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My Indiegogo Campaign for my Memoir “A Passage Through Spain”

VIBRANT sepia tone newest by laka

My Memoir: A Passage Through Spain

I want to share my good news with you: I’ve just  launched my Indiegogo Funding Campaign for A Passage Through Spain!

A Passage Through Spain is the story of how the fully blossomed life I live today was catalyzed by a pivotal journey I took in my twenties. At that time, I felt a disturbing and compelling call from inside of me that pushed me to leave the life I’d known to find the life I had glimpsed in my dreams.

I did leave the life I’d known, my job, my boyfriend, my family, my country; it was a daunting gauntlet that my soul had thrown before me. Even so, I knew I had to take a big risk or regret a missed opportunity for the rest of my life. To say that I wanted to heed this calling would be incorrect, as every comfortable bone in my body wanted to stay right where I was, in the small, tidy realm of the familiar. Maybe you know that feeling?

A Passage Through Spain is my memoir of how I embarked on that soul-driven adventure. I finished the first draft just a few months ago, and now I’m leaping forward toward the next phase of its development. My memoir draws from the big, leather-bound journal, written in 1984-1985, in which I faithfully confided over that year of huge change.

So often, especially in the therapy subculture, we explore ways in which we can be of assistance to our younger selves. As I pored through the neatly, densely written pages of my journal, I soon realized that I was in the presence of a dear friend and a humble teacher who was healing me: my own younger self.


Luisa arms open by beach in Málaga











As I prepared the first draft of the manuscript during 2014, I felt indescribable joy every time I sat down to read and transcribe this magical missive from my twenty-six year old self. This young woman that I was, so new to the world in so many ways, blazed the trail for the life I’m living now, thirty years later.

This is Your Story

You know this story because it is your story. It is as archetypal as it is personalYou know the feeling of emptiness and futility when you’ve denied your heart’s calling. You know that staying small when your soul and your dreams are huge is heartbreaking. And you also know that somewhere in you there still burns the fire of transformation.

In my work as a shamanic healer and psychotherapist, I witness on a regular basis what I consider to be an epidemic of depression and soul-sickness in our culture. When we get disconnected from the powerful, transformative spark of passion that resides in the depths of our being, we begin to experience depression and a nameless sense of grief.

Re-reading my journal and beginning to craft its pages,  I soon realized that A Passage Through Spain and my twenty-seven year old self  had reignited the spark of adventure of me.  And as I remembered something else essential: While this fire in your soul can be forgotten or distracted from, it cannot be destroyed.


typical page brown journal with expenses











I want  A Passage Through Spain to be a lighthouse for you to light the way back to your wild authenticity, so that you are living your real life, not just dreaming about it. And if you’re already there, then I want you to want more of that for yourself, so that as the Buddha said, “you become a light unto yourself.”

Throughout the past twenty-five years, whenever I’ve shared this story with clients and audiences, I’ve found that it has a power beyond my telling of it. It seems to galvanize other people’s will to live a bigger life.

It’s as if others’ hunger for adventure and creativity gets sparked by the story of how I turned down the volume on my self-doubts (which were plentiful) and turned up the volume on my inner imperative that life be full, exciting, lived passionately with numerous forays into the unknown.

angel ascending in church cordoba











Help Me Share the Spark of Transformation with You

This May I am returning to Spain for a month to fulfill a promise I made to myself thirty years ago: to put into a publishable form this story of my journey through Spain and North Africa in search of a favorite author (watch my Indiegogo video) and more importantly, to find a more meaningful life. 

I want to create a thoroughly researched, polished and compelling account of this adventure to share with you and others whose souls and dreams are huge.

The project is already underway. About a year ago, I began saving money in an envelope with “Spain” scribbled on it.  At first, I thought, ‘This is for going back to Spain someday to do more research, but I don’t know when.’ And then a few months ago, I got it: ‘Someday’ is now! So those crumpled bills in the envelope are the basis for this project. Your contributions are the final flourish that will make this project fly!

That is why at this point I’m turning to you—my friends, family, clients and community— to help me fulfill this burning desire I have to get this project in motion.

Granada Alhambra






The Objectives of this Indiegogo Campaign

My funding goal for this campaign is $8,000. The expenses tally up to quite a bit more, but having this amount to apply toward those expenses will be immensely helpful!

1.  I would love your assistance with my month-long trip to Spain that begins this May, during which I will be researching and revising the freshly completed (in October of 2014) draft of A Passage Through SpainAirfare (international and domestic in Spain) + accommodations + train fare + meals + airfare + car rental within Spain = approximately $7,500. 

 I would love your help with the next phases of preparing my manuscript for publication. This will include the cost of having my manuscript read by a professional editor ($1,200) and line-edited and proof read ($1,400).

$7,500 + $1,200 + $1,400 + Indiegogo/PayPal Fees* = $11,000
My funding goal: $8,000


Other Ways You Can Help

I know that for some of you, contributing with a financial donation isn’t possible. Please know that there are others ways you can contribute that would be enormously helpful. Here are a few of them:

1.  Get the word out to your friends (especially your friends who love reading memoirs, travelogues and inspirational stories)

Here’s a partial list of people whom I think might be interested in A Passage Through Spain:
Lovers of …
• memoir
• travelogues
• contemporary American literature (any fellow Paul Bowles-cultists out there?)
• coming-of-age literature
women’s literature
• Spain
• mysticism
• spirituality
• dreams that come true.

2. Use the Indiegogo share tools to post about my Passage Through Spain campaign with your Facebook and Twitter friends

My focus right now is on creating an excellent, compelling manuscript so that I can share with others this story that belongs to all of us who dream big and are determined to live big.


Risks & Challenges

Transcribing, writing and with hope one day publishing the story of my passage through Spain in the mid-80s is a promise I made to myself thirty years ago.

And returning to Spain, to find the people and places that are so much a part of that story, is something I’ve waited to do for twenty-five years. I was busy being a mom, going to graduate school, earning a living. I kept on telling myself that I couldn’t go back, that I couldn’t afford it, that that was all behind me. Until now. Several months ago the voice in my mind stopped saying “I can’t,” and began saying “I must.”

My twenty-seven year old self is now a guide to my now fifty-seven year old self and when this book is completed, she and I will be your guides and travel companions as your own spirit of adventure becomes reignited.


The Inspiration is Spreading

From the time I began writing in my journal in 1985 until I finished the first draft of the story in October of 2014, this story has commanded a fascination from those with whom I’ve shared it.

In November of 2014, I was invited by the Jung Center of Houston to lecture and give a workshop about the story and the central message of this book: “Sometimes you have to leave the life you’ve known so your real life can begin.”

And the inspiration is spreading. I’m thrilled to share with you that an excerpt of A Passage Through Spain will be published in Gargoyle Magazine later this year.

And now, my Indiegogo Campaign has launched.

Here we go!

JENNIFER ESPERANZA WATERMARK ON 2Luisa_Road1©_Jenifer-Esperanza 

Spring Equinox: Emergence from the Necessary Darkness

crocus-7We’re about a month away from the Spring Equinox. In ancient calendars, this equinox was considered the beginning of summer, while Summer Solstice was the marker of mid-summer.

For some of us, this “beginning of summer” often comes at a time when we are still wearing down jackets and scraping the ice off our windshields. And, yet, as is the case with all the seasonal markers of the year, ancient earth-based cultures held an awareness not only of what is visible to us, but also of what is invisible.

At the equinoxes solar and lunar energies are in a state of equilibrium. At Spring Equinox the invisible downward growth of root systems, both plant roots and your own energy roots, is now counter-balanced by visible growth upward and outward.

The Necessity of Descent
Descending into the darkness of our unconscious and our inner selves is an age-old challenge for many human beings, as we encounter aspects of our psyches that may not feel comfortable to our conscious ego-identities. Challenging as this descent may be, it is a necessary encounter with our own depths. This descent been the subject of many ancients myths: Inanna in Sumerian mythology, Persephone in Greek mythology, Osiris in Egyptian mythology, along with numerous other examples cross-culturally.

These descent myths share an understanding that one’s descent into darkness ensures fertility, growth and a renewal of life. (And, yes, the Christian resurrection story is a relatively recent adaptation of ancient mythologies.)

Without a descent to the roots of our humanness, we have little or no possibility of emergence into the light of conscious awareness.

The Gift of Emergence
I believe that the gift of emergence from the dark into the light is compassion for ourselves and others (in that order).

If I have stayed present with my own chaos, imperfection and vulnerability through the inner and outer darkness of winter, my psyche has been nourished by the compost, darkness and moisture it needs to grow into the light.

The balance of equal amounts of darkness and light at Equinox provide exceptional moments to integrate the shadow and the light, the lunar and the solar, and the feminine and masculine components of our psyches.

These extraordinary moments of Equinox, energetically speaking, are with us for about a three day period (e.g., March 20-22) and provide a unique opportunity for releasing and detoxifying the compost from which we are emerging, while sending our first tender shoots of new growth upward toward the sun.

Ceremony Creates a Conscious Bridge Between the Invisible & the Visible
The more consciously we acknowledge these seasonal markers of the year, the more in alignment we become with the wholeness of who we are. When I become relational with my inner wilderness, my emergence into the solar light of consciousness becomes robust. I am well prepared to grow into what I call my Fully Blossomed Self.

So, how will you optimize this powerful time of equinox emergence this spring? Here are a few ideas:

• Take a detoxifying soak in your own bathtub:
1/2 cup sea salt, 1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar and 5-10 drops of essential oil of rose or lavender. Soak for up to 20 minutes with a candle lit nearby and hold an intent to be restored to balance and beauty
• Substitute or supplement one meal a day with a raw, green juice. (My favorite: cucumber, celery, kale, ginger, apples, beets, cilantro, lemon)
• Start or renew your commitment to a dance, yoga, martial arts or workout program
• Get your flower and vegetable seedlings started in a used egg carton (and then plant the individual sections at the appropriate time for you area)

For many years, I’ve celebrated the equinoxes by offering shamanic ceremonies here in Santa Fe. This year, our ceremony will be a powerful day-long workshop introducing my Three Energy Body Self-Healing System and then the powerful Detoxification & Balance Ceremony to increase our capacity for aliveness and joy.

Whether you live in Santa Fe or live just a plane-ride away, I invite you to make the most of your emergence from the dark of winter into the light of your Fully Blossomed Self. I’d love for you to join us for our Equinox Ceremony & Workshop on March 22nd.

In Love, Aliveness & Transformation,

My Valentine’s Wish for You

red roses photo by luisa with watermarkI grew up with a lot of misconceptions about love, self-worth and relationships. Did you?

As human beings, we’re always engaged in an inner dialogue about our needs and wants. What do I need? What is negotiable in my friendships, work and intimate relationships, and what is not?

Thanks to the emergence of our understanding about  the dynamics of Codependence about thirty years ago, there’s been a basic, albeit radical, shift in understanding about the underpinnings of our relational templates. We live in a culture that is pathologically detached from the principle of Eros. Carl Jung described Eros as the sensual, relational feminine aspect of our humanness, the part of us that values connection and holds human vulnerability in a place of deep respect. Too often this is a part of us with whom we are not in conscious relationship.

For both women and men, when our Eros function operates in the absence of guidance or conscious relationship, that function becomes impaired and wounded. We vaccillate from acting like a collapsed, wounded child in one moment to acting like a rigid, one-dimensional version of a punitive grown-up in the next. Both of these maladapted responses get us in a heap of trouble.

When I figured out that my isolated, hungry-for-validation little girl was running my adult life, I felt humbled and alarmed. But, not so alarmed that I couldn’t create an archeyptal healing plan for myself, as I was determined to go directly to the root cause level of my repetition of dysfunctional relational patterns. (I share this healing plan in my Transformation workshops.)

The central awakening that came to me (and it’s simple; a lot of you may have cottoned to this decades before I did) was this: What I was looking for outside of me could only manifest to the extent that I had the capacity to give it to myself. Instead of generating self-esteem, I was attempting to fill in my empty emotional spaces by being what Pia Mellody (one of my mentors and teachers) calls being other-esteemed.

It is challenging and sometimes almost  impossible to access the deepest recesses of our ancestral and social conditioning that show up in our everyday lives. This is why shamanic work, and its abililty to bypass habitual ego-consciousness through entraining the brain to a conscious trance state has helped me, and a lot of my clients, to heal at a root-cause level.

So, dear Journeyer, here’s my Valentines Day wish for you this year: To Thine Own Self Be True. pink conversation heart to thine own self be true 2

In Love & Transformation,








Emotional Fluency & Your Inner Playground

Updated 8 Basic Emotions with copyrightOne of the shamanic tools I share in my workshops and ceremonies is “Emotional Fluency,” which is the art of developing a compassionate and conscious relationship to your emotional self.

It’s important to be physically and emotionally grounded as preparation for expanding your consciousness to spiritual, non-physical realms. Learning to consciously witness and relate to our emotions is critical to that grounding.

Almost all of us know and will readily say what we think. However, it’s rare that I find someone who can readily identify and express what they feel.*

I thought for years that I was very in touch with my emotions, until I went through a rough patch some years back. It was particularly rough because a present-day crisis opened the door to some very old wounds. Remember the old trick (I know you did this when you were a kid!), it’s summer time and you pick up the running garden hose, put a kink in it and then at a strategic moment, you release the blockage and whamo!

More »

Calling in Power: An Ecstatic Technique

The mystics of every religion and earth-based spiritual practice have a secret to share with us. And it is this: To enter into a conscious relationship with the unseen worlds and receive their wisdom, one must first make an offering of intent. At the core of that offering is the willingness to release the illusion that your rational mind is all powerful.

Photo of Luisa by Jennifer Esperanza

Photo of Luisa by Jennifer Esperanza

To be receptive to the dimension where the gods, goddesses, archetypes and angels reside, you have to let go of control. You have to become psychically porous. This is why mystical practices such as shamanism are referred to as “ecstatic” spiritual techniques. To be “ecstatic” is to stand outside of mundane consciousness and be forever changed, even if subtly, by that alteration of one’s view of reality.

Cross-culturally and throughout dozens of millennia, there have been countless techniques for announcing to the spiritual realms our desire to engage: chanting, praying, fasting, dancing, clapping, shaking, drumming, singing and breath work, among them.

In contemporary shamanic practices (thank you, Sandra Ingerman and Michael Harner for distilling these ways for us), the primary form of preparation for entering into ecstatic states is through “calling in” spiritual power, primarily through drumming and rattling. The steady beat of these instruments slows the electrical activity of the brain, relieving us of intellect-dominated perception. More »

Listen to Luisa’s radio interview about her shamanic work & The Five Minute Rain Prayer

Click HERE to listen to Luisa’s radio interview on June 13, 2013 with Carey Benenson Taussig on “Balance Point” on KVSF Radio (101.5 FM).

Intentions for the “Five-Minute Rain Prayer”

We hold an intent now to return to love, cooperation and respect as the guiding principles of our lives here on this blessed Earth.” —Luisa Kolker

Luisa rejoicing in the rain by Jennifer Esperanza 2013

Luisa rejoicing in the rain by Jennifer Esperanza 2013

We hold an intent for rain in Northern New Mexico and wherever else on the planet it is needed. And wherever rain is not needed (some places need not to have rain right now), we pray for rain of the spiritual variety—the spiritual rain that cleanses, heals and purifies.

We hold an intent for the restoration of balance and nourishment—physical/emotional/mental/spiritual—for all beings (plant, mineral, animal, human) in all the worlds of Grandmother Earth.

The restoration of Balance & Nourishment for All Beings begins with us humans, as we are the ones whose actions and inactions have resulted in the soul-sickness on this planet.

There are ways in which we have harmed the planet and ourselves AND we have the ability to repair this harm.

We hold an intent now to return to love, cooperation and respect as the guiding principles of our lives here on this blessed Earth.

Please join us and invite your friends, wherever you are. Whoever you are and wherever you are, we are made of the same stardust, rain, earth and sunlight. Your presence and your love make a difference in this world.


To join “The Five-Minute Rain Prayer” click here

[Note: Last week I blogged about the “Five-Minute Rain Prayer.” The blog article above is an articulation of the intentions and core-values of our weekly five-minute gathering on the inner-planes on Sundays at noon US Mountain Time.]

Summer Solstice as Liberation from the Trance of Exclusion

This is the longest day of the year, representing the light of consciousness at its full power. In our annual Summer Solstice gathering here in Santa Fe tonight, we are ceremonializing and optimizing the energies of solstice to liberate parts of our inner selves (and therefore, parts of the macrocosm of human consciousness) from the darkness of exclusion.

To the extent that we exclude our own joy and inherent self-worth from expressing in our individual lives, we will consciously or unconsciously diminish and marginalize the joy and worth of others.

Lavender, peppermint, mugwort and rose petals from my garden, harvested and dried for our Summer Solstice ceremony.

Lavender, peppermint, mugwort and rose petals from my garden, harvested and dried for our Summer Solstice ceremony.

As we become more removed from the natural world outside us, we also become distanced from the naturalness and the wild and free places in our own beings. This entrainment to the world of the mind and the world of doing creates a mass-consciousness trance that tells us that to be joyful is shameful, that to be passionately awake in our bodies in our sexuality is shameful. 

Tonight, as we connect with the illuminating and awakening powers of sun and fire, we have an opportunity to meet with the spirit of our own true natures—our naturalness. Through the energies of solstice, we are able to drop into the dimensions of the Timeless—where time stands still. Solstice means that moment when the sun apparently pauses in its movement. That pause on the inner planes grants us a meeting with the aspects of ourselves that are already fully-blossomed and awakened.

Today, at midsummer and solstice, let us harvest the light of the sun outside of us so that we may relate more consciously with and welcome the spark, fire and light of our inherent worth, our goodness, our joy, our pleasure.

And, most importantly, may the light of solstice provide a beacon with which to take the next, first step in expressing our light in service of all beings throughout space and time.

Summer Solstice & Your Inner Universe

Summer Solstice is really mid-summer, not the beginning of summer in the Celtic calendar. After this evening, the days will begin shortening again.

There are many meanings attributed to this time of solar ripeness—many astrological attributions, many New Age theories.


To learn what this Solstice is about for you, take a few moments to get still. Breathe into your lower body (from your waist down into your energy roots in the earth) and into your back body (from your spine back behind your physical body).

Hold an intent in your womb-space or belly to merge with the Sun. Breathe into the Universe that is inside of you.

Ask your inner self:
• What is my current relationship with my ability to shine my light out into the world?
• What aspects of my self do I withhold from the light?
• Where may I be more generous with myself and others?

Then, ceremonialize your intention to acknowledge the energies of solstice. While a ceremony describes your overall intent to bridge the worlds of spirit and human concerns, rituals are the various actions within a ceremony that concretize your specific intentions so they may be known to our conscious minds and to the worlds of spirit.

One solstice ritual you might practice today (or tomorrow, Friday, is fine, too) is one of “dissolution and manifestation.” More »

Emotions vs. Feelings (a.k.a. What’s the Big Hurry?)

You’ve probably had this experience: You’re anxious or you’re angry or you’re lonely and you want not to feel that way. Right now. So, with a sense of restlessness and agitation and maybe an inner declaration of “I can’t stand this sensation for one more minute!”— you jump immediately into action. You do whatever it takes to move away from the almost-unbearable reality of that overwhelming emotion.

What’s the Big Hurry?
The hallmark of an addictive, compulsive process is that there is a sense of urgency. There is a sense of being in a hurry to find relief: “I have to have a drink now.”  “I have to release this sexual tension now.” (Anger and loneliness often masquerade as sexual tension and excitement.) “I have to move away from this discomfort now.”

And, if that immediate obedience to your emotional discomfort becomes a habit, that habit can, over time, become an addictive pattern. You’re angry: so, you lash out at someone, or you drink an “adult beverage” or smoke weed. You’re anxious: so you go shopping for something you don’t need or that’s not in your budget. You’re lonely: so you temporarily boost your serotonin levels with a pint of Hagen Dazs. Or you sit at your computer and distract yourself with online pornography.

Image courtesy of www.achildgrows.com

Image courtesy of www.achildgrows.com

Medicating vs. Relating to Your Emotions
You’ve managed to medicate the emotion, but you’ve also managed to abandon a part of your inner self (what I call your “Inner Community”) that needed you to connect and be relational with him or her. After either  numbing-out (Hagen Dazs) or distracting yourself by getting emotionally-high  (e.g., creating emotional drama) as a way of distracting from your emotions, you will crash. It might take an hour or it might take a couple years. But, you will crash. And you will crash right back into the original emotional state, except now, because this part of your self has been abandoned by you, you crash down to a more intensely painful place than where you started.

Emotions are Addictive
Emotions are the raw stuff of our neuro-chemical responses to people, places and things.  And sometimes those emotional reactions reflect our personal history of neglect, abandonment or abuse. Emotions, without the mediating influence of our witnessing consciousness remain primal, isolated and as random as a downed power line in a storm, sputtering, sparking and whipping around uncontrollably. Without some means of being authentically connected with oneself, without all that life-force energy being channeled in some relational way, things can get out of control. In fact, your whole life can get out of control.

Feelings are Relational
For the purposes of this discussion, here is my definition of feelings. My feelings are what happen when I consciously More »