Today’s mama and I go back. We used to work together years ago. We have since both left the entertainment industry and moved on to other things. Until this interview, I didn’t know how much she’d gone through over the last few years. Through it all, she leaves us with some wonderful nuggets in this chat.
Camesha: Tell me about your passion.
Kalani: It’s still a challenge to narrow that down but I would say it is expressing my own sense of creativity through writing and making things. I’m a Gemini so my interests tend to include a million things and I need a lot of diversity of activity. Writing works well for those needs because you can research any topic or take part in any activity and write about it. I also like to create art, home décor and paper crafts. A good variety of creative projects keeps me happy. All these things tie into my family life too which is at the very core of my passion for life.
C: How did you discover your passion?
K: Even in my mid-twenties I didn’t really know what my passions were. I did graduate in journalism and was on the writing track throughout high school too, but I didn’t love writing for a newspaper or essays for English classes. But once I started realizing that creating and writing fed my soul, I looked back and realized those were the things I’d been doing all my life, even when I was tiny, that brought me joy.
C: Why is it important to you?
K: The things I am passionate about give me a sense of purpose and fulfillment in my life. I think they also make me a better person and someone equipped to give more of myself and talents to others.
C: As a mom, were there challenges in pursuing your passion?
K: I inherited motherhood, when I started dating a lovely man with a two-year-old daughter. I skipped a lot of steps in the path to motherhood. I think this creates some different challenges than had we married and had our own children. But I think the true hope of anyone in the role of a mother is to be the best caregiver, love-giver and example they can be.
As I mom I have learned that when family comes first, things are not always going to unfold as you envision in your mind. Sometimes things have to be put on hold. There are times and seasons for us to be able to fully explore and live different passions. For me, prioritizing is key.
What I found was that when I made time for myself I better prioritized my time and still had time to do the “must do” things I had to get done for a creative life and my family.
C: If so, what were those challenges?
K: The challenges my family has faced over the past five years have been tremendous. I have to acknowledge the hand of God in our ability to survive and endure. I believe he has had and continues to have a plan for our family. Our path of suffering and learning has included:
- a potentially fatal illness that included losing my hearing for several months,
- an excruciatingly long, painful and destructive custody battle,
- a year-long war zone military deployment for my husband and then
- a serious car accident the week before my husband returned from deployment which has stretched out to months of rehab and 18-months of on-going doctor’s appointments.
In one of those appointments a doctor found a tumor and although thankfully it was benign and removed easily, that was another added tier of stress to our family life. Throughout this difficult time I have learned to also recognize it as a blessed time. We have had some amazingly beautiful bits of joy in the depths of our sorrows. That has been my great lesson; there is joy to be found in every day despite the challenges. I do believe this is one of the great life lessons to finding happiness.
C: How did you overcome your challenges/obstacles?
K: We continue to work through the long-term challenges that have come to us from all of these things.
Specifically helpful to me have been prayer, religious study, listening to inspiring talks, finding time to meditate and feed my soul every day, spending time outside, writing in a journal and seeing a therapist. At some point I realized that the amount of stress I was dealing with was beyond what most people have to deal with so after my husband’s deployment I began meeting with someone who could help coach me and help me rejuvenate myself.
C: What do you think it does for your children to see you go after what you want?
K: Because of the challenges we’ve been through the past few years we have had to talk a lot in our family. We try to explain what’s happening, how we can see it in a positive attitude and how we move through challenges. We also talk about how things affect us, so we can own our feelings and work through them. So I think our kiddo knows what we love to do, what is important to us and she is watching us to see how we go after those things. That’s a big responsibility. I think it encourages her to see us doing things we love and has inspired her to continue to develop her own passions. Hopefully that will help her from going through some of the challenges we went through in finding our passions and help her find hers sooner.
C: What would be your advice to other moms who are on the fence about pursuing something they are passionate about?
K: I think you have to keep cultivating your passions in whatever ways you have possible in the place you are right now. If you do that, I believe you’ll have joy. You also have to listen to your own instincts instead of outside pressures and voices. There is only so much time in the day and kids grow up very quickly. So love every minute of the place where you are now and keep making those goals and taking the steps you can to continue to evolve and grow your passions.
But be mindful of the toll you may suffer if you go to hard for too long. I can definitely see that my health and well-being suffered from being too over-extended for too long. I really had to reign in the stresses in my life and get very real about what I could and could not accomplish in a day. Lastly, let your husband and children inspire you. They will, I promise.
Two questions. Just for fun!
C: What’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had?
K: Easy one. Haircut & color at a mall salon right after I moved back to LA. My then below shoulder length hair looked like someone had just glued a row of fake fur across the bottom three inches. Immediately left there, shaking and in tears in my car, I found an Aveda Salon and got another haircut about an hour later. Very expensive afternoon!
C: Describe your outlook on life in six words.
K: Do Your Best In This Moment, meaning the only thing I can impact or change is what is happening right this minute, hour, day. So instead of worrying about the past or the future, just do the best I can at the “right now” that is happening.
You can find Kalani here: Blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram + Facebook
What keeps you moving forward?