Darrell Calkins is the author of numerous essays, newsletters, Re:, a collection of letters, and a recently published audio collection.

Recorded during seminars and retreats with Darrell Calkins, audio excerpts are available here and on the CobaltSaffron website, and may be downloaded through iTunes and Amazon.


Darrell Calkins teaches, lectures and leads seminars and retreats around the world and has more than 35 years of experience working in highly diverse and complex social, religious, cultural and political contexts. His classes and seminars have covered a spectrum that ranges from communication skills for psychologists and priests to stress management for terminally ill children to humor and mysticism in Asian philosophies. He has served as a trainer and consultant for teachers, artists, athletes, public speakers, clergy, negotiators and others in high-performance professions.

Mr. Calkins currently leads seminars in San Francisco Bay Area, London, Brussels and the Middle East, facilitating conflict resolution, transformation and creative problem solving utilizing and instilling a wide spectrum of skills, tools and resources. His background includes studies in philosophy, comparative religions and psychology at UC Berkeley and Yale, as well in-depth training in Zen, martial arts, yoga and related disciplines for over 40 years and a three year stay in a Zen monastery in Japan.


“I want to thank you from the depth of my heart for all that you’ve done to create these retreats and seminars — you create a framework within which we can come together in community and help each other to rise and experience LIFE in such a pure form. Your work, to me, is an invitation for each of us to consistently raise the bar within ourselves, to shed our old skins and to step forward into the terrifying and magical unknown.”

— Yuriana Kim, Creativity Coach

“I feel myself crackling with Alive-ness. I continue to be in awe. Tears fall freely… WOW. What a relief to be able to come into proximity (however imperfectly) to beauty, play, fun… Hearing the music even when everything feels so uncomfortable. This is my life. And Life is real. Let me dive in. Earnestly.”

— Dana Lyn Baron, Actress

“No matter how I turn things in my head, I can’t figure out how to express my endless gratitude. Hell, trying to word it is not the way to go. It should just show in the way I operate with the world. When I try to boil down my experience of this week, the one thing that stands out is love. I can’t pretend to know. But I learned so much about love. It’s a whole world, in constant expansion. This week shook what I thought I knew about love. It shined a light on so many things that I suspected, hints that were pointed out to me but I couldn’t yet grasp. I have everyone to thank for it. It was made possible by how much care I received.”

— Pierre Vroye, Photographer

“When my son Jackson passed away six years ago, what used to be my world collapsed and I was broken. I worked with a psychiatrist and psychologist, read every piece of literature on grief and loss and researched death in religions and philosophies looking for answers, trying to understand this darkness and how to find a path out of it but after two years, I felt worse than ever. Everything I was doing seemed merely a distraction. Then, I participated in my first seminar with Darrell Calkins. In the first activity, I was so deeply touched. I could breathe. Everything seemed to fall into place, all these pieces of me back in balance. I am amazed how these events create such peace in me. Darrell conducts these events like a maestro, one activity after the other in a perfect flow. Just the pace works wonders on me. I learned the value of daily rituals. I allow myself to find joy and to let the light in.”

— Thérèse Murray, Teacher

“These retreats, like sculpting big chunks of dense rock into magnificent symphonic sculptures…all the magic, the love, the poetry, the great music, laughter, the sacrifice and graceful generosity, the exceptional conversations, the body of tools and skills…such a pool of extraordinary moments of joy, depth and light, unique experiences of the soul, many of them the most incredible, exhilarating of my life. I can only thank you for holding what you have with such faith, devotion, tenacity, brilliant creativity and imagination.”

— Raphaël Radoux-Rogier, Musician-Composer

“The event shot me into an unquestionably advanced state of being, more than I think I’ve ever known, pulsing in a more serene and clear state of awareness, moving forward with barely any sense of limiting weight, and in fluency between peers around me like we only read, see or hear about in works of fiction. It was a sublime state of existence. What you create there is consistent magic. And it is an immeasurable privilege to be part of it, and close to.”

— Herzl Tobey, Actor

“The depth of where you guided us and the state of being that you continually focused attention back to, over and over sustaining and re-creating it no matter what ego balls we were all throwing at you, reminds me of a spider and its web, when the wind blows, leaf falls, or animal walks by and knocks the web down, it continually weaves a new one with perfect integrity and precision, never getting lazy and weaving a half-ass web. I perceive you doing that with a particular state of being, care, and clarity of presence.”

— Eli Buren, Teacher & craftsman

“Working with Darrell has been a breakthrough experience in terms of my purpose in life. This constant and tender accompaniment to my creative process showed me a way of knowing myself and observing others better, listening to voices that reach beyond the pettiness of the trivial, accomplishing my humble contribution in an honest, responsible and faithful way. I gained the power of decision and fulfillment. Of researching into my values and honoring them. And fascinating connections between my needs, my hopes, my consciousness and my generosity; an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy that has enriched my life as a mother, a friend, a writer and a member of the human race.”

— Aurora Lopez, Writer

“Thank you for these endless moments of joy, the music, the conversations, the open mindedness, the open heart, the care, the passion, the work, the play, and sincerity of a true Yes which were painted on a canvas that will forever hang in my heart… all these small invisible moments that create this magnificent fabric of life, more vivid and clear than things we could actually see before.”

— Albertino Matalon, Entrepreneur

“I am breathing again, thanks to you Darrell, thanks to all of you! What a wondrous moment it is to hear and listen to a beating heart! Thank you for letting me listen to yours, thank you for helping me listen to mine. So much happened during the seminar, I continue to reflect on these moments, to go deeper. I do want to share with you these lines by Guillaume Apollinaire: ‘Come to the edge.’ ‘We can’t. We’re afraid.’ ‘Come to the edge.’ ‘We can’t. We will fall!’ ‘Come to the edge.’ And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew.’”

— Thérèse Murray, Teacher

“Darrell is someone of intensity, profound in his relations and authentically generous in the sense of being completely there for participants in events. He possesses an exceptional knowledge and comprehension, very fine and very profound, of our mechanisms of functioning individually and collectively, who always turns toward solutions and pathways of reflection that are original and unexpected.”

— Christian Demeuré-Vallée, Public Relations

“Darrell Calkins mines the thread that runs through all philosophies, spiritualities, religions, and searches into art – what they all have in common yearning. He has a depth of frankness that is a profound relief and freedom. This is the only space in which I can ask any question or address any topic and he is right there engaging me, truly enthusiastically willing, and understanding me completely. These events cultivate a real-life education in being human.”

— Julia Richardson, Artist, writer & instructor

“Where to begin when describing work with Darrell? With gratitude. He can add midwifery to his list of considerable talents–natural gifts bestowed upon him but offered to us through his sheer determination. He offers the possibility of experiencing intrinsic wholeness and warrior spirit in safety and spaciousness, to bear witness to the dance, joyful and humbled, that each of us has the possibility–no, the responsibility–to take our place within. Each encounter with Darrell is a tour de force as he offers a glimpse into that huge imagination that gave birth to us all.”

— Rebecca Carpenter, Artist-Teacher

“No one I know, and I’ve been doing courses and groups for 27 years, has the same intent of heart, integrity and self-respect that Darrell Calkins does. And he lives it. He does not back down from supporting you to live truthfully and authentically no matter what. That is sheer passion in its purest form.”

— Mirko Pansera, Coach

“Darrell’s work acts like a video camera that zooms in infinitively inside and outside of people. Everything wakes up, gets larger, deeper, becomes inspiration, joy, fascination, organically, intellectually and emotionally. This work wakes up the authentic part of life, this inspired and creative breath, the very essence of our being.”

— Isabelle Byloos, Voice Coach

“In the long and tedious battle towards that which I perceive as ‘my destiny’ I have met many advisors, mentors, teachers, masters, inventors and salesmen. Over time some of them have affected me and even left me with a few supplies. Darrell Calkins is the only person I’ve met who has replenished and inspired my mind, body and spirit. Darrell dazzles me time and time again with his wisdom and ability to open up a window to the reality of the world I live in. At the same time he has supplied me with a toolbox to deal with what I’ve seen. Darrell is a sensitive, balanced man blessed with the brilliance that can take you on the ride of a lifetime…and a step closer to ‘your destiny’.”

— Shahar Sorek, Entertainment company founder and CEO

“The retreat was f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s, deep, refined, dangerous. It was the week of my life. Nothing short of miraculous.”

— Claire Savage, Writer

“I just want to thank you again for a magical weekend. I really didn’t have an agenda in mind for the seminar, but this was way beyond anything I could have anticipated. ‘Magical’ is the only word that comes close to describing it for me. You are a beacon of clarity that keeps me going.”

— David Palmer, Writer-Researcher

“Darrell sets the bar a notch above reality, goes there himself, and by doing so brings participants with him to create an experience that one’s entire being is immersed in. The retreats are layered in complexity, from the most practical ideas to direct personal insights to the illumination of mystery and what lies beyond. There really is no adequate verbal expression that one could give to convey the experience. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for a wild ride.”

— John Guaspari, Vice President, Brokerage Firm

“Thank you for a wonderful, fun and very grounding retreat. I’m deeply grateful to have taken part in this. Your work always astonishes and almost paralyzes me, to grasp the depth behind it! Impossible and yet it’s there. How absolutely surprising and then again completely natural, calming and reassuring.”

— Pia Engmann, Sculptress

“Trying to write a testimonial about Darrell’s work is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. The depth and beauty of what he does simply don’t lend themselves to easy description (which is, in and of itself, one of the most potent testimonials I could offer). Imagine having all of your comfort zones yanked out from beneath you all at once—but that makes it sound so painful. Imagine being nurtured at the hands of someone who sees you in all your naked truth, and senses immediately how to lead you to a deeper experience of yourself than you’ve ever known before—but that makes it sound so New Age. So try this: imagine such ruthlessness coupled to such compassionate insight. Work that paradox and you’ll have a sense of Darrell Calkins. Hunger for it and you’ll be ready to dive in.”

— Kevin Krieger, Playwright

“Darrell’s thought-provoking revelations are a joy for me, and I am constantly desirous of observing his thought processes. I recognize his mind and talents are giant-sized.”

— Ted Richardson, Exploration Geologist

“It is a thrill to watch Darrell in action. He is an impeccable example of what he calls being ‘a good animal.’ Watching him move is indeed like watching an animal in the wild, with an economy, precision and power of movement all calibrated perfectly to the present need of expression. The physical work that I have learned from Darrell Calkins has had an invaluable effect on all areas of my work and my personal life. I am consistently more centered, calm, focused, and alert in all situations. My mind is much sharper, and I have more energy. I feel much more attuned to everything around me, and the door to my creativity and a certain magic is more readily accessible.”

— Karen Strassmann, Actress

“Darrell’s seminars and retreats are what we didn’t learn in school, can’t learn from books, and won’t overhear at cafes. Still can’t figure out what you’ve been missing? This is it.”

— John D. Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer

“I wish that mere language could express the gratitude I feel for having experienced the recent weekend with Darrell Calkins. When and if you feel called to dive head first into the heart of what it truly means to have a connection with spirit – this is one rare place you can practice that courageous exploration.”

— Marco Aiello, Artist

“I experienced a lot of emotions: fear, frustration, anger, but also joy, pleasure and astonishment. Darrell, thank you, thank you, thank you to have created the opportunity for me. The joy and fun it gave me are not only a memory that I will cherish forever, but an extraordinary experience.”

— Agnès Michot, Journalist

“For more than 35 years I’ve been teaching and studying yoga and other forms of movement. I have not in that time seen or been taught a more creative and effective range of movements and exercises that have so immediate and lasting impact as those of Darrell Calkins. Nor have I met anyone with more expertise at this than Darrell.”

— Sam Levy, Yoga and Exercise Teacher

“I hesitate to define Darrell Calkins’ work, because it is not a system, a set of rules, pearls of wisdom, or any of the other class of things that people have come to expect from workshops and seminars. All I know is that after working with Darrell I see more clearly. It hasn’t made life any easier, but that, oddly, is what makes it all more compelling.”

— Carter Brooks, Climate Change Specialist

“It is an honor to be part of something as high end and life altering as I find the retreats and seminars to be. Darrell, I want to thank you for providing an arena where all these magical things happen, and where people like me get to rise above our simple existence.”

— Jim Walsh, Engineer

“I now wear a custom-made tool belt. On it are tools—and toys—for how to live. But in working with Darrell, he didn’t just hand me over his tools, instead he suggested where I might find materials to build my own and generously gave me opportunities to learn how to work them. That’s because he doesn’t want me to become like him, he wants me to be me.”

— Sharon Mann, Actress

“… Darrell’s work is carefully calibrated to the specifics of the audience, taking into account their humanity and capacity, with the carefully placed philosophical resonances finessed through the students’ discoveries to become not ideas but knowledge, like an arrow shot, as though someone were to ask, ‘But what is rain?’ and have instantly a thundercloud burst above their heads…”

— Ethan Dunn, Writer

“When is the last time you were filled with profound appreciation, enjoyed a sense of pure wonder, or grasped something significant with piercing clarity? Darrell Calkins’ seminars and retreats offer these treasures, the opportunity to rediscover, refine and heal ourselves, our families, and our planet, to become the persons we can and would like to be. Experiencing this work is like taking a magical mystery tour to forgotten places of the mind and body. Darrell’s unique and fascinating conversations and exercises dealing with intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being remain present and useful in our lives long after the life-altering, truly exceptional event is over. After such an experience, you will never look at anything in the same way again, ever.”

— Judith Jecmen, Entertainment Lawyer