Esalen Transplants – Monday Motivation #42
I’ve not done Monday Motivation since October 2013; this month has been such an inspiring one that I had to return to it.
Isn’t she pretty?
I planted a strawberry plant last week.
I don’t have a green thumb at all and lord knows desert dirt, even after being heavily supplemented with compost, is a pitiful excuse for potting soil. So I was shocked to see that my strawberry is already blooming.
Isn’t she pretty?
Strawberry is me … metaphorically
It touched me to see the strawberry this morning because it’s the perfect metaphor for my own life at this very moment.
You see, I went to Esalen Institute a couple weeks ago for a one-week escape with my girls. The three of us piled ourselves and our stuff into Charlene’s SUV and made the trek to central California expecting to find respite lounging along a gorgeous secluded coastline, sliding into sublime natural hot springs, communing with other like-minded people.
Oh and maybe we’d learn a little about healthy eating and healthy self-image while we were at it.
We got more than we bargained for.
Esalen Institute: the trowel
I met some of the warmest, most accepting, loving people I’ve ever known.
And I learned so much more than I expected to about food, healthy eating, self-talk, self-love, and neural pathways.
I sipped some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, worked with new interesting people in housekeeping and the kitchens, ate healthy satisfying foods I’ve never dared taste before (and loved them), and sank up to my neck in hot springs while the Pacific Ocean flung herself against the shore below (likely jealous of my comfortable perch high above her).
But these were not the things I value most about my experience there.
My workshop family: nurturing TLC
I spent time closed in a room full of strangers being vulnerable – really truly vulnerable. I cried on the very first morning, unable to stop the flow of tears, as people saw me – without my storefront – for the very first time in decades.
I was terrified that first morning, but things changed so rapidly. These people were safe – safe in a way that I’ve never felt as an adult, in a way I’ve never dared to allow myself to feel.
I opened up, really opened up. What came out was loud, angry, tearful, body-wracking, primal, and impish; all of those things — and more.
I cried, I sobbed, I wept, I bawled.
And I laughed. And hugged, and smiled, and gazed, and consoled, and listened empathetically.
This experience spawned more radical change and brought bigger a-ha moments than years of therapy and of journaling and blogging and analyzing and trying to get beyond those things that plague my inner child, shield my soul, and armor-up my authenticity.
Esalen, that strawberry and me:
Much like that strawberry, I am transplanted.
It reminds me of a quote that Joe Cavanaugh put up on the wall after my process:
Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.
The walls of that castle I wrote about a year ago are less thick and I have no idea who ripped the drawbridge off the hinges.
Yes I am transplanted out of my fortress and blooming somewhere else.
This new place feels strange, new and scary.
My walls of “safety” feel paper thin.
But my joy feels effervescent and my love feels unguarded, cleaner, clearer and unrestrained.
Thank you to my mates from Esalen and to “Starlene.”
In some way, while living in that beautiful isolated paradise, I think that each of us has been transplanted…
And aren’t we pretty?
How you ever had a life changing, moving life experience? I’d love to hear about it and how you felt afterward. Was it weird returning to your “regular life?”
Another friend of mine posted about her experience at Esalen: Check it out at Lu Parker’s Blog. I loved reading it and you will too.