Members & Teachers Bios

Members

Amara Karuna has been studying alternative healing since 1978.  Amara has been studying, practicing and teaching various forms of peer counseling since 1983. She developed her own approach to peer counseling, called Wholistic Peer Support, integrating many ideas from RC with spiritual meditation practices, psychic healing and body centered techniques. She was trained in psychic reading, healing and meditation for two years at the Berkeley Psychic Institute. She created, edited and published Heartsong Review, a resource guide for New Age spiritual music, for nine years.  She studies and teaches Tantra work, and sexual healing. She is a minister, Sheikha (teacher) and initiator on the Sufi path, and has been studying that path, which encourages honoring of all religions, since 1983. She has created and staffed many weekend Dances of Universal Peace Workshops as well as led and participated in many rituals since 1980, being attracted to the honoring of Nature, women and the natural cycles. She has been a graphic artist and scrimshander since 1980. You can see her various offerings at www.amarakaruna.com. Her YouTube channel offers many inspirational videos.

Currently she organizes many events, including Network for New Culture Winter Camp, Conscious Connection Retreats, Tantra retreats, and trainings for International School of Temple Arts.  She identifies as polyamorous (many loves). One of her primary goals is to empower as many people as possible to be effective, supportive allies for each other, and to encourage people to grow emotionally and spiritually, to be free and have fun. Being at La’akea is the fulfillment of a lifelong commitment to community.

Prem Ananda Donna Fisher-  I have always loved playing with power. As a child I rode wild horses and climbed huge mountains. As a young adult, I fell in love with and was moved by how this power transformed me into a beautiful, free being. My love of power combined with my love of the Earth manifested in the most obvious way when I learned to be a solar electrician 20 years ago. It wasn’t an easy journey, but I had a goal in mind – to build Amazon Power Company into an entity that would help to preserve the Earth while supplying individual needs for power.

I apprenticed as a weaver and learned about hypnotherapy, and became a Reiki Master Healer. I weave all of these tools of power into a life that brings light in the dark, illuminates my spiritual path, and helps myself and others to find balance and see deep inside ourselves. I didn’t always see this thread of power in all the aspects of my life, but upon reflection, there is no ignoring the common fabric that they have created together. I had the great fortune to grow up embraced by nature, and never had a desire to leave the nurturing womb. There is nothing more powerful in my life than the forces of Gaia that thrive and grow all around me. Now I have the privilege of dancing with Madame Pele here in Pahoa, one more time teaching me about co-creation and the power of the earth.

I’ve been blessed to share this lifetime with a daughter and a son, and my beloved Prasad, (who recently passed), and continue to share many lessons with them. I am devoted to my teacher, Prem Baba, who guides me on the Path of the Heart, helping to Awaken Love in me and all beings. Beauty, peace, and love have manifested as my life, and my heart is full with love and gratitude!

Aniko Willoughby has lived and loved life in Hawaii since 1994. Aniko spent her teenage years in Japan enjoying that culture and acquired a love for traveling, which she has pursued with delight in her adult years.  More recently she experienced the joy in having a son, named Kaiea, who was born here at La’akea in 1997.  They both feel incredibly blessed to live in such an amazing family.  Aniko loves nature, she is passionate for the ocean as a surfer, snorkeler and has worked with stranded sea turtles on Maui.  Her connection to the plants and trees is also healing and grounding for her.  Aniko is a certified yoga instructor, has studied and taught Non Violent Communication, and Peer Counseling.  Continuing to grow and learn, consciously every day. 

 

 

Biko. CommBikounity has been a passion and home for Biko since the year 1998. He has lived in a variety of communities, from Shivalila – a small very communal group, to Breitenbush – a larger less communal one in Oregon. Biko has gained many relationship and communication skills from involvement in Peer counseling, non-violent communication, vipassana meditation, process psychology, men’s groups etc. He has an ease with children. He loves to juggle and is a part time teacher for the Hiccup circus which is a local circus, teaching skills to the children in the area. Biko spends much of his time in the gardens or orchards or making trails here on the land. He has a deep passion for sustainability and growing food.

David Maynard follows the values of honesty and transparency. He is devoted to a life of growth that sheds programing to find a true expression of himself. 

David approaches others with love, respect and honor. 

David had a deep love of the natural world and a life long kinship with plants.

 

 

JJ (Janice Johnson) has been involved with Network for New Culture since 2018 and was drawn to the La’akea community because of the spacious loving presence of the community members and the beautiful tropical plants and lush sacred land.

She has many skills, including backgrounds in nursing and vocational rehabilitation. She is handy with many types of tools and enjoys construction, repairs, and solving mind engaging puzzles. Her current interests include raising and caring for the chickens and keeping the land and buildings well tended.  She brings her steady loving presence to the group and can often be seen snuggling in a pile of people on the couch.

 

Michael Holwell

Michael became a member of La’akea community in 2021, and has a deep passion for feeding people from the land.  He is a skillful gardener, and has a special attunement with the trees. 

Michael offers massage, emotional support, and healing sessions around sexual issues.  He completed a professional training in Swedish, sports massage and shiatsu. He offers a very slow and rhythmic massage that encourages profound relaxation. His intent is to allow healing to happen rather than making it happen. Michael also has training from the Berkeley Psychic Institute, as well as training in nonviolent communication and compassionate listening. 

He has had several trainings in sexual healing, including the Sexological Bodyworker training.  Many people have sexual wounding or a history of abuse and violation, and the memories of this can be held in the body. It is natural that these memories or feelings can surface during a session, and he holds a loving space for this release.

DSC05050Ruben Guetschow has been at La’akea since early 2013. His passions include music, playing with kids, his partners, the water, food, agriculture and just plain loving.

 

 

In Memorial: Prasad Dittman

Prasad passed away peacefully just before Halloween in 2021, surrounded by his whole community, singing him to the other side on a beautiful morning. He was buried on the land in a well attended ceremony.  He was well loved and will be remembered.

Tracy Matfin is an educator turned farmer, mother and permaculture instructor.  Sharing the community’s living experiment through tours and internship programs brings her great pleasure. Tracy grew up in the S.F. bay area, CA. She studied environmental science at U.C. Berkeley, and went on to be a high school science teacher for a decade. Tracy is a student of non-violent communication, Vipassana meditation, group facilitation and is studying to be a Shaman of Pleasure. She loves sitting with trees, communing with the “weeds” she is removing from the garden and laughing with her daughter, Aia’ala, friends and family.

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