The Esalen Journal

The Esalen Journal is a compendium of articles that encompass everything from inspiring conversations with cultural luminaries and Esalen instructors to timely news announcements, book recommendations, and soul-nurturing recipes.

The Proust Questionnaire: Bill Donius
February 27, 2023
The Proust Questionnaire: Bill Donius

The author of the New York Times bestseller Thought Revolution spent a decade researching and developing a brain-enhancing methodology that tapped into his right brain, which he now refers to as his “better half.” This revolutionized his life, and for nearly three decades, he’s traveled the world sharing this creativity block hack.

The author of the New York Times bestseller Thought Revolution spent a decade researching and developing a brain-enhancing methodology that tapped into his right brain, which he now refers to as his “better half.” This revolutionized his life, and he’s traveled the world sharing this creativity block hack for nearly thirty years.

Self Love: An I-Love-My-Body Story
February 7, 2023
Self Love: An I-Love-My-Body Story

“I went from hating my body to loving my body,” shares Dave Morin. The concept of accepting our physical selves and the healing power of touch developed holistically for Western curiosity at Esalen. "Celebrating the body and pleasure supported by the freedom of the '60s and '70s became central,” recalls Peggy Horan.

“I went from hating my body to loving my body,” shares Dave Morin in this short video. The concept of accepting our physical selves and the healing power of touch developed holistically for Western curiosity at Esalen. "Celebrating the body and pleasure supported by the freedom of the '60s and '70s became central,” recalls Peggy Horan.

My Special Spot at Esalen: A Locational Love Story
February 6, 2023
My Special Spot at Esalen: A Locational Love Story

We asked some of our upcoming workshop leaders to share their favorite spots on campus — where they feel Esalen’s mystique and beauty most acutely.

We asked some of our upcoming workshop leaders to share their favorite spots on campus — where they feel Esalen’s mystique and beauty most acutely.

On Our Bookshelf: Love Stories
February 6, 2023
On Our Bookshelf: Love Stories

This month, we search for love in all its myriad forms — philosophically, spiritually, bodily, and psychologically. Here are a few titles to deepen your understanding for the type of love you desire.

This month, we search for love in all its myriad forms — philosophically, spiritually, bodily, and psychologically. Here are a few titles to deepen your understanding for the type of love you desire.

Like a Call to Come Home — #myEsalen
January 20, 2023
Like a Call to Come Home — #myEsalen

Guest Services Supervisor Nani Almanza likens finding her way to Esalen during the pandemic to “washing up on the shore of a beautiful island after being lost at sea.”

Guest Services Supervisor Nani Almanza likens finding her way to Esalen during the pandemic to “washing up on the shore of a beautiful island after being lost at sea.”

The Proust Questionnaire: Sadia Bruce
January 20, 2023
The Proust Questionnaire: Sadia Bruce

Sadia Bruce tells us about living enthusiastically, cultural fluidity, internalized belonging, and maintaining her practice: “What we need today will differ from what we’ll need tomorrow.” An expert in breath-based movement, Sadia shares an integrative, vitalizing understanding of embodied movement to challenge her students and also herself: “I heal and grow even as I offer experiences for others to do the same.”

Sadia Bruce tells us about living enthusiastically, cultural fluidity, internalized belonging, and maintaining her practice: “What we need today will differ from what we’ll need tomorrow.” An expert in breath-based movement, Sadia shares an integrative, vitalizing understanding of embodied movement to challenge her students and also herself: “I heal and grow even as I offer experiences for others to do the same.”

Back in the Day with Peggy Horan: “I was kind of trying to find my way in it. Really, I was trying to find myself.”
January 13, 2023
Back in the Day with Peggy Horan: “I was kind of trying to find my way in it. Really, I was trying to find myself.”

Peggy Horan found her calling in Esalen Massage®. After managing the Healing Arts department at Esalen for over a decade while teaching workshops and leading teacher training programs, the certified meditation teacher now has a coaching practice. She reflects on the summer of ’69 and the Esalen of that very poignant time in American culture. “I wasn't a hippie,” she says. “But I was fringe; I believed in the movement.” Peggy tells the tale of a formative moment: young dreamers discovering themselves through cutting edge spiritual practices and psychedelics — all to a soundtrack by Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez.

Peggy Horan found her calling in Esalen Massage®. After managing the Healing Arts department at Esalen for over a decade while teaching workshops and leading teacher training programs, the certified meditation teacher now has a coaching practice. She reflects on the summer of ’69 and the Esalen of that very poignant time in American culture. “I wasn't a hippie,” she says. “But I was fringe; I believed in the movement.” Peggy tells the tale of a formative moment: young dreamers discovering themselves through cutting edge spiritual practices and psychedelics — all to a soundtrack by Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez.

On Our Bookshelf: Psychedelics
January 2, 2023
On Our Bookshelf: Psychedelics

The great psychedelic resurgence is upon us. If your curiosity is piqued, we’ve created a reading list that will expand the mind and understanding of psychedelics today while also honoring the galaxy’s most distinguished pioneers: Huxley, Fadiman, McKenna, Grof — each with a long history at Esalen.

The great psychedelic resurgence is upon us. If your curiosity is piqued, we’ve created a reading list that will expand the mind and understanding of psychedelics today while also honoring the galaxy’s most distinguished pioneers: Huxley, Fadiman, McKenna, Grof — each with a long history at Esalen.

Make 2023 Easier by Prioritizing Difficult Conversations
December 29, 2022
Make 2023 Easier by Prioritizing Difficult Conversations

As we awaken into the new year, right now is a good time to reflect on how we communicate and share this planet with one another. Tatyana Sanikovich spent a decade at Esalen and currently works as a leadership and career coach. She draws wisdom from her experiences and shares ways to move forward rather than wallow in the spirals of what if and if only.

As we awaken into the new year, right now is a good time to reflect on how we communicate and share this planet with one another. Tatyana Sanikovich spent a decade at Esalen and currently works as a leadership and career coach. She draws wisdom from her experiences and shares ways to move forward rather than wallow in the spirals of what if and if only.

Conversations We Should Be Having: All Of Us Or None Of Us
December 23, 2022
Conversations We Should Be Having: All Of Us Or None Of Us

In her second installment of “Conversations We Should Be Having,” S. Rae Peoples asks activist and publisher Tim McKee, how he thinks white men can meaningfully contribute to and benefit from racial justice.

In her second installment of “Conversations We Should Be Having,” S. Rae Peoples speaks with Tim McKee, activist and publisher of North Atlantic Books, to discuss diversity and equity, and ask the uncomfortable-yet-pivotal question: How can white men contribute to and benefit from racial justice in a committed and meaningful way?

The 2022 Esalen Holiday Gift Guide
December 1, 2022
The 2022 Esalen Holiday Gift Guide

Did you know we have an online version of our on-campus Bookstore? To help you find the perfect presents for loved ones, dreamers, and seekers in your life, we have curated our 2022 Ultimate Esalen Holiday Gift Guide!

Did you know we have an online version of our on-campus Bookstore? To help you find the perfect presents for loved ones, dreamers, and seekers in your life, we have curated our 2022 Ultimate Esalen Holiday Gift Guide!

Compassionate Cuisine — #myEsalen
November 23, 2022
Compassionate Cuisine — #myEsalen

While searching for a workshop, Chef Abi found a new job, a new home, and a new mission: to build “the next compassionate Esalen Kitchen era.”

While searching for a workshop, Chef Abi found a new job, a new home, and a new mission: to build “the next compassionate Esalen Kitchen era.”

Back in the Day with Chungliang "Al" Huang
November 12, 2022
Back in the Day with Chungliang "Al" Huang

Though he’s one of our most beloved teachers, “perpetual student” is the title Master Huang prefers. “I don't want to be the guru…I am always evolving.” The Tai Chi master and teacher honors us with memories of Esalen’s earliest days — almost 60 years back! — alongside the institute’s founders and legends.

Though he’s one of our most beloved teachers, “perpetual student” is the title Master Huang prefers. “I don't want to be the guru…I am always evolving.” The Tai Chi master and teacher honors us with memories of Esalen’s earliest days — almost 60 years back! — alongside the institute’s founders and legends.

Slow Down & Listen Deeply: Lessons in Healing & Reconciliation
November 8, 2022
Slow Down & Listen Deeply: Lessons in Healing & Reconciliation

Building a relationship with the Esselen tribe — recognized as aboriginal inhabitants of the Big Sur region, and among the first peoples to reside on the sacred land that the Esalen Institute sits on today — starts with receiving the Esselen story directly from members of the tribe, not relying on colonial and mission documentation and revisionist history that has been amplified by academia.

Building a relationship with the Esselen tribe — recognized as aboriginal inhabitants of the Big Sur region, and among the first peoples to reside on the sacred land that the Esalen Institute sits on today — starts with receiving the Esselen story directly from members of the tribe, not relying on colonial and mission documentation and revisionist history that has been amplified by academia.

Acknowledging Our Individual and Collective Truths on This Sacred Land
November 8, 2022
Acknowledging Our Individual and Collective Truths on This Sacred Land

“Land acknowledgment is not just about those words, but about the actions that come after. It's about actually taking the steps to be in right relations to be an ally, to be a supporter. Acknowledgment is a simple way of resisting the eraser of Iindigenous histories and working towards honoring and inviting the truth.”

“Land acknowledgment is not just about those words, but about the actions that come after. It's about actually taking the steps to be in right relations to be an ally, to be a supporter. Acknowledgment is a simple way of resisting the eraser of Iindigenous histories and working towards honoring and inviting the truth.”

Roasted Bay Nut Brownies
November 7, 2022
Roasted Bay Nut Brownies

“Among all our native edible plants, the nut of the bay laurel tree is one of the most delicious,” says Esselen Tribe medicine woman Cari Herthel. Historically enjoyed by California’s Indigenous communities, bay nuts are typically used as a condiment, digestive aid, and stimulant.

“Among all our native edible plants, the nut of the bay laurel tree is one of the most delicious,” says Esselen Tribe medicine woman Cari Herthel. Historically enjoyed by California’s Indigenous communities, bay nuts are typically used as a condiment, digestive aid, and stimulant.

When the Mirror Turns
November 1, 2022
When the Mirror Turns

Leading up to her November workshop, Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma gifts our readers with an everyday meditation practice, explores the five elements of the physical body, and reveals how she feels about her own practice and Hindu Tantra: “Meditation to me is when the mirror turns inward.”

Leading up to her November workshop, Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma gifts our readers with an everyday meditation practice, explores the five elements of the physical body, and reveals how she feels about her own practice and Hindu Tantra: “Meditation to me is when the mirror turns inward.”

The Proust Questionnaire: Carlos Sauer
October 31, 2022
The Proust Questionnaire: Carlos Sauer

Holistic therapist, ceremonial leader, and teacher Carlos Sauer shares his worries for the rainforest, the joys he receives from interacting with the spirit world, and his current wish: “that we can all learn from Native peoples how to be kind to one another.”

Holistic therapist, ceremonial leader, and teacher Carlos Sauer shares his worries for the rainforest, the joys he receives from interacting with the spirit world, and his current wish: “that we can all learn from Native peoples how to be kind to one another.”

The Proust Questionnaire: Cari Herthel
October 24, 2022
The Proust Questionnaire: Cari Herthel

Medicine woman and vice chair for the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County Cari Herthel reflects on the gift of storytelling and her path of recovery. Fueled by ancestral wisdom and life experiences, Cari explains how grief is a teacher and shares her greatest happiness and the power of daily acknowledgment ("a simple thank you, an act of gratitude”).

Medicine woman and vice chair for the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County Cari Herthel reflects on the gift of storytelling and her path of recovery. Fueled by ancestral wisdom and life experiences, Cari explains how grief is a teacher and shares her greatest happiness and the power of daily acknowledgment ("a simple thank you, an act of gratitude”).

The Proust Questionnaire: John Vosler
October 13, 2022
The Proust Questionnaire: John Vosler

John Vosler says he wants to “share everything he has to share” — and he proves that by opening up about his values, his inspirations, and the miraculous happiness he gets seeing his students grow and heal. The multi-lineage Yoga Nidra educator and energetic bodyworker talks about listening to his nervous system, his desire for a bird’s perspective, and the idea of living at Esalen for a full month: “I’m in!”

John Vosler says he wants to “share everything he has to share” — and he proves that by opening up about his values, his inspirations, and the miraculous happiness he gets seeing his students grow and heal. The multi-lineage Yoga Nidra educator and energetic bodyworker talks about listening to his nervous system, his desire for a bird’s perspective, and the idea of living at Esalen for a full month: “I’m in!”

If You Grow It, They (The Plants) Will Listen
October 10, 2022
If You Grow It, They (The Plants) Will Listen

Medicine woman and Esselen Tribe of Monterey County elder Cari Herthel shares the medicinal plants that inspire a re-emergence of her sensual and wild self. Herthel will lead a November workshop for a historic collaboration between the tribe and the Esalen Institute to nourish a costewardship of this ancient and sacred land.

Medicine woman and Esselen Tribe of Monterey County elder Cari Herthel shares the medicinal plants that inspire a re-emergence of her sensual and wild self. Herthel will lead a November workshop for a historic collaboration between the tribe and the Esalen Institute to nourish a costewardship of this ancient and sacred land.

From the Kitchen: Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup
October 6, 2022
From the Kitchen: Esalen Curried Heirloom Squash Soup

Esalen’s Farm & Garden was recently blessed with the kind of abundance that feels straight out of a Roald Dahl book! But rather than one giant peach, we have over 1,000 pounds of squash! So Chef Abi cultivated a variety of delicious dishes — including a nourishing curried soup.

Esalen’s Farm & Garden was recently blessed with the kind of abundance that feels straight out of a Roald Dahl book! But rather than one giant peach, we have over 1,000 pounds of squash! So Chef Abi cultivated a variety of delicious dishes — including a nourishing curried soup.

How We Think of Food in America and What We Don’t Know: Getting to the Roots of Food & Family Recipes
October 5, 2022
How We Think of Food in America and What We Don’t Know: Getting to the Roots of Food & Family Recipes

What is American food? Where do treasured family recipes actually come from? Our food sources — what we eat, who makes it, and the family history behind them — frequently have origins that have been rendered invisible. While we may associate food with the experience of American culture, we rarely take the time to move through the nuances and complexities of food as it intersects within this nation’s narrative.

What is American food? Where do treasured family recipes actually come from? Our food sources — what we eat, who makes it, and the family history behind them — frequently have origins that have been rendered invisible. While we may associate food with the experience of American culture, we rarely take the time to move through the nuances and complexities of food as it intersects within this nation’s narrative.

Follow Your Bliss — #myEsalen
October 4, 2022
Follow Your Bliss — #myEsalen

After several different lives — med school, tech startups, naturopathic medicine — Shannon found the one place she’ll always come back to: “Esalen has remained a consistent thread in my life. There’s an undeniable magic here!”

After several different lives — med school, tech startups, naturopathic medicine — Shannon found the one place she’ll always come back to: “Esalen has remained a consistent thread in my life. There’s an undeniable magic here!”

On Our Bookshelf: The Marvels of Plant Medicine
October 3, 2022
On Our Bookshelf: The Marvels of Plant Medicine

This October, we’re marveling at the medicinal gifts nature provides us. To celebrate Mother Earth and the power plants hold to heal and nurture, we’ve selected titles by some brilliant healers and holders of plant wisdom.

This October, we’re marveling at the medicinal gifts nature provides us. To celebrate Mother Earth and the power plants hold to heal and nurture, we’ve selected titles by some brilliant healers and holders of plant wisdom.

Back in the Day with James Fadiman: "[Psychedelics were] terrifying to the mainstream of America, and correctly so."
September 30, 2022
Back in the Day with James Fadiman: "[Psychedelics were] terrifying to the mainstream of America, and correctly so."

World-renowned for his research on microdosing psychedelics, Jim Fadiman was one of Esalen’s first workshop leaders, and he’s continued a lifelong association with this institute ever since. His books include "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys", "Be Love Now, Essential Sufism", and "The Other Side of Haight".

World-renowned for his research on microdosing psychedelics, Jim Fadiman was one of Esalen’s first workshop leaders, and he’s continued a lifelong association with this institute ever since. His books include The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, Be Love Now, Essential Sufism, and The Other Side of Haight.

The Proust Questionnaire: Janis Cooke Newman
September 27, 2022
The Proust Questionnaire: Janis Cooke Newman

Award-winning author (A Master Plan for Rescue, Mary; Mrs. A Lincoln, The Russian Word for Snow) and long-time Buddhist practitioner Janis Cooke Newman reveals the mutually reinforcing powers of writing and mindfulness. She tells us about building community, pearls of wisdom she's gained from fellow writers Sharon Salzburg and Ruth Ozeki, and even one perfect motto from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Award-winning author (A Master Plan for Rescue, Mary; Mrs. A Lincoln, The Russian Word for Snow) and long-time Buddhist practitioner Janis Cooke Newman reveals the mutually reinforcing powers of writing and mindfulness. She tells us about building community, pearls of wisdom she's gained from fellow writers Sharon Salzburg and Ruth Ozeki, and even one perfect motto from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.