Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
A Changing Landscape

Years ago, visitors to the area where the Esalen Lodge now stands would have been greeted by a landscape of northern coastal scrub and sage scrub – much of it subsequently cleared for cattle grazing. What they wouldn’t have seen, according to Esalen Grounds Manager Christina Dauenhauer, were pine trees.

“The pine trees are actually not native to Esalen,” she said. In fact, the towering pines that have populated Esalen were planted in the early 1960s. It is believed that some pines planted were the result of the then-California Forestry Department giving away pines.

“We think about 100 were planted and then of course where seedlings fell, more trees grew,” observed Christina. And while Esalen visitors revel in the land, ongoing factors such as drought and beetle infestation have left many of the pines on property struggling or dying.

Christina and her team are working with a local arborist to help monitor the trees’ health. A 10-year plan is in development to manage the trees, which includes tagging larger trees to address immediate needs like pruning. Christina is taking the long view in determining how to repopulate the landscape when larger trees must be taken down. “We need to think 100 years out,” she said, “If we overplant it will change the environment.”

Instead, the best way is to start small and let the trees grow into the space in a healthier way, she says. The grounds team will be planting Monterey Cypress and Arbutus Marina which start out at four feet tall. The Arbutus Marina, often called the strawberry tree, is known for its evergreen leaves and clusters of blossoms and edible fruit – and is a favorite for butterflies.

Photo by Cameron Jordan

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

A Changing Landscape

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

Years ago, visitors to the area where the Esalen Lodge now stands would have been greeted by a landscape of northern coastal scrub and sage scrub – much of it subsequently cleared for cattle grazing. What they wouldn’t have seen, according to Esalen Grounds Manager Christina Dauenhauer, were pine trees.

“The pine trees are actually not native to Esalen,” she said. In fact, the towering pines that have populated Esalen were planted in the early 1960s. It is believed that some pines planted were the result of the then-California Forestry Department giving away pines.

“We think about 100 were planted and then of course where seedlings fell, more trees grew,” observed Christina. And while Esalen visitors revel in the land, ongoing factors such as drought and beetle infestation have left many of the pines on property struggling or dying.

Christina and her team are working with a local arborist to help monitor the trees’ health. A 10-year plan is in development to manage the trees, which includes tagging larger trees to address immediate needs like pruning. Christina is taking the long view in determining how to repopulate the landscape when larger trees must be taken down. “We need to think 100 years out,” she said, “If we overplant it will change the environment.”

Instead, the best way is to start small and let the trees grow into the space in a healthier way, she says. The grounds team will be planting Monterey Cypress and Arbutus Marina which start out at four feet tall. The Arbutus Marina, often called the strawberry tree, is known for its evergreen leaves and clusters of blossoms and edible fruit – and is a favorite for butterflies.

Photo by Cameron Jordan

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
A Changing Landscape

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About

Esalen Team

A Changing Landscape

About

Esalen Team

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