
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – 
“Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – 
“Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.  
The sustainability concepts that were presented ranged from designing kitchen garden to understand efficient ways to city plan. Upon completion of a group project - participants received and internationally recognized design certificate.
Classes were held from 9AM to 5PM each day, breaking for various meals and opportunities to groups to meet and discuss their projects. Some class days the course took field trips to places off Kalani property. One was to the the homestead of Lyn Howe and her husband Geoff  Rauch. The duo have worked for the past 13 years to create Beach Road Farm, an off-grid, diversified  eco-farm in lower Puna growing 2.5 acres of fruit & nut trees, spices, culinary and medicinal herbs, vegetables and for the past 7 years, a small aquaponics system.
Another trip was taken down the Red Road to Tracy Matfin’s home - La’akea. The organic farm practices tropical permaculture in a lush rainforest climate. Tracey and her community grow many kinds of fruits and nuts, and have extensive gardens and greenhouses, taro beds and orchards. They also keep bees, chickens, rabbits and sheep who are their natural lawn mowers in addition to providing food and fertilizer!
The course explored a variety of topics throughout the two weeks such as: pattern recognition, natural building, compost & humane, rain harvesting & catchment, as well as eco-village design and community building. See the rest of these photos in our Facebook album.
Interested in earning your Permaculture Design Certificate or learning more about permaculture at Kalani? Take a Look at the La’akea Community website to see any upcoming workshops and as well as keeping an eye on Kalani’s upcoming permaculture classes! You can also see our educational videos that we share on our YouTube page!
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kalani Honua

Aloha Community Member,

Mahalo for your generous donation to The Market at Kalani. At this point, we have completed the return of all membership donations and 80% of individual donations. If you have not yet received your donation you will by the end of this week. Again, mahalo for this gift.

The inspiration and vision for The Market at Kalani was a response to Hurricane Iselle and a need for a food hub in Lower Puna in the case of future isolating events. However, given our Land Use Commission designation, we were not able to move forward with this project as originally planned.

As a new venture, The Market at Kalani will be included in our application to the Land Use Commission, which we are in the process of submitting. As a community, we have been working on the LUC project for five years. The review process will take a minimum of six months.

In the meantime, we will be reopening Hale Aloha, where we will offer Kalani-made food and drink on our WiFi-accessible lanai. And, we have great news!

The lanai at Hale Aloha
The lanai at Hale Aloha

To continue with our initial vision of providing a food hub in Lower Puna, we are excited to announce a new partnership with The Food Basket, Inc., Hawaiian Island's Food Bank. The Food Basket,"Ho`olaha Ka Hua-" or "Da Box", distributes farm direct, island wide produce to our community once a week. Da Box will be available to EBT recipients in an effort to create pathways to nutritious, high-quality foods.


Delicious produce from our local farmers

Our next communication will be to invite everyone to the reopening of Hale Aloha and to distribute information for the start date of the Da Box, www.hawaiifoodbasket.org/.

We are pleased to be able to offer this to the community and look forward to moving forward with the vision of a food hub at Kalani.

Sincerely,

Kalani Honua Management Staff
Kalani Honua Inc.


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Monday, October 5, 2015

Stephanie Juris

Here in Puna - we are blessed (no hashtag needed) with an abundance of healthy activities, drinks and foods at our fingertips. We've got our famous "Buddha" bowls, a bountiful salad bar (with Kalani-made dressings, hehe) - and a decent population of volunteers who have their own supplements they take everyday.


Ailene loves herself some mango - picked fresh that morning.

Take a walk through the lanai and it's likely you'll pass by at least a handfull of people who are yoga practioners, have taken part in a Vipassina medition, and are just as passionate about the joys of being healthy as I am.

If you've eaten a meal with me - or have spent any amount of time chit-chatting about food stuffs, you may have heard about my love for probiotics. Balancing out those healthy floras and faunas that lie within our digestive system is a passion of mine. Through kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and fermented veggies - I love it all. Now, I AM NOT A MEDICIAL PROFESSIONAL - but having said that, have you ever thought about what your belly may trying to be saying to you?

Let me start with the basics.

Probiotics are good for us - we naturally have them within our bodies environment. Probiotics are microorganisms (microflora) that live in our intestines. They are good bacterias that aid with proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and contribute immesly to healthy immune functioning. Probiotics tell the bad bacteria to buzz off - and protect us from disease, infection, and inflammation.

Interested in finding out if adding additional probiotics is something you should be doing? Do you find yourself feeling stressed? This could translate into many things: dry skin, an itchy scalp, breakouts - even nightmares! For many of us, stress lies within our gut.

Still not sure?

Here's even more insight - trust your gut on this one (wink, wink)

1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics translates to "anti-life" - the exact opposite of probiotic, which means "pro-life". If you've taken a round of antibiotics, you've killed off bacteria within your body - antibiotics don't know the difference between good and bad bacterias - consider a probiotic to reintroduce the healthy flora back into your body.

2. Food Posioning: If you recently had a bout of food posioning, or eaten something that didn't agree with you - there is a good chance that bad bacteria is still lingering around your body. Taking a probiotic will fight off these bad guys and get your cycles normalized!

3. Candida and Yeast Infections: These are both a good indicator that there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria within the body. The best way to bring it into alignment - no, not a coffee... Probiotics! They'll crowd out the bad bacteria, helping to reinvigorate the healthy stuffs.

4. Mood Swings: Feeling stressed? Anxious? Irritable? It could be because your intestional flora is out of whack. Start using probiotics to balance the flora, this will improve your neurotransmitters (ya know, the things that send you happy messages in your brain!) thus resulting in a happy mindset.

There you have it people - Probiotics = Happiness!

Feeling a little rumbly in the tumbly? Let me share a kombucha recipe that is so simple - you can make it in the jungle! (But, really - we did make it in the jungle...)

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It has natural effervescene that's packed with healthy bacteria, minerals, and vitamins - all great for your guts. Kombucha has roots back in China - specifically the Qin Dynasty (!) in 220 BCE with record of traveling to Russia and then bubbling its way to health-conscious communities in the 1970's. You can find kombucha in health food stores, all over - that being said, it's super simple to make.

JUNGLE BOOCH - (yields about a gallon)

Supplies Needed:
• 3 1/2 quarts of water
• 8 black, green, or a mix of tea bags - we used black tea
• 1 cup organic sugar - the sugar is for the culture to consume
• 2 cups 'starter tea' from last 'booch batch (if you don't have this, grab an "Original" kombucha from your favorite health food store)
• A SCOBY! - SCOBY is an ancronym standing for, "Symbolic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast" Ask your kombucha-brewing friends for one or make your own!

  
Scooping out booch into sterilized glasses.

Recipe:
1. Steep tea in boiling water with sugar added, then cool.
2. Sterilize a container.
3. Add your SCOBY (it'll look all slimy, remember it's alive! Handle with care.) If you don't have a SCOBY, add your bottle of booch to create your own.
4. Cover and let sit for 7-10 days. Then add you own deliciousness. Keep your original SCOBY and scoop out some 'booch into other sterilized, glass bottles. Ailene and I got together this past weekend and added some added tastiness to the booch she was already creating.
5. Enjoy!


Ginger, Lemon, Turmeric

To see more picture - check out the album on our Facebook page!

Interested in learning more about the wonderful world of probiotics? Check out some of the things Sandor Katz, fermentation expert, is up to. Also - if you're a volunteer at Kalani, make sure to get some of Charles' famous 'kimchi' on the salad bar!

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