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,


Monday, October 05, 2015

Way of Nature: Esalen, September 2015

Way of Nature: Way in the Wilds

Gratitude is the first word that comes to heart and mind. This was my last wilderness workshop for the year — and what a sweet way to end the season. Perfect weather, a community filled with kindness, and a willingness to step in fully, all came together to create a deeply nourishing experience.

Special thanks go out to Joe for the remarkable way he step in. Noël for the excellent lunches and for the support she has given this season in assisting many workshops. And, all of the extras that showed up to add to the mix, Fletcher, Sidney, and Janna.

Wishing that each of us is having an easy time weaving the deep threads of our experience into our daily life. Here is a link to a poem to remind us, everything is animate, everything is participate, everything is waiting for us: Everything is Waiting for You

Links of Interest and Request
Poems to Live By
Bro. David Steindl-Rast: Gratefulness
NOLS (where I taught for years)

Please send any photo collection links and I will add them here.

With a bow in deep gratitude to you all,


Friday, August 28, 2015

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen, August 2015

 BSWE: In the wilds of the Sur

I would say we had near perfect hiking weather and some great opportunities for nourishing ourselves with food for radical aliveness... or whatever else we would like to call it. Thanks to each of you for doing the hokey pokey, putting your whole self in, and shaking it all about. After all... "That's what it's all about."

Remember Noël will be coming around to check in on all of you to make sure your integration into your other world is being tended... ;-)

Links of Interest:
Photos by Gordon
Gerardo's Sketches: many good reminders!
Poem to Live By

Gerardo's website
Eric's website
Scarlit's website
Forest's website 
Leslie's website
Did I miss any?

Heartfelt regards from the Big Sur,


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Nature of Movement: Esalen, July 2015

Moving in Nature

The wilderness of Big Sur allowed us to imprint the collective wisdom of this alive and wild coast in our bodies. The ancient redwood-forested canyons, dramatic meeting of earth and sea, and soft grassy hills reminded us of the presence, wisdom, and deep sense of belonging that live in each of us.

I feel deep gratitude for the leap of trust each of us made into the inner and outer wilds — with our personal and collective relationship with ourselves, community, and the terrain beyond words.

May the experiences of the wilds walk with us. May we weave threads from this wild world into the fabric of our 'other' world. May we plant seeds that grow to fruition. May we share all that we were touched by as ripples that grow out into the ocean of all our relations.

Here are some links of interest:
Poems to Live By (you will find most of the poems I read, plus more)
Sarah & Chris' Photos
Angela's website
Monika's website
Mal's website
Daniel Bianchetta's photo site (the man that took our group photo on the oval
Words (by request, published stories & articles)
Tribal Ground Circle
Please send your photo sites and I will add links here.

Love from the Sur,


P.S. Once again, special thanks to Angela and Kai for holding space and ground for all of us!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tribal Ground Circle Study Group: Going Wild, July 2015

TGC Study Group Going Wild

Thank you all for the warm welcome and the shared time in the wilds. As a group that has been together so long exploring Gestalt awareness I found it such a rich pleasure to be with you as we took a deep dive into the wilds. I am blessed to be a part of this community!

Photos of the Day

If you are not familiar with the work of Tribal Ground Circle, here are some links:
Tribal Ground Circle
Christine Price & Tribal Ground
Dorothy Charles & Relational Gestalt Practice

Warm Hugs,


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Simply Wild: Esalen, June 2015

Simply Wild!

What a remarkable community we built during our time in the wilds. I continue to be impressed by how simply spending time, often in silence, attending to the unfolding moments builds not only connection to place, but connection to others. I can thank us all for our courage to be open, intimate, and show up for ourselves, each other, and "this one wild and precious" place we call Big Sur. We co-created this together. May the simple and wild threads of our deepest moments weave seamlessly into the fabric of our lives.

Some requested links:
Poems to Live By many poems I read, plus much more...
Trees of Big Sur and the Central Coast of California
Tribal Ground Circle: workshops & training with Christine Price
NOLS: the school that both Angela and I taught for and still have deep roots
Forest Bathing or Shinrin-yoku (森林浴)
The Way of Wilderness: an article that is published in "Ecopsychology"
Angela's website
Jonathan's website 

As you read this now, I invite you to pause for a moment as though you have just heard the ringing of the bell on the trail... and for the next three breaths... I invite you to open your awareness and attend to whatever arises. May we all be "idle and blessed."

With a warm heart, two claps, deep bow,


Monday, June 29, 2015

Fathers & Sons: Esalen, June 2015

Celebrating Father's Day in the Tradition of the Old Ways

What a gift to be together. Fathers and sons of all ages and generations. There seems to be something primal about walking in silence in wilderness in the company of men—young and old—fathers with sons—passing on and deepening the skillful family lineages and traditions while letting go of the ones that no longer serve, creating new traditions filled with aliveness and authentic connection. I feel a deep appreciation for our collective willingness to deepen our relationships and build upon the foundations of what works with the underlying intimacy of love.

The wonderful convergence of birthdays, Father's Day, the Summer Solstice supported our time. I hope we each continue to deepen and build the relationships we each have, and perhaps the benefit will ripple out into other parts of our lives and the greater world. This type of investment has a life long pay back of value that does not die.

Here are some links:
Photos: Some group and individual photos you are welcome to download
Charles Varni Ceramics
V Bar V Heritage Site the native site where  Charles took inspiration from to create the tiles 

Gratitude to my sons Kai and Kes for their willingness and capacity to keep showing up so fully. Gratitude for the many gifts we gave each other in story, presence, and especially the tiles that Charles so thoughtfully made for each of us. Gratitude for each of you for participating and celebrating in our time together.

Heartfelt regards to each of you,


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Art of Pilgrimage: Ojai, June 2015

Part of our Pilgrimage group along the Sespe River

Here is another version/translation of the Zen story that I told out on the path from the "Book of Serenity"

Zen Teacher Earth Treasury asked the monk Dharma Eye as he was leaving the monastery, "Where are you going?"
Dharma Eye said, "I am going on pilgrimage."
Earth Treasury said, "What is the purpose of pilgrimage?"
Dharma Eye said, "I don't know."
Earth Treasury said, "Not knowing is most intimate."
Dharma Eye was greatly awakened at these words.

Here are some links:
Photos: most of these photos are from Alana (sorry we never managed to get a whole group photo)
Exploring Pilgrimage by request, draft notes on pilgrimage 
Meal Chant Stew Since Bro. David Steindl-Rast's quotes kept coming up, an article about gratefulness 
Walking Water Pilgrimage: a project and a short film that Laura Whitney's husband Jim made and appears on the homepage
Walking Water definition of what pilgrimage might be.
Inner Wild An organization that Shannon is a part of
The Traveling School where Shannon is president of the board
The Ojai Foundation check out their other offerings!

We were blessed with such a wonderful variety of weather. From pea-soup thick fog,  needed rain, to clear star-filled nights, to hot sun with little shade... not to mention the external weather. I hope each of us is able to bring something embodied back to our other lives as a gift to self and others. I am filled with gratitude and hope to see you all again along the wild path.

Special thanks to Adam for his encouragement to come down to Ojai and for co-leading with me. Gratitude to Alana for support and photos along the way. Thanks for all of you for choosing to show up and do the hokey pokey—putting your whole self in and shaking all about. Deep bow to all of the seen and unseen conditions that supported our being together on the path.

I invite you to pause for a moment as though you have just heard the ringing of the bell... and for the next three breaths... I invite you to open your awareness and attend to whatever arises. May we all live "most intimately."

Deep gratitude filled bow,


Monday, May 25, 2015

Walk on the Wild Side: Esalen, May 2015

Walking Wild in Big Creek

"I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains..."
~ John Muir

What walks with us from the wilds of Big Sur to our other lives? This is the question I ask myself and almost all individuals and groups to hold gently as an open question in their lives. Patiently weave the threads of somatically felt moments that have heart and meaning into the fabric of our daily life. Even in the middle of the busiest city, as Mary Oliver suggests, "there is still somewhere deep within you a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted." Are we willing to hear the shouting at least as a whisper, and let the whispers inform our moment to moment choices along the path? May we listen deeply. May the wilds (inside and out) keep calling us into authentic aliveness.

Here are some links that were requested and some just for fun:
Kings of the Kelp: California Sea Otters by Steven
Elusive Wild Beauty: Mountain Lions by Steven
Meal Chant Stew by Steven published on Bro. David Steindl-Rast's site
Big Creek Reserve (if you are inclined to support some of the places we visited)
Jeff Myers Art
Ojai Foundation (where Adam is Executive Director and retreat leader)
New Leadership Adventure (Adam's new project, site to be launched soon)
Art of Pilgrimage at Ojai Foundation with Adam & Steven

About Muir
How Muir Are You?
John Muir: Wikipedia
John Muir: Nature's Visionary by Gretel Ehrlich (my favorite book about Muir)

"The mountain are calling and I must go"
~ John Muir

Walking Wildly,


Thursday, May 07, 2015

Nature of Zen: Tassajara, May 2015

Tassajara Jizo

Here is the story that Leslie used in one or our discussions:

As the Buddha was walking with the congregation, he pointed to the ground with his finger and said, "This spot is good to build a sanctuary." Indra, Emperor of the gods, took a blade of grass, stuck it in the ground and said, "The sanctuary is built." The Buddha smiled.
~ from the Book of Serenity

Walking with our group this last weekend at Tassajara for moments I could feel sanctuaries being built in every moment—each of us planting blades of grass, building santuary, and smiling. As I told the group, I mark time by my seasonal return to Tassajara. Coming over the road crossing Chew's Ridge and descending into Tassajara Creek is a threshold and the journey is a pilgrimage. Thank you for conspiring (from latin, meaning breathing together) to build sanctuary. May something of our time together journey with you into your other life.

Here are some links that may be of interest:
Tassajara Photos
Robin's Photos
Steven's Photos: form this retreat (I took the fewest ever!)
Mindful by Mary Oliver
Coulter Pines
Meal Chant Stew: this is an article I wrote about the Tassajara meal chant and how I changed the language to align with my own experience and use. It came up as a topic in our group discussion.

Thanks to the staff at Tassajara in supporting us at the very beginning of the guest season. Special thanks to Benson, Tjarn, and especially Leslie—and of course the wilds of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Gassho (Deep Bow) to each of us...


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Big Sur Wilderness Experience: Esalen, April 2015

Crossing Bridges Into the Wilds

What a way to begin my 2015 wilderness workshop season! I am so deeply grateful for how everyone showed up in such a sweet way with themselves, each other, and the wilds. Special thanks go to Stacy and Tjarn — I believe we were all blessed to have their gentle leadership, support, and attention on the path. And, of course, the wilds of Big Sur was a great teacher, offering up good medicine for diving deeper, nourishing soul food, and inspirational seeds to plant and grow in our other worlds.

Here are some links I hope will serve:
Doug Overman's Photos 
Poems to Live By
Among the Wonderful by Stacy Carlson (or better yet, ask your local bookseller to order it)
Stacy Carlson
Redwoods yet more about these amazing trees
Meal Chant Stew A short piece on gratefulness

And, I am sure you have all hand written your seed quality(s), and are finding ways to plant what was given as gift in this wild world and grow it in your other world—whatever, wherever that may be. May it be so...

Two claps, deep bow to each of you,


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shinrin-yoku — Forest Bathing

Group Partaking in Shinrin-yoku

Forest Bathing, called Shinrin-yoku (森林浴), as I understand it, is the Japanese concept of spending time in nature to re-embody our deep connection to nature, to find balance, heal, and make whole again ourselves and our fundamental relationship to nature—both inner and outer.

In Japan there are 44 'accredited' Shinrin Yoku forests... a novel social construct, as I believe any forest will do for Forest Bathing—certified or not. John Muir reminds us, "Every body needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul."

There is mounting scientific studies and evidence that supports the practice of Forest Bathing, or what I prefer to call Wild Nature Bathing. Our physiological and neuro-psychological systems are affected in numerous ways that science is just scratching the surface in it's understanding.

Don't take the wisdom of Japanese culture or western science's word—get out and bathe in wild nature—feel for yourself the potential of Shinrin-yoku.

Wishing you wholesome Forest Bathing from the Big Sur,


Friday, January 30, 2015

Get Wild

Wilds of Big Sur

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

Now is the time to grow our connection, understanding, and relationship with the natural world. I invite you to join me on a journey and let yourself be touched by the healing beauty of wild nature.

Most of my 2015 workshops have been scheduled and are up on my website. Some have already booked full! July through October dates are up, but not yet open for enrollment. Take a look to see what might call to you: 2015 Workshops & Retreats.

In the meantime, I am wishing for each of us that the new year is off to a good start and is filled with moments of pure delight and simply being.

Here is a link to inspire your inner wild journey: Poems to Live By

Warmest regards from the Big Sur,