Kalani Honua Blog - Volunteer Reflections
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Monday, June 11, 2012
Tranformation Ignites Heart Fire
Angels ground me I seek deeper love
letting go like the rain drops land all around
each light-beam lands on my skin in gratitude
I trust each day a gift I see to this day my life brings
wholeness I lust
cherish where I come from
beleiving in where I go
that star in my sky reaching for this breath
I am joy
and in my hands i sense freedom in the passing wind
starlight dreams in my whisper
enlarging my true essence
my tropical spirit flower intrigue with the red winged bird in flight
lush soothing jungle
smiles from heart surround me
bliss full dance
expression power of ocean waves
just below the surface alive moving lava of intent always
changing, manifesting, transorming, alarming, igniting
the grace of Pele appears
All is a part of me...thank you
I want to hug the ground, kiss the plants
say mahalo to Buddha for reminding me
I am peace
My Grandma's butterfly wings send me to new heights
I feel her smile, her proud tickled heart embrace
I have no doubt opportunity awaits
magic abundance is here
Deep mahalo's to my Kalani `ohana for all you individually are and i wish you all greatness in where you fly~
Sommer Joy Albertsen
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
E Komo Mai - Welcome
My time at Kalani has been about interactions. About myself, other individuals, and about how we come together as a whole to form a community. I came here with my partner Ellie and we were embraced as individuals and as a couple.
As a volunteer here at Kalani you receive a note card when you arrive and when you depart. They are like a greeting card with a message inside when you unfold it, with room for people to write short messages.
My arrival card welcomed me to Kalani with aloha. There was an inspiring quote from a previous volunteer giving me a flavor of the experiences that awaited me. There were also the critical details of the pool location and when dinner was being served. Then below the printed text was a handwritten note from Zori. Welcoming me to paradise and inviting me to an orientation tour of the property the following day.
Then 2 months passed.
On our last day, Ellie and I received our departure note card. This card simply said that we will be missed, sending us onward with the aloha spirit. Then all the blank space was filled in with handwritten notes from our friends.
“You guys are so perfect here!!! I will miss your beautiful energy and smiles. – Shelley” … I met Shelley the night the kitchen staff took the evening off. A group of us non-kitchen volunteers had a blast serving dinner that night!
“You are both so wonderful. You are both doing exactly the right thing. Mahalo, with love. – Taylor” … This brings back memories of talking with Taylor on the dinning lanai, the laundry room, the maintenance shed. Topics ranging from GMOs, road bike touring, to activism.
“I am lost for words. You are two beautiful people full of smiles and light. Sure hope you boomerang back to Kalani. Aloha a hui hou. – Marilyn” … Ah yes, the late night hot tub soaking sessions with Marilyn sharing an engaging conversation or sharing a comfortable silence.
“Loved our conversations. Stay real and joyful! Love – Jen” … I often grabbed a seat next to Jen during meals. The introverted sides of our personalities really thrived on being extroverted with each other!
“Have a fabulous time biking the island and continuing your series of life adventures. Great getting to know you and Maria too! – Deb” … We arrived at Kalani the same day as Deb (same airplane!). When Ellie’s mother Maria visited us for a week, Deb and Maria went adventuring along the Puna coast while Ellie and I worked our shifts.
“You are both such an inspiration! Hope to cross paths with you again one day. Travel well, mi amigos! Love – Clarity” … Who would have thought that a lady from New York City and a fella like me from a mountain villa would have so many deep connections? It’s all the product of an hour long hike through a muddy jungle to a secluded white sands beach frequented by sea turtles.
This is a sampling of the hundreds of connections that were made with the beautiful people here at Kalani. Yes, I do look forward to crossing paths once again and I will take these fond memories wherever I go!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Aloha my beautiful Ohana,
It's very different being in the UK, it's flipping freezing here.
I want to express to you all what my Kalani time meant to me and what you all mean to me.
I am very grateful for every person I met in Kalani, you all helped and supported me on my path, taught me new things and helped me to realise things I already knew.
I have made strong, deep, lasting friendships with beautiful people. I have gained a home in Hawai'i, a place where I know I can go and be welcomed, be happy, be peaceful. All of the Ohana work together to make Kalani a wonderful place to live and the result is inspiring.
I have gained a higher state of happiness than ever before in my life. I have decided that wherever I am in the world, every day I am going to live Aloha.
Mahalo nui loa for Kalani, the realm where dreams become reality, and mahalo for every person who helped to create it and who helps to continue it.
Monday, December 5, 2011
A few weeks ago the Kalani 'Ohana was blessed with "I Witness", a beautiful poem by Poet, Performance Artist, and return Kalani volunteer Max Fathom (pictured).
May it bring as much light and joy into your day as it did ours :)
* * *
I witnessed life unfolding as the sun rose up to kiss a flower snowflake that had fallen from a tree
I witnessed the witness watching this creation and everything expanded in me
I witnessed what humans can do when they are safe and sound
I witnessed inspiration rise up… and I watched her fall back down
I watched the lessons leave their marks on an island made of fire
And I felt my spirit lift as the io flew higher and higher
I saw how love can grow when she has solid ground
And I saw the challenges transformed when they had snuck back around
I watched myself come home to me in a place where no orphans be
And I watched the mystery rise up and return again to the sea
I watched the gift unwrap itself with fingers made of light
And I saw the darkness do a dance to music made of night
I watched some go thru the wringer and come out soaking wet
With tears from a place they hadn’t forgiven quite yet
And then I watched them drip dry in complete inspiration
Dazzled and in awe of the transfiguration
I saw courage grow in me I saw a love that would accept no bribe
I saw mothers who were fathers
Sons who were daughters
I watched rocks come alive
I watched a bird inform a turtle on the ways of the air
And when that turtle flew I couldn’t help but stare
I watched life jump up and live again and again and again
I saw day turn into night
And as my head kissed my pillow I knew
That everything would be alright.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Ah my Ohana. What to say?
During my last breakfast at Kalani the gorgeous little Shola was behind me. She gave me a big hug and said "So what did you get out of this place? What did you find?"
And I replied " I found me."
And what else can you ask for? I cannot remember the last time I felt so loved, so appreciated and so valued. And I cannot remember the last time I genuinely believed everyone that told me so.
So thank you. All of your compliments will stay with me for the rest of my life.
I felt so at ease, and so appreciative and have realized that's exactly how I want my life to be.
And whenever I get to that point where I feel stressed, sad, insecure, angry or overwhelmed, all I do is picture all of your beautiful faces and those feelings literally wash off me and I am left with an open chest and heart and a very nice feeling of contentment.
My first Yogi Tea lucky dip told me an attitude of gratitude brings happiness.
I am so grateful for what you all have taught me.
I have learnt how to appreciate all the simple things.
I have learnt how to breathe.
I have learnt how to love, and to let people into my life.
I have learnt how to listen more, how to be more patient and how to accept everyone just as everyone accepts me.
I have been reminded how to live in the present, and how to not worry so much about EVERYTHING.
You are all such beautiful people, with such amazing lights of your own and I am so proud of all of you, and so proud of myself for finding such a rewarding experience.
And my parting words?
Enjoy yourself. No worries. Laugh. Dance. Recycle.
So thank you for being you, and for allowing me to be me. The greatest gift anyone could ask for.
Some of you I will see again, some of you I won't. But I will carry you all in my heart and you will all coach me throughout the rest of my life.
I love you all.
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
We've long wondered how to convey the beautiful experience that is 'Camping at Kalani'.
With lush tropical jungle surrounds to inspire you by day and a blanket of stars to cover you at night, it's hard to encapsulate what campers receive in our campgrounds experientially (physically and emotionally) in just a few simple words.
Thankfully one of our long-term volunteers, Molly Rikkers, has done it for us in the beautiful poem below.
Molly camped at Kalani for ten months (she and her tent are pictured).
Whether you're considering camping in Hawaii at Kalani or simply reading the Kalani blog for pleasure, .my jungle tent. makes for an inspiring read.
.my jungle tent.
my home breathes with the jungle.
the walls are transparent and billow like sails in the wind.
i have to unzip the windows to let air in, unzip the door to let myself in.
tiny droplets of water splash onto my pillow when it rains.
lilikoi vines wrap around the foundation and climb towards the sky.
if i don't weed every few days, the jungle will swallow me.
and i love it.
i'm safe on my wooden platform, under my teal-streaked tarp, behind my see-through walls.
i sleep in a sea of green.
i lie in my bed and watch shooting stars from my window.
i can rub a gecko's belly and give it mini high-fives with my fingertip as it hunts for dinner on my rooftop.
the coqui frog orchestra serenades me to sleep and the blue-eyed doves remind me that it's time to wake up.
i have everything i need in here with me, in this 13 by 9 foot space.
and it's the most perfect home i've ever lived in.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
If you are reading this you may be thinking about coming to Kalani as a volunteer.
The search for ‘something’ (maybe you're not exactly sure what yet) has brought you to this website, and now you're curious about this place called 'Kalani' on the Big Island of Hawaii.
That’s how it happened to me, anyway. As I sat reading through other blog posts six months ago, my heart beat a little faster. Why? Because each post provided a glimpse of what life was like at this special place, and what I heard resonated deep inside. I wanted what I was reading about. My soul needed it, and I'm guessing that yours might too.
For this reason I want to share a little about my own experience at Kalani in the hope that it will encourage you to have your own personal experience with, what I call, 'The Kalani Effect'.
As soon as I arrived I could tell that my time at Kalani would be life-changing.
The Big Island, with its lush jungle, volcano, powerful ocean and endless canopy of stars in the night sky couldn’t have been more different from my life in a small English town, a 'nine to five' office job, and live-for-the-weekend lifestyle.
During my stay at Kalani I danced, laughed and laughed, ate well and tried all sorts of different classes, diving into everything that was on offer. I can't tell you how good it felt to be interested in new things again.
I swam in the pool almost every day, wove bracelets that I’ll keep forever, watched moonlight on the waves, smelled the most wonderful fragrances from flowers in the night air, helped make a community drum, sketched and painted, dressed up, had blissful massages, swam with sea turtles and colourful fish, made amazing friendships, had one of the most memorable birthdays ever in my 37 years, opened my heart, remembered what it was like to experience joy every day, and more and more and more…
Oh, I also cleaned some bathrooms and made quite a lot of beds! But even during my volunteer work hours at Kalani, there was still time to think, to reflect and to listen to myself.
One of the best bits about this place (because there are many best bits) is the people. The fellow volunteers and staff are fun, loving, supportive, mindful, interesting, entertaining, engaging and most of all being themselves. And they stay in your heart even once you’ve left.
Not a single day passed when I didn’t at some point think "I can’t believe I’m in Hawaii, I’m so lucky!"
And once I departed, my life was suddenly full of possibilities again. I was more confident that I could create the life I wanted rather than reacting to life around me. I was happier. I felt excited again.
Three months on, that same feeling of confidence and happiness - 'The Kalani Effect' - is still strong within me. My stay at Kalani has changed my life permanently.
So, if you do come to Kalani, at the very least you’ll have fun and catch some sun, and at the very best it will be a life-enhancing and life loving experience!
Kalani is a place where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so do whatever you need to do make your visit happen. If that means saving money, arranging vacation time, or taking care of other practical details, do it. If it means facing some fears and anxieties, so be it. Once you get to Kalani you’ll realise you don't need to hang onto fear and anxiety anymore. You'll have the time and space you need to get to know yourself. You'll learn to create and live the life you've always wanted for yourself.
In the end, my own experience of living and volunteering with this community – the Kalani 'ohana (family) – was truly more than I could have hoped for.
I hope you too will take the leap and honor whatever it is that is calling you to go.
* * *
Monday, July 25, 2011
Every Monday a Kalani 'Ohana member is invited to inspire those present at our weekly community meeting with a speech, poem, song, quote, meditation or anything else of their choice.
Resident volunteer and filmmaker Chris Roufs shared an inspiration and ensuing video project so spectacular that we couldn't wait to put it on the Kalani blog.
Read the speech Chris gave to us about finding his inner firework at Kalani, and scroll down to view his video at the end of this post.
FIREWORKS AT KALANI
You don’t have to feel like a waste of space,
You’re original, cannot be replaced.
If you only knew what the future holds,
After a hurricane, comes a rainbow.
Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed,
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road.
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time you’ll know.
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine.
Just own the night like the Fourth of July.
Cause baby you’re a firework!
Come on show em what you’re worth!
Make em go, oh, oh, oh.
As you shoot across the sky-y-y!
If you haven’t already figured it out, these are lyrics from a Katy Perry song called 'Firework'.
I had heard this song many times before I came to Kalani this time (my third visit as a volunteer), but I had never really listened to the lyrics very closely.
When I arrived at Kalani again and life slowed down (as it always does when I’m here) the song’s lyrics were pointed out to me by one of my 'Ohana. I took the time to realize that they had some deeper meaning.
That’s one thing I think is so wonderful about this place. Being here slows things down. Knowing that you are a part of this 'Ohana and feeling love and the beauty of nature all around you, allows you the opportunity to go a bit deeper within yourself. To discover your Firework, so to speak.
Shortly after I arrived back home this time I went to Open Mic and I saw the plethora of talents here at Kalani. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish I had something to offer.” I wanted to get up and sing a song, or play an instrument, or recite some poetry, but that didn’t really feel right. Just thinking about it seemed forced. It felt wrong for some reason.
It was shortly after this that I heard Katy’s song again… and I really took the time to listen to the lyrics and then (like Katy sings)… something started to ignite inside. But I also realized that I didn’t need to DO anything to be special or be appreciated, all I needed to do was to search for that Firework in me, that Firework in all of us.
The ONLY thing any of us ever have to BE is ourselves. To try and find that DEEPEST PUREST sense of SELF, the part of us that is PERFECT, with no EGO, no JUDGEMENT, no preconceived BELIEFS. That part of us that is pure JOY!
So one morning while walking toward Kehena beach, with Katy’s song stuck in my head, I turned to two of my 'Ohana and said, "I think I’m gonna make a video to a Katy Perry song." I was going to do it so that everyone could show off their firework, their joy. And I wanted people outside of this place to see how Kalani helps to bring that joy out in each member of its 'Ohana!
I’ve always heard that when you find a project or an idea that you truly believe in, the work you do in order to complete that task feels effortless, that time means nothing while working on something that you love, and that you fall into a kind of zone. That is what this video project was like for me. I think I briefly tapped into my Firework, my pure joy. And I’m ever so grateful to all of my 'Ohana (especially Janice, Stephen and Alissa) for helping me to experience that.
For those of you reading and watching this that have never been to Kalani, I hope you catch a glimpse of the JOY that you too can hopefully find here. I hope you make the journey very soon, and I hope I get to meet you here in paradise.
Mahalo Nui Loa 'Ohana! May this little video always make you smile and warm your heart as it does mine.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
When a friend of mine first invited me to spend time at Kalani, I tried to figure out what Kalani was all about. I couldn’t figure it out, but I liked the website and what my friend was saying. Besides, what can be not great about Hawaii? So I arranged my work life as my husband’s office manager and committed to 2 months in the volunteer program.
Now, after my 2-month stay, if I had to describe Kalani to someone, I would say:
Imagine living in a natural storybook Hawaiian jungle with all the amenities we are accustomed to but none of the stressors.
Imagine playing in a huge non-chlorinated pool, hiking as much or as little as you like, and luxuriating in a hot tub.
Imagine working in a greedless apolitical environment where you simply get to focus on the task at hand and on having a pleasant experience.
Imagine eating three luscious balanced nutrient-rich life-promoting meals a day without a thought given to grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, calories, blood sugars, or food combining.
Imagine that the biggest decision you have to make in your day is choosing an inspiring class/seminar/interactive group that you would like to attend.
Imagine instantly being a part of a supportive community. Accepted for who you are, on the path to discovering who you really are.
I once overheard a volunteer coordinator say “you are just going to be yourself when you come here.” I am not sure what context he said it in, but what could be more empowering than that?
You come to Kalani to be yourself - your true self. You come to a place where you have no responsibilities to hide behind and no stressors to cloud your thinking. You come to a place where you are surrounded by awesomely beautiful life-affirming nature, and where you are immersed in a culture of love and support.
You come to a place where you are reminded of who you really are and you understand your true heart’s desire better than ever before. You come to a place where paradigm shifts are the norm and where magic, for a lack of a better term, can happen.
Thank you, Kalani, for a hearty dose of love, clarity and sanity!