Writing at the Edge of the World: A Contemplative Writing Retreat
Led by Tania Casselle, award-winning writer, editor and teacher, and Sean Murphy, National Endowment of the Arts Fellow and Zen teacher.
Tania and Sean's institutes at SDI Conferences are among our most popular offerings; we suggest you act quickly to secure a place for this unique retreat.
Join us for a contemplative writing retreat at this beautiful Orcas Island beachside property. Step out of the hurried pace of everyday life and explore writing as spiritual practice in this peaceful setting where forested land meets ocean, where our own individual stories meet the magnificence of the natural world.
Writing holds great potential for discovery and transformation. In this retreat, we’ll explore how to connect our inner and outer worlds through the practice of writing, finding inspiration in the land and ocean that surround us, as well as diving deeply into our own creative landscapes. We will nourish our souls while witnessing gorgeous sunsets, the ebb and the flow of the sea, and the star-strewn sky.
Our schedule will include plenty of writing, creativity exercises and craft tools to open the mind and heart to new possibilities. Of course, we’ll take time for silence, meditation and contemplation to support our process.
We will explore various ways to free our natural flow of expression, bypassing our inner critics, and accessing our true source of creativity. Mindfulness practices will stimulate the creative process. Most importantly, we’ll rediscover the freedom, playfulness, and joy that made us want to write in the first place.
Our emphasis is on the creative process, with the aim of igniting our enthusiasm and exploring the writer’s craft in a supportive and inspiring atmosphere. We will spend periods writing outside in our serene (and sunny banana belt!) Orcas Island location, with its own private beach.
As a process-oriented rather than critically-oriented retreat, this is open to anyone who feels the impulse to explore their inner world through writing, whether a beginner or an old hand.
Perhaps you want to use writing in your work as a spiritual companion, or use the written word to share your life experience and ideas with others? Or perhaps you just want a simple creative way to listen more deeply to the still, small voice within? Either way, join us!
Whether you’re a casual journal keeper, or wish to explore the contemplative side of the creative process, or you’re an accomplished writer in any form including fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction or poetry, you'll leave with a notebook full of writing and a fresh set of tools to invigorate your creative voice. Just bring your good self, a notepad and pen and be ready to write!
Starts 5:00pm Mon June 15, ends 10:00am Friday June 19
We will be staying at the historic North Beach Inn. Their website states, "Our cottages and Lodge are simple and close to nature, and the ethos is supportive of creative and spiritual endeavors. Our beach cottages are spread along our 1/3 mile of pristine private beach, and are backed by 100 acres of woods and pasture. This is a beautiful and historic property, owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years."
photo courtesy of North Beach Inn
Expect to encounter: Mooring buoys, level sand-and-pebble beach, 90+ acres woods and pasture, Wildlife: deer, bald eagles, otters, variety of birds, Ocean views and sunsets. “Simple, tranquil, a step back in time, they are for those of you looking for accommodations with warmth and character, and furnished with all the basic necessities.”
We will gather in a space designed in the style of an 1800’s Scottish hunting lodge, features an 800 sq. ft. “great room” with a large furnished kitchen. Built in 1932, it maintains its period charm with its generous fireplace, vaulted beamed ceiling, deep bay windows, and gracious front porch overlooking our beautiful sand and gravel beach just steps away.
photo courtesy of North Beach Inn
Orcas Island is a rich destination in Washington State, reached by ferry boat, and described by locals as “the gem of the San Juans.” It’s a magical mix of arts and culture, lush forests, pristine lakes and endless outdoor possibilities. Charming villages of Olga, Deer Harbor, West Sound and Orcas Village dot the island as centers of culture, art and cuisine. Relax and enjoy the island's quality sampling of restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and museums. Most of Orcas Island’s 57 square miles are rural and hilly, a pleasure for drivers and a challenge for cyclists, with curving roads that wind through forests and past artists’ studios, fields with old apple barns, and the occasional turn-of-the-century prune drying barn.”
Tania Casselle has been a writer and editor for 20+ years, published in books, magazines, newspapers and online media in the US, Europe and Asia. She is a committee chair for the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her nonfiction, fiction, poetry and radio work have been recognized in numerous awards and anthologies. As a writing coach and teacher, she works with people individually and in seminars and writing retreats in person and online. She holds a Masters in Transpersonal Psychotherapy and follows a contemplative path in the Zen Buddhist and Christian mystic traditions. She helps writers on every level, teaching not just the craft and business of writing, but also exploring the deeper creative and spiritual impulse, helping writers free their natural writing voices and navigate internal blocks. A Brit from London, Tania lives in New Mexico.
Sean Murphy is a 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellow and an authorized Zen teacher (Sensei) in the American White Plum Lineage. He is a member of the Spiritual Directors International Coordinating Council. His One Bird, One Stone: 108 Contemporary Zen Stories (Hampton Roads 2013), won the 2014 International Book Award in the Eastern Religions category. He is the award-winning author of three novels with Bantam Dell Books, receiving the Hemingway Award for a First Novel for his The Hope Valley Hubcap King, the 2009 National Press Women's Communication Award for best novel for The Time of New Weather, and the 2017 William Faulkner Wisdom Award for novel-in-progress for his current project, Wilson’s Way. He is the founder of the nonprofit Sage Institute for Creativity & Consciousness, which hosts an innovative meditation leaders training program. He teaches writing and meditation at UNM-Taos.
$1695 for double room
$2150 for single room upgrade
Registration deadline: May 4, 2020.
Total cost includes:
4 nights in single or shared occupancy room at the North Beach Inn
3 catered meals per day, plus coffee, tea, and snacks
$50 non-refundable registration fee
• Refunds (less a $50 non-refundable registration fee) will be provided with written notice prior to March 16, 2020.
• After March 16, 2020 SDI will issue 50% refunds (less a $50 non-refundable registration fee).