Kalani Honua Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jim Larsen

Jim Larsen

Recently I found myself with the unexpected glory of being named Kalani Volunteer of the Month. I wrote this in my journal as part of my Volunteer of the Month chronicle.

On Saturday, October 11, 2008 I was sitting on the lanai eating breakfast and I was drinking coffee and then I was eating an English muffin because I like English muffins and then I was drinking orange juice and I was sitting at one of the small tables where there are only four chairs and then these people sat down to join me and there was three of them so now the table was full. I didn't know them. I think they must have been guests or something. One of the people joining me was this girl and she had tattoos all over her arm like Kristin used to have but this wasn't Kristin because had left already by then, although I used to eat breakfast with Kristin at one of those small tables that only seat four people. Sometimes I miss Kristin, but then another girl shows up with tattoos on her arm and then I don't miss Kristin so much anymore.

Know who else I miss? Meghan who worked in the kitchen. She was nice to me and she was pretty and one time she cooked me a buffalo burger for lunch and it was good and then we had some ice cream for desert. So then these three people were talking to me, and I never did know their names because I didn't tell them mine first and I didn't know anything about them all much at all, except then one of them said if he ever had a son, no wait, that was the girl talking, she said if she had a son, she would name him Lucifer and I believed her. If anybody would name their son Lucifer it would be her. I think her name was Jill. Yeah. It was. One of the others called her that. I remember that. I didn't remember at first, but now I do. So I told Jill my story that if I ever had a son, I don't have any kids and I am glad, but if I did and the kid was mine, I would name him Darth. Darth Frodo Larsen. I don't know what he would grow up to be, anything he wanted, I guess.

I don't remember what else we talked about but I remember something about Mauna Kea coming up and the fact that rental car companies don't want you to take their cars up there. The dude with the hair piled on top of his head said that and then nobody else said anything on that subject and I didn't either and then I don't remember what else got talked about except I was thinking, I wonder what made these people decided to dine with me? I thought it was cool that they did, but you know, I just can't help wondering about these stuff like that, and like why is one of the Front of House Kitchen deep cleaning projects to clean the chairs under the tent because you get them wet and put them back in the dirt which is attracted magnetic-like to the water on the chairs that's still on them because they're not dry yet and so then you get mud and so those chairs are always going to be dirty no matter you do.

But then i figured it out why these three people chose to eat breakfast with me. It was so they could go back home to their family and friends and church groups and book clubs and all those people and tell the folks back home that they went to Hawaii and had a really really great dining experience having a tasty breakfast with the Kalani Volunteer of the month, and I am glad it could be me, because they were really cool people and I enjoyed their company.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Charlie Bonnin

Charlie BonninOh, Kalani, an interesting place.
Where every turn,
Reveals a new face.

The balance that shifts over,
And over again.
Just when you had realized,
You had made a new friend.

It's time to go,
New places to be.
For some go back to their old life,
Their old reality.

Don't mourn their departure,
And don't mourn your leaving.
Just take what you have learned,
And store it for safe keeping.

For a moment you may feel a loss,
You may feel you can not cope,
And in bed you may toss.

Just take a deep breath,
Lie quiet and still.
Remember the palm trees,
Up on the hill.
The ocean's churning,
Mountains covered with snow.
Pele's eruptions,
The people you got to know.

With this thought,
In heart and mind.
You just might find,
That peaceful place,
Not even time can erase.

And when you are there,
Breath deep,
The remembered air.
Let go of your cares,
And smile at the moments
That you shared.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Gary Schroeder
Gary Schroeder

The love of life shines in me like billions of stars.
Each star a person whose soul described the divinity.
As I look at each brightly light its luminosity outshines its name.
All I see is the uniqueness of its interaction with my universe.
Each one thinking they hide something from me, but they cannot.
The place where we are one cannot be hidden.
I see it as clearly as I see my hand because it is my hand and my fingers and my heart.
It’s me just as much.
I thank them for their part in the script we play together.
My character cannot play itself without all the others.
I rejoice of my good fortune to be part of this grand play and to me myself in the brilliant light of all those stars.
You, who sit in front of me, are those brilliant lights.
You are a facet in the diamond of pure mind.
Never apologize for who you are.
You are unique.
You are divine.
You are the essence of Love and of life.
I could not imagine an existence so mundane as one without you.
Thank you for everything you are.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Ayesha Gallion

Kalani Volunteers

Ayesha Gallion, here. I was an artist-in-residence at Kalani from July 28 to August 7. I wanted to write about Maya, one of your staff members who made my experience and research very memorable.

She was instrumental in introducing me, through gentle nudging, to emerge from my writer's solitude and find a balance through socializing more as well as partaking in some of the wonderful classes, such as hula and yoga, and watsu massage.

Through her positive prodding and intuitive nature, she truly did help me remember that sometimes creativity is fostered through movement and exploration -- rather than the constant drone of a computer's hum.

I think that this woman, who is nurturing, friendly, funny, has a special gift. I can't quite describe what umbrella this spirit and ability fall under. However, I can speak to the true physical and psychological results it has had upon me as well as others here. There is no doubt that Maya's magic translates into people taking full advantage of what Kalani has to offer.

Your staff really does bring to life the experience that visitors read about on the Kalani web site, assisting in making this a priceless journey.

Thank you again for selecting volunteers and staff who bring the best out of your visitors through being their best selves.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Richard Koob, Founder/Director

Toni and RichardKimo
Aloha all!

Kimo, I and some staff will be dancing hula in today's EARTH DANCE Global Prayer for

Kalani's mission
is to provide a fun, safe and educational retreat village which encourages ALOHA love for life in each person's own deepest way through participation in abundant nature, culture and wellness experiences.

The ALOHA Spirit
is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to cherish life and inspires each person to extend good feelings to others.
In the contemplation and presence of the life force, Aloha, the following unuhi laulâ loa (free translation) may be used:

· Akahai, e na Hawai’i —Modest are the people of Hawai’i. Through careful planning and conservation we can live with the resources available to us for generations to come.

· Lôkahi a ku like—We are unified, we work together in peace and harmony.

· `Olu`olu ka mana’o—Pleasant are our thoughts. By being positive we create a positive, loving community.

· Ha`aha`a kou kulana—We are humble, we need never feel insecure.

· Ahonui a lanakila—With patience and perseverance we keep moving forward.

These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people. It is the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and is presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.

The I'o (hawk) and Honu (turtle) logo
symbolize Kalani's goal to move slowly forward with peace and compassion, while having a clear overview of what is necessary to prosper while providing abundant nature-culture-wellness educational experiences.

Depicted are Hawaiian three chakra elements, which when in agreement, lead to pono (fair, correct) decisions of benefit to self, community, and home (local and global):

  • Mana'o is our rational thinking.
  • Pu'uwai is our heart-emotions-feelings.
  • Na'au is our intestines or gut intuition.

The Kalani logo 'aumakua (traditional animal guiding spirits),
the 'Io hawk, flies above and sees the big picture, while
the Honu turtle, swims below, carefully progressing forward.
Note the basic kindergarten rules for a wholesome life:

  • Love One's Self
  • Respect Others and
  • Take Care of Home, Local and Global.

These are harmonious partners with Kalani's NATURE-CULTURE-WELLNESS educational mission.

Loving One's Self is all about Wellness, living healthy, avoiding/overcoming addictions, embracing and celebrating life.

Respecting Others is the essence of living peacefully within the diverse Cultures of our multifaceted Kalani, Hawaii and world.

Taking Care of Home, Local and Global is simply honoring Nature, the `āina or land, literally that which nurtures us. Many contemporary religions are variations of indigenous beliefs centered around the cycles of the moon, earth and sun. Hawaiians, extraordinary gardners, fishermen, healers, orators, artists and navigators, particularly studied and honored the earth and skies.

YOU are invited
to join with us in the Kalani experience, as visiting guests, faculty, volunteers, cottage and land stewards, local residents and staff. Heaven on earth does just happen, when we honor and co-create with abundant nature, community and spirit.

Kalani ascend


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eddie (a recently departed volunteer from Japan)

Eddie I cannot English
I unintelligible English language
But Kalani's people are very kindly

Kalani is heaven
Kalani is paradise
Kalani people is supreme

I love Kalani

Thank you very much
Mahalo nui loa
Arigato Go Zai Masuta

I'll be back


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Jim Larsen

Jim LarsenSometimes finding yourself can happen in unexpected ways. I found an aspect of myself recently in a way that was really quite surprising. It happened in the kitchen.

Not very long ago during our pre-shift kitchen meeting, one of the shift leaders told a new volunteer, "We have a lot of fun in the kitchen. We listen to music and shake our booties." Now, mind you, I'm just a good ol' boy from the country, and was not one hundred percent sure what she meant by "shake our booties." So I decided to make that shift a learning experience for myself.

I grew up listening to country music and later became a fan of Rock-N-Roll. The phrase "Shake our Booties" never came up with the crowd I listened to that music with. I had a mental picture in mind of what I thought it might entail. I had imagined a Jerry Lee Lewis "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going on" sort of scenario, where hep cats and kittens were raising hell and tearing up the joint in an orgasmic frenzy of Rock-N-Roll ecstasy that could only be ended by a raid by the police. That was my highest hope of what "Bootie Shaking" might be. It's no wonder I was disappointed.

"Bootie Shaking" amounted to little more than one dude vibrating spasticaly at the sink while doing dishes to boring, uninspired music and the shift leader rotating her butt in a clockwise direction. I watched patiently to see if she would change it up, and maybe go counter-clockwise direction, but it never happened.

My disappointment was palpable. I tried to not let it show, but I felt it. I felt it in the core of my being. I am thankful that I was working "Front of House" that shift, because it gave me an excuse to get out of the kitchen and go down to the dining tent area to pretend to do my deep cleaning project before before anybody could ask me if I was all right, because, honestly, I was not all right. I was not all right by a long shot. I had a lot of soul searching to do, and I needed to be alone to do it.

I prayed that day down there in the tent area. I prayed that I may find a balance between my Rock-N-Roll Hell raising ways and their "Bootie Shaking." I prayed that maybe, just maybe, the Bootie Shakers would perhaps meet me half way and perhaps find some common ground, because I was willing if they were.

But you know something, they did not meet me half way that day. They left me feeling cold and out of place as they shook their booties, with me alone with nobody to Rock with. That was a defining moment for my career as a Kalani volunteer. It was the moment I knew it was time to leave the kitchen for good and give work in another department a try landscaping, perhaps. Because, to be completely honest, I hated the kitchen in that moment. I hated it in that dark, secret place in my soul that I prefer to deny is there, because what I see there when I am sent there scares me. It scares me to acknowledge that an enlightened being such as I can still harbor such venom. But I do still harbor it. I harbored it for the kitchen.

As I write this, I still work in the kitchen. I put in my request to leave, and it is being honored. I'll be working in the aesthetics department doing paint jobs in various rooms, and such things. I think that will be a good change of pace for me.

Things got better in the kitchen, and I am glad for that. We had an incident which provided an opportunity for us to explore common ground, the Bootie Shakers and I. I don't know how it happened. God's divine grace, perhaps? Possibly. What happened was, the Bootie Shaking shift leader was playing music from her Ipod. The kind of music that gives me a headache. I wasn't happy, but I accepted the music for what it was and didn't harbor a grudge, for I knew the others on the shift were enjoying it, at least. But it wasn't to be. The battery on her iPod died!

A dead battery. No music. Silence. Yes! This was my chance. My original scheme was to put my iPod on and get my revenge with my brand of music. What shall I inflict on them? My mind reeled. I'll teach you to inflict your crappy music on me! Let's see how you like some of my stuff. How about some hard core rock, Mojo Nixon perhaps, or how about Trivium or Isis? Or maybe go another direction and go for some down home country, Little Jimmy Dickens for starters? Buck Owens, maybe? I have it all and I am not afraid to blast it.

This is when I knew how much I really have changed. That part of me that really wanted to get revenge and seek revenge, just wasn't what it used to be. I observed that aspect of myself, said "Hello" to it and was not surprised to see it, but it no longer impressed me. That's not me. I got no use for vengeance or hatred. That's not a part of my programming and has no effect on me. Not anymore. So, no sooner did I say "Hello" to it, I also said "See you later."

Instead of inflicting ear-pain on my fellow kitchen workers, I looked through my iPod and found something I could rock out to, that they also could shake their booties to. I settled on The Best of Canned Heat. That's what we listened to that shift in the kitchen, and you know something? It was enjoyed by all. Maybe they shook their booties to it. I don't know. I wasn't paying attention. I was too busy enjoying the music in my own way. I was rocking out.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Jim Larsen

Jim LarsenFind yourself here. That's what it says on the coffee cups here at Kalani, not as a mandate, but as an invitation. Spend time here. Understand yourself. Get to know the real you, away from the pressures of the social role imposed on you from whatever part of the world you came here from. Anybody allowing themselves the opportunity to do that will undoubtedly free themselves of the pressures of expectations placed on them that simply don't matter.

For example, there was a time when I was self conscious about how I presented myself. I could feel a thousand judgmental eyes staring at me, assessing me, judging me. I felt overwhelming pressure to present myself as perfect as I could. The following is a journal entry I wrote reflecting that time in my life. It was written in November of 2005 while living and working in the Washington DC metropolitan area:

Sometimes I might find myself standing around with my hands in my pockets, but I don't want to stand around with my hands in my pockets, because standing around with my hands in my pockets makes me look slouchy, and slouchy is not how I want to present myself, so I want to take my hands out of my pockets, but I don't want to make it obvious that I am trying to correct myself, so I have to come up with clever reasons to take my hands out of my pockets; like maybe I'm swatting a fly away, or I have an itch, or maybe to give you one of my patented punches of doom to you stomach. The problem with that, though, is that questions always get asked, like, "Why did you do that?" And I say the first thing that comes to my mind, which is usually, "Sorry. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I'm a Gulf War Veteran you know." Which is a lie, but now you have lots of questions about my experiences and want to hear some war stories, but I don't have any so now I just want to get away from you, so I turn my head away and go "Ring ring ring" then I say "Excuse me, I have to take this call." Then I run away as fast as I can.

My time at Kalani has helped me overcome this need to present myself as a perfect being. I accept myself just as I am. If I want to take my hands out of my pockets, I will just do it. I no longer feel the need to make a game of it. No more imaginary flies. No more pretend itches. No more senseless violence. No more self-consciousness. If I appear slouchy to you, then could it be that I am merely a reflection of you? I am but a mirror. What you see in me is completely based on your image of yourself. Having trouble understanding what you see? Let the energy of Kalani work its magic on you. Find yourself here.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Kristal Ornellas
Kristal Ornellas
Long term Kalani-ite Kristal Ornellas recently made a trek home to Massachusetts and stumbled upon her journal from her very first stint as a Kalani volunteer. What she found on one of its pages reads as follows:


1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full time informal school called LIFE. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error; experimentation. The 'failed' experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately 'works.'

4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6. "There" is no better than "here." When you're "there" has become "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that will again - look better than "here."

7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to Life's questions lie inside you. All you need do is look, listen and trust.

10. You will forget all this.

11. You can remember it whenever you want.

~ Author Unknown


Wednesday, February 27, 2008


self portrait

A few years back, my son Evan, asked me when I had known he was gay and how I had felt at the time.....My response was that it had never been an issue. "Color blindness" in all ways was something I wanted my kids to grow up with......Evan was always unique --- yeah, a bit weird; he took out the girls who didn't have dates for school dances; he saw the world with unique vision; he had a thoughtful and gentle spirit. ......I just loved him --- and his sexual orientation was just a part of who he was.......just like I'm left-handed. Some of us have light skin; some of us are dark......Duh........ :)

Today I came across a picture Evan drew on his 5th birthday: his self portrait. I've taught 5 years olds for many years and have never seen a self portrait quite like this......Perhaps I'm biased, but I do believe that when not harassed or encumbered by social stigma and cruelty, gay men are overall more evolved: mentally, spiritually, artistically/creatively, socially --- there exists the ability to embrace all sides and facets of being a person second; a spirit first..........I think the attached picture is truly indicative of that fact.......and remember, this was his first week of Kindergarten......

I'm proud of Evan and proud that he's gay.....He's also a very good spirit and a kick in the pants!

namaste from Evan's mom,