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Voices of Esalen Podcast

Our podcast showcases in-depth interviews with the dynamic teachers and thinkers who are part of Esalen Institute. Hosted by Sam Stern, a former Esalen student and current staff member, the podcasts have featured engaging conversations with authors Cheryl Strayed and Michael Pollan, innovators Stan Grof and Dr. Mark Hyman, teachers Byron Katie, Mark Coleman and Jean Houston, Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, and many more.

These podcasts are made possible in part by the support of Esalen donors and are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Listen to the latest episodes here, and subscribe to Voices of Esalen on Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Latest Episode:
Dr. Han Ren on Decolonizing Mental Health
August 6, 2021

Dr. Han Ren is a practitioner of decolonial mental health: she offers liberation-oriented, anti-oppressive, culturally informed therapy, and practices from a justice-oriented, systems-informed framework. Some of her specialties include Asian-American mental health, anxiety, perfectionism, high achievers, children of immigrants/third culture kids, anti-racism, and parenting. Dr. Ren is also a force to be reckoned with on TikTok, amassing a large following on a platform she uses in an attempt to make therapy accessible and applicable to our everyday lives. Together we talked about how white supremacy can be internalized, what it looks like when you center BIPOC mental health in treatment, how one decolonizes language, the conceptual shift from a dyadic trauma perspective to a more collective, societal notion of trauma, and her struggles as a recovering perfectionist.

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Richie Reseda and Indigo Mateo: Question Culture and Fighting Patriarchy in Prison Systems
July 23, 2021

Richie Reseda and Indigo Mateo are the co-owners and founders of Question Culture, an activist-artistic art label whose projects support grassroots organizing. Richie Reseda is an abolistionist-feminist, formerly incarcerated in the state of California and the subject of the CNN documentary" Feminist in Cell Block Y," a film that chronicles his journey educating and combatting toxic masculinity within the walls of the prison system. Indigo Mateo is a singer, healer, abolitionist, survivor, and artist. She’s releasing her sophomore album on the label this summer. Indigo met Richie while visiting him in prison; her partner, 88, also an artist on the Question Culture label, is currently incarcerated. Together we discussed how patriarchy functions in culture and in jail, what the school to prison pipeline is, and why it exists, how economies sprout up around the prison system and in neighboring towns, how meritocracy has led to a culture of vengeance, and why“the prison system is,” in Richie Reseda's words, “the deadbeat boyfriend of America.”

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Suzanne Simard: Finding the Mother Tree
July 9, 2021

Suzanne Simard is a Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia as well as the author of the excellent new memoir, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest. Suzanne is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide. Together, we discussed her scientific findings, the dangers of deforestation, how her literary and scientific proclivities intertwine, and what it’s like to have a character in a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel based on her (Richard Powers' The Overstory). She's a rather amazing person, passionate about the future of the planet and our shared existence with old-growth forests.

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Akuyoe Graham: Spirit Awakening
June 24, 2021

Akuyoe Graham is founder of the Spirit Awakening Foundation, an arts-based nonprofit dedicated to helping underserved youth in the juvenile justice system. Since 1995, SA has been a pioneer in developing restorative, trauma-informed prevention and intervention programs to incarcerated and systems-involved young people in Los Angeles County. Using the tools of meditation, self-reflection, creative writing, visual arts, mentorship, service, and leadership training, all of which have been guided by evidence-based research, SAF is able to accomplish their mission to help underserved youth build character and raise self-esteem. Visit spiritawakening.org to learn more.

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Reverend Bodhi Be: Dying Well
June 10, 2021

Reverend Bodhi Be is the Executive Director of "Doorway into Light," a non-profit that seeks to re-invent and revolutionize the funeral home and the funeral industry, transforming the “business of dying” and returning it to “sacred service." Bodhi is an ordained minister in the universal Sufi lineage, an independent funeral director, hospice volunteer, end-of-life bereavement counselor, as well as a grandparent, coffin maker, death doula, educator, artist, and entrepreneur. He lives on Maui, where he is also the founder and president of the Death Store, Hawaii's only community educational resource center and store for those who are living with a life-threatening illness, those grieving the death of a loved one, and those wishing to explore their own approaching death.

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Darnell Walker: Seeking Asylum
May 27, 2021

Darnell Walker is Esalen's artist in residence for Spring 2021. Darnell is a writer and creator of children’s media, as well as a powerful documentary filmmaker — his efforts include 2015’s Seeking Asylum, which explored Black Americans’ desires to escape American tyranny and widespread police violence for safer lands, Outside the House, which focuses on Black mental health, and Set Yourself on Fire, a film about sexual violence. His work investigates education and revolution, with a strong first-person point of view informed by an inspiring DIY ethic. Together we explored his body of work, modes of creativity, and the kind of change he hopes to affect in the world.

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Bill Donius: Unlock Your Brain
May 14, 2021

Bill Donius is the New York Times Best Selling author of Thought Revolution: How to Unlock your Inner Genius. He is the creator of a simple but powerful methodology designed to unlock potential in all areas of your life by using your non-dominant hand as a direct pipeline to right-brain wisdom. Bill is an innovator, a facilitator, former CEO of a major bank, and a member of Esalen’s board of trustees. He’s helped major corporations and organizations all over the world tap into their creativity and intuition.

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And now this ... Are you looking for support in navigating the unique challenges that middle age brings when it comes to navigating relationships, career, finances and health? June sees the launch of Modern Elder Academy’s 8-week online Transitions course on navigating profound life changes in middle age and beyond. You’ll be part of a small, Esalen-only cohort learning from home, doing one-on-one calls with other group members, and tapping into MEA’s pool of thought leaders. Learn more at online.modernelderacademy.com, and use the coupon code “Esalen” when you enroll to save 10%.

Learn More
The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 10: Lauren Taus on Love, Ketamine, and Relational Psychotherapy
April 30, 2021

Lauren Taus is a licensed clinical therapist with a specialty in addiction and trauma treatment. She utilizes ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in her clinical work, where she’s had success treating a number of challenging conditions, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, eating disorders, OCD, and more.

Lauren trained at The Trauma Institute in Boston in Trauma-sensitive yoga, and with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for complex PTSD. She's an experienced clinician whose work is firmly rooted in creating a safe and loving connection between herself and her clients. She's also the host of a podcast about Psychedelics and Psychedelic Psychotherapy: INBodied Life. To check out her show and her practice, visit her online at inbodiedlife.com.

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The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 9: Sara Gael on Psychedelic Harm Reduction and the Zendo Project
April 16, 2021

Sara Gael is the Harm Reduction Officer at the MAPS-sponsored Zendo project. Sara received her master's degree in transpersonal counseling psychology at Naropa University. She started working with MAPS in 2012, coordinating psychedelic harm reduction services at festivals and events worldwide with the Zendo project.

Sara served as Director of Harm Reduction at MAPS from 2017 to 2020, and she continues to train individuals and organizations in principles of psychedelic peer support. Sara is a therapist for MAPS clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in Boulder. She also maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in trauma, integration, Non-ordinary States of consciousness, and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. She's presented at conferences, universities, and events around the world, serves on the board of directors at DanceSafe, and as the harm reduction advocate on the city of Denver psilocybin policy review panel. Sara believes that developing a comprehensive understanding of psychedelic medicines through research and education is essential for the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities, and the planet.

The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 9: Sara Gael on Psychedelic Harm Reduction and the Zendo Project by Voices of Esalen is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 8: Terence Ching on Intersectionality in MDMA Research Studies
April 2, 2021

Terence Ching is a US-based Chinese Singaporean currently completing his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut. Terence has assumed a co-therapist role in a MAPS-sponsored trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD, where he infused the research process with culturally-informed recruitment and assessment procedures. Terence is working on his doctoral dissertation with an emphasis on examining possible differences in efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD between white participants and participants of color across MAPS-sponsored study sites. We spoke about intersectionality, diversity with regards to identity, and how psychedelics can change conditions previously thought of as intractable, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

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Beginning September 3, 2021 all guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival. Please review our updated COVID safety guidelines.