A weekend of embodied writing practice + harnessing the creative alchemy of mind, body, and heart
Where: Amherst Center, Amherst, MA
What: Short guided meditations, writing prompts and periods of freewriting punctuated by sharing, laughing, and eating! Summer beauty and (optional) morning yoga sessions round out a weekend that will leave you feeling seen, connected, grounded, and creatively restored.
Who: Anyone who enjoys writing as a practice and longs for the gift of time to breathe, write, connect, and just be.
I grew up a stone’s throw from the Emily Dickinson Homestead. I used to write late at night, gazing out the bedroom window, feeling like the only person in the world.
Writing is such a solitary experience in many ways, and the gradual process of finding my writing community continuously surprises and amazes me. Much of how I connect with others occurs online--and opportunities to meet face to face with others, feel precious and few. That's why I created the Unfurl retreats in 2015 and continue to offer them each summer, when the Pioneer Valley is at its most glorious.
Come spend a weekend in a beautiful space just a short walk from Amherst Center. Listen to your own voice and benefit from the practices of showing up, move your hand and body, open your heart, and see what happens.
"A truly incredible experience."
~ Nicki Gilbert
"My only complaint is that it was too short."
~ Emily Cox Sinagra
* The retreat begins at 5:00pm on Friday and ends around noon on Sunday.
* Cost includes continental breakfast both mornings, a catered lunch on Saturday, and a beautiful custom notebook for your words. Jena's three books will be for sale during the weekend.
* Plan on a delicious group dinner out Friday night to celebrate your arrival and the beginning of our time together.
* For dinner Saturday, there are many local restaurants, cafes, markets, and farmstands in Amherst and nearby Northampton.
* A variety of prompts and timed writing exercises will provide opportunities to write indoors and out in the gardens. Expect bursts of writing interspersed with languorous periods of reading our work out loud and and reflecting on each other's words and stories in a space free of judgment and pressure.
* This is NOT a writing "workshop" in the traditional sense. We will be witnessing, not critiquing, each other's words. No previous writing or meditation/yoga experience necessary -- just an open mind and heart, and a sense of humor!
“Unfurl was a gift on so many levels.
Touching the minds and hearts of fellow writers, face to face, in a warmly supportive setting was truly food for the soul at a time when I needed it most. I appreciated the pause in my routine and the opportunity to immerse myself in the company of like-minded, open-hearted women who are on a similar writing journey. Your generosity of spirit and the beautiful way you hold space for writers, both online and off, is extraordinary.”
~Sue Ann Gleason
Travel & Transportation
(not included in retreat cost)
Flying: Bradley in Hartford, CT is about a 50-minute drive from Amherst. Logan (Boston) is under two hours away.
Train: The Amtrak "Vermonter" has a stop in nearby Northampton (station code is NHT).
Driving: Amherst is approximately 3.5 hours from NYC and under two hours from Boston.
“There was a feeling of profound permission being together in person that astounded me, really.
The level of trust and truth and the total beauty of everyone’s words filled me. That’s a very special state of being.” ~Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman
Jena Schwartz is a poet, promptress, and writing coach whose work weaves together a passion for language, poetry, and storytelling with a devotion to community-building based on truth-telling, connection, and inclusivity. She began leading online writing groups in 2014, and has since shared her unique flavor of fierce encouragement for writing + life with hundreds of people around the world. Jena has a BA in Russian Studies from Barnard College, an MFA from Emerson College, and advanced training with the Coaches Training Institute. In addition to blogging for over 12 years, she has self-published three collections of poetry. She is fiercely committed to LGBTQ rights, intersectional feminism, and writing as an expression of resistance. She lives in Amherst, MA with her wife Mani, kids, Aviva and Pearl, and bulldog, Chalupa.
Miv London, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, therapist, meditation instructor, and yoga teacher. She worked as a psychologist at UVM Counseling and Psychiatry Services from 1994 to 2015, where she founded and coordinated the UVM Mind-Body Wellness Program. She has practiced and taught meditation in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition since 1999 and completed her yoga teacher training at Laughing River Yoga in 2012. She has studied with Amy Weintraub, and is a certified Level 1 LifeForce Yoga Practitioner. She is currently in private practice as a psychotherapist in Burlington, VT.
"There was no sense of competition or exclusion. It was a very inclusive, nurturing, safe, but not sappy or precious, space. It was seamless."
~ Allison Tyler