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Esalen Day 1 : Case of the Freak Outs

I have a lot of nervous energy right now and need a release. Some of it is pent up energy from spending the last two days in a car with my mom and sister driving up the coast to drop me off here at Esalen. And now being here, I feel pretty out of place and find myself trying to pinpoint what it is that makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. I fear that this week is going to go by so fast and I haven’t really identified what my intention is on being here. Everyone seems to radiate their intention set for their time at Esalen. The girl last night at the baths who was blowing a kiss to the moonlight certainly seems to have an intention. The guy playing the guitar on the lawn overlooking the ocean seems to have an intention. The girl wearing a cat mask & crawling around the lawn definitely seems to have an intention. So why is it so hard for me to figure out my own?!

I feel overwhelmingly unprepared to be here, both emotionally and physically. I feel the need to release my nervous energy through word vomit, so I can move past the negativity and choose to have a positive experience with this journey. So let's write out all my insecurities and doubts so we can be on with it!

I am here for the farm to table workshop hosted by the main chef here at Esalen, chef Phillip. We had our first class today on breaking down wild alaskan salmon, preserving meyer lemons, & making kimchee. Our schedule is quite intense and I’m already planning my escape from class.. I have already been through culinary school, so why do I still feel guilty about skipping class to hike, get a massage, or just do nothing? I don’t want to feel obligated to be anywhere right now, and yet, I still feel guilty for paying beaucoup bucks on a workshop I don't really care to attend. Ugh, so much guilt. So exhausting

I am very unprepared on the packing front. There are so many things I forgot to bring - long pants for hiking, sun screen for lying naked at the baths where clothing is optional (aka no one wears a scrap of clothing to the baths), a water bottle, warm jacket. But does any of the that really need to stop me from doing anything here? There’s apparently a free bin filled with clothes where I can find long socks for hikes to avoid the poison oak, or even a jacket for the chilly nights. So why am I focusing on the “if I had known this, I would have done that” mentality? it's definitely not serving me at the moment.

I never have experienced such a strong urge to write because I am feeling so many different kinds of emotions right now. Inside my mind is screaming and questioning and doubting, but I am also smiling, laughing, and beaming. How do you balance all of these emotions and choose to move forward with those that make you the happiest?

I feel like a cop out or a corporate sell out when I tell people what I have been doing for a living the last 8 years of my life. And it was interesting because I was talking to one of my 2 roommates I have here named Marla - she is a therapist dealing with addicts, namely opius drugs like heroin, which coincidentally enough was the drug Mike decided to overdose on. I was telling her about Mike and about how the grieving process has put my career and my whole life in question. After i told her my career was unfulfilling, she said, “well sometimes it’s nice to have a career like that because it allows you to afford to do other things” like pay for this Esalen trip or a year off to travel. But is that what I really want? Do I really want to slave away at a job just to get burnt out and go on a self discovery journey? Shouldn’t we always be working on ourselves even in our careers? Sometimes I think I am talking in circles and have no idea why i’m writing all this down or why I have any desire to write, but it somehow helps to write it all out instead of talk to someone - sometimes you don’t need feedback or an opinion but a chance to express yourself in whatever way you so choose. In recent weeks, I have chosen to physically express a lot of my emotion, through exercise, cooking, crying, hiking, yoga-ing, etc.. maybe it’s nice to change it up a bit huh..

I had my first bath experience last night. Its an easy way to dip your toe in the water, literally, before you go in head first into nudity in broad daylight, which I am currently contemplating at the moment. We have no cell service here and wifi only works at select hours. But for some reason I don’t have any strong desire to want to connect to the outside world. Out of my friends and family, not many people would understand this place. I keep stepping outside myself and putting my friends in my current perspective, those who may be a tad more judgmental - there are definitely a lot of people here that beat to the sound of their own drum. I think it's pretty amazing but it’s hard for me not to wonder who here is authentic and who here is actually looking for attention. I believe most people are really focused on being whoever they feel like being today, but you always have to wonder if the naked girl blowing a kiss to the moon in the nighttime bath really feels that connected? Then again, I’m sure if people saw me pet and kiss my plants like i do sometimes in my apartment, they would think I’m a weirdo!

I’m really looking forward to seeing Jamie this week and giving her a big hug. And I'm really looking forward to the rest of my time off. Sometimes I feel super impatient, like I just want to get up and start my journey - there’s something in my gut telling me I have to spend some significant time traveling around or I will feel unfulfilled. There are so many places I want to go but most importantly, I really just want to feel more connected while I’m there - with the people, the food, the culture, the sites. I just want to grow from being a student again. I have spent so much of my corporate job being the teacher, while feeling like there is so much more to know than sitting in the perspective as the expert corporate retail director.

Just chill out kim.. don’t worry about what you should get out of this experience, or what you would get out of your experience if you did x, y, z. Just go and do and be. Stop thinking so much. Stop worrying about the guilt for taking this time for yourself, or for hurting others, or for being perceived wrongly by others. Be careful and impeccable with your word like the Toltecs. And just LIVE! It’s a truly scary feeling to be alone with your thoughts, but I know this is going to be a good experience for me.. Not sure how yet, but looking forward to the discovery and the journey.

You don’t have to be a hippie to come to Esalen, although I can imagine that certain people here must scare some people away.. but we are all here trying to figure out one thing or another in our lives, so just recognize that we are all on our own journeys and don’t make any self deprecating assumptions. Because you never know what’s going on on the inside.

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