Guided by the intention of nurturing true healing and reconciliation with the Indigenous tribes of the region, key staff and board members from the Esalen Institute and representatives from the founding family/land owners have embarked on a multi-year process of individual and collective reflection, deep learning, and humble listening, which started on October 7th, 2020.
Under the skillful guidance of Maija West and her colleagues from the Healing & Reconciliation Institute, this core group is participating in eight immersive sessions: Integrated Leadership Practices, Apologies & Forgiveness, Neuroscience & Healing, Blood Memory & Epigenetics, Inherited Identities, Indigenous Allyship, Reconciliation, and a Closing Ceremony. This work initiated deeply personal voyages, encouraging participants to explore their own familial and ancestral stories and connect with one another through the promise of our shared humanity, resulting in a deeper understanding of personal responsibility and of tangible actions that actively promote healing to help prevent the recurrence of past harms.
In 2021, the group from Esalen Institute will draw on the embodied skills and self-awareness garnered from these foundational training sessions as they sit in circle with members from the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, and possibly other representative Indigenous community members from the greater region. These facilitated listening circles will be profound opportunities for all participants to name historical harms, speak their truths, and deeply listen, allowing them to cultivate compassion and foster an abiding commitment to move forward — together — with tangible solutions.
While the concrete outcomes of this process are still emerging, all participating groups recognize that this work is necessary, complex, and nonlinear, and requires an enduring commitment. We anticipate a mutually-agreed upon set of next steps that will evolve as the collaborative partnership fosters trust among all parties.