I had a wonderful time presenting Writing To Awaken at the SAND Conference at Titignano Castle near Orvieto in Italy in July. What a location! Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo, the founders of SAND, are excellent hosts and always produce a mind-bending event, where scientists join with spiritual and self-development teachers to create visionary programs. Where else can you learn from an quantum physicist in the morning and a non-dual master in the afternoon? Check out the next conference this October in San Jose.
This year’s writing retreat in Italy was among the best we’ve ever had. A great group assembled from the U.S., Australia, and Canada for work-filled week at a 17th century villa near Lucca, complete with an olive grove, vineyard, salt-water pool, and plenty of open space to wander around the stunning grounds. In the afternoons, we took the group on local excursions to a private castle in a Medieval village, the marble caves at Carrara (whence sprang Michelangelo’s David), and dinner on sea in Viarregio. Thanks so much to everyone who came.
We had an unusually large, intelligent group at London’s Conway Hall last Sunday. Sixty people from all over the UK came together to do self-inquiry through writing in deep work in this historic venue. Thanks to everyone for your fine work and to Alternatives for hosting the event. I hope to see you again next year! On to Prague for the next workshop at Maitrea!
What a great time I’ve been having as always at Omega Blue Spirit. Stephan Rechtschaffen has created a real life paradise for reflection and renewal, self-exploration, spiritual practice, and being in this superb tropic setting. Howler monkeys, baby turtles hatching on the beach, chartreuse colored birds in the trees. And teaching with old friends and admired colleagues, Roshi Joan Halifax, Joan Borysenko, Elena Brower — big souls all. I look forward to teaching this retreat every year. Next week, Australia. Peace.
I’m happy to be returning to the Omega Blue Spirit retreat center in Costa Rica in 2017. I’ll be teaching “Writing To Awaken: Spiritual Memoir as a Healing Path” from January 7-14. Located on the Pacific coast, Blue Spirit offers participants the opportunity to sample from the week’s courses as they choose, and I’m delighted to be teaching this year with Roshi Joan Halifax and Joan Borysenko among others. I hope to see you there! Click here for more info and registration.
I had a great group at Esalen for this year’s Writing To Awaken Workshop. Forty-five participants in the brand new Aldous Huxley room above the newly refurbished main building, and what a group it was! The intimacy, trust, and mutual respect that can form among a group of total strangers in a weekend’s time never ceases to amaze me. Folks wrote on a variety of topics — “The Mother’s Gaze,” “Awakening Genius,” “Locating the Sacred in Everyday Life” — challenging subjects that helped them break new ground, psychologically and spiritually, sharing their writing and experiences with the larger group. Thanks everyone for your commitment, creativity, and courage! I hope that our paths cross again soon.