Posted on February 24, 2024 by Nik

The Californias

Big Sur, California, to Baja California Sur, Mexico

Big Sur and Esalen, through early 2000’s, was a mystical, nurturing and nourishing retreat from the driven madness of the world – for healing and learning, rooted in the power of nature, held between mountain wilderness and ocean, in the heart of the redwoods, the remote valleys, the oak lined ridges, overlooking the Pacific – but initially, in the womb of Esalen, on the green cliffs, the hot springs welling up from the deep. It was a phenomenal meeting ground of wounded, if curious and playful souls, seekers and characters of great heart and spirit. There was a degree of disfunction, as anywhere, a reflection of society, it’s various ills, and our variously tortured lives being acted out in a safe place of reflection and growth, remote, held. Thus essentially good, true, beautiful, transcendent.

Since then that hallowed ground has,

of course, become increasingly financially motivated, corporate driven, and all of the soul and heart of the place driven out, along with the unintentional community that happened and thrived there for preceding decades. Such is the way of all things. Sometimes called the second law of thermodynamics, or entropy, but I think of it as life blooming in splendour, then fading, its seeds dispersed, to begin a new iteration of evolution somewhere else, out on some other periphery, spiralling ever outward and upward.

So where are the current vortices and healing grounds? Actually, I do think those are separate things – at least, I feel that where I find myself now, on the Mexican side of the political border, in the middle of an oasis in Baja California Sur, is in the heart of a vortex, and that too has it’s healing, though hard core, more chaotic, requiring more discipline, it being more stochastic in nature, than nurturing. Of course there are many vortices, or active power centres, scattered around the globe, and this may all be relative to who and when and where (and Esalen, it’s intrinsic primal nature still intact, is still what it ever was under foot one might suppose, albeit perhaps less active in a volcanic sense of upwelling…)

but here, now, Baja California Sur, feels like a final frontier – the last of the Wild West perhaps. Booming, or blooming, or fading, becoming gentrified, yet still absolutely raw and elemental. Vortex – means swirling forces with a unified core of calm, that is perhaps inscrutable. Yet I trust the greater knowing that brought [me] here, now, and the quickening at large, as the world and we go through radical, heaving, recalcitrant shift. There is a power here, and it is a good place to be, human.

Three years now, working with the one hectare of farm land we have been sitting on for 20 years. Here in the midst of the elemental oasis. I am a willing slave to it, again – and it has been a harsh mistress! It is all within the calling though. I have a fierce and lovely young lady partner, and her spirited kid, and other good travellers come and go and contribute to the project – creating Sanctuary

So, traveller, should you venture this way over land, you will find it wild, harsh, otherworldly terrain to traverse, and I recommend moving slowly through the Baja peninsula. There is infinite primordial wealth, ever waiting to be beheld, quite invisible to those travelling at the speed of colonisation. It requires of one to stop. Feel the profound power and stillness of the desert landscape. Feel its heartbeat. Listen to its call. Its voices are ancient. I have to remind myself, again and again, to stop, drop back in, to the timeless moment…