“I came back with a deeper sense of self, and confidence in who I am and knowing that there was no mistake in that…it was a really transformative experience.”
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I try to go into any experience like this one open-minded and being receptive to it. I knew it was an opportunity for me to kind of pull away from my day-to-day environment, get exposure to nature and reconnect to the planet, and also have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who are also seeking some type of healing or spiritual clarity.
[Tihikpas] was amazing and made an effort to get to know me, especially because we have shared identities… It was really good to see myself reflected in the facilitators because some of the concepts that we were discussing felt a lot more tangible coming from people that look like me and navigate the world like I do… It was reassuring to know that people who share my identities could have access to this type of healing too.
Living in a world that often persecutes queer people, or any interpretation of gender outside of the binary, It was really powerful to be reminded by Tihikpas that, that is not always the case and has not always been the case… It was really powerful to be reminded by him in such an organic way. It was just a conversation, it wasn’t like it was even a lesson, it was just such a tender moment [to share with Tihikpas].
I came back with a deeper sense of self, and confidence in who I am and knowing that there was no mistake in that…it was a really transformative experience.
I really love that Esalen is trying to rebuild the bridge with the Esselen tribe and by integrating Indigenous practices and rituals into Esalen’s programming. I think that it is a very important step in a bigger process of reconciliation… I think there is a lot of potential there.
The kitchen did a really phenomenal job of not only labeling things, but also providing sufficient options for folks who are vegan or gluten-free, and the food was actually good! Whenever I travel, it’s always a hassle for me to do the mental gymnastics of figuring out what I can eat. Eating was mindless for me and I really appreciate that because it’s not often I get to approach it that way.
There’s something so special and beautiful about [Esalen], everything from the stars, to the ocean, and to the sea lions barking and the birds chirping. It was a really nice pull away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
“I think there is a lot of value in removing yourself from the toxins and pollutants of being in a city. Being able to immerse yourself in nature is really a blessing.”
I think there is a lot of value in removing yourself from the toxins and pollutants of being in a city. Being able to immerse yourself in nature is really a blessing. Not a lot of people have that opportunity.
Esalen is an environment where it’s low stakes to have hard conversations, where it’s practice for the real world and where everybody has the same shared positive intent…a safe, comfortable environment to have those conversations where you can have a bigger impact on the world.
If they are open and vulnerable, it’s the opportunity to understand their own potential.
“The scholarship came at a really good time. It seemed like it was an invitation to come...like Esalen wants me to be there.”
The scholarship came at a really good time. It seemed like it was an invitation to come…like Esalen wants me to be there. I tried to stay really open to everything as a way of honoring that invitation. To be invited and encouraged to come just really seemed nice and special and I’m very grateful for that opportunity.
[Most] everything else on the Big Sur Coast is private. To have that communal space, that’s not a golf course, or not privately controlled and owned, but an open space where people could come, it’s special. I’m very grateful for the Murphy family.
I really do find something special when I go to [Esalen]. It’s a combination of everything, the learning, the food, the meal times, the baths, the lack of electromagnetic radiation, disconnecting from the phone, spending an afternoon looking at the water. It’s just all certainly different from my life in Los Angeles and it’s really appreciated.
“I'm really glad that they accepted older people [at Esalen] because I think that we still have a lot to contribute…I can be an example to my community.”
All who come to Esalen are called. I think it’s for lovers, for dreamers, for teachers and healers. It is for all who are seeking healing and peace, not only for ourselves, but for the world.
When you come to Esalen, it is like your ego colliding with nature…there’s this big explosion and then after you fall apart and everything, then you're just emptied out. And [that] leaves room for growing and…just letting a lot of stuff go away.
The power of the natural elements and ourselves connected [is what makes Esalen unique]. Esalen is the melting pot for all of that. It stirs it up, and wakes us up.
To experience Esalen, one must be willing to let go and grow.
I’m really glad that they accepted older people [at Esalen] because I think that we still have a lot to contribute…I can be an example to my community. That it’s okay for us to get out and experience new things. It would be so enlightening if they could just get a little taste of that.