Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Let Your Heartbeat Flow Through with Cara Chandler

When Cara Chandler steps onto the land, the sacred offering that is Esalen transforms her into a container. “I carry the memories of my first life-altering experience at Esalen,” Chandler shared. 

Chandler is constantly struck by these moments — so much so, that she wrote to us spontaneously. As she roamed the land of Esalen, her mind began to roam, and energy poured out from her heart in the form of words. 

It may have something to do with her recently co-taught workshop with  former artist-in-residence, Darnell Walker, an accomplished writer and filmmaker. Chandler, a former yoga teacher-in-residence at Esalen (a program that is on hiatus), found her teaching in new depths.

“I am learning that these gifts from the sacred land come in many different shapes and forms for the guests,” said Chandler. “My teachings come through with compassion, support, and levity; we are all in this wild ride together, and it is possible to laugh while we experience the intimate, challenging moments of growth.” 

Knowing that the Esalen land is truly that of indigenous beings, and becoming connected to that concept, she felt something bigger than herself. “...they birthed the healing ritual and communal living. My deepest hope is that this strong healing connection first cultivated in this space can ripple the effect of the land to raise the healing vibrations in our communities around the globe.” 

The following prose flowed out of Chandler’s heart and soul one day. This is what she sent us. It was so beautiful, we want to share it with you. Enjoy, and we’ll see you soon on this land for inspiration, transformation, and so much more. 

The Heartbeat of Esalen 

By Cara Chandler 

When roaming the sacred land known as Esalen for the first time, I got quiet. I heard people around me speaking differently than I’d heard in a long time. It felt familiar, yet it felt foreign. People spoke with such awareness and consciousness; my unconscious self awakened and needed to be heard. I didn’t know what the lesson was until I started to drive home, leaving the heartbeat of Esalen behind. She planted little seeds in my heart that would fuel my inner voice to a place that she could no longer whisper; she had to scream.

Life unfolded after that to what seemed like total destruction. Looking back years later, it was the most beautiful unfolding and stripping away that allowed me to see who I truly am inside. Now standing in a different seat, her heartbeat warms me quickly and dearly each time I enter the land. I connect with her to continue to connect with others. 

Each time I roam the land, a new lesson arises, one that I didn’t know I needed. Each time I come home, I see the life force I’ve soaked up start to sing all around me, waking up others and calling them to the heartbeat themselves. This heartbeat doesn’t only live on this beautiful land of Esalen; I believe it’s found in most places of nature and conscious communities. Something about the land of Esalen has such a deep concentration of it and a supportive environment around it that you immediately get a strong dosage.

The moment you decide to invite Esalen in, she’s going to rock your world in the most beautiful and wild way! This land is especially sacred because of its roots; the original beings who blessed this earth with their healing powers, the Esselen Tribe. I am so grateful for the many healers, seekers, teachers, and students who have roamed this land, planting seeds for all who come back to drink her up. 

See you soon! 

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.

Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?

Come roam the healing land of Esalen and experience it for yourself.

Explore Ways to Visit


Esalen Team & Cara Chandler