is a wilderness guide, author, artist, and Big Sur resident. He has led both traditional and experimental wilderness expeditions internationally for more than 35 years. He has an MA in psychology and his work focuses on wild nature as a vehicle for awakening.
You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. — Alan Watts
Ever since the supposed "primordial soup," nature has been our teacher. We were born of this earth and throughout recorded time people have turned to wilderness to awaken, become whole, and know their belonging to this world.
Esalen is the trailhead to one of the most spectacular mountainous coastlines in the world. With the Big Sur wilderness as the primary teacher, participants will explore the beauty of this alive and wild coast, from ancient redwood-forested canyons to dramatic coastal beaches, from rugged rocky mountains to the soft grassy slopes of the Big Sur hills. Drawing from nature and various experiential awareness practices, individuals will be encouraged to open both to the natural world and to the landscapes of their inner world. It is said that Big Sur is not just a place but a state of mind.
"What’s the quickest way out of the city?" John Muir is reported to have asked a stranger on the street of the metropolis in which Muir had just arrived. "Where do you want to go?" the man asked. "Anywhere that is wild," Muir replied.
This week is straightforward. You day-hike the mountainous paths into the wilds of Big Sur, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and soak in Esalen’s natural hot springs overlooking the waves of the Pacific—in short, you let yourself touch and be touched by Nature.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down into the grass,
how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed,
how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done.
- Mary Oliver