Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
The Traveler's Practice

Travel can be transformational. The practice of writing about our travels — those "best trips" that continue in our memories long after we've returned home — can both deepen our experience and help to generate lasting insights. In their upcoming workshop The Traveler's Practice: Journey and Journal, renowned writers Pico Iyer and Janet Fitch will guide you through an exploration of your inner and outer worlds through the lens of travel writing.

Pico first came to Big Sur as a teenager, and he’s been transfixed by its sweeping skies and vast waters ever since. In 1987 he attended mythologist Joseph Campbell’s last Esalen workshop, which he describes as a highlight of his life, and each year he and his wife make a pilgrimage to the Esalen hot springs for midnight bathing.

Now, Pico and award-winning novelist and writing teacher Janet Fitch will lead their first Esalen workshop, which, fittingly, explores the outer and inner dimensions of travel. “Every worthwhile trip is really about a journey to the interior, to some part of oneself that one has forgotten or that has gotten buried under the distractions of the day,” says Pico. “As John Muir famously wrote, ‘Going out is going in,’ and if you think of some of the great bards of Big Sur — from Henry Miller to Jack Kerouac to Aldous Huxley — all of them roamed around the world as a way of trying to get deeper into memories, dreams, and imaginations.”

Known for her best-selling novel, White Oleander, and her storied career as a writing teacher, Janet’s passion for travel and new cultures deeply informs her work. Her latest novel, The Revolution of Marina M., takes the reader on a journey through the Russian revolution.

Good friends for years, Pico and Janet share complementary passions for writing, teaching, and travel. “No writer sets me on fire so much with the way she talks about the word, the world, the joy of sentences and exploration,” Pico says of Janet. “I come away from our every meeting quickened and awakened.” When they realized they also shared a passion for Esalen, they quickly dreamed up The Traveler’s Practice as a new, shared adventure.

Learn more about The Traveler's Practice: Journey and Journal, taking place at Esalen July 15-20, 2018.

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

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.

Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?


Esalen Team