Kalani Honua Blog - Big Island

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/

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cameron S.

The number one piece of advice for the budding Kalani volunteer in the first weeks is to put yourself out there.  Yes, you will find love and support, yes you will find fun and adventure and yes you will connect with many, but none of it will happen if no one knows you are here.  Kalani is in a period of growth and at time of writing there are one hundred and twenty five volunteers in the community.  Everyone does their very best to welcome new arrivals to the family and it’s important that you do your bit too and be proactive in introducing yourself and initiating conversations.

If you are camping, I would immediately go all out to make yourself as comfortable as possible.  Don’t hold back!  Mattresses, tents, lanterns, even bits of furniture do the rounds among the volunteers and particularly if you are in for a three month stint, you’ll be glad you made the effort early on.  I have enjoyed making my hale (Hawaiian word for house or home) as creative and comfortable as possible.  It’s all part of the Kalani experience.  You can scour the jungle for rocks and wood to get creative with (although check with the locals and do not remove anything from sacred spaces), you can design artwork and soft furnishings in the art shed, (a wonderful Kalani resource for creative play) and if all else fails you can search for supplies in Hilo and brave the consumer-madness of Walmart!   Yes, even in Hawaii…

One theory is ‘say yes to everything on offer’ to help find yourself in the community.  By saying ‘yes’, you maximize your opportunities to connect with others, you experience the range of classes on offer, and you will find yourself on adventures outside the retreat bubble.   A few words of caution; there are so many activities to choose from, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.   Listen to what your body and your heart tell you.   If you are tired, rest.  If you feel overwhelmed, retreat.  And if you feel strong waves of emotion arise, take yourself to ‘The Point’, a beautiful ocean vista just opposite the main gate. Sit down on a bench, breathe deeply and drink in the view.   This is the best dose of Kalani medicine.   

There are so many ways to live here, so keep in mind why you came.  I wanted to experience community living and the abundant nature on The Big Island.  If you find yourself staying up late and sleeping in, shake things up and watch the sunrise at 6am.  If you have never tried a certain type of yoga, challenge yourself to take that class.   And if you do nothing else, shake it all out at Ecstatic Dance on a Sunday morning.  It took me a whole month to make it there, and I have no idea why I waited so long!

Talk to the staff or long term volunteers if you have a problem, or if there is something that you do not like.  They would much rather know sooner or later so that they can do something to help.   With the exception of our founder who was here from the beginning, everyone else here has gone through the same adapting process, to carve their own unique space in this vibrant community. Come and check it out for yourself! 

 

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cameron McCool

Kehena Beach - One of the World's Top 10 Secluded Beaches (Islands Magazine)

Local beach 'Kehena' has been voted as one of the world's "Top 10 Secluded Beaches" alongside beaches in Curacao, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica in the July/August issue of Islands Magazine.

Kehena beach is known for its picturesque location, black sand, and sunday drumming circle. Dolphins and whales are also frequently spotted close to shore.

Many of Kalani's guests, who come to attend a wellness or yoga retreat in Hawaii, soon discover the magic of Kehena. The beach is a short walk from Kalani grounds and is a favorite of residents within the local Puna community.

Have you visited Kehena Beach? What are your fondest memories of this special place? Tell us on the Kalani Facebook page or in the comments section below.

Here's what Jon Whittle, a photographer for Islands Magazine, had to say about his first visit to Kehena... 


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THE BIG ISLAND'S KEHENA BEACH
- Jon Whittle, Photographer, Islands Magazine


My No. 1 tip from 10 years of travel photography? Follow rumors. There are no billboards for secret beaches. Having heard of a special spot below the cliffs of Puna, I drove through a tunnel of monkeypod trees on the Red Road, asking myself 'What do you wear to a nude beach?'

Passing a row of parked cars adorned with peace symbols, I stomped on the brakes. This must e the place. I strapped on my camera bag, pushed through the foliage and followed rough black "steps" made of a'a lava toward the sound of a big Pacific break.

I rounded a bend to see a sheer cliff rising from a sheltered cove. The sound of drums echoed intermittently above he crashing waves, and I caught a whiff of the distinctive aroma of 1967. Scattered pines grew from the soft ebony sand, providing shade for the unclothed bodies lying underneath.

Resisting the urge to stare, I found an opening under a nearby pine and unrolled a towel onto a perfect spot to spend the afternoon. The longhaired man beside me etended a hand in greeting. He looked like Iggy Pop, at least from the neck down.

"Welcome to Kehena," he said. This place is like a community. Stay a while and you'll meet painters, musicians, BI fugitives and people who just couldn't take the mainland anymore." He chuckled loudly, pointed down at the oversize camera sitting beside me and said, "You might want to put that away though."


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This content is re-printed courtesy of Islands Magazine from the article "Top 10 Secluded Beaches" in the July/August 2011 issue. Islands magazine offers readers stunning photos and compelling stories that inspire island travel. Visit the official website to order a free trial issue of this exquisite pubilcation and like Islands Magazine on Facebook to receive daily updates on Island life in your news feed.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lewie Pell with Kalani Blog Team

Some people dont know that you can live at Kalani. We have a stewardship program where you can own a cottage here and rent it out part of the year.

The following words are from Lewie Pell, a well-loved Kalani steward gifted at poetry.


I live, work, play, pray with my life partner Christiana, in the foothills of the Sierras in Northern California, with 3 months a year at Kalani. I am deeply committed to personal and planetary transformation on all levels.

Ammachi is my guru and Adyashanti our teacher. My works as a pastoral minister with the homeless and runaway kids for 20 years at Covenant House in New York City turned my lifetime poetry/songwriting to rhyming, rapping and spoken word performing which I do wherever, whenever...


Yo!

Brother Lewie's my name

prayer power's my game-

prayer power, any minute any hour

all we gotta do

is get in touch with you know who

You know who - G-O-D

good orderly direction

that's the connection

you put your life in order

then you swim in happy waters.

How? Jesus said it best

seek the kingdom first, and its righteousness

all will be added unto you

nothing you need to do

but do your very best

and life will do the rest,

reach up as high as you can each day

-the best way to pray-

and God will reach down all the rest of the way.

Then reach out and help someone out

and you'll be helped out no doubt-

it's true as blue sky is blue

all the good you do will come back to you.

and that's the true blue

from your Bro Lew.


Poem about Kalani...

Sunrain Dance

This lihau (mist) drizzle on my face

pure grace

calls me to lighten up

in the Kalani embrace

of transformation now.

Each Aloha smile

jump starts the radiant

sunrain dance within

to deepen, deepen

run to the ocean's edge,

dive into the sparkle

swim the wide warm deep waters

of our pure being.

let the tide call of

I'm here, I'm here

draw us to new depths

of whole new me - you

one living sea

oh say can you see what I see

can we be what we see

one rainbow family

living a sweet harmony

where jungle sounds surround

coqui, coqui, go free! go free!

coqui, coqui, go free! go free!

GO!

naked

don't fake it

naked me

naked mind

naked be

no me

only we

stark naked


Transcendence

I woke up this morning

feeling - well, pretty shitty

something about some essentials

I'd forgotten to bring for this day's trip

Sent my mind into

'just is' 'just is'

words of acceptance

like sea waves

in a vision

pounding the Puna pali

will the waves of my acceptance efforts

ever break down all the layers of resistance?

how long O Lord, how long?

..Adyashanti reading after meditation

say's it's simple, just wake up!

No-thing here at all...

I'll let today's waves

keep saying that,

with no words, I hope.


Because of my age at 75, there's a lot of goodbyes ...

Forever

Clouds come and go

sky remains,

Waves rise and fall

ocean remains,

People come and go

love remains.


One of many poems to Ammachi, the "hugging saint" of India who has hugged over 26 million people.

Oh Mother

Once again you are in our land in your physical form-

and I am determined to come to you

barefoot, bare mind, bare heart empty of all but my yearning

to melt into your blessed Being...

Why does it seem harder this time - and easier?

Never before the defender of this false self

So arrayed at their crumbling walls

to do battle with this Conqueror

who comes adored with the skulls of former egos

dancing her ecstatic victory dance

bright maya - slashing sword, whirling, flashing

Singing the sonorous war songs.

echoed by her devotees' million voices

armed with a smile that eclipses the sun,

a lover's glance that melts mountains

a hug that embraces the cosmos-

O Ma! Never so easy

for this little one

to lay himself down in thee

and die.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rolf Christen

Sunny day at Kalani | Non-Profit Yoga Retreat CenterWow! We were surprised to receive this wonderful letter from a guest at Kalani, our non-profit yoga retreat center and educational village on the oceanside in the Big Island of Hawaii. Here's what it says:


"Ilse and I had a great time again at Kalani and we are looking forward to our stewardship [cottage] there very, very much.

I spent 10 days. Never read the paper, didn't listen to the news, never checked my email, didn't even check the phone messages.

Instead I sat at the oceanside, watched the waves, the turtles, the whales, the dolphins, the palm trees, the clouds for hours on end. I played in the waves at the beach, swam all the way out to the rocks with you, enjoyed the hot tub under the stars almost every night.

I spent hours on the new beach, watching the surfers and watching the lava flow in the distance behind me. I spent almost a day on the lava shelf watching and feeling the waves crash into the land, the spray shooting high into the air, one after another, again and again.

I walked to the lava flow and saw, felt, experienced again the power of the earth arising into this world, creating something new, fresh, unspoiled.

New life, a new promise. I enjoyed great meals on the lanai, in the companionship of strangers, that I now consider close friends. I received tender loving hugs from strangers, smiles from people I had never met before. I joined the activities and yoga workshops that were offered even if they seemed a (very!) big stretch to my comfort zone..... and loved every bit of it!!!

And yes, I decided to join the 'ohana and put my feet down in this great community. May this endeavor be a blessing to us and to the community. Thanks for dreaming, Richard, and thanks for letting me be part.

With Love and Gratitude, Rolf"

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Maureen Boland

Maureen Boland

November 6th, 2008

We drove in to Kalani in the dark—air was muggy, and there was a volunteer party happening. I truly haven’t heard that kind of sheer joy from adults in a long time (ever?) and instantly felt welcomed.

Everyone here is incredibly friendly and gracious and Kalani is located on a magnificent tropical spot in the southeastern part of the Big Island.

For two mornings I’ve had the pleasure of greeting the day at the “point” right outside of the property where the wild ocean crashes against a volcanic rock wall. My first morning I stood there marveling at the energy and checking out the huge plume of steam created by the active volcano lava hitting the water less than a mile away. Within seconds I was hit by a rogue wave which doused me from head to toe (as though I had just stood under a waterfall)…. Nature was trying to tell me something no doubt. Quite an intro to the island.

The grounds are lovely…rich, lush jungle apparently quite different from the rest of the island. Mystical, magical and dark are words words I have heard people use frequently to describe this area…it is quite intriguing

November 11th

Life continues to be juicy here. Having been here for almost a week now I feel I can personally (and without hesitation) recommend Kalani to anyone who feels they need to recharge or hit the reset button. There is a certain element which I am not sure I can explain, but it is captured in moments at Burning Man where people extend their arms to you without reservation and without the expectation of anything in return. It is amazing what happens when a community of people choose to interact with an underlying assumption of goodwill. The impact of each generous and thoughtful act is magnified, and completely contagious. It is also quite shocking to a newcomer; I shyly admit to questioning the authenticity of the people around me initially. Having had some time and space to get to know people a little deeper than I can in typical day to day life I am less skeptical. If anything, I think people are more sincere and more able to drop their masks than in ordinary life.

That said, I am still acclimating to the culture and working to open my sometimes fiercely guarded heart a little more…

Like any place it also has its moments, particularly in regard to getting the mind to chill out and match the body. It’s a constant challenge for me in my typical day to day life and that fact has not changed just because I am on the Big Island.

December 3rd

I finally paid a visit to Pele. We journeyed to a spot where the lava from the local volcano pours into the ocean. We walked across the bumpy, dark, glassy hardened lava field in sheer darkness heading towards the red glowing embers and plume of smoke and lava ahead. Pele was magnificent. I understood instantly why Pele is referred to in the feminine—the site embodied creation. It’s the newest, hottest, sexiest earth. As we approached the entry point the rocks beneath our feet were radiating heat from the molten lava below. I walked all the way to the edge of the rock to the most glorious fireworks I have ever seen—Pele shooting fire into the air, a pond of florescent orange lava swirling below peaking out every time the steam cleared away. As the sun rose the colors of the fireworks seemed to mellow out and the harsh light softened a bit…I was ever aware of the danger and watched her show with a great deal of reverence.

December 24th

I spent my last few days at Kalani surrounded and bathed in the love of my `Ohana. I have never experienced so much raw, unbridled love from the people around me. I had a rough few days as I had picked up some intestinal parasite and was sloughing through some emotional yuck… but everywhere I went warm, long hugs were available—arms thrown around my neck the moments I most needed them. Tissues placed in my hand at the right moment without me ever knowing who placed it.

Once again, I was and am grateful for Kalani, for the Aloha spirit, for the people surrounding me.

Jan 26th, 2009

Nature is such a profound force in my life right now. How can I leave her? She surrounds me at night. I taste her sweet, clean air, hear her energy roaring as the waves crash down on sharp black lava rocks. She is protecting me with her warm rains and healing rays of sun. She is forcing me to slow down and look inside myself.

I want to learn patience. Unconditional love. I am learning it’s ok to not always like, but not to love takes away little pieces of your heart from yourself.

I believe I know now where the clichés about love that I previously disregarded might have been born.

All you need is love. Indeed?
Indeed.

I am grateful for all the people she has given me. I lead a wonderful and blessed life. It has taken slowing down to see this.

I steal away from it all to bathe in her soft wind. Stare off into the lush green. Marvel at my own bliss. Mourn days lost. Remind myself she is here, always. Even when the city swirls around me. You are here. And perhaps I can never go back to what was, but I can always come back to Kalani.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

by Lori Runkle

Puka JungleEach day at work in the landscaping department at an eco-resort on the Hilo side of the island of Hawaii, I witness greedy vegetation reach for the sun at the expense of what slouches and festers beneath the surface. As lava rock cracks and ohia trees and sword ferns emerge from the black ground, sensitive plants and morning glory vines root in the fertilizer of fallen leaves and rotting lehua flowers.

The cycle of volcanic activity and the reclamation of lava by plant life is an organic process that transforms the landscape from the barren, rocky playground of Pele to lush swaths of variegated green growing at amazing speeds. The lovers Ohia and Lehua continue their love story high in the branches dropping life on the ground below.

I agree with Louise Erdrich, who in her collection of short stories “The Red Convertible,” describes the law of growth like this:

“In the woods, there is no right way to go, of course, no trail to follow but the law of growth. You must leave behind the notion that things are right. Just look around you. Here is the way things are. Twisted, fallen, split at the root. What grows best does so at the expense of what’s beneath.”

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