Kalani Honua Blog

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ali Slous

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."
- Pablo Picasso -

When do you feel most powerful? How do you engage with your power? No matter our age, gender, cultural background, or profession, we each have access to unlimited potential when we uncover access to the power source within.

We enter this experience with gifts that may be expressed through our divine essence. However, it is only when we make a conscious effort to discover, explore, and share these gifts that we reach our fully-empowered potential. What gifts are lying dormant in you waiting for expression? How can we each better utilize our gifts to be of service to our communities and to this planet?

Reflecting upon these questions, we may come to realize that no one gift is more vital or better than another. Each individual's combination of unique talents, skills, and abilities is equally valuable - understanding that when we share our gifts, it inspires and enables others to discover and share theirs.

By choosing to live life to its fullest in this way, we are effectively contributing to a more powerful, authentic, and awakened humanity.

September Haʻawina Hawaiʻi | Mana - Power

The Hawaiian word mana translated literally means power, defined as "the power of the elemental forces of nature embodied in an object or person." Mana signifies the highly individualized and unlimited life energy that flows through all things.

As we each work on cultivating our unique abilities, we align with this mystical, invisible force that animates everything in our universe. The more we tap into our individualized mana, the more empowered we become to create.

In many cases, this practice of coming into alignment catapults us into experiences of change and transformation that shake us to our core and challenge old, outworn beliefs and destructive thought patterns. We may also find that certain people, places, and experiences must be let go to step fully into our power.

Although it may seem challenging at times, trusting and letting go are necessary processes to activate the path to expression of our highest, most powerful self.

- Haʻwina Hawaiʻi is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -

0 comments

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ashlyn Ku‘uleialoha Weaver

E Ku e,
Ke lawe nei au i ka ʻili, o keʻia laau
I mea hoʻola no ka maʻi o (mea)
Wehe aku ʻoe i na pilikia a me na poʻino a pau,
A me na maʻi a pau maluna o kona kino,
A lilo keʻia laʻau i laʻau hoʻola nona (or noʻu)
E Ku e

E Hina e,
Ke lawe nei au i ka ʻili, o keʻia laʻau
I mea hoʻola no ka maʻi o (mea)
Wehe aku ʻoe i na pilikia a me na poʻino a pau,
A me na maʻi a pau maluna o kona kino, 
A lilo keʻia laʻau hoʻola nona (or noʻu)
E Hina e.

 

Oh Ku
I take the bark of this tree
For the purpose of curing the sickness of (name)
Undo all the troubles and afflictions,
And all the sickness upon his/her body
And may this medicine become the healing medicine for him/her
Oh Ku

Oh Hina
I take the bark of this tree
For the purpose of curing the sickness of (name)
Undo all the troubles and afflictions,
And all the sickness upon his/her body And may this medicine become the healing medicine for him/her
Oh Hina

 -From June Gutmanis, Na Pule Kahiko

Hiking along a path in Hawai‘i is mesmerizing and spectacular. Shades of green engulf oneself as the outside world is left behind, a distant memory. The lush, tropical trails are thick with various plants, each unique in size, shape, and color. 

These same trails also hold medicines that can cure an upset stomach, mend heartbreaks, and forgive. How so? The flora that line the edge of the trails and paint the world a shade of green, can all be used to cure illnesses. This common practice of healing among Hawaiians is called la‘au lapa‘au. 

La‘au lapa‘au originated during the Polynesian Migrationroughly 1,500 years ago. Arriving on double-hulled canoes, a number of the plants species were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands. These species were primarily used for medicinal purposes throughout each voyage. As each individual stepped foot onto new terrain, they brought with them a wealth of knowledge of indigenous South Pacific flora. As the Polynesians populated each island, over time, they adapted to their surroundings, learning and studying the use of the native species.

Acclimating to the various terrains, the people of Hawai‘i lived completely in isolation. Assorted diseases located throughout heavily populated areas found in different parts of the world, were not known or contracted by the Hawaiian people. 

According to the Hawaiian Author and historian, Kamakau, illness was associated with evil doings, such as breaking kapu (probation). Only then would the Kahuna la‘au lapa‘au (medical doctors) be called upon to cure the sickened individual. The Kahuna la‘au lapa‘au would cure everyone individuals all the way up to the chiefs with remedies and solutions to heal and protect. 

La‘au lapa‘au was practiced throughout each region, becoming the source of healing for hundreds of years. This allowed the health of Hawaiian inhabitants to acclimate to illnesses found only in those specific regions, until the arrival of western explorers. Foreign contact brought new diseases, which flourished in Hawaii. Looking to the Kahuna la‘au lapa‘au to rid them of their newly introduced diseases, the Kahuna la‘au lapa‘au did not know how to cure people of these unidentified illnesses. 

These diseases ravaged the weakened immune systems of the Hawaiian people. For many years, the diseases left behind spread from one island to another, forcing various Kahuna la‘au lapa‘au’s to find new herbal remedies they could use as cures.. In 1820, English missionaries arrived, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge, and, most importantly, medicine that would finally cure these debilitating illnesses.

During the establishment of English missionaries, the practice of la‘au lapa‘au was ridiculed, and healers were labeled as heathens. Westerners became confused to the differences between medical practitioners (kahuna la‘au lapa‘au) and a sorcerer (kahuna ‘ana ‘ana) whose prayers cast upon an individual could cause death. 

Due to the disapproval of la‘au lapa‘au practice, westerners and the English missionary movement on the Hawaiian Islands encouraged the newly established Hawaiian government to enforce licensing for anyone who wanted to be a health practitioner. This caused the various kahuna practicing la‘au lapa‘au to move their practice underground.

Nearly one hundred years after the introduction of new diseases to Hawai‘i, an estimated 90% of the Hawaiian population was decimated. Accompanying the decrease in the Hawaiian population was the decline in important knowledge, including la‘au lapa‘au and ho‘oponopono. 

Today, indigenous practices of la‘au lapa‘au or Hawaiian herbal healing have been revitalized with a sense of renewed energy. The practice of la‘au lapa‘au was banned during the introduction of English missionaries until the Hawaiian revitalization in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. When this revitalization erupted, many of the healers that surfaced were already well in to their seventies and eighties. These healers had a sense of urgency to preserve and perpetuate la‘au lapa‘au practices that were passed onto them from their parents, grandparents, and ancestors.

As we tune into the wisdom of ancestral Hawaiian healing practices, this revitalization of la‘au lapa‘au may once again thrive. Learning and practicing the art of la‘au lapa‘au restores the body with vital nutrients that are beneficial to mind, body, and spirit, and rids the body of invasive toxins. La‘au lapa‘au has beneficial properties which, when practiced on a regular basis, can rid the body of specific disease, diagnoses, and illnesses.

With attention, curiosity, and reverence, the art of laʻau lapaʻau may once again be celebrated for its wisdom.

Our La’au Lapa’au blog series has a mission of respectfully bringing the wisdom of Hawaiian healing to all.

0 comments

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ali Slous
With his warm, personable demeanor and down-to-earth presence, you would never guess that “Bodies in Motion” creator Gilad Janklowicz is one of the fitness industry’s biggest stars and pioneers. Gilad has maintained a place in our homes and hearts - from television, to VHS, DVD, and, now, the Internet - for upwards of thirty years. Gilad returned to Kalani last week for his fifth-annual Fitness Adventure Camp, welcoming fans from all over the world to disconnect from their electronic devices and re-connect to their bodies, with nature, and to each other. 

Called to Hawaii from Palm Springs in the early 1980’s, Gilad was presented with “an offer he couldn’t refuse” to teach at the Honolulu Club, where he agreed to spend a year instructing three classes per day. As the demand to experience his workout at home became apparent, Gilad began the journey of producing his first television show in 1982; requiring him to seek funding and other resources to make his project a reality. By 1985, his show went from syndication in Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas to airing nationally on ESPN, where it ran for eleven years. Thirty years later, Gilad’s show is still going on Discovery Fitness & Health, and is considered the longest-running fitness show in America. 

Gilad’s longevity is in large part due to his ability to evolve, incorporating relevant fitness trends, while maintaining his signature style. His simple, yet memorable words of encouragement (“30 seconds more!” and "it's getting better every day!") and devotion to making his workouts fun and enjoyable have endeared him to devotees from across the globe. When Gilad comes to Kalani, it is an opportunity for him to meet some of the people he has impacted.

“[At Kalani], I have the chance to meet with people I haven’t met before and I get to see what affect this television medium has had on their lives. It never ceases to amaze me how the show really moves them. I try to make it fun, motivational, and positive. I’m here to share it.” 

When asked about the greatest hurdle people face in getting and staying fit, Gilad reports that time is an obstacle for many of his fans – yet, the very same people are constantly posting on Facebook. He asserts that it is not the lack of time that prevents people from incorporating fitness into their lives, but the need to allocate time correctly. For that reason, he offers 10-minute express workouts, that if done daily, will help people see incremental results. 

Gilad also notes that some of today’s “extreme” fitness trends often lead to injury and that he hopes to motivate people to get off the couch in a way that is safe and healthy. He reinforces that he wants people to walk away from his workout with energy to spare – so that his participants can come back and do it again the next day. 

Gilad’s background in the Israeli military and Olympic-level track and field training helped him understand that the body is “a fine-tuned machine.” He hopes his retreat participants will take away the idea that a simple equation - eating right, exercising, and resting, with consistency - will ensure they get results. 

Regarding why he continues returning to Kalani, Gilad elaborates:

“People come for the fitness experience, but from the get-go it is more than a fitness experience. I know what Kalani offers for people to emotionally let go. They get so much more than exercise and fitness, they get in touch with themselves, laugh, cry, and release. They make friends and become a tight group. Here, you’re able to put the brakes on, let yourself be, enjoy living with geckos and pigs and coqui frogs, outside-in.”

We have loved watching this release in action throughout Gilad’s retreat week for five years running – and look forward to each future visit!

For more information about Gilad Janklowicz, visit www.bodiesinmotionwithgilad.com
0 comments

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ali Slous

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.

IMG_3165

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.

Paula Fuga @ Pohoiki Open Concert - May 4th, 2014

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.

Kuana Torres Kahele @ Kalapana Night Market - May 7th, 2014

#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. 

An Intimate Evening with Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole @ Kalani - May 9th, 2014

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. 

UNIFY @ Kanikapila in Pāhoa - May 10th, 2014

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!

0 comments

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kenny Drotar & Ali Slous

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.

1 comments

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ali Slous

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. 

“My life is a miracle and I am living proof that miracles happen every day.”
 
This passionate singer, songwriter, and social activist, set to headline the 2014 Puna Music Festival Pohoiki Open Concert, epitomizes an unlikely success story. Homeless on Oahu’s Sand Island beach at age nine, sheltered from the elements by only a tarp and hali’i leaves, Paula steadfastly protected her dream:
 
“My heart whispered, ‘superstar’.”

 
Paula kept her dream a secret, defending against naysayers and anyone who might try to tear it down. In her heart, she believed that something big was going to happen, and that she would not repeat the cycles of her parents and past generations. She visualized herself standing on stage with a wireless microphone, performing for thousands of people who had come to hear her sing - a visualization that has now become a reality.
 
Described as a modern Hawaiian soul vocalist, Paula has had the opportunity to tour and perform with mainstream artists including Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Ziggy Marley. Her buttery, smooth melodies blend effortlessly in harmony, complimenting and enriching the overall sound in duets and trios such as in the following song, “In the Morning,” with Jack Johnson and John Cruz, another Puna Music Festival performer.
 
 
Aside from her life as an entertainer, Paula takes time out of her active touring schedule to meet with youth groups and at-risk youths to spread her message of faith and positivity. She encourages them to see what they want for themselves in the future and to greet each day with a sense of hope and possibility.
 
Through her faith and determination, Paula Fuga reminds Hawaiian locals and visitors alike that if you can dream it, you can make it happen. We are all in for a special treat when she takes the stage on May 4th at Pohoiki.
 
For the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, please visit www.PunaMusicFestival.com.
 
#PunaMusicFest

1 comments

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tiffany Jentsch

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: 

Blog:

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!

0 comments

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Aubrey Vora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0 comments

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jim Larsen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0 comments

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Eric Ellenwood

Editors Note: This entry is first in a special series of blogs that will chronicle the growth of permaculture at Kalani.

Aloha!

I’m Eric and I have the honor of being the very first Permaculture Design Specialist to work at Kalani.

Permaculture is a branch of ecological and environmental design and ecological engineering that creates both sustainable architecture as well as self-maintained agricultural systems – all taking cues from natural ecosystems. I know it may seem like common sense that our culture might follow nature’s cues on living and agriculture, but our current approach in modern society has strayed far from nature’s model. For example, did you know that an aquaponics system can produce as much as 5 times the output compared to traditional land agriculture? 

With this first blog, I am very excited to share the progress we have made in this endeavor. Kalani’s aquaponics system was designed and constructed by former volunteer Jacob Tuft. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture that grows plants hydroponically – waste from farmed fish is used to supply nutrients for the plants, which in turn purify the water. Its successful output was interrupted not long after Jacob left Kalani. A power failure on the property caused significant damage to the ecosystem, and most of the living Tilapia fish (an integral part of the aquaponics system) died. This caused the ecosystem to be adversely affected, and many of the plants either died or languished.

My first project at Kalani was to work with fellow volunteer Beth Messinger to reestablish the ecosystem. I am happy to report that we successfully revamped the aquaponics system, and we share our success with you here in this blog!

This is the aquaponics graveyard- parts and pieces of reclaimed material that had been saved for future projects.  They were slowly being overtaken by the jungle.
Above: This is the trough net that keeps the baby Tilapia from entering the grow beds. The nets were torn, and the fish had found new homes in the beds and a new food source- our plant roots! PVC frames were constructed, and nets were made with existing screen material and some 50lb. of test fishing line.

Every float had to be removed,  and the grow beds were netted to remove all of the misplaced Tilapia.

Beth “Bam Bam” Messinger, a force in motion.

Below: Meet Fred.  He is our newest volunteer at Kalani.  We stocked roughly 150 fish into our seven hundred gallon tank, and painted it black because the water was too cold for Tilapia.  Since then the temp has raised to the ideal level, this fish are growing steadily.
Above:  Beth painting our 700 gallon tank to raise the temperature, so our fish will eat more food, and then grow quickly to a harvestable weight.  The tanks on the left are a hatchery system that will allow us to continually breed and manage our own stock of White Nile Tilapia.

With a freshly restocked fish tank, Tilapia out of the grow beds,  nitrogen levels on the rise, pests managed, and hungry seedlings filling the troughs, it is very noticeable how quickly the system is starting to produce again!

Recruiting extra hands…  Even our accountant breaks away for some soil production and seedling planting.

Some of our first harvested veggies.  As I mentioned, it is said that aquaponics can produce five times the amount of vegetables in the space that soil can produce, due to the immediate availability of nutrients in the water resulting in a faster growth rate, and intensive planting arrangement.
Above: Success! Beth Messinger, Aquaponics Manager and Eric Ellenwood, Peraculture Design Specialist.  Hauling in the harvest to our beloved kitchen crew.

So what is next in aquaponics?  We are still streamlining our system, but are quickly getting back to full production.  The upcoming projects will be setting up a fish hatchery system, and a whole new “ebb and flow” system using a 4,000 gallon water catchment tank.  I hope to utilize this system to grow food trees that can be grown from saved seed, such as papaya. 
 
What about permaculture?  Now that aquaponics is back up and running, classes are being taught, and there are some very big projects on the horizon!   

4 comments