Kauai tours allow clients to see 'light in our lives'


POSTED: Sunday, October 04, 2009

In ancient times, Hawaiian elders would carve a Bowl of Perfect Light for every child born. This wooden vessel was symbolically filled with light that represented the newborn's uhane nui, or potential for spiritual greatness.

If the keiki grew up in righteousness, they would be strong, healthy contributors to their village, and their bowl would always emit light. But each time they got into trouble or held negative feelings such as fear, anger or envy, they would have to drop a stone into their bowl, thus blocking some of the light.

Continuing on this counterproductive course would eventually darken the children's Bowl of Perfect Light, and they would become like the stones in it—immovable, unable to grow. Once they made amends for their wrongdoings and improved their state of mind, however, they could turn their bowl upside down, discarding the stones and allowing their light to once again shine brightly.





        Meeting place: Depending on the tour, your guide will meet you where you're staying or at Touch Kauai's office at 1470 Wanaao Road in Kapaa, Kauai.

Available: All tours are private and can be customized.


Cost: $250 plus $65 per person for a four-hour tour; $430 plus $85 per person for an eight-hour tour. Usual maximum is six people per tour; inquire about larger groups. Prices include snacks. The eight-hour tour includes a picnic lunch. Additional charge for activities such as sailing and biking.


Call: 822-1768; e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); or visit www.touchkauai.com


Notes: Touch Kauai also offers corporate seminars on team-building and leadership training. Rates vary. Also available are escorted two-week vacations on Kauai and the Big Island. Rates begin at $3,000 and are generally inclusive. Spiritual retreats on Kauai range from one day to two weeks and include meals, tours and classes. Accommodations are optional; prices average about $500 per day. Touch Kauai's treatments include massage, reiki and reflexology. Prices start at $95. Kamaaina discounts available.




“;When I first heard that story, its wisdom struck me,”; said Katharina Strack, owner of Kapaa-based Touch Kauai, a full-service spa that offers healing retreats, tours and vacations. “;We may have a lot of stones or obstacles, but when we get rid of them, we'll see that our light never really went out; it was just covered for a while. We choose whether we want to keep the stones or the light in our lives.”;

Through escapes in nature and in her spa that rejuvenate body, mind and spirit, Strack “;helps people connect with the essence of Hawaii and with themselves.”;

STRACK WAS BORN and raised in Heilbronn, Germany. Her grandfather was a doctor, and her grandmother ran a medicinal spa there, so she believes her skill and intuition as a therapist and life coach are in her genes.

In 2001, Strack spent three months on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, enjoying, as she recalled, “;one magical experience after another.”;

Back in Germany, she realized that trip had transformed her. “;I knew I had to return to Kauai, my soul's home,”; she said. “;I came here in complete trust in 2002, knowing that if the island had truly called me, doors would open.”;

Strack founded Touch Kauai in 2005. She offers nine themed personalized tours: Healing, Waterfall, River, Jungle, Mountain, Coastline, Beach, Ocean and Cultural. Combinations can be arranged, based on clients' hopes, desires and intentions (whether they want to, for example, overcome a fear, conquer an addiction, reduce stress or gain confidence).

“;I advise my clients to trust their instincts to lead them to places where they can accomplish their goals,”; Strack said. “;I'm their guide as they create balance and take steps to better their lives. I share activities, stories, insights and tools for empowering inspirations to unfold. An exciting outdoors adventure can also be a life-enhancing and often life-changing inner journey.”;

Depending on the tour, participants might swim beneath a waterfall, snorkel with sea turtles, study rocks along a river bank, build sand castles on a pristine beach, find hidden caves on the coast and hike through lush labyrinths of trees and plants. Inevitably, they're rewarded with an increased awareness of the environment and their responses to it.

“;Many of those 'aha!' moments can happen during a tour,”; Strack said. “;We learn so much from nature when we embrace it with all our senses. It's amazing how watching sunset, sniffing a flower or jumping into a cold mountain pool can release our emotional baggage.”;

Strack carries materials such as paper, pens, crayons and books on every tour. Frequent stops are made so participants can meditate, play simple games and read about the area they're in and the plants, wildlife and geographical features that they're seeing.

“;The slower our pace, the deeper and more meaningful our experiences are. Everybody is different and so is each tour.”;

Destinations include magnificent sites such as Waimea Canyon, Keahua Arboretum, Secret Beach and the Napali Coast.

She asserts going on nature walks often can be more beneficial than taking pills or seeing a psychiatrist. “;There's tremendous healing power in the forests, in the ocean, in yourself,”; she said. “;Once you touch Kauai and Kauai has touched you, you will be more appreciative of nature's gifts and your own unlimited potential.”;


Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi is a Honolulu-based freelance writer whose travel features for the Star-Bulletin have won multiple Society of American Travel Writers awards.