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Writing to Feed the Soul

In Person Writing Retreat

with Carolyn Brigit Flynn

Taking Stock: Writing the Present Moment

Weekend Retreat
Saturday-Sunday, August 5 & 6, 2023
Private home, Santa Cruz, CA

with a Saturday-only option


Join us ...


Let's take time to breathe deep,

and take stock of where we are.

During this writing retreat, we will explore the moment in which we are living, both the ancient teaching of dwelling in the present moment as well as this breathtaking historical moment, and to reckon with these past few years.

Writing is a way to bear witness to ourselves and to the world.  It is how many of us come back to our own souls.  The immense change & planetary upheaval we are experiencing makes it more vital than ever to establish time for inner quiet, to think deeply and to bear witness to the unprecedented change in which we live.  These current times also make it necessary to allow our minds, bodies and nervous systems to quietly re-set as we write and witness each other in community, in the always unfolding present moment.

INDEPENDENT PROJECTS: Writers working on their own projects are welcome to use this retreat to dive into a current writing project and move it forward, including individual consultations with Carolyn.

LUGHNASA:   We will gather on the ancient festival of Lughnasa -- an Irish celebration in honor of the beginning of the harvest.  The people traditionally made pilgrimages into the hills to be together around a communal fire, to praise and thank the spirits of the land for the blessings offered by the Earth. We will gather around our own communal candles on Saturday evening, under the stars, to give thanks, to speak aloud our dreams and fears, and to read our work to each other.


A weekend of writing, poetry, quiet reflection, deep conversation and profound witness.

We will pay attention to our dreams, synchronicities, inner visions and urges as we deeply engage with our life as writers.  We will also allow the natural world, the blossoming garden, the redwoods, local songbirds and the feel of the sea nearby to feed our souls.

All Will Come Again Into Its Strength


All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong and varied as the land.

And no churches
where God is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering in all relations,
and in you and me.

No yearning for an afterlife,
no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth,
lest we remain unused.

       --Rainer Maria Rilke

"I can't say I have confidence in the future, but I have a lot of confidence in its unpredictability, based on the fact that the past has regularly delivered surprises... Despair is a delusion of confidence that asserts it knows what's coming... We need to have confidence that surprise and uncertainty are unshakable principles, if we want to have confidence in something. And recognize that in that uncertainty is room to act, to try to shape a future that will be determined by what we do in the present... We see no farther than the little of our lanterns, but we can travel all night by that light."   -- Rebecca Solnit 

It will be thrilling to write together

in person again! 

As our writing community has experienced many times, these retreats are soulful, productive, life-renewing, and also just plain fun.

Individual consultations with Carolyn will be available.


Saturday, August 5, 9:30 am-9:00 pm

Sunday, August 6, 9:30 am-3:00 pm

(Participants will have the option of Saturday only)


--Tea, beverages and healthy snacks will be available at all times.

-- Delicious dinner provided on Saturday evening

-- Potluck lunch feast will be shared on Sunday

-- All snacks & dinner on Saturday will have vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

-- Participants will be invited to bring a brown-bag lunch on Saturday.


Safe, Intimate & Inspiring

New and experienced writers are welcome .

We will meet in a small group, limited to eight participants.

This is a non-residential retreat at a private home in Santa Cruz, with lovely indoor and outdoor spaces for writing.

Cost:   Full Weekend $430-$475 sliding scale

           Saturday  $300-$330 sliding scale

To reserve your space:  Please send an email to Jean Mahoney as soon as possible Full payment is due upon registration.

Cancellations: Refunds possible up to July 23, 2023 if we are able to fill your spot. 

Covid safety: Participants will be asked to do a Covid test on Saturday morning before the retreat, thank you.

Please contact us with any questions.

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