Albert Einstein hair

February 22, 2012General Health

Here I am in Kauai, swinging from tree to tree, living from banana to banana and wondering.

Kauai is such an enigmatic land where dog food is purchased in the paint shop and “No dumping” signs includes live chickens. However I have been asking myself, apart from its ecological majesty, what gives Kauai its character.

There is no doubt that the locals are at times as colourful as the landscape. As I walked on the beach this morning a wetsuit clad woman rowed her three dogs on her surfboard.

One of my new friends here is Richard Kraft, a composer, astrologer and giggling guru who was birthed into a traditional upper-middle class Boston family. The hippy/spiritual revolution infatuated him during his teens and he left home to seek a guru with digs.

Richard has inhabited spiritual communities for most of his life. He is one of Kauai’s great characters.

Bride and joy

If you had attended my recent nuptials you would have seen an anxious bride, ready to descend the stairs, in a sob-orific state (weddings always make me cry, especially my own) about to start without the musician and his wife Greta, who were 30 minutes late.

About to give up and plunge head-long towards the celebrant, they burst through the front door, holding the piano.

Richard’s wiry sun frizzed hair was raised in tribute to Albert Einstein. Bare footed, he looked like he had just emerged from the organic veggie patch.

He had composed a song called “Eyes” especially for our wedding, (Not many people can say that!) in response to how he had experienced us as a couple at a deep level. During the first performance I was touched to the point of sobbing. (I have become Kauai’s official town crier). Richard’s compositions speak to the soul.

But this story is not another marriage yarn; it’s about how to live a healthy life. Richard and his wife Greta established a spiritual community in Kauai. They have a lot to teach us about conscious living to achieve enlightenment through simple activities such as eating communally and being in touch with our true selves. Not as easy as it might seem!

The promise of Ohm

Richard and Greta’s community is called Promissol, a Bulgarian word meaning providence, “promised land” or “ohm” (feel free to chant). Their spiritual teacher was Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov from Bulgaria.

Promissol is a place to feel at one with people and nature. Small hexagonal living quarters sit across the property alongside an organic veggie garden, and apiary.

We joined them for dinner, “pot luck” (where everyone brings a dish to share) and a movie night – Women of Tibet: Gyalyum Chemo – The Great Mother, about the Dalai Lama’s Mum.

The dining hexagon was basic, furniture and crockery a confusion of bric a brac, table to seat a crowd. On arrival there were warm deep hugs. Prior to eating we all stated what we were grateful for, and the organic homemade kombucha flowed freely in a spirit of loving and generosity.

Chamber pot of secrets

Attached to this building is the bathroom. I required instructions regarding operation of the composting toilet; mixing “business” with earth and sand. (I prayed for no worms.) This system generates a useable end product for garden fertilising. (“dunny-post” hahaha.)

I suggested to my new husband that since we relocated all our wild chickens and chicken shite no longer fertilised the garden that perhaps we should install one. He suggested that I might want one back in Australia! (By the way, we did not relocate said chickens to our oven; we are now having a fabulous chook house built –in fact the crème of chicken coup.) But I digress.

You are how you eat

Imagine, night after night dining with a group of people not your family.  We know that living in a relationship with a spouse can be hard yakka and things become undone fast when unmet expectations are experienced (How come he won’t do everything I say?) But living with a group of people could see you dribbling into your quinoa and kale.

Richard sees that today’s spiritual teachings, and especially the new age movement, are filled with methods and activities. His experience showed him a different way; embracing people in a family.

“Many people have deep wounds from their family experience. As such our only activity is to learn to eat together. This is a big thing and requires a lot of decisions including whether we buy or grow food, how we come together at the meal and whether one person cooks or the cooking is shared? There are many ramifications for establishing one central activity.

“What happens most is that people’s hearts start opening because you are stimulating the thought of what can be brought to others as opposed to, ‘what can I have for myself’.

“In establishing a giving environment you come from a spirit of abundance. That is a major part of our spiritual teaching. If we can consider others regarding eating and other daily activities, taking into consideration where they are at and how they feel, that contributes to solving world problems.

“We live simply or more elaborately according to our means. What is essential is that everyone feels good.”

In living sustainably, nothing goes to waste – even emotions

“Community living has been my lifestyle since my late teens and I am almost 60. I cannot conceive of living only for myself. Every day shadows and anxieties arise from a spirit of lack and fear because the archetypes of our old life are still present.

“If I am not conscious I will create a situation in which I am going to suffer. And if I am incredibly unconscious I will believe other people and situations cause my problems, and I will hold onto my suffering even more.

“What I prefer is to be intelligent about it and to look to myself to find what is going on. I understand that the unconscious part of me created things that are not useful. I will take time to understand any fear, misunderstanding or insecurity, recognise that the issue is tiny, then invite it into the other big part of me where there is only love and expansion.”

“The person across from me is a part of me, and whatever they go through, I go through. This does not mean I identify with their issues, they have their stuff and I have mine but we are not separate. If we remain in this place of unity nothing is difficult, it’s a blast.

“Don’t talk to me about life” - Marvin the paranoid android, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

What is the meaning of life? Can our consciousness peak with a Prada peep toe pump? Can we find ourselves through colonic irrigation? Who knows? Each to their own.

I reckon that achieving peace, joy, health and financial comfort comes through knowing who you really are – it’s the key to a better life.

When we define ourselves according to our attachments, our profession, our wealth, or lack of it, and our medical conditions, it can be our undoing. This does not mean we should not have good things.

Richard says we often  discover through crisis and suffering that our actions and deeds don’t support us. I agree!

“In our daily lives we are so busy filling our time and avoiding the essential question, “who am I”, so we don’t actually know. Our inner life is jam-packed with things we think we are and suddenly we discover this is wrong.”

For more about what’s good for you download my ebook, Finding Direction, A vital guide to natural therapies.


  1. Great article about two of my friends. Richard and Greta are living their talk and continue to amaze me the better I get to know them.
    I first heard of their amazing garden and how they had manifested a beautiful little cottage. I never did see that garden. Then I heard they had moved to a piece of land to start a school and then a community, Promissol. I have seen their magical garden and was lucky to have shared a potluck in the octagon.
    One can get lost in Richard and Greta’s “eyes” as they smile deep inside at you…

    Comment by Ken Bernard — March 13, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  2. Hi Ken, yes they certainly are the real deal. Wonderful people who contribute to the world just through their being.

    Comment by Jeanette — March 13, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

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< ! [if !supportLists] >- < ! [endif] >Journalist – The Age newspaper, Herald Sun newspaper, various magazines

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< ! [if !supportLists] >o < ! [endif] >The Natural Health Directory, A Discerning Guide to Leading Medical and Non Medical Practitioners in Victoria, (Hill of Content Publishing, 2001)

< ! [if !supportLists] >o < ! [endif] >DVT deep vein thrombosis, The condition you don’t have to have, Co author Monica Jane Shalit (Pennon Publishing, 2002)

< ! [if !supportLists] >o < ! [endif] >Biography, Maxine Fensom, Maxine Stripped Naked, Tales from the sex industry (Pennon Publishing, 2004)

< ! [if !supportLists] >o < ! [endif] >Managing Aches and Pains (B Jain Publishing, 2010)

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< ! [if !supportLists] >- < ! [endif] >Entrepreneur – Health forums

< ! [if !supportLists] >- < ! [endif] >Slightly nutty – This is good because nuts are good for you

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< ! [if !supportLists] >- < ! [endif] >Mother – Wonderful 23 year old daughter

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