Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fathers & Sons: Esalen: June 2018

Father's & Sons: Celebrating Father's Day
Click to enlarge photo

This workshop has become one in which I mark the passage of time, the growth of my sons, the passing of my father, the changes in my own life. Each Father's Day weekend we have offered this workshop, originally with 3 generations, my father, me, and my sons. As time progresses I find myself more humble and grateful for the long lineage that brings me here today.

This year was the smallest group we've probably ever had. This allowed for more time with each other, as a group, and perhaps for windows of more intimacy. I was touched to have so many returning fathers and sons, as well as welcome a new family into our group.

Poems to Live By
Meal Chant Stew (a story of gratitude and family)
Adam's Sites:
Open Circle
Kes's Site

Voices of Esalen Podcast: Lastly, host Sam Stern invited Kai in to our interview to assist in asking questions and feeding me lines. Many parts turn into telling not only Esalen stories, but family stories, even father and son stories. I hope you enjoy.

May we all be blessed with resilient, healthy, and evolving relationships with our fathers and sons!

Heartfelt Blessing from the Big Sur,


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Simply Wild: Esalen, June 2018

Simply Wild and on the Path

How sweetly we came together, appreciating our differences, recognizing our similarities, and choosing to be in connection. Most groups come together... when groups take a life of their own this gives me great hope for the human condition and the state of wild nature. Thank you all for your grace, courage, and intimacy.

Here are many links requested and from side conversations:
Photos (many of these are from Alyson, they are all downloadable)
Kristin's Photo Set (some great photos)
Poems to Live By
Ticks (my favorite)
Big Creek Donation page
Tribal Ground (Chris Price & Gestalt Awareness Practice)
Voices of Esalen Podcast: Sam interviews Steve

Our Group:
Kristin's EVOL^ Films
Alyson's Site
Jet Pens: Larry's Site
Steve's Art Work (by request from a side conversation on the trail)
If I missed anyone, send your site along and I will add it

Deep gratitude from the wilds of the Big Sur,


Friday, May 25, 2018

Nature & Contemplation: Esalen, May 2018

Nature and Contemplation
click on photo to enlarge
"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller

As I sit to write this post and feel back into the week I notice some quality of hope — to see and feel wild beauty being appreciated and loved. Perhaps we can find our way to reclaiming the wild beauty that lives in each of us, collectively, and all around us.

One important measure of a healthy ecosystem is diversity. We had a diverse range of interests and places of curiosity. I appreciated how were able to "listen" and follow a sense of "organismic self-regulation" and each find our unique ways in the context of a group as support. I see this reflected in the number of record breaking links requested for this post. And, a first time ever book tour into the wilds of the Esalen bookstore. There were many other firsts... all to be celebrated. 

Here are many links, some of which were personal requests, others for the group:
Lelani's Photos of our time together (make sure you see all of the sets)
Poems to Live By (poems I used in our workshop, plus many more.
Voices of Esalen Podcast: Interview with Steven (More stories, with Kai as one of the guest hosts) Bro. David Steindt-Rast's website

Some of Steve's writing related to our workshop or requested:
Waters of the Sur by Steven Harper for Esalen
Ecopsychology: Way of Wilderness  by Steven Harper
Published writings by Steven Harper

Noël & Fletcher:
Wildtender Tending Inner & Outer Wilderness
Gnome Life Records
Cold Spring Fletcher's latest.

Ticks My favorite of the many sites on ticks

I will end here with this poem of encouragement:

Don't Go Back To Sleep
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

~ Rumi translated by Coleman Barks
From Essential Rumi

With Heartfelt Wildness,


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen April 29-May 4 2018

Big Sur Wild Ones
click on photo to enlarge

WOW! What a way to start my 40th year of leading workshops at Esalen. What to say?

Perhaps silence is best. Humor me... take a moment to feel your feet on the ground... hara, heart, head in alignment... receive a fuller breath than normal all of the way to the top of the lungs, and an extended slightly audible exhale. Open awareness...

May you feel fully the seed qualities that are walking with you from our time together in wild nature of the Big Sur.

Here are some links that were requested by the group or from side conversations:
Photos: You should be able to view photos and download any you wish.
Poems to Live By: I read: Mindfulness, Morning Poem, Hokusai Says, and others
Voices of Esalen: Podcast interview with Steven: Direct, Sound Cloud, iTunes
Gratefulness: Meal Chant Stew

Trails in Big Sur:
Hiking in Big Sur
Ventana Wilderness Alliance

Ticks: There are many sites on ticks this is one of the best. Read to be informed and educated, not to scare yourself.

Gratitude to Big Sur, Esalen Institute, all of our teachers and ancestors — may we share the beauty freely.

Big hug from the Big Sur,


Saturday, May 05, 2018

Nature of Zen: Tassajara Zen Center, April 2018

Nature of Zen: Tassajara
click on photo to enlarge

"But do not ask me where I am going, As I travel in this limitless world, Where every step I take is my home."
~ Dogen Zenji (founder of Soto Zen)

In every step and every moment we can find our home — our deep belonging of interbeing. Gratitude to all of you that showed up to step on the pathless path and wander and wonder in the wilds of the inner and outer intimate terrain of Nature.

Here are some links:
Group Photos
Henry's Photos
Meal Chant Stew (an article about Tassajara, the meal chant, gratitude, and more)
Hokusai Says
Poems to Live By
Voices of Esalen: A recent podcast interview.
Among the Wonderful by our own Stacy Carlson

May we find home in every step and may every step benefit all our relations.

Two Claps, One Bow,


P.S. Special thanks to Leslie James for making herself available to us all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Voices of Esalen: Steven Harper - Stories of Esalen, Wilderness, and Life in Big Sur

Dick Price: Co-founder of Esalen Institute (photo by Joyce Lyke)

2018 will mark my 40th year of offering workshops at Esalen. I have been blessed to be able to offer well over 300 workshops during this time at Esalen on a range of subjects, with outstanding co-leaders, and awesome (yes, awesome) participants.

As part of this milestone Esalen recently recorded an interview for their podcast series "Voices of Esalen." Sam Stern, the podcast host, invited my oldest son Kai in to participate in the interviewing. If you have some time to listen here are some links to the podcast depending on how you prefer to listen:

iTunes: Steven Harper: Voices of Esalen
SoundCloud: Steven Harper: Voices of Esalen

It was a bit strange to hear my own voice and a surprise to hear what stories emerged from the questions that were asked. I expect at least half of the stories I told resembled consensual reality.

If you are interested in what I am offering this year: 2018 Workshops and Retreats



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Workshops & Retreats for 2018

Big Sur

Most of my 2018 public workshops have been scheduled and are up on my website. Many have already booked full! Take a look to see what might call to you: 2018 Workshops & Retreats.

Many, if not most, of us are starved for genuine contact with and experience of wild nature. Wildness brings us to aliveness in a manner few other environments can — nourishment for the unnameable terrain deep within.

I invite you to join me on a journey and let yourself be touched by the healing beauty of wild nature. In the meantime, as we head more fully into spring, may we all find moments of pure delight, simply being, and deep gratitude in our unique unfolding lives.

Warmest regards from the Big Sur,


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reflections: 2017

Ancient Portals

The oldest human remains were discovered this year in Morocco surprising anthropologist. The find pushes back Homo sapiens from 200,000 years ago to 300,000. The 100,000 years difference is challenging previous understanding of both the time and place of human evolution. Like many inquiries each new find or answer only posses more questions and more mysteries to be pondered, or simply lived with.

In reflecting on 2017 Morocco comes to foreground. Not only did I lead a retreat there with close friends, but I had time and space to travel and be. There is a long history of mixing cultures in places like Marrakech where you can find yourself in a narrow passageway in the old medina and feel transported back 1000 years ago. My time in the western Sahara dessert with the Berber people goes even further back. Morocco gave me time and a place to reflect on what makes a life of wellbeing and welldoing — one of aliveness. I don't have clear answers, but I think I may have better quest-tions stirring my curiosity and creativity.

The following are links to photo sets of my time there along with a Jackson Browne song about something fine he found in Morocco.

You can browse the photos or play them as a slide show:
Morocco Travel
Morocco: Textures, Passages, Colors
TWP Morocco

Something Fine: Jackson Browne

May the year 2017 come to a peaceful close and I look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Big Wild Love,


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Giving Gratitude

Big Thanks from the Big Sur

"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
~ Ralph Waldon Emerson
I am continuing to learn to be grateful for the almost unseen, unnoticed occurrences that present themselves daily, moment to moment. Today, I am aware of feeling grateful for all of the ways my life has been touched by the many "small" and "daily" presentations that create this rich life of ours.

With heartfelt gratitude,


Giving Thanks: Meal Chant Stew

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cone Peak, Santa Lucia Firs, and Family

Cone Peak

Cone Peak stands out along the Big Sur coast, and for that matter the coast of the continuous states of the US as the fastest gradient rises from ocean to peak. This means an incredible amount of plant and animal diversity in a small area.

In addition it stands out as one of the locations in these mountains that lives the Santa Lucia Fir. Considered by many as the rarest fir in the world and only occurs naturally in the Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur. Here is a link to more about this unique species: Santa Lucia Fir

My son and I climbed Cone Peak last week. This spot has probably the best views of the range. More important than the hike, the rare fir (and other plants), the incredible veiws, the clean air, was the time with my son. Worth every step and every moment.

Here is to encouraging us all to getting out into the wilds with our loved ones.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Way of Nature: Esalen, September 2017

Sea Cave, Big Sur

"You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here." ~ Alan Watts

Heartfelt gratitude for all of you chose to be present for the week, and in presence for all that unfolded. I am touched by the courage I witnessed. The courage to be curious, open, playful, vulnerable, to take the first step... close in, to be truly student of wild nature, and the mystery of the unfolding event of life.

Here are links that were requested and others I hope you find useful:
Poems to Live By links to poems I read and more
Gratefulness from friend & co-leader Bro. David

Angela's Links and references from here talk:
You are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza
Wired for Healing by Annie Hopper
Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno

Don't Go Back To Sleep
"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep."

~ Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks, From Essential Rumi)

Warm Big Sur Blessing to All,


P.S. Wishing you balance as our planet makes its way around the sun on this Equinox, September 22.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen, August 2017

On the Path: Gamboa Point with Dolan Ridge in the background

So good to be back on the trail with a group after such a long closure of Big Sur and Esalen. We were treated well by the weather as well as the whales putting on shows. This was a special time — to have so few people in Big Sur and at Esalen. The places felt more wild and more space for the voice of Big Sur to come through.

Again, I want to thank you all for choosing to show up. Here's to the beneficial ripples of the week continuing to move all of our lives to greater wholeness and aliveness.

Here are some requested links:
Hokusai Says (the poem I read the first day)
Trees of the Santa Lucia Mountains
Gratefulness: Meal Chant Stew

There is a tradition on the Big Sur coast that goes back to the early non-native settlers. At gatherings they would make a toast saying, "Here's kindness." It was not, "Here is to kindness," it was, "Here is kindness."

Here's Kindness,


P.S. Cup of Kindness (written in Big Creek, and sung by one of Big Creek's past caretakers. The song was inspired by the traditional toast)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Big Sur and Esalen Open

Big Sur Opens (to humans)

Many parts of Big Sur and Esalen have recently opened to the public again. The only way in to the center of Big Sur is by car over Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd, or by taking a shuttle, hiking a trail around the bridge construction, and picking up the shuttle (or an electric bike) to get to your destination on the south side. The bridge that slid this winter has new steel I-beams arriving to span Pfeiffer Gulch. Soon enough the crowds of visitors will be returning. And, while it has been a challenge for many individuals, the community, and businesses — the quite peace that I once knew Big Sur to be was welcomed back during this time of limited human access.

The whole event brings to mind this story:
 "One day a student came to her master and asked how can you be happy with the reality of impermanence?” The master motioned to a glass at his side. “Do you see this glass?” he asked. “I love this glass. It holds water admirably. When the sun shines on it, it reflects the light beautifully. When I tap it, it has a lovely ring. Yet for me, this glass is already broken. When the wind knocks it over or my elbow knocks it off the shelf and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every minute with it is precious.”

This story reminds me how change is a constant. I am especially aware of the transient nature of things in wilderness. This year has been about many changes and transitions, often different than what I wanted, sometimes exactly what I had hoped for. Highway 1 will open. Highway 1 will close again at some point in the future. Gravity works and these wild mountains are moving and will continue to move for some time.

I don't always, but when I do let myself be comfortable understanding the "glass is already broken" I feel in my heart and bones that every moment is precious.



P.S. I will be posting my new dates for spring and early summer of 2018 soon. In the meantime, I hope you can feel this wild moment as precious...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Gravity Works: Big Sur Goes Wild

Mud Creek Slide, Big Sur

The Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur rise quickly from the ocean. In geologic time they are rising fast. This means they will constantly be giving way to gravity. When these steep mountain sides are weighted with water, and underground waterways are running through rock and soil faults in a heavy rainy season, we can assume there will be slides. In human time, this means that: we have seen, are now seeing, and will see slides that close access to these mountains by cars. As beautiful as it is to drive and as much as I need it for getting supplies and groceries, Highway 1 was really quite a human-made assault to these mountains. Don't get me wrong, these mountains would be sliding regardless, and the construction of Highway 1 quickens the pace in many places.

Businesses and most of the people that live in Big Sur have been hit hard by the effects of the slide. On the other hand, the wilds of Big Sur are recovering and getting a much needed rest in many places where human impact has done its damage. A palpable calm has returned to many places.

For half a year we have been living in a mixed blessing. Many friends have lost their jobs, neighbors that weren't really prepared for Big Sur living have moved away or temporarily left, many business are struggling to survive. The Soberanes Fire of last summer (the most expensive fire in U.S. history) along with the heavy, and much needed, rains that closed the road has filtered who really wants to live here and/or can seem to find a way to live here. At the same time it feel like a blessing to the larger-than-human community as well as the human community itself. Friendships have grown deeper, generosity has shown it welcome face in unexpected places, and time to reassess what is really important have led to a quality of richness that can't be bought.

These awe-inspiring mountains meeting the sea keep reminding us of our place in the bigger nature of things. Lessons of, who-is-really-in-control, humility, and resilience seem to be the norm. Still, I continue to fall in love with this wild and rugged coast.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Nature of Zen: Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

The Nature of Zen on the pathless path 
Click on photo to enlarge

I am profoundly grateful to open Tassajara's guest season with my co-leader and Abiding Teacher at Tassajara — Leslie James! The Big Sur coastal mountains have had quite a year. With Esalen closed due to Highway 1 being closed, this was my first workshop of my Big Sur season — what a great way to begin!

Here is how we described the retreat in the online description:
In this retreat, we will explore nature and the essence of Zen awakening through periods of meditation, group discussions, and day hikes exploring the wilderness back country around Tassajara. Rugged mountains graced with spring wildflowers provide inspiration to cultivate and nurture awareness: Listen deeply to the silence of nature and discover how Zen mindfulness practice deepens our lives. This wonderful doorway to the heart of mountain Zen is satisfying for both beginners and experienced practitioners.

I would say we did all of the above and much more. I have deep appreciation for how fully the group as a whole showed up for everything the entire retreat had to offer. 

Here are the links I recall being asked to post:
Retreat Photos
Tassajara Photos
This Cup Is Already Broken by Ajahn Chah
Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes
Meal Chant Stew by Steven Harper (a Tassajara story published on Bro. David's website)
Poems to Live By (poems I often read in retreat & workshops)

Special thanks go out to Leslie James for more than I can name, to Tjarn and Adam for their skill, heart, and generosity of spirit, to everyone and everything, seen and unseen, that makes Tassajara happen and supported our being there.

Two Claps, Deep Bow,

Friday, February 10, 2017

Workshops & Retreats for 2017

McWay Falls, Big Sur

Most of my 2017 public workshops have been scheduled and are up on my website. Many have already booked full! Take a look to see what might call to you: 2017 Workshops & Retreats.

Many, if not most, of us are starved for genuine contact with and experience of wild nature. Wildness brings us to aliveness in a manner few other environments can — nourishment for the unnameable terrain deep within.

I invite you to join me on a journey and let yourself be touched by the healing beauty of wild nature. In the meantime, as we head more fully into spring, may we all find moments of pure delight, simply being, and deep gratitude in our unique unfolding lives.

Warmest regards from the Big Sur,


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Season Blessings

Click on image to enlarge

In the spirit of the season may we all know our heart’s capacity
for love and follow our authentic calling for life.
May the fluidity of water run through you taking you on a
buoyant ride to the ocean home.
May fire burn bright and inviting, warming
you and your loved ones.
May air breathe you bringing brilliant vigor to
your luminous spirit.
May the earth let you know your full belonging to the world
and in the whole of your being.
May space allow for the grace of silence and gratitude
for all you are gifted.
May we all swim in the elemental nature of wondrous
aliveness in the years to come—full of presence.
May the mystery of that which cannot be spoken touch our
every thought and action—letting life live through us.
Big Love from the Big Sur,
Kai, Steven, Janna, and Kes

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Outside In — Dan Cray

Dan Cray took a workshop with me a couple of years back. Some of the pieces on his album, Outside In, were inspired from hikes in Big Sur. Above you can listen to NPR's Fresh Air review of the album. It is always inspiring for me to see and hear others inspired by Big Sur. Many of the other pieces were inspired by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, another mountain range I love. As I listen to all of the "meandering melodies" I imagine that I can tell which are Big Sur and which are Sierra influenced... after a day of listening to Dan, thought it might be fun to share.

You can find more of Dan's music here: Dan Cray
Listen to: Outside In

With a Listening Heart,


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Let Life Through You

...there is no end to seeing

Every year I pick a poem to work with as a place of inquiry and curiosity, a poem I can aspire to live into some day... this has been my poem of the year:

Hokusai Says
by Roger Keyes

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
Hokusai says says there is no end to seeing

He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat
yourself as long as it is interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive --
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn't matter if you draw,
or write books. It doesn't matter
if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn't matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
is life living through you.

He says don't be afraid.
Don't be afraid.

Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.

~ Roger Keyes

 For more poems: Poems to Live By

With great humility,

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Waters of the Sur

Freshwater creek through coast redwoods

Esalen Institute asked me to write a piece for the latest print catalog about the waters of Big Sur. They published a shorter version on the inside cover page of the current catalog.

Here is the full version which is published on Esalen's website:

Waters of the Sur

To be in Big Sur is to swim in the diversity of how water shows itself on earth. Water is one of the very few compounds that we see in all of its forms — solid, liquid, and gas — perhaps the key reason for life on this third planet from the sun. Here the water element offers itself so freely that there is no other choice but to be touched by it in sound, smell, sight, movement, and yes, in every breath.

Here, we find water pushed up from deep in the earth by such great pressure that when it finally emerges to meet air, it is laden with minerals and geothermal heat —gifted to us as hot springs. Here, a fresh water creek that begins almost 4,000 feet above sea level in the Big Sur mountains makes its long, steep journey through rock layers, spring upon spring, fork upon fork, and becomes Hot Springs Creek, which runs through Esalen before finally making its way home to the sea.

Here, we receive water offerings in the forms of rain, fog, and even snow. Even on a cloudless day the air is heavy with gaseous water and every breath of clear air is filled with water in it vaporous form. Here, we behold the salty ocean, mother of all biological life. Ocean waves sing their constant songs, which can remind us of our own pulsing hearts. By weight the average human is approximately 70% water. Each ocean wave’s rhythmic touch – a forceful crash or gentle caress – reminds us that we, too, are water-bodies.

To be in Big Sur is to be touched by water, to deeply feel our liquid body and the community of this larger water-body that we live in each moment. Here, we participate in a fluid and animate world while knowing our ancient belonging. This watery foundation is a fertile bed for the many seeds, the tending, weeding, blossoming, and fruition of all that Esalen has brought forth and will bring forth into each individual and our collective, ever-changing world.

~ Steven Harper, 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

Way of Nature: Esalen, September 2016

Way of Nature on the pathless path

What an amazing way to finish my 2016 wilderness programs at Esalen. We had 8000 acres and the third largest watershed that flow directly out of the Santa Lucia Mountain range into the Pacific to ourselves. The Soberanes Fire which threatened to cancel the workshop turned into a gift of less tourist, a smaller group, more wilds, and new adventures.

I appreciate everyone's willing to flow with all of the unknowns that each day brought and pay attention to what each of us most deeply needed from our experience. We got lucky with the wind and smoke, and individuals were able to take days off to be at Esalen when they felt called. We could have gone for another week just exploring Big Creek.

Here are some links:

Photos (will add some more when I can)
Poems to Live By: poems I read from for our time together

Big thanks to Gary and Alita for showing up on short notice. An deep gratitude for those of you that did not get scared away from the fire. We were blessed with a unique experience and a first time trail.

The Sobranes Fire continues to burn and I can hear the drone of helicopters as I write. I will post some photos of the fire and write a blog post about the fire sometime soon... I hope.

Grateful and Humble before the power of the wilds,


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen, July 2016

Big Sur Wilderness Experience... Getting Wild

Well here I am finally posting for our group. The Sobranes Fire which had start shortly before our group continues to be burning. From the end of the workshop for the next 25 days I was working every day in some manner in fire preparation or coordination. The fire is past being a direct danger to my neighborhood. I will make a separate post about the fire and perhaps add a link to photos from the fire.

In the mean time... I want to thank you all for showing up and willing to be flexible as we created each day based on park closures, smoke, individual needs, and the like. I appreciate how I felt everyone taking care of themselves and honoring why we came on this journey in the first place, all the while weaving a community along the way. I hope you are each deeply nourished by our time together and our time in the wilds of Big Sur. May whatever nourished you grow in your life, may you absorb it fully, may this nourishment radiate out to others. May whatever good came from our time together benefit each of us — may it benefit all our relations.

Here are some links:
Photos (you are welcome to download any of the photos)
Rainer's Photos (remarkable photos of our week)
Hokusai Says
Poems to Live By (you will find all of the poems I read plus more!)
Sobranes Fire (Post and photos to come)

If anyone in the group has photos you took and uploaded to a site, please let me know and I will add a link to this post.

Heartfelt gratitude for Kai, John, and Susan for holding such incredible support for me and each one of us as we found our way along the path.



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Walk on the Wild Side: Esalen July 2016

"The mountains are call and I must go." ~John Muir

Walking or "sauntering" on the wild side following the pathless path with John Muir and others as inspiration for leading an authentic life we were blessed with condors sighting, moments of silence, natural hot springs, sea lion encounter on the beach, bonzai redwoods, perfect hiking weather, and much more.

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found was really going in." ~John Muir

For much of my life these words of Muir have been my experience. In wild nature I can find solace and something of the mystery of this life that is of the terrain where words don't travel well — yet almost all of us have experienced. Many, if not most of my milestone decision in my life were made (or were gifted to me) in wilderness.

I felt each of us individually and as a group, willing to go out into wilderness to go in to the wild aliveness of our inner world. I hope we each had moments of clarity, peace, belonging, beauty, feeling our heart's calling, mystery, and that we somehow let these moments guide our lives. May we take many threads of our experience and weave them into the tapestry of the life we are living now.

Here are some links:
Cyprian Consiglio (the Wednesday night singer and prior of the Hermitage in Big Sur)
Amy's KayOss Designs (time to change my wardrobe)
Jenny's "Open Admissions" podcast on iTunes, take a listen!
Hilary's website and books
Jen's Instagram: jenmountainsmith
Kevin's website
Rachael's Hand On

I know we had a wealth of talent and wisdom in everyone in our group. I am deeply touched by your showing up for each other and for showing up to step into the wilds.



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fathers and Sons: Esalen June 2016

Fathers and Sons in the wilds of Big Sur

What a remarkable way to spend Fathers Day weekend together. I am touched by the depth of dialogue and intimacy shared between fathers and sons and within the context of the group itself. I am inspired to see so many men together with their father and son(s) in celebration and in willingness to cultivate and grow their relationships as we change and grow.

A special thanks to Ryan and Adam for coming along as brothers to assist Kai, Kes, myself and the rest of our group.

My wish is that each of us continue to cultivate and do the sometimes necessary clearing to keep our relationship responsive and alive. After all...
"It is a wise child that knows his own father." ~ Homer
"It is a wise father that knows his own child." ~ William Shakespeare

May we all be wise. Gratitude for each and everyone of you for choosing to show up.

Here are some links of a few photos: Fathers & Sons

Warmest of regards from the Sur,


Simply Wild at Esalen, June 12-17, 2016

Simply Wild: Experiencing Nature

We were blessed with near perfect hiking weather. The Big Sur weather was in full cooperation for a remarkable week of being outdoors.

Once again I am touched by how a wide range of age and backgrounds can come together and form a community on the wild path. From our youth, to our elders, and everyone in between we wove together a fabric of connection with wilderness and with each other.

Special mystical moments in the hidden warm springs, exhilaration of swimming in cold clean wild water, magical flying grass spiraling upwards, and the many unnameable moments that we experienced individually and collectively. And, yes, we were there for the historic opening of the new Esalen Lodge, Kitchen, Bookstore, Office, and Meeting Rooms!

Big thanks and a deep bow to Adam and Alana for their leadership and presence!

Here are some links (with more to come):
Hokusai Says (poem I read the last day)
Poems to Live By
Ojai Foundation (Adam is the CEO of Ojai)
Alana's yoga studio
Danny's site

From the Big Sur... Love to y'all,


Monday, May 02, 2016

Nature of Zen: Tassajara, April 2016

Tassajara Opens for the 2016 Guest Season

For most of the year Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is a monastery — the oldest Zen Buddhist monastery outside of Asia. For four months of the year it opens it gates to guests.

I love leading retreats here. Tassajara is deep in the Santa Lucia Mountain surrounded by wilderness. They have the long standing Buddhist practice that you can choose to participate in, or not, and all are welcomed. The natural hot springs that the place was historically built around is the hottest in the mountain range. Their mindful practice of cooking great meals provide for good nourishment of body, mind, and heart.

For many year now I have had the opportunity to offer the first retreat, or one of the first retreats, of the season. The mountains turning green, wild flowers in full display, and the freshness of the place itself offers a remarkable place and support to come into more aliveness and awareness of life... and prioritize what may really be important in our heart of hearts.

Deep thanks to all who showed up for this recent retreat. May you all be well, happy and at peace.

Here are some links of photos of Tassajara:
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

Love to you all,


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BSWE at Esalen, April 2016

Confluence Falls BCR

What a great way to start my 2016 workshop and retreat season. This spring workshop is one of the ways I mark time. This program may be the longest running workshop offered at Esalen.

Mostly I want to express my gratitude to the group that came together for this milestone workshop. Special appreciations go out to Stacy, Tjarn, and Noël for their remarkable attention and generous support given in all directions.

Here are some links:
Poem to Live By
Photos  (I never got a whole group photo, so if anyone has one please send me one)
Stacy Carlson and her book Among the Wonderful (another book on the way!)
Glenn's Site
Katheryn's Site

I hope you are able weave threads of our experience together into the fabric of you other life — wherever and whatever that may be.

Two Claps, One Bow,


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

2016 Workshop & Retreats

Big Sur: Ocean Fog and Mountains

Most of my 2016 workshops have been scheduled and are up on my website. Many have already booked full! Take a look to see what might call to you: 2016 Workshops & Retreats.

Many, if not most, of us are starved for genuine contact with and experience of wild nature. Wildness brings us to aliveness in a manner few other environments can — nourishment for the unnameable terrain deep within.

I invite you to join me on a journey and let yourself be touched by the healing beauty of wild nature. In the meantime, as we head more fully into spring, may we all find moments of pure delight, simply being, and deep gratitude in our unique unfolding lives.

Warmest regards from the Big Sur,


Friday, December 25, 2015

Season Blessings

Click on image to see in larger size

Wishing each and everyone of us happiness and moments of raw wild beauty in the coming year…

In the midst of the fullness of our busy lives—space.
In the midst of the constant chatter of daily life—silence.
May we all recognize the moments when less is more—know
simplicity as blessing.
May we let ourselves be touched by our heart's capacity
to open—giving and receiving.
May we be blessed with freedom from suffering—know kindness in all of it's expressions.
May we tune in—listen deeply to the pulsing beat—and
live the life that no one else can live.

Kai, Kes, Janna, and Steven

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Wild Inquiry

Community of Wild Ones

Poet Gary Snyder says, "The wild requires that we learn the terrain, nod to all of the plants and animals and birds, ford the streams and cross the ridges, and tell a good story when we get back home."

Whether an outer journey into the wilds or a deep dive into the unknown terrain of the inner wilds — the wild requires we tell a good story when we get back home — and not necessarily with words.

What personal experience of the wild 'requires' creative expression to grow more fully into your life? What wildness has been patiently waiting for a 'nod' of recognition and inclusion? What wild terrain must we learn so we can step more fully into life and all that we don't know?

Here's to us all being a bit more curious about all that is wild.

Wholeheartedly Yours,