Big Sur, CA
The deal was that I could stay at Esalen for free if I volunteered for a few hours with one of the work groups. On my first morning, I wandered into the kitchen and happily chopped vegetables for a few hours, smiling at everyone. 300 of the gentlest people I’d ever met smiled back at me, like Dave, who’d come over from the UK for a few months, where he worked with education and at-risk youth. A few days later, we were ”trees” together in Esalen’s preschool and we talked extensively about challenging contemporary thinking of education ideals. I’d never been in an environment where so many people were working so hard on their personal development, and somehow it all came off with a really profound sense of ease and love. We ate delicious vegetarian food, discussed our hearts openly and courageously, and, yes, sat naked in delicious hot tubs overlooking the cliffs. It was a profound experience, an amazing incubator of human development, and the type of experience I had been seeking for what feels like my entire life. So it wasn’t surprising that I hoped to seek out a few days stay – and sure enough, the universe delivered exactly what I was asking for.