Kalani Honua Blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

Richard Koob

Aloha Kalani supporters,

Heiau offering

Mahalo to the hundreds of you who sent letters and/or signed petitions requesting that the Planning Department reinstate Kalani’s EMAX greenhouse as a perfect location for Kalani’s community nature-culture-wellness programs.On September 3 the Planning Department Director BJ Leithead Todd, the County’s Corporate Council, Amy Self, and the Zoning Inspector, Scott Leonard, all came to visit us here at Kalani. Together we made offerings at our preserved heritage sites, walked much of the property, viewed structures and dined together.

Richard sign

The following day BJ sent a letter thanking us for the visit, rescinding the violation, and saying “We agree with you that working together will help better serve the needs of the community.”

So your Kalani ‘ohana is now confident that we are back on track with more of the co-creative collaboration that we have had with the Planning Department for 34 years!

- Richard Koob


Saturday, August 22, 2009


Cloud at The Point Aloha Richard,

Just stepping out to attend my first yoga session at a local establishment, and I felt the need to drop you a line.

Thanks for everything at Kalani last week. Sometimes the right people and settings line right up to give us the perfect experience needed for our life's journey. I didn't expect to experience that after spending a week at your retreat village, but that sure was the end result.

Everything I experienced fit together like the perfect puzzle to create a better understanding of the big picture in life. Thanks so much!



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Michael Salita

Michael SalitaAloha. I am Salita, the Volunteer Coordinator here at Kalani. We had a group here last week called ‘Chillaxin," as in 'chilling out and relaxing.' The concept is to introduce guests into the lives we lead here at Kalani and in Hawaii. I was a bit anxious since I didn't know how mainland guys would respond to ‘hanging out’ with this dreadlocked dude who is living so unusual a life.

You see, I live a very minimal life here in the jungle. I have a dog, I watch movies on a TV which does not have channels, my commute to work is a 5 minute walk through a tropical rain forest, and my colleagues are people I hang out with naked at the pool. Chillaxin week is about inviting guests into our lifestyle! But I met a terrific group of men and I learned something I am always working to discover about myself, which is that ‘me’ just being ‘me’ is okay. This simple life I chose over seven years ago is comforting, interesting, and even sometimes inspiring.

Chillaxin week goes pretty much like this: On opening night we (the locals) introduce ourselves to the visitors. The rest of the week we go to the beach and/or snorkel every day, eat meals together and drink wine during dinner. On the last night we have a basic closing circle to finish up the week. And that’s it. That is a week of Chillaxin!

What is so brilliant about Chillaxin is its simplicity. People go on vacation to relax, but how often do people make sure to rest and relax in a quality, bonding way? A way of spending time which we all want to have more of in our lives? A life of beach, dining with others, and wine with dinner sounds pretty good, right? All week we share with the guests what we, who live here at Kalani, do on our days off. We specialize in this stuff, right?

It's amazing to see what happens when guests take a Chillaxin break. In this last group there was a man who had just ended a 19 year relationship and wanted to get away and be around people. He was laughing the whole week and completely forgot about the breakup. There was a successful lawyer, who is doing some amazing work for people who need a strong voice. Another guest wanted to return to Hawaii because his last visit was so relaxing. This time it turned out to be about having fun as well! There was a couple from Seattle looking for a new way to have a holiday away from their busy lives and to spend time with each other. There was a man who has fallen in love with Kalani and been here many times.

It felt really good and touching to hear the stories that people had to share from the experiences of the week. My life feels enriched in having been able to connect with each person, and I am so grateful for the diversity of the group and for the fun we had together. I believe that this is what we are all wanting to experience in our daily lives…to be accepted and to play. Chillaxin is a reminder and a practice for me to step out of my comfort zone and open up to those around me.

I look to promote more of these types of relationships in my life here at Kalani. I am ever so appreciative for the opportunities to facilitate openings for people to live a more complete life.


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,


Monday, May 11, 2009

Veronica Rains

Veronica Rains So I’m leaving Hawaii. Leaving the tropical weather, the smiling faces, jungle attire, nude sunbathing, my beautiful, handsome, strong, loving boyfriend. I’m leaving it all behind so that I can work (hopefully) at least 50 or 60 hours a week and live with my mother. I’m moving back to my hometown of 14,000 people, complete with two grocery stores and two dingy bars. Believe me, I’m wondering the same thing: What the hell am I thinking?

This decision comes as no shock to those close to me. I did this same thing last year. I packed my bags, left this beautiful paradise and went back home to work, clear my mind, get away, and search for something new and better. I bid my friends farewell, quit my job and bought a one-way plane ticket back to the mainland. Looking back, it was quite dramatic. I had no plans of returning, I was on my way. And, then I came back to Hawaii two months later.

But this time will be different. I’m leaving for good. Getting’ outta here, goin’ for the gold. Gonna make that money. My plan is to work my sweet little (or big, depending on who you ask) booty off until I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to save all the moola I can in the next two months while dreaming of the future. TRAVEL. That is my main objective. I’m going to travel the WHOLE WORLD! I’m going to see every tiny town, every gigantic mountain, every peep show and dive bar. I’m going to see the BIG people, the tiny tiny little people, the jungle, the snow, the glaciers! I’m going to be the first person in the world to see EVERYTHING.

Well, maybe not quite everything. And maybe not even the whole world, but I know I’m going to see something. And real soon too. Remember that “beautiful, handsome, strong, loving boyfriend” I mentioned earlier? The one I’m leaving behind? Well, I’m going to see him again after my two months of, I’ll be frank, possible tiring hell. He’s coming with. He’s packin’ his bags too and our first travels will be around the US in my tiny Ford Focus and all our camping gear. Needless to say, I’m really excited.

So, I’ll be leaving my home at Kalani Oceanside Retreat center on the Big Island of Hawaii. The place which has lifted my spirits and brought me closer to myself, nature, and my fellow human peers. I love Kalani more than any other place I’ve lived, from the bottom of my toes and extending out my crown chakra. Though, it is time for me to take my departure. Into the scary world of the unknown I will go, where bathing suits are required and papayas probably won’t be served on breakfast platters. Though I will be leaving, I don’t feel like I am leaving anything or anyone behind. Instead, I feel like Kalani will be coming with me on my magical mystery tour. I’m sure it will help guide me to the light when all I can see is darkness, and bring a big smile to my face when I reflect back on my experiences here. Farewell Kalani! See probably in two months!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Tara Pollock

Tara Pollock
Since I arrived at Kalani a little over a month ago, I have felt a surge of creativity flowing through me. Perhaps it is Pele, the Goddess gracing this island, the alive landscape, the people… I can say for sure that I am feeling joy and presence more than ever before and for that I am grateful. This is a poem written in an inspired moment~

Grace bestows bounty to beautify
inner fires stoked by passion,
lessons in creation moving
from sorrow into change…
The harvest has come;
it is time to reclaim the wild.

Inability to constrict means
deep breathing into all aspects
which might have seemed scary.

Don’t want to relay the message
of truth today because
the mosaic keeps shifting
which lifts yet another veil
from my wondering eyes
now wandering the room.

Come from cocoon to full bloom
the butterfly sees far beyond the times,
settled down with transcendence
finding floetic rhythm of expansion
that means more than we know.

Humanness creeps in
deeply blending former selves
as an integration
of beauty and wealth
the abundance is astounding when
the echoes are left
to resound around the room
without pauses.

Actions have set cause into effect,
the sensual revolution
gaining respect with the
checking in of rebellious spirit
reflecting reasons beyond
the seasonal cycles which
predict us all.

We are falling
into realms beyond.

I am blessed out to realize
I know nothing,
humbling bowing before this wave~
a warrior of the heart
emerging from her cave.

- Tara Pollock


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ana Paola Luna Lopez

treeI want to thank you all for being part of my experience here. I know there is nothing casual so if we were here at the same time it was for a reason. I can’t know exactly what reason but I know it is a good one. As Pele, I went with the flow.

You know I’m a city girl and it’s been a great experience to jump from the concrete and asphalt jungle to the real one here on the Big Island. I’ve been here in the middle of the jungle and working in nature made me feel so blessed.

Now I can tell people really are like flowers, all with different shapes and colors and fragrances. The people I had the privilege of knowing better I can further distinguish their special characteristics like those of a flower, the texture, the fragrance and the season of their blossoms. Thank you all for being a part of this beautiful landscape.

You can tell I spend a lot of time weeding… my wrists are not very happy about it, but my soul is! I found so many different kinds of weeds. Some of them stink and are hard to pull. Others are sort of dry and even if they look so hard, they are easily broken. Yet a different kind attach to trees and kill them, and when you are trying to rescue the trees the weeds pinch and hurt your fingers, even with gloves…

Some times we humans are attached that hard to our emotions, beliefs or judgments that even if we mean well we hurt others…

But you know, there is a particular kind of weed, with the shape of a heart, that gently soars around the trees, snuggling with them. They look pretty, at least to my personal taste, like gently exposed roots, green, lovely ribbons that that create a beautiful connection with the earth. I think this is love, we are surrounded by love.

So don’t let bad weeds grow around our dreams, let’s raise them with a heart shape, and do something helpful for the earth and everything that lives on it.

Thank you, Richard, for sharing your dream and project with us. Kalani is like a big banyan tree with many different roots and branches, all creating something beautiful and alive…


Friday, April 3, 2009

Lori Runkle

Lori Runkle That Bewitched and Enchanted Space Between Imagination and Intellect

Presenting ideas through language is something individual writers conjure first in that bewitched and enchanted space between imagination and intellect. The result is a sentence, paragraph or story that becomes a roadmap for leading readers to revelations regarding partially developed thoughts or fully blooming memories churning within.

Haruki Murakami’s short story “Landscape with Flatiron” opened a memory inside of me, an orange and glowing memory of fire builders and bonfires crackling on humid nights in the Field of Dreams on the big island of Hawai’i.

If you search for the Field of Dreams on Google maps, you won’t find it in the middle of the Pacific. It’s a place within a place on an island in a chain of islands.

The Field of Dreams is an open field at the Kalani Oceanside Retreat where volunteers go to talk, relax and gaze into crackling bonfires that have been slowly and precisely built and tended by the men of the landscaping and maintenance departments, burly men with strapping chests and sun-kissed skin. In the sky, the stars perform their nightly dance on twinkling toes as the human beings below spin and twirl to the night’s tropical beat.

In “Landscape with Flatiron,” Murakami explores the social significance of community bonfires, places where people have gathered for centuries to feel the comfort of knowing they were part of something bigger than just themselves. Junko, a young woman in the story, describes standing in front of the fire like this:

“The spread of the flames was soft and gentle, like an expert caress, with nothing rough or hurried about it- their only purpose was to warm people’s hearts. Junko never said much in the presence of the fire. She hardly moved. The flames accepted all things in silence, drank them in, understood, and forgave. A family, a real family, was probably like this, she thought.”

At the same time, Murakami interprets the meaning of fire for human survival when the character, Junko, recalls reading the short story “To Build a Fire” by Jack London.

“As usual, Junko thought about Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.” It was the story of a man traveling alone through the snowy Alaskan interior and his attempts to light a fire. He would freeze to death unless he could make it catch. The sun was going down. Junko hadn’t read much fiction, but that one short story she had read again and again, ever since her teacher had assigned it as an essay topic during the summer vacation of her first year of high school. The scene of the story would always come vividly to mind as she read. She could feel the man’s fear and hope and despair as if they were her own; she could sense the very pounding of his heart as he hovered on the brink of death. Most important of all, though, was the fact that the man was fundamentally longing for death. She knew that for sure. She couldn’t explain how she knew, but she knew it from the start. Death was really what he wanted. He knew that it was the right ending for him. And yet he had to go on fighting with all his might. He had to fight against an overwhelming adversary in order to survive. What most shocked Junko was this deep-rooted contradiction.”

As we all know, human beings are large, walking, talking bundles of contradictory energy, but when we come together around a well-tended fire on a warm island night, the beauty of community nourishes the spirit. The thought of death stands apart momentarily alone and tongue-tied when we humans celebrate our powerful connections to family.

end note: [I am sure a woman could have accepted the job of fire starter smoothly and without a hitch, but during my time at Kalani from December through early March 2009, the celebration of masculinity bubbled forth in front of the inferno.]


Monday, March 9, 2009

David Groth

kavaA recent `Ohana night, our weekly-ish get-together, was the eagerly anticipated kava ceremony hosted by our dear Auntie Lynda and her husband Ama. Lynda is a wonderfully sweet and sexy lady who teaches us lauhala weaving (google it!) and Hawaiian culture. She's very knowledgeable and extremely passionate, and always lots of fun!

Kava, or awa, is a root that is ground up and added to water, filtered out and then shared as a beverage. Traditionally, is tastes like muddy water, especially if you drink the last sip, and ya gotta drink that last sip. It's mildly intoxicating - you get a little giggly, wobbly and a bit numb around the lips, but you stay aware and alert and pleasant. As Lynda says, "it makes the men rough and the women soft".

It was good for meetings amongst the nobles, because you could relax and negotiate without declaring war on everybody all the time.

After getting the kava ready in a large wooden bowl carved out of a single piece of wood by Ama's brother in Tahiti, the task of serving it out in coconut-shell bowls hit a snag - where to find a virgin at Kalani? Or anywhere in the surrounding district? Virgins traditionally serve out the kava, I guess as their own personal offering, whenever people clap their hands together. Later, when I was playing ukulele, I encouraged people to continue clapping for the kava - I need all the applause I can get!!

After designating "serving virgins" (who changed through the evening so that different people could recapture their innocence, and so that we didn't exhaust any individual virgin), we shared laughs and kava and songs and dances. Lynda and Ama performed some traditional dances, Wailana (who teaches us Hawaiian Studies on Monday evenings) danced some hula with Lynda and played my uke a bit, and I played for a while and taught everyone to sing haole songs like "Tiny Bubbles", "Blue Hawaii" and the famous "Hukilau song", which is related to the famous "shaka" symbol (google it!!).

The kava was great for singing. It's mild on the throat, relaxing both physically and emotionally so there was no anxiety about performing, and I think it also made it easier for everyone to relax and sing along.

cliffside ukuleleOur lovely Missy got up and danced hula with Lynda to a Hawaiian song I've learned to play and sing, and even taught to our singing Charlie (see Oct 17, '08 entry). It's called "Holei" and tells about the beauty of Kalapana, the town down the road that once held the most magnificent black sand beach but is now covered in rolling waves of hardened lava. In fact, lava still actively flows to the sea in Kalapana - we can see the plume of steam rising in the distance, and sometimes it glows red with the reflection of the molten earth. Very beautiful and dramatic.

I learned the song from our hula master Kimo and received the music and words from our front desk man, Tim, who not only takes people out on excursions to see the lava but plays Hawaiian music on the ukulele almost exclusively (and quite beautifully). The song is fun and challenging, especially to keep playing it slowly enough for Missy to dance. Charlie sang with me and it felt like a very genuine Hawaiian moment, though none of us are actually Hawaiian by birth (except Kimo, but he wasn't there).

This was one of my most favorite `Ohana nights. It gaves us a chance to experience something cultural together where we shared our talents and our friendship. It was wonderful to see so many members of our Kalani family, from the youngest to the oldest, from under 20 to over 70, laughing and playing and enjoying being together, and doing something that brought us all to the same level of ability - though some of us kept the kava flowing faster than others!

Thanks to Lynda and Ama for the kind hospitality and wonderful memories. I gotta get back into the weaving classes. Lynda is so much fun.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Susan Terravecchia

Aloha Kalani,

lanaiI was a volunteer at Kalani Honua in 1996 for three months. I don't think I ever thanked you for providing such a wonderful and intense experience, so "thank you!" now!

It was life changing, and I can't imagine now, being 40, married with two little kids, looking back and not having the Kalani experience as something that helped shape
who I am.

Hopefully when the kids are older, I will be back one day.

Susan Terravecchia
From Boston, now Sydney Australia