How do you write what is inexpressible?

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October 25 to 28, 2018
King City, Ontario

Limited to 6 participants

Writing With Horses is a retreat designed for writers who are currently working on a project and are struggling with something that feels “sticky.” You’ll spend three days working on your writing problem with Sarah Selecky, equine therapist Jennifer Schramm, and the horses, with plenty of time for writing and revising on your own. Writers of all genres are welcome.

There will be no riding — only writing! No previous horse experience required; simply an open mind and heart.

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Message from Sarah Selecky

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I started writing with horses when I felt stuck few years ago. I know how that sounds. But I’d heard that equine therapy had been effective for people who wanted to work on their relationships. Since I think of writing as a relationship, I wanted to try it. I like experiments, and I felt open to whatever wanted to happen.

Jennifer Schramm facilitated all of my sessions, and my breakthroughs were so profound, I started to bring other writers to work with her at the farm, too.

This is why I think this works so well for writers: before we write anything, our story exists as a mix of ideas, feelings, emotions, and intuitions. Putting all of that into words is not easy. Clichés and stereotypes come to us because they make writing feel easier. But writers want to use language to transmit emotion, not numb it!

How do you write what can’t be put into words?

When you consult creatures who don’t know language, you are able to access the place that your writing comes from. With the right facilitation, you can finally get out of our head, and experience knowing in a different way.

It’s hard to describe what it’s like to “work” with horses. (You aren’t riding them). But I can tell you this: it feels magical. The horses help you find your best self — no masks, just insight.

With their help, and the intuitive guidance of equine therapist Jennifer Schramm, writers can reconnect to the source of their creative work.

Jennifer Schramm and I are thrilled to invite you to our Writing with Horses weekend retreat in King City, Ontario on October 25-28, 2018.

We go deep in this retreat, so space is limited to six people.

This is going to be a very special weekend. I hope you can join us.

xo
 

THE RETREAT:

When you bring your writing into the intuitive space created by horses, it can reveal your true nature, and a deeper truth about the story you are writing. Writing with horses helps you become aware of your intentions in a way that you haven’t thought about before.

The immediacy of the learning can be startling: the result is clarity, fresh energy, and a feeling of freedom.

You will train yourself to write without focusing on an external outcome. The magic will happen as you learn how to trust yourself and your own writing process. With daily guided writing workshops and sessions with the horses, you will see how it feels to trust what you already know about your story. By the end of the weekend, you’ll know how to shift your focus so you can be more receptive when you write.
 
This retreat is for you if:

  1. You have a piece of writing you’re working on, but something feels “sticky.” You need help.

  2. You feel that you need clarity before you can dive in to solve your writing problem.

  3. You don’t want writing to feel like work.

  4. You need to tap into your flow again — for some reason, you’re just not feeling it.

  5. You want to get out of your head and into a more creative place.

  6. You want to write as yourself, and use your own voice.

  7. You want to reconnect with a more natural (or younger!) version of yourself.

  8. You want to feel open, joyful and connected when you write.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • No horse experience is necessary for these workshops. All exercises are done on the ground, and the lessons learned from the horses are transferable, so they can be immediately integrated into your daily life.

  • Receive one on one consultations with Sarah and with Jenn and the horses.

  • Expect solitude and writing time, with lots of space throughout the estate for privacy.

  • Included are comfortable and quiet accommodations (shared rooms) at the retreat centre: a 70-acre Georgian estate built in 1962 (please see photo below).

  • Also included are vegan dinners on Thursday and Friday and vegan lunches on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We will provide recommendations for dinner out or in on Saturday night. Please bring your own breakfast goods (you will have access to the kitchen). Please note that the retreat centre is vegetarian (thank you).

  • Cost: $1100 – $1250 USD (we want this retreat to be accessible, and are making it available on a sliding scale).

  • To register, please place a deposit of $200 USD. (Deposits are non-refundable.)

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WHAT OTHER WRITERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT WRITING WITH HORSES:

“It’s been on my mind to try and put in words what the weekend meant to me. I have been choosy in speaking about it – fear that words, inadequate and cliché, might diminish what I experienced. I have never been one for ‘talking doctors’. What you created, structured and made possible allowed experiences far more intimate and profound than any conventional consultation could possibly offer. Not only did my discoveries strengthen the motivation and sense of purpose I have for my current writing projects, they inform who I am as a person. They are part of my spiritual understanding and beliefs. In other words, it was a Big Deal.” -Kristyn Dunnion

“No other creature connects me to my heart, spirit and the ground beneath my feet like horses do. Jenn and Sarah were gifted in facilitating this transformational workshop. They created safe and inviting space for me to explore some stubborn and difficult emotions.” -Micheila Storr

“Writing with horses was therapeutic and enlivening for my mind, heart and work in the most surprising of ways.”-Erin Robinsong

“A truly singular experience for any artist. How often do you get to ask another creature for wisdom and spend time together feeling each other heart to heart and skin to skin?”-Andréa de Keijzer

“If you’re curious about this workshop, do it. It’s hard to put into words how there’s a magic that happens when you bring your writing self out to connect with the horses. Be prepared to throw your expectations of yourself out the window.”-Cecilia Moorcroft

“The weekend with Sarah and Jennifer, my fellow participants and the horses (and donkey) was without exaggeration, a life-saving experience for me. I went feeling totally defeated by life, with no sense of strength to survive or even a sense that it was worthwhile for me to do so. The weekend was not easy, but then working on ourselves and what we cherish in our lives (in this case, writing) is not easy. Jennifer and Sarah, the barn and everyone involved just wrapped us in warmth and acceptance and support from the second we arrived. My bruised and broken heart connected with the hearts of the other women there and with the horses I worked with and I came away knowing that I had value, that I deserved a more peaceful life and, most important, that I have a voice that has stories to tell and wisdom to share. My writing is stronger, deeper, truer and I protect the time it requires from interruptions. Angels come in all configurations – some with two legs, some with four. There are still many difficult moments, but there are many more of peace and joy. When life or the writing gets challenging, I close my eyes and return to that warm barn and the magic and deep spiritual connection I felt with Lucky and Astella in the ring and listen for the soft sounds of the horses and Duncan’s mirth-giving bray.”-Jo Anne Wilson

“Writing & Horses gave me and my writer-self a safe and nurturing place to reconnect, and while those words sound simple enough, the experience for me was profound beyond language. I felt a horse’s heart. I shared a horse’s breath. I sobbed (and sobbed) into a horse’s shoulder. And I haven’t stopped writing since.”-Carrie Klassen

“I loved this workshop! Jenn and Sarah have created a heart based partnership to facilitate deep writing and profound personal growth and learning. They provided us with a safe, nurturing environment to explore our creative selves and better understand the elements within which hold us back. Their attention to detail, warmth and generosity of spirit made this an exceptional experience. The writing exercises were both practical and profound. The work with the horses was enlightening – I am only beginning to digest all the horses taught me! I felt a shift in my relationship to my writing and to my being. I left the weekend feeling grateful, more compassionate toward my writing self and more connected as a human being. Jenn and Sarah have created a very special workshop – I felt privileged to be apart of it.”-Pamela Johnson

“The thoughtfulness that was put into the retreat environment – from the soft lighting to the sofas in the stalls, warm blankets and vegan gourmet meals, insights both gentle and poignant from both human and horse. Each day providing an opening to let the light in and make the ink flow.”-Marnelle Tokio