WARNING: Photo heavy!
Let me start with one thing I now know for sure: I AM A WRITER.
After my Conscious Booksmith retreat in Ojai, California, I can say, with confidence, I am a writer. I also have a clear plan on how to go about becoming an author.
How did this happen? A couple of years ago, based on my love of all things Christine Mason Miller, I took the online course (soon to be offered again) and when the retreat was offered I knew I had to be there! So much so, I booked space at the retreat and bought my ticket to Los Angeles, even when there is no easy or inexpensive way to get to LA from here (crazy!) I managed to secure direct flights, booked a hotel and a car and headed out by myself to spend four days away from home with the belief that the women I would meet would be fabulous and I would learn a lot. I am delighted to have been right on all counts.
As I arrived at 8:30PM, I didn’t want to drive the Pacific Coast Highway after dark. It was 11:30PM my time, too dangerous twisty-turny and I didn’t want to miss the beauty of the coastline in daylight. Over at Budget I got myself a Toyota ForeRunner, similar to my Lexi at home and managed to not get lost while making my way to the hotel. PLUG: I stayed at the Sheridan Gateway hotel and have to say that even though it was a crazy amount of money it did earn it’s 4+ rating on TripAdvisor. The bed and pillows were bliss. So much so, I took a quick snapshot of the tags and am seriously considering changing mine at home.
First thing Thursday off I went from Los Angeles to Ojai with a leisurely stop in Malibu. Oh, how I love the Pier:
After a quick lunch at Malibu Farm (with wild crashing of the Pacific beneath me) I made my way up and over to Ojai. The views were beautiful, until there was so much fog I couldn’t see anything right before I turned inland. Even after a stop at the local market, I was an hour early!
A sweet welcome from Christine.
It felt like I was sleeping in a bottle of Veuve Clicquot! The painting detail in each room was lovely. Though the furnishings at the Villa Ojai Retreat are decidedly tired the space is beautiful. We were treated to the creations of chef Meredith Klein who created delicious Ayurvedic meals every day. Not my preference, but I did come away with an appreciation for the practice and a few recipe ideas.
Seriously HUGE. My succulents at home are tiny in comparison. I had no idea they could grow this big!
Lavender at sunrise. I can’t smell them, but I can appreciate the visual.
Oh my goodness, these women! I am so beyond grateful to have spent some time with each and every one of them. Our classroom, our space, our conversations, all of it was wonderful.
Our altar in the daytime. The slow appearance of skunks. By the end of our retreat the altar was filled with them.
Mind mapping? Seriously made my mind explode with joy and opportunity!
How it started. How it ended. I am happy to say my objective was met – with bonuses! The workbook and exercises were outstanding – they really made my book come alive for me. The process of Japanese stab binding the workbook was a challenge and I have to get that completed now that I’m home with my scrapbooking tools.
My 90-minute drive back to Los Angeles lasted FOUR hours. I hit Malibu and went at a snail’s pace from there.
This? ^^^ This is my journey.
After a few days of Ayurvedic eating – which was wonderful – I was happy to order in some Chinese take out from Red Chillie. It was an even better choice since I arrived home (late) at 9AM and slept most of the day. Red eye? Brutal! Take out? Delicious!
I brought all of this home. This and so much more. I am beyond hopeful, blessed and energized. With gratitude and focus I plan to move forward with my current project. I have asked the women of the group to hold space for me. Space to write what I need to write, so that sooner rather than later, I can focus my energy and ideas on other projects. Until I get this out of me I cannot possibly move forward, that is clear.
With Caden in Iceland and Chloé in Europe for most of July, I am hoping to find my groove and get into a daily writing practice. I’d like to get at least 1500 words written each day. First thing? Mind map. Second? Outline. Third? WRITE! And through it all I have to remember to let the book form itself and not be rigid in my desire for it to be one way if it wants to evolve and be another. This is going to be a grand test – and a lot of fun.
I can tell hard stories, after all, I already lived them.