Hey yo, your little sister will now decree
that Kalani Kalani is the place to be
It took a long strange trip to get me here
and I'm-a tell the story so lend an ear
I'm a gypsy pirate kinda ballerina
started trekking this land at age nineteen
About five months in I needed new direction
so I found a spot for some self-reflection
in the Gumboot Cafe, Robert's Creek
It was so fortuitous that I should meet
Ambassador John Paul, he knew what I needed
and his advice, I had to heed it:
"Kalani, Kalani, they're throwing down right now
ain't just a retreat, girl, it's an Ohana!
Keep ya bags packed, gonna love it, you'll see
when you get your butt down to Hawaii."
I was fancy free and so footloose
moving down south like the Canada Goossen
Washington, Oregon, Califor-nye-aye,
I was making new friends most every day.
Made Frisco baby, and lived in a van
with some musical soulmates, doing the can-can.
Hellos and goodbyes all blurring together,
Hell no, you can't reach me but I'll write you a letter
from Honolulu, mama, Waikiki
you'll find me hustlin' tourists and turning Japanese
for a bit, until I renounce all this
and take a little sojourn into consciousness
spent ten days as a nun, day and night
splayed out my hipbones and my insight
but by day ten I was screaming for more,
motored to Sundance, and I hit the floor.
Kalani Kalani! I came sight unseen,
didn't know I'd be living in luxury!
All these beautiful faces and nubile nubs
sipping OG juices in hot tubs
"Cool down mama, don't set up your tent,
we got half a room for you to circumvent.
And hey, what's that what's that ya say?
Ain't just desserts, it's dessert buffet!"
So merci beaucoup, powers that be,
nosotros tenemos suerte d'esta aqui.
Any way I say man, you oughta know
the sentiment is Aloha and Mahalo.
Kalani Honua Blog
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Hey yo, your little sister will now decree
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Zen. Sublimity. There are few words to conjure the world of Kalani Honua, a place of rhythms and life. Fortunate are the happy souls who come here, intermingle, and experience such contact with earth, air, volcanic fire, and water-- the ocean and the waterfalls, and the pools of clear healing water. People here connect to the land in a holistic way difficult to imagine on the mainland of the U.S. Everything flows in a harmony that resonates in those who live and work here.
It is easy to photograph the flowers, the pristine beaches, the steam from Kiluea, from Pele. It is easy to imagine, to recall, the joy of sitting in the swing pictured here, gazing at the ocean for whales, for the spume as they catch their breath, dolphins, black crabs scurrying over the black lava rocks. Life is exquisite here, like a rare orchid. The lizard on the sunny sill has found enlightenment.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Aquaponics is the buzzword around Kalani these days. When I moved to Kalani a year ago, I had never even heard of the word, and now, I seem to be the local expert.
It all started in Kalani’s drive to become more sustainable on this island that currently imports 90% of its consumables. Gardens to feed the guests, volunteers, and staff that number between one and two hundred at any given meal were an obvious place to put our energy. There’s only one problem … living on a part of the island that was flowing lava as recently as a hundred years ago, there is very little soil to grow in. While considering trucking in soil which hardly seemed sustainable, my boss discovered a system of farming being developed in the Virgin Islands that not only did not need soil, but produced fish to eat as well….Aquaponics.
The word AQUAPONICS is a combination of AQUACULTURE which is the raising fish, and HYDROPONICS which is the growing of plants in nutrient filled water instead of soil. Aquaponics marries these complimentary forms of food production into a stable ecosystem that solves many of the problems that occur when each is practiced independently.
When I heard Kalani was interested in exploring this new food producing technology, I knew I was the person to do it. After leaving my engineering profession 4 years ago for the simple island life, I had been missing the challenge of problem solving and experimentation that had been such a part of my every day life on the mainland. Combined with my knowledge of fish and filter design from working at an aquarium store in my youth with my more recent interest in gardening and sustainability, I began a project that has brought me more joy from creating than I ever felt in my whole engineering career.
I researched ways people were doing Aquaponics locally and on the internet, primarily influenced by Friendly Aquaponics located here on the big island. It became apparent that the size system required to supply our kitchen’s demand for 900 pounds a month of greens would be a bit risky to jump right into. We decided on something much smaller to prove the concept and started construction in November. Due to the thorough training from Friendly Aquaponics as well as the simplicity of the design, things went very smoothly and we had our first harvest in early February. There is still much experimentation and learning to be done before we stop buying greens for the kitchen, but plans for a first stage of expansion are already underway.
I’d like to acknowledge Barcus Adams, Richard Koob, Stuart Blackburn, and especially Tim Mann and Suzanne Friend at Friendly Aquaponics (www.friendlyaquaponics.com) all of whom were instrumental in this project’s success. Thank you for bringing joy and gratification back into my work life.
Note: You can read more about Jacob's aquaponics adventures at his blog: http://aquaponics.totallytuft.com
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I came to Kalani with about 10 books to read, but I never got past the first one. I was always happily distracted doing other things. There was always plenty of great conversations to have at the Lanai, by the pool, just walking around doing our work, everywhere. Last night I had a great conversation with two great friends Joe and Davey, and a stranger who quickly became a friend.
These final days have been a rollercoaster of emotions, and that conversation help me see it all. Closure. It brought closure to my experience here.
I’ve been taught here what it takes to be happy, and the importance to be true to ourselves in our quest for love. All of you are part of me and happiness and gratitude embodies me for it.
No book can contain what we live here.
Learn from each other.
Share with each other your soul.
Open your heart and allow life into it.
I take you all of you and what we shared with me.
Even if I wasn’t very close, or without even talking to me, you where able to give me a lesson. ACCEPTANCE is the biggest lesson I learned. To accept ourselves as we are true to our deep solid and pure emotions.
Thank you all.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Dearest Kalani Ohana-
Not one usually at a loss for words, I struggle to vocalize what my heart and soul feels. My time at Kalani is sacred to me, it transforms me, nourishes me, strengthens me, and fills me with blissful peace. The land serenades me with her gorgeous elegance, Pele humbles me, and each and every one of you touches me with your unique beauty.
I am blessed to have found you, to have experienced you, to have been loved by you. Mahalo to each smile, each hug, each sunrise, each sunset, each spray of salty ocean mist, and every moment of my time in your presence. You are all a rainbow of hope to me, thank you for filling my heart with your sunshine...I miss you. I love you.
I dedicate this poem to you, to Kalani, to my renewed sense of life, and to every person who knows that miracles do happen...Kalani as my guide and you as my encouragement and support. Nearly lost, I have found my spirit once again.
Clouds thicken and suffocate her empty heart like smoke in a lonely bar
Desperate, unheard, the soul leaves her temple
Lost and alone, droplets of rain fall like weights in her psyche
Emotions seep in, her portal of pain is flung open
Vulnerable, raw...it hurts
Fearful but curious, she reaches deep to find a flicker of hope
Soon blazing like a campfire flame, energy begins to pump through her veins
Churning, burning, there is life
The clouds clear, the rain ceases, sun breaks through
Her heart blossoms like a flower at dawn
A full rainbow emerges, she steps into her light
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Everyday at Kalani (ka lani, heaven) on the Big Island of Hawai’i is perfect, but some days are more perfect than others and today is one such day.
Saturday and the second day of the new year and a new decade started out as usual; always a good day for revitalizing mind, body and spirit. My day begins with Wuji gong (chi gung) for an hour, which finishes with free form movement - following one’s own chi; always powerful for me. After a quick half hour breakfast comes restorative yoga, which takes away all the aches and stiffness from my weekly work shifts in the kitchen; this week more wearying than usual with New Year’s Eve taking the majority of staff leaving us short staffed for the two morning shifts either side. This left me spent and drained of energy, so there was a lot of restoring to do. There was a bigger difference to this Saturday in store for me today.
Ten minutes into the Restorative Yoga class, I heard what sounded like whale song; listening more closely it sounded like a circular or chain saw. December sees the return of the whales around the islands when they seek warmer climes after Alaska, where they feed. They come here to breed and frolic. There have been many sighting in the past few weeks.
Although the sound I was hearing was not whale song, I took it as a message that the whales were waiting for me. I had not yet sited whales in Hawai’i and I had a strong urge to leave the class after 10 minutes, but stayed the two hours because my body needed it. Then unquestioning I walked to The Point a short distance away. First I saw some small charcoal grey crabs scurrying about on the rocks below. They wore perfect camouflage, blending in perfectly with the smooth rocks; their movement caught my eye. Initially I thought I might climb down to watch them, good sense prevailed when I realized that I probably would not be able to climb back up. The Point is a rocky cliff.
Returning to my purpose, I made my way to sit on the bench and gaze out at the sea to whale watch and immediately saw what looked like an upturned boat with the bottom just surfacing the water not far from the shoreline. I felt troubled and looked closely to make out exactly what it was, looking for other debris. To my surprise, even though they had called me, I saw two noses surface, spouts from blow holes and then a tail twice coming out of the water. What I thought was a boat had been the back of a whale. How exciting to spot my first whales; yet, there was more to come.
After restorative yoga I feel completely relaxed and at peace, so I was in the perfect frame of mind to sit and watch for a long spell. Now I knew what to look for, so I scanned the surface of the water in different directions and spotted them again far off near the horizon, spouting and flashing their tails. I noticed that the surface of the water tended to be disturbed when the whales were in a particular area and then changed when they moved on. Other areas looked disturbed more permanently and these were indications of rocks just below the surface. So a gazed out to sea with this in mind studying the movements of the water. I have come to accept my ‘knowings’ when they occur and these come more frequently here; one came that said ‘Third time lucky’ (an English expression) – wait and you will see them breach. This is a far less common sight, what I had seen so far being more typical.
After sitting awhile more without any activity, I stood up to get a better vantage point to look along the shoreline to the left. It was difficult to see in this direction from the bench. A palm tree stands on the edge with a trunk the bends out towards the ocean. This made a perfect leaning post for my body with my arm wrapped around it – so cozy. Now I can clearly see a group of whales close to the shore further down spouting away through their blowholes. One breaches, then two together, then another and another, while a gazed on in perfect wonder, gasping with choked sighs of WOW, WOW, WOW and again WOW; the tears nearly falling from my eyes – yet not quite, it would blur my vision. The soft grateful emotional wows were followed by thank yous and mahalos. What a perfect gift for the New Year and the New Decade; a gift from Na-maka-o-ka-hai, Pele's older sister, who belongs to the powers of the sea.
According to the legends: Na-maka-o-ka-hai, a sea-goddess, as a result of family trouble, became Pele's most bitter enemy, fighting her with floods of water. Thus the original household represented the two eternal enemies, fire and water. Some say that the two sisters, Pele of the fire and Na-maka-o-ka-hai of the sea have now made peace with each other.
I walk in a dream for the rest of the day feeling in awe, truly an awesome sight; that word is far too overused, when to be in awe is not commonplace. I am perfectly blessed on this most perfect of all perfect days.
Mahalo nui loa, Na-maka-o-ka-hai
Marilyn Hammill (Volunteer & Kalani Mauka Steward)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I will call it a blur
But it has meant more than that
I've been dropping
Pieces of my past
Layer of my hands
Sometimes, my heart
Groves in the coral
Colors in the sky
Hints of pain, in every pupil
Wait for a wave
Break the surface
In every face
My shoes at the door
Among other things
Revising the plan
Using an eraser
To sharpen today's picture
Shavings of cruelty
From the page
How beautiful we are
When we're destroyed
How many hands it takes
To put one person
Saturday, January 9, 2010
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
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
I’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.