< Back to all Journal posts

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire: Dr. Deborah Egerton
The Proust Questionnaire
with Dr. Deborah Egerton

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.

Here, internationally respected psychotherapist, executive coach, and Enneagram JEDI (justice, equality, diversity, inclusion) Dr. Deborah Egerton — "Dr. E," as she’s known on campus — tells us about her faith, greatest achievements, and her Spiritual board of directors: “They lead, but the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.” Dr. Egerton praises kindness, learning, and her loved ones while embedding simple and direct lessons of acceptance and self-love within most answers. (For more of that wisdom, sign up for her Leading from the Heart workshop this January!)


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a healing place for me. When I teach there, I feel the energy of those who came before lifting us up to do our best work. I have witnessed and experienced some major shifts when working in the community.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
This question makes me smile. As a member of the faculty, I work with my workshop participants to be a guide on their journey. You could say I am the companion who shows up when you didn’t even know you needed some direction. I carry the love that is inside me to help my fellow companions on this journey that we call life. My work involves helping every individual to recognize the love and light that resides in each and every one of us. Respecting the humanity of every individual is a universal call to unity and connection. My teaching practices include the Enneagram, A Course in Miracles, Christian Mysticism, and the wisdom of many diverse spiritual teachers I have been fortunate enough to learn from. This all goes into the alchemy of my teaching, helping us to remember that we are all one.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Looking for perfection is an ideal way to ensure that you will never be happy! There is no growth inside the comfort zone. I am grateful when I reflect on the valleys in my life. They strengthened me so that I could recognize and appreciate the mountain tops — gratitude for what I have been given as well as for the trials that I have overcome. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
Fear is paralytic. It is contagious and addictive. If I am anxious or fearful, I return to my faith, walk, and ask for a Divine intervention.

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Continuous learning. Reading, workshops, seminars, conferences. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what is possible. New advances in understanding the mind-body-spirit connection are evolving constantly.

What is your current state of mind?
Grateful. Hopeful and “so lucky to be alive right now.” (I am a huge Hamilton fan!) We are at a pivotal point in history, and I believe that everything that has ever happened in my life has prepared me to bring more love, kindness, and compassion into the world. We all need healing.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sadly, truth. It is under attack and has been distorted in ways that have created havoc. Sometimes the truth is not even remotely recognizable. When someone claims the status of “truth-teller,” I have to ask through whose lens and what version of the truth are you sharing?

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Authentic kindness. No strings attached. The “unagendaed” Good Samaritan.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
This is an easy one. My husband, Gene. We have been married for forty-one years and have been through the fire — together. Iron sharpens iron and love strengthens love.

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
When I am given line of sight to the ripples in the pond, watching the people that I work with. Witnessing how one act of kindness or compassion extended to another softens your own heart. This is beautiful to experience, especially across differences. Racial healing, family reconnection, marital and other partners reconciling with authentic forgiveness and love. Learning to accept and love yourself as a work in progress. These are a few of the ways that my work brings me joy, which is deeper than happiness.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Uh, I would like to have one sport where I could say I am really a force to be reckoned with. Any sport. I’m not picky.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
I would have a greater understanding of, appreciation for, and participation in the world of athletics. I believe it has the capacity to bring people together, much like music. It would also make my husband happy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s a cliche but a true one. I have three grown amazing remarkable human beings that came to earth through my body. That in and of itself is mind-blowing, and then, wait for it, they brought me seven more humans. It’s amazing. I am proud of and adore all of them.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would want to come back as Mary Magdalene, being that time is not really a thing. I’d like to experience the unedited Jesus.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times? 
I pray for wisdom, courage, and strength, and I listen to music that takes me from zero to one hundred in my faith walk. That always lifts me up and brings me back to my spiritual practices. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Helping people recognize that self-love is real. We are disconnected from one another because we all have wounds that require attention. How can we go out into the world and truly love one another (especially across differences) when we have not taken care of our own wounds? Hurt people hurt (other) people.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I refuse to give up believing that we can all be a part of creating a kinder, more compassionate, and loving way of being — and working toward that. I want this for our planet and for all the generations that will follow us. A world without war, racial discord, poverty, inequities, and injustice. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
My belief in God, which brought me to a deeply spiritual path. The relationships that I have been graciously gifted with on my journey include the love and support of colleagues around the world. I recognize that there are amazing people in every corner of the globe. 

Who are your inspirations?
My Spiritual board of directors: Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mary Magdalene, Norman Mineta, and Mother Mary. They lead, but I must say the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.

Who is your hero of fiction?
At the present moment, it’s The Woman King [starring Viola Davis as a general of the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries].

Who are your heroes in real life?
Norman Y. Mineta. A dear friend and mentor who recently passed on. I hope I can live up to his assessment of me. Michelle Obama, Robert and Hollie Holden, Russ Hudson,and, of course, my husband, Col. Walter Eugene Egerton, MD. All of my she/heros have inspired me to stay the course.

What is your greatest regret?
Regret is not one of my companions on my journey. I let regret hang out with fear. They are old friends.

How would you like to die?
At home in my sleep after enjoying the most amazing day of my life.

What is your motto?
Grace is always available when we are present to see and receive it.

“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?


Join Dr. E at Esalen for Leading From the Heart January 13–15, 2023.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

The Proust Questionnaire: Dr. Deborah Egerton

About

Esalen Team

< Back to all articles

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire
with Dr. Deborah Egerton

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.

Here, internationally respected psychotherapist, executive coach, and Enneagram JEDI (justice, equality, diversity, inclusion) Dr. Deborah Egerton — "Dr. E," as she’s known on campus — tells us about her faith, greatest achievements, and her Spiritual board of directors: “They lead, but the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.” Dr. Egerton praises kindness, learning, and her loved ones while embedding simple and direct lessons of acceptance and self-love within most answers. (For more of that wisdom, sign up for her Leading from the Heart workshop this January!)


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a healing place for me. When I teach there, I feel the energy of those who came before lifting us up to do our best work. I have witnessed and experienced some major shifts when working in the community.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
This question makes me smile. As a member of the faculty, I work with my workshop participants to be a guide on their journey. You could say I am the companion who shows up when you didn’t even know you needed some direction. I carry the love that is inside me to help my fellow companions on this journey that we call life. My work involves helping every individual to recognize the love and light that resides in each and every one of us. Respecting the humanity of every individual is a universal call to unity and connection. My teaching practices include the Enneagram, A Course in Miracles, Christian Mysticism, and the wisdom of many diverse spiritual teachers I have been fortunate enough to learn from. This all goes into the alchemy of my teaching, helping us to remember that we are all one.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Looking for perfection is an ideal way to ensure that you will never be happy! There is no growth inside the comfort zone. I am grateful when I reflect on the valleys in my life. They strengthened me so that I could recognize and appreciate the mountain tops — gratitude for what I have been given as well as for the trials that I have overcome. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
Fear is paralytic. It is contagious and addictive. If I am anxious or fearful, I return to my faith, walk, and ask for a Divine intervention.

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Continuous learning. Reading, workshops, seminars, conferences. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what is possible. New advances in understanding the mind-body-spirit connection are evolving constantly.

What is your current state of mind?
Grateful. Hopeful and “so lucky to be alive right now.” (I am a huge Hamilton fan!) We are at a pivotal point in history, and I believe that everything that has ever happened in my life has prepared me to bring more love, kindness, and compassion into the world. We all need healing.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sadly, truth. It is under attack and has been distorted in ways that have created havoc. Sometimes the truth is not even remotely recognizable. When someone claims the status of “truth-teller,” I have to ask through whose lens and what version of the truth are you sharing?

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Authentic kindness. No strings attached. The “unagendaed” Good Samaritan.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
This is an easy one. My husband, Gene. We have been married for forty-one years and have been through the fire — together. Iron sharpens iron and love strengthens love.

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
When I am given line of sight to the ripples in the pond, watching the people that I work with. Witnessing how one act of kindness or compassion extended to another softens your own heart. This is beautiful to experience, especially across differences. Racial healing, family reconnection, marital and other partners reconciling with authentic forgiveness and love. Learning to accept and love yourself as a work in progress. These are a few of the ways that my work brings me joy, which is deeper than happiness.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Uh, I would like to have one sport where I could say I am really a force to be reckoned with. Any sport. I’m not picky.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
I would have a greater understanding of, appreciation for, and participation in the world of athletics. I believe it has the capacity to bring people together, much like music. It would also make my husband happy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s a cliche but a true one. I have three grown amazing remarkable human beings that came to earth through my body. That in and of itself is mind-blowing, and then, wait for it, they brought me seven more humans. It’s amazing. I am proud of and adore all of them.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would want to come back as Mary Magdalene, being that time is not really a thing. I’d like to experience the unedited Jesus.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times? 
I pray for wisdom, courage, and strength, and I listen to music that takes me from zero to one hundred in my faith walk. That always lifts me up and brings me back to my spiritual practices. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Helping people recognize that self-love is real. We are disconnected from one another because we all have wounds that require attention. How can we go out into the world and truly love one another (especially across differences) when we have not taken care of our own wounds? Hurt people hurt (other) people.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I refuse to give up believing that we can all be a part of creating a kinder, more compassionate, and loving way of being — and working toward that. I want this for our planet and for all the generations that will follow us. A world without war, racial discord, poverty, inequities, and injustice. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
My belief in God, which brought me to a deeply spiritual path. The relationships that I have been graciously gifted with on my journey include the love and support of colleagues around the world. I recognize that there are amazing people in every corner of the globe. 

Who are your inspirations?
My Spiritual board of directors: Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mary Magdalene, Norman Mineta, and Mother Mary. They lead, but I must say the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.

Who is your hero of fiction?
At the present moment, it’s The Woman King [starring Viola Davis as a general of the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries].

Who are your heroes in real life?
Norman Y. Mineta. A dear friend and mentor who recently passed on. I hope I can live up to his assessment of me. Michelle Obama, Robert and Hollie Holden, Russ Hudson,and, of course, my husband, Col. Walter Eugene Egerton, MD. All of my she/heros have inspired me to stay the course.

What is your greatest regret?
Regret is not one of my companions on my journey. I let regret hang out with fear. They are old friends.

How would you like to die?
At home in my sleep after enjoying the most amazing day of my life.

What is your motto?
Grace is always available when we are present to see and receive it.

“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?


Join Dr. E at Esalen for Leading From the Heart January 13–15, 2023.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

< Back to all articles

The Proust Questionnaire: Dr. Deborah Egerton

The Proust Questionnaire
with Dr. Deborah Egerton
Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop

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.

Here, internationally respected psychotherapist, executive coach, and Enneagram JEDI (justice, equality, diversity, inclusion) Dr. Deborah Egerton — "Dr. E," as she’s known on campus — tells us about her faith, greatest achievements, and her Spiritual board of directors: “They lead, but the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.” Dr. Egerton praises kindness, learning, and her loved ones while embedding simple and direct lessons of acceptance and self-love within most answers. (For more of that wisdom, sign up for her Leading from the Heart workshop this January!)


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a healing place for me. When I teach there, I feel the energy of those who came before lifting us up to do our best work. I have witnessed and experienced some major shifts when working in the community.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
This question makes me smile. As a member of the faculty, I work with my workshop participants to be a guide on their journey. You could say I am the companion who shows up when you didn’t even know you needed some direction. I carry the love that is inside me to help my fellow companions on this journey that we call life. My work involves helping every individual to recognize the love and light that resides in each and every one of us. Respecting the humanity of every individual is a universal call to unity and connection. My teaching practices include the Enneagram, A Course in Miracles, Christian Mysticism, and the wisdom of many diverse spiritual teachers I have been fortunate enough to learn from. This all goes into the alchemy of my teaching, helping us to remember that we are all one.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Looking for perfection is an ideal way to ensure that you will never be happy! There is no growth inside the comfort zone. I am grateful when I reflect on the valleys in my life. They strengthened me so that I could recognize and appreciate the mountain tops — gratitude for what I have been given as well as for the trials that I have overcome. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
Fear is paralytic. It is contagious and addictive. If I am anxious or fearful, I return to my faith, walk, and ask for a Divine intervention.

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Continuous learning. Reading, workshops, seminars, conferences. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what is possible. New advances in understanding the mind-body-spirit connection are evolving constantly.

What is your current state of mind?
Grateful. Hopeful and “so lucky to be alive right now.” (I am a huge Hamilton fan!) We are at a pivotal point in history, and I believe that everything that has ever happened in my life has prepared me to bring more love, kindness, and compassion into the world. We all need healing.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sadly, truth. It is under attack and has been distorted in ways that have created havoc. Sometimes the truth is not even remotely recognizable. When someone claims the status of “truth-teller,” I have to ask through whose lens and what version of the truth are you sharing?

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Authentic kindness. No strings attached. The “unagendaed” Good Samaritan.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
This is an easy one. My husband, Gene. We have been married for forty-one years and have been through the fire — together. Iron sharpens iron and love strengthens love.

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
When I am given line of sight to the ripples in the pond, watching the people that I work with. Witnessing how one act of kindness or compassion extended to another softens your own heart. This is beautiful to experience, especially across differences. Racial healing, family reconnection, marital and other partners reconciling with authentic forgiveness and love. Learning to accept and love yourself as a work in progress. These are a few of the ways that my work brings me joy, which is deeper than happiness.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Uh, I would like to have one sport where I could say I am really a force to be reckoned with. Any sport. I’m not picky.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
I would have a greater understanding of, appreciation for, and participation in the world of athletics. I believe it has the capacity to bring people together, much like music. It would also make my husband happy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s a cliche but a true one. I have three grown amazing remarkable human beings that came to earth through my body. That in and of itself is mind-blowing, and then, wait for it, they brought me seven more humans. It’s amazing. I am proud of and adore all of them.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would want to come back as Mary Magdalene, being that time is not really a thing. I’d like to experience the unedited Jesus.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times? 
I pray for wisdom, courage, and strength, and I listen to music that takes me from zero to one hundred in my faith walk. That always lifts me up and brings me back to my spiritual practices. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Helping people recognize that self-love is real. We are disconnected from one another because we all have wounds that require attention. How can we go out into the world and truly love one another (especially across differences) when we have not taken care of our own wounds? Hurt people hurt (other) people.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I refuse to give up believing that we can all be a part of creating a kinder, more compassionate, and loving way of being — and working toward that. I want this for our planet and for all the generations that will follow us. A world without war, racial discord, poverty, inequities, and injustice. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
My belief in God, which brought me to a deeply spiritual path. The relationships that I have been graciously gifted with on my journey include the love and support of colleagues around the world. I recognize that there are amazing people in every corner of the globe. 

Who are your inspirations?
My Spiritual board of directors: Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mary Magdalene, Norman Mineta, and Mother Mary. They lead, but I must say the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.

Who is your hero of fiction?
At the present moment, it’s The Woman King [starring Viola Davis as a general of the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries].

Who are your heroes in real life?
Norman Y. Mineta. A dear friend and mentor who recently passed on. I hope I can live up to his assessment of me. Michelle Obama, Robert and Hollie Holden, Russ Hudson,and, of course, my husband, Col. Walter Eugene Egerton, MD. All of my she/heros have inspired me to stay the course.

What is your greatest regret?
Regret is not one of my companions on my journey. I let regret hang out with fear. They are old friends.

How would you like to die?
At home in my sleep after enjoying the most amazing day of my life.

What is your motto?
Grace is always available when we are present to see and receive it.

“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?


Join Dr. E at Esalen for Leading From the Heart January 13–15, 2023.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

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< Back to all Journal posts

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire: Dr. Deborah Egerton
The Proust Questionnaire
with Dr. Deborah Egerton

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.

Here, internationally respected psychotherapist, executive coach, and Enneagram JEDI (justice, equality, diversity, inclusion) Dr. Deborah Egerton — "Dr. E," as she’s known on campus — tells us about her faith, greatest achievements, and her Spiritual board of directors: “They lead, but the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.” Dr. Egerton praises kindness, learning, and her loved ones while embedding simple and direct lessons of acceptance and self-love within most answers. (For more of that wisdom, sign up for her Leading from the Heart workshop this January!)


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a healing place for me. When I teach there, I feel the energy of those who came before lifting us up to do our best work. I have witnessed and experienced some major shifts when working in the community.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
This question makes me smile. As a member of the faculty, I work with my workshop participants to be a guide on their journey. You could say I am the companion who shows up when you didn’t even know you needed some direction. I carry the love that is inside me to help my fellow companions on this journey that we call life. My work involves helping every individual to recognize the love and light that resides in each and every one of us. Respecting the humanity of every individual is a universal call to unity and connection. My teaching practices include the Enneagram, A Course in Miracles, Christian Mysticism, and the wisdom of many diverse spiritual teachers I have been fortunate enough to learn from. This all goes into the alchemy of my teaching, helping us to remember that we are all one.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Looking for perfection is an ideal way to ensure that you will never be happy! There is no growth inside the comfort zone. I am grateful when I reflect on the valleys in my life. They strengthened me so that I could recognize and appreciate the mountain tops — gratitude for what I have been given as well as for the trials that I have overcome. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
Fear is paralytic. It is contagious and addictive. If I am anxious or fearful, I return to my faith, walk, and ask for a Divine intervention.

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Continuous learning. Reading, workshops, seminars, conferences. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what is possible. New advances in understanding the mind-body-spirit connection are evolving constantly.

What is your current state of mind?
Grateful. Hopeful and “so lucky to be alive right now.” (I am a huge Hamilton fan!) We are at a pivotal point in history, and I believe that everything that has ever happened in my life has prepared me to bring more love, kindness, and compassion into the world. We all need healing.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sadly, truth. It is under attack and has been distorted in ways that have created havoc. Sometimes the truth is not even remotely recognizable. When someone claims the status of “truth-teller,” I have to ask through whose lens and what version of the truth are you sharing?

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Authentic kindness. No strings attached. The “unagendaed” Good Samaritan.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
This is an easy one. My husband, Gene. We have been married for forty-one years and have been through the fire — together. Iron sharpens iron and love strengthens love.

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
When I am given line of sight to the ripples in the pond, watching the people that I work with. Witnessing how one act of kindness or compassion extended to another softens your own heart. This is beautiful to experience, especially across differences. Racial healing, family reconnection, marital and other partners reconciling with authentic forgiveness and love. Learning to accept and love yourself as a work in progress. These are a few of the ways that my work brings me joy, which is deeper than happiness.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Uh, I would like to have one sport where I could say I am really a force to be reckoned with. Any sport. I’m not picky.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
I would have a greater understanding of, appreciation for, and participation in the world of athletics. I believe it has the capacity to bring people together, much like music. It would also make my husband happy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s a cliche but a true one. I have three grown amazing remarkable human beings that came to earth through my body. That in and of itself is mind-blowing, and then, wait for it, they brought me seven more humans. It’s amazing. I am proud of and adore all of them.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would want to come back as Mary Magdalene, being that time is not really a thing. I’d like to experience the unedited Jesus.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times? 
I pray for wisdom, courage, and strength, and I listen to music that takes me from zero to one hundred in my faith walk. That always lifts me up and brings me back to my spiritual practices. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Helping people recognize that self-love is real. We are disconnected from one another because we all have wounds that require attention. How can we go out into the world and truly love one another (especially across differences) when we have not taken care of our own wounds? Hurt people hurt (other) people.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I refuse to give up believing that we can all be a part of creating a kinder, more compassionate, and loving way of being — and working toward that. I want this for our planet and for all the generations that will follow us. A world without war, racial discord, poverty, inequities, and injustice. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
My belief in God, which brought me to a deeply spiritual path. The relationships that I have been graciously gifted with on my journey include the love and support of colleagues around the world. I recognize that there are amazing people in every corner of the globe. 

Who are your inspirations?
My Spiritual board of directors: Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mary Magdalene, Norman Mineta, and Mother Mary. They lead, but I must say the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.

Who is your hero of fiction?
At the present moment, it’s The Woman King [starring Viola Davis as a general of the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries].

Who are your heroes in real life?
Norman Y. Mineta. A dear friend and mentor who recently passed on. I hope I can live up to his assessment of me. Michelle Obama, Robert and Hollie Holden, Russ Hudson,and, of course, my husband, Col. Walter Eugene Egerton, MD. All of my she/heros have inspired me to stay the course.

What is your greatest regret?
Regret is not one of my companions on my journey. I let regret hang out with fear. They are old friends.

How would you like to die?
At home in my sleep after enjoying the most amazing day of my life.

What is your motto?
Grace is always available when we are present to see and receive it.

“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?


Join Dr. E at Esalen for Leading From the Heart January 13–15, 2023.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

The Proust Questionnaire: Dr. Deborah Egerton

About

Esalen Team

< Back to all articles

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire
with Dr. Deborah Egerton

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.

Here, internationally respected psychotherapist, executive coach, and Enneagram JEDI (justice, equality, diversity, inclusion) Dr. Deborah Egerton — "Dr. E," as she’s known on campus — tells us about her faith, greatest achievements, and her Spiritual board of directors: “They lead, but the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.” Dr. Egerton praises kindness, learning, and her loved ones while embedding simple and direct lessons of acceptance and self-love within most answers. (For more of that wisdom, sign up for her Leading from the Heart workshop this January!)


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a healing place for me. When I teach there, I feel the energy of those who came before lifting us up to do our best work. I have witnessed and experienced some major shifts when working in the community.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
This question makes me smile. As a member of the faculty, I work with my workshop participants to be a guide on their journey. You could say I am the companion who shows up when you didn’t even know you needed some direction. I carry the love that is inside me to help my fellow companions on this journey that we call life. My work involves helping every individual to recognize the love and light that resides in each and every one of us. Respecting the humanity of every individual is a universal call to unity and connection. My teaching practices include the Enneagram, A Course in Miracles, Christian Mysticism, and the wisdom of many diverse spiritual teachers I have been fortunate enough to learn from. This all goes into the alchemy of my teaching, helping us to remember that we are all one.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Looking for perfection is an ideal way to ensure that you will never be happy! There is no growth inside the comfort zone. I am grateful when I reflect on the valleys in my life. They strengthened me so that I could recognize and appreciate the mountain tops — gratitude for what I have been given as well as for the trials that I have overcome. 

What is your greatest fear in your work?
Fear is paralytic. It is contagious and addictive. If I am anxious or fearful, I return to my faith, walk, and ask for a Divine intervention.

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Continuous learning. Reading, workshops, seminars, conferences. I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what is possible. New advances in understanding the mind-body-spirit connection are evolving constantly.

What is your current state of mind?
Grateful. Hopeful and “so lucky to be alive right now.” (I am a huge Hamilton fan!) We are at a pivotal point in history, and I believe that everything that has ever happened in my life has prepared me to bring more love, kindness, and compassion into the world. We all need healing.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Sadly, truth. It is under attack and has been distorted in ways that have created havoc. Sometimes the truth is not even remotely recognizable. When someone claims the status of “truth-teller,” I have to ask through whose lens and what version of the truth are you sharing?

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Authentic kindness. No strings attached. The “unagendaed” Good Samaritan.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
This is an easy one. My husband, Gene. We have been married for forty-one years and have been through the fire — together. Iron sharpens iron and love strengthens love.

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
When I am given line of sight to the ripples in the pond, watching the people that I work with. Witnessing how one act of kindness or compassion extended to another softens your own heart. This is beautiful to experience, especially across differences. Racial healing, family reconnection, marital and other partners reconciling with authentic forgiveness and love. Learning to accept and love yourself as a work in progress. These are a few of the ways that my work brings me joy, which is deeper than happiness.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Uh, I would like to have one sport where I could say I am really a force to be reckoned with. Any sport. I’m not picky.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
I would have a greater understanding of, appreciation for, and participation in the world of athletics. I believe it has the capacity to bring people together, much like music. It would also make my husband happy.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
It’s a cliche but a true one. I have three grown amazing remarkable human beings that came to earth through my body. That in and of itself is mind-blowing, and then, wait for it, they brought me seven more humans. It’s amazing. I am proud of and adore all of them.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I would want to come back as Mary Magdalene, being that time is not really a thing. I’d like to experience the unedited Jesus.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times? 
I pray for wisdom, courage, and strength, and I listen to music that takes me from zero to one hundred in my faith walk. That always lifts me up and brings me back to my spiritual practices. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
Helping people recognize that self-love is real. We are disconnected from one another because we all have wounds that require attention. How can we go out into the world and truly love one another (especially across differences) when we have not taken care of our own wounds? Hurt people hurt (other) people.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I refuse to give up believing that we can all be a part of creating a kinder, more compassionate, and loving way of being — and working toward that. I want this for our planet and for all the generations that will follow us. A world without war, racial discord, poverty, inequities, and injustice. 

What do you value most in your work/practice?
My belief in God, which brought me to a deeply spiritual path. The relationships that I have been graciously gifted with on my journey include the love and support of colleagues around the world. I recognize that there are amazing people in every corner of the globe. 

Who are your inspirations?
My Spiritual board of directors: Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mary Magdalene, Norman Mineta, and Mother Mary. They lead, but I must say the backup chorus of angels is quite remarkable.

Who is your hero of fiction?
At the present moment, it’s The Woman King [starring Viola Davis as a general of the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries].

Who are your heroes in real life?
Norman Y. Mineta. A dear friend and mentor who recently passed on. I hope I can live up to his assessment of me. Michelle Obama, Robert and Hollie Holden, Russ Hudson,and, of course, my husband, Col. Walter Eugene Egerton, MD. All of my she/heros have inspired me to stay the course.

What is your greatest regret?
Regret is not one of my companions on my journey. I let regret hang out with fear. They are old friends.

How would you like to die?
At home in my sleep after enjoying the most amazing day of my life.

What is your motto?
Grace is always available when we are present to see and receive it.

“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?


Join Dr. E at Esalen for Leading From the Heart January 13–15, 2023.

Register Now

About

Esalen Team