In 1969, poet and songwriter Rod Marvin McKuen wrote the lyrics to “Lonesome Cities,” and one profound line of his song says “Maybe when I’ve done it all, seen all there is to see, I’ll find out I still cannot, run away from me.”
Many individuals do try and run away, yet many others continually seek ways to find themselves. While some may be able to do so within the confines of their own home, others have to search in a more utopian setting away from their daily existence.
One such utopia exists 162 miles south of San Francisco in Big Sur, California. It is called Esalen and it is nestled between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean at the bottom of a narrow road off of Highway One. Here one is able to find tranquility, but only if she or he is willing to leave the distractions of their daily life behind them and to open their arms, heart and mind to what they can possibly become.
At Esalen you can find a weekend or five-day workshop, or a much longer one on a multiplicity of mind-massaging topics, but most people who attend, are there to learn more about themselves.
You can learn from your workshop leader by listening, digesting and then choosing whether to adopt his or her ideas; from talking to strangers at breaks in your workshop who shortly become confiding friends; but mostly you learn about yourself from yourself.
You will have ample free time to contemplate as you gaze mesmerized by a star-laden night sky. Or perhaps you seek the calm caress of the healing waters in the natural hot spring baths. You can also find peace within by walking down meandering trails that wend their way through lush gardens that lead you to rushing waterfalls. You can rest quietly and cogitate sitting on a wooden bench in the middle of a grassy expanse on the top of a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, listening as its waves crash below you, telling you their story.
You can do all of this if you can leave your daily life behind you while you are at Esalen and you are open to all of the possibilities of what life beyond today can offer. At that moment, you are capable to begin taking yourself on a wondrous new journey.
The answers to the Four Play word quiz found in Vol. 4, No.4 of the Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator are: Here, Were, Wore, Gore, Gone.
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