• March 12, 2024
    Acts of Love and Service

    Dear readers, Here in Hawaii, each island has a “wet” or windward side, and a “dry” or leeward side. The valley where I live is on the “wet” side. The forest here is graced with frequent rains and warm, damp winds. Mushrooms spring from rotting logs; ferns and flowers thrive; streams meander down the cliffside […]

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    February 29, 2024
    The Power of Place

    Dear readers,    Many years ago, long before I moved to Hawaii, I took a trip to the Big Island with my then-partner. Like many tourists, we started out by consulting a variety of guidebooks and websites, intent on hitting all the best spots and anxious not to “miss” anything. We packed snorkels, fins, and […]

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    January 26, 2024
    The Importance of First Drafts

    Dear readers,    This December marked my five-year anniversary of living off-grid on three acres of tropical rainforest in rural Hawaii.  It’s the longest relationship I’ve had with a place since leaving my parents' house at seventeen, and the first time I’ve been solely responsible not only for maintaining a home, but for building one […]

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    December 26, 2023
    An Inward Journey

    Dear readers, In the rural Hawaiian valley where I have lived off-grid for the past five years, local people come often to tend their ancestors’ graves, which are marked either by Western-style headstones or by traditional piles of stones, or pohaku. Wandering through the forest, you soon become aware that you are surrounded by graves. […]

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    November 14, 2023
    Small Living, Big Wisdom

    Dear readers, Before I built the simple open-air hut in rural Hawaii where I cook, write, and practice music, the only structure on my land was a large, open-sided tent perched on a wooden platform. The platform was the first thing I built when I bought the land several years ago—a tiny island lifting me […]

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    October 2, 2023
    The Freedom to Change

    Dear Readers, This weekend, one of my best friends came to visit me at the small off-grid community in rural Hawaii where I live. As we roasted green coffee beans in a cast-iron pan, we took turns asking each other questions from a game she had brought—What was your most embarrassing moment in high school, […]

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    August 30, 2023
    There Is No Such Thing As Trash

    Dear readers,    The other night, I reread one of my favorite Zen books—Novice to Master, by Sōkō Morinaga. He shares a wonderful story of the time when he first began to study at Daishuin monastery. His first task upon being accepted to the monastery was to sweep up the temple garden. When he had […]

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    July 26, 2023
    The Power of Story

    Dear Readers,   As long as I can remember, I’ve collected people’s stories. Whether it’s a close friend or a stranger I’ll never see again, there are few experiences I treasure more than sitting up late in a darkened kitchen, or riding a bus through an endless sunrise, listening to someone tell me about their […]

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    July 11, 2023
    Balancing Skepticism and Receptiveness

    Dear Readers,   One of the unexpected benefits of living on a ramshackle off-grid homestead in rural Hawaii is that whenever friends come to visit from the “real” world, they can never quite restrain themselves from fixing things, building things, or making the small but necessary changes I never seem to get around to completing […]

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    May 18, 2023
    The Magic of Oneness

    Dear Reader,    A short way down the trail from my cabin in rural Hawaii, there is a little old man who lives in a shack with a pig, three dogs, and four cats. Everyone worries that he is getting too frail to live in our remote off-grid community—carrying bags of dog food across the […]

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