Over the past 4 years I have split my life between the paradise of Kauai, one of the Hawaiian Islands, and the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. In 2009 I moved to Kauai to attend school for bodywork and consciousness training at The Pacific Center of Awareness and Bodywork. I lived there until 2012 when my heart took me to Philadelphia to create the Ahimsa House, with a dear sister Meg Ferrigno.
I had been living in the Kalalua Valley, off in the bush of Kauai, 11 miles from civilization, electricity and technology for the months prior to visiting Meg in Philadelphia. Living so close to nature, gathering my own wood and water for survival while sleeping to the sounds of the near by river, healed my body, mind and soul in ways only mother earth has the capacity to do. Living so simply inspired the feeling of aliveness in me. I felt for the first time that I was not under the control of a system I was born into without choice, but instead an active participant in my life's upkeep and welfare. I understood why people lived like that, isolated from the confines of modern culture and the grind we normally live under. My time in that valley ignited a deep desire in my heart to serve nature, to live closer to the earths heartbeat, and to love and cherish this precious life. Therefore when I left the valley and flew to the mainland for my yearly visit, I was ripe for change and growth. During that trip, while visiting Meg she asked if I would be willing to partner with her to start the Ahimsa House, a center for non-violence, practices of peace, simple living and conscious consumerism in West Philadelphia. For some reason It seemed like an obvious transition; from deep in the heart of mother nature, to the pulse of the city’s veins. From the gifts I received in the Kalalua valley I wanted to give back and offer others the opportunity to know peace and connection. So began the project of generosity we named the Ahimsa house.
My passion to serve and love has grown exponentially in the past 3 years since moving to Philadelphia and giving myself to my work here. Philly opened its arms to me and put me fast to work creating this community center, a bodywork practice, and co-directing a Yoga teacher training. The sound of cars is not quite as soothing as the sounds of running water close by, however, the feeling of service and giving back to this life is exactly what the Kalalua valley was downloading into my system for those months i spent back there.
At Ahimsa a wide variety of classes, teachers, workshops and community colors our center. Everything from daily yoga classes, meditation sits, food not bombs, gardening, permaculture, authentic movement, art classes, fermentation workshops, poetry reads, music, healing workshops and more take place at Ahimsa House. Everything we offer is on Dana, or generosity, meaning that all classes are on a wide-open donation scale. We encourage people to donate first and foremost by taking what they learn inside the classroom and live it, thereby bringing more peace to the world. If folks want to contribute in other ways we have a donation box for $, encourage people to help out around the house, garden, offer classes and all other creative ways of giving back.
There is an empty lot that is next door to our center which we use as a community garden. This past year it was under contract for development; however, our community came together to save the lot via fundraisers and more. So far we have raised over $30,000 in the past 4 months (we still need $50,000 more if you feel inspired to help us save our Green space, this is not a plug).
Every day my cup is filled knowing that the work that we are doing at Ahimsa is bettering peoples lives and creating peace and refuge in the community. This service project which pulled me from the cathedral of mother earth to a concrete jungle, is one of the best moves I've ever made. For paradise is everywhere, you just have to open your eyes and serve (and escape to nature!).