Kalani Honua Blog

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,


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kalani `Ohana

Tiki Degenaro
1. What brought you to Kalani? What's your story?

What brought me to Kalani was a plan of Perfection I could never have orchestrated myself. Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 15+ years I was totally immersed into my family, my high-tech job, my community and the myriad of roles and activities, which accompany those things. At the very end of a yearlong medical treatment plan (throughout which I maintained "my life,") I woke up one morning with symptoms, which landed me in the hospital.

After days of tests my doctors came to talk to me. "So what's the prognosis?" I asked. They looked at me, shrugged, and said "Hypersensitivity?" Basically the yearlong medical treatment was finally showing it's nasty colors in the form of yucky symptoms. What my doctor said next was to be quite a "turning point." "Why don't you take a medical leave? You've been through a lot and went through it with flying colors. Now you must focus on healing."

Looking back now it's quite interesting and comical as I remember exactly how my mind responded. My initial thoughts were: I'm totally fine. I don't need to take a medical leave. That means I did NOT go through the treatment with flying colors.

He told me to just think about it and I promised I would. Within days it occurred to me that a "medical leave" would be FANTASTIC! What was I thinking? With the exception of two very short/just months periods in my life I had always worked. With the exception of a month-long trip to Thailand with my family, my vacations had been short -- limited to one or two weeks at the most because I was always working.

Okay, I'll take the medical leave and travel to one of the countries still on my list: countries in South America and Southeast Asia came springing up in my mind. When I told my Doctor about my plans he gently said it would be very irresponsible and unwise to travel out of the country in case I became in need of medical attention. Shoot! My plan was quickly abolished.

Then I remembered Hawaii. I love Hawaii. I have been fortunate to vacation in Hawaii many, many times. I had been to Oahu, Maui and the Big Island many times and lived on the north shore of Kauai when my kids were young. I hadn't been back to Kauai in about five years and realized this was a great opportunity to take a longer-than-usual vacation there. My plan was to again hike the Napali Coast into Kalalau Valley to see if I could "do" it in my new, recovering physical state.

Luckily my wonderful son, Mischa was available to accompany me. He loves Kauai, too, attended Hanalei School through third grade and had been hiking into Kalalau Valley since he was five years old. Of course he's one of the main loves of my life and he's in super physical condition that made me feel confident about the somewhat rugged, backpacking trip. We spent one month on Kauai and swam, hiked, snorkeled, and visited friends until we began the trek on the Napali Coast.

This was the time of Katrina and Kauai had been receiving more rain than usual, a kind of residual hurricane. We needed to wait until the seven streams needed to cross-receded below knee-level. The day finally came and we were off. Because of the perilous conditions there were only 11 people in the Valley and we discovered each other quickly.

As we introduced ourselves, one guy said "My name is Brandon and I live and work at a place called KALANI on the Big Island." "Oh, I know Kalani," was my response. I continued, "I've vacationed there, took a workshop there, and have friends who have been there also. It's a very special place. I've always told my kids, 'If you're ever in a life transition, consider Kalani!' So if this were a short story or vignette of some kind, Brandon's response would be the CLIMAX. "Why don't YOU consider it?" he asked. "Oh! I never thought of it." I said. Brandon, by the way, is a very special man and was a Kalani-veteran. He was a super asset to Kalani's Landscaping Department and their resident hairdresser, his profession in the default-world.

Before leaving the magical experiences found in Kalalau Valley, Brandon gave me Kalani's Volunteer Manager's name and number. I told him I'd give her a call. This was late autumn of 2005 and by the Holidays I was being given "bon voyage" parties by friends/family and the Company where I worked for 14 years! The timing was immaculate. My son was living on his own, my daughter had just been accepted to college and releasing myself from all the material possessions of a home happened so smoothly and effortlessly I was assured at every step this was my new direction. Everyone was so supportive and there was a mutual belief that this "new" life was perfect for me. My Manager, a Senior V.P. called my move "the end of the Tiki Era" as we were two of the four people who began a division which grew to 100, became international, and did over $1B worth of business!

My last day of employment was February 8 and I flew to Kalani on the serendipitous day of February 14, Valentine's Day. After days I KNEW this was my "new" home-away-from-home. I committed to a longer time and began my immersion into Kalani and the Puna community within which it resides.

2. How long have you been living here? What was the transgression of your roles/jobs here at Kalani? How long are you planning on staying?

I have been living here for two years but I left once for five months and a second time for six weeks. The first time I left I had an opportunity to do some traveling with my newly found freedom. My son and I went to Europe and toured five countries and several Greek Islands. We were especially impressed with the most successful, alternative community worldwide, located about an hour north of Turin, Italy called DAMANHUR. Upon returning, my daughter had one full month off between college semesters and we went to Panama, the only Central American country I had not visited. We loved it and especially enjoyed staying with the Kuna Yala Indians living on islands off Panama's north shore in the Caribbean. They are the last self-governing natives and continue to maintain their authentic, village lifestyle.

When I first arrived at Kalani I worked in the Kitchen Department. I loved working in the Kitchen. It was an opportunity to be in the experience of service and to meet and get to know many other volunteers, staff, and the on-going stream of vacationers and workshop attendees. I was in the Kitchen about nine months and played a variety of roles from scrubbing pots and pans to food prep to FOH/front of house to helping the chefs prepare an entrée, side dish, salad or dessert.

After the Kitchen I was asked if I would like to be the Cafe Manager. The Cafe is a wonderful place open daily for hanging out, events, and wireless connection. At night it is open to serve teas, snacks and the famous Hilo homemade ice cream. I loved being Cafe Manager. I was taking care of a special space appreciated by all.

Currently I am in training at Kalani's front/reception desk. I am so happy to learn all the details of the workings of this Retreat as nearly all "go through" the Office. In addition to my main jobs/roles I have really enjoyed performing other tasks. Shola is our resident tropical flower arranger and I'm her back-up/substitute. Every week Kalani buys a gorgeous assortment of tropical flowers and I've learned to create 30+ arrangements collecting greenery from our totally reachable jungle to accent the flowers to be distributed around common areas of the property. In addition, I am on the facilitators' team for our weekly Sunday, Ecstatic Dance. For six months I have been organizing weekly "`Ohana Nights" where a different activity is offered to the Kalani staff and volunteers.

My answer to the question "How long do I plan on being at Kalani?" is "Indefinitely." Having lived such a structured life, it feels so freeing and positive to even say that. Kalani offers a community/support system to enable anyone to continue on his or her path. I'd like to take advantage of its resources and pristine beauty while giving back with my involvement and dedication.

3. I love your name. What's the story behind your name?

My Father nicknamed me "Tiki" within minutes after I was born. It actually means small/tiny/petite/little in his native Italian dialect. My parents had only one child, my sister who was born 19 years and 10 months before me. Yes, you heard correctly -- almost 20 years before me and that's another story. Anyways, my parents did not know my sex but if I was a girl they planned on naming me Marilou Marie Elizabeth, a very Catholic name also honoring my Mom and my aunt, her only sister. At birth my sister weighed over 10 pounds and had coal-black hair and dark skin and of course my Dad was subconsciously expecting the same. When they handed me to him he asked for a pillow as he was a big guy and thought I looked smallish and different at seven pounds with light and hair and blue eyes. He began calling me little "Tiki" and the name stuck. To this day I warn new parents about the dangers of nicknames. I have a nephew who was called "Baby Tony" until he was nearly 30!

So I've been called "Tiki" all my life with the exception of one nun who did NOT believe in nicknames. Yes, I'm a product of 12 years of Catholic school. She actually called me "Elizabeth" as she believed everyone's name should be the name of a canonized saint. I was secretly happy to discover St. Elizabeth, the Queen of Hungary during the Middle Ages was the first "Robinhood." She collected money from the wealthiest and re-distributed it among the common people. Plus she was a real Queen! How cool is that?! I always believed saints were poor, tortured martyrs!

So many people re-name themselves and I'm often asked if I gave myself this name because I love Hawaii and live in Hawaii now. Actually, Hawaiians do not name their children "Tiki" as it's a god-name and would be considered irreverent. Kiki is common, however. I have met five other Tikis in my life. Three in Florida, all girls and two in California, one guy who lives in Santa Barbara and another in Venice Beach.

4. What was your life like on the mainland?

My life on the Mainland was full and wonderful. My children are my joy, work was satisfying and often too time-consuming, and my extended family/friends was impressive. It was a constant challenge to juggle all my responsibilities. Working out and having a social life had to be put on the calendar so it had a chance of happening.

Northern California is another seemingly endless playground so when you have free time so much is readily available. There's the dynamic city of San Francisco full of diversity and culture. To the south is "Silicon Valley," home of the first and largest high-tech companies. To the north is wine country and to the west are forests and the coast. To the east lies the Sierras, home of the second largest lake in the world which sits at almost 7,000 feet above sea level and hosts gorgeous pine forests, literally hundreds of smaller lakes, and hiking and skiing galore. These were our destination places when we found the time to take advantage of them.

5. How has living on the Big Island changed your perspective? How has living in our community changed you? What inspires you here?

Living on the Big Island has already given me more than I could have ever thought possible. I'm in love with natural beauty and this Island has it all. It is a precious reminder to wake up each day with the jungle surrounding you and the vast Pacific within view. Being here reminds you both of your insignificance and the immeasurable Perfection that gives you your life, breath-to-breath and heartbeat-to-heartbeat which lives within you.

The Kalani community is made up of so many different kinds of people; people of different ages, educations, abilities, backgrounds, etc but all learning and appreciating all that Kalani and this Island have to offer. I'm inspired by the stellar dedication and joy of the core staff as well as the love, which everyone who comes to visit -- and most return at some time -- has of this unique retreat in the jungle.

6. So you just recently took a trip to the mainland, where did you go?

Basically my return to the Mainland involved spending time with my family, especially my now very grown-up children/young adults, friends, and some doctors.

I attended some very special events including fundraisers for Democratic hopefuls including Dennis Kucinich. It was incredibly inspiring to meet Dennis Kucinich, an extremely bright, polished politician who uses words like consciousness and mindfulness. He has offered two, impressive plans to the Senate, one on America, strength through peace and a workable revamping of our healthcare system. What a fantasy to envision a person like him as President!

Also, I attended Burning Man, an annual art and community fest in northern Nevada. At the last Kalani staff meeting before I left, I found myself saying that if it wasn't for seeing my kids and continuing my annual trek to Burning Man for the past 10+ years I'd prefer to just stay at Kalani!

7. So Burning Man! From what I've heard already, we can spend a whole month talking about Burning Man. So let's narrow it down: What do you love most about Burning Man (why do you keep returning)? Top three moments, inspirations and/or epiphanies at Burning Man?

Burning Man is an epic, awesome, event showcasing the themes of art, community and responsibility. With some infrastructure in place, people come together and create a City. The City is a place to explore the artist within you. You can originate or participate in any art project, large or small. No money is exchanged/nothing bought and sold while there so sharing/gifting is part of the theme. At the end, the City is "taken down" leaving no trace of the nearly 50,000 attendees and literally hundreds of art installations and a wide-variety of living, class/workshop, art and party spaces, as well as a Community Center/Center Camp and buildings which every City needs including a police station/the Black Rock City Rangers, a Medial Center, an alternative Medical Center, a Post Office, a Bicycle Repair Shop, a radio station, a newspaper office which produces a daily newspaper, etc.

This year the theme was GREEN. Burning Man provided the venue to experiment, share, and learn about the changes we can make to be kinder to and further sustain our planet.
To witness what human beings can accomplish when given the freedom and space is mind-blowing! This year there were almost 200 major art installations.

I love everything about Burning Man: the art, witnessing it and participating in it, the extreme spontaneity of living there; a 24/7 fantasy adult playground, and the experience of no money, no driving, and living with the bare essentials while communing with the unpredictable weather of the high-desert. This year my daughter was able to go to Burning Man for the first time. At 21, she's always been in school and Burning Man begins when most schools' classes begin in late August. It was icing-on-the-cake to host her "virgin" year. I showed her that Burning Man is a live, community experiment on many levels. It's not just staying up all night partying which one can do anywhere. It offers a plethora of experiences all of which star YOU.

One piece of art, which was especially moving, was named ""Crude Awakening." I couldn't get enough of this mega-art installation. It took minutes to just bicycle around it. Weeks later I am still processing its poignant significance. Here's the exact description from the artists:

"Nine figurative steel sculptures, weighing 7 tons each and standing 30' tall, embody the faithful. In their various poses of worship from around the world, they bow down and reach forth to the Revered Oil Derrick, that icon of the religion which now stands above all others. The Derrick is a 90' tall wooden tower with stairs all the way to the sky. At any time, 200 people can amass on its upper platform while below, the nine faithful belch their fiery prayers from within and around their bodies. Each figure is bound by a participant-activated fire effect, created by Pyrokinetics. On Friday night at 10 pm, as the air raid siren wails and the battleship smoke generator pours forth its malevolent cloud, the Revered Oil Derrick will light up with a fire display like none before or ever after. A flame gusher will then explode from the center of the tower, creating 2.4 gigawatts of raw power in only one minute. You will bear witness to the largest flame cannon in history and the tower will fall."

8. What are you really into these days? What stimulates you? What's taking your attention?

These days I am focusing on my physical health and my spiritual growth. It is a never-ending process learning how to improve your health and deepen your soul's experience. I'm experimenting with various alternative healing modalities and implementing a daily meditation practice. I'm currently reading books by Eckhart Tolle/Power of Now, etc. and Dr. David Hawkins, the study of kinesiology. The extraordinary beauty of Kalani and this Island has inspired me to continue to learn about the art and skill of photography and to transfer that medium into creative writing pieces. My intention is to continue practicing being attentive to the perfection of my center as well as the perfection of my surroundings.