Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire: Douglas Drummond

Inspired by 20th-century French writer Marcel Proust, we here at Esalen have created our own version of his favorite parlor game to dig just a little deeper — and differently — into our incredible faculty and staff.

Esalen’s Director of Healing Arts, Douglas Drummond opens up about connecting with his indigenous roots, the life wisdom he finds in his family motto, and why he’d like to come back in his next life as a humpback whale.


What is Esalen to you?
A sacred epicenter of all of life's experience, light and shadow all rolled into one.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I serve as the Director for Healing Arts and Somatic + the Director for Community Alliance. I love my varied roles within our leadership team and also serve as programs faculty facilitating the 5Rhythms work created by Gabrielle Roth in the early years at Esalen. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Vibrant connections, honoring the secluded edges of nature, and seeing children and elderly thrive. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
That the privatization of wellness/wellbeing will become inaccessible to those that truly need it the most, particularly indigenous populations whose philosophy and practices are so easily appropriated. 

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My great grandmother, Audrry Keenan, whose indigenous roots were shunned so heavily in the past, yet she is still honored with great reverence. Gabrielle Roth, my greatest teacher aside from my parents, who shared with me the practice of the 5Rhythms and certified me as a teacher. 

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
The richness of our own authenticity and the liberation we emanate when we tap into it. 

What is your current state of mind?
Gratitude for my incredible privilege. Equally, I’m so in awe at the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of so much adversity. 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Humor in the face of great seriousness.   

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Integrity under pressure; nothing is so raw and real.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family, with whom I am so blessed.  

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
Being able to support and facilitate opportunities for our staff, guests, and students to experience a positive transformation in their lives. 

Which talent would you most like to have?
I always admire people who can remember a slew of great jokes. I have a couple, but some folks just have a knack for it. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Nothing. I feel blessed with all my gifts and imperfections … maybe more commitment to sleep! 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a husband and a father. It's my greatest love and act of service.  

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A humpback whale; those creatures and I have a close bond … I spend a lot of time in the ocean and love their expression, passion for life, and the way they move so effortlessly for such a huge creature.   

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
I love the magic of connection that the land at Esalen engenders between people. Developing and cultivating the ability to have deep conversations with strangers. I imagine a month living at Esalen would create some very lasting relationships — as well as knowing more about myself given the deep reflections the land at Esalen offers.

What is your most treasured possession?
I do have many, although my pounamu (jade) pendant from my homeland (Aotearoa, NZ), really grounds me to my indigenous roots and place amongst my ancestors. 

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times?
My dance and movement practice is always with me and accessible wherever I am. Whenever I feel stuck or the inexplicable arises, I know I can always return to my movement practice; there is nothing too big/too heavy that my dance cannot hold. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Connecting humans together in the values of support, unconditional love, and kindness. I have the opportunity to do this everyday and I am very grateful for that. Seeing the calm settle in, when people who are struggling know that they are not alone, warms my heart and gives me purpose. 

What is your most marked characteristic?
My big heart and the ability to receive people into my awareness without judgment or expectation. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
Integrity in the way we connect, lead, and support others. To show up in our fullest capacity without expectations takes trust and wisdom that I admire in my workplace and practice. 

Who are your inspirations?
With gratitude and privilege I can say firstly my parents, Anne and Roger, for bringing me into this world and teaching me the importance of whanau (family). My daughter Olivia, for her beautiful sense of humor, kindness for others, and keen negotiation skills! I am inspired by my late teacher, Gabrielle Roth, the founder of the 5Rhythms, for her fierceness and wit. Naturalist David Attenborough is another inspiration for his optimism and reverence of nature in the face of so much destruction to the natural world. 

Who is your hero of fiction?
The demi-god Maui, for his generosity, leadership and contribution to the polynesian islands and pacific culture.  

What is your greatest regret?
Not developing a greater curiosity for my ancestry until later in my adulthood. I missed opportunities to more greatly connect with my grandparents who could have offered some sage advice in my teenage years. I have a huge respect and love for my whanau (family) and love spending time with our elders. 

How would you like to die?
In the company of my family with my full wits and ability to share my unconditional love and gratitude to them all. 

What is your motto?
We have a Drummond family motto, which is “Gang Warily.” This means to be mindful and aware of the company you keep and the impact on those around you. I also feel our family motto means to contribute to your present company with as much kindness, generosity, and non-judgement as one can, which are essentially the values I appreciate the most in others.

“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?


Douglas leads Return to Source: Authenticity in Motion, a 5Rhythms® Workshop August 19–21, 2022.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

The Proust Questionnaire: Douglas Drummond

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire
Douglas Drummond

Inspired by 20th-century French writer Marcel Proust, we here at Esalen have created our own version of his favorite parlor game to dig just a little deeper — and differently — into our incredible faculty and staff.

Esalen’s Director of Healing Arts, Douglas Drummond opens up about connecting with his indigenous roots, the life wisdom he finds in his family motto, and why he’d like to come back in his next life as a humpback whale.


What is Esalen to you?
A sacred epicenter of all of life's experience, light and shadow all rolled into one.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I serve as the Director for Healing Arts and Somatic + the Director for Community Alliance. I love my varied roles within our leadership team and also serve as programs faculty facilitating the 5Rhythms work created by Gabrielle Roth in the early years at Esalen. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Vibrant connections, honoring the secluded edges of nature, and seeing children and elderly thrive. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
That the privatization of wellness/wellbeing will become inaccessible to those that truly need it the most, particularly indigenous populations whose philosophy and practices are so easily appropriated. 

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My great grandmother, Audrry Keenan, whose indigenous roots were shunned so heavily in the past, yet she is still honored with great reverence. Gabrielle Roth, my greatest teacher aside from my parents, who shared with me the practice of the 5Rhythms and certified me as a teacher. 

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
The richness of our own authenticity and the liberation we emanate when we tap into it. 

What is your current state of mind?
Gratitude for my incredible privilege. Equally, I’m so in awe at the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of so much adversity. 

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Humor in the face of great seriousness.   

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Integrity under pressure; nothing is so raw and real.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family, with whom I am so blessed.  

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
Being able to support and facilitate opportunities for our staff, guests, and students to experience a positive transformation in their lives. 

Which talent would you most like to have?
I always admire people who can remember a slew of great jokes. I have a couple, but some folks just have a knack for it. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Nothing. I feel blessed with all my gifts and imperfections … maybe more commitment to sleep! 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being a husband and a father. It's my greatest love and act of service.  

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A humpback whale; those creatures and I have a close bond … I spend a lot of time in the ocean and love their expression, passion for life, and the way they move so effortlessly for such a huge creature.   

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
I love the magic of connection that the land at Esalen engenders between people. Developing and cultivating the ability to have deep conversations with strangers. I imagine a month living at Esalen would create some very lasting relationships — as well as knowing more about myself given the deep reflections the land at Esalen offers.

What is your most treasured possession?
I do have many, although my pounamu (jade) pendant from my homeland (Aotearoa, NZ), really grounds me to my indigenous roots and place amongst my ancestors. 

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times?
My dance and movement practice is always with me and accessible wherever I am. Whenever I feel stuck or the inexplicable arises, I know I can always return to my movement practice; there is nothing too big/too heavy that my dance cannot hold. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Connecting humans together in the values of support, unconditional love, and kindness. I have the opportunity to do this everyday and I am very grateful for that. Seeing the calm settle in, when people who are struggling know that they are not alone, warms my heart and gives me purpose. 

What is your most marked characteristic?
My big heart and the ability to receive people into my awareness without judgment or expectation. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
Integrity in the way we connect, lead, and support others. To show up in our fullest capacity without expectations takes trust and wisdom that I admire in my workplace and practice. 

Who are your inspirations?
With gratitude and privilege I can say firstly my parents, Anne and Roger, for bringing me into this world and teaching me the importance of whanau (family). My daughter Olivia, for her beautiful sense of humor, kindness for others, and keen negotiation skills! I am inspired by my late teacher, Gabrielle Roth, the founder of the 5Rhythms, for her fierceness and wit. Naturalist David Attenborough is another inspiration for his optimism and reverence of nature in the face of so much destruction to the natural world. 

Who is your hero of fiction?
The demi-god Maui, for his generosity, leadership and contribution to the polynesian islands and pacific culture.  

What is your greatest regret?
Not developing a greater curiosity for my ancestry until later in my adulthood. I missed opportunities to more greatly connect with my grandparents who could have offered some sage advice in my teenage years. I have a huge respect and love for my whanau (family) and love spending time with our elders. 

How would you like to die?
In the company of my family with my full wits and ability to share my unconditional love and gratitude to them all. 

What is your motto?
We have a Drummond family motto, which is “Gang Warily.” This means to be mindful and aware of the company you keep and the impact on those around you. I also feel our family motto means to contribute to your present company with as much kindness, generosity, and non-judgement as one can, which are essentially the values I appreciate the most in others.

“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?


Douglas leads Return to Source: Authenticity in Motion, a 5Rhythms® Workshop August 19–21, 2022.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

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