Tag Archives: well-being

Garden Haven


Come with me on an adventure of a lifetime!

Haven Retreats in Montana: email me:  laura@lauramunsonauthor.com

August 7th-11th (just a few spots left)

September 4th-8th (now booking)

September 18th-22nd (full with wait list)

This year, a miracle occurred in my garden.  It wasn’t a great year.  Let’s just leave it at that.  And I decided that my home was my safe haven.  So I took crystals from a light fixture that belonged to my childhood room and wired them to the old honeysuckle wood that surrounds the archway beginning my garden path.  And I decided that they were protection.  That in passing under that crystal be-decked archway, I would be protected, whether I was entering my home, or exiting it.  Every time I passed under, I took a deep breath and imagined myself surrounded in a white light that nothing or no one could permeate.

Fall came, and with it, the usual garden death and dormancy.  One by one, the last asters and sedum and black-eyed Susans gave way to frost. Then rain, matted it all down, their winter cover.  I chose not to put the garden to bed as I usually do, cutting back the stems so that in the spring, the tulips and jonquils have space to send their shoots.  I just let the garden blanket itself, knowing that snow would soon come, holding that blanket firm.  I’d pull off the plant blanket in the early spring when the snow melted to make way for the bulbs.  But each day, as I passed under that arch, the crystals hanging from stark, leafless, bloomless honeysuckle wood…I noticed that there were a few small branches that weren’t yet dormant. Paler green leaves, yes, and limp less-orange blooms…but still thriving.  November, December, January, February…they held on in the driving ice and snow of a Montana winter.  I couldn’t believe it.

It was as much hopeful as it was stubborn as it was a little scary and sad.  I worried about the whole vine, not taking its winter rest.  I rely on that archway to be full of lush orange and green welcome all summer long, and I feared that the honeysuckle was somehow trying to martyr itself for me.  But there was nothing I could do but just receive this feat of nature as what it needed to be.  I wasn’t sure what that was.   But I had to let go.  I finally resolved that it was a gift.  It was promising protection, year long, and it was getting its power from the crystals of my childhood ceiling light– one which I gazed into all my foundational years for comfort.  I thanked it every time I passed through.  Which meant that I not only felt protection.  But I felt gratitude too.  Gift after gift.  Day after day.

And this summer, in its twenty year long life, I have never seen my garden in such profusion.  I let it go.  And it took care of itself.   And even thrived when it wasn’t supposed to.  The lesson in this runs as deep as those honeysuckle roots.  Sometimes when we let go, the world holds us just a little closer, a little more bravely, a little more tenderly.  And hope abounds.

Please enjoy this slideshow of my garden haven, 2013 by clicking the right arrow after each slide:



Filed under My Posts

The Radiant Retreat– March 24-31– Join me in yoga and writing on a white sand beach…

So….you know when you have this idea? And it flashes in your mind and your rib cage flickers with heat. And you catch yourself smiling because you can see the whole thing play out in your mind like it’s being projected on the inside of your forehead? There you ARE! On a BEACH! With one of your best friends and a group of fellow journeyers, sharing and playing and doing yoga and writing. And there’s no judgement or meanness. You are free. For the first time in a long time you feel absolutely free.

And then in come the police. NO no no. You can’t go to that beach. Who do you think you are? You can’t afford to give yourself that gift. You’re supposed to be saving for your kid’s college fund. You’re supposed to be at your office on your computer not missing one deal, never mind one text or Tweet or Facebook update or email. You’re supposed to be RESPONSIBLE.

Well what if you can call a week in Tulum, Mexico with one of the best yoga instructors in the country and a New York Times bestselling author, and a group of kindred spirits…all coming together to inspire your body/mind to nourish itself…the ULTIMATE in responsibility? What is more responsible than taking a stand for your health–mind, body, soul? What is more powerful than making a deliberate move toward awareness and healing? Being blithe? Heck, maybe you’ll do a cartwheel on the beach.

It was the idea of that cartwheel (and no don’t hold me to it!) that got me thinking that I would make this investment in my well-being. My dear friend Jennifer Schelter, yoga goddess and so much more (read below), invited me to be the writing leader on this amazing retreat she’s been holding for the last five years. I saw the mental movie. Then I felt the police putting out that fire in my rib cage. And then I asked this powerful question:

What makes me most happy? Kind people. Writing. Beaches. Helping people to wake up to their creative selves. Moving my body around in nature.

And so after I told her the list of reasons why I couldn’t join her in Tulum…I interrupted myself and said, “Actually…I’m in. Count on it.”

We’ll spend our mornings in yoga practice.  And our afternoons at the intersection of heart and mind and craft that is writing.  We’ll find where we are stuck on the page and maybe even where we’re stuck in life.  We’ll do exercises that nimble the muse and tap into our creative voices.  We’ll breathe our writing ALIVE on a white sand BEACH!  I positively cannot wait.

Here is the info. There’s still space. Come give yourself this gift! Cartwheel not required.

The cabanas

The restaurant

Jennifer Schelter-- Yoga goddess and dear friend

Retreat led by: Jennifer C. Schelter

A leading expert on the mind-body connection, well-being and creativity, Jennifer Schelter was called “One of The Most Inspiring Philadelphians” by US Airways Magazine 2009, a “Real Goddess” in the “People Who Make the News” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and “Best Yoga Instructor of 2007″ by PhillyFit Magazine. Her innovative work champions mind-body awareness and the integration of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs for optimal health, performance, and focus. Her clients include Fortune 400 companies, Wharton Business School Advanced Management Program, and Authentic Leadership Training.

In addition to teaching Vinyasa yoga and meditation, she’s a life coach, playwright, author, actress, and entrepreneur.

Jennifer is the founder of Yoga Schelter; the premier yoga studio in the East Falls sections of Philadelphia and Yoga Unites®, a non-profit whose mission is to inspire individuals and engage communities in yoga, meditation, journaling, and dialoguing as tools for health and transformation. She leads over 1,200 people annually at Yoga On The Steps for Living Beyond Breast Cancer on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps and Freedom Plaza, Washington D.C. contributing to the success in raising over $300,000 in donations. In 2004, Living Beyond Breast Cancer Organization, presented her with the Community Vision Volunteer Award for “taking yoga off the mat” by envisioning and creating a one-of-a-kind event “Yoga Unites.” “Through her generous spirit, Jennifer inspires all women affected by breast cancer to breathe, stretch and move towards wellness.”

She is the producer of “am awake,” an audio yoga CD and DVD, “The Art of Vinyasa Yoga”, and is the founder of The Radiant Retreat at Maya Tulum, internationally recognized as one of the finest wellness destinations.

Amnesty International produced her one-woman-show “Love Lessons from Abu Ghraib” in 2009 at the Capital Hill Arts Center in Washington, D.C., the Regional Conference in Harpers Ferry, VA. and Haverford College. The show, recently produced by InterAct Theatre, received rave reviews on Radio Times, NPR in February 2011.

She loves her cat Shumba, and is currently writing a memoir based on her global adventures.

Writing Led by: Laura Munson, the author of the New York Times and international bestselling memoir This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn/Putnam 2010) which Book of the Month Club named one of the best books of the year. It has been published in nine countries and has been featured and reviewed in Vanity Fair, Elle, Redbook, Time, Newsweek, Washington Post, Publisher’s Weekly and many other newspapers, magazines, and online venues across the globe. Laura speaks and teaches on the subjects of empowerment, personal responsibility, and emotional freedom at conventions, universities and schools, writing retreats/workshops, and wellness centers. Her work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, O. Magazine, The Week, Huffington Post, Redbook, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, More Magazine, The Sun, The Shambhala Sun, Big Sky Journal and others. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, WGN, many NPR stations, Hay House radio, as well as other media including London’s This Morning and Australia’s Sunrise. She lives in Montana with her family and horses.

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Filed under A Place For Writers To Share, My Posts

One Hour Phone Chat With Laura.

I’m really thrilled to be the speaker on Mindset Coaching’s live phone chat with Beth Hanishewski
next week.  Mark your calendars and come say hi! 
Monday November 8th 10:00-11:00 am PST.

Click here to sign up!

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Filed under "Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear", A Place For Writers To Share, My book: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness, My Posts

Personal Day

When is the last time you took a personal day? Mine was yesterday. I had just come off a few stunningly wonderful days in San Francisco doing readings. Readings are intense, especially with a memoir. People are hungry for messages of empowerment and appreciate vulnerability. So there is much sharing– something that I love and am deeply grateful for. But there’s so much pain in the world that I don’t see in my life spent here at my writing desk. In this time of sharing my book with people, I have found that I need to let that pain move through me as part of the collective We. To not let it get stuck. I don’t know how doctors and nurses and therapists and teachers do it, or anyone in any field where they are daily looking at pain. I have learned that pain can be our guide. My book is all about this. Thanks to people being so willing to share their own stories of pain and transformation, I’m reminded over and over of the freedom found in the present moment. That we need to breathe away thoughts of the past and the future and receive life moment by moment. That’s where the fear goes away. That’s where the freedom is.

To that end, the other night when my flight from San Francisco landed in Seattle, I did not get on my connecting flight home. Instead, my trusty little green roller suitcase and I marched right out of the airport, grabbed a cab, and checked into a hotel. It was like I was being pulled by something magnetic– as if I had no control. I simply needed to spend a day alone, and I did. I slept until ten am, and then roamed around Seattle for hours and hours– a city I love and one in which I lived a long time ago for some of the most inspiring years of my life. It feels like a city that is constantly in a state of expression, holding out its palms, full of gems. Here are some of them. And yes, I gave and received that free hug. Thank you, Seattle. I’m home now, better for having had a day with you. yrs. Laura


Filed under Food, My Posts