Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sacred Self-Care Retreat

9:30 TO 4:30 PM
Restorative yoga & guided meditation with Debra Leibovitch
Creative Play/SoulCollage(R) with Jennifer Boire

Spring is here: It is time for some sacred self-care, some down time, some tranquil restorative movement. It is your time now, to receive tender nurturance and find Creative Flow. Let this day long retreat in a natural beautiful landscape soothe your soul and help you restore your energy.

As we open our eyes and our hearts to the always, already present holding environment which is our true nature, we behold the drop of grace which pours through the eyes of everyone we meet, including that unknown precious one that we see when we look in the mirror. And then all that could possibly remain is an unshakeable faith in love’s perfection.  - The Mystery of Holding


Monday, March 07, 2016

Writing and your Creative Process

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Someone asked me today what my creative process was like. Did I use a pen and paper, or type directly onto a computer? Did it really take me four years to publish The Tao of Turning Fifty? And that started a long conversation, in which the following tips came up. Some of them I am trying for the first time, like doing different kinds of writing at different times of day.

Make it special: I’ve moved my desk three times in the last year, and each time there was something ‘not right’ about the spot – view great, internet connection lousy, or no view, great desk and internet. Or Room is too cold! I need some sun and a warm sweater. So finding the right spot is important, in the quietest corner of your house preferably, or if you need noise and stimulation, find a busy cafe somewhere out of the house, but make it your “special” spot. It helps to create a routine.

Ritual: some of us don’t like to do the same thing twice, others like to perform little rituals of preparation. It could be as simple as lighting a candle or making a cup of hot Chai, but if you prime your subconscious mind that ‘this is how my writing time begins’ with an additional signal or ritual, it can help you get past the mind blocks your inner critic throws at you, like ‘now is not a good time, there’s all that laundry waiting’, or “now is never a good time, you suck at writing”. I may need to light some incense or play some 70’s music (David Bowie) to inspire me to write about my teen years, for instance. That’ll put me right back in my 16 year old bedroom with the turntable and my younger sister sharing a room...egads!

Treats: add a treat to the ritual! Don’t look at writing as a punishment, and crack the whip. Get out the licorice or dark chocolate. Give yourself a reward for getting your bum into the chair and doing it. Make it something not too distracting: vodka or rum may lead to relaxation, but you might not get very much writing done. Then again, whatever turns you on....

Writing schedule: this has never worked for me. Every year, I make resolutions, I rearrange my priorities, I skip yoga so I can I decided that realistically, mornings are best for creative writing: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings I will write for 90 minutes, in my journal, long hand. And in the afternoons, I will give myself another 90 minutes for ‘business’ writing on the computer: Facebook posting, quote gathering, promotional blurbs and blog writing. We’ll see if this works. My theory is that as I finish meditation at 8:30 a.m. or so, and  my journal is close by my bed, the morning time will be best for musing and creative writing. Then again, my kids are studying away from home, and once my husband leaves for work I have the house to myself. Choose a time that works for you. And one you will actually be able to do.

Know your self: this sounds obvious, but you need to be able to describe who you are, what you do, what your expertise or area of knowledge is, why you want to write this book – I am a powerful beginning. Think of those 30 second elevator speeches that force you to summarize everything you know into a few short lines. You’ll need this on your book jacket.

Network with the people who love what you love: there are many more readers of books out there than you realize. Don’t get discouraged by all the books already published (I know the feeling, it hits me whenever I enter a bookstore). Join a writers club ( for example), connect with other writers and you’ll learn tips, share experiences, and maybe find your audience (depending on whether you are a fitness instructor or a romantic novelist). MindBodyGreen  has published several articles of mine, and now I’m looking at TinyBuddha to find like-minded readers.

Hire a copy editor: if you are self-publishing, and want this to turn into a viable book, don’t just proofread and correct your own spelling. Hire an editor, a neutral third person whose only job is to see what is working (or not) in your syntax and punctuation. They will also be a good first reader in general. Get a few quotes and compare. I found a good one, in Canada, at

These are just some of the things that help. If you have anything else that works for you, please feel free to share it with us!


Thursday, March 03, 2016

Why Practice Self-Care

Why practice self-care?

To replenish energy, renew faith in life and yourself, be playful, express creativity and be more productive, everyone needs more down-time.

Sometimes a vacation is in order, but sometimes those vacations leave you more tired than when you left!

A Retreat is a special invitation to relax in your core, to attend to that sacred self-care you’ve been putting on the back burner for too long. A retreat is set up for you to take some time for reflection in your journal, to do some creative mapping of your inner soul, connect with other like-minded souls, and rejuvenate your energy with lots of rest and healthy food.

If your retreat is in a tropical paradise like Costa Rica, even better! Sun, sand, beach, ocean waves to soothe the frazzled spirit and provide a warm, gentle, green eco-friendly environment to refresh yourself in. I just came back from the Hummingbird Retreat, and feel so energized and renewed.
It was really a treat, to bathe in the ocean twice a day, practice chi gong under a mango tree, visit with a hummingbird in the Hibiscus flowers every morning and eat a healthy lunch around the pool. We made a lot of SoulCollage(R) cards, and did a few Readings. We practised our Hummingbird dance and attracted some stray cows wandering down the beach. We honoured the Full Moon with a fire ceremony and burned away what was no longer serving us. Mostly, we rested and played and nourished our souls.
A huge thanks to Brigitte Bauhart, ShamamamaNextDoor, for inviting me to participate in the Creative part of this retreat.

Going on a retreat is definitely part of sacred self care.

If you are curious about what a retreat looks like, or would like to know more about my retreats please contact me at  You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter on the website.
“The hummingbird spirit animal symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being. Enjoy the sweetness of life, lift up negativity wherever it creeps in and express love more fully in daily endeavors. ...The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. “