Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Holidays & Coming New Year

Light at the end of the tunnel.
With heartfelt appreciation we send our wishes of peace and happiness to you and your loved ones. May the journey ahead bring the finest of your heart’s desires. May we all know the spirit of aliveness and gratitude in every moment.

Love to you all,

Steven Harper & Family

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Folllowing the Way, Returning to the Source: Esalen 2010

Following the Way, Returning to the Source: 

A Celebration of the Life and Work of Richard Price

Thank you all for your participation in this once-in-a-lifetime event. All I can say for now is, "What a ride!"

I am blessed to have such great friends along this path. Heartfelt gratitude to you all.

Group Photos
Slide show of group photos
357 of Dorothy T's photos!

John Callahan's Gestalt Legacy Project can be found on the following links:
By the book: Manual of Gestal Practice in the Tradition of Dick Price
Read the book online: Manual of Gestalt Practice in the Tradition of Dick Price

Here is a link to the Dick Price Facebook page: Dick Price Celebration
You can read more stories, see more photos, plus I posted the slide show on this site too.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Way of Nature: Esalen 2010

At Esalen

What luck with the weather... sandwiched between to storms we go sunny, cool, fall weather.

Here are some links:
Photo Set
Photo Slide Show

Pygmy Redwood Forest (just for fun)

More to come!

Love to you all...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stepping In, Stepping Out: Gestalt and Hiking Practice at Esalen

80 years ago on October 12th Richard (Dick) Price came into this world. This workshop is/was in honor of all that Dick brought to life.

Here are some links:
Photo Set
View Photos as Slide Show
Facebook: Dick Price Celebration

Here is Dick's favorite passage from the Tao Te Ching:


Look, and it can't be seen.
Listen, and it can't be heard.
Reach, and it can't be grasped.

Above, it isn't bright.
Below, it isn't dark.
Seemless, unnameable,
it returns to the realm of nothing.
Form that includes all forms,
image without an image,
subtle, beyond all conception.

Approach it and there is no beginning;
follow it, and there is no end.
You can't know it, but you can be it,
at ease in our own life.
Just realize where you come from:
this is the essence of wisdom.

From a Stephen Mitchell translation 


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Art of Pilgrimage: Green Gulch Zen Center 2010

25 pilgrims exploring the art of pilgrimage...

A special day with special friends. I was so touched to see both new and familiar faces from Esalen, Tassajara, and Green Gulch. This once a year event occurred this year near the Fall Equinox, on Yom Kippur, and the day before International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

My hope and intention of offering this retreat was and is to explore what meaningful contemporary pilgrimage might be, to build community, and deepen our connection to place. Although the fog was thick we stepped awake and alive onto the path. All of my hopes and intentions for the day were met. I am filled with gratitude and hope to see you all again next year, if not sooner.

Photo Slide Show
Photo Set

Two claps, One bow (gassho),

Special thanks to Jeremy Levie, Michael, and Linda (for the many seen and unseen gifts they give)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen, September 2010

Above Whale Point in the wilds of Big Sur

"A little too abstract, a little to wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again.
I will go down to the lovely Sur Rivers
And dip my arms in them up to the shoulders."
~ except from Return by Robinson Jeffers

Thanks to each one of you for letting "the rich life run to the roots again." A extra thanks to Michael and Tjarn for so skillfully holding the "space" for our time together.

Here are links to:
BSWE Photo Set
BSWE Photos as Slide Show
Poems To Live By: A new section I am building on my website
Hoopin' at our lunch spot: For fun... for Robyn
Blister prevention tape that Michael was using: Adhesive Knit Tape
or in large rolls from:
Stein's Foot Specialties
Jessup, GA
3" Adhesive Knit-25 yard roll #401303 765-1303-0000

With heartfelt gratitude,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Belonging to Earth: Esalen 2010

Belonging to Earth: Finding Our Place in Nature

Here are links:
Belonging to Earth Photo Set
Belonging to Earth Slideshow
Poem I read by David Whyte 
One of Grazia's sites
The Pygmy Redwood Forest: just for fun... when I was learning how to use iMovie

"Our work is to make ourselves visible in the world. This is the soul's individual journey, and the soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else's."
~ David Whyte

It was an honor to share the path with each of you. I appreciate the diversity of background and collective wisdom that we shared during our time together. Even more impressive to me was the fresh mindful courage I witnessed as we each discovered the "edges" of our individual and collective learning.

Love to y'all,

P.S. Maybe I should have titled the workshop: Belonging to Water?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Art of Pilgrimage: Vallecitos 2010

On Discovery Point above Vallecitos

This last week has made me more aware of how deeply grateful I am for the still wild areas of our earth. I so fully enjoyed exploring pilgrimage, the wild inner terrain, and the wild outer terrain (especially that territory of the Usner Triangle). We stepped into and let ourselves be touched by each other and the place. Deep gratitude to each of you for choosing to "show up."

Here are some links:
Art of Pilgrimage photo set
Art of Pilgrimage slideshow
Bear Video 
Don's Art of Pilgrimage photos
Don's Video of Vallecitos
Don Usner & Ventana De Luz Photography 
Vallecitos Mountain Ranch
Bill's Photo Set 

Special thanks to Don for conceiving of the idea that this retreat would work at Vallecitos and the many efforts he put into making it happen.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Big Sur Wilderness Experience

Timber Top high above the fog...

"Stand still... The forest breathes... Listen."

As I sit in my office here in Big Sur breathing and reflect on this last week an easy smile comes to my face. I feel blessed, tired, satisfied, and full of rich experiences (just to name a few things). I am appreciating our collective willingness to soak up and take in so many of the places we journeyed to in such a time-less manner. I am also impressed by how we stopped time in the Little House... the present moment is timeless.

Here are some links:
Photo set of our group
Photo slide show
Warm Springs video

I wish every one an easy transition into the big workshop... may you touch others with a bit of the fresh wildness of the lovely Sur mountains...


P.S. Special thanks to Anna and Michael.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Nature of Zen: Tassajara, July 2010

On the Horse Pasture Trail

What an honor be with you all... walking the mountains around Tassajara, sitting in the Kaisando, hot springs, cold streams, good food, heartfelt conversation, authentic curiosity, and the intimacy of not knowing.

For photos of our group: The Nature of Zen Photos
For the same photos as a slideshow: The Nature of Zen Slideshow
Ron has some photos he took up on Flikr also: Ron's Nature of Zen 
Matt took some short videos also on Flikr: Matt's Nature of Zen Videos 
Julie sent a link to her photos on Picasa: Julie's Nature of Zen 

Special thanks to Abbot Steve St├╝cky, Michael, Tassajara staff, and everyone else that showed up so wonderfully.

Some of you asked about the online meditation site we have been experimenting with... Click on the link and take a look around. There is a meditation timer, virtual candle site, lectures, instructions, a group that sits daily together at 7:00am, and more: iThou Meditation House

Two claps, One bow,

Friday, July 02, 2010

Fathers & Sons: Esalen June 2010

Fathers & Sons over the Father's Day weekend in Big Sur

Over the years I have led a number of workshops at Esalen and other venues. Once again I was surprise by how deeply moved I was by this particular workshop.

The power of having a group of all men with life time relationships in the wilds and at Esalen was and continues to be inspiring. Having three generations in our group added a dimension of both depth and breadth. Seeing so many young men stepping into themselves so passionately and so many of our older members gracefully taking the path of being true "elders" touched us all. The collective heart and wisdom of our group was exceptional and gives me hope.

For fathers and sons everywhere... may we continue to grow our relationships—alive.

Click here for photos of our group: Fathers & Sons
Click here to view photos as a slideshow: Fathers & Sons

From the Wilds of the Big Sur with Love,

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mountains & Waves: Esalen, June 2010

Mountains and Waves on the beach at the meeting of Hot Springs Creek and the Pacific Ocean

What a ride... such a rich heartfelt time together.

View photos of our workshop: Mountains & Waves Photos
View as slideshow of our workshop: Mountains & Waves Slideshow

Collectively we had a hundreds of photos... I narrowed them down a bit, but not in order of how our time unfolded.

So grateful to you all for so many moments. This poem speaks my heart.

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled
after a night of rain.
I dip my cupped hands. I drink
a long time. It tastes
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them
deep inside me, wispering
"Oh what is that beautiful thing that just happened?"
~ Mary Oliver "At Blackwater Pond"

from the wilds of the Big Sur,

Monday, May 31, 2010

Simply Wild: Esalen May 2010

What a great weekend with you all.

Here is a link to: Workshop Photo Set
Here is a link to see the photos as a: Slideshow
Here is a link to: Trees of Big Sur

We pour over words, and point out this and that,
but if our chest is not soaked dark
with love, then what?
- Kabir The Book of Kabir


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side: Esalen, May 2010

On the beach in Andrew Molera

Closing my eyes I still can hear the sounds and smells of Conoga Falls. In such wildness I feel so alive. It was a great adventure for Michael and I to be able to share with you all the spots we don't get to take groups very often. You now know the wild side of Big Sur better than many folks that live here.

Here are links:
View: Photo Set
View as: Slideshow 
Carol's photos: Carol's Photo Set

Just for fun:
The bonsai redwood forest youtube video: Journey Into the Wilds
The golden staircase and Pico Blanco: Search for the Center
Here is a link to Ann's site: Ann Randolph
Here is a link to Doug's music site: Doug Goodman

And on Ann's suggestion I will be introducing a complete line of collector spoon's featuring the Bonsai Redwood Forest, Pico Blanco, Esalen Hot Springs, and more!

Like Johh Muir, may each one of us be a highly contagious "wild" virus that brings happiness, aliveness, and a call to the wild to all that we come in contact with...

Love to you all,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wild Mind, Zen Mind: Tassajara, May 2010

Wild Mind, Zen Mind

Maybe we should have titled the retreat: Wild Flowers, Zen Mind... I am still struck by the abundance and diversity of wild flowers we pushed our way through on the trail.

Here is a link to a photo set of our group: Photos
Here is a link to view the photos as a slideshow: Photo Slideshow
Here are some of Henry's photos: Henry's Photos

Even though the fires of 2008 burned so much of what I knew of the wilds of Tassajara, I am once again amazed and inspired by the regenerative power of nature. Such a profusion of new life after so much fierce change caused by the fire.

We simply stepped into the finest of Tassajara—Buddhist practice, wilderness walks, wonderful meals, hot springs, and silence. Thank you all for sharing the experience with Leslie, Michael, and me.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day, Big Sur

Wishing for us all that we find a way to make this and everyday an "Earth Day." May we know our belonging to this earth and find our unique ways to be, act, and live on this amazing watery third planet from the sun.

Prayers for the planet,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen, April 2010

On the Golden Stairway... looking for a bit of heaven and the center of creation

For more photos: Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Springtime, April 2010
And, to view as a Slide Show

Back home after our workshop I am touched by the beauty of the wilds and the beauty of the group that came together. We come together, share simple things (walking, food, breath, a dip in the hot springs, stories, kindness, and more). We weave together a community of strangers sharing intimate moments, beauty, tears, wisdom, laughter, wonder, and our individual uniqueness.

I sit here a bit struck by the unusual "job" I have. Somehow I play my part in co-creating with the group, wild nature, and the "powers that be" an experience in which I and others are touched deeply by courage, more beauty, and the collective wisdom of all the animate beings that decided to show up for the unfolding moment of our week together.

What more can I say... I feel blessed, in awe, and hopeful when I feel how we can choose to show up in life—individually and collectively—with a little bit of grace.

Putting my whole self in,

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Middlebury Fellowships In Environmental Journalism

Bill McKibben, Chris Shaw, and the Middlebury Fellowships In Environmental Journalism at Esalen Institute. For their third year this group of up and coming environmental journalist come to Big Sur with their mentors to work of articles they have been developing. I take them on a hike each year to give them the opportunity to step out of their heads and into the wild beauty of Big Sur... hopefully more deeply informing their thinking, feeling, and writing.

Bill McKibben's work has been influential in my way of thinking about nature and our human relationship to wild nature. His most recent project can be found here:

For more about Bill and his recent new book: Bill McKibben

from the Sur,

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Workshop Schedule to 2010

I have my entire workshop schedule for 2010. Here is a link to my website where you can read more: Steven Harper Workshops 2010.

I look forward to sharing the wild trails with you again soon.

Warm regards from the Big Sur,

Saturday, March 06, 2010

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

George Leonard Memorial

 George Leonard 1923-2010

A celebration of a life well lived at the Mill Valley Community Center, Feb. 28th 2010.

On Sunday I traveled up to Mill Valley to honor and celebrate the life of a man that influenced my life through his writings, workshops, and modeling. George was a life-long learner. He had a passion for learning and exploring the possibilities of this human life.

George was one of the authors that I had read that led me to come to Big Sur. During my early years at Esalen I took numerous workshop with him and his partners in Aikido (Wendy Palmer and Richard Heckler). Wendy Palmer and I began to co-lead workshops at Esalen each year. Through my friendship with Wendy I got to know George better over the years. I am deeply grateful for all he brought to me and the world.

I recall being both honored and terrified when George and his wife Annie signed up for a workshop I was co-leading at Tassajara Zen Center with the head abbot. Some of what I planned to do with the group was directly or indirectly borrowed from the work of Wendy and George. The thought of "teaching" to George what I had, in part, learned from him seemed overwhelming. To George's credit, he showed up fully as a "student." I was impressed by his gracious and genuine willingness to learn as though he was hearing what I was presenting for the first time. This is rare. My appreciation and respect for George grew from that experience.

For a few photos of the event: Memorial.
For more on his life: George Leonard.

In gratitude,

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The New Year: 2010

In gratitude and love we send our many appreciations for how you uniquely touch our lives. In the spirit of the season we wish you and your loved ones abundant peace and happiness. As we journey into the new year, the new day, and new breath of every moment may we all know our heart’s song, the vitality of aliveness, and heartfelt gratefulness.

with love,

Kes, Kai, Janna, & Steven