Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Experiencing the Farm & Garden for a Day

Every year, hundreds of volunteers come through the Farm & Garden to open their hearts and minds while getting their hands a little (or sometimes a lot) dirty in land that has been thoughtfully cultivated for more than 40 years. The volunteer program is a wonderful way to experience Esalen for a day by working closely with our Farm & Garden staff in the morning, and then having the afternoon free to walk the grounds, take a soak in the baths, and even stay for dinner in the newly restored Lodge.

“The Farm & Garden's volunteer program embodies Esalen's vision for nurturing human and social transformation in relationship with the environment and celebrating unity through diversity,” says Farm & Garden coordinator Cole Cottin. “This program is not only how my husband and I found Esalen, its one of the most meaningful reasons we work here. It drew us onto this land in the same way it draws in so many people from across the globe every year.”

A typical volunteer day begins at 7:15 am when a small group of volunteers and the Farm & Garden staff gather together at the center of the Garden to meditate. Then the day’s work begins of tending to the Garden — whether it is clearing weeds or harvesting vegetables — with a 30-minute breakfast break at 9:00 am. The volunteer day ends at 1:00 pm and volunteers are free to enjoy Esalen for the remainder of the day, including perhaps even sampling what they’ve harvested at dinner.

Lillian Babcock came to Esalen over a year ago to volunteer in the Farm & Garden and was so moved by her experience she decided to participate in two Work Scholar months. “I am interested in issues such as food justice and sustainability,” says Lillian. “I wanted to learn more and the volunteer program was an awesome opportunity to do just that. I’m grateful to be in the Farm & Garden family.” According to Lillian, one of her favorite experiences is to work as a team and see the results in planting and harvesting. She credits her volunteer experience as making a significant change in her life, taking her in a new direction where she knows she can make a difference. Ultimately Lillian hopes to establish her own community garden.

Volunteer days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only. As space is limited, volunteers are encouraged to schedule at least two weeks in advance of their planned visit. Comfortable work clothing is encouraged including closed-toe shoes or boots that will likely get dirty. Dress in layers as temperatures may fluctuate throughout the day. A water bottle is essential. The Farm & Garden will provide tools, hats, sunblock, mud boots, rain gear, and gloves as needed.

“I am so inspired by our volunteers,” adds Cole. “And, I know many of them are inspired by us too. Individuals with no previous garden experience but a commitment to learn can spend one day engaged in work that feeds Esalen's community and be totally transformed. Leaders and activists in agriculture and other venues come through to volunteer and leave charged with new energy that they bring back to their own work and home communities. There is so much to love about this program and the potential for change that it holds.”

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Farm & Garden, you can request your date online. All volunteers are notified by email two weeks in advance of the requested date to confirm participation or update them of being placed on a wait list.

Photo credits from top to bottom: Lori Putnam, Lori Putnam, Cole Cottin, Rebecca Schoenenberger.

“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

Experiencing the Farm & Garden for a Day

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

Every year, hundreds of volunteers come through the Farm & Garden to open their hearts and minds while getting their hands a little (or sometimes a lot) dirty in land that has been thoughtfully cultivated for more than 40 years. The volunteer program is a wonderful way to experience Esalen for a day by working closely with our Farm & Garden staff in the morning, and then having the afternoon free to walk the grounds, take a soak in the baths, and even stay for dinner in the newly restored Lodge.

“The Farm & Garden's volunteer program embodies Esalen's vision for nurturing human and social transformation in relationship with the environment and celebrating unity through diversity,” says Farm & Garden coordinator Cole Cottin. “This program is not only how my husband and I found Esalen, its one of the most meaningful reasons we work here. It drew us onto this land in the same way it draws in so many people from across the globe every year.”

A typical volunteer day begins at 7:15 am when a small group of volunteers and the Farm & Garden staff gather together at the center of the Garden to meditate. Then the day’s work begins of tending to the Garden — whether it is clearing weeds or harvesting vegetables — with a 30-minute breakfast break at 9:00 am. The volunteer day ends at 1:00 pm and volunteers are free to enjoy Esalen for the remainder of the day, including perhaps even sampling what they’ve harvested at dinner.

Lillian Babcock came to Esalen over a year ago to volunteer in the Farm & Garden and was so moved by her experience she decided to participate in two Work Scholar months. “I am interested in issues such as food justice and sustainability,” says Lillian. “I wanted to learn more and the volunteer program was an awesome opportunity to do just that. I’m grateful to be in the Farm & Garden family.” According to Lillian, one of her favorite experiences is to work as a team and see the results in planting and harvesting. She credits her volunteer experience as making a significant change in her life, taking her in a new direction where she knows she can make a difference. Ultimately Lillian hopes to establish her own community garden.

Volunteer days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only. As space is limited, volunteers are encouraged to schedule at least two weeks in advance of their planned visit. Comfortable work clothing is encouraged including closed-toe shoes or boots that will likely get dirty. Dress in layers as temperatures may fluctuate throughout the day. A water bottle is essential. The Farm & Garden will provide tools, hats, sunblock, mud boots, rain gear, and gloves as needed.

“I am so inspired by our volunteers,” adds Cole. “And, I know many of them are inspired by us too. Individuals with no previous garden experience but a commitment to learn can spend one day engaged in work that feeds Esalen's community and be totally transformed. Leaders and activists in agriculture and other venues come through to volunteer and leave charged with new energy that they bring back to their own work and home communities. There is so much to love about this program and the potential for change that it holds.”

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Farm & Garden, you can request your date online. All volunteers are notified by email two weeks in advance of the requested date to confirm participation or update them of being placed on a wait list.

Photo credits from top to bottom: Lori Putnam, Lori Putnam, Cole Cottin, Rebecca Schoenenberger.

“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
Experiencing the Farm & Garden for a Day

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About

Esalen Team

Experiencing the Farm & Garden for a Day

About

Esalen Team

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