Healing with whales: Post Card From Maui

We knew we would be in the ocean, we hoped we would find whales, but we had no idea we would be immersed in a world event that would literally change the balance of the planet. Welcome to People and the Planet’s creation story.Aloha friends, allies and cohorts!  I am quite thrilled to share that we just finished shooting the first segment of People and the Planet. I chose to launch the multimedia series aboufrom belowt people who are utilizing the natural elements of the earth to heal from Maui. We profiled Rebecca Goff, creator of AquaCranial Therapy, a healing modality that utilizes the energy of ocean and the whales to heal people. Here is your sneak peak behind the scenes of our shoot, and news about what will come next.

You can read this update in one of 3 ways: skim for the pretty pictures, hit the headlines that speak to the topics you find appealing, or practice the ancient art of reading for the details. I will also note that since the series will go into great detail about how AquaCranial and healing with whales works…this update will focus on a few behind the scenes stories of our first shoot, and you’ll have to watch the video to get the rest!

Meanwhile~ feel free to hang with us in real time on Facebook and twitter.  We wouldn’t be able to share this story without the support of our fiscal sponsor, The Baum Foundation, our backers on kickstarter, The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau for sponsoring our travel, and the Launa Kai Resort for sponsoring the hotel accommodations.

Remind me what People and the Planet is again? (I forget) People and the Planet was born out of the desire to fill the main stream news and information stream with stories (video and feature articles) that reconnect people to the healing capabilities of the natural world. Just imagine what it might feel like if you were see headlines about earthquakes, war in Libya, and nuclear plant failures next to a story about a woman who is healing people in the presence of whales? The purpose of the 26 part multimedia series is to support and feed a more balanced news stream of information. While our planet is facing some of the largest challenges of our time, we are also learning to live sustainably and in harmonious relationship with the planet at the same time. These will be the stories that will sustain a balance of hope and action as well as give practical skills that will get us through these challenging times.

You swam with whales in Maui? Ha! I wish! With that said, Maui is the hub of the Pacific Humpback whale (approx. 10,000 whales travel through the winter months) and is where Rebecca Goff is based and developed AquaCranial, a healing modality that takes  place in the ocean and addresses both physical and emotional ailments. Whales play a role by informing the modality, and their sound permeates our body’s tissues and bones. (I know you want more info: you’ll have to wait for the video!) 

How did your shoot go? I want the full story! Andy Goldsworthy Inspired Tsunami Art I could tell you that everything went perfectly, but that would be a bold faced lie, and impossible in the wake of a tsunami. Within hours of landing on Maui, the earthquake in Japan occurred and sirens were ringing and police were patrolling the streets evacuating in preparation for the tsunami that was due to hit Hawaii. So we packed our bags and headed for the hills. Literally. We returned to our condo at 4:30am, so needless to say, our plans to go out on the boat at 6am the next morning were squelched. The next day we watched as the tsunami continued to surge (nothing quite like watching the ocean rush up a stream). Glenn and Kimberly, who had flown in to attend the workshop we would be shooting, headed out on a hike. Meanwhile, Ben and I met with Rebecca to discuss our options for the day. I was thrilled that Ben Henretig could be part of this project. He is the co-founder of micro documentaries and is a rare blend of extremely talented cinematographer, editor, and master of creating a short form documentaries designed to succeed online (the cherry on top is that he is also a pleasure to work with). Ben and I figured we would use the day to get as much b-roll (additional video we would use to illustrate the interview) as possible. During the pre-interview Rebecca shared how she first learned about the healing affect of water on her; as a child she was hyperactive, and her parents discovered if they This is where we shot a short segment of AquaCranial at a waterfall. Each form of water has a differnt affect. Turns out~ this waterfall was also used in a scene in Jurasic Park. put her under a waterfall it would calm her down. Now before I continue, I need to provide a picture of Rebecca to you~ the terms, “larger than life” and “force of nature” come to mind. When with Rebecca you enter into a stream of stories about her experiences with whales, the ocean, the Kingdom of Tonga, the dolphins, life on Hawaii, her experiences with healing babies and pregnant mothers. As Rebecca shared stories about her life, I quickly understood how important it mustDifferent kind of water has a different affect on us. In this shot Rebecca demonstrated AquaCranial in the pool of a water fall. Turns out we weren't the only one's who thought this was a cool spot~ I later learned this was one of the locations where they shot Jurasic Park.  have been to learn how to harness and focus all of that energy. So I did what any producer would do on the 1st day of a 3 day shoot that is supposed to take place in the ocean when interrupted by a tsunami. I asked Rebecca to take us to a waterfall and show us.  So into the jungles we went (I found out later this waterfall was a location used in Jurassic Park). I got to stand in as she demonstrated (and freeze my but off~which was not in my contract).

The next day we went out on kayaks to work with a group of children. At Rebecca’s core, she is dedicated to being of service to the needs of children, and offers free clinics to youth and newborns where she teaches therapists in training. We followed Glenn and Kimberly as they kayaked with the kids into deep water, and then hopped out of the kayaklistening to whaless to learn the AquaCranial technique. Meanwhile, Glenn stuck his head in the water for a moment and came up with the most surprised look on his face. “WHALES!” he said. And sure enough, all you had to do is dip your head into the ocean and you could hear the whales singing. (You can hear the whales singing for yourself by checking out this raw footage. I love this clip because it demonstrates how people are working on the surface of the planet, and the whales are doing what they do best under ceiling of the ocean.) (I know you want to know what the heck I’m talking about, you’ll have to wait for the video and accompanying articles).

We slept well that night, but not for long.

We woke in the dark, and met at a boat landing lit by the stars. The mission was to fit two days into one by shooting the deep-water treatment we had to cancel on the first day, (and given that we would be going out into the open ocean had high hopes of coming into close contact with whales*) as well as shoot the children’s clinic in the afternoon.

Roger Payne, who produced the first sound recording of a whale, says that, “…There is no way to get a whale to adopt to athis footage was shot by Marnie Harrison of Wild Focus Films. Given our small budget we opted to focus on shooting the story and not try to hard to get video of the whales given we knew that we could collaborate with Marnie who has spent years working with both Rebecca and the whales. human time scale.” When I was a natural history guide I learned that whales arrive upon their own desires, needs, and curiosities, and when you travel into the wilds to have experiences with them the only thing you can do is hope for the best, and decide to enjoy every moment of the experience. We were provided the opportunity to explore what it means to be effected by (and potentially healed) by something you can not see (aka, we didn’t have close encounters with whales*). On a less philosophical note we are also grateful to be collaborating with the talented Marnie Harrison of Wild Focus Films who has spent years filming whales with Rebecca.

glenn deep water

After a few hours of touring the area, we shot Rebecca demonstrating a deep-water treatment on Glenn. A side note: Rebecca explained that where you receive your treatments will influence how it affects you. For example, when you go to a psychologist, your thinking patterns are addressed, when you go to a heart surgeon, your vascular/muscular system is addressed. In this case, deep water affects your consciousness, and shore treatments are good for body adjustments.

After the boat, we headed to the beach to shoot the newborn babies clinic~

C’mon, what was it like to get a treatment in the ocean? While immersed in the experience of  conveying the healing nature of water via this production, I actually experienced it in several profound ways. During the entire shoot the question lingered, “Why are we shooting a film about how the ocean can play a role in a healing process in the wake of a tsunami?” I will continue to ponder,  but I can share it was the perfect beginning to this series~ that as the world experiences forces of nature that are destructive, we are hear to tell to the story that balances our understanding and reminds us that the natural world can be the ultimate source of health and wellness.

During the 3 day shoot there were several moments when I experienced stress or doubt. I share this not so sexy side so I can also share that as soon as I dipped in the ocean or jumped in the pool I instantly refocused and joyful about what we were doing. The fear and stress and chatter in th eback of my mind that we were going to blow our chance to share this amazing story with the world subsided. As for what an AquaCranial treatment felt like~ well! It’s hard to articulate to be true, and I didn’t have a specific physical ailment of issue I was there to address. (Rebecca has hundreds Screen shot 2011-03-14 at 12.22.47 AMof stories of treating children with severe physical disabilities, children with cancer, athletes with injuries). On the day that Rebecca and Ashley worked on me and used the tuning fork, what I can share is that a surge of emotion rose, that when I got out of the water, I felt very open, very raw, like something in me had shifted, and I felt…gentle. In the following days I noticed I was able to navigate the waters of life in a more fluid way~ and was able to respond to situations where people were edgy and snappy in a less reactive way.  I recently learned how the effect of the earthquake literally moved the axis of the planet, and how we have had hundreds of smaller quakes since then around the world as a result. AquaCranial is all about recalibrating your system, and there we were, recalibrating our systems in the belly of the planet as the earth itself was recalibrating and re-balancing. All I can say is that it was a profound experience, and I can’t wait to share the video and more stories with you.

WOW!! I want more more more! (and some real details about how this actually works) If you would like to follow along, I will be updating our facebook page (feel free to friend us), and twitter, as well an my blog. Over the course of the next month we’ll be releasing our first two minute preview which we will use to complete the fundraising for the full 7-10 minute documentary, along with raising funds for our website which will serve as an educational hub for this kind of content. If you care to support the project via introductions, become a financial backer and make a tax deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor, or want to learn about future shoots that you can join, please feel free to contact me.

Pûpûkâhi i holomua,

(a hawaiian proverb which means unite to move forward; by working together we make progress)


*Maui has very strict conservation laws that we were very careful to abide. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i. Approximately 10,000 whales come to this area in winter to have their calves. The sanctuary, which lies within the shallow (less than 600 feet), warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands, constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats. Boats are not allowed to come within 100 yards of a whale, and the only time a close encounter is legal is when a whale chooses to approach a boat that is not moving.

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