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Dragonfly Ranch Healing Arts Center    Healing Arts Retreat

On The Wings Of a Dragonfly

©2002 Loren Lewisohn

Living in Hawaii is unusual in terms of being showered with blessings. This ideal became highlighted recently when a close friend called to provide me with an update on the Big Island’s social scene. She advised me to be sure not to miss a forthcoming sarod concert and dance performance to be held at the Kona based Dragonfly Ranch. This program would include world-renowned musician, Lisa Moskow, and Australian-born Sacred Dance Master, Amalia Camateros. Sensing the incredible opportunity for participating in a joyous celebration, I said to myself, “I gotta go!”

Traversing the circuitous route from Hilo to the other side of the island is a great escape odyssey. The main boon for nature lovers like myself is that the Big Island’s diversity offers a stunning array of natural treasures. There is much more than meets the eye of even the most discerning of travelers. The presence of Hawaii’s living Spirit is infused into the backcountry. Simply breathtaking!

Along the way are huge, towering waterfalls. In striking complement, volatile volcanic zones, comprising acres of land, are created in a geological blink of an eye.

The coastal portions of Hawaii (known as “the Big Island”) are particularly attractive in that one can experience a great tropical splendor. Few adventures compare to observing vivid wilderness dreamscapes while lying on a black sand beach under swaying palms, as waves of surf baptize the shoreline. I enjoy feeling the love that Nature so bountiful offers. In this stunning atmosphere, it is possible to attune to the continual ebb and flow of Creation. Listening closely, I can hear Mother Nature whispering: awaken, awaken, awaken to the indwelling magnificence.

Harkening to the rewards of touring the Big Island’s sacred sites, metaphysically inclined visitors can enjoy a series of special power spots. One favorite is the venerable Wood Valley Temple, a rustic Tibetan “jewel in the lotus” retreat, neatly tucked away in the hills of Pahala. Set amidst a lush backdrop of forest, hills and meadows, it is the perfect place to pause for inner reflection. The refuge has even been blessed by the sanctifying presence of the Dalai Lama, who communed with residents and guests there several years ago.

As I continue on my way, I am awed by Hawaii’s spectacular panoramas including glimpses of majestic, snowcapped Mauna Kea, the largest mountain in the world if measured from the bottom of the Pacific. Hours seem to pass in an instant. Before I know it, my truck reaches the three mile downhill access road leading to the pearl of South Kona, the legendary Dragonfly Ranch.

Upon my arrival, I observe an iridescent dragonfly goddess mobile above the entryway, a Frank-Lloyd-Wright designed statue on the rock wall and the strikingly lush, peaceful, oasis-like ambiance of the retreat: Nature in repose.

My initial impressions are most favorable. I'm particularly awed by giant, hundred-year-old monkeypod trees providing a protective umbrella over the property. This sanctuary is clearly a world apart. Meandering along a series of pathways, I hear the gentle sounds of trickling water bubbling from a delightful dolphin fountain. There are a number of Quan Yin goddess statues and various dragonfly motifs sequestered in cozy meditation niches. In the warmth of a breezy afternoon, I enjoy the sense of romance.

Looking skyward, there is a large, rambling Swiss-Family-Robinson style treehouse with a series of five adjacent guest rooms. I’m immediately struck by how tastefully designed the buildings are - a harmonious blending of indoor/outdoor tropical enchantment. After a short walk I reach the top lanai where I discover gorgeous views of an ancient Hawaiian village on Kona’s famed “Gold Coast.”

The gracious founder and hostess of the retreat, Ms. Barbara Kenonilani Moore, appears with an entourage of adorably fluffy, white Pomeranians. After a warm welcome, she takes me on an impromptu tour. At the multi-tiered treetop Shangri-la, we sit on the spacious outside deck, chatting amiably about the remarkable twenty eight year evolution of the sanctuary. The Dragonfly Ranch is Barbara's ambitious effort to manifest her healing ecotopia vision, complete with a wide range of innovative wellness programs designed to nurture body, mind and spirit. These rich, sacred healing experiences include Flower Essence Therapy and, the specialty of the house, traditional Hawaiian Lomilomi Rejuvenation Treatment.

Having the firsthand pleasure of discovering all this hideaway magic, I wonder if any famous guests have visited. Barbara reflects for a moment; then smiles. She relates that a variety of notable artists, philosophers, movie stars, writers and musicians have enjoyed escaping the busy world from time to time.

The first day of my visit, I am treated to a lovely live concert of soothing Asian music in consort with a beautiful, interpretive dance performance. I discover the Ranch, itself, is a mecca for choice entertainment!

I like the management's encouragement of it's guests creating personalized adventure outings. A sampling of these possibilities includes swimming, snorkeling and kayaking in crystal clear, dolphin inhabited waters. What a perpetual gift.

Suddenly, I hear a rumbling sound, turning into a voracious lions roar. My stomach is growling! This leads me to discover yet another one of the sanctuary's best kept secrets—the sumptuous cornucopia of fresh greens and tropical fruits, to be gathered directly from the organic garden. After harvesting lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, sweet peas and other select delectables, I partake of a nourishing gourmet meal.

As the day rolls on and Barbara and I get to know each other better, our conversation spans a wide range of topics. Oblivious of external worldly influences, we continue to talk, until the lazy afternoon seems to have all but evaporated. As she and I look in the direction of the ocean, she playfully exclaims: “The light is fading and there is much more you haven't seen. The best view is from the top of the property.” I sense there is something magical that awaits.

Enthusiastically, she reveals her most recent innovation, the addition of a huge, open air facility…the Illuminarium. Desiring to view it, I follow the ascending serpentine pathway through the well tended garden and surrounding jungle. The colorful arched structure appears, casting an impressive swath across the landscape. I am filled with a mixture of awe and elation as I savor the scene.

Barbara mentions that one use for such a creation is to grow orchids. I observe that the design is well suited for multi-use creative arts endeavors. As I walk through the cavernous structure I am on the inside of a shimmering rainbow. All ten of the Gothic overhead support beams are a painted tapestry of heavenly pastel hues. “Ah ha,” I chuckle: “here is the open air Polynesian version of Chartres Cathedral,” complete with an intricate, multi-colored, concentric labyrinth painted in the center of the spacious wooden floor. It's uplifting to circumambulate it, rediscovering the center within. The Illuminarium is perfect for tranquil introspection. Here, the elusive pot of gold, (our spiritual destiny), surrounds, nourishes, and provides me with a potent “soulscape” reminder: one must elevate one's consciousness to perceive Creation as a sacred dance.

Savoring each precious moment, a question comes to mind: “what will it take to inspire humanity's creative genius so that maximum blessings unfold?” The more I reflect upon this magnificent ideal, the closer I am to understanding the Universe's eclectic mysteries. As mystic Ursa Krattinger Tinga aptly expresses: “The Labyrinth is a riddle. It is the cosmos and the world; the life of human kind, the womb of the earth…the journey, the way to the center, the way to ourselves.”* The following day, my destiny continues to unfold in a unique manner. I have the great fortune to get to know Dance Master, Amalia Camateros, a personable, young woman of wisdom who exudes a scintillating charm. As we converse, I begin to feel that her smile is capable of enlivening whole universes.

Wishing to make the most of the day, we make a pilgrimage to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park. Before us, stretches the vastness of the Pacific--the perfect place to access Nature’s heartspace. As cool balmy breezes fleet across the wide expanse of shallow crystalline tidepools, Amalia confides that she has experienced an ongoing series of wake up calls about the spiritual nature of life. Reverence for Mother Earth and sacred dance, she reflects, are honorariums to the sweetness of the Earth and the effulgent human spirit. She expresses that the Big Island is the perfect place to experience these sublime visions. The Illuminarium appeals to her as a temple for sharing her special offerings.

As we wander through the ancient Pu'uhonua O Honaunau, we connect to the powerful spirit of place, the legendary, potent mana. Though Amalia and I enjoy this timelessness at the shore, we know that more wonderful experiences are in store for us at the Healing Arts Retreat. Looking forward to re-grouping with the staff and guests, she and I retrace our way back to Dragonfly territory.

There, we are serenaded by the sounds of bees humming mingled with soft chirping from tiny banana birds. The enveloping aura of tropical beauty and intoxicating scents are delightful. In contrast to this overall feeling of serenity, I'm surprised to hear laughter emitting from the kitchen/dining area. Soon Amalia and I join the festivities in full swing.

The fun is in meeting new guests from far flung corners of the globe, exchanging life stories, and exploring vibrant possibilities for more adventure. Together, the assembled group shares gratitude for the many gifts continually bestowed.

The ringing of the temple bell wind chimes announces the beginning of a workshop. The dance intensive’s participants, including myself, make our way to the Illuminarium. Amalia’s “Awake the Snake multi-digenous healing experience” is meant to stimulate self discovery. She suggests that humans have spent an inordinate amount of time searching outside of themselves for the source of happiness while, “the real fulfillment is to be in honor of the planet and ourselves by living our sacredness.” As humans become more aware of their inherent divine nature they can awaken dormant kundalini … the hidden serpent power within that is the basis of enlightenment. Awakening this force is the core of Amalia’s ongoing intensives.

Silently meditating on the edge of the giant labyrinth design, I feel like I’m being teleported to another world. I become transfixed watching Amalia execute a beautiful, freeform, interpretive dance. After her glorious Earth-Spirit movement, she entreats us, in tempo with some uplifting Indian ragas, to dance through the labyrinth.

One by one we glide along in tune with various musical selections designed to put us in touch with the energy of the various chakras. Gradually, with Amalia’s expert guidance, each of us becomes more aware of these subtle dynamics. Eventually the music stops and we stand completely still, drinking in the peace of dusk.

Looking heavenward through the emerald lace canopy of monkeypod leaves, I behold a tiny, glimmering dot of light in the evening sky. It’s the planet of love, Venus. A message comes to me: “enjoin your soul with All That Is… Celebrating wholeness is the true meditation.” I envision the whole planet and her peoples in harmonious alliance.

The events of my journey have provided quite a bit to reflect on. After the stimulating workshop, I relax and unwind in a choice upscale tree house suites. As the sun slowly sinks beneath the vast glistening Pacific, I am enraptured by eternity’s embrace and actually sense Amalia’s spirit soaring!

In the morning, as a natural conclusion to my journey, I re-mingle with the extraordinary guests in the kitchen/dining area and share a hearty breakfast. It’s been a great pleasure to have met so many kindred spirits. I bid everyone a fond farewell. In a buoyant mood, I set out on my way back to the other side of the island.

In the following days, I’m pleased to reminisce on my many experiences. One morning at sunrise, while casually strolling along Puna’s jagged coastline, I pause on a flat precipice overlooking the glistening ocean. Stilling my being in a meditative pose, a sense of déjà vu prevails. Suddenly, without notice, I feel great bursts of a fresh dragonfly wind ascending like an untethered kite. I re-experience the ancient mana ? the indelible interconnectedness to the umbilical cord of Mother Earth, and our eternal spiritual nature.

If, perchance, your travel itinerary prompts you to inhabit the heartspace of Eden, consider a visit to this unique area. You might find it to be a delightful experience. I know I will.

Dragonfly Ranch Healing Arts Center

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