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Holiday Couples Group, The Gift of Touch Deborah Anne Medow & Rob Wilks

Give your significant other or good friend a won- derful holiday gift of touch. Enjoy the serene beauty of Big Sur as you and your partner learn to give one another an effective Esalen® Massage. A tender touch can do wonders for any relationship by easing stress, releasing tension, and deepening nonverbal communication skills. Emphasis will be on listening with both your heart and hands, asking for what you need, and taking the time to truly nurture yourself and your partner. Sessions will include basic quieting exercises, movement, brief demonstrations, hands-on guidance, and plenty of time for practice.

This weekend of mutual giving and receiving is for those of you who wish to learn the essential elements of Esalen Massage and share a lovely experience with your partner; no prior massage experience is necessary. Come for a pleasurable time of relaxation, renewal, inspiration, and reconnection with your partner; soak in the healing waters of the natural hot springs, and enjoy the magical beauty of the Esalen grounds. It’s a magnificent way to celebrate the holiday season.

All levels of massage experience are welcome.

Please bring an open heart, your favorite CDs for massage and/or dancing, and a good sense of humor.

CE credit for nurses; see page 113. CE credit for bodyworkers; see page 113.

Deborah Anne Medow bio on page 16. Rob Wilks bio on page 57.

Sharing at the Holiday Table: The Festive Cuisine of the Caribbean

Dulce Maria Perez

“My early childhood memories of the holidays are deeply marked by the coming together of my family at grandmother’s house in the small village where she lived in the Dominican Republic,” writes Dulce Maria Perez. “Everybody was included in the preparation of the special meals we cooked.” Join Dulce for a celebration of the sacred and healing properties of food and the special community that forms around the winter holiday meals.

The Caribbean cuisine uses a cornucopia of aro- matic, textured, and colorful ingredients, born of a cultural crossroads that brought together traditions from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the indigenous Taino tribes. This hands-on work-

A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self-Expression as Spiritual Practice

Nina Wise

It is our nature to be free—and to express that freedom spontaneously and without hesitation through song and dance, poetry and play. Moreover, we each have the ability to wake up to who we already know ourselves to be: people dedicated to a sane and just world made up of individuals who celebrate their common humanity and this planet of indescribable beauty through singing, dancing, playing, and caring for all sentient beings.

This improvisation workshop in Motion Theater® allows the creativity that resides with- in us to have a voice. “Everyone has a story to tell,” says Nina, “and stories reside as much in the body as in the mind. So we begin with move- ment—slow stretches to open the body. We open the voice with playful classical- and jazz-based exercises. We meditate to calm the heart, dance to free the spirit, find a way to effortlessly com- pose with language. This journey leads to giving voice and physicality to the private characters and inner realities that live in the subconscious mind and the cells of our bodies.”

This workshop is like dreaming on your feet. Expect to surprise yourself and to become more

shop is a journey through all the aspects of cre- ating fresh, healthy, flavor-rich dishes and bever- ages from the Caribbean. The group will harvest herbs and flowers from the beautiful gardens of Esalen that surround the workshop kitchen. Freshly picked condiments will accompany an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruits, and spices such as okra, plantain, achiote, cassava, papaya, mangos, coconuts, and many other Caribbean delights. The dishes include pasteles en hojas, a rich plantain paste stuffed with vegetables and spices, then neatly wrapped in a green plantain leaf; rosca de reyes, known in English as three kings cake; empanaditas, small savory pastries, and many other new dishes to share with your families in the coming years.

($40 ingredients fee paid directly to the leader)

Dulce Maria Perez carried her passion for cooking with her when she moved from her native Dominican Republic to the US. She studied at Anne Marie Colbin Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, the California Culinary Academy, and the Ann Wigmore Institute.

December 23–30

Soul Motion™: Tenderness at the Heart of the Dance

Zuza Engler & Scott Engler

“Soul is flow, an ever-changing cloudscape of textures, hues, sensations, scents, and feelings,” writes Zuza. “Soul is how the deathless Presence meets and moves a finite human body. In this workshop, we will reclaim the body-in-motion as a doorway to the soul’s flow, to the life that is unfolding just under the surface of everyday for- getting.

“Soul Motion is a meeting with self and other in a dance that is deeply nourishing, creative, intel- ligent, emotionally savvy, heartbreaking, soul- making, spirited, and transforming. It is a move- ment toward the dynamic stillness at the center of all things, the place of rest at the heart of sound and motion. We will gather to listen deeply and hover on the threshold between doing and being, solitude and togetherness, awkwardness and grace.

“Dancing at the edge of the continent, the edge of another beginning, the edge of Love despite all odds, we will move with our delight and our sorrow, inspired by the promise of light return- ing into the heart of darkness. This formless dance form allows for passionate full-bodied movement as well as mindful inner explo- rations, art making, ritual, and luscious loung- ing. To follow the divine choreography, we learn to fall and flounder. Going deeply into contact with self, we awake enveloped in communion. The permission to relax, restore, and rejoice in community invites a shift from alone to All One—from ‘my dance’ to the One Dance.”

Bring an object, a poem, or an image for the altar to be created as a symbol for the simultaneous possibility of self-expression and belonging.


playful and at ease before an audience. You might even find that the sense of wellbeing achieved during the workshop not only expands your creative abilities, but also enhances your experience of daily life. And while it is not ther- apy, Nina’s work can be surprisingly, delightfully, holistically healing.

Recommended reading: Wise, A Big, New, Free, Happy, Unusual Life; Lamott, Bird by Bird; Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet.

Please note: There will be a celebratory Christmas Eve dinner in the Esalen Lodge.

CE credit for MFTs and LCSWs; see page 113. Leader bio on page 11.

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