Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Writer's Journey interviews author Linda Ballou

As the celebration of Aloha Festival Month comes to a close for another year in Hawaii and on this blog, the book Wai-nani High Chiefess of Hawaii, Her Epic Journey remains to tell the story of an ancient people and the Hawaiian woman Wai-nani the forerunner to the modern woman. You can find out more about Wai-nani in this interview I did with One Writer’s Journey.

Q: Tell me a little about your book.

A: Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i- Her Epic Journey is fabled history couched in magical realism set in primal Hawaii. Precocious Wai-nani’s character is inspired by the powerful personage of Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great. This was no small accomplishment as he had thirty-one wives. Kamehameha fulfilled the prophecy at the time of his birth to unite the Islands and gave Hawaii a golden age. Upon his death, he bestowed rank upon Ka’ahumanu that made her the most powerful woman in old Hawaii. She used that power put an end to the 2000-year-old Polynesian “kapu system” that called for harsh penalties for law breakers and human sacrifice to the gods.

Wai-nani’s mythological journey that is woven throughout the actual historical events that led to Kamehameha’s rise to power is the bigger story.

Q: What gave you the idea for this particular story?

A: While I was living on the north shore of Kauai a special issue in the local paper about Captain James Cook caught my attention. The fact that Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians in 1779 intrigued me. I wanted to know why and became curious about what was happening in the Islands when Cook arrived. Most accounts depict the Hawaiians as blood- thirsty savages who ganged up on the world’s greatest explorer. I learned this was not an accurate picture. It looked like justifiable homicide to me and that the Hawaiians had gotten a bum rap. I wanted to tell the story from the Hawaiian point of view. In my research I ran into Ka’ahumanu, a childless royal, who faced down death-dealing priests and the common beliefs of her day. She struck me as a brave figure in history that had been over-looked.

Q: Are you a full-time writer, or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

A: I have been writing all my adult life, but have incorporated my writing life into the full time job of selling real estate. Real estate is demanding, but it does afford me more personal freedom than a nine-to-five job. When I am working on a project, be it a novel, travel essay or article, I read the night before writing on a given subject and enlist my subconscious to provide me with ideas and answers to writing questions. I rise early and re-read what I have written before and think about what I am attempting to do and allow the night time thoughts to filter through my mind. The results are often exciting and surprising. Then I go immediately to the keyboard. I work on the given project for the first two hours of the day before the phone starts ringing. This schedule has allowed me to write two novels a screenplay, numerous travel articles and essays and a few short stories.
You can read more here at One Writer’s Journey.


I walk in beauty on the good red road.

Linda Ballou

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lessons from the People of Old Hawaii

No matter what your relationship with the person who brought you into this world –be it good, bad or indifferent—it is always complicated. My Mother’s passing left me with my energies low, immune system weakened and spirits sagging. The Hawaiian Islands have always been a source of solace and sustenance for me. Memories of crescent white sand wrapping azure seas would not let me go. I had to go back to the Islands.

The Big Island of Hawai’i is known
to be a power place, a vortex where energy funnels up from the core of the earth. The Hawaiian Islands are still being born. New life flows down the flank of Kilaeau and pours into the sea with a hiss and steam rising for miles. Since the seventies there has been a resurgence of traditional Hawaiian healing techniques that went underground 200-hundred years ago when the missionaries arrived in the Islands to spread the “good news.” Today, the Big Island is the nexus of the plexus where new age and traditional Hawaiian healing and eastern and western methods converge.

Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian way of talking things out is about forgiveness. You must come to the session with a clear heart actively throwing stones of anger, disappointment, jealousy, revenge, from your bowl so that they do not block the light, or pure energy that the Hawaiians call mana. You must also bring an attitude of forgiveness with you and a desire to achieve harmony with yourself and others.

In the end dealing with the death of a parent requires forgiveness. You must forgive yourself and them for not being perfect. Maybe they sent you in a wrong direction that took you many years to turn around. Perhaps, they were not demonstrative and you felt unloved. Forgiveness for their failings is required, but you must forgive yourself for not having been the perfect child that was always well-behaved. Ultimately, what you must achieve is acceptances for the frailties of the human condition. That, my friends, is what ho’oponopono is all about.

 Research for Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i became a beautiful obsession that called for numerous trips to the Islands. I visited sacred sites, interviewed elders, spent nights in Waipio Valley where the bones of ancient chiefs are hidden in caves in steep walls framing the canyon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breaking News: The Ugliest American I Ever Met: Wins Travel Writing Contest!!!!!

Here's a short excerpt of the writing piece that I wrote that garnerd first place at Exotic Visitors Writing conterst.

The Ugliest American I Ever Met
by Linda Ballou

Umbrellas strapped in tiny straight jackets stayed with the picnic tables that skidded across flooded St. Marks Square. We edged our way into Harry’s Bar and Grill, the only dry spot in Venice and bellied up to the bar. Grateful for seats, we sat down with a heavy sigh at the bar. The harried bartender scrambled to serve the shoulder to shoulder crowd. Patience brought us two bubbling Bellini’s—an apricot juice with champagne touted to bet Hemingway’s favorite libation. I toasted our good fortune with my friend.

We were on our second Bellini feeling “chumsy” and warm from the body heat in the room when the swinging front doors blew open. Gusts of cold air caused the group to rise in unison as though someone had pinched their collective bottoms. The door wouldn’t shut as more people huddled in the doorway trying to get out of the deluge. After unloading from the vaparetto with hair drenched and teeth clenched, Maury and Bernice elbowed their way into the bar. Bernice ruthlessly shoved customers out of her way.

“Get your fat ass off my foot”, she said, as she shoved a blond woman with her elbow.

Read more here;

I walk in beauty on the good red road.
Linda Ballou

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baby Boomer Woman: Linda Ballou featured at The Voices of Baby Boomer Women

Baby Boomer Woman: Linda Ballou

by Anne Holmes on September 13, 2010

Welcome to NABBW member and adventure travel writer Linda Ballou, who calls Haines, Alaska her hometown. I find that intriguing, since Linda’s debut novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii-Her Epic Journey grew out of her long-standing love affair with the Hawaiian Islands. Fire and ice, she’s seen it all!

These days she bases in Los Angeles, where she has just published her second book, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. This collection of short travel stories will fill you with thrills, chills, giggles, squeaks — and the desire to get yourself in great physical shape so you can join her for the next trek…

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?
We are the first generation to have the choice to have children, or not to have children. I think the birth control pill was single most liberating component of my generation. I made the conscious decision to strive for self-actualization—that is to live up to my fullest potential as an artist and human being.

Blessed with what is being called the “Golden Age of America”, in terms of the economic history of our country, I was able obtain a degree in English Literature and subsequently to take a year off to consider my future before entering the work force in earnest.

I chose the north shore of Kauai to be my thinking place. It was there that I experienced a spiritual awakening and met Ka’ahumanu, the inspiration of my historical novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii. She was a childless chiefess who remained the confident and favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great for forty years.

She was also a “healing kumu” dubbed the “Loving Mother of the People.” She remained true to herself, including her sexual appetites, even upon the threat of death. She was a wonderful surfer and reputedly swam 18 miles a day in her youth.

When Kamehameha died he made her the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i. She used this power to put an end to the 2,000 year old Polynesian kapu system that called for human sacrifice.

WOW… as in “What a Woman “is all I can say! She was independent, brave, athletic, compassionate, and caring for those who were less fortunate. These are qualities I hope people see in me and others of my generation.

Read the rest of the article here;

I walk in beauty on the good red road
Linda Ballou

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hawaiian Healing Holiday by Linda Ballou

Floating face up in the Watsu pool at the Kalani Ocean Retreat that is tucked into a remote corner of the Big Island in Hawaii, I drifted in a state of embryonic innocence. Sylvie, my provider, massaged my spine gently and rotated my limbs to release joint tension. This was the first of many experiences on my quest of a healing Hawaiian holiday that would include traditional lomi-lomi massage; interviewing Kumu Dane Silva, a respected native Hawaiian healer; a swim in a hot pond used for centuries by the ancestors to cleanse body, mind, and spirit; feeling the power of Pele, the volcano goddess; this is topped off with and an open air massage by the sea where wind, water, and sun stir the senses. On the Big Island, the nexus of the plexus for healing gurus of all stripes, there is a choice to fit every pocketbook.

Read more here;

I walk in beauty on the great red road
Linda Ballou

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Secrets of Hawaiian Healing Revealed in interview with - Kumu Dane Silva

By Linda Ballou

Kumu Dane Kaohelani Silva is a transcendent figure (pictured here)who synthesizes Western and Hawaiian healing modalities into one holistic toolbox. Kumu Silva learned the arts of lomi-lomi massage and the use of native plants for medicines from his elders on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He also studied chiropractic, acupuncture, biomedical stress point therapy, chi gong and tai chi. He gives lectures on the subject of integrated healing at the college level in Hawaii and California. He also provides formal training in the field of therapeutic massage and offers healing tours on the Big Island.

Born with a gift of healing he feels he bears the responsibility to help others. People come to him with serious disorder and it is his job to discern the root of the problem. This could be spiritual, physical, and emotional. Once the problem is identified he determines the proper modality to treat the patient

In my research for my article Healing Hawaiian Holiday I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing Kumu Silva on his home turf in Hilo.
He requested we meet at Coconut Island where we sat on a wall overlooking azure water ruffled by a cooling sea breeze.

LB: You say you come from power of the place. Can you expand on that for me?

KDS: Real estate people have a phrase location, location, location.
This may be the wisdom of their indigenous roots speaking. A place of healing is a special place. This Island, Coconut Island (Moku Ola) is a “place of refuge” where spiritual healing and other forms of healing took place. The ancients chose this place for a reason. It’s because this place has more mana. So we are looking for places with mana, or spiritual power to activate the healing process. If we chose a place that has no mana, then there is no assistance from nature. We are working against the flow.

LB: What things do you do to encourage this assistance from nature?

KDS: In a place like this no need to do much. The main thing is to not bring bad energy to the place. Of course, when people come to this place for healing their thoughts, energies, and their bodies are not in harmony with nature or other people. They begin a process of reorganizing and reordering their thoughts and their feelings.

LB: Sounds to me like what the Navajo people strive for the state of Hozho. Are you familiar? It is the state of being in harmony, with nature, family and society?

KDS: Don’t know enough about it to agree or disagree. There are too many elements that may be present for me to say. We see that indigenous Native Americans and indigenous Polynesians share many things. That is not a secret and that is always a wonderful discovery we make as we come together as cultures.

LB: Do you travel around talking to other native peoples?

KDS: Yes, I do and I encourage them to come here. I went to Canada twice last year to speak to First Nation Peoples.

LB: I am from Southeast Alaska where the Tlingit Indians are indigenous. I do see commonalities, especially the idea of being connected to the land. That brings me to your nature walks. What do you do when you take people on a healing tour?

KDS: Every body is different and we alter our program accordingly. In general, what we find is that people come to us with memories of pain, and feelings of separation and helplessness about the future. We take those memories and release them into the environment. We invite the ancestral spirits with prayers and chants and offer them gifts to absorb the pain.

LB: The environment can handle it?

KDS: Yes, the environment can handle it, and this is one of the environments right here that we come to. You go to the gas station you get fuel. You have to go to a place in nature that has the same resonance and attunement for your work. This is a place of healing.
Ancients discovered it so we can automatically come here and use it for the same purpose.

LB: Do you believe that the ancestors are here to assist in this healing process.

KDS: They are not sitting around waiting for you, but you can call them. Part of the ceremony and process are chants that invite the ancestors. Ancestors receive their gifts in exchange for guidance and their presence

LB: I understand that hula is a form of meditation to pull mana. Do you do hula? Do you do it in a prayerful way?

KDS: I was a student of hula when I was a younger man. But, I also practice Hawaiian martial arts and healing arts and the martial arts describe my lifetime and my career at this time. Hula and martial arts are all part of the same family. The dances we enjoy today with beautiful girls covered with flowers are all part of a tradition of sacred practices.

LB: In tai chi there are certain movements to manipulate the energy.
How is it different?

KDS: In tai chi there are three points of energy. One is called “ching” which is centered around the reproductive organs. The second type is called “chi” which is located near the heart that is concerned with food and air. Ching becomes chi. when you are able to take the chi and increase it in volume you create something else that is more refined. That’s called “shen” or spirit. When we talk about energy we need to know what kind of energy. The energy we put into our car? The energy we put into our body? The Chinese ancients came up with three distinct types of energy. Here in Hawaii we talk about healing energy, “Ola” or the life force. This island is called Moku Ola—Island of life and of healing of energy.

LB: I do meditations. I do feel very strong energy near the ocean. The Islands have always been a source of solace and sustenance for me. So, I think I kind of understand what you are saying, although I don’t know the prayers and refinement that you give.

KDS: Hawaiians talk about HA. The breath that correspond to chi. Same kind of concept—energy of the breath ... the air. Mana is a higher form of energy!

LB: A higher form, in that it is a more spiritual refined energy?

KDS: Yes. So here we have a spectrum of energy. It is like light—the difference between a stone and light.

LB: Between coarse and delicate? You receive this energy? Do you direct this energy to people through touch or just mentally?

KDS: Both! We use prayer to help us guide the energy and we use touch.
But, we don’t always have to touch. We want to have a close relationship with the environment. Is it possible to change the clouds? Is it possible to make it rain? Is it possible to make the waves go up or down? These are things that don’t involved touching, but they do involve manipulating energy to result in an outward change.

When we are working with a human touching them is a very easy way to transfer energy, but it does not change their lifestyle.

LB: You are the most well respected and recognized lomi-lomi massage master on the Big Island. Tell me more about how you use the “Loving Touch” when you are working with people

KDS: It is a privilege and a challenge. We are honored to be able to touch people when we work with them in their goals. But, it also involves a large responsibility to educate the patient and guide them towards a healing lifestyle.

LB: You have workshops in Puna? What kinds of things do you do? What should people approach you for? What do want people to know that you do for them?

KDS: The needs of people are very different. They are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We are skilled in multiple modalities. We have a lot of experience in caring for people. If we can’t find the ability in ourselves to cure the patient we refer them to someone else

LB: You council the person and then send them the appropriate expert?

KDS: My martial arts master told me he had brain tumor. He asked was there anything I could offer him. I asked, “Have you seen anybody.”
Yes, I have seen everybody—chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage, medical doctors and healers,” he said.

He came to my class. I had the students help me lomi-lomi him. He fell asleep. When he woke up he could speak clearly, he could walk, he could see. These three things were impaired when he introduced himself. So, he said to me “I feel good. What do you recommend?” I said, call the doctor get some surgery and remove the tumor from your brain! He said, “Why do that when I can just come to you?” You’d be coming to me for the rest of your life. You have a tumor in your brain. Get it out! He went he got it out. He is good to go now. I work with doctors, other healers, all different cultures to identify the specific need for this person. We are healers. We look for the specific modality to employ to address the person’s specific needs. Lomi-lomi is a multiple modality. In the western view it is massage and body work. In the Hawaiian and Polynesian view it is holistic.

LB: Ten years ago, I was honored to receive lomi-lomi from Margaret Machado's niece. The thing that struck me, aside from the fact that it was deeply emotional experience, was that she started with a Christian blessing. The incorporation with Christianity with the traditional Hawaiian massage kind of threw me. My question to you is how much are you influenced by Christianity? Do you incorporate the Christian blessing in your healing?

KDS: I don’t think so. I don’t intentionally invoke Jesus in my work. I am trained as a Hawaiian kahuna and prefer to respect my ancestors through prayers and rituals. There are many Christians who combine Hawaiian kahuna methods in their traditional healing work.

LB: There are those people who blend the cultures?

KDS: Yes, many of them.

LB: So, are you a purist?

KDS: I think traditionalist is more appropriate.

LB: You are a chiropractor-No?

KDS: Yes, retired.

LB: Did you study on the mainland?

KDS: Both. Lomi-lomi has been around way longer than chiropractors.
Lomi-lomi technique includes bone-setting.

LB: I read that the ancients lomied-lomied the fingers of infants to make the tapered antennas for mana. Also, the forehead was slanted back for a regal profile?
Is that true?

KDS: When I was young my grandmother massaged my forehead. I do it with children as well.

LB: What is the purpose of this?

KDS: Because people, like myself, when they are growing, part of our skull grows very fast. It is to accommodate the growth of our brain.
Also it is to beautify the person.

This type of massage is different than the type used in healing. For example when my son was born my wife asked me to lomi him to increase the flexibility of his joints. So, other mommies have come to me for that as well. Working with children to make them more flexible is one of the goals. If you have someone who comes from a family where they might have some spinal issues the children will be massaged as a treatment to discourage those problems.

LB Do you use the pebble outline of a person’s body that I’ve read about to divine the source of the problem?

KDS: Those pebbles are used to teach people. Different colored stones pertain to bones, organs, lomi points, etc. Yes, i love to use stones.
Today we have more tools than just stones. We have books, internet, anatomical models, videos, everything.

LB: Do you use the native plants in your healings?

KDS: Yes. These medicines can help save lives, and save limbs.

LB: Do you use the universal remedy the sea-water cleanse offered at Margaret Maschedo’s retreat?

KDS: I work with people with diabetes, cancer, all kinds of problems.
There are many types of cleansing. Sea water is the simplest, cheapest, fastest, but it does not clean out the liver, it cleans out the colon. If you have someone who needs to clean out their liver, or their pancreas, or their kidneys sea water would probably not be the best for them. I have a group of students right now who started from day one with blocked colons; by day 3 none of them were constipated.
Teach them how to mix the salt water, massage their tummies and give them physical movements to do every day. It is a holistic approach.

In western understanding health care comes from the chiropractor, the doctors, the pharmacist, but in cultures like ours one person does many things and they employ many different modalities. The use of salt water is like brushing your teeth it is not a big deal. Ten days is just the beginning. Repeat it several times each year. Make it part of your lifestyle. That means when you go to the baby luau you have one serving.

Sea Water has 3.5 grams of salt…we dilute it so that it is about 1 gram of salt. You make it to the salinity of blood. Blood is .9 grams of salt. Sea water is alkaline ph 8. Our blood is ph 7.35. We get sick when our blood gets to acidic. Too much acid in your body causes weakness and pain. Cancer is inflammation. Inflammation causes mutations in the cell. This creates bad things—waste products, pain and disease

LB: You are very slender are you vegetarian?

KDS: No. I am “traditionalistarian." Eat simple, traditional meals.
You can have a taste of everything, just don’t eat too much!

LB: Do you do your therapy in the Ahalanui Hot Ponds in Puna?

KDS: Yes, I worked on three people there yesterday. There are natural places for healing located in power spots that are effective.

LB: What does “Huna”- the secret – mean to you?

KDS: Don’t think of the word Huna. Think of word kahuna. Huna is a collection of secrets thoughts and practices handed down by the kahuna. A kahuna is someone who is capable of doing things that other people cannot. I was raised that there was to be no babbling of secrets. The ancients could not find someone of sufficient character to be worthy of their secrets.

LB: What happened to the secrets?

KDS: They took them with them to the other side. Through meditation, prayer and rituals, we are able to receive their guidance and support.

LB: Thank you Kumu Dane Silva

If you would like to learn more about Kumu Dane Silva’s workshops and retreats go to:
Hawaiian Healing Center or Email:


I walk in beauty of the good red road
Linda Ballou

Friday, September 3, 2010

September is Aloha Festival Month

In honor of September being The Aloha Festival Month in Hawaii and the surrounding islands, I have made September the Aloha Month here at this blog. My first novel, Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii, Her Epic Journey was the story of all that is the Hawaiian Culture. Wai-nani is a celebration of the Hawaiian people of old, especially the powerful Ka’ahumanu – forerunner to the modern woman.
Aloha Festivals is Hawai'i’s premier cultural showcase, a celebration of Hawai'i’s music, dance and history intended to preserve the unique island traditions.

The mission of Aloha Festivals is “to foster the Aloha Spirit through the perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture and the celebration of the diverse customs and traditions of Hawai'i”. Aloha Festivals was first held in 1946 as Aloha Week. It has become a celebration of our Hawaiian Culture integrated with the traditions and cultures of each of the islands through music, dance, cuisine and art. Each year, hundreds of volunteers labor to stage the events, which are enjoyed by nearly one million people.

For a look at the festival click here at Aloha Festivals.

During this month we will be featuring everything Hawaiian;

My interview – Secrets of Hawaiian Healing Revealed with Kumu Dane Silva - a transcendent figure who synthesizes Western and Hawaiian healing modalities into one holistic toolbox.

Article - Healing Hawaiian Holiday

My Book Interview at One Writer’s Journey

Ariticle - Lei of Light

Review - Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawaii

Article – Molokai


I walk in beauty on the good red road.

Linda Ballou