Kalani Honua Blog

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cat May

Cat May

Kalani has already changed my life in such a dramatic way! The support and nonjudgmental environment that this ohana offers has allowed me to stretch beyond the confines of my comfort zone. In the last month I have been able to explore so many aspects of myself and I feel as though I am beginning a long love affair with me! That in of itself would be enough of a reason to extend my 2 month stay at Kalani, but I have not even tapped into the proverbial “iceberg” here.

The more I learn the more I realize I need to learn- Just to be ……………and let this wonderful place and the island do the rest. I have sampled a few of the infinite items on the Kalani menu (yoga, meditation, art, sports, healing circles, beaches and markets), but 2 months is not enough time to do this exquisite place justice……my soul needs more.

I have just started learning to give up the control that has governed my life for so long (it is just an illusion anyway). That the same issues that plague you in the real world will undoubtedly find you here too. But those same issues can be unwrapped, examined and let go of here. That can happen because of the intense energy of the island but also because of the support I have not found any where else on earth.

My insecurities, need for acceptance, control issues, power trips and people pleasing tendencies have all been acknowledged and asked to “take a hike”! I am finally willing and eager to accept me………………at 51 years old! How amazing is that?

Before I came here I never knew a place like Kalani existed, but now that I have found you, I don’t ever want to be without.


Friday, October 22, 2010


Warm waves of aloha to all ~~~


~~~ The view from my window at Kalani ~~~

View from my window at Kalani


Friday, October 8, 2010

Eva Neuhaus

thank you pele
for embracing me with open arms
for teaching me what it isEva Neuhaus
to create myself anew
over and over and over again
putting that which no longer serves
into the fire of transformation;
birthing new land
from fire,
a place to stand.

thank you
for giving me the time i needed
to let the running around
run itself out
for slowing me down
to see
how out of stillness,
movement emerges organically.

for heart-to-hearts with lizards
the heady scent of night jasmine, asking:
does the harvest of your life sustain you?
and the seeds you plant each day--
will they grow to nourish you, in time?
answer this question:
what's really important?
over and over and over again.

they say it takes a village
to raise a child,
but many of us
didn't grow up that way.
thank you for filling in some pieces
of my puzzle
becoming sister,
crazy uncle.

living as family
with people you just met
brings the concept
of interdependence
close enough to touch
the favor you do for me
in the morning
returned by another
in the afternoon.

thank you
for being everywhere
all the time
especially the person
i didn't want to see
holding a mirror to my face,

thank you
for teaching me
to love in the moment
and then let go.
for safe haven
to let myself be known;
for remembering that everyone
is soft underneath
before other stuff gets in the way.

thank you
to the goddess of the freebox,
whose abundance is legendary
providing costumes for us
to wear every day.
for men who let me do their hair
dress them up
and send them down the runway
in silver leggings
butterfly wings
and a bikini top.
(work it, girl!)
for all the fags
a hag could ever ask for.

thank you
for giving me
a positive
high school experience
the second time around.
for dancing on top of
washing machines
and dryers
first thing in the morning;
for late-night conversations
in the laundry shed;
for rambutans taped
to the top
of my saved dinner.

thank you
for the anonymous gifts
left in mailboxes.
for creative expression everywhere,
and all the hidden talents
that everyone seems to have.
for chandeliers and flat screen tvs
in a-frames--
who knew
that a shack
in the jungle
could have so much potential?

thank you for the generosity
of this land
for the abundance of spirit
that lives here
for so many rainbows,
double rainbows,
moonbows. for cats that smell like flowers
for lilikoi, lychees, coconuts,
guavas, starfruit, soursop
grows on trees here,
grows all around.
for the blessing of being
in a place
where nature is alive
and speaking all the time
for grace
for living aloha
i am so grateful.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Anyone who has had the pleasure of a Kalani open mic night will be familiar with the song Livin’ At Kalani.  This ditty was penned by our very own Ukelele Davey, in honor of our fabulous home in the jungle. 

Ukelele DaveyLivin’ At Kalani by Davey Groth

Now I moved to Hawai’i... to shed my stress and strife...
And strip my dull existence... to find a new direction in life...

Kalani Oceanside Retreat, it’s so pretty, it’s so sweet
For my mosquito bitten feet, We’re Livin’ At Kalani

Aloha flows from everyone, it’s shining brighter than the sun
You’d see it if the rain was done, Livin’ At Kalani

It’s a pretty place I know where work is almost play
I see so many happy people naked everyday

Yoga is just so divine, it keeps my body feeling fine
Cause hula wants a supple spine, Livin’ At Kalani

The kitchen crew, they work so hard – searin’ ono, braisin’ chard
You can hardly taste the lard, Livin’ At Kalani

It’s a pretty place I know where work is almost play
I see so many happy people naked everyday

Richard dancing on the lawn, everybody – dance along!
Shake your ass to a Hawai’ian song!  Livin’ At Kalani

Tiki working day and night – we love her, she’s just outta sight
Won’t someone take her home tonight!
Livin’ At Kalani – ONE MORE!

It’s a pretty place I know where work is almost play
I see so many happy people naked everyday

I love my sweet Ohana crew, they’re so giving – they’re so true
But only for a month or two.....
(shout out your number of months at Kalani when prompted)
We’re Living At Kalani-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


Monday, September 13, 2010

Lily Kardon

This is an excerpt from an article Lily wrote on elephantjournal.com. Click the link to read the whole thing!

“Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

Lily KardonIt’s not just a Belinda Carlisle song to ironically play at your neighborhood hipster bar’s. It’s a reality found on the verdant Hilo side of the Big Island, Hawai’i. Part resort, part wellness center and fully an intentional community, Kalani Honua is truly paradise. The name itself means “Heaven on Earth” and with good reason. And it’s within your reach to live on the Black Sand beaches of Hawai’i among coconuts, avocados and papayas on your terms. Come play for a week of you-time. Or stay as part of the community volunteering in the work exchange program anywhere from one month to the 35 years Richard Koob, owner and founder, has been living on the property.

Boasting 120 acres of diverse plant life Kalani offers three open-air studios ranging in size for yoga, ecstatic dance and meditation, an organic aquaponics system where kale, basil and tomatoes (among other things) grow year round and a pristine pool fully equipped with a dry sauna and hot tubs. Not to mention the constant rotation of classes in a variety of disciplines (yoga, hula, aerial dance, lauhala weaving, woodcarving, fire spinning and more). Of course there are also the nightly events, when one can gather around with the “Ohana” (Hawaiian for “family) for kirtan, themed parties or group processing.

I spent weeks in anticipation of my departure, imagining each morning walking to practice in an open-air studio of my choosing while the gentle fragrance of night blooming Jasmine gave way to Plumeria thick in the air. Eating an organic breakfast surrounded by an eclectic group of beautiful people from all over the world before heading off to care for the land as part of the work exchange program or enjoy a morning Vinyasa class on my days off. Perhaps on any given day I would feel like walking off property to “the point” to sea-gaze for turtles. After dinner and the sun set why not take a cruise in the darkness of a new moon to go see the surface flow of molten lava only a few miles away?

And when I got there that’s how it was. Of course all of this is quite heavenly, no doubt. But more than the amenities provided or the proximity to natural wonders Kalani offers something very rare in this world. An opportunity to live in introspection and grow into one’s own wonderment. This place I had intended to vacation became a home in an otherworldly reality.

...After six months of living in this paradise I have returned to the mainland. I believed in community-living before I went to Kalani but primarily as a theoretical possibility. I’m telling you this dream is real.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Jim Larsen

Jim Larsen in ChinaI have been in China for this past month and half, and am loving it here. The food, the people, the scenery, it's all great. I'm working as a teacher, and the kids are a lot of fun to teach. I was wearing my Kalani t-shirt a few days ago and one of the Chinese staff members at the school took great interest in it and asked me about it.

I explained the concept of living and working at a retreat center, and it slipped out that my family is at Kalani. She said, "oh really? Your family is in Hawaii?" Then I had to explain that my blood family is in Virginia, but I have Ohana in Hawaii. She really liked the idea of such an extended family. She decided that the school where we teach is our Chinese Ohana, and I agree. Well, I do look forward to being back with my Kalani Ohana.

Please give my best to everybody!



Friday, September 3, 2010

Nicole Parente

Nicole ParenteLiving again breathing again. Breath is life.. Love is life. Love is opening your eyes and seeing the wind. Love is remembering yourself. Love is discovering yourself. Love is sacrifice. Love is letting your body relax. Love is letting your eyebrows melt to the floor. Love is the music of the coqui. Love is lava. Love is fire. Love is distance. Love is closeness. Love is a friend. Love is community. Love is smiling to a stranger. Love is warm tea on a cool night. Love is a midnight storm. Love is to share. Love is alive (I love being alive). Love is being. Love is attentive. Love is shy. Love is believing there's more than meets the eye. Love is a wave. Love is waving its arms wildly, announcing its presence in everything surrounding you. Love is in you - Love is you.

It's one thing to exist but its another to live. I watched others and myself grow in such beautiful ways.. I saw parts of my soul that have been hidden in darkness for a long time. I opened myself up to universal love and .. now everything is glowing. Kalani truly is heavenly. I remember watching people float effortlessly up to the lanai at meal times and thinking.. how different it is we all move at here. with such grace, such peace. no rushing around, trying to be something.. we are just being..

Kalani is a place where I felt both connected and disconnected in such a harmonious way. Nothing is permanent, nothing is absolute.. but that is simply the beauty of it all. to just feel every moment in such a blissful way. a spontaneous rain shower is just a quick chance to cleanse. the coqui frogs aren't keeping you up at night - they're singing you to sleep.

No where else have I seen so many people embracing life, giving love, receiving love. Reminding each other, to breathe..

With this breath I take, I realize.. Life belongs to you and I. Let us share it, not forget it, share it freely. Free is the gift of love. All is ours in a world of love.. Love is all ~


Friday, September 3, 2010

Satya Dolgin
"Kalani was the place I decided I was ready to live".

Friday, July 9, 2010


Ok, I will be honest and say that I am writing this blog because I was asked to write a blog. This is a good thing though, to quote Martha, cause I might not have otherwise. I have said before that I needed inspiration first. I am not the type to just sit down and start writing. Well inspiration is now at hand, and feet actually. I will explain the ‘feet actually’ part, but as it is I sit here thinking now how many different directions that this subject could take me, so before I begin let me say forgive me if I digress extensively.

feetBack to the feet. I love my feet! I love walking, almost on level with a Forrest Gump type. I have taken walks of 8-12 hrs just to clear and sort my thoughts. My feet are a great source of inspiration for me. On my walks I let my mind wonder, taking in the sites of my surroundings. In the ‘old days’ back in the ‘default world’ I was often walking through neighborhoods. The sites that I saw were other people’s yards. I would absorb the arrangement of plants that others had put together, make alterations on mental graph paper and file them away.

In 2004 my partner Kimo led me to Kalani and my feet were immediately excited, 120 acres to walk around and call home. Actually, we came to play a game of volleyball and were so impressed that we decided to volunteer and we have been here ever since. I went into the Landscape dept. and was soon walking here and there, making great discoveries for a Midwest farm boy. On one of my walks I was up along the mauka border of Kalani when I came across the Kalani plant nursery. I remember being so excited to see all these exotic tropical plants. It was only a few tables but that was it I started dreaming of all the gardens I could create with these beauties. My feet once again brought me to a space ripe with inspiration and my mind began picking the fruit. I took up the care of the nursery, weeding it, organizing like plants together, and watering.

It was a great space, but shortly after I was asked to head up the department, I decided to move the nursery to a more central location on property. At that time I had only one volunteer helping but we were ho’omau, determined to make it even better in the new space. And boy did we. We started propagating from cuttings we collected in the existing gardens on Kalani and from some “found” on roadside walks. Thank you feet. We grew slowly, but we grew. It was the experience that was important not the speed with which we created.

It was also a learning experience. Ti and ginger do not grow like corn and tomatoes. Then along came Bud ‘the wiser’ who sat down beside us and said, here let me show you how it is done. The best way to do this is to blah, blah, blah. I told him that I always thought the best way to do it was to have the guy with the best way, do it. So I put him in charge of our propagation efforts and before we knew it the nursery had grown to about one acre.

BarcusAll this time my feet were taking me all over Kalani. I have gone into areas that humans have not gone in decades if not centuries. On one of those walks I came across an area that was dominated by invasive non-native plants. These I knew would have to come down. So I began thinking of what to replace them with, when it came to me the idea of turning it into a nursery spot. It was on the mauka end of Kalani again, it was in line with our maintenance/solar building, and Bud was already saying that we needed more room if he was to continue producing more plants. So I put it before my crew who thought it was a big job, but also who new my favorite word was Ho’omau, determined.

Well it took us about 2 yrs but my feet now stand in our new mauka nursery. It is about four acres and includes an aquaponic vegetable and herb garden, composting site, and hundreds of exotic tropical plants. In our native/cultural plant collection alone we have 72 Kou, 30 Kukui, over 100 Pohinahina , and over 300 Ti plants just to mention a few. We also have palms, cycads, gingers, crotons, lilies, ferns, and orchids again just to mention a few. In short it is a GREAT SPACE that my feet lead me to. My feet take me here every morning now. I even come here with eight other feet on the weekend when I walk our two dogs. They like it too, lots to smell. Ahhhhhh, again I love my feet. They always keep taking me one step closer to my dreams. Mahalo no na kupuna.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Juan Manuel

Juan ManuelI had a marvelous experience at Kalani attending the 2010 Retreat Centers gathering. It was not just the gathering itself, but also the place that encouraged all of us to embrace the spirit of Aloha and imbue the gathering with it, creating a very rich and rewarding experience both, on the personal level and on the professional one. You can breathe the spirit of Aloha at Kalani and, if you happen to find yourself there, just let yourself to be taken by it.

Juan Manuel
Madrid, Spain