Every winter I do a writing series where I open up my blog to other writers to explore a theme. This year I asked my Haven alums to consider submitting a piece about what it took to get themselves to the retreat, what their blocks were, and how it has informed future decision making when it comes to creating possibilities for themselves in the field of their dreams.
The theme is: I Gave Myself the Gift of a Haven Retreat. So Now What?
If you’d like to come on a Haven Retreat, here’s our 2015 calendar:
February 25- March 1 (only a few spaces left)
June 3-7 (filling fast)
June 17-21 (filling fast)
April 29- May 3- Haven joins the fabulous luxury guest ranch Ranch at Rock Creek for an activity-based retreat that will blow your mind!
Click here for more info. You do not have to be a writer to come. Just a seeker…
by Patricia Young
Siri defines Haven in two ways. “1. As a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary. and 2. A sheltered port where ships can take on or discharge cargo.”
I have always had a love of lighthouses. Dreaming of taking one of the cruises, not on a ‘cruise ship’, but on a beautiful schooner that sails from the Hillsboro Inlet Light on Pompano Beach in Florida all the way up to Lighthouse Point in Nova Scotia. Stopping along the way to photograph, paint and write about the different lighthouses dotting the coast. Still to this day a great comfort to every sailor gazing into the darkness looking for the shore.
Although Laura Munson’s Haven is unequivocally the first definition, it is also safe to say each person who experiences it takes away more than one meaning of the term.
What is a sanctuary for some, may mean a place I can not only feel safe in – but also a place to explore within myself, to share thoughts and feelings without being judged or ridiculed. To have a say in what I am going to do –then feel the support of a very uniquely special group of women, who will encourage those choices.
Haven will not magically turn you into a writer. It will not get you published or make you independently wealthy. However – it will help you find the writer inside you. It will answer your questions honestly about the publication world and what to expect or not expect. It will be bold and clear when it tells you to do whatever you want – but know you must do the work it takes to get there.
It has been fifteen months since I walked on the dock by the lake in Whitefish. Sat on the swings and felt the Montana breeze on my face. Had a ‘Laura’ hug! Yet I know in my heart a piece of me remained, and a piece of that beautiful place came home with me.
Haven is a lighthouse – it beacons you, bids you welcome and cautions you to take care – of yourself, your soul and your spirit. It is a place you can come and unload the cargo you carry on your back, and take on a fresh perspective of what you hope to do, plan to do and will focus on. Having given you sanctuary – it will nourish and fill you, so you can refreshed and rejuvenated come home. Where you can choose to continue on your path, decide if you should take another route, face a storm or sail into the sunset of possibilities.
The destination is ultimately up to you.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace
I Gave Myself the Gift of a Haven Retreat – So Now What?
by Laura Prochnow Philips
I went to Haven for several, very personal reasons: to reconnect with a long-lost cousin, to see if I was right about the powerful role of creativity (and writing in particular) in a healthy life, to enjoy a completely different physical environment, and to see if I wanted to write again either for my work as a coach or for me alone. Once I was there, I discovered a greater, broader purpose: I want to change the internal and external conversations women are having about midlife health and wellness to include more joy, fulfillment, self-compassion, and love. I came home renewed and inspired, but I knew that keeping Haven alive while back home would be one of the most challenging parts of the journey.
In the short time I’ve had since the retreat, I’ve found that the key to keeping Haven fresh and vital is to bring as much of the feel, the learning, and the experience of Haven into everyday life rather than let it fade away like new year’s resolutions in February. I carved out a physical space for writing at home: I now have my Haven Manifesto pinned up next to my desk, and I cherish my photo with John the horse. But these are small efforts compared to the powerful internal shifts I experienced and want to make permanent. What can I do that will last?
Rediscovering my creativity was one of the most important parts of Haven for me. I firmly believe that creativity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, whether it shows up as writing, dancing, painting, knitting, making music, or any number of similar pursuits, and my experience at Haven confirmed that belief. As a health, wellness, and lifestyle coach, one would hope that I would practice what I preach. But I had fallen off the creativity wagon; I hadn’t been writing for a very long time, and Haven invited me, cajoled me, and forced me to write again. A curious thing happened once I restarted writing: I liked it. I wanted to do more of it. My voice got louder and stronger and wasn’t taking no for an answer. The reboot of me as a writer—and as a creative soul—has been just as fulfilling, energizing, and healthy as I tell my clients it will be once they take the plunge into a creative endeavor.
For me, the true gifts of Haven are the rediscovery of a long dormant part of myself—the writer—and the continuation of the spirit and energy of the retreat every day since I came home. Taking best advantage of those enormous gifts depends entirely on me deciding to support my internal shifts in one of the best ways I know as a coach: taking an active part in a community of fellow souls seeking their individual paths. The Haven Facebook community provides contact with other participants and the support of as many writing coaches. My group is planning to get together again in person in 2015, which is delightful to anticipate. I’m so grateful for my new community and the support it provides, and I’m deeply energized by all the possibilities that exist in me and in us. If this creative community and my reawakened writing self are my “now what?,” I’m thrilled.