The Proust Questionnaire: Heidi Rose Robbins

The Proust Questionnaire
Heidi Rose Robbins
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.

In advance of her upcoming June workshop, Poetry and the Page: Writing as a Healing Path, we caught up with Heidi Rose Robbins to learn about her first mentor, her father, and how she views both poetry and astrology as “languages of becoming.” The renowned astrologer, author, and poet shares the four-step practice we should all adopt, speaks of extending love in daily life, and describes her fantasy month at the Institute. “Heaven,” says Heidi. “I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.”


What is Esalen to you?
When I am at Esalen, the ocean inside me has a home. Esalen is a beckoning invitation to soften, deepen, open, unfurl. It is an ongoing experiment in the dance of community, love of the land, and the power of silence. It is a celebration of the soul self in communion with others. It is a place of permission, allowing me to experiment, reinvent, and emerge anew. 

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am a part of the guest faculty at Esalen. I am lucky enough to teach astrology and expressive arts. In some workshops, I weave astrology, poetry, and embodiment work together, and in others, I focus solely on writing and poetry as a healing path. I believe that astrology and poetry are both languages of becoming, inviting us into the fullest expression of our true soul selves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The opportunity to give and receive love freely and abundantly with my family, community, friendships, planet, and my solo self.  

What is your greatest fear in your work?
I wrestle with my work never being enough. There is a part of me that demands a kind of perfection and my inner life can feel quite demanding. I am forever working on surrender and trust.

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My father, Michael David Robbins, was my most potent teacher in the realm of astrology. He was a wonderful teacher and investigator of the Cosmos within and without. His understanding of astrology was vast and starting when I was very young, he offered me the insights, compassion and self-revelation available through the language of astrology.  

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Twice a year, I take off for a solo retreat. I love my time alone. No, I adore my time alone. I spend three to four days writing, walking, crying, drinking lattes, and listening to my self. She has much to say! I love to slow down enough to listen within and dream into life’s next chapters.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful. I’ve been working on learning to rest. When I deeply rest, I am flooded with creativity and kindness. When I don’t, I am ornery and out of sorts. I’ve been learning to make deeper rest a part of my everyday. 

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Presence.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My love is wide. I don’t like to think about love in terms of any kind of hierarchy. There are just different textures and depths and intimacies. I hope to stand and embody great love and offer that in my every day, in my every moment. I hope to extend my circle of love with each day I am alive.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, how I’d love to be able to sing!

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
Heaven. I imagine I’d write my next book. I’d go to the meditation hut every morning, visit the serpent bench, and have wonderful inner conversations with my father, who died two years ago. I’d spend a huge amount of time just communing with the ocean and I’d nestle into the chair that sits behind Murphy House between the waterfall and the ocean. And I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.

How would you like to die?
With my husband holding one hand and my best friend the other. With my kids, one on either side. With a full heart. With the deepest gratitude. Consciously. 

What is your motto?
“Hello, love.” I like to greet all I meet with love. It’s my practice as well, and it goes like this:

  1. Meet someone’s eyes.
  2. Think or say, ‘Hello, Love.”
  3. See what happens.
  4. Risk and repeat.

“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

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Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire: Heidi Rose Robbins
The Proust Questionnaire
Heidi Rose Robbins

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.

In advance of her upcoming June workshop, Poetry and the Page: Writing as a Healing Path, we caught up with Heidi Rose Robbins to learn about her first mentor, her father, and how she views both poetry and astrology as “languages of becoming.” The renowned astrologer, author, and poet shares the four-step practice we should all adopt, speaks of extending love in daily life, and describes her fantasy month at the Institute. “Heaven,” says Heidi. “I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.”


What is Esalen to you?
When I am at Esalen, the ocean inside me has a home. Esalen is a beckoning invitation to soften, deepen, open, unfurl. It is an ongoing experiment in the dance of community, love of the land, and the power of silence. It is a celebration of the soul self in communion with others. It is a place of permission, allowing me to experiment, reinvent, and emerge anew. 

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am a part of the guest faculty at Esalen. I am lucky enough to teach astrology and expressive arts. In some workshops, I weave astrology, poetry, and embodiment work together, and in others, I focus solely on writing and poetry as a healing path. I believe that astrology and poetry are both languages of becoming, inviting us into the fullest expression of our true soul selves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The opportunity to give and receive love freely and abundantly with my family, community, friendships, planet, and my solo self.  

What is your greatest fear in your work?
I wrestle with my work never being enough. There is a part of me that demands a kind of perfection and my inner life can feel quite demanding. I am forever working on surrender and trust.

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My father, Michael David Robbins, was my most potent teacher in the realm of astrology. He was a wonderful teacher and investigator of the Cosmos within and without. His understanding of astrology was vast and starting when I was very young, he offered me the insights, compassion and self-revelation available through the language of astrology.  

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Twice a year, I take off for a solo retreat. I love my time alone. No, I adore my time alone. I spend three to four days writing, walking, crying, drinking lattes, and listening to my self. She has much to say! I love to slow down enough to listen within and dream into life’s next chapters.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful. I’ve been working on learning to rest. When I deeply rest, I am flooded with creativity and kindness. When I don’t, I am ornery and out of sorts. I’ve been learning to make deeper rest a part of my everyday. 

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Presence.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My love is wide. I don’t like to think about love in terms of any kind of hierarchy. There are just different textures and depths and intimacies. I hope to stand and embody great love and offer that in my every day, in my every moment. I hope to extend my circle of love with each day I am alive.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, how I’d love to be able to sing!

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
Heaven. I imagine I’d write my next book. I’d go to the meditation hut every morning, visit the serpent bench, and have wonderful inner conversations with my father, who died two years ago. I’d spend a huge amount of time just communing with the ocean and I’d nestle into the chair that sits behind Murphy House between the waterfall and the ocean. And I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.

How would you like to die?
With my husband holding one hand and my best friend the other. With my kids, one on either side. With a full heart. With the deepest gratitude. Consciously. 

What is your motto?
“Hello, love.” I like to greet all I meet with love. It’s my practice as well, and it goes like this:

  1. Meet someone’s eyes.
  2. Think or say, ‘Hello, Love.”
  3. See what happens.
  4. Risk and repeat.

“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

The Proust Questionnaire: Heidi Rose Robbins

About

Esalen Team

< Back to all articles

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire
Heidi Rose Robbins

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.

In advance of her upcoming June workshop, Poetry and the Page: Writing as a Healing Path, we caught up with Heidi Rose Robbins to learn about her first mentor, her father, and how she views both poetry and astrology as “languages of becoming.” The renowned astrologer, author, and poet shares the four-step practice we should all adopt, speaks of extending love in daily life, and describes her fantasy month at the Institute. “Heaven,” says Heidi. “I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.”


What is Esalen to you?
When I am at Esalen, the ocean inside me has a home. Esalen is a beckoning invitation to soften, deepen, open, unfurl. It is an ongoing experiment in the dance of community, love of the land, and the power of silence. It is a celebration of the soul self in communion with others. It is a place of permission, allowing me to experiment, reinvent, and emerge anew. 

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am a part of the guest faculty at Esalen. I am lucky enough to teach astrology and expressive arts. In some workshops, I weave astrology, poetry, and embodiment work together, and in others, I focus solely on writing and poetry as a healing path. I believe that astrology and poetry are both languages of becoming, inviting us into the fullest expression of our true soul selves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The opportunity to give and receive love freely and abundantly with my family, community, friendships, planet, and my solo self.  

What is your greatest fear in your work?
I wrestle with my work never being enough. There is a part of me that demands a kind of perfection and my inner life can feel quite demanding. I am forever working on surrender and trust.

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My father, Michael David Robbins, was my most potent teacher in the realm of astrology. He was a wonderful teacher and investigator of the Cosmos within and without. His understanding of astrology was vast and starting when I was very young, he offered me the insights, compassion and self-revelation available through the language of astrology.  

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Twice a year, I take off for a solo retreat. I love my time alone. No, I adore my time alone. I spend three to four days writing, walking, crying, drinking lattes, and listening to my self. She has much to say! I love to slow down enough to listen within and dream into life’s next chapters.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful. I’ve been working on learning to rest. When I deeply rest, I am flooded with creativity and kindness. When I don’t, I am ornery and out of sorts. I’ve been learning to make deeper rest a part of my everyday. 

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Presence.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My love is wide. I don’t like to think about love in terms of any kind of hierarchy. There are just different textures and depths and intimacies. I hope to stand and embody great love and offer that in my every day, in my every moment. I hope to extend my circle of love with each day I am alive.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, how I’d love to be able to sing!

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
Heaven. I imagine I’d write my next book. I’d go to the meditation hut every morning, visit the serpent bench, and have wonderful inner conversations with my father, who died two years ago. I’d spend a huge amount of time just communing with the ocean and I’d nestle into the chair that sits behind Murphy House between the waterfall and the ocean. And I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.

How would you like to die?
With my husband holding one hand and my best friend the other. With my kids, one on either side. With a full heart. With the deepest gratitude. Consciously. 

What is your motto?
“Hello, love.” I like to greet all I meet with love. It’s my practice as well, and it goes like this:

  1. Meet someone’s eyes.
  2. Think or say, ‘Hello, Love.”
  3. See what happens.
  4. Risk and repeat.

“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

< Back to all Journal posts

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire: Heidi Rose Robbins
The Proust Questionnaire
Heidi Rose Robbins

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.

In advance of her upcoming June workshop, Poetry and the Page: Writing as a Healing Path, we caught up with Heidi Rose Robbins to learn about her first mentor, her father, and how she views both poetry and astrology as “languages of becoming.” The renowned astrologer, author, and poet shares the four-step practice we should all adopt, speaks of extending love in daily life, and describes her fantasy month at the Institute. “Heaven,” says Heidi. “I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.”


What is Esalen to you?
When I am at Esalen, the ocean inside me has a home. Esalen is a beckoning invitation to soften, deepen, open, unfurl. It is an ongoing experiment in the dance of community, love of the land, and the power of silence. It is a celebration of the soul self in communion with others. It is a place of permission, allowing me to experiment, reinvent, and emerge anew. 

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am a part of the guest faculty at Esalen. I am lucky enough to teach astrology and expressive arts. In some workshops, I weave astrology, poetry, and embodiment work together, and in others, I focus solely on writing and poetry as a healing path. I believe that astrology and poetry are both languages of becoming, inviting us into the fullest expression of our true soul selves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The opportunity to give and receive love freely and abundantly with my family, community, friendships, planet, and my solo self.  

What is your greatest fear in your work?
I wrestle with my work never being enough. There is a part of me that demands a kind of perfection and my inner life can feel quite demanding. I am forever working on surrender and trust.

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My father, Michael David Robbins, was my most potent teacher in the realm of astrology. He was a wonderful teacher and investigator of the Cosmos within and without. His understanding of astrology was vast and starting when I was very young, he offered me the insights, compassion and self-revelation available through the language of astrology.  

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Twice a year, I take off for a solo retreat. I love my time alone. No, I adore my time alone. I spend three to four days writing, walking, crying, drinking lattes, and listening to my self. She has much to say! I love to slow down enough to listen within and dream into life’s next chapters.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful. I’ve been working on learning to rest. When I deeply rest, I am flooded with creativity and kindness. When I don’t, I am ornery and out of sorts. I’ve been learning to make deeper rest a part of my everyday. 

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Presence.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My love is wide. I don’t like to think about love in terms of any kind of hierarchy. There are just different textures and depths and intimacies. I hope to stand and embody great love and offer that in my every day, in my every moment. I hope to extend my circle of love with each day I am alive.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, how I’d love to be able to sing!

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
Heaven. I imagine I’d write my next book. I’d go to the meditation hut every morning, visit the serpent bench, and have wonderful inner conversations with my father, who died two years ago. I’d spend a huge amount of time just communing with the ocean and I’d nestle into the chair that sits behind Murphy House between the waterfall and the ocean. And I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.

How would you like to die?
With my husband holding one hand and my best friend the other. With my kids, one on either side. With a full heart. With the deepest gratitude. Consciously. 

What is your motto?
“Hello, love.” I like to greet all I meet with love. It’s my practice as well, and it goes like this:

  1. Meet someone’s eyes.
  2. Think or say, ‘Hello, Love.”
  3. See what happens.
  4. Risk and repeat.

“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

The Proust Questionnaire: Heidi Rose Robbins

About

Esalen Team

< Back to all articles

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire
Heidi Rose Robbins

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.

In advance of her upcoming June workshop, Poetry and the Page: Writing as a Healing Path, we caught up with Heidi Rose Robbins to learn about her first mentor, her father, and how she views both poetry and astrology as “languages of becoming.” The renowned astrologer, author, and poet shares the four-step practice we should all adopt, speaks of extending love in daily life, and describes her fantasy month at the Institute. “Heaven,” says Heidi. “I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.”


What is Esalen to you?
When I am at Esalen, the ocean inside me has a home. Esalen is a beckoning invitation to soften, deepen, open, unfurl. It is an ongoing experiment in the dance of community, love of the land, and the power of silence. It is a celebration of the soul self in communion with others. It is a place of permission, allowing me to experiment, reinvent, and emerge anew. 

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am a part of the guest faculty at Esalen. I am lucky enough to teach astrology and expressive arts. In some workshops, I weave astrology, poetry, and embodiment work together, and in others, I focus solely on writing and poetry as a healing path. I believe that astrology and poetry are both languages of becoming, inviting us into the fullest expression of our true soul selves.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The opportunity to give and receive love freely and abundantly with my family, community, friendships, planet, and my solo self.  

What is your greatest fear in your work?
I wrestle with my work never being enough. There is a part of me that demands a kind of perfection and my inner life can feel quite demanding. I am forever working on surrender and trust.

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
My father, Michael David Robbins, was my most potent teacher in the realm of astrology. He was a wonderful teacher and investigator of the Cosmos within and without. His understanding of astrology was vast and starting when I was very young, he offered me the insights, compassion and self-revelation available through the language of astrology.  

What is your greatest extravagance related to your practice?
Twice a year, I take off for a solo retreat. I love my time alone. No, I adore my time alone. I spend three to four days writing, walking, crying, drinking lattes, and listening to my self. She has much to say! I love to slow down enough to listen within and dream into life’s next chapters.

What is your current state of mind?
Peaceful. I’ve been working on learning to rest. When I deeply rest, I am flooded with creativity and kindness. When I don’t, I am ornery and out of sorts. I’ve been learning to make deeper rest a part of my everyday. 

What is the quality you most like in a human?
Presence.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My love is wide. I don’t like to think about love in terms of any kind of hierarchy. There are just different textures and depths and intimacies. I hope to stand and embody great love and offer that in my every day, in my every moment. I hope to extend my circle of love with each day I am alive.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh, how I’d love to be able to sing!

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
Heaven. I imagine I’d write my next book. I’d go to the meditation hut every morning, visit the serpent bench, and have wonderful inner conversations with my father, who died two years ago. I’d spend a huge amount of time just communing with the ocean and I’d nestle into the chair that sits behind Murphy House between the waterfall and the ocean. And I’d steep in the wisdom and love that is woven into the fabric of Esalen.

How would you like to die?
With my husband holding one hand and my best friend the other. With my kids, one on either side. With a full heart. With the deepest gratitude. Consciously. 

What is your motto?
“Hello, love.” I like to greet all I meet with love. It’s my practice as well, and it goes like this:

  1. Meet someone’s eyes.
  2. Think or say, ‘Hello, Love.”
  3. See what happens.
  4. Risk and repeat.

“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