What is your life’s purpose?
Say, do, be love—always expressing feelings of love, which naturally leads to loving and being love.
How are you living your purpose?
As activist, adventurer, amoureux (lover), artist, athlete, and author, I’m thriving with nature, culture, wellness, and sustainable living in the spirit of ‘ohana (extended family) and aloha (love).
My activism began at age 7 when I rebelled against the Catholic-inculcated fear-guilt-shame dogma. I replaced that with: Engaging in nature and friendship adventures; loving life, people, and cultures; reflecting and envisioning with art; maintaining and strengthening with athletic yoga and fitness; and journaling my fantasies, poetry, and passions as an author.
All these interests increased over the years, as I pursued these passions: Rising up against war-oppression and championing civil rights (LGBT rainbow diversity, women’s, men’s heart circles, naturism); traveling and studying on all continents except Antarctica; loving self, men, women, nature, animals (and their ‘aumakua spirit guidance); painting, drawing, dancing (30+ year career performing and teaching); administrating art, community, and education programs at Kalani Oceanside Retreat; renewing and invigorating with daily sunrise yoga, ocean swim, volleyball, hiking, hula; reflecting and sharing through my writing.
How did you find your purpose?
Throughout my life, I increasingly connect with my purpose by loving self and all of life, respecting others, and taking care of home, local and global.
From growing up as a corn-fed Minnesota boy in a loving family of eight, I moved on to Hawaii in 1973. That is, after a few years in Germany (college and travel), New York (art studies, civil rights work and the beginnings of my dance career), and France (dancing, mostly modern).
In Hawaii I continued performing, reaching out to communities and schools with programs celebrating cultural diversity. I also taught movement in the schools, continued programs that liberate men (from socialized limitations to creativity, community, and intimacy), and instructed modern dance at the University of Hawaii campuses in Hilo and Honolulu, where I received a Master of Fine Arts degree.
Beyond dance, which has matured into a continuing love for hula, I also enjoy the visual arts, particularly figurative drawing, painting, and architecture. Sports passions include volleyball, bicycling and swimming. Our Puna area offers lots of splash fun including dolphin play, snorkeling in coral castles, body surfing, a crater lake, and sensuous waterfalls — all of which are included in Kalani adventures I often help lead.
The evolution of Kalani Oceanside Retreat is a continuing creative project, especially now as we’ve expanded to become a retreat village on 120 coastal acres, with new retreat cottages being built incorporating modern as well as traditional bamboo eco-friendly designs. Village growth is being supported by the inclusion of additional stewards of this land and its homes, people who share Kalani’s nature-culture-wellness educational focus.
Kalani Honua, meaning harmony of heaven and earth, was founded by long-term companion and dancer Earnest Morgan and me. Earnest inspired an enduring creativity and love in all his relations. Eight years after his death from AIDS in 1992, I wrote a fictional tale about keeping the youthful wonder in one’s life: E HO MAI, meaning “let it come, let it flow,” and authored a photo history, KALANI: A Leap of Faith, Hope, and Love.
Kalani’s community, educational focus, and enduring intimate friendships are the beat of my “Rich-heart,” grounded in my father’s “Richard the lion hearted” encouragement, plus the support of family, mentors, many contributors, and my own self-nurturing.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
Ascend in love by embracing the flow, allowing all to come and go, being as supple as the sea, your heart as open as the sky.
How does one get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. Just keep saying what you love, followed naturally by doing what you love and being love.
What resources do you recommend?
For ever fuller connection with self and the internal and external universes, I recommend embracing yoga, dance, singing, meditation, nature, culture, wellness, sustainable living, compersion, and compassionate community (such as Kalani). Compersion is enjoying, encouraging, and furthering love among others, i.e. adding flame to every spark of mutual joyful engagement. It’s the opposite of jealousy.
Inspiration and wisdom can be gleaned from all experiences. People who can help along the journey include William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Debussy, Chopin, Otis Redding, Oprah Winfrey, Billie Holiday, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Riane Eisler, Jean Genet, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rūmī, Martha Graham, Earnest Morgan, Isadora Duncan, Pedro Almodóvar, Goethe, Gauguin, Georgia O’Keefe, James Baldwin, Homer, Kahlil Gibran, and Dalai Lama.
Connect with Richard Koob
Kalani Oceanside Retreat
(purchases help support non-profit educational Kalani.com)
E Ho Mai: A Tale of Youthing
Kalani: A Leap of Faith, Hope, and Love
Lava Love: A to Z Intimacy Primer
Ka LA – The Light: A to Z Poetry and Painting Potpourri