From its beginning, Esalen has been the model for a new kind of leadership that builds on the complex range of human potentials and recognizes that these potentials are not just the preserve of a special few, but of every person. Michael Murphy and Richard Price exemplified that new kind of leadership in their insistence that at Esalen, no one special teacher or teaching be allowed to “capture the flag”; that it be a place where many skilled people could share what they had to offer in a climate of peership and collaboration. Esalen became a home for various strategies to develop the many potentials required for a new kind of leader. These included effective communication, how to deal with conflict, quality of contact with others, and deep inner reflection. They also included the many kinds of embodiment practices—ancient and modern—which address not only personal transformation but also the capacity to further a deeper sense of our bodily interdependence with others in our sensing, breathing, moving, and speaking.
In this program, Don Hanlon Johnson, a longtime veteran of Esalen and founder of the first graduate studies program in Somatics, located at California Institute of Integral Studies, will work with participants with the various strategies for cultivating leadership that have characterized Esalen’s history. These will include group process, meditation, investigations of each participant’s unique gifts for change, body practices to improve sensitivity, grounding, courage, imagination, and reflection on the meanings of the skills in relation to the great challenges of our era.
Recommended reading: Harding, Is America Possible?; Johnson, Body, Spirit, and Democracy.