Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Meet Our Spring 2021 Artists in Residence

Esalen has long been a place where people could step out of their daily lives to step more fully into themselves. And the Artist in Residence program, piloted last year with Sharon Virtue, is a natural extension of what Esalen does best: offering a purpose-built space for plumbing the depths of passions, fears, hopes, whims, and talents.

This spring, we’ll welcome three artists for one-month residencies. We can’t wait to see what they create with daily needs take care of taken care of and the beauty of Big Sur all around them — and we can’t wait to introduce them to you:

Danny Fluker, Jr.(March 15 - April 16)

Atlanta’s Danny Fluker, Jr. is a writer, yoga teacher, IT professional, and wellness advocate. His list of skills is long, but his vocation is focused: making wellness modalities like yoga and meditation accessible in Black communities in America and throughout the African diaspora, with a particular focus on Black boys and men. His project, Black Boys OM is both a grassroots movement and a non-profit, impacting 90+ local communities through Wellness Leaders who are already using the tools of mindfulness and Yoga for themselves.

I envision arriving at Esalen and grounding in the space as well as my practice and allowing new strategies for leading and programs for serving to emerge. I want us to bridge the gap between our own wellness practice and that of the practices of those in the communities that we serve.

Darnell Lamont Walker (April 19 - May 14)

Darnell Lamont Walker is an actor, filmmaker, and writer. Along with writing for Blues Clues & You, and publishing children’s books, he’s released two documentaries: Seeking Asylum, in which he traveled the world, asking citizens of other countries if they'd welcome African-Americans who were growing afraid of living in the U.S.; and Outside the House, which examines the walls of secrecy around  mental health and mental illness in African-American households. His current documentary film project, which he hopes will be influenced by Esalen, examines happiness.

Here I am jumping further and further west, hoping to land at Esalen with the pens that are necessary for my morning pages; the laptop that’s necessary for these short screenplays, poems, essays, documentary outlines, and children’s books; and the camera that’s necessary for the journey on which Esalen may play a major role, a new project on happiness.

Amy Yoshitsu (May 17 - June 11)

Amy Yoshitsu is a sculptor, researcher, and multi-disciplinary digital designer who explores the relationship between the individual and systems: utilities and mass transit infrastructure as solutions to physical human needs and facilitators of class divides. The variances in the materials, aesthetics, and definitions of shelter. Acts of self-expression through graffiti and displays of wealth through orderliness. She’s a founding member of Converge Collaborative, a group of creators and artists of color committed to creating a space defined by sharing, support, and feedback rather than power and wealth. Amy has several research interests inspired by the Center for Theory & Research and intends to engage with the Esalen Archive to explore topis such as metacognition and inherited psychological wealth.

What could the world wide web be (and how it could become) a space shaped by artists, historians, and environmentalists, instead of platform makers and extractive capitalists? Could the internet ever be healed and become a source of healing?

Danny, Darnell, and Amy will be sharing their process and progress with us here, via our social channels, and on Esalen Live!

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
“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.”

“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?“

“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.”

“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.“

“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!”

“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.”
“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?


Esalen Team