Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
George Leonard: An Appreciation

George Leonard, president emeritus of Esalen Institute, co-founder of Integral Transformative Practice and a leading voice of the Human Potential Movement, passed away a decade ago this month.

As George often would say "... every idea, every intention, every new thought is a new generative form in the universe," and that as human creators, we are tapping and manifesting only a small part of an unlimited potential for imagination, transformation and social progress.

In appreciation of George and his continuing legacy, Esalen’s leadership shares their memories and experiences of this remarkable “poet-philosopher.”


“I met George Leonard in 1965 when he was Look Magazine’s managing editor for the West Coast. He was also one of the magazine’s main writers during the civil rights movement and was close to Bobby Kennedy. We started a conversation the night we met that never stopped until his death. Not a week went by that we didn’t speak. We were that close.

“In the 60s and 70s, with the explosive moments that emerged then, the ride could be harrowing at times. George was a tremendous comrade in the paradigm wars of those years and helped guide us in our dealings with the media. He pointed us in many creative directions in order to correlate the personal changes people were making in and around Esalen with larger, positive social changes.

“For me, he was a counselor in all the affairs of the Institute and a comrade for the ages.”
-Michael Murphy
Co-founder, Esalen Institute

“I will never forget my first encounter with George. It was late November, 1998. He and Mike [Murphy] appeared at the door of the Big House as I pulled my suitcase down the sidewalk. I had not met either man. Mike and I had talked on the phone and corresponded, so I felt like I sort of knew him. He was beaming. I had never met George.

“George had this incredible booming voice and laugh, both slightly accented from his Southern upbringing, which also brought with it, I would soon learn, a kind of fierce yearning for social justice in all its forms.

“He had grown up witnessing the horrors of daily racism personally and up close, that is, in his own family and culture. It was this unique combination of height, voice, ethical conviction, and human potential that made him so unforgettable, so ‘George Leonard.’

“I would later write about George as the ’third founder of Esalen.’ I got some pushback on that, but it always seemed right to me, poetically if not literally.”
-Jeff Kripal
Chair, Esalen Institute Board of Trustees

“Toward the end of the 60s a radical new book, Education and Ecstasy, by the journalist and budding social critic George Leonard, blew my mind and set me on a path that would ultimately lead me to Esalen — by way of working with young kids, then developmental psychology, then a career in psychotherapy with all ages, then training other therapists, then teaching workshops and working with the staff at Esalen itself.

“Which led in turn — full circle — to warm friendship with George (and Annie) Leonard, whose work had inspired me some 30 years earlier. On behalf of Esalen, and in loco parentis, George would then walk my mid-life bride Nancy Lunney down the aisle at our wedding in Boston, back in 1998.

Along the way I discovered Gestalt psychology and psychotherapy, which spoke to me immediately as the theory base that would manifest George's educational vision of human nature as a limitless font of creativity and magic, as a clinical and life practice.

“On his retirement from the Esalen Board almost 20 years ago now, George did me the great honor of asking me to be his successor (with Board approval) as President of Esalen — a position I've been privileged to hold ever since. Thank you George, for your vision of creative human potential — ecstasy and magic — which has animated my life, and so many others.”
-Gordon Wheeler
President, Esalen Institute



George Leonard on The Path of Practice; The Key Elements to Lasting Success


In this inspiring recording George Leonard combines Eastern wisdom and Western research as he explores key elements of lasting success, fulfillment, and mastery. His discussion focuses on Ki—the life force of the universe, harmony, and the power of long-term practice.

https://soundcloud.com/user-84398623-327830080/the-path-of-practice-the-key-elements-to-lasting-success

Learn more about George Leonard.

“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

George Leonard: An Appreciation

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

George Leonard, president emeritus of Esalen Institute, co-founder of Integral Transformative Practice and a leading voice of the Human Potential Movement, passed away a decade ago this month.

As George often would say "... every idea, every intention, every new thought is a new generative form in the universe," and that as human creators, we are tapping and manifesting only a small part of an unlimited potential for imagination, transformation and social progress.

In appreciation of George and his continuing legacy, Esalen’s leadership shares their memories and experiences of this remarkable “poet-philosopher.”


“I met George Leonard in 1965 when he was Look Magazine’s managing editor for the West Coast. He was also one of the magazine’s main writers during the civil rights movement and was close to Bobby Kennedy. We started a conversation the night we met that never stopped until his death. Not a week went by that we didn’t speak. We were that close.

“In the 60s and 70s, with the explosive moments that emerged then, the ride could be harrowing at times. George was a tremendous comrade in the paradigm wars of those years and helped guide us in our dealings with the media. He pointed us in many creative directions in order to correlate the personal changes people were making in and around Esalen with larger, positive social changes.

“For me, he was a counselor in all the affairs of the Institute and a comrade for the ages.”
-Michael Murphy
Co-founder, Esalen Institute

“I will never forget my first encounter with George. It was late November, 1998. He and Mike [Murphy] appeared at the door of the Big House as I pulled my suitcase down the sidewalk. I had not met either man. Mike and I had talked on the phone and corresponded, so I felt like I sort of knew him. He was beaming. I had never met George.

“George had this incredible booming voice and laugh, both slightly accented from his Southern upbringing, which also brought with it, I would soon learn, a kind of fierce yearning for social justice in all its forms.

“He had grown up witnessing the horrors of daily racism personally and up close, that is, in his own family and culture. It was this unique combination of height, voice, ethical conviction, and human potential that made him so unforgettable, so ‘George Leonard.’

“I would later write about George as the ’third founder of Esalen.’ I got some pushback on that, but it always seemed right to me, poetically if not literally.”
-Jeff Kripal
Chair, Esalen Institute Board of Trustees

“Toward the end of the 60s a radical new book, Education and Ecstasy, by the journalist and budding social critic George Leonard, blew my mind and set me on a path that would ultimately lead me to Esalen — by way of working with young kids, then developmental psychology, then a career in psychotherapy with all ages, then training other therapists, then teaching workshops and working with the staff at Esalen itself.

“Which led in turn — full circle — to warm friendship with George (and Annie) Leonard, whose work had inspired me some 30 years earlier. On behalf of Esalen, and in loco parentis, George would then walk my mid-life bride Nancy Lunney down the aisle at our wedding in Boston, back in 1998.

Along the way I discovered Gestalt psychology and psychotherapy, which spoke to me immediately as the theory base that would manifest George's educational vision of human nature as a limitless font of creativity and magic, as a clinical and life practice.

“On his retirement from the Esalen Board almost 20 years ago now, George did me the great honor of asking me to be his successor (with Board approval) as President of Esalen — a position I've been privileged to hold ever since. Thank you George, for your vision of creative human potential — ecstasy and magic — which has animated my life, and so many others.”
-Gordon Wheeler
President, Esalen Institute



George Leonard on The Path of Practice; The Key Elements to Lasting Success


In this inspiring recording George Leonard combines Eastern wisdom and Western research as he explores key elements of lasting success, fulfillment, and mastery. His discussion focuses on Ki—the life force of the universe, harmony, and the power of long-term practice.

https://soundcloud.com/user-84398623-327830080/the-path-of-practice-the-key-elements-to-lasting-success

Learn more about George Leonard.

“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
George Leonard: An Appreciation

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About

Esalen Team

George Leonard: An Appreciation

About

Esalen Team

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