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Back from Retreat – Writing from the Heart

I began my retreat with an ayurvedic massage, followed by a walk in nature that led me to a beautiful labyrinth. As I walked the labyrinth, I found myself feeling peaceful. Afternoon yoga brought more peace and feeling centered in my body. By the time our writing workshop began at 7:30 pm, I felt ready to “write from my heart.”

And that was the big distinction in Nancy’s Slonim Aronie’s workshop: Writing from the Heart. We didn’t write from our heads or write what we already knew, we wrote to discover or rediscover our truth, from a place of feeling deeply. Without the sense of safety and trust that Nancy created, it wouldn’t have been possible, but Nancy created an atmosphere that allowed deep exploration.

There’s something unique about writing in community. Writing can be such a solitary act. By writing in community we found the courage and support to go deeper than we might have individually. As Nancy led us in seeing the brilliance in each person’s work, we got to appreciate our own gifts.

Under Nancy’s tutelage, I realized that when I write from my heart, my writing is playful, powerful, full of interesting language and metaphor. When I write from my head, it lacks dimension. It just isn’t as fun or as compelling.

Still, it caught me by surprise when someone came up to me outside of the workshop and remarked that she’d spoken about one of my pieces to another classmate–and found it powerful. I’d been judging the piece and feeling negative about my writing in general, especially as I compared myself to all the brilliant writers around me. As I acknowledged my bad feelings about the piece, four of us realized we’d all been feeling the same way about our own writing and this classmate helped me see that we’d all been telling ourselves we didn’t measure up against everyone else’s writing.

Writing can be a challenging act–getting beyond our own self-criticism, our fears of what we’ll discover about ourselves when we write our truth, our fears of what others will know about us, our fears of what others will think or say about us.

Writing from the Heart offers a fresh perspective where it feels safe to explore and discover that we’re all in this together. We’re a community of writers. And in community we can truly appreciate ourselves and reach new heights. I highly recommend Nancy’s workshops–either at Kripalu (where you can enjoy yoga, dance, massage and great food) or on Martha’s Vineyard where Nancy teaches regularly.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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Comments

  1. Michelle Girasole says

    Lisa, how wonderful that you took advantage of a writer’s retreat! I have just put Nancy’s workshops on “my list”.

    Ironically, I have friends that have a home just up the road from Nancy’s Chilmark location, and as I visited with them in September, I saw her sign by the road, “Chilmark Writing Workshops”, and thought how wonderful that would be. This section of Martha’s Vineyard is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been!

    With your endorsement, I think a Sassy Ladies’ writing retreat may be in order. But, how to decide – Kripalu or The Vineyard? Perhaps both!!!

    Thanks for inspiring me with a great post…
    Michelle

  2. lisatener says

    Michelle, I think either would be delightful. If you’re inspired by the idea of yoga, yoga dance, a hot tub and the beauty of the Berkshires, I think Kripalu might be the place for your retreat. If you envision class in the morning and private writing all afternoon, then I’d recommend Nancy’s Vineyard location. Yes, probably taking both is the ideal. Enjoy!

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