Authored by: 
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.