A Most Unusual Writing Workshop



This workshop incorporates guided meditation, breathing techniques, and gentle movement while participants experience dry salt therapy, to clear mental and physical blockages and promote creative expression. Inspiring writing prompts stimulate and entice writers to share their ideas in a supportive setting. This workshop could change your life! You’ll want to return to the salt room time and again, and take these new techniques for achieving relaxation and clarity with you wherever you go.

detox writing final-2

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Outdoor Education

Crossing a log bridge — or climbing a fallen log — teaches lessons.


You must leave out the “what-ifs” from your thoughts. They don’t serve you well on the precipice of great adventure!

No weighing the costs–only the benefits.

Take this lesson home with you. Completely omit doubt from your campaign to make a dream come true.

Incidentally, when I ask, “What is the worst that can happen?” it’s freeing to think how little my untimely demise really would matter to the big cosmic picture. The long term. The evolution of our species. How can one individual possibly matter? I would assume I matter no more than a bug! So what if the things I build are bigger? They might not be as long-lasting nor matter as much as a single bug’s legacy.

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2).

“All is vapor and a chasing after wind.”

I might be an adrenaline junkie. I chase peak experiences. I long to be “in the flow,” and I tolerate the mundane life between adventures…and starve between them, whether it’s moments or months or many moons between one and the next.



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Magical Mandalas

Mandalas are my new thing. Now that I’m keyed into them, they seem to be everywhere.

Here’s a mandala in the yoga studio I just visited.


A good friend who’d read my earlier post pointed me to a mandala workshop at Wainwright House. It’s a gorgeous estate on Long Island Sound in Rye, New York. I discovered the same sculpture there as I’d once seen at Omega Institute upstate.

I will have to investigate the artist behind this recurring sculpture.

While I do not consider myself a painter, this workshop appealed to me because I’d recently enjoyed creating a mandala from found objects, and I welcome the opportunity to study the form in greater depth.

I bought a couple canvases, basic tools, and acrylic paints to try again at home. Here are my results.

Painting mandalas is an enjoyable practice. I will also continue to make mandalas with found objects. In case you missed my earlier post, here is the mandala I made to send healing vibes to my mom from afar when she got injured in Chicago.

Once you’re interested and attuned to mandalas, they appear everywhere. Look for them and you’ll find them in nature, as in a spider’s web, on skin, on canvas, on walls….

Here is a concise summary of the origin and meaning of mandalas. Notice here it says, “Labyrinths are a type of mandala found in many cultures and are used as a tool for centering.” More on labyrinths here.

Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll explore the calming and uplifting experiences of walking labyrinths and creating mandalas. Both are sure to be lifelong practices for me.

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The Other Shoe Falls

The other leg is broken. Mom’s other leg. It’s broken. I don’t know, at this time, how her spirit is doing. She was supposed to leave for Amsterdam and depart from there for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise an hour after the fall happened. Devastating.

While she’s in surgery in Chicago, I go to my sacred place in New York, and walk the labyrinth.

Inspired by this post, and also by a group called Raise the Vibration – A 30-Day Challenge, who were all invited to create unique mandalas today, I created a mandala at the center of the labyrinth. It was my way to connect with my mom and send healing to her and strength to my dad from afar.

It’s hard to see in the web image, but, anchoring a photo of my parents is a sculpted glass butterfly. (I had the photo and some polished stones at home; I’d bought three sunflowers and some decorative broken glass from a local nursery, and brought my materials to the site.) I thought, as I laid the marble on the picture, “A butterfly can’t fly with one wing,” and reveled in the holism of our parents’ unity. My mandala radiated from a square. “Lead with your heart,” I’d thought as I entered the labyrinth, holding my hands in prayer pose, and walked with my heart center and shoulders open. I thought it again as my mandala took an unexpected square shape and I tried my best to embrace its imperfections. The photo was the center of the mandala and determined its form. Our parents are the heart of our family…

The ritual was meditative, relaxing, and rewarding, and I look forward to doing it again soon, while on a hike. It will definitely be incorporated into my next Nature Writing Workshop. In the meantime, please view the slideshow below to get a sense of place and peace.

Please send a wish up for my mom’s speedy recovery.


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*The statue of mother and child, which I’ve seen many times before on my visits to the labyrinth, took on poignant significance today.

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What I learned (and What I Already Knew) From Making a Vision Board

Symbols are the language of the subconscious.

 All along I’ve been a writer who could only draw abstract things, like mazes, mandalas, and a basic tree with branches and leaves, and never showed any skill at drawing; I thought I was not a visual artist.

When I tried photography—and loved it and printed my own photos in the color darkroom and had a show in the East Village—I became a visual artist. That’s when I realized writing is an act of creating visuals in readers’ minds. I suddenly saw writing as a visual art. Art is any way we transmit the visions in our heads and hearts to another person.

I always wanted to have a talented visual artist sketch from written accounts of my dreams, to see how accurately they could match what I saw in my dream—as a test of my own ability to write with precision. I still would love this! When I can afford it, I will commission an artist to sketch from my writing. Or maybe I’ll take a drawing class…

Making a Vision Board

I’d heard of The Vision Board. It started around the time “The Secret” came out (2006). Ever since Shakti Gawain’s book, Creative Visualization, became a classic after it was published in 1978, terms such as, “manifesting” dispersed through the atmosphere like bubbles. (If you’ve read the book, you know that’s an insider’s reference to her “pink bubbles” concept.)

Long story short, it had been a long time coming for me to undertake my first Vision Board creation project. My conversation with coach Sara Goff convinced me it was imperative that I try. She said that visuals speak to the subconscious. She said once the Vision Board was created, the act of gazing at it and connecting to our potential actually changes our magnetic field, and when we raise our electromagnetic vibration on a regular basis, motion toward our dreams is inevitable.

I finished the vision board late on a Sunday night, and Monday was invited to go on a hike with friends, on a trail I’d never been to before. Look at the startling similarity between an image on my Vision Board, and the place we went!

Recently Updated

“Close your eyes and relax deeply. Go to your inner sanctuary and spend a few minutes there, relaxing, getting oriented. Now imagine that within your sanctuary you are standing on a path that stretches off into the distance. You start to walk up the path, and as you do, you see in the distance a form coming toward you, radiating a clear, bright light.” – Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization

Aspects of the endeavor surprised me, and continue to as I adopt the Vision Board as my new roommate. What didn’t surprise me was how long it took. For the first time, I anticipated that my OCD and perfectionism would slow me down, so I started with plenty of lead-time and finished on my personally set deadline, having worked for four separate nights over about a week. (My friend and coach, Sara Goff, has Vision Board Soirees, where people gather, imbibe, and creative Vision Boards in one evening. I probably spent 4 – 8 hours on the project, and $20-30 for magazines, posterboard, and double-sided tape. I timed the deadline to arrive after a round-trip flight to California, because one of my pre-children airport rituals was to buy my favorite magazines, like Dwell and Surface, whenever I passed through airports. This project sampled from yoga, spa, culinary, and travel magazines more than design magazines, because I wanted to feature people and not just spaces. But, as you’ll see, spaces influence me and my visioning. (Is that a word?) For once, I successfully budgeted my time!

What I Learned

Current themes in my life became more articulate, even as I avoided words.

Creative pursuits are undertaken at the expense of other activities. You can’t do everything, and you can’t have it all. In my case, with this endeavor, some household chores fell by the wayside. I spent a few bucks on magazines, poster board, and double-sided tape. This activity, for the expenditure of time and money, was a luxury. We say, “spending time and money that I don’t have”—well, I scraped enough together, and I’m glad I did. The ROI will be wellness and prosperity manifesting, as I bring them into sharper focus with this ritual.

Side projects and hobbies are valuable. You enjoy being right where you are, and usually it’s at home or not far from home.

What I Already Knew

Already knew I was a perfectionist. I could either work to cure my OCD and go against my preference for symmetry, blur the lines, break form, allow chaos to enter my next Vision Board, or relax into my process and appreciate my products as they are.

Please click on the two links for a short video tour of my first Vision Board!

Vision Board Tour Part I (6 minutes)

Vision Board Tour Part II (2 minutes)


Completed vision board hanging on my wall.

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What I Love About Winter (Reprise)

Making a list of things I like about winter is like making a gratitude list when I’m in a bad mood; the goal is to turn my frown upside down, and the goal is uphill from where I am.

1. You can see deep into the forest. The trees are bare, so you can see a lot deeper into the forest than in summer. The forest is inviting in winter. However, I learned the hard way I’ll have to wait til temps rise above freezing to take the kids hiking.

2. Soup.

3. Stars on a crystal clear, cold night.

4. Hot chocolate.

Gee, this list is a lot harder to drum up than my first attempt was in 2011.

What do you love about winter? Give me some perspective.

5. Evergreen trees.

6. Suddenly remembering it’s time to visit relatives in Phoenix and Ft. Lauderdale.

What you aren’t able to hear before, during, and after this picture are the kids groaning that they’re too cold and tired to trudge another step. It was about 25F, after all. I just want to get good exercise and use my Deuter Kid Comfort 2 Backpack as much as possible!


…Is it spring yet?

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Broke My Clean Streak

4+ years of nursing, and today, for the first time, I spilled coffee on the baby. (She’s alright.) How many mornings have we enjoyed a coffee with our first feeding in the morning? Hundreds, if not a thousand.

My fondest memories are of nursing 11-month-old Adela around 5am mornings on vacation in El Salvador.

The cook of the casa we rented would hear us wake, and bring a warm café con leche to the plastic chair where I’d look onto the beach and get coated in Pacific seaspray while nursing. I could think of nothing better.


From the bitter Folgers my mom makes to the caramel latte I made this morning using our Aeroccino milk steamer/frother (best wedding present ever), the taste and smell of coffee have become strongly associated with morning nursing.

I am sure I’m joined by millions of other mothers participating simultaneously across the globe in this morning ritual. I commune with the multitudes of other moms nursing in that instant, and I connect with my baby by tuning in to what each sense is picking up. This is a 360-degree, immersive, sensual experience I hope never to forget.

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