• November 29, 2011

    An Esalen community member hoping to influence the course of the Institute is showered with the language of gratitude — “heard” and “appreciated” — only to find that nothing of their contribution will be taken into true account.

    This pattern of interaction abuses the language of process, the spirit of the human being, and the whole notion of personal human potential.

    The failure of the community to influence the direction of Esalen through established process containers should no longer surprise us. Esalen process succeeds in transforming human beings, but no longer the Institute.

    Bored of even perpetuating the illusion, the management will make this year’s Staff Week the first ever to lack a facilitated management-community process. Perhaps direct action will fill the void.


  • November 28, 2011

    Years ago, I approached an Esalen board member to express my concern that the collective wisdom of the community was being squandered in community meetings, which too often proved little use but to stall progress on a given issue. I shared his concern that community processes as they stood were a dead end, and imagined innovative ways of harnessing the community to guide Esalen successfully into the future.

    The board member physically recoiled at the suggestion, and seemed to desperately want to escape from the conversation. Like many in the upper ranks, he saw the community as something to be tolerated and put to good use, but not empowered any more than low level employees would be in any other corporation.

    These lame objectives for the community condemn Esalen to a profane future, one in which the wisdom accumulated over 50 years is preached piecemeal in workshops, but not integrated or understood or practiced in the institution itself, and is ultimately lost.

    Esalen’s attempts at progress under a variety of outsider executive influences have shown miserable results. The worldwide Esalen community, which embodies the knowledge developed at the institution over many years, possesses the wisdom and talent to guide Esalen on a new path both sacred and successful. Rather than looking to accountants and hoteliers for the answers, the institute must look inwards to its wisest ranks and its global network of “graduates” for guidance.

    Esalen, like a human being, has only its soul to save it from a descent into meaninglessness.


  • Employee manual

    Comments Off
    November 28, 2011

    Esaleaks invites for publication a copy of the new Esalen Employee Manual.

  • November 25, 2011

    A reader poses the question:

    “Heartful boutique” hotels. Is this the kind of new vision Esalen needs?

    Joie de Vivre HospitalityThe reader references an email from Esalen CEO Tricia McEntee to the Esalen community, about on the aspirations of Chip Conley and Vanda Marlow to transform Esalen’s business and culture, and perhaps also Conley’s reputation as (to quote another reader’s assessment) a “new age Donald Trump” who describes his business as “heartful boutique hotel groups” (pictured here). Conley and Marlow now hold key managerial positions at Esalen, and Conley has also joined the Board of Trustees.

    As an experiment, Esaleaks are opening anonymous web comments (see yellow link above) with the reader’s question in mind.

    Chip & Vanda (Conley and Marlow) and Esalen offer this PR blurb: Read the rest of this entry »

  • Suppressed survey

    Comments Off
    November 23, 2011

    Esaleaks.org would like to publish the results of the Esalen Spring 2011 Leadership Survey. As you may know, the survey results reflected poorly on management and morale. To protect the status quo, the results were suppressed by management. If you have access to these documents, we invite you to leak them anonymously to Esaleaks for the benefit of all.

  • Anonymity

    Comments Off
    November 23, 2011

    Several potential contributors have expressed concerns about our trustworthiness. You needn’t trust us in order to protect your anonymity. When emailing Esaleaks, consider using an anonymizer such as Anonymouse. There are many ways to protect your identity when contacting us. We encourage you to research and choose your own.

  • An Elder’s report

    Comments Off
    November 22, 2011

    Dick PriceLike the ancient Greeks, Dick Price and I believed that civic responsibilities in an open society were a necessity for a healthy developing consciousness. In the 1960s I was helping Dick build the first American community dedicated to mental health skills at Esalen. He did not believe the traditional mental health treatments (psychiatry and psychiatrists) were effective in helping people grow out of their psychic distress. He believed that it would take a conscious communal village to do the job.

    For the past ten years, and accelerating in the last five, our Community has been invaded by a foreign ideology. We now have a repressive corporate structure based on strict hierarchical principles, enforced by insensitive bureaucrats deaf to those below them. We have a cadre of people hired for their obedience to corporate principles — ignorant of our historical and social legacies, ignorant of our Humanistic traditions and values which are anti-authoritarian to the core.

    With increasing frequency the Community of Esalen is being treated by a new executive staff without civility or personal dignity. The Esalen Community is filled with fear and indignation. People have learned to fear speaking the truth of their situation in our departmental groups. The trust in our group processes has been shaken and perhaps lost.

    I think Dick Price would be thrashing in his ashes if he knew what was happening here at Esalen. His precious healing Community being devalued, and its profundity being sold as a boutique spa experience. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Everything is Broken

    Comments Off
    November 21, 2011

    Everything is Broken

    Broken Skies
    Broken Tones
    Broken Eyes
    Broken Bones
    Broken Sighs
    Broken Thrones
    Everything is Broken

    We were led by Giants
    With Elan
    Courageous and Fearless
    Our Leaders are Stunted Dwarfs
    Barking at strange noises in
    the Night
    Everything is Broken


  • Editorship

    Comments Off
    November 21, 2011

    A reader asks:

    “Will you be filtering and editing contributions?”

    We hope to take a mainly passive approach to editorship, while preventing a total degeneration into strings of reactionary rebuttals (as many online forums become), perverse trifling (as many Esalen Community Meetings become), and politicking which masquerades grotesquely as news or intelligent argument (as most authoritarians, including The Nine, are prone to compulsively utter).

    We eagerly await your contribution.

    The Nine

  • Continuity

    Comments Off
    November 20, 2011

    Dear The Nine,

    I remember you well.

    Watching your current incarnation with interest.