Life’s a Beach

Authored by: 
Beverly Mendoza

Beverly MendozaAhh Betsey. Betsey is one of the sexiest ever to blow through Kalani. The first time we hung out was at Kehena Beach. It was my first time ever going to this black sand clothing optional beach. And it was as if the set was taken from some Hollywood movie. After climbing down this short cliff and turning the bend a man named Congo from Trinidad sat perched on a gigantic black rock. Two hippie kids from New York played their guitars while Congo carved a wooden stick with his knife and sang a sort of reggae that could have been categorized as the blues for it was that soulful. I couldn’t believe the scene. That a world like this actually does exist outside the movies.

Across the beach were circles of people picnicking, laying around, talking story, laughing and throwing themselves backwards into the waves. Betsey took her clothes off immediately. She laid on the sand where the surf just barely reached her. And ever so often, a gigantic wave would come and crash over her, sending black sand everywhere. We did this forever. Just talking, laying on our stomachs, letting the sand just naturally exfoliate our bodies and letting the Ocean decide when to toss us about. It was a thrill not knowing when the big wave was coming and mid-story, we’d have a mouthful of sand. It was somehow the most hilarious thing ever. Betsey talked about experiencing bliss in the interview below. And so many moments just reeled through my head when I think about my own bliss. This day at the beach was definitely one of them. And Betsey’s happy-go-lucky blissful spirit was surely the catalyst for happiness that day. She emanates this bright joyful glow always and that is oh so sexy, don’t you think?

Betsey CarneyQ&A: Betsey Carney


What brought you to Kalani?

I was on a sabbatical and looking for a place to get away from the mainstream to do some yoga and some spiritual work.

What was your first impression of Kalani? Of the Big Island? Of the people?

My first impression of Kalani was Mary Lou who picked me up at the airport. I felt comfortable with her immediately and knew right away that if she loved the place (she talked about how she loved Kalani on our ride from the airport) so would I. The smell of Hawaii is such a welcoming and comforting smell to me. Every time I land, I feel warm and happy inside. As we drove down Route 130 and I saw the Ocean, I knew I was home. All of the people I met were welcoming, easy-going and happy… my kind of folk.

What was your favorite activity out here? What will you miss most about this place?

My favorite organized activity was yoga. I attended as many classes as I could; sometimes twice a day. In addition to that I loved the road trips with my co-volunteers to visit other places on the island. We always had so much fun. Meeting and getting to know people from such varied places while exploring and enjoying Hawai’i was simply terrific. I can honestly say that some of the happiest times in my life took place during those trips. I miss that immensely.


What advice would you give first-timers?

Just be and allow. And, take advantage of every opportunity you can.

Top three items you couldn’t have lived without on this island?

1) Other volunteers 2) my job at Kalani 3) my open mind.


What was your most memorable moment here?

In the car on the way to hike to see the new lava flow (the cops wouldn’t let us in). Mike, Jill, Jamie and I were “so happy, we couldn’t stand it!”

How have you changed? What imprint has this experience made on you?

I now accept everyone and everything as is. I experienced what it feels like to be “blissed-out”. I know now that it is my choice to be happy doing whatever I’m doing, wherever I am.

I’ve taken that back to the mainland with me and refuse to lose my “Bliss”.

Since you’ve jumped ship, how is life out there? How has the transition been back to mainland life? What next?

See above. It took me about a week to become grounded and I realized that I love where I live on the mainland (Annapolis, Maryland) and I also love Kalani and the Big Island. I want to incorporate both places in to my life from this point forward.


Most memorable lesson from Pele?

It wasn’t a lesson but a realization. She’s a gracefully violent creator, and a sensual, dangerous, wise and beautiful sage. The realization she brought to me was to love and revere everything she has created. If not, I’d be disrespecting her, and since we all are one, that would be disrespecting not only every personality but more importantly what we all agree upon as our universe.