Terry and I didn’t like hot tubbing. We loved hot tubbing! But tubbing wasn’t the only reason for our next stop.
It took four hours along one of the world’s most spectacular seacoasts before reaching Big Sur, California.
We rattled onto a gravel parking lot in Terry’s VW van and stopped at the cliff’s edge overlooking the Pacific.
“We’ve arrived!” I shouted down at the crashing waves.
Esalen—home of the Human Potential Movement, encounter groups, and mind-body interventions (whatever that was).
We signed in and got our room assignment. A notice on the desk said, Nudity Permitted ONLY at the Baths.
We lugged our stuff up a long path to our room.
The facility had nice rooms with windows, bathrooms—even floors.
But not ours.
We had registered late and got stuck in the overflow section, consisting of a Quonset hut with a flap and two cots.
The Garden Lady
We settled in, and Terry took a nap while I made tracks toward the baths. On the way, I met a woman leaning on a hoe in the garden. “Gardening must be hard work,” I said, having no idea, since I tended to avoided both.
She smiled. “Sometimes, but it beats cleaning toilets.”
“We residence pay $300 a week to work six hours a day—every day, and we don’t get to pick our jobs. So as you see, I was lucky. In exchange, we have use of the hot tubs, and get free therapy.”
“What kind of therapy?”
“It’s called Gestalt therapy, but I call it hot-seat therapy. It’s brutal, but your problems get solved like that!” She snapped her fingers.
Folks were lounging on recliners and enjoying the warm sunshine. Some were in bathing suits, some in nothing.
Hot tubs under lean-tos and bubbling with underground mineral water faced the Pacific Ocean with its spectacular sunsets.
A bulletin board with a signup sheet listed tomorrow’s massage workshop. There were only two openings. I was lucky.
That night we went to a dance workshop, titled Get High On Dance. They played new-age music. Stuff to really get you moving.
Women with scarves floated across the floor like fairies. If a scarf drifted past your face, you (male or female) and the pixie might glide as one, arms swaying, then breakoff into your own space.
Everyone got sweaty as hell, but they served plenty of water with lemonade rinds. Terry and I left feeling so bushed, sleeping on our cots was almost comfortable.
The next morning we attended a heavy-duty massage workshop. There was lots of grunting.
Terry and I discussed which of two psychotherapy workshops to attend. An encounter group, where folks yell at each other (you know, encounter), or a Gestalt Therapy demonstration.
“I don’t want anything threatening,” Terry said.
Next Week: Terry In The HOT SEAT
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