Kalani Honua Blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jesse Graeter

E Komo Mai - Welcome

My time at Kalani has been about interactions.  About myself, other individuals, and about how we come together as a whole to form a community.  I came here with my partner Ellie and we were embraced as individuals and as a couple.

As a volunteer here at Kalani you receive a note card when you arrive and when you depart. They are like a greeting card with a message inside when you unfold it, with room for people to write short messages.

My arrival card welcomed me to Kalani with aloha.  There was an inspiring quote from a previous volunteer giving me a flavor of the experiences that awaited me.  There were also the critical details of the pool location and when dinner was being served.  Then below the printed text was a handwritten note from Zori.  Welcoming me to paradise and inviting me to an orientation tour of the property the following day.

Then 2 months passed.

On our last day, Ellie and I received our departure note card.  This card simply said that we will be missed, sending us onward with the aloha spirit.  Then all the blank space was filled in with handwritten notes from our friends.

“You guys are so perfect here!!! I will miss your beautiful energy and smiles. – Shelley” … I met Shelley the night the kitchen staff took the evening off.  A group of us non-kitchen volunteers had a blast serving dinner that night!

“You are both so wonderful.  You are both doing exactly the right thing.  Mahalo, with love. – Taylor”  … This brings back memories of talking with Taylor on the dinning lanai, the laundry room, the maintenance shed.  Topics ranging from GMOs, road bike touring, to activism.

“I am lost for words.  You are two beautiful people full of smiles and light. Sure hope you boomerang back to Kalani. Aloha a hui hou. – Marilyn” … Ah yes, the late night hot tub soaking sessions with Marilyn sharing an engaging conversation or sharing a comfortable silence.

“Loved our conversations. Stay real and joyful! Love – Jen” … I often grabbed a seat next to Jen during meals.  The introverted sides of our personalities really thrived on being extroverted with each other!

“Have a fabulous time biking the island and continuing your series of life adventures.  Great getting to know you and Maria too! – Deb” … We arrived at Kalani the same day as Deb (same airplane!).  When Ellie’s mother Maria visited us for a week, Deb and Maria went adventuring along the Puna coast while Ellie and I worked our shifts.

“You are both such an inspiration! Hope to cross paths with you again one day.  Travel well, mi amigos! Love – Clarity” … Who would have thought that a lady from New York City and a fella like me from a mountain villa would have so many deep connections?  It’s all the product of an hour long hike through a muddy jungle to a secluded white sands beach frequented by sea turtles. 

 This is a sampling of the hundreds of connections that were made with the beautiful people here at Kalani.  Yes, I do look forward to crossing paths  once again and I will take these fond memories wherever I go!


- Jesse


Monday, April 2, 2012

Taylor Powell

A quote from Taylor Powell, who made this video:

"My mother always asks me, 'Taylor, what are you doing?'  This is my answer."

What are you doing? from tee pee on Vimeo.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Samuel Hogarth

Samuel HogarthAloha my beautiful Ohana,

It's very different being in the UK, it's flipping freezing here.

I want to express to you all what my Kalani time meant to me and what you all mean to me.

I am very grateful for every person I met in Kalani, you all helped and supported me on my path, taught me new things and helped me to realise things I already knew.

I have made strong, deep, lasting friendships with beautiful people. I have gained a home in Hawai'i, a place where I know I can go and be welcomed, be happy, be peaceful. All of the Ohana work together to make Kalani a wonderful place to live and the result is inspiring.

I have gained a higher state of happiness than ever before in my life. I have decided that wherever I am in the world, every day I am going to live Aloha.

Mahalo nui loa for Kalani, the realm where dreams become reality, and mahalo for every person who helped to create it and who helps to continue it.




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

William Buchholz, M.D., Los Altos, California

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

Saying "Yes" to Kalani

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Brenda Surtees

People choose to Volunteer at Kalani for a variety of reasons. Some come for the promise of a new experience, or for an extended stay in Hawaii. Others come for Kalani's Yoga and Workshops, or simply for a break from their day-to-day lives.

Brenda came for healing after a major life crisis and, like so many volunteers before her, she left transformed.

Read more about her inspirational journey below.

* * *

Breaking Point

A few months before coming to Kalani, I experienced 'THE' major crisis of my life.

One minute everything was going along smoothly, and the next everything around me was falling apart: partner relationships, housing, finance, and my career. Everything.

Finding myself very suddenly at a major crossroads and utterly desperate for inspiration, I had no idea where to go. I only knew that I wanted to regain my self-respect, self-confidence and the love for life I once had.

As I processed the feelings of shock and confusion, a gentle guidance to visit Hawaii emerged. I had fond memories of visiting the islands many years ago, of the Hawaiian people, their hospitality, and how happy, graceful, and at peace they were in life. I felt (and hoped beyond hope) that they might help me find peace in my life too.

A Google search lead me to Kalani's website, and I remember being amazed at the pictures I saw of Kalani's volunteers: everyone was beaming with love. I thought, "I have to go there and see if this is for real..."

Months later I arrived and I knew that I had found paradise.

Everyone was so friendly and happy, and people introduced themselves with a hug. Just like on the website, each person's face was beaming with love! There was a magical energy there, in the air, in the earth, in the community, that could not be put into words. Silently I thought to myself, "Yes, it really is for real!"

Life at Kalani

During my three-month stay I volunteered in the Housekeeping department. One of the daily highlights was when we all stopped work at 9:00am to gather around while the shift leader inspired us with animal cards, a game, an exercise, a meditation or a piece of music. That was great, as it centered us all and prepared us for a hard day's work.

Monday morning meetings were another highlight for me. Everyone would meet up and learn what was happening at Kalani that week, new volunteers were introduced, departing volunteers were given a group farewell, and at the end of the meeting we all stood up, held hands and sang a Hawaiian chant together. It certainly helped us feel like one big 'Ohana (family).

In my time off I enjoyed so many awesome adventures, from swimming in between two giant turtles, to sitting silently in a pitch black lava tube with 12 of my 'ohana and experiencing the spirit of the land.

I learned to be spontaneous and open up to new experiences; one minute I would be waiting to attend a meeting, and the next I'd be off on a staff trip to Green Sands Beach! Or I'd be saying goodnight to a friend, when suddenly we both hopped into the back of a passenger van to watch shooting stars from Coconut Beach! It was a huge lesson for someone who had NEVER been spontaneous in her life!

From Transformational Breathwork, to Aerial Basics, Trance Dance, Ecstatic Dance, Yoga, and Hula, the weekly classes at Kalani were fantastically awesome and life changing! My favorite class was Huna Healing, as we always left feeling so positive.

Ohana nights, organized just for volunteers, were so much fun. From Disco Dancing, to making Vision Boards to Manifestation workshops! So Good! Women's Circle nights were beautiful and an honor to attend.

Heading Home

There is an indescribable powerful force at Kalani. Its energy seems to fluctuate with the energy of Pele (the volcano Goddess). Emotions can be so intense at times, as many people are going through life transformations. This can be challenging, but challenges are opportunities to grow and look within. Challenges can lead us to where we want to go (directly or indirectly). But everyone at Kalani is very supportive, very loving, and very understanding. They always make time for you and give you space when you need it. Because of this, people learn to be themselves at Kalani.

Now that I'm back in the United Kingdom, I'm grateful for 'THE' major crisis in my life. It was a blessing, because without it I would never have experienced Kalani.

As they say, there is no predicament that can't be turned into an advantage and no burden that cannot give you wings. I must thank Kalani for helping me to find joy in life again, for helping me to love myself and to feel loved.
Kalani gave me wings, freedom to be me, and showed me unconditional love.
I learned at Kalani that you are meant to have an amazing life. You can change anything in your life by changing the way you feel. Circumstances don't define the quality of your life, your response to them does.  When you change how you feel about any subject, the subject must change. What you think about, you bring about. Life is your call!
I've now returned home with the power to live in the moment. I am Grateful! I have a great job, great relationships, fabulous finance, and fantastic friends and, of course, many new friends - the beautiful souls whom I had the honor to meet at Kalani, and who I look forward to seeing upon my return.
If you're reading this blog because you're considering a visit to Kalani, go on and take the plunge! Come and experience this beautiful place on Hawaii's Big Island.

Whether you're a guest or a volunteer, there are amazing experiences waiting for you!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Max Fathom

A few weeks ago the Kalani 'Ohana was blessed with "I Witness", a beautiful poem by Poet, Performance Artist, and return Kalani volunteer Max Fathom (pictured).

May it bring as much light and joy into your day as it did ours :)

* * *

The Witness

I witnessed life unfolding as the sun rose up to kiss a flower snowflake that had fallen from a tree
I witnessed the witness watching this creation and everything expanded in me
I witnessed what humans can do when they are safe and sound
I witnessed inspiration rise up… and I watched her fall back down
I watched the lessons leave their marks on an island made of fire
And I felt my spirit lift as the io flew higher and higher
I saw how love can grow when she has solid ground
And I saw the challenges transformed when they had snuck back around
I watched myself come home to me in a place where no orphans be
And I watched the mystery rise up and return again to the sea
I watched the gift unwrap itself with fingers made of light
And I saw the darkness do a dance to music made of night
I watched some go thru the wringer and come out soaking wet
With tears from a place they hadn’t forgiven quite yet
And then I watched them drip dry in complete inspiration
Dazzled and in awe of the transfiguration
I saw courage grow in me I saw a love that would accept no bribe
I saw mothers who were fathers
Sons who were daughters
I watched rocks come alive
I watched a bird inform a turtle on the ways of the air
And when that turtle flew I couldn’t help but stare
I watched life jump up and live again and again and again
I saw day turn into night
And as my head kissed my pillow I knew
That everything would be alright.


Saturday, November 26, 2011


Have you heard about Anusara Yoga and Anusara-Inspired Yoga?

It's a relatively new yoga practice, based in Hatha, which focuses on connecting yogis to the heart, divine energy, and universal oneness with each asana.

If you're interested in learning more, Omkar and Kelley Linn, the two Kalani Yogis behind Yoga Hawaii Time, have launched their own online video series which explains the beauty and techniques of Anusara Yoga.

Watch the two videos below to learn more about the practice, and subscribe to the Yoga Hawaii Time YouTube channel for future videos and online classes in Anusara-Inspired Yoga.

Omkar and Kelley Linn will be teaching a range of Anasura-Inspired Yoga classes in their upcoming Hawaii Yoga Escape retreats running December 3-8, 2011, and April 2-7 2012.

Click here to view the Hawaii Yoga Escape retreat page.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Riss Winstanley

Ah my Ohana. What to say?

During my last breakfast at Kalani the gorgeous little Shola was behind me. She gave me a big hug and said "So what did you get out of this place? What did you find?"

And I replied " I found me."

And what else can you ask for? I cannot remember the last time I felt so loved, so appreciated and so valued. And I cannot remember the last time I genuinely believed everyone that told me so.

So thank you. All of your compliments will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I felt so at ease, and so appreciative and have realized that's exactly how I want my life to be.

And whenever I get to that point where I feel stressed, sad, insecure, angry or overwhelmed, all I do is picture all of your beautiful faces and those feelings literally wash off me and I am left with an open chest and heart and a very nice feeling of contentment.

My first Yogi Tea lucky dip told me an attitude of gratitude brings happiness.

I am so grateful for what you all have taught me.

I have learnt how to appreciate all the simple things.

I have learnt how to breathe.

I have learnt how to love, and to let people into my life.

I have learnt how to listen more, how to be more patient and how to accept everyone just as everyone accepts me.

I have been reminded how to live in the present, and how to not worry so much about EVERYTHING.

You are all such beautiful people, with such amazing lights of your own and I am so proud of all of you, and so proud of myself for finding such a rewarding experience.

And my parting words?

Enjoy yourself. No worries. Laugh. Dance. Recycle.

So thank you for being you, and for allowing me to be me. The greatest gift anyone could ask for.

Some of you I will see again, some of you I won't. But I will carry you all in my heart and you will all coach me throughout the rest of my life.

I love you all.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.



Thursday, October 13, 2011


Bill Donnelly is a true pioneer in the field of yoga. Along with co-creating and co-hosting the yoga-reality series Guru2Go, Bill is also the creator and founder of Practical Yoga, an energizing practice designed to heal and uplift the body, mind and soul.

Practical Yoga is the latest addition to Kalani's schedule of 50+ weekly classes and activities.

Having experienced the amazing high that comes from attending a Practical Yoga class, we decided to sit down with Bill to gain further insight into the practice.


Bill (Will) Donnelly - Kundalini Yoga TeacherAloha Bill! Congratulations on joining Kalani's team of yogis. I was buzzing for hours after attending your Practical Yoga class last week. So that our readers know what to expect from your class, could you explain to us what Practical Yoga is?

Aloha Cameron! I am very happy to be a part of the Kalani team of teachers! Many visitors come to Kalani for healing and rejuvenation, so the styles of yoga that we offer are a very important component to their positive experience here.

Practical Yoga is, first and foremost, a healing yoga. My class experience is centered around the ancient and powerful tantric-based Kundalini Yoga & Meditation (as taught by Yogi Bhajan Ph.D.)™, which gives students a deep experience of healing. I like to think of this style of yoga as a very helpful "energy management system". It is useful to anyone searching for meaningful ways to improve the quality of their lives.

What kind of an experience does a Practical Yoga class offer?

We start each class with light stretching, and continue with core-strengthening, aerobic-inspired exercises and a brief Hatha-flow series to build heat and warm up the body. Then, we experience a full Kundalini Yoga set.

To finalize our work, we do an 11-minute active meditation to help focus the mind and expand our potential. We end class with a luscious deep relaxation to "let it all sink in" maybe the most important step! Evocative, healing music is used throughout class to heighten the experience. I offer a non-dogmatic, approachable spirituality in class.

Can you share a couple of Practical Yoga techniques with our readers?

Sure! There are literally hundreds of videos and techniques that people can access on the Practical Yoga Website.

For example, BICYCLES is an excellent exercise to help connect with and strengthen the core.

FROGS is a great technique people can use to stretch the back, strengthen the legs and buttocks, and balance their energy after a long day. Yogis also use this technique to prepare for deep meditation.

What are some of the benefits people will gain from Practical Yoga?

People who are on a conscious path of wellness, creativity and healing tend to appreciate the many powerful benefits found from even just one session of Practical Yoga. As you mentioned, you were "buzzing" for hours after attending. You had stimulated some inherently powerful life force in your body, and the healing and awakening process had been activated.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved physical fitness and strength
  • Improved well-being
  • Spiritual growth
  • Clearer thinking

Kundalini Yoga™ recognizes the importance of glandular balance in relation to physical and mental health. In addition to increased physical strength and improved mental focus, each of my classes works to elicit the Relaxation Response.

Is Practical Yoga designed to be a little more rigorous than other yoga classes?

Practical Yoga is designed to give all levels of students an invigorating, yet approachable, workout. Exercises can be self-monitored by the student, so you can easily meet the yoga where you are physically and mentally.

The music helps participants move through any moments of challenge, and within weeks students find themselves stronger, happier and more energized, or "in the creative flow".  Hatha yoga, in general, takes years to learn and perfect. Yet with Practical Yoga, even after just one session, students have an amazing experience and so many of the benefits the class has to offer.

Practical Yoga is about tapping into your inner strength and steadiness, and anyone with a sincere desire can do it. You don't need to be a pretzel to take a Practical Yoga class!

Did you create Practical Yoga yourself?

My partner and I developed the idea of Practical Yoga over a 10-year period of teaching yoga in top Los Angeles yoga studios, privately with in-home sessions, and on our television show, Guru2Go on fitTV. I received formal training at the renowned Golden Bridge Yoga Studio in Los Angeles, studying under the Renowned Gurmukh. After personally healing from this yoga, I concurred with its founder on the urgency of bringing this personal wellness technology to the larger community.

It was after filming our show that we realized how practical this yoga really is. It was then we developed our Practical Yoga for Everyday People DVD, which has sold internationally and has helped countless students get into shape in the comfort of their own homes.


Bill teaches Practical Yoga at Kalani each Thursday from 10:30am - 12:00pm.

Bill will also host a special Holiday Yoga Retreat from Dec 20-27 at Kalani. Each day will feature two sessions of practical yoga and meditation in one of the most stunning environments you could imagine, surrounded by fiery lava, invigorating ocean, tropical foliage, and people celebrating the spirit of aloha. Celebrate and honor yourself and your spirit through the winter solstice and Christmas. Click here for more information on Bill's Holiday Yoga Retreat.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Soul Purpose Consultant and Life Coach, Geraldine McMahon

Soul Purpose Consultant and Life Coach Geraldine McMahon will host Heart, Intuition, Purpose on Saturday 24 September, a workshop at Kalani designed to help people get into their Heart Space and create lives of purpose, passion, and prosperity.

We sat down with Geraldine to deepen our understanding of why getting in - and living in - our heart space is so good.

Aloha Geraldine. Could you start by sharing why there is a growing movement of people who want to 'get into' their Heart Space? What happens, exactly, when we're there?

Aloha Kalani! More and more people are seeking to get into their heart space is because life is truly great when you do!

When you're in your Heart Space, life becomes easier, almost like an experience of heaven on earth, and worries cease to exist to weild any power.

By living within your heart space, you are naturally inclined to invest your energy and its power into your visions of what you love, what you’d love to create for yourself next while still being totally within the present. There are no concerns or thoughts of the past, and when the future is considered it is done with a firm anchor in the present. The ancient Hawaiians had a firm grip on this principle, even their language doesn’t have a past or present tense!

Life flows, fortuitous synchronicities are common, and our vibration changes too, which means we cease to attract experiences or people we do not love, attracting instead more magical occurrences and people to match our vibration.

It sounds awesome. So what exactly is the alternative? Head Space?

Correct! That's exactly the alternative. You'll notice when you're 'in' your head space because you'll have a busy mind, lots of internal chatter and dialogue. Overthinking, analyzing, and worrying are telltale signs of being in your head space, as is limiting language such as 'should' and 'have to'.

People face limited options when they're in 'head space', as when we are lodged in the head, we are only opening to memories, programs, beliefs and assumptions from past experience.

When you are in your ‘heart space’ you have a clear mind. You’ll feel at one with everyone and everything. The feeling we get when we’re in love; when everything is wonderful and there’s no fear.  The world takes on a rosy hue. You’ll have experienced this while in nature, maybe looking at a sunset, totally engrossed in it and in your heart.

When in the head we are only using 5% of our brain’s capacity. When you’re in the heart, you open up to an infinite number of possibilities. You move from the left brain to the right brain, the imagination and the intuition. As Einstein said ‘The imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions.’

So how can someone actually 'get into' their Heart Space?

To get into your heart space, remember that you are the creator of your life experience. This saying expresses it perfectly:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

People who live in head space tend to get caught up in drama, do things they feel they 'should', even though they know deep down they don't want to. It's not much fun.

A way of getting into your heart space is to train your focus and thoughts on things that you love. Another way is to make decisions with the heart by asking yourself 'What is best for me?' and choosing the option that makes you feel good.

You'll notice when you’re in your heart because you'll be flowing towards what you love; the life you love will start to manifest all around you. You feel connected to everyone and everything. Of course this doesn’t mean that life is ‘perfect’, we may still experience difficult or challenging times, but it’s how we perceive these times which makes the difference.

When in the heart, you'll feel more confident. You won't become easily derailed from the goodness you are feeling. You'll understand on a deep level that even challenging periods will pass and make you a stronger, happier person too!

Learn techniques to get into your Heart Space and create a life of Passion, Purpose and Prosperity with Geraldine at Heart, Intuition, Purpose on Saturday 24 September at Kalani's EMAX, and contact Geraldine at [email protected] if you have any further questions about this interview or her upcoming workshop.

If you would like to discover Geraldine's 5 Steps To Doing Work You Love to go www.blissfulcareer.com.