There is an agreement that we have with our land. As Tyler and I prepared to purchase 3 acres in Orchidland Estates on the Big Island the land herself spoke to us. There is a Hawaiian saying ‘He ali'i no ka aina, ke kauwa wale ke kanaka” which means ’the land is chief, the people merely servants’. There is also the belief that EVERYTHING is alive, aware and responsive. From where we were living in Vermont we began to connect with our land on the Big Island and ask the Spirit of the land what it desired from us? How we could best serve it? What do we need to know?
One of my teachers, Uncle Harry had shared with us that living on the Big Island is trading in one type of abundance for another. We understood that and are driven by a deep longing to live our personal definition of abundance. We define abundance as a life of few ‘things’ yet full of experience. Abundance for us is getting our hands dirty in the earth, feeling and knowing her great body beneath us. Planting seeds and picking fruits. Abundance is watching the sun rise in the morning to a symphony of bird song, the dancing of banana leaves and palm fronds. Abundance is breathing air so fresh that every breath is a reminder of how delicious this celebration of embodiment is. Most of all abundance is sharing this with others.
And this is the primary message from the spirit of our land: 'This land is yours to share'.
With the message clarified our vision of a sustainable farm and eco retreat. I place where people can come to slow down, align with nature and in doing so align with their own nature. A place of learning, inspiration and abundance where an upward spiral of positive energy is generated.
We envision a Yoga shala tucked into the rainforest, surrounded by fragrant flowers, lush foliage and fruiting trees. Dotted throughout the land are simple bungalows that are thoughtfully nestled into the forrest with their private outdoor shower. Each bungalow has simple yet beautiful decor holding a space of serenity. There is a central gathering space with a kitchen, dining and relaxing area that will serve all. People can come for personal get aways and there will be retreats of many different intentions hosted by both myself and other teachers. The entire facility operates off the grid creating a low impact footprint on the earth. We harness the power of the elements and transform it into energy, collecting water through catchment systems and power from the sun with solar panels. The entire facility is a living symbiotic relationship between human and nature.
The feeling of generosity is so rich with this land. So much so that one can not help but want to give back. And perhaps this is her teaching and another Hawaiian saying: "Ua ola loko i ke Aloha” Love gives life within.’ The more that we are generous with ourselves, the more love flows back in return.
So we move forward with our dream and our agreement.
We landed on the Big Island January 18, 2018 and began to tend to our land. Initially it looked like a large field of lava rocks and a thick fern forest. It was overwhelming starting from and with absolutely nothing. But as we worked, pouring sweat, tears, blood, laughter, and the energy of commitment into the land it began to take shape and It began to speak to us.
The land showed us where gardens, trees and rock walls would like to be. She showed us how and where paths would like to be made, revealing, as if through magic, enchanted caves, groves of rare bamboo orchids, and 700 year old lave tubes bubbling above the earth. My eyes softened to this slice of heaven. What appeared to be sharp, scary lava rock in the beginning transformed into beautiful glistening stones. The thick forest came alive with the magic of an enchanted fern grotto. As my love increased I was met with beauty and magic.
As we worked with the land I realized that everything we touched and used as material was a gift from Pele, the Goddess of the volcano, who resides in Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Volcano National Park, here on the Big Island. Through what appears to be destruction Pele creates new life and has created this dynamic land that is the Big Island. We would not be here if it wasn’t for her. To live somewhere that is so intensely alive, with birth, with death, with growth with destruction is like seeing my own raw, terrifying and exquisite mortality right before my eyes. She is the non dual expression of life as a cosmic stream of endings and beginnings. Where the line between the two fades and the raw and powerful experience of the Pa’a (the Now), exists. In the Pa’a fear does not exist, thought does not exist, only a primal force from within that is driven to express ones deepest passion and purpose. For me it is simple, to raise the vibration, change heavy energy to light, to stoke and be stoked!
It is pretty radical to have a Goddess living in our backyard. as life demands respect, so does Pele. Just as life requests of each of us to be fully present, in the mood of gratitude, service, and celebration so does Pele. The fierce love that is this land, that Pele has for this land, we must have for ourselves.
This is the beginning of the message, of the experience, of the embodiment that is longed to be shared. The land speaks, will we listen?