Kalani Honua Blog

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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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Taylor Powell
One year ago, I was sitting at Kalani and I read a book. This book was unlike
others. It "followed" me. It kept peaking in my life and presenting
itself to me, nudging me along to read it, even thought I thought I already
knew what it was about. After all, how could a book published in 1971 have
additional insight into the blissful existence I was already experiencing?
Hell, I was 3 months into Kalani, I now had a beautiful A-frame and more
abundance than I had realized in a long time. Sure, Ram Dass is a great
author - I remember a particularly special high school english teacher
loaning me this beat up, pitiful light blue colored paperback that had
oranged pages. Something about meditation. I read 3/4s of that book, and I
felt I wasn't ready for what it was saying, or I didn't care - I was too
wrapped up in being a high schooler, so what could this blue bound wide book
called "Be Here Now" have for me?

But it did have something for me. It came into my life at Hale Aloha, when
Hanna the receptionist finally caught me prancing around this old novel and
declared that I take it immediately and inquire about the gems inside. So I
did. And after a few weeks I finally got past the intro story and into the
meat of the book. Wild illustrations, deeply beautiful words, reminders of
experiences of finding God in oneself whipped me into late nights of
reading, giggling and awe in my red light lit A-frame. I was floored, to say
the least.

Then one night I shared this book with someone. I was reading in my A frame
loft and a visitor approached and cuddled up next to me, while I read aloud
this masterpiece of light. As soon as I did, my voice changed, I felt a
charge, a connection and deepening with what I was reading, yet a
separation. I started to recite the book's passage loudly and I continued at
a perfect rate and perfect pitch. Each word was taken in by us both - we
both knew what Ram Dass was expressing - as if we had wrote these words in
this book. This connection took an absolutely spectacular turn. While going
threw this oration, I began to get ahead of myself - literally. I found I
would read a whole page, but continue onto the next page without looking at
it. I was reciting, word for word, a book (which I have never read before) a
page ahead of what my eyes were experiencing. I was speaking words
universally, without even looking at the page that they were already written
on.

This was quite an experience. This is all true. I have a witness, but I
don't even need one, as I am a very honest man. And this, well, this had a
profound effect on me. And I liked it.

Time went by. Things changed. New books were read. But I really liked this
book, and I really was happy that it connected to me with so much
extraordinary immersion. I felt a certain homage to it. I felt that this
book was very, very special and that it was a book out of time. The authors
of enlightenment that I love - eckhart tolle, don miguel ruiz, etc. were so
awesome, but this Ram Dass book needed a push into the modern times. After
all, the pages look to be printed by hand, with stamp typeface and
delightfully rough and intricate illustrations. So I had an idea. I would
take a sliver of this work, and put it to my experience, with only the
intention of creating beautiful art, with capturing a point in my life, and
maybe that would turn someone else, just as oblivious as I, to an "older"
spiritual work, that was so, so great.

So I started what would eventually be called "Heading East". In 2012, I was,
well, "Heading East". I had determined by this time that I was going into my
love of video production, which would take me from my current location of
Puna, Hawaii to Los Angeles, then attendance at Burning Man, at Black Rock
City, Nevada, then onto New York City. I wanted to chronicle this in an
intimate, personal way, but still rely on others to showcase this journey.
So I decided to make a video piece that would do just that. I was quickly
granted permission by Ram Dass's charitable organization and I began, with
the gracious help of friends, to create a project of deep love.

Kalani was my first location. I had spent 7 mind exploding months there and
it dominates this peace. Water, birth, love, sex, relationships, work,
employment, green, lush, jungle, ocean - all dominate the Hawaii portion of
the piece. Fire, lava, angst, fear, power are sprinkled in as well - they
are in their right place.

Serendipity followed this project. Upon arriving to LA, I started to shoot
glimpses of my experience there. I moved away from the elemental, nature
based quality of Hawaii that I had captured and more into people, dreams,
lift, air, flight, lightness. I was drenched in sweat, laying on a Manhattan
Beach yoga studio floor, after my ass had just been handed to me by a
rigorous asana practice, when I heard a tone. It was none other than a
Tibetian singing bowl, played by Anne Spinner, the yogi who had just guided
me through a physical, and honestly, emotional practice. It was like I knew
exactly where that part of my human experience should go in my work. I asked
her to play it for me, and she contributed the audio that sets THE tone for
this piece.

I followed the Eastward movement and immersed myself in the hustle of New
York City. Captured here was the enormity of it all, the question of where I
was, the comparison of who was in relation to the buildings, movement and
people around me. Hustle, loud, dominance, confusion, relation, humility,
reawakening was experienced here and captured as well.

So with another time around the sun in 2013, this project got eclipsed by
other ideas, new pages in new books, but it wasn't forgotten. I knew I would
finish this, but I didn't know when. More honestly - I was scared to. I was
scared to put my work out to the public, that.... well.... It wouldn't be
good enough. "Heading East" sat in the editing drive of my computer, only
known by the digital world of myself.

This week, I had some profound perfect serendipitous life experiences to
show me that it was time to publish this project. I had dreams of death, of
cancer, of end of life, of peaceful realization that life is finite. So in
some way, I know that contributed to me finishing this project. I completed
a final edit on this video today. I am putting it out for the world to see.

And I absolutely love it.

So now you know a story behind it. This is my art, this is me and this is
beautiful.

I present to you,

Heading East.

Love,

Taylor Powell

PS - When I started this email, I had no...clue that I would write a
novel. It just came out. But here it is. So share this with the staff and
loving friends at Kalani. In all incredible causation and effect in the
world, you never know what Kalani, or anything else might provide.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cameron S.
As a veteran camper from wet and muddy festivals, I felt well prepared for jungle living.  So I was therefore pleasantly surprised by the jungle set up at Kalani.  A platform base and a sturdy tarpaulin cover awaited my arrival, making it very easy to keep dry.  It’s all about expectations.  If you show up looking for a room at The Marriott, then you probably will be in for a shock.  

Arriving in Lower Puna for the first time, I was struck by the lushness of the tropical foliage.  Explosions of green abundance are all over the district that is home to Kalani, and the forty-five minute drive from Hilo, through the rustic village of Pahoa and south to the ocean was a spectacular welcome.  

I arrived in the winter months and there are only two seasons – wet and dry.   And yes, it can rain a lot.  It was difficult to get a straight answer about the weather before I arrived, because it is entirely unpredictable.  I have been at Kalani for two winter months and I’ve experienced a week when it rained every day, and an entirely dry week of glorious sunny skies.  Every day is different.  When it does rain, it never lasts for long.  And I’ve gone through two large bottles of sun tan lotion. 

There are four types of creatures that I encounter daily in my Kalani jungle life:   The brightly-colored geckos that scurry around the campground, vacuuming up the bugs; the friendly feral cats that live across the property, each with their own domain and their own personality; the wild pigs that harmlessly snuffle around my tent before running back into the jungle; and the infamous coqui tree-frogs who fill the warm night air with their two-tone koh-ki mating call.   (Interestingly, on cooler evenings the coquis take the night off – apparently they are not so inclined to desire a mate when it’s chilly!)

The jungle is an adventure playground for the nature enthusiast.  Ancient Hawaiian sacred spaces offer a chance for meditation and reflection for those working on their inner journey.  A beautiful monkey pod tree has its home near the campground, with its gigantic sprawling roots twisting through the rainforest and it is a favorite place for the horticulture volunteers to gather after work.  And before too long, you will start to learn the best place to pick up ripe and juicy fruit such as lilikoi or passion fruit, strawberry guavas and mangoes.
 
I have found it easy to adapt to jungle life, and my large tent keeps me protected from the elements, while offering a great vista to the foliage beyond.   Practicalities of electricity are solved by acquiring some decent rechargeable products to provide light and entertainment, although my lifestyle here is such that the amount of time I spend in my tent at night is minimal – there are far too many other exciting things to do!   The wildlife in Hawai’i entertains, inspires and delights me, and provides me with such a backdrop of rustic beauty I cannot help but feel well in this environment.  

Come and experience the jungle for yourself. 
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Joyce and Barry Vissell

When I was twenty-seven years old, a woman friend became frustrated with how much love and attention I was giving Barry, my husband of five years. She was a teacher of women’s studies at a local college. This subject was brand new in 1973 and emphasized women’s liberation. She saw my devotion to Barry as old fashioned and “unliberated.” In a burst of anger she said, “You’re putting all your eggs in one basket. Barry is going to die someday and then you’ll be sorry you concentrated so much love on him.”

I was so stunned and hurt by her words that I had to let go of that friendship. However, over the years, I couldn’t help reflecting on her words. She was right that I was making my relationship with Barry my top priority, even over my career and friends. But was this wrong? Would I one day regret that I had focused so much of my love on him? If he died suddenly, would I find that I had done the wrong thing by concentrating so much of my time on him? 

In the past twelve months I have reflected on this woman’s words more deeply. It has been a difficult period of time. Seven close friends that we have known over twenty five years have died. A few of these have died very suddenly in the peak of their careers and activities. Several close women friends have become widows after many years of marriage. Each of these women has loved their husband fully. One of my friends, who was married for 47 years, says it is all the love she gave that is now the greatest comfort for her. If she had to do it all over again, she would have still loved completely and made her husband the focus of her love.

When we work with people in their grieving process, we find that it is the love that is not given that causes the most pain and sadness. I must admit that with our seven friends that have passed this year, I definitely have some regrets. I wish I would have spent more time with some or called more often. But I am also comforted because, with each one, they knew I loved them and believed in their greatness. They knew I appreciated them and carried them tenderly in my heart.

Now that several of my friends have become widows I cannot help but reflect on my own situation. With the time I have left with Barry, how do I want to spend it? I certainly do not want to hold onto anger and resentment. My one friend became a widow in the course of minutes. One minute her husband was active and getting ready for their child’s birthday party, and the next minute he was gone. I want to keep my relationship with Barry very current and in harmony. I want to work through difficulties as quickly as we can. Each day I want to love him in a new way. I want him to feel cherished. I may never be perfect in the ways I want to love him, but it is in the trying that brings me so much comfort.

Two weeks ago we had another death in our family. This time it was our daughter Rami’s beloved horse, Magic, who had been her very dear friend for twenty two years. A death of such a treasured animal has its own deep grief. Rami had a memorial service for her horse at his burial site. She dressed up in her cowgirl clothes that she had gotten as a young teenager when she first bought Magic and read a tribute to him. Our family plus her closest friends came to the service. Each of us spoke about our love for this very special horse. At the end one friend said, “Rami, you loved and cared for your horse 100%. All the love you gave to him will come back and bless you.” 

The love we give to others comes back and blesses us. I am so grateful that I did not listen to that “liberated” woman friend. I am so grateful that I gave my all to Barry during a period of time in our country when it was considered “backward and politically incorrect” for a woman to love her husband so completely. I am grateful that the love has come back and blesses me over and over again.

Let’s not hold back our love from anyone that is dear to us. Let’s take every opportunity to express our appreciation and caring. No one can hear heart-felt words of love too often. I have understood more deeply this year that we really don’t know how much time we have left with our loved ones. Fortunately for the friends of mine that became widows this year, they had taken the time to love on a daily basis. Even though one husband was gone in the wink of an eye, it is all the words and acts of love and tenderness that will bring enduring comfort to his wife.

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are widely regarded as among the world's top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk to Be Healed, The Heart’s Wisdom, Meant to Be, and A Mother’s Final Gift.

Call Toll-Free 1-800-766-0629 (locally 831-684-2299) or write to the Shared Heart Foundation, P.O. Box 2140, Aptos, CA 95001, for free newsletter from Barry and Joyce, further information on counseling sessions by phone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at SharedHeart.org for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationship and living from the heart.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Adrienne Brown

Kalani was an utterly healing experience for me. I was a part of the sabbatical program - it was a big risk for me to invest in a month halfway around the world, in the jungle. But I had amazing inspiring conversations with the staff beforehand - and it was worth every second and every penny.

I was immediately welcomed into the community by the staff and volunteers. There is a lot of care and love in the ohana, and it was easy to access. 

The week I landed, there was a transformative writing workshop being offered, and a hypnotherapist available. Both had wonderful impact on me. There was an abundance of opportunities for engaging in personal growth and healing, with visiting teachers and with the skills of the community. 

I was part of the agriculture team, which I hadn't properly packed for, so right away I was directed to the free box for work clothes. The agriculture team began each day with Hawaiian chanting and gratitude, then got sweaty together weeding and working the land. I looked forward to each day of work, and spread my 8-day sabbatical work commitment over half days to make it last longer.

I took tons of yoga classes with a variety of teachers and learned things that have stuck with me for my personal practice. A stand-out teacher was a woman named Kathy, in her 70s, who gave me permission to be gentle with my body and really listen to the wisdom in it - that yoga is about increasing my capacity to be conscious of spirit. 

I went on weekend adventures across the island to Kona for beaches, and in the midst of it fell in love with several of the wonderful people working behind the scenes. One of them, a healer named Jai, will stay with me forever.

I boldly spent as much time as I could exercising my clothing optional rights in the pool, sauna and hot tubs, as well as using all of the bodywork sessions that came with the sabbatical - I got reiki, watsu, lomi lomi, shiatsu. 

I left Kalani glowing, with several friendships that continue to deepen and grow me.

Gratitude abounds. Now I am recommending it to other friends who need to regenerate.

 

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aubrey Vora

In Hawaiian shamanistic teachings, there is a story passed down called the Bowl of Light. It offers that we are all born with a bowl filled with light, which if tended to can develop into a strong source of life energy. However, over time our bowls can get polluted with “rocks,” taking the form of burdens, expectations, and negative emotions, dimming our light and weighing down our bowl.

Everyone wants to be free of suffering. For women who have gone through emotional or physical trauma, finding a safe space to express oneself freely with a supportive sisterhood can awaken life-transforming understandings. This is why Katalin Koda, author of Fire of the Goddess, and her co-facilitator, Kelley Linn, strive to provide a safe container for women to uncover and nourish the sacred femininity within them. Doing so allows women to integrate the strengths and understandings of this energy into everyday life.

“By creating ceremony we relinquish our smaller self and merge with the dynamic, larger spirit, we are dissolving our ego and habitual tendencies into the connectedness of the universe. Each time we create ceremony, we become more fluid and less attached to stagnant emotions and mental constructs.” - Fire of the Goddess

Katalin and Kelley’s work explores the use of ceremony to reclaim and reframe what one already knows, incorporating the practices of Anusara Yoga, shamanism, and the study of goddess archetypes. This combination allows one to connect more deeply with a strong sense of self-love, power, and wisdom: qualities shared with Pele, the goddess of fire and lava who has been honored for hundreds of years on the Big Island of Hawai’i. “Illuminating the creation of new land and the destruction of old, Pele IS the Fire of the Goddess and the brilliant emanation of the Sacred Feminine on Hawai'i Island.”

Kelley works with Katalin to integrate the practice of yoga into the work of the sacred feminine, to aid the exploration of inward expression, finding physical poses that awaken natural emotions, rather than the form-focused fitness yoga which has spread through many western practices. Just as smiling during meditation can call forth a sense of peaceful joy, a deep bow toward the ground during yoga can evoke a sense of gratitude. For those seeking to heal old traumas or change habitual tendencies, focused practice of yoga can awaken a deeper connection to the feminine qualities which live within all people.

There are many lessons and messages that come through this work. Katalin shared that “people are often fragmented, with energy spread in many directions. They often forget the healing that takes place when you are giving freely from the heart. It is time now to align yourself with your soul purpose, and to activate in order to spread love and share joy. Become a creator or creatrix of the reality you wish.”

Kelley offered, “Remember your intrinsic goodness. You are perhaps not ‘perfect’ in all actions, but at your core you are naturally and genuinely good.”

It is common for those who embody the sacred feminine energy to have so many rocks in their bowl of light that they cannot sip its nurturing nectar. With the help of intentional ceremonies and practices, as well as the support of the sacred sisterhood, we can empty all of the rocks to allow a new source of life to flow. Only then can we share our abundance with those around us, rather than our source. And it is in that state of abundance that we are able to heal- ourselves, our loved ones, and the world at large.

For more information about Katalin and Kelley’s offerings

visit Katalins website at: http://katalinkoda.com/

Fire of the Goddess will be returning to Kalani in March and June of 2013.  Learn more

Katalin’s book is available on Amazon

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Andy Freist

Many guests fall in love with our organic granola during their stay, and can often be caught filling thermoses to smuggle some home. So,  we have decided to pass along the recipe, to you so you can have Kalani's famous granola anytime you wish. Enjoy with breakfast, use to make a parfait or trail mix, or in any other creative recipe you can dream up.

Ingredients (organic):

8 cups old fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

1 cup each of at the least four of the following:

Pecans
Almonds
Pine Nuts
Sunflower Seeds
Unsweetened Coconut
Walnuts
Cashews
Pumpkin Seeds
Sesame Seeds
Peanuts

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons seasalt

1/2 cup brown sugar


Preparation:


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toss everything together, but don't break up the oats.

        1 1/4 cups coconut oil, unsalted butter or peanut oil

        1 cup maple syrup

        2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2. Mix the above ingredients well and pour over granola. Mix with hands then place on a cookie sheet in an even layer and press down to flatten granola.

3. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown. Do not toss while baking.

4. Cool completely on cookie sheet then put in airtight storage container.

Enjoy!

3 comments

Monday, June 11, 2012

Andy Freist

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
In rest
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
I trust~
Deep mahalo's to my Kalani `ohana for all you individually are and i wish you all greatness in where you fly~

Love,

Sommer Joy Albertsen

1 comments

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jesse Graeter

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!

Mahalo!

- Jesse

2 comments

Monday, April 2, 2012

Taylor Powell

A quote from Taylor Powell, who made this video:

"My mother always asks me, 'Taylor, what are you doing?'  This is my answer."

What are you doing? from tee pee on Vimeo.

1 comments