Cedarbrake Renewal Center is about an hour north of Austin, TX on 32 acres of naturally wooded beauty, ten minutes from Lake Belton. You will find numerous trails for walking, meditation spots, an outdoor pavilion and a gazebo. Benches are located through out the property for meditation and contemplation. All provide a peaceful setting for inspiration and renewal. A beautiful walking labyrinth is situated directly behind where we meet to write. Every room is a single with a private bath.
At the heart of this retreat is the joining of Creative Writing, Hatha Yoga, and Meditation. Patricia Lee Lewis & Charles MacInerney have combined their energies for 20 years to offer this powerful path to the creative self. The Yoga, led by Charles, creates in you a sense of physical well-being, while bringing you back to your body and your senses. Each Yoga class ends with a deep guided relaxation which calms your mind and helps it to relax into a creative Alpha brainwave pattern.
Patricia leads the writing circles in a way designed to help you bypass your inner critic and go directly to images, feelings or memories–to the places steeped in story and natural language. Because this is the time to generate new writing, rather than to critique what you have already prepared, you will be encouraged to write freely to the extent possible, without editing.
Gathering in small, intimate groups, you will be invited to read what you have written. Group members respond only with what is strong in the piece, what they remember, what is vivid. The process is highly encouraging and supportive to the natural voice and to you as a writer, whether you are beginning again after years away; an experienced writer in need of a jump start; or you are in the middle of a project and are looking for new ideas and time dedicated to writing.
Patricia Lee Lewis will lead the writing sessions. Our writing retreats are designed after the process developed by Patricia’s mentor, Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Writers & Artists, to help us find our truest voice; to write from the images, memories and feelings we all carry inside ourselves; and to write with greater confidence and skill. The retreats are a wonderful way to take time out and allow the deeper levels of your own creative self to emerge onto the page. Besides all of this, they are fun.
We will write several times each day in response to exercises Patricia suggests (which you are completely free to ignore!). We are invited to read aloud what we have just written and to respond to each other’s work with what is working (what we like, what we remember, what moves us) and not, at this stage of vulnerability, with what will make it stronger. We will work together to create and maintain a safe, confidential space in which to write whatever comes by following certain practices in responding to new writing:
- We honor the writer by listening carefully;
- We treat everything as fiction;
- We refer to the narrator/speaker, not to the author, as the voice of the piece;
- We remember that while healing often occurs through our writing, this is not a therapy group, and we maintain our focus on the writing;
- We concentrate on the writing at hand, not on anecdotes of our similar experiences;
- We are free to write what we want; exercises are offered;
- We are invited to read;
- We respond only with what we like, what stays with us, what moves us-and not, at this stage of vulnerability, with what will make it stronger.
Writers of all levels of experience and of all genres are invited. There are no criteria for acceptance other than a sincere desire and willingness to write. You need bring no manuscripts with you; all writing is done during the retreat.
Hatha Yoga classes will be taught by Charles MacInerney. We will learn a variety of techniques to engage and deepen awareness of the most subtle sensations and movements of mind and body – first in stillness, then through subtle movement, and finally in more challenging and active asanas.
You will be encouraged to pay more attention to the sensations and signals of your own body than to any external authority figures, including the teachers. One of the effects of this style of class is that you will become more self-aware, self-confident, and independent. Charles encourages his students to learn from their own experience, from their own sensations, from their own deep awareness of mind and body, and to trust that awareness over any external authority figures.
The overall atmosphere will be relaxed, with the emphasis on enjoyment rather than effort. This does not mean that we will not work hard at times. You will find that you can engage in difficult and even strenuous poses joyfully, without experiencing the physical and psychological stresses associated with joyless striving.
Patricia founded Patchwork Farm Retreat in western Massachusetts over 35 years ago, has led writing retreats there since 1992, and internationally since 1996. She celebrates our relationship to the earth as sacred, to writing as a way of finding what is deepest within us, and to teaching writing as a participatory, supportive endeavor. She is excited at the promise writing together holds for all of us.
Charles is registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 500 hour level (the highest registration currently available), and is the co-founder and serves on the faculty of the Living Yoga Teacher Training Program. He is also the co-founder of Texas Yoga, and helps organize and presents at the Annual Texas Yoga Retreat.
“Patricia’s deft introduction of craft in generative writing makes it feel organic, like play, rather than the difficult task others can make it. Charles’ attention to detail and comfort of the newest, clumsiest of newbies creates a safe space to the kinesthetically challenged.” — Jodi
“I haven’t written in 30 years, since school. I wasn’t sure I could keep up with the others. This method and Patricia made it impossible for me to fail. I loved what came out of it for me.” – Carol
“The writing books say write every day; sit there even if you find nothing to say. How off-putting! But writing as Patricia leads it in her writing retreats is almost effortless. It’s comfortable, illuminating, restorative, playful, and more. And then she listens so intently and gives feedback that’s empowering. Add to that friendship and food, all of it coming together in gorgeous natural surroundings. I couldn’t have asked for more.” – Lauren
“I loved the diversity of the writing exercises. Found them very effective, informative and stimulating. My passion for writing has been re-ignited. THANK YOU! And after years of practicing yoga at home, and years of going from one teacher to another, I have found JOY in the practice again.” – Myrna
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or call (413) 527-5819