The Beauty and Breath of Rainforests

I seem to always find myself living in rain forests …

Although born and raised in the desert suburbs of Los Angeles, since I moved to Hawaii in 1973, I have found myself living in tropical and semi-tropical rain forests. First on the Hana coast on Maui in 1974, then in tropical Hilo and Mountain View on the eastern Big Island in the 1980s and 1990s, and now in Morere on New Zealand’s north island. Lush, moist, and vibrant, I often wonder … why am I attracted to these moist and fertile environments?
And why did I marry a Hawaiian man who gave me and my two sons the surname of KAHALEWAI?
Ka = the; Hale = house or place; Wai = fresh water. The deeper meaning is a place of awareness of adaptable and effortless resilience within the ever-changing flowing water of life.
Things that make you go hmmmmm …

Rain forests are beautiful yet certainly a bit of a nuisance if you try to walk, live, or grow gardens in them. Yet they are so refreshing, purifying and rejuvenating too … yet also evoke emotional and mental changes and challenges. We’ve all heard that flowing water (such as waterfalls, fountains, showers, and streams) create ‘negative ions’ which are very positive to our health.

For many wonderful years, I lived in Morere Hot Springs, surrounded by virgin New Zealand rain forest at that is protected by the government’s Dept of Conservation. Every day and night I could walk amongst the ancient palms and native trees, gaze upon the glowworms and ferns, listen to the native bird songs, and breathe the fresh, pure air. People come from all over to relax and unwind while soaking in mineralized sea-salt water !!! But the best news of all is that wherever we are, we are close to an opportunity to immerse ourselves in negative ions. You don’t even need a waterfall, river or beachfront house! Just look as close as your shower … Flowing water generates these precious ions. So tonight, go into your shower, and breathe deeply, sing loudly, and receive all the wonderful energy that moving water is offering you!

Professional researchers and studies agree that our health is dependent on the amount and quality of Negative Ions in the air. Negative ions are invisible particles that we inhale in abundance near waterfalls, rain forests and oceans (that’s we you feel so alive and invigorated at these places!). Scientifically, they are molecules with an extra electron, helping to alleviate allergies, migraines and sinus problems. Once they reach our blood stream, negative Ions have a positive effect on the rate at which Serotonin is oxidized in the bloodstream, resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy. When negative ions are applied to the body, the calcium and sodium circulating in the blood are ionized. This changes the blood pH into an alkaline state and has an overall alkalizing effect on the body. Proper blood pH is essential for optimal health. Also: As the amount of Negative Ions increases, the Gamma Globuline in the blood increases, resulting in blood rich in protein and antibodies [thus immunity].

Some of the world’s most beautiful and lush rainforests, aka “the lungs of our planet”, can be found in Costa Rica, South America, Malaysia, Australia and the Caribbean. The Amazon rainforest, much of which is located in Brazil, is the world’s greatest natural resource (all 1.2 billion acres of it) but it’s vanishing rapidly, along with other areas of jungle throughout the world.
Whereas just 50 years ago rainforests constituted 15% of the earth’s land surface, today that figure is more like 6% and it’s a sobering fact that if deforestation continues unabated, we are likely to lose as much as 90% of our rainforests by 2020. Currently we are losing 200,000 acres every day. This also means we are losing hundreds of thousands of species of birds, plants and animals – some of which may never even be discovered before they die out!

To enter in to the rainforest is to immerse yourself in a veritable wonderland of verdant biodiversity, where exotic plants, trees, flowers and vines thrive in harmony with insects, reptiles, primates, birds, butterflies, frogs, sloths, spiders and even jaguars.

Often the best way to embark on a rainforest adventure is via an organized eco-tour company, or by volunteering through a local conservation project, where you can see for yourself just how awe-inspiring and precious this environment is. With the way things are going, you’re going to need to take lots of photographs because hearing about it from you might be the closest thing your grandchildren would ever get to the real thing.