Sometimes it’s hard for me to block out the noise of everyday life and listen to my own authentic voice. There are articles to write, updates to social media, and too many emails to answer.
But that’s what I’m working on this week. I'm in Taos, New Mexico, attending a writer’s retreat at the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House. I’m here with over 20 women, spanning every age and stage of life, from all over the US and Canada.
In between eating amazing meals and taking in the rustic landscape, I’ve got big chunks of time to create--interrupted only by my inner critic. I’m not constantly checking Facebook, reposting relevant tweets, or scrolling morning news feeds. I can decide what I want to write. I might compose a blog post, dabble in fiction, poetry, or work on an idea for a screenplay. (‘Cause everyone who lives in LA has one.) I can play at my craft and let my imagination run wild.
We begin every day in a circle, both for warm-up exercises and to set writing goals. I’m in awe of this group. Not because everyone is interesting, original, and inspiring. That’s all great but not the point of our gathering. Our facilitator forbids us to give advice or try to “fix” anything.
There’s great freedom in that one rule. Imagine, having to listen to yourself, and others, without judgment. Imagine digging down beneath the surface of what is expected of you, and getting to what you really want from your creative or professional life. Imagine giving yourself permission to ask these questions, and look for your own answers.Labyrinth at Mabel Dodge Luhan House
This is a luxury for me. I’ve played many demanding roles as a woman: wife, mother, businesswoman, and caregiver to aging parents. I know I’m privileged to be able to take a six-day break from normal routines. But what if every woman could experience this type of self-renewal on a regular basis? I wonder how such powerful, directed, feminine energy could change the world.Taos Night Sky
I listen to the loud crackling clap of a sudden thunderstorm. Hail rains down from the dark sky over Taos. The weather changes once again, as the storm moves further away, echoing in the distance. Mother Nature, in all her wild and untamed glory, rocks.