Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
A New Voice for Esalen: Meet Executive Director Ben Tauber
Category:
“The Esalen community, like redwoods, grows tall by weaving their roots together. Esalen’s roots branch from Big Sur and grow around the world.”
— BEN TAUBER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Esalen's sturdy roots have been essential as Ben Tauber, an entrepreneur with an interest in somatic practices, assumed leadership at Esalen during an unprecedented closure resulting from landslides and a bridge failure. As founding partner of Velocity, an executive coaching company based in Silicon Valley, Ben has both the passion and experience for helping individuals and organizations realize their highest potential. “Esalen is an extension of my own purpose,” said Ben. “With Velocity, I felt that if I could help even a small number of founders more fully realize their potential and operate from a place of purpose, I would have a profound effect on humanity. Now I have the privilege to work with the Institute capable of helping to realize potential for the whole world.”

If you were to visit Ben’s home office in the Bay Area, you would find a piece of paper tacked to the wall which reads: “Realize individual and collective human potential.” For the 33-year-old entrepreneur, this is the “why” that has led him from previous management positions at Adobe and Google to serve on Esalen’s Board of Trustees in 2015 and ultimately to join dozens of candidates vetted over the last nine months for Esalen’s new Executive Director role. The position was held formerly by Tricia McEntee as CEO.

Originally Ben had planned to begin his tenure at Esalen as a work scholar, a 28-day immersive program that allows individuals to become part of the Esalen residential community, work on property, and participate in workshops. Those plans dramatically changed with the Institute’s temporary closure on February 12. Instead, his role began suddenly as he supported the helicopter evacuation of non-essential staff from Big Sur at the end of February, before assuming a full-time position last month. He now splits his time between the Bay Area, Esalen’s Carmel office, and Big Sur. He views this moment of time for Esalen as one to reimagine what is possible for the non-profit organization.

While wellness and learning retreats continue to expand nationwide, Ben sees Esalen as something all-together different. “Esalen is an extraordinary catalyst for individual and social transformation. From personal healing to new movements – legacy of Gestalt to the writings of Maslow – all have been incubated and grown here,” he said. “We have the history, the land, the community, and the passion to push the edge of human potential like never before.”

Looking ahead to Esalen's reopening in June, Ben views one of his responsibilities as helping Esalen evolve into a new way of being. He recalls a recent conversation with Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy who framed Esalen as a microcosm for the world. “It’s a little like Rolfing,” said Michael. “When you work on the shoulder, it flexes the toes. As in Rolfing, what happens at Esalen ripples out into the world.”

“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 New Voice for Esalen: Meet Executive Director Ben Tauber

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
“The Esalen community, like redwoods, grows tall by weaving their roots together. Esalen’s roots branch from Big Sur and grow around the world.”
— BEN TAUBER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Esalen's sturdy roots have been essential as Ben Tauber, an entrepreneur with an interest in somatic practices, assumed leadership at Esalen during an unprecedented closure resulting from landslides and a bridge failure. As founding partner of Velocity, an executive coaching company based in Silicon Valley, Ben has both the passion and experience for helping individuals and organizations realize their highest potential. “Esalen is an extension of my own purpose,” said Ben. “With Velocity, I felt that if I could help even a small number of founders more fully realize their potential and operate from a place of purpose, I would have a profound effect on humanity. Now I have the privilege to work with the Institute capable of helping to realize potential for the whole world.”

If you were to visit Ben’s home office in the Bay Area, you would find a piece of paper tacked to the wall which reads: “Realize individual and collective human potential.” For the 33-year-old entrepreneur, this is the “why” that has led him from previous management positions at Adobe and Google to serve on Esalen’s Board of Trustees in 2015 and ultimately to join dozens of candidates vetted over the last nine months for Esalen’s new Executive Director role. The position was held formerly by Tricia McEntee as CEO.

Originally Ben had planned to begin his tenure at Esalen as a work scholar, a 28-day immersive program that allows individuals to become part of the Esalen residential community, work on property, and participate in workshops. Those plans dramatically changed with the Institute’s temporary closure on February 12. Instead, his role began suddenly as he supported the helicopter evacuation of non-essential staff from Big Sur at the end of February, before assuming a full-time position last month. He now splits his time between the Bay Area, Esalen’s Carmel office, and Big Sur. He views this moment of time for Esalen as one to reimagine what is possible for the non-profit organization.

While wellness and learning retreats continue to expand nationwide, Ben sees Esalen as something all-together different. “Esalen is an extraordinary catalyst for individual and social transformation. From personal healing to new movements – legacy of Gestalt to the writings of Maslow – all have been incubated and grown here,” he said. “We have the history, the land, the community, and the passion to push the edge of human potential like never before.”

Looking ahead to Esalen's reopening in June, Ben views one of his responsibilities as helping Esalen evolve into a new way of being. He recalls a recent conversation with Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy who framed Esalen as a microcosm for the world. “It’s a little like Rolfing,” said Michael. “When you work on the shoulder, it flexes the toes. As in Rolfing, what happens at Esalen ripples out into the world.”

“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 New Voice for Esalen: Meet Executive Director Ben Tauber
Category:

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About

Esalen Team

A New Voice for Esalen: Meet Executive Director Ben Tauber

About

Esalen Team

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