Kalani Honua Blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Andrew "Ellard" Resignato

Andrew “Ellard” Resignato has served as a chef at Kalani and in our Housekeeping volunteer program. Ellard's a nationally recognized speaker on health, a journalist for the Fog City News, and the host of a cooking show called the "Culinary Edge" which airs weekly in San Francisco on Channel 29 and on Na Leo ‘O Hawaii on the Big Island. Ellard has been in our community for years and recently shared this for Monday Morning Inspiration -

Ellard's 8 S’s for Happiness - 

1. Sleep - Sleeping is my drug, my bed is the dealer, and the alarm clock is the police.

2. Sun - That bright ball in the sky gives us life. Meet it at least once a day.

People who don’t get enough sunlight have altered cellular defence mechanisms that predispose them to excessive inflammation, which can result in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma and skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. A little sunlight can reduce the numbers of the activated cells that lead to inflammation, and so the risk of getting these diseases.

3. Sustenance - good food, sourced well and prepared with joy and gratitude is nurturing to body and soul. 

Our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.

We are extremely lucky to be eating good food and I feel blessed to have been a chef here for over a year and half. The Kalani kitchen has taught me a lot about food and more about life. 

4. Sex - “Sex lies at the root of life, and we can never learn to reverence life until we know how to understand sex” -Oscar Wilde

Woody Allen said "Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions."

Do it with yourself and others! Be safe and respect boundaries without shame for your kinks, we all have them. Sex is a beautiful, messy, and zesty enterprise. Go get it. 

5. Sounds - Music and nature, the world is talking to you. Listen and sing along.

William Shakespeare said “Listening, is nothing less than our ‘royal route’ to the Divine.” There's a lot of great things to listen to around here.

6. Silliness - Embrace the lightness of the absurd. Humor is the medicine for the heaviness of life) Like Dougy I says, “Embrace it. Stay open to it.”

7. Surf or Swim -

JFK said - "We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to swim – we are going back from whence we came…"

"When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused." - Rainer Maria Rilke

8. Spirit - Whatever lights you up and gets you excited about living. Embrace love, presence, wonder, and if your spirit is suffering make a change.

I want to thank you for the support, humor, nourishment, encouragement, challenges and love you have given me. 

I am proud to call you my Ohana. 

Mahalo nui loa,



* Photographs taken by Matt Bulger


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Stephanie Juris
Thanksgiving - a time to be with family  and friends; your chosen or the ones you were raised with. It’s time to connect and give thanks for all the abundance in ones life. This past Thanksgiving - a group of individuals gathered together to take part in “Designing for Abundance: A Thanksgiving Permaculture Course” hosted at Kalani. Many participants were current Kalani volunteers while some made the trek from Alaska, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
Each participant challenged their minds by embracing the 12 Permaculture Principles and applying them to each question and topic that was raised. 
1. Observe and Interact – 
“Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
2. Catch and Store Energy – 
“Make hay while the sun shines”
By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
3. Obtain a yield – 
“You can’t work on an empty stomach”
Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – 
“The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – 
“Let nature take its course”
Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
6. Produce No Waste – 
“Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
7. Design From Patterns to Details – 
“Can’t see the forest for the trees”
By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – 
“Many hands make light work”
By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – 
“Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
10. Use and Value Diversity – 
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – 
“Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – 
“Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.  
The sustainability concepts that were presented ranged from designing kitchen garden to understand efficient ways to city plan. Upon completion of a group project - participants received and internationally recognized design certificate.
Classes were held from 9AM to 5PM each day, breaking for various meals and opportunities to groups to meet and discuss their projects. Some class days the course took field trips to places off Kalani property. One was to the the homestead of Lyn Howe and her husband Geoff  Rauch. The duo have worked for the past 13 years to create Beach Road Farm, an off-grid, diversified  eco-farm in lower Puna growing 2.5 acres of fruit & nut trees, spices, culinary and medicinal herbs, vegetables and for the past 7 years, a small aquaponics system.
Another trip was taken down the Red Road to Tracy Matfin’s home - La’akea. The organic farm practices tropical permaculture in a lush rainforest climate. Tracey and her community grow many kinds of fruits and nuts, and have extensive gardens and greenhouses, taro beds and orchards. They also keep bees, chickens, rabbits and sheep who are their natural lawn mowers in addition to providing food and fertilizer!
The course explored a variety of topics throughout the two weeks such as: pattern recognition, natural building, compost & humane, rain harvesting & catchment, as well as eco-village design and community building. See the rest of these photos in our Facebook album.
Interested in earning your Permaculture Design Certificate or learning more about permaculture at Kalani? Take a Look at the La’akea Community website to see any upcoming workshops and as well as keeping an eye on Kalani’s upcoming permaculture classes! You can also see our educational videos that we share on our YouTube page!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kalani Honua

Aloha Community Member,

Mahalo for your generous donation to The Market at Kalani. At this point, we have completed the return of all membership donations and 80% of individual donations. If you have not yet received your donation you will by the end of this week. Again, mahalo for this gift.

The inspiration and vision for The Market at Kalani was a response to Hurricane Iselle and a need for a food hub in Lower Puna in the case of future isolating events. However, given our Land Use Commission designation, we were not able to move forward with this project as originally planned.

As a new venture, The Market at Kalani will be included in our application to the Land Use Commission, which we are in the process of submitting. As a community, we have been working on the LUC project for five years. The review process will take a minimum of six months.

In the meantime, we will be reopening Hale Aloha, where we will offer Kalani-made food and drink on our WiFi-accessible lanai. And, we have great news!

The lanai at Hale Aloha
The lanai at Hale Aloha

To continue with our initial vision of providing a food hub in Lower Puna, we are excited to announce a new partnership with The Food Basket, Inc., Hawaiian Island's Food Bank. The Food Basket,"Ho`olaha Ka Hua-" or "Da Box", distributes farm direct, island wide produce to our community once a week. Da Box will be available to EBT recipients in an effort to create pathways to nutritious, high-quality foods.

Delicious produce from our local farmers

Our next communication will be to invite everyone to the reopening of Hale Aloha and to distribute information for the start date of the Da Box, www.hawaiifoodbasket.org/.

We are pleased to be able to offer this to the community and look forward to moving forward with the vision of a food hub at Kalani.


Kalani Honua Management Staff
Kalani Honua Inc.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Stephanie Juris

Here in Puna - we are blessed (no hashtag needed) with an abundance of healthy activities, drinks and foods at our fingertips. We've got our famous "Buddha" bowls, a bountiful salad bar (with Kalani-made dressings, hehe) - and a decent population of volunteers who have their own supplements they take everyday.

Ailene loves herself some mango - picked fresh that morning.

Take a walk through the lanai and it's likely you'll pass by at least a handfull of people who are yoga practioners, have taken part in a Vipassina medition, and are just as passionate about the joys of being healthy as I am.

If you've eaten a meal with me - or have spent any amount of time chit-chatting about food stuffs, you may have heard about my love for probiotics. Balancing out those healthy floras and faunas that lie within our digestive system is a passion of mine. Through kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and fermented veggies - I love it all. Now, I AM NOT A MEDICIAL PROFESSIONAL - but having said that, have you ever thought about what your belly may trying to be saying to you?

Let me start with the basics.

Probiotics are good for us - we naturally have them within our bodies environment. Probiotics are microorganisms (microflora) that live in our intestines. They are good bacterias that aid with proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and contribute immesly to healthy immune functioning. Probiotics tell the bad bacteria to buzz off - and protect us from disease, infection, and inflammation.

Interested in finding out if adding additional probiotics is something you should be doing? Do you find yourself feeling stressed? This could translate into many things: dry skin, an itchy scalp, breakouts - even nightmares! For many of us, stress lies within our gut.

Still not sure?

Here's even more insight - trust your gut on this one (wink, wink)

1. Antibiotics: Antibiotics translates to "anti-life" - the exact opposite of probiotic, which means "pro-life". If you've taken a round of antibiotics, you've killed off bacteria within your body - antibiotics don't know the difference between good and bad bacterias - consider a probiotic to reintroduce the healthy flora back into your body.

2. Food Posioning: If you recently had a bout of food posioning, or eaten something that didn't agree with you - there is a good chance that bad bacteria is still lingering around your body. Taking a probiotic will fight off these bad guys and get your cycles normalized!

3. Candida and Yeast Infections: These are both a good indicator that there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria within the body. The best way to bring it into alignment - no, not a coffee... Probiotics! They'll crowd out the bad bacteria, helping to reinvigorate the healthy stuffs.

4. Mood Swings: Feeling stressed? Anxious? Irritable? It could be because your intestional flora is out of whack. Start using probiotics to balance the flora, this will improve your neurotransmitters (ya know, the things that send you happy messages in your brain!) thus resulting in a happy mindset.

There you have it people - Probiotics = Happiness!

Feeling a little rumbly in the tumbly? Let me share a kombucha recipe that is so simple - you can make it in the jungle! (But, really - we did make it in the jungle...)

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. It has natural effervescene that's packed with healthy bacteria, minerals, and vitamins - all great for your guts. Kombucha has roots back in China - specifically the Qin Dynasty (!) in 220 BCE with record of traveling to Russia and then bubbling its way to health-conscious communities in the 1970's. You can find kombucha in health food stores, all over - that being said, it's super simple to make.

JUNGLE BOOCH - (yields about a gallon)

Supplies Needed:
• 3 1/2 quarts of water
• 8 black, green, or a mix of tea bags - we used black tea
• 1 cup organic sugar - the sugar is for the culture to consume
• 2 cups 'starter tea' from last 'booch batch (if you don't have this, grab an "Original" kombucha from your favorite health food store)
• A SCOBY! - SCOBY is an ancronym standing for, "Symbolic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast" Ask your kombucha-brewing friends for one or make your own!

Scooping out booch into sterilized glasses.

1. Steep tea in boiling water with sugar added, then cool.
2. Sterilize a container.
3. Add your SCOBY (it'll look all slimy, remember it's alive! Handle with care.) If you don't have a SCOBY, add your bottle of booch to create your own.
4. Cover and let sit for 7-10 days. Then add you own deliciousness. Keep your original SCOBY and scoop out some 'booch into other sterilized, glass bottles. Ailene and I got together this past weekend and added some added tastiness to the booch she was already creating.
5. Enjoy!

Ginger, Lemon, Turmeric

To see more picture - check out the album on our Facebook page!

Interested in learning more about the wonderful world of probiotics? Check out some of the things Sandor Katz, fermentation expert, is up to. Also - if you're a volunteer at Kalani, make sure to get some of Charles' famous 'kimchi' on the salad bar!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ali Slous

"Yoga is the study of balance, and balance is the aim of all living creatures. It is our home" - Rolf Gates

How do you find balance?
The autumnal equinox marks a powerful shift in the cycles of time, heralding the transition from summer to fall in the Northern Hemisphere and winter to spring in the Southern Hemisphere. No matter where you live on the planet, day and night are experienced as equal. This energy reminds us: everything in nature returns to balance.

In our yoga practice, we can honor this turning point by attempting a balancing pose, such as Vrksasana (Tree Pose). As we emulate the tree, growing our roots down into the earth, strengthening our trunk, and reaching our branches up to the sky, we proclaim our place in this universe. Part cosmic being and part earthly mammal; our existence is at once both a mystery and a miracle.

The tree also reminds us that for everything there is a time and a season. In spring, the tree flowers, and in fall, she lets her leaves go and prepares for the winter season ahead. Likewise, everything we experience in life has a natural beginning, middle, and end. The more we approach life's natural transitions with equanimity and even joy, the easier we grow.

Ka Lā Hiki Ola - The Dawning of a New Day 

Ka lā hiki ola is a Hawaiian phrase that translates as "the dawning of a new day." As explained in Rosa Say's 19 Values of Aloha, ka lā hiki ola invokes a sense of hope and optimism for the future. The word hiki itself means "can do" - a powerful affirmation that a positive outlook generates positive results. According to Say, ka lā hiki ola is often coupled with kēia manawa - meaning here and now. Together, these concepts imply that the promise of a bright and abundant tomorrow can only be harnessed today. 

Our lives are set against a backdrop of constant change. Each day, we are given another opportunity to practice creating balance with hopeful anticipation for a bright and fruitful future. 

- Ha'wina Hawai'i is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Monday, September 28, 2015

Tiki DeGenaro

Aloha, ‘Ohana,

For those of you I haven’t met yet my name is Tiki and I serve as Kalani’s General Manager. I came as a volunteer 9.5 years ago and my anniversary as Gen Mgr is coming up on seven years in a couple weeks. Welcome and a big “e komo mai !” to the new members of this community. We are so pleased to share our community and retreat center with you. My advice is usually “This place is awesome, be sure to try everything!” But I’d like to add to this: I’d like to invite you to enjoy yourself, make the most of it, really get into it, make it count, and experience the gift of service which will support any path you seek. To me, it’s a blessing to live in this jungle paradise as the back-drop for the opportunity to grow, to learn, to share, and to increase your relationship to yourself and to nature, which for me is a great teacher. Living in community is a vibrant, dynamic setting and it brings both challenges and growth as we have learned, we are all reflections of each other.

Tiki in 2009

On Friday, September 18th - all Kalani Board members voted to have me play the role of interim Executive Director for one month as we re-group to continue to serve our community, ourselves, and retreat center. I am honored to play this interim role, I will give it my heart and soul, but I have no intentions to apply for this position. Along with the Board, I will soon plan the process for filling this position. A favorite quote by CS Lewis applies to this time - “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” -C.S. Lewis Those words: “IMUA” -- move forward, it’s always been my favorite Hawaiian word. One of the projects in the future is to have a new meeting space, not only for classes and events but for performing arts and its name will be “The IMUA Center”. To me, it’s an affirmation of life, it’s an affirmation of the gratitude for life that we are given with the gift of each breath, each heartbeat, to move forward. But how do we move forward with gratitude for this life? To move forward is to move forward in aloha, with compassion, faith, hope, and trust. I believe that our community is all committed and are re-committed to being one ‘ohana and supporting each other and doing our best to move forward.

Tiki this last September, 2015 celebrating her birthday

I once asked someone who was here for many years: “If for whatever reason you left Kalani, what would be the ONE – just the one thing you’d miss the most?” His answer surprised me but when I thought about it I realized it was true and it was wonderful. He said “The one thing I’d miss most is watching the tremendous experience, the tremendous change a person experiences here at Kalani in just one week.” In just one week. We are so fortunate, we have more than just one week, we have many weeks or many months or many years to bask in Kalani Honua, this heaven-on-earth. I’m reminding myself and all of you to enjoy, to give, to share, to be the best you can be, and to live and experience aloha, a way of living a love-filled life. So, my dear community - mahalo for letting me share, let’s help each other remember, and let’s IMUA, move forward in aloha.

Tiki Degenaro


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stephanie Juris

So you’ve "found yourself here." Here meaning - Kalani, one of the ten best yoga retreats in the United States. Congratulations – Kalani’s expansive campus provides an inspiring environment to educate, grow, and learn while exploring one of the world’s most exotic tropical islands. 

Hawai‘i Island – known to some as “the healing island” - will transform your life by revitalizing your appreciation for history, culture, and nature. Take some time to experience Hawai‘i Island’s most breathtaking destinations, while renewing your mind, body and soul. Here's a few of our favorite destinations to explore:

• Love floating amongst tropical fish in stunning turquoise bodies of water? You'll love it even more when you discover that the Kapoho Tide Pools are a 20-minute ride down the Red Road from Kalani. There's a myriad of bright fish hiding in the coral, so you'll want to rent some snorkel equipment ($5) from Guest Services. The area is open to the public and you'll want to spend at least a couple hours exploring the ocean. The Hawaiian name, 'Kapoho', means 'the depression' referring to the many salt-water filled depressions (tidal pools). The inviting, clear waters are floored with lava rock, so watch your step! 14-5134 Alapai Point Road Kapoho, HI 96778

• Dance to the beat of your own drum at Ecstatic Dance. E-dance is an amazing opportunity to give gratitude through movement. You'll be invited to open your heart and mind as you move your body to the transformational beats of Kalani’s spectacular guest DJs. The community dances together every Sunday from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm. Kalani, 12-6860 Kalapana-Kapoho Beach Road Pahoa, HI 96778

• You'll hear the phrase, "E Ho Mai" pretty often, which is the local way of saying: "Let it come, let it flow." Visit Uncle Robert's Awa Bar in Kalapana on a Wednesday night and learn how Pele's lava flow created a remarkable shift from fear to gratitude, for the locals. In 1990, Kalapana was devastated by lava flow, destroying over 180 homes. Remarkably, the land on which Uncle Robert's stands was left untouched. Uncle Robert and his family decided to open up the property to visitors as an offering of appreciation to local farmers, merchants, and guests. See the powerful black lava fields and walk out to Coconut Beach by day – then, return on Wednesday nights for dancing, live Hawai‘ian music, and celebration! Come hungry and sample brick-oven pizza or local BBQ, followed by  a relaxing kava to slow down to island pace. There is plenty of ono kine (good food) to be enjoyed! End of Hwy 137, South End of Kalapana-Kapoho Road, Kalapana, HI 96778

The abundant offering of fresh, local food and handmade crafts at Hawai‘i's farmers markets will have you feeling like you've won the lottery. Hawai‘i's markets are often referred to as the "gems of the island," where you'll get an opportunity to support farmers, mingle with the locals, and taste some of the local fare. Lucky for you, the Big Island has a different market nearly every day of the week! A few highlights include:

Hilo Farmer's Market, Wednesdays and Saturdays 6:00 am - 4:00 pm

Come out and support the community! Market favorite? The Thai food! Make sure to grab a dish for lunch; the green papaya salad with toasted peanuts is a local favorite. Corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street

Maku‘u Farmers Market, Sundays 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Try the "Raw Vegan Cashew Shake." Seriously. Prepare to be amazed at how delectable something so healthy can be. You'll be energized with super food nutrients for hours; it's the perfect post yoga treat! Keaau-Pahoa Bypass Road Pahoa, HI 96778

Outer Space Farmer's Market at Uncle Robert's Awa Club, Saturdays 7:00 am - 12:00 pm

Roberts, there are plenty of vendors selling artwork, clothing, delicious kombucha on-tap, handmade jewelry, and ono food. End of Hwy 137, South End of Kalapana-Kapoho Road, Kalapana, HI 96778

• At the base of some rocky cliffs, and behind a hedge of coconut trees lies Kehena Beach. About a mile and a half from Kalani, Kehena is known for its black sand beach, welcoming community and fabulous Sunday drum circles. Kehena was voted one of Island Magazine's, "Top 10 Secluded Beaches". If you're looking for a magical setting for yoga, come early for sun salutations. Ditch your mat and feel the black sand beach beneath your feet. Make sure to keep eye out for dolphins and whales! Mile Marker 19, Hwy 137 Pahoa, HI 96778

• Body surfing anyone? Head to Pohoiki Bay! Pohoiki’s black sand beach is perfect for soaking up some sun, snorkeling, and testing the surf. Soothe any sore yoga muscles with the healing waters. The current may be strong, so use your best judgment before diving in. 13-101 Kalapana Kapoho Beach Road, Pahoa, HI 96778

• Many say the diversity of scenery during Kilauea Iki's 3-mile hike is "otherworldly." The trek takes you through an ancient rainforest and across a newly paved lava-crater then back through the rainforest. Stop along the trail for some crater meditation that will have you feeling grounded and rooted. Take a picnic lunch and a group of friends, this is an experience to not be missed! Kilauea Iki Crater Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i 96778

• Hawai‘i is home to some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, and Akaka Falls is definitely one of them. Enjoy a self-guided 0.4-mile hike (though it's more like a moving meditation) through lush, tropical vegetation. You'll come face to face with bamboo groves, ferns, and wild orchids within the rainforest before you get to the 442-foot Akaka Falls. The only cost is the $1 parking fee, which goes toward maintaining the pristineness of the park. Take a journal; once you see the falls you'll be overcome with inspiration. Akaka Falls State Park Honomu, HI 96728

Hawai‘i and yoga go hand-in-hand, and you'll be amazed at the diversity both offer. Let nature be your guide as you discover what lies in the island’s abundant gardens, cultural sites, delicious food, and community. Deepen your practice as you discover more about yourself through the magic of Hawai‘i.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Ali Slous

"We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released." - Jean Houston 

Do you practice self-care? 

Rather than attend to our individual needs, we often deplete our energy reserves fulfilling others' demands to gain approval. When we go into approval-seeking mode - completing an action in order to receive praise or reward - we reinforce to the universe that we are somehow incomplete; that we need something outside of ourselves to feel good. The effects of this pattern are cumulative over time, creating a well-being "deficit" and holding a pattern of lack in place.

Thankfully, this deficit can be addressed with a simple yet profound solution: self-care. Self-care requires us to know ourselves deeply and to identify our own needs. This can be challenging for those of us who are natural caregivers. We may inquire: What are my needs? How can I ensure that the wells of my mind, body, and spirit are filled?

We can (re)embark upon our self-care journey by asking these questions and then paying attention to the answers that follow - in inspired thoughts, conversations, and in nature - all part of a living mirror that reflects the information we seek. We may also gain clarity around the very patterns that prevent us from feeling our best; but do not be deterred. Consciously recognizing these detrimental patterns is the first step to dissolving them. 
Ultimately, we must shift into a space of abundance to magnetize what we want, including radiant health and well-being. This begins when we realize: only when we are nourished on our deepest internal levels, are we able to serve others to our highest ability. 

Ha'awina Hawai'i • Ninau - To Ask Questions

Ninau is a Hawaiian word that means to inquire or ask questions. In La'au Lapa'au - Hawaiian Healing - ninau is considered one of several methods that apply to the healing process, including akaku(intuition) and nana (observation). According to local healer and plant medicine expert, Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva, ninau is one of the seven Hawaiian ways of knowing. 

As we contemplate self-care, we can invoke ninau, asking questions with an inquiring mind and a curious spirit. Try harnessing your innate healing ability by closing your eyes, visualing a triangle and seeing your radiantly healthy and happy self at the center. 

- Ha'wina Hawai'i is our monthly celebration of Hawaiian culture and language -


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stephanie Juris

Even as I sit down to write this blog piece, my inner-critic is already having a field day -

"You're writing an article telling people to be vulnerable? What gives you the right? Who made you an expert at giving people advice when you can't even take care of yourself?"

My inner-critic and I have a really close relationship, we thrive on two things; insecurities and poor self-worth. I've realized that I want to change all this and I'm desperate to find a way how. Even over the last few years I've become closed-off and guarded. Even my close friends I keep at a distance; I seldomly break down and if I do, I feel exposed and uncomfortable.

I recently returned to Kalani, my happy place, my island in the sun. I figured that maybe it was my East Coast life that was hardening my spirit. A trip back to the space I love so much would open my heart. And it has. In ways that I could not foresee.

I became sick shortly after arriving. My usually-healthy self played host to a slew of different (and scary) bacterias; soon I was taking more wellness days then I had, collectively, in previous years. I broke down in meetings with leadership, cried in my tent, cried to my mom, cried to anyone who would watch me cry. I felt confused, hopeless, and lost.

Taking antibiotics, having to stay in seperate housing, not being able to swim, all had a direct impact on my mood. I felt like maybe I've made a wrong choice in coming back, that maybe these sicknesses are a sign that I'm not meant to be here.

Timing couldn't have been more perfect. I joined a workshop faciliated by our Personal Development Manager focusing on Brene Brown's TED talk on vulnerability (now, as I'm typing this, I have goosebumps, I'm realizing the sychronicities are a little crazy). I started receving support from acquaintences within the community, asking how I'm feeling, if I need anything, holding space for me to just breathe. Over the past few weeks, as my health has come back, I'm noticing that my spark I've been searching for is still a bit dull. I write this post today to trigger that exposed and uncomfortable feeling I spoke of earlier. I'm continuing my, shall we say, personal lesson in vulnerability? 

I've noticed this is a raw time for many - for those who are interested in astrology, we're in a challenging cycle. The Venus Retrograde mirrors our environments to let us see what is going on internally. Really reflect on that one for a second - if you're not happy with what's going on around you, look within yourself. This is a huge opportunity to get to know yourself better. And how do you do that, you may ask? Be vulnerable.

When taking a plunge - don't forget your birthday suit. (Collage by Stephanie Juris)

Have body issues? Get a journal. Write down one thing you love about yourself every day for one week.

In our vulnerability group, one of my issues centered around my discomfort in my physical body - my weight, appearance - the whole package. I have an underlying feeling that I could be better. Instead of sticking to the same rountine of promising to go to a fitness class everyday or to FOR-GOODNESS-SAKE stop eating sugar/gluten/dairy/etc. I decided that I needed to heal inside first. To love myself from the inside out. Writing something that I loved about myself really allowed me to step back and stop dwelling on the negative. What did I write about? The fact that I love the color of my eyes, the way I catch up with people through a hand-written letter, the way I write. After a few days of apprehension, I began to look forward to this process.

Cry. Laugh. Scream. It feels really good.

Feel your emotions and don't hide from them. So often I hear people taking about avoiding negative emotions - anger, fear, anxiety -  and why wouldn't we want to? Avoiding these difficult emotions seems like a great idea, right? They don't feel good, they tend to trigger bad memories that we want to forget or get rid of. However, long term avoidance of emotions does more harm than good - when you avoid being vulnerable to your emotions, you pay the price in the long term by creating unhealthy behavior patterns. I'll put myself in this example:

When I feel stressed, I eat. Almond butter, usually - though any sort of nut butter will do just fine. It's a comfort for me and I can justify it by 'it's a healthy snack,' but it's really just filling an internal void. This pattern does nothing but harm me, it becomes an addiction, and I do it time and time again.

I'm learning to change the pattern. Instead of running to the lanai to grab a mug of almond butter, I'll go for a walk. I'll sing a song on the way to the Point. I'll call a friend and talk. I'm getting out the emotions and replacing the old habits with healthy new behaviors.

Have tangible goals for yourself.

My favorite word lately is 'sustainable.' Allow me to use it in a few sentences -

"Is this sustainable for me?"

"Is this sustainable for my environment?"

"Is this sustainable for the community?"

My goals include:

1. Build a housing structure for myself in the next 10 years.
2. Learn fermentation.
3. Create my own body care products.
4. Live a life that is sustainable.

Sustainable means: is this healthy for me? Is this going to wear and tear on my body/outlook/life/etc.? Is this going to affect how I am able to be of service to those in need? Ask yourself these questions and don't be afraid to start speaking up and building boundaries for yourself. Saying no is the hardest but most rewarding thing sometimes - which leads me to my next point -

Say no.

Being vulnerable means speaking up for yourself and reclaiming your power. Saying "no" can be difficult, but, on the other hand,  saying "yes" when your guidance says "no" leads to resentment and anger. This causes discomfort, drains energy, and is not sustainable in the long run - for all parties involved. This one is short and sweet - just like those two letters. NO.

Ask for help.
We are not mind readers, superheroes, or robots. We are human beings who need help at times. The way we receive this help is by asking, by being vulnerable. There's fear that comes with this:

"What if my request is met with a refusal*?"
"What if I'm ignored?"
"Will I appear weak if I ask for help?

Move through the fear; we are all connected and in need of each other’s support whether we want to admit it or not.

*Remember that people may say no and it's nothing personal.

So my friends, these next few weeks will be about vulnerability whether we like it or not. I implore you to be vulnerable and see what happens. It may feel messy and painful, but I've learned that healing isn't always pretty and sometimes it hurts like hell. I ask you to reach out to others and share space, give a smile, a hug, share a meal with someone new. Branch out of your comfort zone and dive deeper within those scary parts of yourself that have been untapped. The results will be worth it.




Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stephanie Juris

It’s beginning to drizzle as the couple behind Nicoco Hawaiian Gelato, Ashley and Sean, and their friends, Zoe and Phil, pull into Kalani to pick me up for an afternoon of lychee picking. On Hawai‘i Island, we know the rain may only last mere moments; plus it’s a hot day, so I welcome a light shower. Either way, I know that whatever the weather does is unimportant because I’m about to go lychee picking with a car full of new friends. Ashley and Sean moved out to Hawai‘i almost 10 years ago in search of a place that embraced a healthy, local, sustainable way of life. The couple had both been vegan - favoring a plant-based diet - for quite some time, and the tropical abundance of Hawai‘i was becoming more appealing to their discerning palates.

I first met Ashley and Sean in 2013 after spotting the incredibly friendly, tattooed duo at SPACE Market, a weekly farmer’s market at the end of the Red Road in Kalapana. At the time, they were selling soap for local Puna company - Filthy Farm GirlSoon after, Ashley and Sean decided to try selling four flavors of their handcrafted gelato at that same Saturday market (Mint Chocolate Chip, Ginger Turmeric, Chocolate, and Turkish Coffee). A consciously prepared and unique offering, the gelato sold out at a surprisingly quick pace. They returned to the market the following weekend and sold out once again. This continued for a number of weeks until they decided to buy a few more ice cream machines and transition their beloved hobby into a business. Fast-forward to 2015, and the duo has found a market for their signature products all over Hawai‘i Island. And, you can expect big things from them in the coming months - hence Phil and Zoe's presence on our lychee-picking adventure. Another power couple, local filmmakers Phil and Zoe are creating Nicoco’s Kickstarter campaign, scheduled to launch late Summer (don’t worry, we’ll help spread the word as soon as it’s posted!).

Buying, foraging, and supporting local farmers to get Hawaii-local ingredients has always been a part of Nicoco’s mission. Whether it’s sourcing turmeric from a farmer down the road or picking lychee’s off the tree at a friend’s house - you can trust that what’s inside each gelato is not only delicious, but locally sourced.

In the last couple of years, Ashley and Sean have made almost 200 different flavors. The lychees that we’re picking today from their friend, Helio’s farm are going into a batch for tomorrow at Uncle Robert’s night market.

When I visit Uncle's the following night, I can hardly wait to sample the gelato. While I wait in the long line of people waiting to get a scoop, I marvel in how attentive Ashley is to her customers, letting them sample each flavor, never tiring of saying “It’s vegan! We make our gelato with coconut milk!” with a huge smile on her face.

I sample the White Chocolate Pomegranate and the Honey-Peanut Butter. Both flavors are so rich with goodness that they seem more like a thick, healthy smoothie than a gelato. I know that what I’m eating is filled with love and true aloha-spirit, and, of course, names of ingredients I can pronounce! I end up getting the Lychee and Honey-Peanut Butter. It gives me such a great sense of satisfaction knowing that the lychee was made with ingredients that were picked only yesterday from a friend's orchard.

As I bring the gelato back to my friends to sample, they all ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the deliciousness. Luckily, I won't have to wait until Wednesday to get my next gelato fix, because it's available at Kalani's Hale Aloha the future site of fall’s Market at Kalani opening.

Ready for your sample?

Indulge in Nicoco at the following locations:

Big Island Booch, Conscious Culture Cafe, Hilo

Hilo Farmers Market, Saturday

Kalapana Smoothie Shack

The Locavore Store, Hilo

Lucy’s Taqueria, Hilo

Uncle Robert’s Night Market, Wednesday