Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Greetings

Holiday Greetings
Originally uploaded by surharper.
With heartfelt appreciation and gratitude we send our wishes of peace and happiness. May the coming year bring you the very best of your heart’s deepest desires. May we all know the dance of spirit in every breath.

with love,
Kes, Kai, Janna & Steven

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mary Goldenson and Steven Harper at Esalen Institute

Mary and Steve
Originally uploaded by surharper.
Mary and Steve at Esalen Institute. Mary and I lead a workshop each year at Esalen titled the Nature of Intimacy and the Intimacy of Nature. She is author of the book "Its Time."
For more information about workshop we do together titled The Nature of Intimacy and the Intimacy of Nature click here:
Workshop Calendar

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brother David Steidl-Rast

Bro. David Steindl-Rast (right) and Steven Harper at Esalen Institute
Check out "Light a Candle"... see the link in right-hand side bar. It is part of Bro. David's website gratefulness.org. I have co-led many workshops with Bro. David at Esalen over the years.
Go ahead... light a candle

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Free Hugs Campaign. Inspiring Story!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Giving thanks for the creative and imaginal forces of human nature. Gratefully,

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Nature of Intimacy: Big Sur

Nature of Intimacy: Big Sur
Originally uploaded by surharper.
Playing big and going deep on the intimate edge in Big Sur. Sponge-like and awake while doing the hokey pokey, I am sure you can still hear Mary saying, "Don't go back to sleep, don't go back to sleep." I sincerely hope each of us are able to take some essential seeds from our time together and grow them to fruition. May you alway choose the path of aliveness.
Gratefully, Steve

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Esalen Office Goes Wild

Esalen Office Goes Wild
Originally uploaded by surharper.
The Esalen Office Crew escaped the office for the wilds of Big Sur. We visitied Big Creek for a Natural and Cultural History of Big Sur 101 course. From the history of the native peoples to the early settlers, from geology to ecology we covered a little about a lot of things. What a blessing to live in such beauty. Many thanks to the Esalen office crew for the daily work they do.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Envisioning Our Lives @-Big Creek

Merle sent me some photos off our group that I have added. If you click on this photo it will take you to my Flickr photo site. Click on "surharper" and you can see the various photos from Envisioning Our Lives and other workshops.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
- Rumi Open Secret

Monday, September 18, 2006

Envisioning Our Lives: In Living Color


"What you can plan is too small for you to live.

What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.

To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance."

Please let me know how the Big Workshop is unfolding.
Love to all,

Friday, September 15, 2006

Envisioning Our Lives

Envisioning Our Lives
Originally uploaded by surharper.
You must learn one thing,
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all other worlds
except the one to which you belong...
- David Whyte

What a week! So much collective wisdom, so many gifts, so rich the experience. Thanks to you all.
Wildly, Steve

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Simply Wild at Esalen Institute, Big Sur

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to life
we have refused
again and again
until now. Until now.

- David Whyte
“Enough” Where Many Rivers Meet

Our "Simply Wild" group on the last day at Julia Pfeiffer-Burns State Park. Perfect weather at Big Creek, a cold swim, wild turkey feathers, stories about living and "dead" redwoods, Esselen Indians, birthday wishes, hot springs, whales off the coast, bare attention, being idle and blessed, silence, heartfelt talks, open to the unfolding of each moment. Thanks to all for you participation, for doing the "hokey pokey" and putting your whole self in!
Click on the photo to see more group photos from the hike.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

BSWE on the Interpretive Trail

Originally uploaded by surharper.
Here we are among the redwoods on the Interpretive Trail in Big Creek Reserve. I so appreciated how easily we came together during the week. The human element of the workshop was as powerful as the wilderness element. It is always fun to see how each group comes together and who we choose to be. We let ourselves be touched by each other and by the natural wild beauty of Big Sur.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
- Rumi Open Secret

Friday, August 11, 2006

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: lunch @ the beach

"Why run around sprinkling holy water?
There's an ocean inside you, and when
You are ready you'll drink."
- Rumi

Thanks to everyone for a great workshop. I will post more photos when I return to Big Sur. With deep gratitude... Steve

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Nature of Zen at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

Awakened with the sweat of the trail and the cold water of the creek crossings, here we are at the Suzuki Memorial site at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Thanks to all… the hot springs, the zendo, the kaisando, the wild-do, that provided such great environments for us to be students. I appreciated the wonderful opportunity for such quality dialogues with excellent food in the company of good friends.

Mountains and Waves Inside

Mountains and Waves Inside
Originally uploaded by surharper.
Here is a poem that Susan shared with me and I would like to share with you.

Emerald Green Good Luck

In the extraordinary beauty of the Big Sur backcountry,
with a simple awareness invitation
to open my sense perceptions...

I turn a corner
on the snaking path
through the rustling of dry grasses
eyes receiving a field
of small poppies, bright
golden as the sun
with their orange laps
alive with bees.
My breath catches,
the brilliance of their sheer existence
brings me to my knees.
I am drenched in beauty,
teary, tender and alive.

Driving back into the very busy freeways of LA,
I dream of all-night, mountain-top vision quests,
Buddha sitting with the Bodhi tree,
and Jesus in the desert for forty days and forty nights.
How can I stay with such raw naked openness here?
I remind myself that the five elements are everywhere
even in LA.

And yet I miss the simple pure vitality
of the wilderness.
Inside me I carry so many impressions --
the chaos of growth and decay of the forest floor,

the bright emerald green good luck
of the redwood sorrel that line the path...

The sense of silent time
being inside
a 'blackened from fire'
hole in the core
of a 2000 year old redwood tree,
the fertile, dark oily shell mound soil
left by 6000 years of the ancient Esalen Indians,
and the sound of the hawks and jays
and all the birds whose names I do not know
announcing our arrival and departure.

The eyes of mountain lions that I do not see
lift the still dark hairs on the nape of my neck.
Offering awareness to the forest
each footprint full of blessing
I feel all the ways that the forest senses us as we walk.

Susan Harper June 24, 2006

Monday, June 26, 2006


Originally uploaded by surharper.
Here we are all wild and fresh and feeling our feet on the ground in Big Creek. I will post more group/workshop photos when I return home. In the meantime I hope your transition into the "Big Workshop" is going gracefully. A reminder to evoke and invite your qualities...
with deep gratitude to everyone,
Here is the quote that many of you asked for:
Bro. David's response in conversation with Steve Harper about the word “spirituality”...
“the word "spiritual comes from the Latin word "spiritus" which means "life breath" (living things are alive as long as they breathe). So I take "spirituality" as referring not to a particular department of life, but to a quality of every department, a heightened aliveness. Spirituality is "super-aliveness." This implies that we are "spiritual" to the extent to which we are truly alive. To be truly spiritual means to be alive in every aspect. It's a matter of degree, and there's no upper limit to its intensity.”

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Walk on the Wild Side: Esalen, Big Sur

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
John Muir

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

BSWE: in the Redwoods

BSWE: in the Redwoods
Originally uploaded by surharper.
Nisha reading poem-fortunes to the redwoods in Big Creek. Shorty after this we discovered that the water in the creek is indeed wet.

Photo by Joe Lindsay

Big Sur Wilderness Experience morning-mist

Big Sur morning-mist
Originally uploaded by surharper.
Fog teases the coast of Big Sur as first sun of the day makes its way to the sea.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Big Sur Wilderness Experience

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
in the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver from “The Summer Day”

We were blessed to stroll through the fields and forests and beaches of Big Sur this week. The weather cooperated nicely as the fog moved in and out during the week giving us cool shade on the up hill sections of the trails and sun at lunch and on the down hills. From being “sponge-like” to “holding the open questions” we collectively and individually showed up so fully. What else should we have done?

Thanks to Juliet and Joe for so graciously assisting in so many ways. Gratitude for the wilds of Big Sur, the Pacific Ocean, and to all of you that participated in the week.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Wild Mind Group

Wild Mind Group
Originally uploaded by surharper.
"Are you awake?"
"Don't fool yourself."

From the Zen story that Leslie told in our discussions.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Wild Mind, Zen Mind, at Tassajara

It is hard to imagine catching the conditions at Tassajara better. As the first retreat of the season everything was fresh. From the freshly cleared trails, to the high water in the creek, from the many shades of green to the excellent meals served with such kindness, from sitting in the Kaisando, to sitting in the hot springs, from clear blue skies to no mosquitoes yet (we were lucky), the weekend was so fresh. Good inspiration to wake-up.
Gratitude to the Santa Lucia Mountains, Tassajara Hot Springs, Leslie, Michael, and especially to all of you that participated.
Two claps, one bow,

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wild Big Sur Hiking Group

Big Sur Photographer, Daniel Biannchetta sent me this photo of our group last week...I hope you enjoy it.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Wild Big Sur

The first workshop of the season was green in every sense of the word. On Saturday we hiked in Big Creek Reserve. The water in the creek was still very high and the bridges were not yet in. We crossed the first fork of Big Creek on a fallen redwood that now serves as a bridge. Lucky for us Feynner (the caretaker of the reserve) was just ahead of us with a trail crew. They put up the bridge on the north fork and we were the first to cross. We were blessed by having the crew clear slides and fallen trees just ahead of us without seeing them until lunch when we finally caught up with them. We were literally the first up the trail. Everything was wonderfully wild and fresh! The winter rains seem to have stopped or at least slowed. The wild flowers and grasses are delayed from their normal peak. Still we saw lot of Spring's early bloomers. We found mountain lion prints and the remains of a deer that had been taken by one of these incredible cats.
On Sunday we made our way to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and hiked up the Ewoldsen Trail. Part of the group journeyed up to the grandmother redwood tree while the others sauntered along looking at plants and listening to stories about their uses and ecological relationships. I had asked everyone to show up for the weekend as fully as they could and as far as I could tell we all did. It was a rich and full time... full of green aliveness.