Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Let Go and Renew the Self
Category:
Spirit

Mark Nicolson, an executive coach specializing in leadership and team development for visionary entrepreneurs and catalysts for social change, made it his mission to help people and systems large and small discover the concept of renewal and become re-enchanted with their place and calling in the world.

As the co-founder of T12N, an innovative program for realigning self and career, he also helped create pathways for sustaining the changes individuals truly wanted to create. Mark sheds light on this rich topic in his upcoming workshop, Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal in the New Year, where he creates a space for us to be vulnerable, undistracted and present.

We spoke to Mark about some of the tools needed to create the changes we desire and have them really take root.

Esalen News: How would you define renewal?

Mark: Renewal is both a reconnection to our essence—our joy, our beauty, our purpose—and to our deep knowing about who we are and what we’re here to do. It's always available to us. We can lose our connection to it because of stress, grief and depression or whatever particular challenge we’re going through, but in the same way that everything goes quiet in winter, it does come again in spring.

What comes in spring is both new and returning at the same time. That, to me, is what renewal is. It’s both something new and something that is coming back that is always us.

Esalen News: What are some key components to sustaining change, especially after a newfound sense of renewal?

Mark: It's an old cliché that we are pulled by vision or driven by fear. But what I believe fuels everyone toward lasting change is the deep knowing that we’re all in this together. I see this with the work that I am doing with systems, or large systems, whether it be a city or a county, especially when people are given the opportunity to really speak from the heart.

Another component is the idea that, "I'm not made whole unless you are made whole." Meaning, that while I can absolutely experience my own joy and transformation, at some level it's only really going to feel like that it's sustainable if it's connected to everything else; if my "transformation" is a part of other people's transformation or if I'm a part of a group or system that is constantly learning and changing itself.

Esalen News: What have you seen as being one of the biggest challenges to establishing lasting change?

Mark: We all have these old ideas of who we are that formed when we were children and didn’t have the adult perspective. So we drew the wrong conclusions about ourselves. And I don’t say that matter-of-factly, I say that with deep respect for those choices we made when we were very young about who we thought we were, which, most of the time, were wrong. We have some unlearning and unpatterning to do.

Another piece that prevents lasting change is the epidemic of busyness. Busyness can make us feel valid, but it often is an escape from our true experience. We live such atomized lives and a lot of times we’re trying to do these things alone or we have to go from our homes to find all these places of support. Part of the beauty of Esalen is that there we are, for a whole weekend, or a week, in community together and in contact, and we can find our solitude if we want.

Esalen News: What are some of the psychological principles, movement practices and wisdom teachings that you’ll be presenting in your workshop?

Mark: A few things which are slightly different than what Western psychology is oriented towards. Firstly, Western psychology barely mentions white supremacy and the systemic oppression of racism and of sexism and homophobia. It barely touches on how the culture has been structured in a way that we have to internalize that these messages are oppressive.

I like to bring in the cultural context that we’re all working within; those things that we have taken personally, that are not personal, and to really unpack those.

Secondly, most of us, at some point, have experienced real trauma and rejection in group situations. Whether it’s feeling outcast in high school or whether it’s because we have a particular identity that’s not welcome in the culture. That group wound is very difficult to transform unless you are in a group.

So I aim to create the conditions in the group, whether within 48 hours or in a week, where somebody can have a completely different experience of being a group; where they can find a place to share so much of themselves that is joyful and creative as an antidote for how they’ve really had difficult experiences of groups in the past. I like to bring a combination of playfulness, deep listening and movement in as a part of that and to also create a safe space where people can speak from their hearts.

Esalen News: Can you elaborate on the peer support element you implement in your work?

Mark: I place a lot of intention on helping the group really appreciate and notice each other; bringing practices and inquiries together where people really get seen, both by the group as a whole, in small groups and by me. I support appreciation to happen in the room.

It’s not Pollyanna appreciation: it’s really a deep seeing of each other and how people have brought themselves courageously to this moment in all of their flawed beauty. A lot of time that will be spent is recognizing each other and being vulnerable. I really insist on protecting the space where people can be both safe and brave.

Esalen News: What are some tools each of us inherently have that we can call upon for self-renewal?

Mark: We all have an innate capacity for joy. There are parts of ourselves and of the world that we love. And when we access these parts, we know who we really are and what we need to do. Of course this is not easy. Sometimes we discover places where we have been broken-hearted or become resigned and we need to attend to these places.

But it is much easier in the company of fellow travelers who are risking sharing their hearts and minds with us and it is much easier when we really give ourselves the time to listen to ourselves and each other.

“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

Let Go and Renew the Self

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Spirit

Mark Nicolson, an executive coach specializing in leadership and team development for visionary entrepreneurs and catalysts for social change, made it his mission to help people and systems large and small discover the concept of renewal and become re-enchanted with their place and calling in the world.

As the co-founder of T12N, an innovative program for realigning self and career, he also helped create pathways for sustaining the changes individuals truly wanted to create. Mark sheds light on this rich topic in his upcoming workshop, Designing the Life We Want: Self-Renewal in the New Year, where he creates a space for us to be vulnerable, undistracted and present.

We spoke to Mark about some of the tools needed to create the changes we desire and have them really take root.

Esalen News: How would you define renewal?

Mark: Renewal is both a reconnection to our essence—our joy, our beauty, our purpose—and to our deep knowing about who we are and what we’re here to do. It's always available to us. We can lose our connection to it because of stress, grief and depression or whatever particular challenge we’re going through, but in the same way that everything goes quiet in winter, it does come again in spring.

What comes in spring is both new and returning at the same time. That, to me, is what renewal is. It’s both something new and something that is coming back that is always us.

Esalen News: What are some key components to sustaining change, especially after a newfound sense of renewal?

Mark: It's an old cliché that we are pulled by vision or driven by fear. But what I believe fuels everyone toward lasting change is the deep knowing that we’re all in this together. I see this with the work that I am doing with systems, or large systems, whether it be a city or a county, especially when people are given the opportunity to really speak from the heart.

Another component is the idea that, "I'm not made whole unless you are made whole." Meaning, that while I can absolutely experience my own joy and transformation, at some level it's only really going to feel like that it's sustainable if it's connected to everything else; if my "transformation" is a part of other people's transformation or if I'm a part of a group or system that is constantly learning and changing itself.

Esalen News: What have you seen as being one of the biggest challenges to establishing lasting change?

Mark: We all have these old ideas of who we are that formed when we were children and didn’t have the adult perspective. So we drew the wrong conclusions about ourselves. And I don’t say that matter-of-factly, I say that with deep respect for those choices we made when we were very young about who we thought we were, which, most of the time, were wrong. We have some unlearning and unpatterning to do.

Another piece that prevents lasting change is the epidemic of busyness. Busyness can make us feel valid, but it often is an escape from our true experience. We live such atomized lives and a lot of times we’re trying to do these things alone or we have to go from our homes to find all these places of support. Part of the beauty of Esalen is that there we are, for a whole weekend, or a week, in community together and in contact, and we can find our solitude if we want.

Esalen News: What are some of the psychological principles, movement practices and wisdom teachings that you’ll be presenting in your workshop?

Mark: A few things which are slightly different than what Western psychology is oriented towards. Firstly, Western psychology barely mentions white supremacy and the systemic oppression of racism and of sexism and homophobia. It barely touches on how the culture has been structured in a way that we have to internalize that these messages are oppressive.

I like to bring in the cultural context that we’re all working within; those things that we have taken personally, that are not personal, and to really unpack those.

Secondly, most of us, at some point, have experienced real trauma and rejection in group situations. Whether it’s feeling outcast in high school or whether it’s because we have a particular identity that’s not welcome in the culture. That group wound is very difficult to transform unless you are in a group.

So I aim to create the conditions in the group, whether within 48 hours or in a week, where somebody can have a completely different experience of being a group; where they can find a place to share so much of themselves that is joyful and creative as an antidote for how they’ve really had difficult experiences of groups in the past. I like to bring a combination of playfulness, deep listening and movement in as a part of that and to also create a safe space where people can speak from their hearts.

Esalen News: Can you elaborate on the peer support element you implement in your work?

Mark: I place a lot of intention on helping the group really appreciate and notice each other; bringing practices and inquiries together where people really get seen, both by the group as a whole, in small groups and by me. I support appreciation to happen in the room.

It’s not Pollyanna appreciation: it’s really a deep seeing of each other and how people have brought themselves courageously to this moment in all of their flawed beauty. A lot of time that will be spent is recognizing each other and being vulnerable. I really insist on protecting the space where people can be both safe and brave.

Esalen News: What are some tools each of us inherently have that we can call upon for self-renewal?

Mark: We all have an innate capacity for joy. There are parts of ourselves and of the world that we love. And when we access these parts, we know who we really are and what we need to do. Of course this is not easy. Sometimes we discover places where we have been broken-hearted or become resigned and we need to attend to these places.

But it is much easier in the company of fellow travelers who are risking sharing their hearts and minds with us and it is much easier when we really give ourselves the time to listen to ourselves and each other.

“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
Let Go and Renew the Self
Category:
Spirit

New Workshops

No items found.

Alert! Workshop Space Available



About

Esalen Team

Let Go and Renew the Self

About

Esalen Team

//