This retreat will give you the opportunity to write and meditate in an atmosphere that is supportive, structured, reflective, and deeply nourishing.
We will provide inspiration and guidance to support your writing practice, as well as a timeframe in to do the work— writing for at least four hours each day.
Cultivation of mindful awareness through meditation, yoga, and qigong supports your creative process by helping to calm and refresh the mind and heart.
Times of connection, lively discussion, and sharing provide the opportunity to learn from and support each other as a community of writers.
How we spend our days
We greet the day with a period of meditation and movement, following Katie’s guidance to awaken awareness of what is occurring in the body, mind, heart, and all around us. This is followed by breakfast on your own from your amply supplied kitchen. We then begin the writing day, and Vi provides guidance as we observe the ritual of making a space in which to work, listen, read aloud, breathe, and revise. We celebrate each other’s ways of knowing, doing, and being. Then it’s time for writing, the activity to which you have committed. We will assist you in locating a space where you can write in solitude among the beautiful surroundings of the Shenandoah Valley
During the day of writing, we will have communal times for snacks, coffee/tea, and lunch. Regardless of the group’s varied projects, you will find ways to make connections among the other participants and their work. You will have ample opportunities for these connections during our opening and ending circle times. At the end of the writing day, we will report to each other what we have accomplished, how this might change what was planned for the following day, and what we hope to accomplish the next day. In this way, a shared understanding for writing emerges and evolves throughout our days together, resulting in a shared vocabulary with shared meaning, a community of writers.
We have scheduled periods of free time when you may continue writing, relax, connect with another participant, join in a mindfulness practice or journalling session, and any other activity that feeds your soul.
In the evenings, there’ll be something for everyone! Sunday, Monday, and Thursday, we’ll come together around the table for dinner, enjoying sumptuous food from Katie’s innovative and delicious cooking and Vi’s Amish & Mennonite matriarchal recipes, then we will gather on the porch to lift a glass of wine to each other. We'll enjoy each other’s company in good conversation or silence, or times of both. Tuesday and Wednesday evening offer a chance to explore or just be independently, sampling some of the amazing restaurants that downtown Harrisonburg offers.
Writing: If you would like feedback on your writing or a brainstorming session, you’ll have the opportunity to schedule a session or two with Vi. Vi will not tell you how to shape your manuscript into a novel, for example, but she will read what you have written, help you identify its audience and purpose, give feedback on how your writing is meeting the needs of the audience, listen to you describe your project and your passion about your writing, and give feedback on your writing process and your approach to it, including what is “working” and what may need revision. In this way, you will gain a mindset about yourself as a writer or ways of thinking about yourself as a writer that will influence how you think about your writing and the writing act in order to understand your writing process. You will leave the retreat knowing lots more about the work of writing and being more reflective about your own writing process.
“Feedback from Vi was the extremely important and probably the thing I most clearly take away.”
“I have more confidence in my own ability and style. Having a reader was very important. Having creative and positive feedback from someone who I trust has the expertise to provide that feedback was of great importance! Thank you Vi! I appreciate your way of giving feedback, and I trust you.”
Mindfulness & Meditation: If questions arise about how to develop or deepen your practice of mindfulness and meditation, Katie is available for a session of two of individual discussion and coaching. She can assist you in finding ways to bring more moments of presence into your daily life through a variety of informal and formal practices. Whether this retreat is your first exposure to meditation or you have an established practice, Katie can provide support in your journey.
Be prepared to feast your eyes on the Valley's gorgeous sunsets and pastoral scenes, your heart and mind on writing and reflection, and your palate on nutritious and delicious food.