We have a big workshop underway at the Esalen Institute this week. So large, in fact, that it outgrew the space where Stewart usually shows films to participants. (If you’ve been to one of our programs, you know how this works: During a weekend workshop, you’ll usually see one video at the end of the day on Saturday. During a longer workshop, like this 5-day retreat at Esalen, you have the opportunity to view three or more.) Over the years, Stewart has selected a number of videos that support the retreat experience by offering unique and stirring perspectives on the creative process, and these are a few of our favorites.
To handle the space crunch, Esalen moved the video showings into their beautiful new Huxley Meeting Room (pictured here) and asked Stewart to open them to the larger Esalen community — participants and facilitators of the other workshops happening this week, plus Esalen staff. And we’re inviting you to join us virtually, by sharing our film selections with you.
A Touch of Greatness: Albert Cullum
A Touch of Greatness documents the life-transforming work of public school teacher Albert Cullum who, in the 1960s, opted out of the popular Dick & Jane approach to education, instead introducing his fifth graders to the power of poetry, drama and play.
This nine-minute excerpt gives a good taste of Albert Cullum’s enlivening approach to learning:
To Spring From the Hand: The Life and Work of Paulus Berehnsohn
“Whether he’s speaking, slowly and thoughtfully as he does, or just smiling, Paulus is a gift. With his presence, life takes on a new radiance and energy. He teaches. He shines. Anyone who misses Neil Lawrence’s wonderful documentary of Paulus has missed one of life’s extraordinary meetings.” ~Mary Oliver
Here’s the trailer for what is undoubtedly one of our most-loved selections, about a potter, dancer, teacher, ecologist, philosopher and cherished “fairy godfather” to many:
Through the Eye of the Needle (Personal Destiny and the Reimagination of Work): David Whyte
“The granting of freedom is terrifying because then you have to come out of hiding . . . ”
This early video from poet David Whyte is one of our regular touchstones, exploring the potential of a life lived directly, creatively and with great authenticity. Unfortunately, the video is no longer available, but you can find lots of audio and video offerings on David Whyte’s website and we recommend you explore them.
To see the full-length version of A Touch of Greatness, you can order the Netflix DVD, purchase it from Amazon, perhaps catch it next time it airs on PBS.
To learn more about Paulus Behrenson and To Spring From the Hand, visit the film’s website.
Of course, to enjoy these videos and more, you can come to one of our process painting workshops. We’d hope to see you soon!