“I came back with a deeper sense of self, and confidence in who I am and knowing that there was no mistake in that…it was a really transformative experience.”
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I try to go into any experience like this one open-minded and being receptive to it. I knew it was an opportunity for me to kind of pull away from my day-to-day environment, get exposure to nature and reconnect to the planet, and also have the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who are also seeking some type of healing or spiritual clarity.
[Tihikpas] was amazing and made an effort to get to know me, especially because we have shared identities… It was really good to see myself reflected in the facilitators because some of the concepts that we were discussing felt a lot more tangible coming from people that look like me and navigate the world like I do… It was reassuring to know that people who share my identities could have access to this type of healing too.
Living in a world that often persecutes queer people, or any interpretation of gender outside of the binary, It was really powerful to be reminded by Tihikpas that, that is not always the case and has not always been the case… It was really powerful to be reminded by him in such an organic way. It was just a conversation, it wasn’t like it was even a lesson, it was just such a tender moment [to share with Tihikpas].
I came back with a deeper sense of self, and confidence in who I am and knowing that there was no mistake in that…it was a really transformative experience.
I really love that Esalen is trying to rebuild the bridge with the Esselen tribe and by integrating Indigenous practices and rituals into Esalen’s programming. I think that it is a very important step in a bigger process of reconciliation… I think there is a lot of potential there.
The kitchen did a really phenomenal job of not only labeling things, but also providing sufficient options for folks who are vegan or gluten-free, and the food was actually good! Whenever I travel, it’s always a hassle for me to do the mental gymnastics of figuring out what I can eat. Eating was mindless for me and I really appreciate that because it’s not often I get to approach it that way.
There’s something so special and beautiful about [Esalen], everything from the stars, to the ocean, and to the sea lions barking and the birds chirping. It was a really nice pull away from the hustle and bustle of the city.