Tag Archives: retreats

a writing retreat

i’m terribly, terribly behind in expressing my gratitude to some of the wonderful acknowledgments i have received in the last year. let me start making a little dent by telling you about joanna young’s ideal writing weekend competition. the guidelines were

tell us about the ingredients of your ideal writing weekend. that might be a weekend you’ve already enjoyed, one that you’ve got planned, or one that you’re hoping to take part in, some day.

you might talk about how this relates to the writing process: getting past writer’s block, finding the right words, tapping into your muse.

joanna honoured me greatly by awarding the first prize to my four part entry (1, 2, 3, 4).

if someone asked me what my favourite post from last year was, it would be that series. it was so inspiring! i’d love to make a workshop like that happen one of these days. thank you so much for this project, laura!

here are the books i bought with the gift certificate:

  • master chan sheng yen “footprints in the snow: the autobiography of a chinese buddhist monk”
  • lucien stryk, takashi ikemoto “zen poems of china and japan: the crane’s bill”
  • sandra jackson-opoku “the river where blood is born”
  • nell irvin painter “creating black americans: african-american history and its meanings, 1619 to the present”
  • francis levy “erotomania: a romance”

footprints in the snow i immediately snatched up, and enjoyed very much. the african-american history textbook is my current “leaf around in it when you have a few minutes” book, and i’m thinking of taking the zen poems with me to hawaii when we fly there on friday.

by the way, the history book shows how fast things move. although it was published in 2007, it only had one tiny little mention of barack obama – he’s nothing but one among the short list of african-american governors. amazing, huh?

all five books were recommended by fellow bloggers: breeni books, buddhist torrents, daily buddhism, and gwyneth bolton.

the second place winner was shari smothers with this piece on my ideal writing weekend. the judge liked the structured and practical nature of this post

in the third place was jasmin tragas with a futuristic piece: 48 hours, 5000 words and 12 cubes of ice. “a fun, slightly wacky entry”

more entries:

  1. dawn goldberg at write well me who dreams about being “wrapped in the mountains’ arms as i write.”
  2. brad shorr at word sell: what’s your ideal writing weekend?. “it starts with stimulating conversation. i’m not much good at drawing inspiration from nature.” (interesting how different we all are, isn’t it?)
  3. lillie amann at a writer’s words, an editor’s eye whose entry involves going to a casino
  4. jasmin tragas from wonderwebby: 48 hours, 5000 words and 12 cubes of ice, who is using a combination of voice recognition, typing and a slightly manic hand waving gesture with her lifewriter.
  5. alina popescu from words of a broken mirror.  she talks about a time in march when it was still snowing in the mountains. “we were staying at this cozy little hotel and being alone in my room felt amazing”
  6. finally, there was keith andrews at comic book day with comic book retreat: “comic books are an outlet for me. writing is an outlet for me. what a wonderful respite i will have when i step away from everything, and read and write for just a single weekend.”

dr. joe capista on: going to retreats

once again i’m involved in a virtual book tour, this time for dr. joe capista’s book, what can a dentist teach you aboutrivendell retreat on bowen island business, life and success? for the next three days, i will discuss sections in this book where he talks about his experience with spirituality.

if you want to learn more about dr. capista, please go here.

today, i want to present to you what dr. capista says about retreats:

malvern is a christian retreat that happens to be catholic. you don’t have to be catholic to participate. it’s a semi structured weekend with religious services, quiet time, reflection time, meditation and prayer. they have a retreat master who gives various talks throughout the weekend based on a specific theme.

malvern was so amazing i vowed to attend every year without ever allowing any excuses. my first retreat at malvern so moved me that when i came home from the weekend i told charlie, “if i ever tell you i can’t go to malvern, tell me i’m a liar. there will never be a reason why i can’t go.”

the time i invested at malvern made me realize i needed a period at least once a year to have quiet time; to look back over the previous year and reflect. until i really participated in quiet time, i didn’t realize how much i craved it.

what intrigued me about this was his 100% commitment to go to the retreat. i know the intense restorative and mobilizing power of spiritual retreats and try to go to one a year. while this “trying” has mostly been successful, a) trying sounds a little weak and b) i’d actually like to go to more than one a year.

as i was reflecting on this, i thought about things i don’t just “try”. i don’t “try” to love my children. i don’t “try” to be committed to compassion. i don’t “try” to be creative. i just do it.

so what’s the difference?

i don’t know but it’s sure something to think about.

has that happened to you? “trying” to do something that you really yearn for? what would it take to turn this into something that you just do, no questions asked?

(this post was included in the just write carnival at the incurable disease of writing, as well as in the happiness carnival)


(the image of rivendell, one of my favourite retreat places, is by fellow vancouver blogger boris mann)