After living on Maui and the wild jungle side of the big island of Hawaii for a month, I’ve come to know that “Aloha” is far more than a mere greeting or a tourism slogan. It’s a spirit that literally means – sharing the breath of life. It permeates life on the big island like the soft warm ocean air itself.
If you breath in the aloha spirit you may feel it seeping into your soul. You may also find yourself sharing the breath of life in the kind words you speak and in your conscious actions. The calming aloha spirit slows people down so they can make time for themselves and others. When the world you live in is gentle and abundant, there is no hurry to fabricate or strive. It’s this aloha spirit, not just the comfortable tropical weather, which make Hawaii’s overall climate so beautiful and heart felt.
Hawaii is truly a world away from the hustle of the America mainland. It feels like another country. In fact, it was a sovereign country until being unjustly annexed by the United States of America about one hundred years ago. But the aloha culture lives on with a diverse mix of immigrants. The original immigrants traveled over two thousand miles in ocean going canoes from far away Polynesian islands. They arrived with their pigs, chickens and plants and thrived on this remote chain of formerly uninhabited volcanic islands.
In 1778 Captain Cook from England “discovered” the Hawaiian Islands and the settlement and commercialization of Hawaii began. The white settlers, called “Haole” by the original Hawaiians of Polynesian decent, were joined by immigrants from other nations such as the Philippines and Japan, who came to work in the sugar and fruit fields and start businesses. Today the islands are shared by its diverse residents and visitors from all over the world.
I hope the highlights below breath joy into your life and inspire you to come some day to this truly magical place and to share the breath of life. Aloha!
Thanks to award winning photographer, Melissa Mermin, for contributing some of the above photos. To learn more about her acclaimed photography visit Melissa Mermin Love Stories.
The Old Testament claims that paradise was lost when Adam and Eve ate fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge. Since then life has gotten more complicated with each generation. We children of Adam and Eve are now drowning in “knowledge” – books, media, manuals, posts, spam and twits from those who twitter.
But can paradise be rediscovered in these hectic times? Can we return this ill begotten knowledge and exchange it for paradise lost? I believe we can, if only for brief moments.
But to find “Heaven within” we must step off the treadmill of modern life and rediscover an inner silence that is free from the chatter and clutter of busy lives and over stimulated minds.
Such inner peace can be found on a noise street in Calcutta or a serene beach, once we know how to find it within ourselves. But for now, as a beginner, I’m practicing finding Heaven on the Big Island of Hawaii along a jungle covered stretch of ocean coast known as the Puna region.
In this remote area TVs are rare and cell phone coverage is sparse and developments are nearly non-existent, while yoga, healthy organic food, fresh air, vegetation, life, ecstatic dancing, volcanic lava flows and heartfelt community are abundant. The forces of life and energy are very powerful. It is hippie Heaven.
Hippie Heaven – the Puna Coast of the Hawaiian Big Island
To see outstanding examples of the beauty of Hawaii, view Lino Laure’s exceptionally beautiful landscapes, seascapes and other art works in his online gallery.
Kalani Oceanside Retreat
At the center of the Puna coastal region is the Kalani Oceanside Retreat. Staffed largely by volunteers, this communal retreat is a social hub for the local community and sponsors workshops, yoga classes and open dance sessions. Accommodations range from tent camping to private tree houses. Guests are called to the communal dinning area by the bellowing sound of a conch shell. The food is healthy and delicious with ample fresh vegetables, fruits and fish and meat for those who are not vegetarians.
On Sunday morning the community comes together for free style ecstatic dance. Everyone moves and flows freely in a sea of energy and vibrations as each individual expresses their inner spirit in motion. Following the dance many migrate to a nearby nudist black sand beach and wash away their sweat in the surging ocean waves, as drummers and musicians make music near acrobats and sunbathers.
I stayed at Kalani for ten very relaxing days and nights until renting a house nearby. I made many new wonderful friends, including Pohaku, who turned me on to yoga and some beautiful serene places on the island.
My Yogi - Pohaku
Some times the Universe conspires and puts a teacher on our path who inspires and guides us in a new and positive direction. I met Pohaku (Peter) during dinner at Kalani. He spoke passionately about yoga and its transformative power. Â Like me, he travels solo through life and views life as an ongoing journey of inner and outer discovery.
He has created a life of peace and beauty splitting his time between the big island of Hawaii and the island of Salt Springs near Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Life for this Zen George Clooney look alike is rich inside and out.
With his encouragement and guidance I’ve dived deeply into yoga, taking classes twice a day. I expect that Pohaku, yoga and this hippie Heaven in Hawaii will be in my life for many years to come.