This is an excerpt from an article Lily wrote on elephantjournal.com. Click the link to read the whole thing!
“Heaven is a Place on Earth.”
It’s not just a Belinda Carlisle song to ironically play at your neighborhood hipster bar’s. It’s a reality found on the verdant Hilo side of the Big Island, Hawai’i. Part resort, part wellness center and fully an intentional community, Kalani Honua is truly paradise. The name itself means “Heaven on Earth” and with good reason. And it’s within your reach to live on the Black Sand beaches of Hawai’i among coconuts, avocados and papayas on your terms. Come play for a week of you-time. Or stay as part of the community volunteering in the work exchange program anywhere from one month to the 35 years Richard Koob, owner and founder, has been living on the property.
Boasting 120 acres of diverse plant life Kalani offers three open-air studios ranging in size for yoga, ecstatic dance and meditation, an organic aquaponics system where kale, basil and tomatoes (among other things) grow year round and a pristine pool fully equipped with a dry sauna and hot tubs. Not to mention the constant rotation of classes in a variety of disciplines (yoga, hula, aerial dance, lauhala weaving, woodcarving, fire spinning and more). Of course there are also the nightly events, when one can gather around with the “Ohana” (Hawaiian for “family) for kirtan, themed parties or group processing.
I spent weeks in anticipation of my departure, imagining each morning walking to practice in an open-air studio of my choosing while the gentle fragrance of night blooming Jasmine gave way to Plumeria thick in the air. Eating an organic breakfast surrounded by an eclectic group of beautiful people from all over the world before heading off to care for the land as part of the work exchange program or enjoy a morning Vinyasa class on my days off. Perhaps on any given day I would feel like walking off property to “the point” to sea-gaze for turtles. After dinner and the sun set why not take a cruise in the darkness of a new moon to go see the surface flow of molten lava only a few miles away?
And when I got there that’s how it was. Of course all of this is quite heavenly, no doubt. But more than the amenities provided or the proximity to natural wonders Kalani offers something very rare in this world. An opportunity to live in introspection and grow into one’s own wonderment. This place I had intended to vacation became a home in an otherworldly reality.
...After six months of living in this paradise I have returned to the mainland. I believed in community-living before I went to Kalani but primarily as a theoretical possibility. I’m telling you this dream is real.