I’m writing this post from Esalen in Big Sur, California. This is my all time favorite retreat location and I highly recommend that you put it on your bucket list, if not your annual get-away list. You can come here for amazing workshops on a variety of personal development topics or you can come for a personal retreat, like I am doing.
When I am here, I am surrounded by so much abundance that I am always immediately brought to a state of intense gratitude and groundedness. I feel like my highest self comes bursting through and I really like hanging out with her!
Esalen is nestled on the rocky coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which stretches before me for what seems like eternity. The unending and rhythmic crashing of the waves ocean is such a glorious display of abundance.
There are natural hotsprings that literally well up from the earth, which they capture and feed into a series of hottubs that sit right above the ocean. The tubs are open 24 hours so last night, I sat there under thousands of stars and listened the waves crash while nestled neck deep in warm water – mmmmmmm.
There is also a spring fed creek here that comes down this little valley and pours over a waterfall that is right next to the Zen meditation hut. Yesterday, I meditated to the sound of the creek and watched the water flow by, much like my monkey mind thoughts. I was struck by how this creek has flowed, nonstop, every day, every month, and every year for decades. More abundance.
Abundance is also evident in the organic gardens of food they grow here at Esalen, which they turn into a buffet meal three times a day. There are acres of vegetables, fruits and flowers that grow large in the rich soil heated by the sun.
Needless to say, I am a fan and I hope to lead of my Soul School workshops here someday. I picked up the application today and when I do, I hope you will join me!
It’s amazing to me how noticing the abundance around us opens our hearts so quickly. It happens to me every time and I realize that it’s all about the noticing. That if we want to live our lives from a grounded and open hearted place, we must create a daily practice that gets us there. In our fast-paced, media-saturated worlds, we are often in our heads, and shielding our core so we must be active and proactive in dropping down into our bodies and taking off the shield so we can open.
While retreats can certainly support us in developing such a practice by giving us a booster shot of awareness, the real journey is being able get “here” emotionally, physically and spiritually in the midst of chaos.
I’m still working on this myself but it sure helps me get this jump start. It reminds me of who I really am and gives me some clear experiences that I can recreate. Some things I am going to take back home with me are:
- sitting in quiet to eat my meals so that I can really taste the food and connect with those around me
- getting out in nature every day to open my heart – even just a few minutes shifts me
- stopping and just being in the moment, not texting or reading or knitting or thinking – just taking in what is around me through all of my senses and letting it really enter my system
- noticing all the abundance around me – while Esalen is a special place, I can find plenty of abundance at home in the water that flows from our taps, the food we can buy, the thousands of leaves on trees, and the friendships we can count on
- and taking a moment to watch the sunset as a way to ponder the abundance of warmth and life it brings us each and every day
Consider what opens your heart and how you can cultivate both booster shots and daily rituals that help you connect with you highest self.