I am at Esalen, the unique community perched on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur, California.
Esalen was established to create an atmosphere of acceptance and freedom to explore the depths of the human experience. It encourages each individual to dive deep into the darkest corners of their inner life and uncover those parts of themselves that are hidden. Esalen is the home of the Human Potential Movement. It aspires to help individuals achieve their own highest potential.
For the past decade, I have been spending several weeks every year at Esalen attempting to become transparent to myself and developing the courage to be transparent to others. What if the parts of ourselves we bury and hide are actually the most endearing, the most lovable, the most creative aspects of ourselves? How will we ever know if we don’t open ourselves to discovery?
Each time I arrive the first few days are spent in transition from my outside “ordinary” life to the non-ordinary life of Esalen. Part of that transition is the awareness of my “theme.” A “theme” emerges in those opening days and it sets the tone for my experience. Yesterday, the word for my theme came to me. It is La Pachamama, the Andean word for Earth Goddess and when you say La Pachamama it means Mother Earth signifying the Goddess’ connection to Nature.
When I visited Peru a couple of years ago I spent time with several Andean Shamans and participated in their ceremonies. I learned the meaning of the word Pachamama and my experiences there have influenced my life and choices since. I am feeling honored that the days that are to come will be spent in further exploration of what this word means to me. I started this morning with a poem.
Pachamama is the gift of my life.
I seek to honor her with every breath breathed, every word spoken, every step taken.
I see Pachamama in the waves of the ocean, I feel her in the touch of the breeze on my skin.
She is the in the solid feeling of the earth beneath my feet.
It is Pachamama who is warming my face when I walk in the sunlight and activating my senses when I lie under the stars and gaze up at the full moon.
Pachamama is the rhythms of nature.
She releases the leaves from the trees and the raindrops from the thunderheads.
She pushes the baby bud from the protective cover of its seed and the chick out of its eggshell.
She whispers to me, teaching me the magical secrets of my Universe.
It is when I am still and turn my attention inward that I feel her.
It is when I am in wonder and awe of life that I sense her strongly.
It is when the complexities of my life reduce down to one simple knowing…then I am hearing her clearly and I understand.