Rashani has hosted sevadars and WWOOFers on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi since 1992. Those who have brought their skills, visions & wisdom to her previous home, “Earthsong Sanctuary,” and to Kipukamaluhia, her current home, have come from Japan, Malaysia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, India, Slovania, South Africa, Israel, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Austria, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, England, Germany, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Puerto Rico, Canada and the United States. Rashani respects (and encourages) reciprocity and mutual accountability.
The WWOOFing and Seva* Programs offer an opportunity to connect more deeply with one’s self and with the ʻaina (spirit of the land) while gifting Kipukamaluhia with your skills, love and presence. You are invited to practice present moment awareness when spending quiet time alone and while engaging with others or with ongoing projects. Resting as awareness, even while in the midst of weeding gardens, caring for animals or mending broken fences, benefits any spiritual practice and allows personal problems to dissolve effortlessly. One also discovers that the illusion of separation dissolves quite naturally. At Kipukamaluhia we enter the present moment directly, as unencumbered as possible, while fully engaging in whatever daily tasks need to be done. We recognize that we are already complete and whole, regardless of inner and outer circumstances. The spirit of the land reminds us of this again & again and we are invited to savor each moment in its unique suchness.
* Seva refers to “selfless service,” performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit. In the Punjabi language the person performing such service is called a Sevadar.
The only difference between a “WWOOFer” and a “Sevadar” is that sevadars pay a$100 deposit and $95 per month and receive two private sessions per month with Rashani. Until further notice: Sevadars have priority when applying for land stewarding positions.
For woofers AND sevadars, there is always a one week trial period, to see if it is a mutually beneficial exchange.
Some people prefer offering less hours and paying a minimal rent. If those who show up are unable to do the jobs which need doing, they will pay for lodging, like all other guests. Rashani is always open to finding mutually-beneficial exchanges with those who are drawn to be on this particular land~
During our time with the land we share our gifts and skills, or discover new skills, free from the labels of “student” or “teacher.” What is it like to relate with the earth as the earth, instead of relating to the earth? What is it like to experience yourself as part of the environment instead of as an “environmentalist?” Where do we begin and end as living, breathing beings? The trees and all creatures are breathing with us.
We welcome the cultivation of action & stillness and value doing & non-doing. The twenty-two hours per week, however, are specifically devoted to focused attention in the gardens. Some people prefer solitary projects while others prefer group participation.
The Miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate peace and beauty that are available now…. it is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of practice. We need only to find ways to bring our body and mind back to the present moment so we can touch that which is refreshing, healing and wondrous.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Being at Kipukamaluhia is an open invitation to experience the inseparability of the living dharma & everyday life and to discover non dual & ecological awareness. The time spent helping with the needs of the land is considered our daily “sadhana.”*
Once a week we meet in council, which is a way of speaking & listening from the heart. Council is a non-hierarchical form of communicating; a wonderful opportunity for discovering more about one another and a time to share one’s insights & discoveries, dreams, edges, suggestions and whatever else is arising.
Depending on when you’re here, you’re likely to meet other guests who are here to be in retreat or artists & writers who come for the quietude and/or family and friends of previous guests, WWOOFers or sevadars.
No pets, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.
Please use only fragrance-free products on the land. Bring ONLY organic laundry soap, shampoo, hair rinse, deodorant, and body soap. No paraffin candles or kerosene! And please do not arrive with clothes that have been washed in strong-smelling detergents~
THANK YOU.WWOOF/SEVA Requirements:
- Physical, mental and emotional stability.
- No smoking (nicotine or anything else) and no alcohol.
- Financial resources for personal needs such as food, clothing, medical care, transportation, etc.
- A commitment to investigating stressful thoughts and stories.
- A willingness to consider that authenticity and honest, conscious communication are more important than being right.*
- The capacity to differentiate between reality and the stories which obscure it.
- A willingness to own one’s projections and communicate simply, directly, and honestly.
- The ability and willingness to commit to a daily schedule.
- The ability to follow instructions and a flexible attitude with daily projects in particular and with life in general.
- Being comfortable with sharing a communal kitchen, outdoor shower and composting toilet with others.
- Skills in gardening or building and/or housekeeping and/or land maintenance.
- An interest in nonviolent communication and pure listening, and cultivating a non-reactive, “zero state” when communicating.
- A genuine desire to live simply and become more aware of our relationship to the elements and all sentient beings, and how our actions affect others.
- Being accountable for one’s actions.
- No adherance to any religious (or other) dogmas. In other words: an open mind.
- A genuine love of the land and an understanding of “The Great Turning” which we are currently in the midst of on this beloved planet.
- All wwoofers, sevadars and caretakers pays a $100 deposit, half of which is returned when they leave.
*Conscious communication by Cynthia Kane:
To speak consciously, clearly, and concisely without anxiety
To respond instead of react
To speak in a way that’s kind, honest, and helpful
To know when to speak and when to stay quiet
To stay engaged when listening
To express yourself so that others can hear you
To nip potential problems in the bud before they become meltdowns
To be comfortable in silence – no longer needing to fill the space
AGAIN: we ask that NO artificial fragrances are used here, whether in shampoos, hair rinses, perfumes, deodorants, dish soaps or laundry detergents. Many people who visit are chemically sensitive AND we want to honor the land by not using chemicals!
WWOOFers & Sevadars offer twenty-two focused hours per week in exchange for lodging. All WWOOFers & Sevadars buy their own food & prepare their meals. Some prefer eating together and others prefer eating alone. Everyone is welcome to any of the food which is grown here, except for certain strains of Aloe Vera and the Moringa, which is being dried and sold .
Many of the fruit trees have been planted in the last twelve years and it’s amazing to watch them bloom and produce fruit~
Since most of our time has been spent simply creating the infrastructure here, we are just now beginning to clear areas for more vegetables…
To see what other trees have been planted, please visit http://rashani.com/sanctuary/
We prefer if you arrive by bus, at South Point Road. Airport pick-ups, from Hilo and Kona, are also available for those who want to do shopping before they come to the land. Both Hilo and Kona have wonderful health food stores. Airport pick-ups are $60. (Please see the Hele-on Bus schedule for arrival times.) DO NOT ARRIVE AFTER DARK.
We suggest that you purchase travel insurance when you book your ticket. It’s less than $50 and it covers any medical emergencies that may arise while you’re here on the island.
(There are two supermarkets in Ocean View and a weekly farmer’s market in Naʻalehu. They have SOME organic items but/and if you are wanting to stock up on organic grains, seeds, nuts, oils, laundry soap, etc, it’s best to do so in Hilo or Kona.)
We do not provide phones, computers, laundry service, bicycles, hand soaps, or laundry soap. There is a large sink where people can wash clothes by hand and we hope to build a bicycle-powered washing machine some day! (Anyone with experience in creating one would be warmly welcomed…)
High speed internet access is no longer available here. There is an internet café about a mile & a half up the road and also places in Na`alehu and Ocean View where wifi is available… Due to the concerns of many guests and retreatants, wifi is not an option here on the land.
BECAUSE WE RELY ONLY ON SOLAR ENERGY HERE, WE ASK THAT APPLIANCES BE RECHARGED ONLY BETWEEN TEN A.M. AND 4 P.M. AND NEVER ON DAYS WHICH ARE OVERCAST. THANK YOU~
Everyone here is asked to consider their relationship to electricity usage— and limit it to what is necessary. This is an integral aspect of life here at Kipukamaluhia~
Due to a recent & very generous donation from a close friend, the community kitchen now has a solar refrigerator* and also has plugs, where guests can recharge cell phones, laptops and other SMALL devices. (Please do not bring electrical devices that use lots of energy.)
* For years we used a propane refrigerator and it is so wonderful having a solar one now.
WWOOFers and Sevadars are taken into Na`alehu or Ocean View twice a week, to do laundry and for food shopping.
Hidden in the heart of things Thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness. I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had ceased. In the morning I woke up and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.
A good headlamp or crank lantern, rechargeable TRIPLE A batteries, if you want LED lights in your room, a watch for keeping track of your hours, a fitted double sheet, pillow case and sleeping bag, gardening clothes & gloves, a hat, sturdy shoes as well as sandals or flip flops, harmless sunscreen & non toxic mosquito repellent, warm clothes for cool evenings and mornings, (long-sleeve shirts and long pants to avoid mosquitos), a rain coat, a refillable water bottle, clothes for warm weather and snorkeling gear if you intend to snorkel.
(Some WWOOFers & sevadars rent cars and others hitch-hike with one another on their days off or in the afternoons, when their hours are complete… )
AGAIN: No pets, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs.
Please use only fragrance-free products on the land. Bring ONLY organic laundry soap, shampoo, hair rinse, mosquito repellant, deodorant, and body soap. No paraffin candles or kerosene!
$50 of your depost will be refunded at the end of your committed stay.
Our one policy, for wwoofers, sevadars, guests, and caretakers is very simple: if you lose or break something, please fix or replace it~!
Being a sevadar at Kipukamaluhia is a gift from Spirit. Being on this land, held, as a drop of water is held in the vast expanse of the ocean, seen in rawness, nakedness, newness, truth. Doing seva at this beautiful, lovingly-tended sanctuary is not “work trade;” it is a love offering given willingly and gratefully. Being at Kipukamaluhia is a soaking up of dharma, the kind that emanates from every leaf, flower, and carefully placed rock. The fragrance of blossoms is sent in all directions by the winds of South Point; allowing the old to compost, stories & burdens fall away into fertile earth and new energies are born as fruit trees, as wind-song, as eyes, awake and alert, see new beauty in the new day. Being at Kipukamaluhia with Rashani is facing fears, embracing them as allies and transmuting them into exactly the medicine needed. It is resting in the knowingness that there is no right or wrong, or other…there is only is-ness, ever co-arising, co-birthing, co-loving…
Being a sevadar at Kipukamaluhia is a walk in grace, in the beauty way, ever changing, ever the same. Being at Kipukamaluhia with Rashani is fierce-love, is tender love, is the gift-economy, is the mirror reflecting the love of truth. Being at Kipukamaluhia with Rashani is resting on the earth mother, identifying our aboriginal natures, effortlessly, just being here, just being held, just being seen, just being shown.
Aim Nemec, Puna, Hawaiʻi
My third time within ten years as a sevadar at Kipukamaluhia Sanctuary with Rashani:
Though it appears as weeding, clipping, hauling, digging, lifting, pulling, carrying…at the same time, in a parallel reality, it is a clearing of my mind.
For me, the weeding has also had an effect on my mental habits: I find myself digging out old beliefs & assumptions, whose roots had grown into the depths of my etheric soil; all the mental debris that stopped me from being in the present moment. I can hear Rashani quietly saying, “Unprocessed pain becomes revenge,” so it is with delight that I bring my pain to light, since vengefulness is exhausting and harmful to the body/mind/spirit.
How deeply rooted some of these weeds: hiding the boundary of the rock wall. So, too, my unexamined, stressful beliefs had wound themselves around my core vitality, choking off my imagination, self respect & love. Such weeds make excellent compost and require diligent pulling! The seva time with Rashani is invaluable, creating sacred time for self-reflective inquiry.
Offering daily seva in this paradise garden becomes a Mobius strip in which inside becomes outside becomes inside. The gem of the day comes during intervals of rest, when picking & enjoying the ripe papayas, surinam cherries, tangerines, grapefruits and mulberries! Such a sweet treat: local organic just picked yums!!
Aside from tending the gardens, the timed writing exercises after the gardening, the personal writing, suggested reading from Rashani’s extensive & wonderful library, spending time on my book…I feel life to be so rich here in the elegant simplicity, beauty and what Rashani refers to as “transparent intimacy as a way of life.”
There is an open, relaxed Hawaiian life style, minus traffic, smog, visual & auditory pollution, no overhead planes or electrical wires or EMF debris. My ears are healed from the overwhelming city noise from which I came. Here I refuel my spirit, with what is visible and not so visible.
Sunshine Appleby, Auckland, New Zealand
After staying merely one week at Kipukamaluhia, I acquired tools that can last me my lifetime. Rashani has created a hidden gem of sacred space that pushed my limits, and supported my process. Faced with my humanity, and with the power of intention, I was able to give and receive more than I knew I could at that time. The sanctuary is unlike any other WOOFING experience; not only by the magnitude of the possibilities and space, but by directing more focus on healing through cultivating and beautifying the land. I did not fully understand or anticipate that at the time, but I do now, and I am surely glad that it is so. I left feeling more focused, grounded, and blessed than I ever had before. Thank you to Rashani, and to all those who came before me to let it be.
Lauren Annette, Los Angeles, California
In February-March of 2011, I was privileged to spend about 6 weeks at Kipukamaluhia, having made a connection with Rashani through the WWOOF (Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms) program. I was immediately drawn to Rashani (I was already an admirer of her collage art) and to Kipukamaluhia, as an opportunity to practice mindfulness, tend this sacred land and learn all that the experience had to offer.
It was all wonderful ~ the land, the Kaʻu area and the town of Naʻalehu, and all the people I met along the way. I treasure my time there. Rashani was a considerate host who was available to answer questions, provide direction when needed, provide transportation to town on market days – and much, much more. She was always mindful and considerate of the needs of those she came in contact with.
We enjoyed occasional community gatherings – potlucks, movie nights and music – with other volunteers and visitors. I learned to tend and befriend the goats and did a lot of weeding and land clearing and other gardening activities. I appreciated the mindfulness focus, as opposed to that of “production farming.”
I experienced Rashani as a super-responsible and dedicated steward of Kipukamaluhia, who is sure to provide all the support one would need to live and work there in a very rewarding way. I recommend this experience to anyone who feels drawn to it.
Phyllis Linn, Eugene, Oregon
Being a wwoofer or sevadar at Kipukamaluhia is much more than just tending gardens, planting and harvesting food! “What is the point growing and eating organic food if one’s mind is poisoned by stressful thoughts and untrue stories?” I had not realized this before.
The beauty and silence of this sanctuary offer a unique opportunity for all who find their way there. Upon arrival, Rashani lovingly welcomes you to the land and hands you a small pamphlet. On the inside, there is a page of practical logistics and on the opposite side it says,
Being here is an open invitation
~To discern the difference between beliefs and reality.
~To cultivate empathy & compassion for yourself and others.
~To live simply and mindfully with the `aina (spirit of the land.)
~To compost, mulch, and harvest the inner and outer gardens.
~To remember and be shaped by the rhythms and cycles of nature.
~To connect more intimately with yourself and the land.
~To discover who and what you are without labels.
~To know that every day can be heaven/nirvana or hell/samsara, depending on your thoughts.
~To notice what occurs when you drop assumptions and expectations.
~To feel the aliveness in reclaiming projections and befriending pain.
~To openly express your needs, knowing that they may not be met.
~To realize what you are beneath habits, masks and false identities.
~To experience doing, not doing, and non-doing.
~To see how spontaneous action emerges from stillness.
~To know that the only “teacher” here is your own awareness.
~To experience living off the grid.
~To discover the beauty of sadhana.
I knew immediately that I was in the presence of someone who had balanced practicality with spirituality and for whom there was no difference! Day after day I witnessed Rashani patiently & skillfully deconstructing peoples’ deficiency stories while she stayed equally focused on pulling weeds or emptying the compost. What I saw, to my amazement, was that she really did not have judgments about others and that the only “judge” was my own critic, who showed up in a variety of disguises; the many internalized oppressors I had accumulated during my lifetime.
I noticed that those who understood what was being offered at Kipukamaluhia genuinely flourished. They unburdened themselves from years (and often decades!) of pain and came to realize that suffering is definitely an option. I also saw that those who were unable to see beyond their projections and expectations stayed as stuck as when they had arrived. Kipukamaluhia is a healing dojo/zendo/refuge of the highest quality, where people are invited to share in the sacrament of awareness while experiencing what Rashani refers to as “interbeing.”
Rashani is amazingly generous, sharing her extensive library as well as her time. She blesses all who come with consistent authenticity and compassionate directness. Like the land, she is a mirror in which one has the ongoing opportunity to see neglected parts of themselves clearly. Those who are able to accept what they see gracefully awaken.
My months at Kipukamaluhia were some of the most important days of my life. I remain forever grateful for the opportunity to unlearn so many things and directly experience what I had previously believed was outside of myself, while nourishing the gardens & orchards with Rashani and several other sevadars.
I highly recommend doing sessions with Rashani also. During my stay I met several people who came from other islands and countries to attend her retreats & intensives and to do private sessions. There is an effortless quality in the way she interacts with people and it is quite rare.
Shanti Pfendler, Zürich, Switzerland
In the spring of 2011, I spent five weeks at Kipukamaluhia, and my experience has affected every day since. More than anything, what Rashani has helped create and harbor is an open, sacred space. My time there, above all else, was deeply introspective. There is nobody there to preach at you or tell you how you should be. Rashani maintains a few rules in order to keep the space as open and beautiful as it is, but outside of those you can truly be yourself. If you want someone to talk to or a book to read, or help with anything, it will inevitably come to you in the perfect moment. What Kipukamaluhia can provide, if you are open and willing, is the awareness to notice those perfect moments as they unfold.
The word ‘work’ is not generally used here, because once you are on the property, it is hard not to simply feel great about contributing to the continual beautification of the space.
I would recommend Kipukamaluhia to anyone who is willing to enter a powerful, magical place, and do so without any expectations at all.
Noahegh Chute, Strafford, Vermont
I called Kipukamaluhia my home for about 3 months. I consider living at Kipukamaluhia to be one of the most rewarding and delicious times of my life so far.
Spending time with the animals, the plants, the trees, the gardens, the native foliage, the rocks and lava, the structures, the trade winds, the stars at night there, I am convinced that Kipukamaluhia is truly located in one of the most magical places on this planet.
There is no lack of wonder to this landscape, not only because of its Hawaiian overlay, but because of how Kipukamaluhia is built, with great intention, awareness, prayer and gratitude. I considered seva there to be “easy,” even though oftentimes requiring good clean sweat, because the fruits of it are so rewarding, the dynamic nature of the daily sadhana so instantly palpable, even in the simple act of weeding a walkway.
During my stay there, Rashani was called to Ecuador for an event and the land was left in the hands of myself and another fortunate WWOOFER. It was during that time where I found myself walking the entire land with great care to make sure all the tending and care that Rashani puts in on a daily basis did not wilt for lack of attention. There are so many sacred plants and magical nooks there; taking the time to visit them and become familiar with their existence was a dharma of pure enjoyment, regardless of the service. Singing and chanting mantras while watering these numerous spots was one of my favorite tasks.
The quietude and peace of the land are supreme and will woo you deeper into love with yourself among all the other things there are to love about it. I would behoove anyone who wants to go there and care take the land that you do so with the utmost understanding that the land is alive and watches and listens and expects the same from you.
Kipukamaluhia is a place for people who seek a quiet refuge and are willing to cultivate Presence and tend the land with an intention of purity. The land there can feel you and has a way of calling you out if you are not in alignment with it.
Kayt Pearl, Sedona, Arizona
* Sadhana is a committed prayer, a form of spiritual practice. It is something which you want to do and which is mindfully being done through you. It is not done to please somebody or to gain love and approval. Sadhana is a form of love made manifest, a personal process in which you bring out your best.
“The purpose of sadhana is to help us recognize, understand and experience the unbroken wholeness of mind and phenomena, and then to live the implications of being this all-inclusive, utterly dynamic weaving of timeless mystery.”