Kalani Honua Blog
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
From an idyllic, sun-drenched afternoon at Pohoiki to a breezy, moonlit evening at the Kalapana Night Market; from talk-story in the welcoming environs of Kalani’s EMAX, to the final Kanikapila that filled the streets of Pāhoa with revelers, the 2014 Puna Music Festival had something for everyone.
With a multitude of genres including traditional Hawaiian, Hawaiian soul, hula, pop, rock, reggae, and folk, this year’s jubilant celebration brought locals, visitors, and artists of all ages and backgrounds together to share in the spirit of aloha, ʻohana, and, most of all, community.
Here are a few high notes from a memorable week in Hawaii's picturesque Puna District -
Pohoiki Open Concert The day began with Ehulani Stephany’s melodic opening chant and hula dancers, followed by a warm welcome by the day’s energetic, wonderful hosts, Kaʻea and DJ Paris Decambra from KAPA FM.
Local keiki (school children) sang and danced, enchanting early arrivers lounging in the grass on what would turn out to be a flawless oceanside day. The always-entertaining Awa Band presented a repertoire of Hawaiian songs, after which Hawane Rios shared both her vocal talents and message of love for the earth. Jaz Kaiwikoʻo performed some recent hits, bringing festival-goers to their feet.
Headliners Paula Fuga, Mike Love, and John Cruz lit up the afternoon stage to what locals called the biggest crowd Pohoiki has ever seen.
#PunaMusicFest @ Kalapana Night Market
Kuana Torres Kahele captivated the lively night market crowd as festival-goers sampled local food, perused jewelry stalls, and chatted with neighbors and friends.
Always a hit on the dance floor, Uncle Robert’s Awa Band played their signature songs as locals danced into the night and explored the moonlit lava field at Coconut Beach.
An Intimate Evening with Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole Volunteers, guests, and community members gathered in Kalani EMAX for an unforgettable night of talk-story and song.
The stage was decorated with stunning Hawaiian flowers and foliage. Dim lighting and cozy ambiance allowed Kaumakaiwa, one of the voices of the new generation in Hawaii, to be especially interactive with the audience living up to the concert’s promise of intimacy.
The Kanakaole ʻohana have longstanding roots with the land in this ahupuaʻa along with the heiau and halau at Kalani. Honoring her mother in celebration of Mother’s Day, Kaumakaiwa spoke about how her mother’s strength and dignity shone through most when she sang.
Seeing her mother sharing her gifts encouraged Kaumakaiwa to pursue music as a way to preserve her family’s heritage. Kaumakaiwa enjoyed interacting with the crowd, making it clear that sharing her gift of music is truly her heartfelt passion.
Kanikapila in Pāhoa
Ordinarily quiet and serene, Pāhoa Village metamorphosed into a vibrant, lively scene – teeming with revelers pouring out of every storefront, enjoying music and performances along the way.
Festival-goers were entertained by live singing, playing, and dancing on stages, balconies and inside restaurants.
People of all ages moved to DJ’s spinning hypnotizing beats in the Akebono Theater, while others dined in Pāhoa’s eclectic selection of restaurants and eateries or meandered around to discover what surprises
Mahalo to everyone who joined us for the 2014 Puna Music Festival, made possible by generous support from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, the County of Hawaii, Suisan, KAPA FM, and Kalani. We are immensely grateful for each individual who turned out, performed, volunteered, and showed love and support for this extraordinary event. Here’s to PMF 2015!
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Kalani’s dining lanai and kitchen have long been described as the “heart” of Kalani. As many as two hundred-fifty hungry guests, local residents, staff and volunteers file in line each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mealtime is announced by the sound of three distinct tones on the conch shell that can be heard across the campus. This daily tradition reminds us of the rich cultural heritage we preserve on the mystical Hawaiian land where Kalani now resides.
The hardworking, fun-loving kitchen crew meticulously and conscientiously prepares and serves three fresh, wholesome meals each day, and approximately 150,000 meals each year, all while chatting, chopping, and dancing to music of choice. Each meal is prepared with the freshest, most organic ingredients possible, along with aloha and love for our ‘ohana or extended family.
Day in and day out, Kalani’s kitchen crew members, affectionately nicknamed “hoozies,” handcraft delicious dishes, all while catering to a diverse population of eaters including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and omnivores alike. Because the kitchen crew is composed mostly of volunteers on two and three month stints, Kalani has assembled a dream team of chefs and managers to keep this operation, Kalani’s largest, running smoothly.
Sami Ross, the Excel-erator
Sami Ross can be found pitching in anytime help is needed in the bustling Kalani kitchen, whether on the dishwashing station (AKA Auntie Hobart), front of house, Hale Aloha, or even the campground, searching for errant hoozies. With her tenacity and determination, she has played a key role in adding to Hale Aloha’s baking and overall expansion. Sami also has the well-honed ability to put any and all information into a spreadsheet, making her a wizard of organization and logistics. She manages and leads team meetings with a smile, keeps track of a multitude of schedules and requests, and ensures that her kitchen team is happy and healthy.
Dana Butler, the Organic Oracle
No longer satisfied by a life driven by ambition, material success, and outside expectation, Dana Butler made the unlikely decision to become the kitchen manager at Kalani. She credits this decision as one of the best she’s ever made in her life, asserting that the benefits within this space of community, non-judgment, and self-acceptance are worth more than all the money and prestige in the world. Dana takes pride in shepherding Kalani’s movement toward purchasing more locally grown produce and grass-fed beef and supporting local farmers and products. Dana also feels rewarded when she hears that the environment in the kitchen is nurturing, supportive, and fun.
Kenny Drotar, the Meal Manifestor
Kenny Drotar has been cooking his heart out for over twelve years in cities including Detroit, New Orleans, and New York. In contrast with the traditional kitchens he has experienced in the past, Kenny keeps the Kalani kitchen atmosphere light and fun with his love of pop music, high-energy, and humorous outlook. He is passionate about sourcing local, sustainable ingredients, and contributing to expanding the gardens at Kalani. Kenny keeps it fresh by learning to prepare new cuisines while transforming the most unlikely combination of ingredients into something tasty and surprising.
Charles Woods the Salad Ninja
A volunteer turned Kalani resident for over eighteen years, Charles keeps the kitchen running smoothly, while balancing hundreds of van runs for Kalani. He can be found quietly and carefully preparing daily staple items such as salads, dips, and dressings that compliment the bounty of fresh ingredients and produce. Charles is always willing to try something new and accommodate the team’s changing menus and flavor profiles. His presence in the kitchen has become a steady constant on the ever-changing crew.
Lilly Dietz the Yum Yum Yogi
Hailing from a big Italian family in New York, Lilly Dietz knows what it takes to cook for large groups of people - all with a hearty serving of aloha. Often overheard saying “this is going to be the best day ever!,” Lilly is known for her signature positive outlook, smile, and friendly energy. Having completed her training on-the-job, Lilly has grown to become one of Kalani’s most skilled shift leaders. A globetrotting yogini, Lilly has taken cooking classes in both India and Thailand, blessing all of her food with the sacred sound of “Om.”
Mark Ceranski the Dessert Dominator
Another Kalani jetsetter, Mark Ceranski spent many years as a chef cooking for high-end clients along with volunteer organizations both domestic and abroad. Now, Mark loves being at Kalani as our resident baker and dessert-maker extraordinaire, spoiling Kalani diners with his famous sourdough, rosemary focaccia, lillikoi cheesecake, fresh berry tart, and anything with chocolate ganache (to name a few). Mark is currently working on his first book, Pot Boiler in the Kitchen, a firsthand account of his adventures with royalty, dictators, and despots.
Ryan Turner the Expediter of Aloha
Prior to arriving at Kalani, Ryan Turner was the restaurant front-of-house manager at a Forbes’ top-ten rated fly-fishing lodge. In nearly two years at Kalani, Ryan has formulated many of our addictive cookie recipes, including the popular vegan varieties such as chocolate chip, Mexican chocolate, peanut butter, and Kona coffee, along with other products carried at Hale Aloha. Ryan also contributed a year of service arranging flowers for the property. A man of many talents, Ryan has become a skilled aerialist and ecstatic dancer and boasts a great letter of recommendation from Henry Winkler aka “The Fonz.”
Mitch Boehlinger the Banjo Griddler
Another man of many talents, Mitch Bohlinger is a former glass-blower from Wisconsin. He can not only cook a mean “almond joy” pancake or perfectly sear a filet of the fresh catch, but can also pick up any string instrument and play a song. Passionate about learning anything new, Mitch has an uncanny ability to try something once and remember each, step-by-step detail about how it is done. Mitch is abundantly generous, sharing his special, cinnamon flavored cold-press coffee with any takers. Mitch is passionate about cooking and loves the idea that people he taught to play instruments and cook are out there in the world making music and food.
Mariana Bergtold the Vegan Pirate Queen
Having healed herself from Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma through macrobiotics, Mariana Bergtold is a living example of the healing and restorative power of healthy, seasonal, locally sourced food. The former owner of not one, but two successful vegan, kosher, organic, sugar-free restaurants, Mariana treats plant and meat-eaters alike to her rich, I-can’t-believe-it’s-dairy-free dishes like wild mushroom and root vegetable phyllo tartes and creamy, delectable soups. Mariana continuously challenges herself by learning new cuisines and inspiring everyone to elevate the quality of plant-based dishes for our discerning Kalani diners.
Ted Leake the Barbecue Chef Bayou
Ted Leake’s signature Southern accent, friendly demeanor, and soulful, retro music selections permeate the kitchen whenever he cooks. A loving father of three, Ted makes everyone feel welcome and appreciated in the kitchen, often giving a hoozie or two the opportunity to create a dish with their moniker attached. He is known for his rich, French culinary trained palette of soups, sauces, and perfectly cooked meats, layered with tons of flavors that have diners returning for seconds. With limited resources but a lot of talent, Ted traveled to fifty countries and survived twenty-five years as a business owner in the competitive catering industry before coming to Kalani.
Sarah Cole the Earth Mama
If you hear the sweet sounds of reggae music echoing through the dining lanai, it is likely that Sarah Cole is on the chef’s line. Another of our well-traveled leaders, Sarah loves cooking holistic, sustainable, non-GMO, organic ingredients while sending good vibrations to the food and to all who consume it. Kalani regulars rave about her flavorful Indian specialties, including divinely seasoned basmati rice and lentil dal, along with spicy onion relish and yogurt raita. Sarah is devoted to homeopathic healing through diet and spiritual connection to the earth.
Monday, April 28, 2014
In just under eleven minutes, Hawaiian songstress Paula Fuga’s 2012 TEDxMaui talk makes one thing abundantly clear: Paula Fuga is a believer. And her faith and audacity are making a difference in her life and in the lives of others.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Note from the author:
I purposely signed up to do one of our communities weekly inspirations in October of 2013. I figured that, 2 weeks out from the Hawaii Yoga Festival (an event which I’m coordinating) there would be potential for stress, anxiety and pressure from the clock.So I thought, what better way to ground myself than by standing up and trying to inspire my entire community in just a few minutes? My ego works in interesting ways. Here I share with you the inspiration I offered to our Kalani community that day in October:
Today’s topic: The ego. From the time I was first introduced to Freud’s teachings in Junior High, I learned that my ego is the cause of all my misery. When I entered college, in Psychology 101 they taught me the same thing. When I started my career in the health and fitness field, I witnessed first hand how a person’s ego inflicted massive emotional pain and even physical injuries. When I walked into my first yoga class 9 years ago the teacher told me to leave my ego at the door. And finally, after sitting my second 10-day Vipassana course, I got a nasty dose of how my ego had certainly been the cause of my misery.
So it’s no surprise that somewhere along the way, I linked up that my ego is the source of ALL my pain and it must be destroyed. Many of you might agree with that statement. However, no one ever taught me the benefits of my ego, and no one ever led a class teaching me to let my ego speak. The core of most teachings that I received was to identify the ways your ego was abusing you, then silence it!
When I arrived at Kalani 7 months ago, I was on top of the world. It was a brand new, exciting chapter in my life. It had been a life-long dream to live in Hawai’i. Little did I know, Pele was waiting for me…ready to chew me up and spit me out!
We use the phrase “E Ho Mai” a lot around here. “Let it come, let it flow.” It makes total sense, but when you’re in the middle of a “crisis” and someone says “e ho mai”, oftentimes my brain is more like “e ho mai God! What is happening?!”
I had been in a bit of a funk the past few months. I closed myself off to others and spent most of my time alone at Chez Stiffy (That’s the name my friends have given my tent…it’s not as dirty as it sounds!). During those lonely hours, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the hell I was doing here! This little voice in my head kept aggravating me, challenging me to look at my life.
“Am I just wasting time here? What am I afraid of?” are just a few questions I repeatedly asked myself. I enjoy accomplishing things, setting goals and achieving them. I really miss speaking in front of crowds, sharing things that I’ve learned and watching the moment a person realizes how powerful they really are. It’s magical. Teaching people, performing, achieving goals, hearing people tell me that their life improved after talking with me…that feeds my ego…but it also feeds my spirit.
The balance of ego and spirit, in my opinion, is one of the secrets to fulfillment. I’ve learned that the ego isn’t as bad as I once thought it to be. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up and speak in front of hundreds of people each week. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have traveled around the world..a lot of the time solo. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have studied so hard. Without my ego, I wouldn’t have developed the confidence to make a positive impact on people all over the world. Without my ego I wouldn’t be up here telling you all of the ways that I’m awesome! I believe that I’ve been put on this planet to help people realize their true power and show them how to step into it. So without my ego…I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my destiny.
That little voice had been beating me up for a few months. It wasn’t like a full on beating, it was more of a constant thump on my nose, just slightly irritating. It didn’t really hurt at first, but after a while, with it’s unbelievable perseverance, it started to get painful! If you know what I’m talking about, I want you to listen very closely now. Will, a friend of mine here at Kalani, gave me some great advice while I was doing this to myself, so I would like to extend that to all of you now.
He said, “Tiffany,” and I’m paraphrasing, “let that voice speak instead of trying to silence her. Let her have a voice. Write it down and let her be heard. Then get her on your side…because she’s powerful.”
That really made me think. So I did let her speak and I wrote down her thoughts for hours (that bitch is long-winded!). And Will was right – she is powerful. Instead of fighting her, I’ve used my communication skills and I’ve gotten her on my side. So the point of my story is this:
Your ego is not the enemy. It just likes to showboat. You can still let your ego in the car, just make sure you let your Spirit drive. But don’t forget, the ego is the world’s worst backseat driver! He thinks he knows where you’re going but he gets lost all the time! Your humble Spirit knows the way – though sometimes it just might need to pull the car over! But just as you wouldn’t throw your unruly child out of the car, don’t try to eliminate your ego. When kept in control, it serves you greatly and has a powerful voice…love it and let it speak through your Spirit.
I love all of you from the bottom of my heart and I’m proud to call you my ohana. So let it come, let flow. E ho mai God, we are blessed!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
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/
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Editors Note: This entry is first in a special series of blogs that will chronicle the growth of permaculture at Kalani.
I’m Eric and I have the honor of being the very first Permaculture Design Specialist to work at Kalani.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Editor's Note: This blog post is a moving offering from a departing volunteer, read at our community meeting. We share it as it captures the transformative impact of the volunteer program at Kalani.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever been in love before…until now
I’ve always had the love to give, but to receive, I just didn’t know how…until now
Falling in love with my Ohana, with each of you
Has led me closer to realizing what is true
What is true is love, being authentic and deep connection
In ways I never thought possible with human interaction…until now
Relationships so fulfilling and sacred and so fricking real
My energetic dances with all of you have helped me to heal
I know you all on levels I’ve never experienced in lives past
The colors of each of your eyes, the sounds of your unique laughs,
Have shown me what falling in love is like at last
Our talking, our giggling and our joyful endless dance
Has given me strength to move forward, hopeful and excited to give love a chance
For the love I have felt in my heart here with you
Has been overwhelming, sometimes painful that I haven’t known what to do
Yet I am reminded by this missing you pain in the center of my being
That this is a sign of how deeply I have loved and now I am finally seeing
Seeing and experiencing what true love is and what lies before me
Countless opportunities to love deeply and to just be
Seeing what is real past this veil of illusion
My loving journey with you has eased my confusion
And although I still have no clue what to do
I know that’s ok, for I’m being guided by you
YOU, the reflection of the me that I have found
A deep connection with myself, that’s not only received on the mound
I have ridden the waves and processed to much
With my Ohana standing strong so that I didn’t lose touch
And if I woke up, feeling blue and didn’t know why
I was confident that all I had to do was walk to the lanai
For I knew that some magic would greet me on this special path
And the right one of you would embrace me, say the perfect words or make me laugh
From day one you have nourished and challenged me as any lover could do
And I want to thank you beautiful people for being so perfectly you
YOU ARE AWESOME And as I stand here attempting to inspire yet shaking and not quite knowing what to do
One thing is so very clear my dear dear friends…that the true inspiration in YOU
I have seen the universe in your eyes, heard it in your words and felt it with your tough
I have witnessed it, experienced it and leardt from the reflection you have held up to me and for that god, I love you so much
What a gift it is to have fallen in love for the first time
So much so, I’m even making rhyme
And so with this precious gift, I prepare to go
To share it with the world, I love you, a hui hou
Keep letting the love in beautiful people
I miss you xxxxx
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
When I first came to Kalani in summer 2012, I found the experience to be so transformational for me that I knew that right after college I would return. The lessons I learned served me well spiritually and practically in my “real life”, so in my mind, I made Kalani a symbol of personal growth. This has become my mini-university of mindfulness and well-being. Of course, the journey for me hasn’t always been easy, but the fact that I am mostly surrounded by growth-minded people who live intentionally has given me insight on the 2 following themes:
Make Connections Based on Values, Not Traits.
Back on the Mainland, one generally makes friends because of proximity, and we can get stuck associating with others who share our socioeconomic status, race, etc. This isn’t always conducive to spiritual growth, and has left me feeling stuck in a creative rut. This is part of the reason I came back to Kalani: Kalani is unique because one constantly has the opportunity to connect with people from around the world over meals, our work environment, and our living space. How cool is it to have eaten with someone from Germany, Texas, New York, and Hawaii all in one table over dinner?!
Although sometimes this has pushed me outside my comfort zone, I’ve found it very enlightening because I have been immersed in a situation where I can align myself with others because of values we share vs. traits. Despite all of our demographic differences, we can form bonds over what we REALLY have in common, whether it be our love of fine arts, our interest in activism, Eastern philosophy, etc. It really brings light to the question, “What ARE my values?” And then because we have so many diverse classes and opportunities to be creative, I’ve been able to find focus after clarity has been brought to my preferences and intentions. Because of this, I’ve been able to bring more consciousness to my values and make some of the most powerful friendships and creative connections I have ever made!
At Kalani, there are many opportunities to practice flexibility, whether it be mental/emotional in our relationships here or physically/spiritually through yoga. Before I came to Kalani last year, I was aware that my rigidity and fixed attitude on some things were not working for me. I found it difficult to be in friendships/relationships for too long, because once things weren’t on my terms, I felt out of control and walked away. I couldn’t do that at Kalani…and for that I am grateful. Here, I am in an environment where if I get into a disagreement with somebody, I need to address it, for my sake and the community’s. I wish I would have learned this skill at a younger age, but I was probably too self-absorbed and intimidated to try.
Naturally at Kalani, since I am living with over 100 people, sometimes things come up! With the guidance of some of the older Kalanians, I’ve been able to work on confidence and experiment with making more room for people’s differences in my relationships. I no longer feel I am losing myself when I give in; I can see things in perspective and am more willing to conture to the needs of another. Practicing this flexibility has been reinforced by the powerful yoga classes, and I believe that flexible bodies nurture flexible minds.
I have lived at Kalani for a total of 8 weeks, and feel genuinely fulfilled. I have a renewed enthusiasm about the world because of the confidence I’ve developed, the growth-minded community, and the endless learning opportunities that make my life feel enriched and colorful.