Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Journeys in Gender

Esalen’s original series, Conversations on the Edge, facilitates thought-provoking conversations around pressing issues of our time. In these curated weekend events, spread out throughout the year, leading experts and visiting teachers come together in lightning talks, group discussion and idea-sharing.

In Journeys in Gender, Explorations of Identities, Ben Geilhufe, director of outreach at UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center and Dr. Jen Hastings, a physician with the medical advisory board at The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, will explore the dimensions of gender and how gender impacts, influences and informs our day-to-day experiences. Ben and Jen will also share their own personal and professional gender journeys and invite participants to explore their own.

Esalen News caught up with Jen, who shares her insights on gender, identity and broadening our perspectives.

Esalen News: What most excites you about this gathering?

Jen: I am so excited to be in the beauty of Esalen, discussing gender, and the edges of gender, with one of my favorite humans. Ben is a wonderful, insightful, creative and courageous colleague. Watch out world!

Esalen News: Can you share a few of your own milestones in terms of gender and identity?

Jen: My exploration of my own gender identity led me to understand that the terms “non-binary” and “gender fluid” are more accurate for me. Ben will also be sharing his journey. Ben was assigned female at birth and transitioned more than 10 years ago, so his physical body is more accurately aligned with the gender identity he had known to be true for much of his life. We will be having a rich dialogue about our journeys, about the diversity of gender, and different ways to explore this personally and collectively.

Esalen News: How has your professional work influenced your realizations about gender and identity?

Jen: I had been providing gender and transgender care for more than five years before I realized I had my own gender journey to explore and navigate. I realized that the “box” of “female” was no longer accurate or sustaining for me. I had illuminating dreams and remembered experiences from my childhood that allowed me to more fully step in the world as “not male” and “not female.” We will be sharing gender journeys at Esalen in October, and we hope to support participants in their own process of discovery.

Esalen News: What are a few ways gender informs our daily experiences?

Jen: The “gender norms” of our culture permeate through and often shape our understanding of ourselves, usually unacknowledged and often unchallenged. Although we may have moved from the confining norm of “pink is for girls and blue is for boys,” we continue to attribute universal human qualities as masculine or feminine. The recent explosion of media around gender and sexual identity provides an opportunity to question what masculinity and femininity really are.

Esalen News: In what ways can having deeper conversations help us better understand the idea of community and personal identity?

Jen: Deeper conversations can open doors and windows of our soul that have been closed or stuck or perhaps imagined but not known. We get to know ourselves better. When we are in conversation with others, there can be a profound witnessing that is potentially deeply transformative.

A safe and supportive environment is absolutely required for a community of learners to thrive and for authentic personal identity to emerge. And only from authentic individual identity can we experience authentic community.

Esalen News: How is Esalen unique for such discussions?

Jen: The extraordinary beauty and opportunity for safety at Esalen provides a very special place for discussion, self-exploration and community building. While Esalen is known for workshops, I believe that the practice of intentional conversation on expansive and controversial topics is relatively new and at Esalen, we experience safety, open heart and open mind.

Ben and Jen will be teaching Journeys in Gender, Exploration of Identities at Esalen the weekend of October 25-27, 2019.



“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

Journeys in Gender

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

Esalen’s original series, Conversations on the Edge, facilitates thought-provoking conversations around pressing issues of our time. In these curated weekend events, spread out throughout the year, leading experts and visiting teachers come together in lightning talks, group discussion and idea-sharing.

In Journeys in Gender, Explorations of Identities, Ben Geilhufe, director of outreach at UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center and Dr. Jen Hastings, a physician with the medical advisory board at The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, will explore the dimensions of gender and how gender impacts, influences and informs our day-to-day experiences. Ben and Jen will also share their own personal and professional gender journeys and invite participants to explore their own.

Esalen News caught up with Jen, who shares her insights on gender, identity and broadening our perspectives.

Esalen News: What most excites you about this gathering?

Jen: I am so excited to be in the beauty of Esalen, discussing gender, and the edges of gender, with one of my favorite humans. Ben is a wonderful, insightful, creative and courageous colleague. Watch out world!

Esalen News: Can you share a few of your own milestones in terms of gender and identity?

Jen: My exploration of my own gender identity led me to understand that the terms “non-binary” and “gender fluid” are more accurate for me. Ben will also be sharing his journey. Ben was assigned female at birth and transitioned more than 10 years ago, so his physical body is more accurately aligned with the gender identity he had known to be true for much of his life. We will be having a rich dialogue about our journeys, about the diversity of gender, and different ways to explore this personally and collectively.

Esalen News: How has your professional work influenced your realizations about gender and identity?

Jen: I had been providing gender and transgender care for more than five years before I realized I had my own gender journey to explore and navigate. I realized that the “box” of “female” was no longer accurate or sustaining for me. I had illuminating dreams and remembered experiences from my childhood that allowed me to more fully step in the world as “not male” and “not female.” We will be sharing gender journeys at Esalen in October, and we hope to support participants in their own process of discovery.

Esalen News: What are a few ways gender informs our daily experiences?

Jen: The “gender norms” of our culture permeate through and often shape our understanding of ourselves, usually unacknowledged and often unchallenged. Although we may have moved from the confining norm of “pink is for girls and blue is for boys,” we continue to attribute universal human qualities as masculine or feminine. The recent explosion of media around gender and sexual identity provides an opportunity to question what masculinity and femininity really are.

Esalen News: In what ways can having deeper conversations help us better understand the idea of community and personal identity?

Jen: Deeper conversations can open doors and windows of our soul that have been closed or stuck or perhaps imagined but not known. We get to know ourselves better. When we are in conversation with others, there can be a profound witnessing that is potentially deeply transformative.

A safe and supportive environment is absolutely required for a community of learners to thrive and for authentic personal identity to emerge. And only from authentic individual identity can we experience authentic community.

Esalen News: How is Esalen unique for such discussions?

Jen: The extraordinary beauty and opportunity for safety at Esalen provides a very special place for discussion, self-exploration and community building. While Esalen is known for workshops, I believe that the practice of intentional conversation on expansive and controversial topics is relatively new and at Esalen, we experience safety, open heart and open mind.

Ben and Jen will be teaching Journeys in Gender, Exploration of Identities at Esalen the weekend of October 25-27, 2019.



“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
Journeys in Gender

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About

Esalen Team

Journeys in Gender

About

Esalen Team

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