Esalen is the heart chakra of the Earth, for me. I remember the first time I sat on the grass near the sweat lodge and the ground vibrated. The connection between people and the land felt so alive. For nearly four thousand years the Esalen people have been coming to this land of the sacred waters, the salt water ocean, the fresh water spring that runs through the canyon, and the hot sulphur springs. They have come here to heal and to die, they did not live here year round.
The intentionality of their relationship with this place is profoundly tangible. After the Europeans came and took over this land it remained a place for healing and transformation. Very few people live here even now, most come for a weekend or week to enter the next phase of their life in a new way. There is still a place on the land, around the sweat lodge that is reserved for the descendants of the Esalen tribe who lead us in a beautiful ceremony at the end of our month long journey. They shared with us the medicine of being here, grateful, connected…they remember and forgive the history of this land in a way that moved me.
This land called me back. This is where I learn and live in true intimacy with nature. I had the pleasure of living here a month while training in Esalen Massage.
One night I came down to the big stone tubs at the edge of the ocean. I stepped into the hot sulphur water and lowered myself slowly. The stars were brilliantly clear in the dark sky. Tiny cool droplets of rain were starting to caress my face. I heard a male voice singing. I could tell there were 4 other people in the tub with me, though we could not see each other. His voice greeted me, “would you like to float?”
Yes. I wasn’t sure what that entailed, but I knew I was a yes. He guided me to lay back in the water for a “pseudo watsu” journey. Four sets of hands came under by floating body. The warm water filled my ears and vibrated with my heartbeat. The rain cooled my face, my nipples, and the tips of my toes. “See IS small!” I heard from the people holding me, and I laughed, for we could not see each other. I was being discovered. As I floated I could feel the patience in their hands. I could feel that we were going to be here until… until I let them know we were complete. How much love could I receive? I asked myself with amusement.
That night all 4 of us rotated floating each other, interspersed with conversations and silences. We spoke of returning a soul through intention based abortion. We slithered over each other and made dolphin noises. We talked of our dreams in motion now and the women’s circles we have on the full moon.
A few days later I saw a man in the lodge at lunch, with a peculiar white hat. Are you Gabe, from the tubs the other night? “Are you Zahava?!” We laughed, taking in the new information our eyes offered to us. I wondered if this is how Oneness experiences us, as voices, life paths, energies, playing by the ocean.