Kalani Honua Blog - Volunteer Reflections

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jason Cohen (volunteer)

This year I intend to fall in love with everyone

This year I intend to love you

This year I intend to respect you

This year I intend to cry when I need to, to laugh when I want to, and to smile through it all

This year I intend to give my heart to you at every moment

This year I intend to be in love at all times

This year I intend to be thankful for this perfect feeling

This year I intend to look around in awe, and to feel blessed that this beautiful world was made for us to love together

This year I intend to try to have more and more compassion

This year I intend to kill fewer bugs

This year I intend to be gentle with myself. I intend to make mistakes

This year I intend to laugh at your jokes, and to have more fun

This year I intend to take life less seriously, to smile in the face of stress, and to laugh if I catch myself being too intense

This year I intend to floss more regularly

This year I intend to make decisions from the heart, and to work towards all of my dreams

This year I intend to listen to myself

This year I intend to revert back to childhood; to play more games, to dance more often, to sing out loud

This year I intend to make new friends, and to be a better friend to those I already have

This year I intend to sit down next to strangers and to ask their names and to smile and shake their hand or hug them and to try really hard to remember their names

This year I intend to be more thankful

This year I intend to pray

This year I intend to have a practice: to sit alone in silence everyday, to cultivate a quiet mind, and to listen for the voice of god

This year I intend to be more mindful of my actions: to hold my tongue from sharp words, and to stop my pen from harsh critique

This year I intend to kiss and hug more often and to let myself be loved

This year I intend to ask God for guidance

This year I intend to live in peace

This year I intend to be more helpful

This year I intend to be a better son and brother

This year I intend to be a kinder, gentler lover

This year I intend to tell the truth

This year I intend to listen: to really hear you when you talk about your dreams, and to help you make your dreams come true

This year I intend to be of service

This year I intend to be myself in every way

This year I intend to love you


Monday, January 4, 2010

Jenn Campbell (Volunteer)

Jenn Campbell

Four years ago I stepped onto Kalani property wide eyed and ready for a new adventure.  If I had known what Kalani would become for me, what it would invite into my life, I never would have believed it.  Words cannot express the depth of gratitude I have for Kalani and for each of you with whom I have had the honor to live with, love with and play with over my time here.

To my divine Ohana:

Thank you for being a mirror, for helping me to see myself more clearly~

Thank you for being my teachers~

Thank you for your smiles, your words, your challenges~

Thank you helping me to face my fears~

I died and was reborn a hundred times over during my time at kalani.  With each cycle, I grieved and then rejoiced.  I gave birth here.  I gave birth to myself.  And like any birth, I went through the labor pains.  At times it felt so strong it brought me to my knees with such humbling surrender.  And yet, like a mother holding her child, Kalani has held me in such tenderness through it all, and helped me time and time again to remember, that there is only love and fear is not real.

I live in love and carry each of you with me as I step into a new adventure.  I am in love with each of you.  You are all my brothers and sisters and your prescence, your divine image, has made an everlasting imprint on my heart.  I'll be seeing you!! 

Until then...ALL my love~ Jenn


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


ChristinaI’ve been here a month now.  While it’s hard for me to easily define what Kalani has meant to me so far, I see my life here as a series of wonderful moments strung together. 

Taken as a whole, these moments are especially important to me because they are in such contrast to my former cubicle job and city lifestyle.  Things like; walking across a dewy field in the evening while the coquis chirp and the stars fill the sky,  being part of the team that creates the meals that nourish this community,  laughing with friends on a day off at the beach, and being so close to the awesome power of Pele. 

I also love seeing people every day who care about each other, nature, the earth and themselves, and exploring movement through yoga and dance.   I want to continue to be a part of the ever changing community here, knowing that its power to change me is incredible.  I feel supported here and I think Kalani is an excellent place to discover my unique talents, the ones that I didn’t have the time or energy to explore in my San Francisco life.  I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be right now than here.

I think the biggest benefit to being here has been the warmth and friendliness of everyone I’ve met.  I can sometimes be slow to get very close with people, and the welcoming aloha spirit of the Kalani Ohana has been so helpful in overcoming my initial shyness.  I’m very much looking forward to continuing to build stronger and deeper connections with people here.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gerry Haddock

Gerry HaddockWhen packing your bags to come to Kalani as a volunteer please remember that on your return home things are going to be lighter. In particular your heart and your mind will be much lighter !! Much lighter due to the joy and peace which they will be infused with after spending some time at this special place called Kalani ( meaning 'Heaven' ).

But Kalani to me isn't just Heaven, it is like the Great Mother, providing her children with all their needs, caring for us in so many ways so that we can get on with the main task of being joyful and growing gracefully in her warm embrace. Sure there is work to do here and everyone works hard and diligently for each other taking pride in the service we provide to Kalani and the guests who enjoy this remarkable paradise on earth.

I am leaving Kalani after 3 months as a volunteer and will be returning to the United Kingdom not only lighter in spirit but richer for my experiences here. Richer in the knowledge that i am loved, richer in my spiritual practice and richer for meeting and knowing the generous, kind and fun loving people who live and volunteer here. Mahalo Mahalo Mahalo Kalani , you have changed my life for the better for ever!!!


Sunday, November 29, 2009


Aloha Salita and Tiffany!

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you so much last month for my stay.
This time is most wonderful in my 13 times Kalani stay!!!
I want to write many things about I saw people and my experience there, but it's many, many, many..............I can't write all things.
I really really appreciate all Kalani people, Salita and Tiffany.

About van driver Trent for me to Hilo airport on 11/1, I forgot my bag in van, so driver came back to airport for me.
In bag, there were all my money, cards, passport!!
I really appreciate him.

After I didn't make my Hawaiian airplane, but! I could get next flight.
It was short time to transfer at Honolulu airport.
but I run and could get my international flight.

I saw my photos in Kalani newsletter and website.
It's my goooood memories, Mahalo for Paul.

I hope I stay Kalani again.

I send photo of Japan autumn.

    -   Chie

Japan in Autumn


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Missy Cogdill

MIssy CogdillI witness people being compassionate and supportive of themselves and others.

I witness people not just thinking about themselves, but thinking about their part and place within the community so that we're not a bunch of individuals living near each other, but a community, a ohana being mindful of the needs and desires of others along with their own.

I witness people helping each other inside and outside of workplace rather than leaving it all for someone else.

I witness people observing their judgments and deciding to withhold them; knowing that their judgments aren't constructive for others and are only a reflection of the thoughts or beliefs of themselves.

I witness people witnessing the judgments of others and supporting them in their learning process and not taking those judgments personally.

I witness people being understanding, compassionate and supportive of others; realizing that we're each on our own journey learning and experiencing new parts of ourselves.

I witness people respecting the fact that there is not one set of "correct" beliefs or ways of life. I see people honoring the beliefs others have made for themselves; knowing that one set of beliefs can't fit everyone.

I witness people allowing others to choose their own beliefs even if they don't fully agree with them because they understand that no one knows what’s best for a person except for that person themselves. I see people understanding that beliefs change over time and allowing others to try and change beliefs as it is part of the learning process.

Thank you for being compassionate and supportive of me on my journey.

Mahalo Nui Loa!!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Stitch H. Lerios

Stitch's SunsetIt's not often that a canine volunteer gets to come to Kalani, what with the strict quarantine laws of Hawaii and Kalani's "no dog" policy. But my parents, Toli and Christine, insisted that my assistance was required in the IT department, and I soon found myself in paradise.

After my wonderful 3 month stay at Kalani, I was asked to share my thoughts, so I thought it would be helpful to share some advice for incoming volunteers, human and otherwise.

1. Make new friends

I really learned all about "aloha" here and enjoyed making friends everywhere I went. There is such a diverse group of people who work and visit Kalani, and I made sure to greet as many of them as I could with a wagging tail and a friendly heart. The hardest thing about leaving Kalani was leaving behind all of my wonderful new friends.

2. Break out of your comfort zone

Even though I am great with humans large and small, I have always felt shy and awkward around my fellow dogs. Lucky for me, Kalani's resident dogs Po and Kobo were very patient and encouraging until I grew more comfortable around them. Toli and Christine were very happy one day when I started playing and chasing Kobo on the grass - they had never seen me play so well with another dog before! Hopefully now I can play better with dogs I meet on the mainland.

3. Be helpful

Kalani is a big place that needs a lot of people and energy to keep it running. Even though I was officially part of the IT team, I always lent a helping paw whenever it was needed. I protected the office from noisy lawnmowers, hunted rats that lurked in corners, and gave fertilizer to help the jungle grow.

4. Stay active and try something new

I don't get outdoors a lot in Texas because of the coyotes, so I took advantage of all the outdoor time I got in Hawaii. I also made friends with a nice lady from the Priya Yoga group who would bring me to attend yoga sessions with her. If you have never tried yoga, Kalani is a great place to start. I think I really improved my downward dog.

5. Don't forget to explore the rest of Hawaii

With a 30-hour a week work commitment, that leaves plenty of time to explore the rest of Hawaii during your time off. I got to visit Hilo, Waimea, and Kona on the Big Island, and my family flew to Maui on our week off. Maui was great because they allow dogs on the beaches.

6. Don't eat the cane toads

I know that it can be really tempting to chase and eat the cane toads that come out when it rains, but DON'T! I learned the hard way that these toads have toxic glands and taste really yucky. No one likes to visit the vet while they're on vacation.

I hope you found my advice helpful and that you come to Kalani soon. Woof!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Tiffany Manchester

Tiff the SurferIt started just over a year ago. I took it slowly at the beginning, even withholding a little bit to be honest. I knew myself enough to know that if I decided to be in this relationship I would commit to it 100%, and I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted. But in the end I was swept away. I seem to have swallowed the red pill and there is no turning back. Sometimes, when it seems like we are not connecting I feel defeated and I start to question our relationship. For a split second I’ll actually think about breaking up with her, but then I immediately remember the many sweet, divine moments that we’ve shared and I realize that leaving isn’t the answer. I just could never do it. I won’t. She is the Ocean, and I am a surfer.

She, the Ocean, is a great teacher and demands respect. Some days she is soft and gentle, while other days she is fierce and raging…but she is always in control. If I come to Pohoiki (the local surf spot here in Puna) and get my butt kicked, I know it’s because I came full of ego, holding on to my emotions and disregarding what she has to offer. Ultimately it means I am working against her because I’m working against myself. When I can be out there and let go completely of my thoughts and concerns with the world and the role I play in it, it means I can give her my full attention. When I feel the fear wash off of me and the peace settles in I can connect with her vibe and feel her movements, listening to her guidance. In these moments, ‘being’ is effortless, and the waves appear just in front of me.

She is my guru, and in this relationship I am learning how to live my life with more joy and trust in the process. When I have visions of being a pro surfer, I start looking ahead at what I want to be instead of where I’m at. She’ll tolerate my ego driven desire for a while, but eventually she’ll give me a gentle (or rough, depending on her mood) reminder to be right here, right now. And this is a reminder for me to have patience in all aspects of my life, to accept and love myself at every moment.

I understand now that the choice to be in this relationship really never was mine to make. I love her with all of my heart, she brings me peace and I am committed to her 100%. I could never leave her, I just couldn’t do it. She is the Ocean, and I am a surfer.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jaime Palmera

Aloha `Ohana, Jaime Palmera

I am on the airplane on my way to Mainland. As I wonder thought me memories and look into the numerous photos I have taken during my stay in Hawaii and I couldn’t but get caught into a lot of emotions: Happiness and sadness, excitement and anxiety, a sense of accomplishment but at the same time desertion. But above all I realize I have learned to be grateful and a bit more aware. Learned to Breathe, learned to Feel, learned Acceptance and E ho mai – To let it come and let it flow- I learned the meaning of Aloha, and with it I learned about a better way to live.

How can one live without Aloha once we’ve felt it? …How can one get through the days without all the smiles and the hugs? …How can one may manage to step on a continent full of walking snakes who have given tears the connotation of sorrow and loss? … How can one may manage to get through the nights without seeing the moon and the stars and where people avoid and shelter from the wind and the rain? …How did I do it before and how would I be able to do it now?

This reminds me of the greatest love of my life: how we all learn to live on our own until one day we cannot live without that we once didn’t have before. It becomes indispensable, it changes us forever, it advances us, it becomes part of our energy, it pumps our lungs. LOVE is spelled ALOHA. And I am happy to have shed some tears, wipe my eyes, smile and look up again.

Happiness and Joy do float in tears. I fear no sadness for it will bring me a bigger joy at its end, just as the rainbow often appears after the rain. No Rain, no Rainbow. I will sorrow and day dream of my new corner of Heaven in Earth and remember that it remains there, hidden in the clouds, a gentle slope washed by the ocean full of plumerias and ginger flowers, warmed by Pele and the Sun, and enjoyed by many who like me are surrendering to Earth and its wisdom so to become a better part of Heaven.

A Hui Ho,


Jaime Love


Monday, July 27, 2009

Elsa Thomsen

Just wanted to tell you that I have really enjoyed my two months here. Being surrounded by so much natural beauty; fresh air; eating wonderful food and making new friends/ extended family. I feel extremely at peace with myself and I have learned a lot (not only from the kitchen) but from courses I have attended here.

I've been amazed at the "miracles" of the free box - how you just put the wish out and it materializes in the box. Talk about manifestations - again I have been amazed at the speed of these in this place.

I will miss several people from here; the sounds of the night, the coquis, the beautiful colours; the food (of course!); the fun activities we get up to; the walks to the point to play my guitar; swimming in the pool at night time and so on and so on...

Thank you for letting me stay here and for all I have received. I hope I have given back some in return.

love & hugs,