Workshops/Retreats

The Language of the Heart: Writing Poetry of the Sacred

Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Salt Spring Island

When we rest deeply in the present moment centred in the heart, we sense our connectedness with all things, the sacredness we are a part of. In this retreat we will deepen our connection to this sacredness and express it through the language of poetry. Meditative practices will relax our bodies, still our minds, open our hearts, and allow a flow of writing on the page. We’ll have an opportunity to engage in free-form verse and experiment with some easy-to-write forms, such as haiku, with an excursion outside if the weather permits.  Our day will open awareness, creativity, and new avenues of joyful expression in a heart-centred community of poets at all levels of experience.

Cost: $30 at the door. St. Mary’s, 2600 Fulford Ganges Road. Register at  staroftheseassi@gmail.com.

Radiant Essence Retreat: A day of renewal with Qigong/Tai Chi teacher Purna-Ma

Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

***Early Registration (payment by May 8): $115

(includes vegetarian lunch)***

Registration after May 8: $125

Salt Spring Island

At this auspicious time of burgeoning growth and blossoming, we’ll allow our unfolding and flowering, tapping the radiance within for deeper joy, well-being, wisdom, and creativity. Qigong practices will help us relax our bodies, still our minds, and open our hearts. Writing practices will help us reflect on our lives and express ourselves deeply. Our time together will open new reservoirs of vitality, ignite inspiration, enhance creativity, and nourish us with heart-felt connection during this exuberant season.

Deep Writing Retreat:

Next Retreat TBA

The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery

—Frances Bacon

In this retreat we will deepen into the mystery through meditative practices to write stories, poems, and other pieces “pulsing with the contradictions and beauty of real life,” as Canadian memoirist/novelist Sharon Butala has stated. We’ll share the writing in a supportive circle to help take it to the next step. Our time together will open possibility, depth of expression, and heartfelt connection in a circle of women embracing their truths.

Place: Salt Spring Island; Times: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Cost: $160 (with registration and payment by July 1); $190 after July 1; vegetarian lunches included; Day rate: $80 July 1, $95 after July 1

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Poetry Pilgrimages On Salt Spring Island

Next retreat TBA

“Poetry is a way of coming back to the wonder of the world,” says poet Don MacKay, and this is what we’ll aim for during these excursions to some of Salt Spring’s sacred places. We’ll walk, look, listen, and write with our senses fully engaged, our hearts open, and our poetic capacities enlarged by the beauty around us.  Cost: $75 by Aug. 10; $80 after; bring a bagged lunch

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Beauty & Truth: A Poetry Retreat on Salt Spring Island

Next retreat TBA

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty…”

John Keats

This retreat will help you craft beautiful poems with deep truths. We’ll engage in practices to tap buried experiences and bring them fully to the page. Listening deeply, we’ll attune to what lives and breathes in the writing and what can be cut or revised for greater effect. We’ll discuss elements of the craft, such as rhythm, imagery, tone, and voice to refine the poems. Our day will offer the chance to experiment with content and form and be part of a dynamic community engaging deeply in poetry.

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The Whole Story

Weaving Tapestries of Meaning

Through Life Narratives

Date and Place TBA

The aim of this retreat is to help participants write stories that reflect the whole of their lived experiences—the inner and the outer, the sorrows and the joys, the illuminations and the ordinary moments—in vivid language resonant with their truest voice. The narratives can be prose (memoirs, personal essays, travel stories, or autobiography) or poetry. Feedback on writing will help it reach a cohesive shape. Our afternoon together will offer a sanctuary to explore the depths of meaningful moments and events and bring back their gold into fully expressed narratives.  We’ll also have the opportunity to deepen our connection with the creative source and one another in a supportive circle of women.

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The Writing Well

Exploring the depths of true expression

Date and place to be announced

When we write from the well of our being, we’re able to explore buried memories, feelings, and images that aren’t normally accessible. We bring the parts of ourselves that have been locked away back into the whole. And in doing so, we write with more depth, emotional truth, and originality. This is what we’ll aim for during our day together.  After practices to relax and open, we’ll engage in short writing sessions, followed by a longer period of writing. Feedback on first drafts will help you take them to the next step. The retreat will offer a container for deep writing, a community of women embracing their own truths. Writers working in all genres welcome.

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Open Poetry

Date and Place to be Announced

This workshop is an opportunity to engage deeply with the poetic source. We’ll start with practices to open the creative flow from an inner well of buried memories, images, and feelings. Writing sessions will be followed by deep listening for what comes alive in each poem, rhythm, flow, clarity, cohesiveness, and other elements of the form. Participants will be encouraged to write fully from the fertile depths of their creative being.

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Deep Writing Retreat

Date and place to be announced

This is an opportunity to give voice to the stories, poems and other writing that you’ve been holding within, perhaps for several years. We’ll start with practices that relax the body and open the creative flow. More directed writing sessions will follow to initiate new work or add to a project you’ve been working on. Feedback on first drafts will help you take them to the next step. The retreat will offer a container for deep writing, a community of women embracing their own truths, and a chance to enjoy a beautiful environment.

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New Writing Retreat: The Healing Power of Words

Date and Location TBA

In a state of openness we’re able to perceive the hidden mysteries that surround us in every moment. We’re also able to access rich inner landscapes, the well of feelings and memories, the fertile fields of our imaginations. And from this creative ground the writing that reaches the page has a depth and authenticity that has the power to touch, transform, and heal others. This is the state we’ll cultivate during our retreat, engaging in practices to relax the body and still the mind interspersed with writing sessions.  We’ll listen deeply to what comes to the page, staying attuned to what rings true and what can be clarified. Our time together will offer a safe and supportive container to take risks and plunge into deeper parts of ourselves to express our truths in the language of prose and poetry, the language of the heart.

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Open Truths: Writing From Your Deepest Experience


Date and place to be announced

One of our most important tasks as writers is to speak the truth. Yet many of us are hesitant to write truthfully, for fear of how we may appear to others, or for revealing incidents we consider private. This workshop will offer ways to move past the censor and open to the rich experiences that may be buried under layers of preconceptions about what is acceptable writing.

We’ll start with practices to open a flow of writing, then advance to more directed exercises designed to trigger memory recall and stimulate the imagination. Participants will be encouraged to share their first drafts, either in part or their entirety for feedback on how to bring them to the next stage. Emphasis will also be placed on helping writers open to the full range and breadth of their voice in a safe place, moving past their own resistances to discover the hidden gold of their deepest experiences.

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Personal Creative Retreats On Salt Spring Island

I invite you to enjoy the solace and serenity of Salt Spring Island while working on any creative project.

Stay in a lakeside cottage, forest cabin or B&B. Visit the island’s quaint towns, artists’ galleries, and famous Saturday market. Receive mentoring support for abundant inspiration, creative expansion, and new possibilities for your writing and life. Contact Lorraine for options and rates.