Aloha from the blue waters, jumping whales, swimming sea turtles, singing coqui frogs, mists and RAIN of the Kona cloud forest, colorful fishes and lava tide pools of Hawaii!! 🙂 Nate, Orion and I just thoroughly enjoyed our first time on the beautiful and powerful big island!! And this visit was a working trip – Nate was invited to be the lead instructor for our Coyote Mentoring weekend at the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary (where the movie Avatar was filmed!!!) I had the honor of being on our awesome lead Acorn team with Mariah Mann, Nick, Annika, Jenn and Paulo and got to share some key deep nature connection core routines, head up the story-telling station, and share Earthgym training. YAY!!! What an amazing and fulfilling weekend!!
We camped in this lush cloud forest sanctuary – a 75 acre piece of land that a man Norman stewards with a huge heart and passion for bringing back the ancient native palms and other magnificent trees. He came almost 40 years ago and saw people cutting down the forests, so he bought some land to save the trees. And as parcels around him went up for sale, he and his family bought up as much as they could to preserve this amazing ecosystem.
The diversity of life is astounding, though going off trail can be treacherous with hidden old lava shoots, some over 20 feet deep. There’s stunning painted eucalyptus, Norfolk pine, many varieties of ferns, palms, bamboo, red wooded conifers, these amazing trees with a system of “wall-like” roots that were so fun to climb on, ti trees, hibiscus and so much more. At night, we all did our best to stay dry as the rains pounded down and to get some sleep laying on the forest floor of very pokey lava rocks! There’s also these really cute frogs called “Coqui frogs” that go “Ko KEE” Ko Kee” and Nate and I would joke as we tried to snuggle into our poky lava rock beds that the frogs kept asking us if we needed to “go pee?” Go pee”? “Go pee”? Haha!
I loved how we had an instant village – teachers/facilitators, participants and our kids all camping together in this wild forest. We shared class time in the trees with occasional sun, lots of mist and even heavy rain (as we were in a CLOUD forest, and everyone remained happy despite being drenched at times! :)). And in the evenings, we shared fire-making, singing, meals, stories, looking through field guides, making coconut cordage, and mentoring kids in carving spears, and more importantly, skewers for hot dogs and marshmallows! 🙂
This was my 3rd time to serve on the leadership Acorn of one of these Coyote Mentoring workshops and it is ingenious. I love how it has all the adults inspired and lit up, empowered on their own journeys of deep nature connection AND to be coyote mentors to the younger ones in their lives. These techniques are similar to indigenous peoples around the world in passing on encyclopedic levels of knowledge about plants, animals, trees, and the environment from generation to generation without books, computers, or cellphones. It speaks to a place deep inside all of us that whispers of a time when our ancestors lived within vibrant regenerative communities held by a strong healthy culture, deep connections to the land, each other, and ourselves.
Doing this program in Hawaii was particularly powerful. Mariah Mann, who invited us to come and is in a year-long private mentoring group with my husband, Nate Summers, is a Wayfinder. She trained as a teenager in the Hawaiian non-instrumental navigational arts and traditions. At the same time she was mentored in and is now a teacher/mentor herself of Hawaiian culture and language and lives these traditions in her breath and bones, just as her mentoring aunties, uncles and elders did around her. On our first full day on Hawaii, a day before our program started, Mariah organized for our whole leading Acorn team to meet Uncle Tony and his wife Lee by the ocean for a ceremony and cleansing. Uncle Tony is one of the last remaining family members of all the aunties and uncles who trained and mentored Mariah and many others in the Hawaiian ways. They lived, and Tony continues to live, the deep nature connection our program is designed to help re-inspire in people, families, schools and communities.
Uncle Tony is a man of great heart, wisdom and exudes an unwavering spirit of Aloha. He spoke to us of the history of this island, including some of the difficult history, about his family, his aunties and uncles and grandparents, and their family’s Ahupua’a – their piece of land running from the mountain to the sea. Uncle Tony shared with love in his heart – desiring knowing and understanding for us all. He shared the village sites where Mariah was trained as a teenager, the medicinal plants we passed and the old game boards carved in lava rock used for war and strategy as we headed to the tide pools for ceremony and cleansing. Uncle Tony grew up in a vibrant regenerative community and is living the deep nature connection we were about to help share with others.
This magic and blessing of our first day just continued through our whole Coyote Mentoring program and rest of our stay on the island. From sharing this transformational weekend with educators, parents and families on the island, we know all felt like family together, and Orion, Nate and I were invited to other gatherings throughout the week we were there. 🙂
I could say MUCH more, but I’ll wrap it up here. We are now on beautiful Maui with so many breaching (and singing!!) humpback whales, delightful sea turtles and the most colorful fish and are enjoying our family reunion with Nate’s daughters, Katie and Tara! 🙂
Below are announcements of our upcoming Qigong, Earthgym and Plant Medicine classes this spring!
- Qigong Intro: Flowing with Qi – Sunday 3/31, 10a-4p
- Earthgym ½ day: Power of Sticks & Stones! – Saturday 4/13, 2:30p-5p
- Wild Wandering & Wild Food: Plant Medicine Class Incorporating Qigong & Springtime Nourishing Practices – Saturday, April 27 9:30a-4p
- Earthgym full day: Primal, Practical & Playful Ways to Strengthen our Bodies & Learn from the Earth! – Sunday 5/5 10a-4p
- Spiral Mobility Flow – Sunday 5/19 9:30a-12:30p (Nate is teaching this one)
I send much love and big Aloha to you all!!!
(Below are some more pics of our Coyote Mentoring weekend in the cloud forest, and several cutie pics of Orion on the beaches in Hawaii and now Maui :-))