Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire: Marques Redd

Traditional African cosmologist, independent scholar, and multimedia artist Marques Redd tells us about the film that emerged from his spiritual practice and the African healer who wrote his “touchstone” book. With a sense of expansive appreciation, Marques shares a few of his heroes, both historical and literary, and reveals a powerful lesson for persevering through difficult times by “remembering my divine identity and who I truly am.”


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a larger-than-life vision of human potential that became manifest in a place of natural majesty unlike any in the world. It has a riveting history that has become an important part of the story of American spirituality. It has enlightened many with its wide range of offerings — Zen Buddhism, yoga, Gestalt Practice, bodywork, and much more — and I am thrilled by the opportunity to be a part of its tradition and contribute a new component relating to the wisdom of traditional African spirituality.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am blessed to be a faculty member who is teaching a workshop entitled Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual. 

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
Malidoma Somé was a powerful healer, diviner, and writer from Burkina Faso. His book Of Water and the Spirit is a touchstone that I return to often. 

What is your current state of mind?
Right now, I am thinking a lot about the true meaning of unity, teamwork, and group uplift. How can we succeed through encouraging the success of others?

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
Being able to shift energetic fields around me such that new avenues of possibility reveal themselves. There is a feeling of raw electricity when someone mentions how they have been inspired by my work or see elements of reality that weren’t visible before.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to have the power to write an entire book in a day.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am proud of the film I directed entitled Obi Mbu (The Primordial House). It emerged from and has also deeply contributed to my spiritual practice. I’ve had screenings of this work in art museums, community centers, and theaters around the country, and I am excited to share it in the workshop that I teach at Esalen. 

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
It would be a vision of heaven on earth. I would enjoy the mix of isolation and the chance encounter and having quiet moments of introspection that mingle with the grand splendor of the expansive natural world all around.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times?
I do this by remembering my divine identity and who I truly am. I know that my Self is not confined to the events that happen to me or the circumstances that I find myself in; therefore, I know how to draw on the source of peace that is within me at all times. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
As a writer, ritualist, filmmaker, sculptor, curator, and much more, my practice is a multidimensional fusion of spiritual, artistic, and intellectual strands. My favorite part of my work is being able to combine all three elements of who I am and express them all equally.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Expansiveness. I have a sense of curiosity and openness to experience that seeks to embrace the entire world.

Who are your inspirations?
I am inspired by a variety of philosophers, artists, writers, and multi-disciplinary creatives, including Jay Wright, Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton, Martin Delany, Alain Locke, and Lina Iris Viktor. 

Who is your hero of fiction?
It is amazing to watch the transformation of Milkman Dead from Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, who grows from being an immature, egotistical young man to a powerfully compassionate adult. He engages on a quest to understand his family history and how it was impacted by the legacy of slavery, and he ends the novel with the ability to fly.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I am fascinated by Taharqa, the 25th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh. He oversaw a period of major prosperity and renaissance. He helped revive Old and Middle Kingdom cultural forms that had lain dormant for centuries due to destructive invasions, and his contributions to architecture, the arts, and religion are immense.

How would you like to die?
Peacefully, with the satisfaction of a life well-lived and all of my work accomplished.

“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 Marques Redd at Esalen October 21–23, 2022 for Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual .

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

The Proust Questionnaire: Marques Redd

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Proust Questionnaire
Marques Redd

Traditional African cosmologist, independent scholar, and multimedia artist Marques Redd tells us about the film that emerged from his spiritual practice and the African healer who wrote his “touchstone” book. With a sense of expansive appreciation, Marques shares a few of his heroes, both historical and literary, and reveals a powerful lesson for persevering through difficult times by “remembering my divine identity and who I truly am.”


What is Esalen to you?
Esalen is a larger-than-life vision of human potential that became manifest in a place of natural majesty unlike any in the world. It has a riveting history that has become an important part of the story of American spirituality. It has enlightened many with its wide range of offerings — Zen Buddhism, yoga, Gestalt Practice, bodywork, and much more — and I am thrilled by the opportunity to be a part of its tradition and contribute a new component relating to the wisdom of traditional African spirituality.

What do you do/are you doing at Esalen?
I am blessed to be a faculty member who is teaching a workshop entitled Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual. 

Which living or dead person do you most admire in your field?
Malidoma Somé was a powerful healer, diviner, and writer from Burkina Faso. His book Of Water and the Spirit is a touchstone that I return to often. 

What is your current state of mind?
Right now, I am thinking a lot about the true meaning of unity, teamwork, and group uplift. How can we succeed through encouraging the success of others?

What about your work brings you the most happiness? 
Being able to shift energetic fields around me such that new avenues of possibility reveal themselves. There is a feeling of raw electricity when someone mentions how they have been inspired by my work or see elements of reality that weren’t visible before.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to have the power to write an entire book in a day.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am proud of the film I directed entitled Obi Mbu (The Primordial House). It emerged from and has also deeply contributed to my spiritual practice. I’ve had screenings of this work in art museums, community centers, and theaters around the country, and I am excited to share it in the workshop that I teach at Esalen. 

What would living at Esalen for a month be like for you?
It would be a vision of heaven on earth. I would enjoy the mix of isolation and the chance encounter and having quiet moments of introspection that mingle with the grand splendor of the expansive natural world all around.

How do you maintain your practice(s) during challenging times?
I do this by remembering my divine identity and who I truly am. I know that my Self is not confined to the events that happen to me or the circumstances that I find myself in; therefore, I know how to draw on the source of peace that is within me at all times. 

What is your favorite component of your work?
As a writer, ritualist, filmmaker, sculptor, curator, and much more, my practice is a multidimensional fusion of spiritual, artistic, and intellectual strands. My favorite part of my work is being able to combine all three elements of who I am and express them all equally.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Expansiveness. I have a sense of curiosity and openness to experience that seeks to embrace the entire world.

Who are your inspirations?
I am inspired by a variety of philosophers, artists, writers, and multi-disciplinary creatives, including Jay Wright, Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton, Martin Delany, Alain Locke, and Lina Iris Viktor. 

Who is your hero of fiction?
It is amazing to watch the transformation of Milkman Dead from Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, who grows from being an immature, egotistical young man to a powerfully compassionate adult. He engages on a quest to understand his family history and how it was impacted by the legacy of slavery, and he ends the novel with the ability to fly.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I am fascinated by Taharqa, the 25th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh. He oversaw a period of major prosperity and renaissance. He helped revive Old and Middle Kingdom cultural forms that had lain dormant for centuries due to destructive invasions, and his contributions to architecture, the arts, and religion are immense.

How would you like to die?
Peacefully, with the satisfaction of a life well-lived and all of my work accomplished.

“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 Marques Redd at Esalen October 21–23, 2022 for Harnessing the Power of Creation Through African Ritual .

Register Now

About

Esalen Team

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