Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Birthing a Movement: WisdomWomen Returns to Esalen

Just a year ago, former Wisdom 2.0 staffer Michelle Stransky was preparing to see her vision of a community of women leaders come to life at the first-ever gathering of WisdomWomen at Esalen.

Many of those in attendance became WisdomWomen founding members and have helped to create a community seeking to build our world from a different paradigm. To quote the group:  “We are not asking whether or not this can be done. We are claiming that it is ours to do.” eNews met with Michelle a few weeks before WisdomWomen will reconvene at Esalen.

eNews: We at Esalen are excited to welcome back WisdomWomen. What’s top of mind for you right now?

Michelle: The timing of our second gathering is interesting. Even before Donald Trump was elected, there were many of us wanting something new – a revolution. We’re all longing for a different way, a more thriving way of being on this earth.

Since the election, I found myself, and others, caught up in this sense of being divided. What I feel is possible and important about WisdomWomen is that we offer another option beyond right or left.  And even another option beyond “let’s change our system”.

Our work feels much deeper than that. It’s timely that we’ll be at Esalen a week before the inauguration. We’re looking to create the world we want to live in, instead of waiting for our leaders to do it. We all have something to offer, so many gifts of deep wisdom and incredible brilliance, that we can put behind a global vision at a time when the world needs it.

eNews: Could you please share what it was like to birth this movement of WisdomWomen?

Michelle: The concept was gestating a few years before it took form at Esalen last year. It was akin to what I’ve heard the birthing process is like in bringing children into the world: it’s magical and beautiful and messy. WisdomWomen had its own life form; I didn’t have any control over it.

I think the beauty was that myself, and others, said yes to something before cognitively understanding what it actually is. Almost as if on a soul level, we knew we were meant to be part of this birthing that would only reveal itself to us over time.

The magic last year at Esalen was the group field that was created and the ways the earth was co-conspiring to be part of the process.  There has been so much synchronicity. Many of us who are dreaming up a new world on our own are finally finding each other.

The messiness is in learning how to do something in a new way: learning how to host a co-creative gathering vs. a traditional speaker/audience gathering; learning how to take action from a deeply intentional and relational space; and learning how to lead, collaborate, and support each other as women when there is a lot of old patterning that needs to be un-learned.

While it is an honor to be pioneers of a new way, it involves a lot of deep and committed inner and relational work.      

eNews: What do you hope to achieve in this second gathering?

Michelle: It is much more clear what we’re coming into this year, and I feel excited about that. The first gathering met in circles as a way to tap into a relational space while sharing the visions we hold personally. This was an important part of the process.

This year we will meet on a more collective level, breaking into topic-based councils [which range in topics from education and social justice to money, technology and media, and communal spaces], and envision new possibilities in these areas.

Some of our founding members have been meeting to prepare for the councils, both in regional spaces and virtually. Ultimately the goal is to bring these visions we hold into reality. We hope that specific initiatives are born out of the Esalen gathering and we intend to continue collaborating beyond that weekend.

eNews: I’m sure you are often asked: why only women?

Michelle: The purpose of WisdomWomen is to support women by providing a place to practice and grow, as well as to help remind us there is a unique way of leading and visioning that hasn’t necessarily been honored in the past.

We are a community where women can feel safe in order to vision and co-create in our own way. Then we can co-create across the gender spectrum, which is absolutely necessary in order for us to build a new world.

Personally, I’ve gained confidence in my unique way of leading as a result of my WisdomWomen experience. As I collaborate more with men, I’m bringing more of my ideas to the table in a way I wasn’t before.

The other piece I’d like to add is that we, our community, are really aware of the gender-less direction our society is taking. Ultimately there may not be a need for WisdomWomen, but right now it feels important for women who have had similar experiences to tap into our community for support.

Our hope is that as the feminine principle is more present in the world, by its inclusive nature it will hold everything. First, though, it needs to grow strong.

eNews: In what ways will WisdomWomen be more present in the world?

Michelle: One project is the Collaboratory, where our profits will directly fund initiatives born in the community. For instance, if one of our members wants to start a new school and pioneer a new way in education, we build a team to support that and provide the mentoring and resources to make it happen. The Collaboratory is one way to put our soul work into the world.

eNews: How has founding WisdomWomen changed you?

Michelle: In reviewing the last year and lessons learned, it’s really been about learning to trust myself and my vision. There has been a lot of back and forth between the visionary part and the very human part, just Michelle. I’m learning to reconcile the two, and I think this is something many of us need to experience.  

We all need to be thinking big and get over the hurtle of “Who am I to bring a vision forward into the world?”  I’m trusting more and more that what I have in myself is worthwhile. It was a journey to stand in my own vision and own my knowing and, through that, how to collaborate with others. Paradoxically, the stronger I become in my individual leadership ability, the more I’m able to steward a co-creative space.

Learn more or register for the WisdomWomen Visionary Gathering at Esalen.

For more information, visit wisdomwomen.community.

“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

Birthing a Movement: WisdomWomen Returns to Esalen

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

Just a year ago, former Wisdom 2.0 staffer Michelle Stransky was preparing to see her vision of a community of women leaders come to life at the first-ever gathering of WisdomWomen at Esalen.

Many of those in attendance became WisdomWomen founding members and have helped to create a community seeking to build our world from a different paradigm. To quote the group:  “We are not asking whether or not this can be done. We are claiming that it is ours to do.” eNews met with Michelle a few weeks before WisdomWomen will reconvene at Esalen.

eNews: We at Esalen are excited to welcome back WisdomWomen. What’s top of mind for you right now?

Michelle: The timing of our second gathering is interesting. Even before Donald Trump was elected, there were many of us wanting something new – a revolution. We’re all longing for a different way, a more thriving way of being on this earth.

Since the election, I found myself, and others, caught up in this sense of being divided. What I feel is possible and important about WisdomWomen is that we offer another option beyond right or left.  And even another option beyond “let’s change our system”.

Our work feels much deeper than that. It’s timely that we’ll be at Esalen a week before the inauguration. We’re looking to create the world we want to live in, instead of waiting for our leaders to do it. We all have something to offer, so many gifts of deep wisdom and incredible brilliance, that we can put behind a global vision at a time when the world needs it.

eNews: Could you please share what it was like to birth this movement of WisdomWomen?

Michelle: The concept was gestating a few years before it took form at Esalen last year. It was akin to what I’ve heard the birthing process is like in bringing children into the world: it’s magical and beautiful and messy. WisdomWomen had its own life form; I didn’t have any control over it.

I think the beauty was that myself, and others, said yes to something before cognitively understanding what it actually is. Almost as if on a soul level, we knew we were meant to be part of this birthing that would only reveal itself to us over time.

The magic last year at Esalen was the group field that was created and the ways the earth was co-conspiring to be part of the process.  There has been so much synchronicity. Many of us who are dreaming up a new world on our own are finally finding each other.

The messiness is in learning how to do something in a new way: learning how to host a co-creative gathering vs. a traditional speaker/audience gathering; learning how to take action from a deeply intentional and relational space; and learning how to lead, collaborate, and support each other as women when there is a lot of old patterning that needs to be un-learned.

While it is an honor to be pioneers of a new way, it involves a lot of deep and committed inner and relational work.      

eNews: What do you hope to achieve in this second gathering?

Michelle: It is much more clear what we’re coming into this year, and I feel excited about that. The first gathering met in circles as a way to tap into a relational space while sharing the visions we hold personally. This was an important part of the process.

This year we will meet on a more collective level, breaking into topic-based councils [which range in topics from education and social justice to money, technology and media, and communal spaces], and envision new possibilities in these areas.

Some of our founding members have been meeting to prepare for the councils, both in regional spaces and virtually. Ultimately the goal is to bring these visions we hold into reality. We hope that specific initiatives are born out of the Esalen gathering and we intend to continue collaborating beyond that weekend.

eNews: I’m sure you are often asked: why only women?

Michelle: The purpose of WisdomWomen is to support women by providing a place to practice and grow, as well as to help remind us there is a unique way of leading and visioning that hasn’t necessarily been honored in the past.

We are a community where women can feel safe in order to vision and co-create in our own way. Then we can co-create across the gender spectrum, which is absolutely necessary in order for us to build a new world.

Personally, I’ve gained confidence in my unique way of leading as a result of my WisdomWomen experience. As I collaborate more with men, I’m bringing more of my ideas to the table in a way I wasn’t before.

The other piece I’d like to add is that we, our community, are really aware of the gender-less direction our society is taking. Ultimately there may not be a need for WisdomWomen, but right now it feels important for women who have had similar experiences to tap into our community for support.

Our hope is that as the feminine principle is more present in the world, by its inclusive nature it will hold everything. First, though, it needs to grow strong.

eNews: In what ways will WisdomWomen be more present in the world?

Michelle: One project is the Collaboratory, where our profits will directly fund initiatives born in the community. For instance, if one of our members wants to start a new school and pioneer a new way in education, we build a team to support that and provide the mentoring and resources to make it happen. The Collaboratory is one way to put our soul work into the world.

eNews: How has founding WisdomWomen changed you?

Michelle: In reviewing the last year and lessons learned, it’s really been about learning to trust myself and my vision. There has been a lot of back and forth between the visionary part and the very human part, just Michelle. I’m learning to reconcile the two, and I think this is something many of us need to experience.  

We all need to be thinking big and get over the hurtle of “Who am I to bring a vision forward into the world?”  I’m trusting more and more that what I have in myself is worthwhile. It was a journey to stand in my own vision and own my knowing and, through that, how to collaborate with others. Paradoxically, the stronger I become in my individual leadership ability, the more I’m able to steward a co-creative space.

Learn more or register for the WisdomWomen Visionary Gathering at Esalen.

For more information, visit wisdomwomen.community.

“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
Birthing a Movement: WisdomWomen Returns to Esalen

New Workshops

No items found.

Alert! Workshop Space Available



About

Esalen Team

Birthing a Movement: WisdomWomen Returns to Esalen

About

Esalen Team

//