Home again

Here I am in Chicago. I’m still on California time, so even though I’m tired I’m not ready to slip into bed yet. The flights were blessedly uneventful and I think we actually arrived at O’Hare early. I found my coach seat fairly comfy this time, which gives me hope that I will be able to stand a longer flight in the future. Perhaps to Europe? We’ll see.

I do know I want to go back to Esalen again, preferably within the next 3-6 months. I was browsing the print catalog while on the plane from Monterey to LAX and saw that David Schiffman (our workshop leader) will be leading another workshop in late December. Tempting.

Returning to the house is comforting, but it needs a bit of tidying. Mark stayed here while I was gone and took care of the animals and such, but he’s not a housekeeper. I see dog hair dust bunnies all over that must be vacuumed up tomorrow. I’m actually keeping myself in check as I really want to do it tonight. Now. Instead I’m having a glass of wine to help wind me down and trying to ignore them.

It’s a cool, drizzly night here which is sort of refreshing. The past 2 days in Big Sur and Monterey were very warm and very dry. The humidity and moisture in the air is a nice change.

I really feel different. Freer, more confident in my personal power, and more comfortable in my skin and my space. I have tomorrow to completely unpack, do laundry, and continue my immersion into the reality of my life here in Chicago. There are so many possibilities I want to set in motion.

As I sit here on the couch with Hannah dog on one side of me and Sadie dog on the other I’m content. It’s a quiet night and I can hear Hannah gently snoring. This is good and pleasing to me, and the fact that I can recognize that and be content with it is an accomplishment for me. I’ve always tried to savor these simple pleasures. Being at Esalen has reinforced in me that this approach is healthy and necessary for me. I’m grateful for that.

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Re-entry

I’m back in Monterey again. I’m again grateful for the laid back atmosphere here, as re-entering the “real world” after Esalen can be hard.

Our workshop leader put it very well when he said that being at Esalen can be intoxicating. While you’re there you are cradeled in an atmosphere of such support, caring, and beauty it is hard to walk away from it. Everyone sighs deeply on the last day and savors the last moments as if they were manna to sustain us on a long sojourn through the desert. Perhaps they are.

In the hostel here in Monterey there is kindness and camraderie. I met up again with a British woman whom I became acquainted with my previous night here. She is an ebulliant and hardy soul. Last week we spent the morning together before I had to catch the transport to Esalen. We went out on the bay in kayaks and wondered over the beauty of the kelp beds, the seals, and the sea otters cavorting in the chilly waters.

While at Esalen I met some fabulous people and had some amazing experiences. I participated in a sweat lodge and was reborn (at least symbolically). I participated in the blessing of a couple who cemented their union and did it with joy, not envy. And I learned that a lot of people found me very likable. It was amazing.

Each time I go back the pull to stay is stronger. This is my third visit to Esalen, and while making the drive down Highway 1 on my own is incredibly scary, I’d do it over and over again just to be there again. I think that’s saying a lot.

Here at last

I’ve made it to the California Central Coast. Today I arrived in Monterey via a flight through LA and tomorrow afternoon I continue on to Esalen along the Big Sur coast.

I love this area of California. The weather is pleasantly temperate and the town contains a strange assortment of consignment and thrift stores, used book and music shops, surfing outfitters, and “smoke shops.” I got here midday and have been wandering around Monterey and Pacific Grove soaking in the atmosphere.

There’s wildlife here.

Seal colony on Monterey Bay

Seal colony on Monterey Bay

And interesting vegetation.

Orange flowers

Orange flowers

Oh, and there’s also a kick-ass yarn store that I visited today, too. I carefully packed a pattern and yarn for one pair of socks and one scarf, but I”m whipping through the knitting so fast I got worried that I’d run out before I returned home. A quick bus ride to Monarch Knitting and Quilts helped me fill in the gap. Now I have yarn and needles to knit 2 more pairs of socks, just in case. (This isn’t my first visit to this store; seems I always find an excuse to drop by when I travel through this area.)

Tomorrow I have until late afternoon before I catch the transport to Esalen. Since I’ve already seen the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium on a previous visit, I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’d love to take a kayaking tour of the Bay, but it may be bit much to try to fit that in before I leave. Maybe I’ll just kick back some more and continue getting into my “rest and rejuvenate” mood early.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to post while at Esalen. Connectivity is possible through public terminals, but I may just try to stay away from any and all computers. I mainly brought my laptop along so I could use it to journal and write offline. But we’ll see what I feel up for. This is a week about me, me, me. Sounds so decadent!