Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
On Our Bookshelf: Considering Freedom for July

This month, we’re celebrating freedom while contemplating its many forms: political freedom, freedom of identity, personal freedom, and even freedom from history. The pursuit to protect and expand our liberation is ongoing, noble, and challenging. It’s the work of a lifetime — and we can always reset and start again. Join us this month and try one of these brilliant titles, all available now at the Esalen store.

Mandela's Way: Lessons for an Uncertain Age by Richard Stengel

Fighting for freedom — our lives and our bodies — is more necessary now than ever, and who better to learn from than Nelson Mandela, the legendary leader who inspired and led South Africa out of apartheid? “Almost no one represented freedom more strongly than Mandela,” author Richard Stengel tells Esalen, and he would know; Stengel spent years collaborating on Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela’s autobiography.

When we asked about Mandela’s understanding of the word, Stengel replied, “[He] had a dual definition of freedom: the liberation of his people from oppression, but also a larger sense of freedom as equality. He saw this in two steps: freedom for his people of color, and then the creation of a truly non-racial society where everyone was equal. He achieved the former, but died before the creation of the latter — which, of course, is much harder.” 

Read Mandela’s Way with us this July for wisdom and courage to face this historical moment, our own very uncertain age, and also for inspiration to reach out for that grand equality Madiba envisioned.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong

Originally published on the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which opened up parts of American society previously closed to the disabled) this anthology is an offshoot of Wong’s Disability Visibility Project. A diverse collection filled with joy, heartbreak, and rage, it’s also a complex set of challenging experiences that most of us have never considered, or certainly not considered enough. But don't expect an instructional guide or introductory primer for the able-bodied reader here. “I want to center the wisdom of disabled people and welcome others in," Wong writes, "rather than asking for permission or acknowledgment.” To create a space these writers can fully embody, in a world that is constantly sidelining them, feels like an expression of freedom worthy of attention and applause.

Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser

Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute in New York, writes that this was her attempt to blend her two main paths in life, the spiritual and the feminist, which “sometimes cross but sometimes feel at cross-purposes.” The result is a life-changing mix of storytelling and cultural criticism that revisits our earliest teachings with fresh eyes. Lesser asks, Which perspectives have been elevated? And whose have been rejected and demonized? She urges us to consider a different path where we prize healing values — sensitivity, compassion, and emotional intelligence — over strength and power. It’s a profound core shift to challenge a millennium of indoctrination and help the reader break free from the limitations of our cultural stories.

The Mastery of Life: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

The latest offering by the renowned spiritual teacher and internationally bestselling author of The Five Levels of Attachment, Living a Life of Awareness, The Mastery of Self, and Don Miguel Ruiz’s Little Book of Wisdom uses his family’s Toltec philosophy to free the reader from illusory beliefs. This master takes us on the same journey he himself traveled for his own apprenticeship. To describe more would risk being reductive, so we’ll just say that it’s a masterpiece of self-realization, which is, in essence, true freedom.

“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

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

On Our Bookshelf: Considering Freedom for July

About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

This month, we’re celebrating freedom while contemplating its many forms: political freedom, freedom of identity, personal freedom, and even freedom from history. The pursuit to protect and expand our liberation is ongoing, noble, and challenging. It’s the work of a lifetime — and we can always reset and start again. Join us this month and try one of these brilliant titles, all available now at the Esalen store.

Mandela's Way: Lessons for an Uncertain Age by Richard Stengel

Fighting for freedom — our lives and our bodies — is more necessary now than ever, and who better to learn from than Nelson Mandela, the legendary leader who inspired and led South Africa out of apartheid? “Almost no one represented freedom more strongly than Mandela,” author Richard Stengel tells Esalen, and he would know; Stengel spent years collaborating on Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela’s autobiography.

When we asked about Mandela’s understanding of the word, Stengel replied, “[He] had a dual definition of freedom: the liberation of his people from oppression, but also a larger sense of freedom as equality. He saw this in two steps: freedom for his people of color, and then the creation of a truly non-racial society where everyone was equal. He achieved the former, but died before the creation of the latter — which, of course, is much harder.” 

Read Mandela’s Way with us this July for wisdom and courage to face this historical moment, our own very uncertain age, and also for inspiration to reach out for that grand equality Madiba envisioned.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century edited by Alice Wong

Originally published on the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (which opened up parts of American society previously closed to the disabled) this anthology is an offshoot of Wong’s Disability Visibility Project. A diverse collection filled with joy, heartbreak, and rage, it’s also a complex set of challenging experiences that most of us have never considered, or certainly not considered enough. But don't expect an instructional guide or introductory primer for the able-bodied reader here. “I want to center the wisdom of disabled people and welcome others in," Wong writes, "rather than asking for permission or acknowledgment.” To create a space these writers can fully embody, in a world that is constantly sidelining them, feels like an expression of freedom worthy of attention and applause.

Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes by Elizabeth Lesser

Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute in New York, writes that this was her attempt to blend her two main paths in life, the spiritual and the feminist, which “sometimes cross but sometimes feel at cross-purposes.” The result is a life-changing mix of storytelling and cultural criticism that revisits our earliest teachings with fresh eyes. Lesser asks, Which perspectives have been elevated? And whose have been rejected and demonized? She urges us to consider a different path where we prize healing values — sensitivity, compassion, and emotional intelligence — over strength and power. It’s a profound core shift to challenge a millennium of indoctrination and help the reader break free from the limitations of our cultural stories.

The Mastery of Life: A Toltec Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr.

The latest offering by the renowned spiritual teacher and internationally bestselling author of The Five Levels of Attachment, Living a Life of Awareness, The Mastery of Self, and Don Miguel Ruiz’s Little Book of Wisdom uses his family’s Toltec philosophy to free the reader from illusory beliefs. This master takes us on the same journey he himself traveled for his own apprenticeship. To describe more would risk being reductive, so we’ll just say that it’s a masterpiece of self-realization, which is, in essence, true freedom.

“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

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
On Our Bookshelf: Considering Freedom for July

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About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

On Our Bookshelf: Considering Freedom for July

About

Steven Gutierrez

Steven Gutierrez is an editor, writer, and ghostwriter. He has worked in book publishing and at several major (and some minor) magazines.

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