June 11-16, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions
"What if I love the idea of a writing retreat but am deathly afraid of yoga?"
Don't worry. I (Jeannine) was deathly afraid of yoga when I first started practicing in public, and I sometimes still am. It's normal. But remember, yoga is not a competitive sport. It is a spiritual practice, of which the asanas (physical poses) are just one element. Yoga is therefore available to everyone, and there is no such thing as being "good" or "bad" at yoga. You don't have to be super fit or an extra twisty bobcat pretzel or have any extraordinary skills to loosen your body and mind with some gentle yoga postures with meditation and chanting. You'll be in a mixed group of all levels, no one has to do anything she or he is not ready for. You can take as many breaks as you wish, and skip as many sessions as you wish, as well. Sit in nature and watch the waves on the lake if that's what feels right. As poet Mary Oliver would say, you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. This is your retreat. Just think of it as a chance to pamper your body, loosen your tight muscles, quiet your mind, and inspire your imagination.
"Hmm, what about this meditation? I want to be able to meditate, I know it's valuable, but whenever I try it just feels like obsessing with my eyes closed."
So you say you're human, are you? Seriously, though, isn't this why they call meditation and yoga a "practice?" The wonderful thing about retreat is having the opportunity to meditate in a group--both in silent stillness and as guided by a skillful voice. We're even planning to try a bit of simple chanting. I can't wait to feel what magic can happen for all of us on that island under the summer stars!
"I've never really thought of myself as a "writer" but I'm really drawn to this retreat, will I fit in? What if I suck?"
You won't suck, or you will, since in fact we all do. Isn't that the point of shitty first drafts (ala Anne Lamott?) And yes. You will fit in! The writing exercises rest on a foundation that is universal, which is our relationship to words, language, expression, the world, and ourselves. To whom does that not apply?
"What if I'm a super twisty bobcat pretzel yogi? Will be satisfied by the yoga on this retreat?"
Yes. You will be able to make this yoga experience entirely your own—we are prepared to inspire you.
"I'm a serious writer trying to make my living at this arduous and competitive craft. Will this retreat offer me anything in that regard?"
Yes. First, the writing exercises are magic and will infuse your work with a fresh and unpredictable quality that can't be quantified but can certainly be felt, immediately. These exercises are unlike your typical writing workshop. They take you through the side door of the unexpected. They occupy your rational mind in order that your subconscious can guide you back to your own wildly beating heart. They crack you up and crack you open with raucous laughter and shimmering stillness. They make the hairs on your arms stand on end. In addition, Jeannine will offer individual support for writers who come with specific goals, manuscripts, projects, and who have hopes of earning a living with their love of language. Everyone has to pay the bills, and writing is a very fulfilling way to do that. There is no shame in writing for money, and if you want some useful advice in that regard, it can be found in June at Stout's Island.