For those of you who do not already know, the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California is home to a truly unique, magical, loving, authentic community of highly intelligent, well-educated and talented thought-leaders committed to positive global transformation.
I was extremely honored to be invited to teach alongside some of my favorite teachers such as Sally Kempton, Terry Hunt, Chip Conley and so many others, but when they told me that Reverend Michael Beckwith would also be there I have to admit that I was intimidated.
Reverend Michael absolutely blew us all away when he stated that, "Challenges are blessings in work clothes" and, "Vision without action is fantasy; action without vision is chaos."
When asked why he founded Esalen with Dick Price in 1962, Michael Murphy told Ken Dychtwald that "The idea was to bring God to earth." And watching the sprightly, nimble, quick-witted and conscientious 86 year-old Michael Murphy spring across the magnificent campus that he created, you understand that he must have accomplished that goal.
After Ken and Maddy Dychtwald received the 2016 Esalen Prize for Advancing Human Potential of Aging Population, Ken gave a speech about the magic of Esalen that literally speaks for itself:
My dear friend, colleague and co-teacher Geeta Novotny embodied the tremendous pioneering advances of Esalen by merging two distinct musical genres - opera and singing bowls - providing what some audience members referred to as an "inter-planetary experience."
Emmy award-winning journalist Anisa Mehdi said, "the physicality of the multipurpose Huxley room in the new lodge - a space for meditation, body awakening, mind stimulation and learning, dance, music, and celebration - is a metaphor for who we are: body, mind, soul and society. It's a space to come into for our daily practices of contemplation, exercise, action and celebration. A place to rejuvenate."
Personally I have learned so much from the thousands of students who have attended my classes over the past five years and held space for me to be able to model authenticity and love, to incarnate and model transcending the egoic voice rattling around all of our heads fallaciously informing us that we would be happier if only... (insert new jobs, partners, possessions, passions, projects, experiences here).
And although I had not started teaching at Esalen when Seane Corn invited me there, I learned from her that if we really want to transform the world to the next paradigm of compassion that we always must support our fellow seekers.
I give my most humble thanks to all of my teachers including my greatest teachers, my students, as well as everyone else who is as curious about life and making a difference as I am!