Advivum Journeys, Hawaii
Reconnect to your authentic self with hula, journaling & transformational life coaching
An Advivum journey is a self-discovery process that reconnects you to your authentic self, re-igniting passion and purpose so that you return from the seven-night retreat with the glow of inner wisdom that will guide you towards life’s next stage. Hosted at the Hui Ho’olana on the ‘Friendly Isle’ of Molokai in Hawaii, ‘The Re-Imagined Self’ emerges through a combination of life coaching with Advivum founder, Canadian-based coach Tania Carrière, facing your image with photos taken by National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones, and learning to dance the hula. The process starts three months before you land in Molokai, with workbooks, videos and a coaching session. It’s an inspiration.
There’s a pre-application interview to ensure that all participants meld together supportively to enjoy a joyful and transformative sabbatical for the soul.
The jetlag if you are coming from Europe: it’s a 12-hour time difference. Book it in around an extended stay if you are able.
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On the friendly Hawai’ian isle of Molokai, Niki Natarajan reviews Advivum Journeys’ transformational retreat where through hula, candid portraits and life coaching, her Re-Imagined Self is ready to rock the second act.Have a peek
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The seven-night Molokai retreat is centred around mandatory group life coaching exercises, daily journaling, hula lessons in the afternoon, and three group excursions (sunrise, sunset and a surprise), all witnessed photographically by Dewitt Jones. There are two free half days to explore the beach, town centre or hang out on the estate and enjoy a massage, as well as free time each day to swim in the pool, relax in a hammock or take an outdoor bubble bath in one of four vintage tubs with a view.
The ‘Re-Imagined Self’ process starts three months before you land in Molokai, with four workbooks filled with exercises and a one-hour coaching call with Tania Carrière all designed to elicit where you are now and who you want to be for the next chapter of your life. There are contemplation exercises and YouTube videos by inspiring people such as Brene Brown to help to encourage the habit of journaling. One month after the retreat there is a fifth and final workbook, and towards the end of the year another one hour one on one coaching call to check in on progress and discuss challenges and next steps. You’ll also have the chance to stay connected to and supported and inspired by the sisterhood that forms via a private Facebook page.
Central to the ‘Re-Imagined Self’ retreat are five workbooks, daily journaling, two private coaching calls and interactive group work on location. Together with a meticulously organised structure, Tania Carrière and two additional professional life coaches bring heartfelt friendship and joie de vivre that allow participants to feel safe as they release their redundant sense of self.
Canadian by birth, Tania, an avid traveller, developed a life-long commitment to self-discovery when she lived and worked in France aged 18. With a Masters in Public Administration, her corporate journey started in 1995 in a boutique consulting firm in Ottawa that facilitated business transformation and change management. Since then Tania, who has a background in psychology, has been working as an executive coach and consultant focusing on organisational development for large groups and leadership development for executives in support of ongoing change and the realisation of passion and fulfilment. She’s now turned her passionate attention to individuals.
Using candid photographs taken throughout the week, award-winning former National Geographic photographer and Academy Awards-nominated documentary film producer Dewitt Jones captures the many faces of each of the participants as they reconnect with their different selves. Discussions at an individual level and group slide presentations help to remove the self-criticism that blocks access to releasing full potential. You are sent all the photos of you to keep via Dropbox as a memory of the trip. At the start of the week, you are asked to sign a photographic release waiver so that photos of you can be used for Advivum’s social media and marketing.
After 20 years of photography for the National Geographic taking photos to ‘Celebrate What’s Right in the World’, Dewitt now leads Celebrate What’s Right, an online community of photographers and bloggers that invite people to see life from a place of abundance and joy. During the retreat, Dewitt gives two talks based on his life and how through images and words we can transform the way we experience the world.
Movement is an essential component to integrating learning and transformation, and on this retreat hula is used as such. Hawaii’s ancient storytelling dance is a set of simple repetitive steps (four count to the left and four to the right) and arm movements put together to bring to life the words of local songs such as Pua Mana. Coordinating steps, words and arm movements is almost secondary to the carefree sense of joy and sisterhood that this group activity incites, primarily because almost certainly everyone is a novice and therefore likely to be experiencing the same feelings of beginner’s confusion. Lynette Sheppard, author of Becoming a Menopause Goddess, teaches the fluid movements of the hula each day on this retreat as a way to reflect on how we dance in our lives and also to share the culture and life lessons contained in the dance.
There are two short and simple yet profound daily rituals, one in the morning that involves everyone reading a stanza of a poem, and one in the evening to acknowledge and honour every individual’s feeling at the end of each day.
Group excursions are also part of the retreat experience and include a trip to watch the sunrise over Kalaupapa bay, followed by the morning’s ritual at the sacred fertility site of the Phallic Rock; watching the sun set on Papohaku Beach; and a unique surprise at a privately-hosted musical event.
In a dedicated massage hut, external highly skilled massage therapist Rosine Stout, can be scheduled to offer simple massages and body work.
On this retreat you practice Ohana, which in Hawai’ian means family (in an extended sense) and is the practice of offering time to support the household needs of the retreat and part of the community-living experience. Staff and guests all participate in karma yoga on a daily basis. Guests are given a small job like sweeping a deck, wiping the tables after meals, keeping an eye on the communal bathrooms or making coffee. It is a fun way to feel truly a part of your group experience, and the volunteers appreciate the contribution.
Bedrooms: There are four rooms in the main eco lodge – two single rooms with vintage furniture and bookcases, and two shared rooms on the mezzanine, all with shared bathrooms on their floor. Or choose one of five tropical basic forest cabins, each with a balcony and large windows, designed for sharing with two beds, a desk and clothes-hanging space. If you require alone time, it is worth booking one of the ‘return to nature’ cabins with shared outdoor shower facilities.
All rooms come with tongs to remove insects, such as caterpillars, without harming them, and ammonia in case of an insect bite. All of the rooms have shared bathroom facilities with basic shower gel, shampoo and conditioner to use should you forget to pack your own.
Other places to be: Unless you have a solo room or cabin, the personal spaces where you are alone are anywhere on the extensive grounds. There is a meditation garden, numerous benches hidden around the property, a hammock by the pool and long trails to explore the forest. One of the unique aspects of the Hui are the four vintage bathtubs dotted around the grounds, ideal for warm relaxing bubble baths under the stars.
Pack light: towels, basic shampoo, conditioner and shower gel are provided and living in yoga/sports gear all week is more than acceptable. It’s worth arriving at least a day or two earlier from Europe to counter jetlag, and aim to stay on Molokai a few days after to process in peace. It is not possible to stay at the venue, so most people who want to stay on the island typically invest a night or two at the beach front Hotel Molokai, or explore AirBnB options. There are two airports on the island – make sure you land at Molokai (MKK), not Kalaupapa Airport (LUP), which is on the other side of the island for the residents of the Kalaupapa National Park, a former leper colony and for which you need formal documents to enter. If you have to spend time in Honolulu, book a Queenly massage at the Moana Lani Spa and spend the day at spa complex away from the crowds.
When to Go
The venue is open from September to June, but the Advivum Journeys retreat is usually held towards the end of the year, or in January. The weather in Hawaii is typically the same all year around, warm and sunny, but the Hui Ho’olana is 1350 ft above sea level so cooler than the coast, particularly in the evening, so pack a fleece and an umbrella for the light rain and occasional showers.
Unless there is a storm, all meals are typically eaten family-style at one of seven tables on the L-shaped covered sea view veranda. Three delicious healthy meals are prepared in a large kitchen and presented beautifully as a self-service buffet. Food, which where possible is organic and wheat free, is predominantly vegetarian but supplemented by eggs, chicken and local meats. Home grown salads topped with edible flowers are served with a choice of three home-made dressings.
At breakfast, granola and different types of home-made bread offered with passion fruit curd, jam, honey and butter are a staple. In addition to a selection of sliced local fruit (papaya, pineapple, banana or dragon fruit) one breakfast menu was organic steel-cut oats with strawberry mango compote, fruit and nut muffin and poached eggs over a sweet potato and wild rice medley.
Lunch is lighter, for example, roasted butternut squash, carrot, and almond salad, baba ghanoush with pita bread and Moroccan bean and rice salad. The evening meal one night was Hui nut loaf with miso gravy, steamed broccoli, oven fries, and hui salad and coconut chia parfait for dessert.
Filtered water and cold flavoured teas are freely available all day, as are hot teas and coffee. Whilst alcohol is not sold at Hui Ho’olana guests are free to buy it in town and store it in the communal fridges.
The Hui is a not for profit venue that recycles, supplements electricity with solar power, uses wax cloth instead of plastic to cover food, bamboo flatware for picnics, collects rainwater for the garden, grows salad, herbs and fruit and the paper towels are biodegradable and 100% recyclable. In addition to reintroducing more than 20,000 native plants, the Hui is home to the largest private restoration of dry-land forest within the State.
Hui Ho’olana, 1475, Kalae Hwy, Kualapuu, HI, 96757
Airport: Molokai Airport
Transfer time: 30 minutes