Angels in Action
Kokolulu Farm and Cancer Retreats
A Place of Peace, Tranquility, and Healing
by Carol Marriott
Every morning, when we wake up, we have 24 brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these 24 hours will bring Peace, Joy and Happiness to ourselves and others.—Thich Nhat Hanh
Beyond all the delightful treasures of Kokolulu Farms—the velvety Hawaiian air, the gorgeous view of the ocean framed by the lush rain forest filled with colourful flowers, juicy sweet papayas right off the tree, combined with the genuine and warm-hearted welcoming from Karin and Lew Whitney—it is the intention of their inspired co-creative hearts to provide a healing space that you will be able to feel to the depth of your being when you step foot onto this sacred land.
During my recent vacation at Kokolulu, located in the historical and charming town of Hawi, on the Big Island of Hawaii, the mornings began with a peaceful walk on the land, enjoying the grounding feel of the earth beneath my feet and the warm tropical breeze on my face. At 8:00 am each morning we would meet in the temple for Qigong and meditation. Then it was breakfast on the lanai, overlooking the ocean, while relishing every bite of the fresh organic fruit grown right on their farm, along with Karin’s special hot grain cereal. Yum! Their Golden Retrievers, Kai Mana and Kearnie, waited patiently for the papaya skins which we would gleefully throw to them after enjoying the delicious fruit. Yes, the dogs love papaya skins more than their dog biscuits!
Kokolulu Farms is off the grid and fully sustainable with solar and wind power. This organic farm and healing retreat in paradise rises and sets with the sun, so it is lights out at 9:00 pm.
Lew and Karin have been doing healing retreats since 2004 and most of those who attended had a cancer diagnosis. Karin herself is a cancer survivor, has been an oncology RN, and was a caregiver to her late husband who was on chemotherapy for 12 years before he passed on. Then when Karin went through the journey of her own cancer diagnosis, Lew was her support person. With ever more people coming to Kokolulu with cancer, the decision to define their focus to provide cancer retreats seemed clear.
It was while on vacation in Hawaii a number of years ago, that Karin and Lew found themselves drawn to and buying the property that is now their retreat centre. Their original intent was to simply farm organically and be sustainable, which is possible in their location where the average annual rainfall is about 60 inches and food can be grown year-round. The idea of growing healthy food was very exciting to both of them, along with a vision of sharing their amassed wisdom by teaching others in a retreat setting. Purchasing this property in Hawaii seemed to cement that dream.
Lew and Karin feel extremely blessed to have had so many people come through the Kokolulu programs. Most have remained in contact, many very closely. Everyone who comes leaves their own mark, their own bit of Mana (energy, life-force), most in a very positive way, that contributes to the beauty and sacredness of this healing place.
Karin feels her kuliana (Hawaiian for responsibility, passion) is to share with others what she has learned through her own life experiences, because that seems to validate those experiences. She believes all of us go through journeys of great times and also of deep despair and we gain much wisdom by going through these periods. “What use is this amassed wisdom if not to be shared? It’s what life is about.”
Lew (a Qigong monk trained in mainland China) was very motivated after meeting Karin 17 years ago and deeply touched by the fact that she supported and took care of her late husband Dave while he underwent cancer treatment (it became her major focus, basically putting her life on hold with little or no time for herself to have fun). Then, several years after Lew and Karin were together, Karin’s own cancer diagnosis came and was very upsetting to Lew. It became very clear to him that people who have been diagnosed with cancer need time to gather themselves. “When you have a cancer diagnosis it is as if your life has been taken out of your hands, like a hamster on a wheel, just putting one foot in front of the other with no power to change direction.”
Thus they created Kokolulu Farm and Cancer Retreats to offer people with chronic illness an escape to a peaceful environment where emphasis is put on regaining empowerment to take charge of their own healing journey, while offering a respite from endless medical appointments, stresses and strains associated with the diagnosis, and pressures from family, friends, and jobs! They share practical healing tools that make a difference in people’s lives. It warms Lew’s heart knowing that people come here first feeling emptiness and then leave knowing that they have power and control over their life’s healing journey. Every day Lew feels grateful to live in such a beautiful place that he and Karin can share with others. Living humbly, loving unconditionally, and being of service is the legacy, he wants to leave for his family and others.
In her wildest imaginings, Karin states, her dream is that the cancer retreat program can find the funding as a registered not-for-profit organization needed to enable them to continue to offer the group cancer retreats at no cost to those with cancer. Wild imaginings would include enough to hire staff, both to care for the farm and to keep the retreat program growing, which could allow her and Lew to travel more and to share the teachings in other locales.
Kokolulu is the kind of place that seeps into your bones. Although it has been a few weeks since returning back home from there, the spirit that is Kokolulu remains vivid in my memory, and recalling this sacred healing place brings deep peace to my soul.
To learn more about Kokolulu Farm and Cancer Retreats and to contact Lew and Karin Whitney see the colour display ad on page 24. Mahalo!
Carol Marriott is a Certified Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) Specialist and the “Lead Mare” at Ravenheart Farms near Humboldt, SK. For more information, workshop dates, and/or private or group sessions call (306) 682-4641, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.ravenheartfarms.com. For information on Ravenheart’s 2010 workshops see the display ad on page 25 of the 16.1 May/June
issue of the WHOLifE Journal.