Saying "Yes" to Kalani

Authored by: 
William Buchholz, M.D., Los Altos, California

The author Dr William Buchholz with his wife Dr Susan Buchholz during their stay on Hawaii's Big Island

Saying "Yes" to Kalani

I was captured within an hour. My friend picked me up at the airport and described all the wonders of Kalani on the 40-minute drive.

Even as I checked in I sensed a difference within minutes. I recognized the change that came from being in a heavenly space, for that is what Kalani means, “heaven on earth.”

My idea of heaven is being with a loving, accepting family, being nurtured and cared for, and being perfectly safe and at ease. Maybe “Peace,” with a capital P could be a shorter description.

As day became evening we walked the grounds. The sense of life was overwhelming. So many plants cohabited with each other, vines of philodendron enfolded trees up to 50 ft tall. Individual Ti and bromeliads were everywhere, as uniquely different from each other as humans.

I cannot come close to describing the flowers. I have never seen such shapes and colors before. Each stem seemed arranged in a massive bouquet. Each bloom presented itself for sex, seducing insects to pollinate them, starting the next generation.

The volcanic rock beneath my feet was alive, too. In its own fashion, created by lava flows over the centuries, the living earth revealed itself. There were smooth black rocks, some with glistening satin surfaces, others worn to a matte finish by longer exposure to wind and water. In other areas there were fields of sharp black rock, pock-marked by the bubbles of trapped volcanic gas. Brittle edges had broken and created knife-sharp fields impossible to walk upon. Whatever shape, there was always the memory of the living volcano that formed them.

And binding plant and rock together was a community of individuals who lived, played, and prayed together at Kalani. It was the 'people energy' I felt initially. This energy permeated me on deeper and deeper levels as I began to understand the intricacies of the human organism that had been created here.

There were rules but no boundaries. There was the freedom to say ”yes” to experience and welcome new friends and sensations openheartedly. There was the freedom to say “no” to the hold of lives lived before encountering this heaven, Kalani.

I heard countless stories of people who came for a week or month and stayed for years. One woman spoke of a dream to be more creative that was realized as she understood she could leave her old job. Another told of his search after retiring for the “next thing” so he could bring his skills and experience to serve another purpose. One man who found that his hands could heal was drawn to leave the mainland and work here, supporting his family and infant daughter.

In such a short time I made my decision, too. I wanted to give back to this place, this jungle, this family. I imagined and felt the smile God must have shown at His Creation when he said, “This is good.” 

I am drawn here because of the peace, the beauty, and the life that is present. I doubt I will abandon my mainland home and life to move here as so many others have done. I know the peace I felt is within, available to me by saying “yes” to it. And I also know I can come back to Kalani to remind me and hear the chorus of yes, once again.