Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Anne Watts Reflects on Growing Up with Esalen and Leading an Authentic Life
Category:
Spirit

Anne Watts carries the human potential movement in her DNA. As the daughter of pioneering author and philosopher Alan Watts, she grew up with people like Aldous Huxley, Charlotte Selver, and Ram Dass discussing the nature of human consciousness around the dinner table. While deeply influenced by her father, Anne forged her own path to become an educator, mediator, and counselor devoted to helping people live life from a place of authenticity and love. We spoke with Anne about her life and work, the ups and downs of being her father’s daughter, and Esalen.

eNews: Your father was an influential part of Esalen’s creation story. What’s your first memory of being here?

My first memory is before Esalen was Esalen. I was probably nine years old, and Michael Murphy had just inherited the property. I was with my dad and Michael outside the Big House, and they were talking about what to do with this property. They were just sitting there brainstorming. I was there when the seed was being planted, and that’s a precious memory. Esalen was a major place that my father loved.

eNews: What were the challenges of being Alan Watts’ daughter?

I always felt that he could out-talk me on any subject! So that was not so great. Also, for a lot of my childhood he was really not available. He worked hard and he loved his work. He was immersed in it. When he was around, though, he was fun. He loved limericks and he loved to be silly. One of my great childhood memories is when we’d make breakfast. Everyone in my family liked their eggs boiled a different length of time, so he would draw a caricature on each egg — one for each member of the family — so he knew whose egg was whose. It was so much fun you almost didn’t want to break those eggs.

eNews: With your sister Joan, you’ve edited The Collected Letters of Alan Watts. What surprised you in reading the letters?

These letters are the most personal view of Alan ever. There are a few things in the letters that were incredible to me. One is his brilliance from a really young age. My breath was just taken away by the depth and richness of his intelligence from very early on. Another thing is that he wrote to people like Carl Jung as a peer, not as someone much younger than they were.

eNews: Your Esalen workshops help people live with more potency and joy. What are some of the obstacles that get in the way of living from our most authentic selves?

When we’re little kids we develop beliefs about how the world is. A lot of people have the experience of “I’m not worthy” so there’s a devaluing of self. In order to grow, we have to educate our inner selves about how things can be different. I help people access the inner self and create new stories. That gives us a choice. It gives us a different well to draw from, rather than the one we created as children.

eNews: Right now we’re living through challenging times. Why is it more important than ever for people to live from their authentic selves?

All of the work that I do is an opportunity for people to take themselves out of the chaos of the world and go inward. Now more than ever we have to find our own inner peace. The more we’re coming from a place of inner peace, love, and compassion, then the more we have to give.

eNews: Esalen has undergone a rebirth. Can you share a time when you experienced a significant change, personally or professionally?

After my first workshop at the Human Awareness Institute, for the first time I felt real transformation in all areas of my life. That continued through my training to be a facilitator of that work. I was continually stepping into who I never thought I could be. I feel blessed to do this work at Esalen because Esalen gives to me as I give to people at Esalen. It’s a mutually sustaining experience.

Anne’s workshop, Reclaiming Your Authentic Self, will be offered June 10-15, 2018.

“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

Anne Watts Reflects on Growing Up with Esalen and Leading an Authentic Life

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Spirit

Anne Watts carries the human potential movement in her DNA. As the daughter of pioneering author and philosopher Alan Watts, she grew up with people like Aldous Huxley, Charlotte Selver, and Ram Dass discussing the nature of human consciousness around the dinner table. While deeply influenced by her father, Anne forged her own path to become an educator, mediator, and counselor devoted to helping people live life from a place of authenticity and love. We spoke with Anne about her life and work, the ups and downs of being her father’s daughter, and Esalen.

eNews: Your father was an influential part of Esalen’s creation story. What’s your first memory of being here?

My first memory is before Esalen was Esalen. I was probably nine years old, and Michael Murphy had just inherited the property. I was with my dad and Michael outside the Big House, and they were talking about what to do with this property. They were just sitting there brainstorming. I was there when the seed was being planted, and that’s a precious memory. Esalen was a major place that my father loved.

eNews: What were the challenges of being Alan Watts’ daughter?

I always felt that he could out-talk me on any subject! So that was not so great. Also, for a lot of my childhood he was really not available. He worked hard and he loved his work. He was immersed in it. When he was around, though, he was fun. He loved limericks and he loved to be silly. One of my great childhood memories is when we’d make breakfast. Everyone in my family liked their eggs boiled a different length of time, so he would draw a caricature on each egg — one for each member of the family — so he knew whose egg was whose. It was so much fun you almost didn’t want to break those eggs.

eNews: With your sister Joan, you’ve edited The Collected Letters of Alan Watts. What surprised you in reading the letters?

These letters are the most personal view of Alan ever. There are a few things in the letters that were incredible to me. One is his brilliance from a really young age. My breath was just taken away by the depth and richness of his intelligence from very early on. Another thing is that he wrote to people like Carl Jung as a peer, not as someone much younger than they were.

eNews: Your Esalen workshops help people live with more potency and joy. What are some of the obstacles that get in the way of living from our most authentic selves?

When we’re little kids we develop beliefs about how the world is. A lot of people have the experience of “I’m not worthy” so there’s a devaluing of self. In order to grow, we have to educate our inner selves about how things can be different. I help people access the inner self and create new stories. That gives us a choice. It gives us a different well to draw from, rather than the one we created as children.

eNews: Right now we’re living through challenging times. Why is it more important than ever for people to live from their authentic selves?

All of the work that I do is an opportunity for people to take themselves out of the chaos of the world and go inward. Now more than ever we have to find our own inner peace. The more we’re coming from a place of inner peace, love, and compassion, then the more we have to give.

eNews: Esalen has undergone a rebirth. Can you share a time when you experienced a significant change, personally or professionally?

After my first workshop at the Human Awareness Institute, for the first time I felt real transformation in all areas of my life. That continued through my training to be a facilitator of that work. I was continually stepping into who I never thought I could be. I feel blessed to do this work at Esalen because Esalen gives to me as I give to people at Esalen. It’s a mutually sustaining experience.

Anne’s workshop, Reclaiming Your Authentic Self, will be offered June 10-15, 2018.

“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
Anne Watts Reflects on Growing Up with Esalen and Leading an Authentic Life
Category:
Spirit

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About

Esalen Team

Anne Watts Reflects on Growing Up with Esalen and Leading an Authentic Life

About

Esalen Team

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