Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Justin Michael Williams Guides Community Toward Social Justice in Dynamic Online Workshop

In July, Esalen hosted faculty-singer-author Justin Michael Williams for a mini-residency. Justin’s presence on property was so nourishing that Esalen’s Community and Advancement team invited him to host a 90-minute online workshop as an opportunity to meet Justin, experience the work he is doing in the world and explore the topics of equality and race.

Finding Your Authentic Voice in the Movement for Equality, which individuals can watch here, took place virtually Saturday, August 2, with approximately 40 people in attendance. The online masterclass included soulful talk, music, and mindfulness and education on today’s current racial issues.

“I think one of the most important conversations we can be having in the world right now is around social justice, equality and change,” Justin says. “And the conversation can’t just be Black people fighting for justice and equality hoping that people of all ages and races and other colors will sympathize with us and join in. This has to be a fight that we all take responsibility for. That was one of the reasons it was important for me to be a part of this gathering.”

The genesis of the workshop began by calling together the revolutionary act of the conversation which Justin originally proposed—that we are indeed the first generation of people with the opportunity to dive into the work of racial healing with the depth of clarity, education and resources.

“Anyone who was alive during the Civil Rights era will say that this moment feels different,” Justin shares. “We are exactly who we've been waiting for. We are exactly who was meant to be alive in this time.”

Community and Advancement Associate Jessica Hartzell felt Justin’s passion and mindfulness for social justice presented an ideal opportunity to bring people together at this important juncture in history. “Justin is a new faculty member and newer voice in our ecosystem of brilliant teachers,” Jessica says. “We wanted to lift up his voice and amplify his presence in the community.”

Justin’s five-part online experience included the following segments:

  1. Entering the Shadow: The courage to be uncomfortable.
  2. Power of Truth: Getting real on the truth of the American journey.
  3. Messy Conversations: Unpacking white privilege and white supremacy from a perspective of consciousness.
  4. Taking Action: What to do now? What to do next?
  5. Coming Together: How we might come together to change the world.

The workshop ended with group participation singing Justin’s song, I Am Enough, reminding workshop participants that they are “enough” to make a change and make an impact.

“Even though the session was on Zoom, my intention was to give people the experience they've come to know and love at Esalen,” Justin explains. “It was experiential with moments to drop into our hearts, reflect and discuss. It was also grounded in where Esalen—and our personal experiences at Esalen—sits in the fabric of the history of social justice, and how we might be positioned to move forward as a community.”

Community and Advancement Associate Lacy Shannon believes that offerings like this can remind us of our interconnectedness. “This idea of calling each other in and working to create a more just world and society together in relationship versus a casting out also feels important,” she says. “It also echoes the theme of being together here and for each other.”

The experience also impacted attendees.

“Recent events in the news and feedback on my poetry awakened me to the depth of racism and sexism I hold in my world view,” says Rolland, one of the online participants. “The workshop helped me hold my feet to the fire of transcendence to a new paradigm. And it will require changing every point of view I have about everything I experience in my world. It was one of the first steps toward that transformation as well as looking at my every action—from writing down an inappropriate action and checking every morning how I did the day prior. This makes it a process of cognitive behavioral change.”

Justin was inspired to see people of all ages, races, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds stepping forward in the workshop and understanding that the only way to win this “race” is together.

“I think it’s important to realize that social justice isn't a ‘Black issue’ for white people to sympathize with, but an issue that all of us will need to take responsibility for to come together to solve,” Justin says. “This is not a fight just against racism but a fight for the world we all want to live in. What I know for sure is that if our external work is not met with the same force and power of our internal work as we’re advocating for change, then none of it is going to last. We can defund the police, elect a new president, break the school-to-prison pipeline, end private prisons altogether, or completely break down the system and build it anew—but if we haven’t done the internal work, nothing will ever last and nothing will ever change. We will wind up in the same position over and over again.

“We at Esalen know this,” he adds. “The reason we are committed to this place—the reason we love it so much—is because of the transformation it offers us as it relates to our individual internal growth; now it’s time to apply that to the collective. This is the time for all of us to step up to the plate and create this new world together. This is the next wave of the human potential movement.”

To experience Justin’s entire presentation, click here.

Learn more about Justin
here.

Sign up for the Friends of Esalen portal and see our current and future offerings
here.

“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

Justin Michael Williams Guides Community Toward Social Justice in Dynamic Online Workshop

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

In July, Esalen hosted faculty-singer-author Justin Michael Williams for a mini-residency. Justin’s presence on property was so nourishing that Esalen’s Community and Advancement team invited him to host a 90-minute online workshop as an opportunity to meet Justin, experience the work he is doing in the world and explore the topics of equality and race.

Finding Your Authentic Voice in the Movement for Equality, which individuals can watch here, took place virtually Saturday, August 2, with approximately 40 people in attendance. The online masterclass included soulful talk, music, and mindfulness and education on today’s current racial issues.

“I think one of the most important conversations we can be having in the world right now is around social justice, equality and change,” Justin says. “And the conversation can’t just be Black people fighting for justice and equality hoping that people of all ages and races and other colors will sympathize with us and join in. This has to be a fight that we all take responsibility for. That was one of the reasons it was important for me to be a part of this gathering.”

The genesis of the workshop began by calling together the revolutionary act of the conversation which Justin originally proposed—that we are indeed the first generation of people with the opportunity to dive into the work of racial healing with the depth of clarity, education and resources.

“Anyone who was alive during the Civil Rights era will say that this moment feels different,” Justin shares. “We are exactly who we've been waiting for. We are exactly who was meant to be alive in this time.”

Community and Advancement Associate Jessica Hartzell felt Justin’s passion and mindfulness for social justice presented an ideal opportunity to bring people together at this important juncture in history. “Justin is a new faculty member and newer voice in our ecosystem of brilliant teachers,” Jessica says. “We wanted to lift up his voice and amplify his presence in the community.”

Justin’s five-part online experience included the following segments:

  1. Entering the Shadow: The courage to be uncomfortable.
  2. Power of Truth: Getting real on the truth of the American journey.
  3. Messy Conversations: Unpacking white privilege and white supremacy from a perspective of consciousness.
  4. Taking Action: What to do now? What to do next?
  5. Coming Together: How we might come together to change the world.

The workshop ended with group participation singing Justin’s song, I Am Enough, reminding workshop participants that they are “enough” to make a change and make an impact.

“Even though the session was on Zoom, my intention was to give people the experience they've come to know and love at Esalen,” Justin explains. “It was experiential with moments to drop into our hearts, reflect and discuss. It was also grounded in where Esalen—and our personal experiences at Esalen—sits in the fabric of the history of social justice, and how we might be positioned to move forward as a community.”

Community and Advancement Associate Lacy Shannon believes that offerings like this can remind us of our interconnectedness. “This idea of calling each other in and working to create a more just world and society together in relationship versus a casting out also feels important,” she says. “It also echoes the theme of being together here and for each other.”

The experience also impacted attendees.

“Recent events in the news and feedback on my poetry awakened me to the depth of racism and sexism I hold in my world view,” says Rolland, one of the online participants. “The workshop helped me hold my feet to the fire of transcendence to a new paradigm. And it will require changing every point of view I have about everything I experience in my world. It was one of the first steps toward that transformation as well as looking at my every action—from writing down an inappropriate action and checking every morning how I did the day prior. This makes it a process of cognitive behavioral change.”

Justin was inspired to see people of all ages, races, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds stepping forward in the workshop and understanding that the only way to win this “race” is together.

“I think it’s important to realize that social justice isn't a ‘Black issue’ for white people to sympathize with, but an issue that all of us will need to take responsibility for to come together to solve,” Justin says. “This is not a fight just against racism but a fight for the world we all want to live in. What I know for sure is that if our external work is not met with the same force and power of our internal work as we’re advocating for change, then none of it is going to last. We can defund the police, elect a new president, break the school-to-prison pipeline, end private prisons altogether, or completely break down the system and build it anew—but if we haven’t done the internal work, nothing will ever last and nothing will ever change. We will wind up in the same position over and over again.

“We at Esalen know this,” he adds. “The reason we are committed to this place—the reason we love it so much—is because of the transformation it offers us as it relates to our individual internal growth; now it’s time to apply that to the collective. This is the time for all of us to step up to the plate and create this new world together. This is the next wave of the human potential movement.”

To experience Justin’s entire presentation, click here.

Learn more about Justin
here.

Sign up for the Friends of Esalen portal and see our current and future offerings
here.

“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
Justin Michael Williams Guides Community Toward Social Justice in Dynamic Online Workshop

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About

Esalen Team

Justin Michael Williams Guides Community Toward Social Justice in Dynamic Online Workshop

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Esalen Team

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