Archive for the ‘Esalen’ Category


August 27, 2009

I thought – perhaps inaccurately, since I haven’t been able to find the passage – that it was in Liar’s Poker that Michael Lewis describes the Yale School of Management as the unique business school where students openly talk about their feelings in the hallways, hug freely, and spontaneously burst into tears.

Well, that description of SOM may have been a figment of my ideaphoria, but it’s a pretty accurate depiction of Esalen.  Talk about feelings?  Check.  Hug?  Double check.  Spontaneous tears?  Yup, we have that too.

I loved this story I heard in the hot tubs …  Imagine, as the speaker, a larger, un-wimpy version of Hugh Grant.  A tough guy.  Never ever cries.  Until the moment he witnesses his first daughter’s birth … when something flips, and he begins to bawl.  Now he can’t turn it off.  At Disney movies, the kids ask “Dad, are you crying again?!”  One day, they’ll have their own moment of realization.

(On the topic of men at childbirth, I’m reminded of a joke I read in the tubs last week, which unfortunately I cannot retell, for fear of offending my male reader.  It was a good two-part New Yorker story, about a drive across Siberia.  Check it out.)


Why Esalen?

August 26, 2009

Only at Esalen can I say “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on,” and mean it.

Music to the (same) beat

August 26, 2009

I’d never thought I’d get used to new agey pinko-grey people singing and so often mispronouncing Indian music, but … it’s really grown on me. I loved Jai Uttal in concert at Esalen over Thanksgiving.

I can dance to this stuff for hours.

And after some hours, I was surprised to realize that every one of the Indian-based new age adaptations is to a Kehrva rhythm (Dha Gi Na Ti Na Ki Dhin Na has 4 + 4 = 8 beats).

I wonder why that is.

Less is more (sometimes)

August 25, 2009

My favorite drive is down coastal Hwy 1 to Esalen, and not just because of the destination.  The roads are twisty, the sun on the sea is exquisite – it’s a thrill all around, dampened only slightly by sourpusses who refuse to use the turnouts.

Beautiful as Hwy 1 is, it’s a little scary, too.  Well, not “scary,” but requiring my full concentration.  On one side … you don’t want to go over the cliff, and on the other, rocks and errant SUVs are always threatening unpleasant contact.  (Actually, a friend did survive  driving over the edge, and another car apparently had taken a plunge just before I passed last week.  But I digress.)

I had an extra day at Esalen, thanks to Abbylicious, and my return trip was at the end of the day, i.e. at night.  To my surprise, I realized I was a little scared of the trip, feeling that a drive requiring full concentration in the daylight must call for superhuman driving at night.  So I passed up (boo hoo!) a last nighttime hot tub to hit the road relatively early.

The drive back was fine, completely uneventful.  It was like any other nighttime drive, not worth comment.  With NPR on the iPod, all I saw for an hour was reflectors limning the road, and taillights in front of me … and then, I was in Monterey.  It was by far my easiest ever drive along that route.

I’d still rather drive the Big Sur Coast when I can see it, but … now I do wonder how often beauty distracts us from doing a good job at the core task at hand.

Esalen – connexion central

August 24, 2009

Esalen. The word itself summons up tantalizing visions of adventure, of unexplored frontiers, of human possibilities yet to be realized.

Not my words, and perhaps not the most concrete description to offer a vacation-seeker who might not know Esalen from Iceland.  And yet … it’s so true.  I spent last week in this little slice of heaven on earth, and as always, left full of joy, completely relaxed.  It’s really quite impressive.

From this short visit, I have so many stories and learnings to relate, I hardly know where to begin.  Deep thoughts will arise (as we say in the Buddhism biz) over time.   For now, I’ll skip the tale of “a first date with Fabio” in favor of this vignette:

Two hot tubbers:  Running hurts.  We have ITB syndrome.
Ashish: My ITB and other problems disappeared just as soon as I began running barefoot. Read Born to Run.
Fourth hot tubber: That is terrible advice. If running barefoot calluses and desensitizes my feet, how will I use them to caress my lover?
Ashish:  <Speechless>

Maybe you had to be there.  I do hope you get to go.  I can’t promise you the experience I had, but I can promise that you will be changed.