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Taking Time To (Re)Treat January 25, 2014

IMG_4834So many things have helped me on my path to health, but one that I have been practicing for over 25 years is the retreat. I love this word. It means to take a step back; it means to take refuge. It also means to re-treat: to treat oneself, again. I first came to Santa Sabina in the mid-eighties, when I was a budding calligrapher (little known fact). I signed up for the Friends of Calligraphy retreat,  not really knowing what I was getting into.

It took my breath away. Silence, and beauty. The scratching of pens on paper in what had been set up as the Scriptorium. Words on paper (or on walls). A great spaciousness. My mind was blown.

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Once I started coming to this place, I felt I craved it like one craves chocolate, or oxygen. Once or twice a year (especially when I had babies and small children), I would slip away for twenty-four hours, to step into the quiet corners. I could climb the steps to the straw-bale Hermitage and “be the hermit” for a brief while.

IMG_1617 IMG_1612 IMG_1611Sometimes I came on my own, or with other writer friends. Sometimes I came with groups- calligraphers or poets. I experienced several amazing poetry weekends – one focusing on the work of Rilke, others with Jane Hirshfield and Naomi Shihab Nye. There is poetry everywhere here, and art. The art basement is a generous space filled with art supplies of all kinds – a calligraphers’ nook, a collage room. It invites gentle creativity.

IMG_1633 IMG_1630Several years ago, I began offering group retreats myself at Santa Sabina. It has been one of my greatest joys. Two years ago, I led a retreat called Stories of the Body. Participants came together to share stories through collage, art, writing, movement, and to be with their own bodies’ stories in silence and reflection and silent, mindful meals. It was so moving and beautiful. I have been trying to book a date for a return visit for years, but the center has been undergoing many renovations and there have not been dates open — until now! I am thrilled to be offering Stories of the Body again at the end of March.

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There’s an early-bird discounting until January 28th, and I’m also offering a discount to YOU, blog readers. (you can take advantage of both!) For readers of this blog, just enter the code FOODFOODBODYBODY and you’ll get an additional reduction in price.  I am also offering a deposit option with extended payments for those who cannot pay all at once.

I am hoping to be able to offer a weekend scholarship for one retreat assistant to this retreat this year. The work involved would be minimal but of great help to me (registration, set-up, logistics). If you feel that you would benefit from this special time away (and into yourself), please email me with the following:

  • Why you feel this retreat would benefit you at this time
  • Your commitment to attend if chosen
  • Experience in dealing with groups (ie your “people skills”)
  • DEADLINE: February 1, 2014

Exercise and eating well have been so elemental in my health journey, but this – THIS- has been an invaluable element that I often forget. Being with myself. Taking time for the quiet. I hope you will join us.

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Looking Back, Looking Forward December 29, 2011

I’d say that 2011 was overall very positive for me, health and activity-wise. Here’s a peek at what went on last year:

January:

first snowshoe adventure, New Mexico
2nd year as Weight Watchers leader
2nd “Healthaversary” Party

February:

I took my first of two trips to Baltimore last year!

running in the snow
meeting the awesome Roni for the first time!

March:

The “Fight for Air” Stairclimb with Sabrina
View from the top: 110 flights up!
Oakland Running Festival Twilight 5k THE NEXT DAY!

That was quite a weekend.

featured in story in Oakland Trib about running after injuries

April:

Trip to London (here on Abbey Road)
and Paris (Notre Dame)
Good thing we walked a lot because typical breakfast = croissants and cheese

May:

My first Bay to Breakers. CRAZY!

Yeah, people run naked. Why??

100th Anniversary medal was pretty nice

Major highlight of 2011: Fitbloggin!

MizFitOnline herself! I love Carla.

Best. Roomies. Ever.

Thank you Roni!!

June:

Nia dance party for my friend Audrey's Bday

July:

NorCal Fitbloggin' Local Meetup

of course there was tons of awesome food

signed up for Team in Training to do my first triathlon!

met the best training buddy EVER

August:

started riding a bike after 20 years

started swimming after 18 years

September:

A few bumps and bruises

Learned how to put on a wetsuit

Look, Ma! No hand!

October:

Dealing with the mental game

"Stories of the Body" Retreat at Santa Sabina

giving the course a test run

practice "mini tri" with paper medal

November:

Featured story in local paper

Holy moley, I did it.

Joined the TNT Hike/Snowshoe Team

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot with WW folks

December:

Las Vegas Santa Claus 5k!

Looking back, I have to say I feel good about it. That was quite a year. I kept pushing myself and finding new and different things to do. I think that’s the name of the game. Keep going. Keep improving and challenging.

What’s in store for 2012? I’m starting out with a New Year’s Day 10k run. Then I’m doing the TinkerBell Half Marathon in Disneyland with my two daughters (fun!) on January 29th.  February 5th is the TNT Snowshoe Hike in Yosemite (prettty!) and then I’m diving into a new season of triathlon training, this time as a mentor. I can’t wait to get back to training again!! Would you like to be on my team and become a triathlete in 2012? Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!!

What did you do in 2011 for health and fitness’ sake? What are your plans for 2012? I want to know!!

 

Retreating October 7, 2011

It’s been a long time since my last post! But today is a self-appointed (nonscheduled) rest day and I’m using it to catch up.

There’s a bunch to say about my tri training but I’ll leave that for another post. Today I want to write about my “Stories of the Body” retreat that was held at Santa Sabina Center last weekend.

Wow. Just wow. It surpassed my wildest expectations and hopes for what it could mean for 20 women to come together to write, share, contemplate, make art and dance, cry and laugh about their bodies. It was just awesome and made my heart break with happiness.

It made me realize that really, all I want to do is interact with the world like this. In an honest, vulnerable, thoughtful and calm way. It was a turning point. It was good.

That’s really all I want to say about it. Here’s some pictures.

inside the Hermitage

contemplative eating
Bodymindfull movement and writing

collage stories

Scrabble party

courtyard fountain

yes

telling stories through collage
peace
new friends
celebrating
 

“Stories of the Body” Retreat – Do YOU Need to Be There? September 12, 2011

Filed under: giveaway,good things,Stories of the Body retreat — Susan @ 3:33 am

Sometimes we need to be alone. Sometimes we just need some quiet. A place to think and to be with ourselves. What a concept! I have been stealing moments, hours and sometimes days and nights at this particular blissful place for more than 25 years now.  It has been such a place of healing, and abundant creativity and lovely just-right solitude.

I am hosting a special weekend retreat in a few weeks and I am so excited.  It’s going to be an incredible gathering. We all have a body. They all hold infinite stories inside us. This weekend will be an opportunity to listen to those stories and then bring them into being by:

  • Writing (inspiring prompts will be provided)
  • Making art (collage, paint, calligraphy, origami and more) in the fully stocked Art Cellar
  • Resting or meditating
  • Walking or hiking (there is a wonderful local “tree walk” that includes visiting a number of amazing historic and beautiful trees)
  • Enjoying a massage (optional/additional cost)
  • Being a hermit in the Hermitage (one of my favorite things EVER)

I’m thrilled to announce that special guest Bethany Trombly will be leading an optional session called “Bodymindfull” (how perfect is that?). A dancer and teacher, she has created a method of transformative movement art that “allows people to connect with their body’s wisdom and stories, and to move more consciously, purposefully and meaningfully in their worlds.” She is a joy!

ALSO: Collage artist and author Lindsay Whiting (Living into Art: Journeys Through Collage) will be supporting and inspiring those who are interested in the art of storytelling through collage.

And finally, writer, blogger and artist Wendy Williams will share some of her personal drawings and artwork and how they have helped her heal some of her own body’s deeply held stories.

I am so moved and honored to have these inspiring guests, as well as a group of (so far, only) absolutely wonderful women who will be gathering together in both silence and sharing. I can’t wait.

BIG NEWS: I am able to offer one full scholarship to the event. All lodging, meals and retreat costs paid for.  I can do this for one person. I would preferably like to offer this spot to someone who really wants to attend but would have to travel quite a distance to come. I would also like to hear from people who feel they could really benefit from this retreat, for whatever reason. Tell me your reasons. Tell me your circumstance.  Whoever receives this scholarship will need to provide their own transportation to and from San Rafael, CA, either by foot, bike, plane, train or bus! Email me by this Friday, September 16th at midnight. I’ll be making a decision by Sunday the 18th.

 

Calling All Zumba-Phobes!! May 24, 2011

(this is not the Official Fitbloggin’ recap, but a special outtake!)

So it turns out that Zumba had a MAJOR presence at Fitbloggin 2011. There was Zumba booty-shaking class, there were Zumba virtual video machines, there were Zumba instructors and there was Zumba swag.

shakin' it to the virtual Zumba!

I just came home with the Zumba swag.

I’ve been to exactly one Zumba class in my life. It gave my already injured ankle an owie, and i was also intimidated by my extreme klutziness. Even though the music was fun, and watching the extremely hyperkinetic teacher was fun, it was not fun for me to DO.

So I slunk around in the hallway with the anit-Zumba club while everyone else jumped around and shrieked and burned on the average of 750-850 calories during Zumba hour.

the Sitting In the Hall Not Going Into Zumba Club

I’ve been eyeing my little Zumba DVD since getting home though. I have to confess that I snagged a small pile of them from the huge Room of Swag on the final day.

So I have a proposal for y’all out there. If anyone else out there has had a small fascination/big phobia regarding Zumba, this is your chance. To try it out in the privacy and comfort of your own home, knowing that I will be stumbling around and perhaps repeatedly hitting the PAUSE button and going, “Whaa…??”

I’ve got six DVDs to give away!!

And there’s something else going on. Some of you may know that I have this lovely retreat, Stories of the Body, coming up in September. (click here for details) It is my deep desire to fill this space with amazing and wonderful individuals and to build a kind of awesome mini-community like we had at Fitbloggin (only there will be no 5k and no talk of SEO or monetizing).

So, in order to be eligible for the Zumba DVDs, I am asking you to (if you are on Facebook) – RSVP to the event here (yes, no or maybe), and then SHARE it with anybody you think would resonate with such an event.

If you are NOT on Facebook, I am asking you to email people and send them the following link. http://foodfoodbodybody.wordpress.com/events/

Then come back here and leave a comment telling me how many people you’ve shared with. (I mean don’t share with your whole email list, only with people whom it would FIT WITH – this might only mean 3, or 5, or…???) Each “share” is worth a Zumba point.

Top six Zumba-point getters will get a Zumba DVD.

Oh and P.S.! If any of your friends register for the retreat with the code “ZUMBAPHOBIA” they will get $25 off! (same goes for anybody reading this blog post)

Deadline: Wednesday, June 1st! GO!

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And the winners are:

  • Merri!
  • Mandy!
  • Mykhelle!
  • Jaemie!
  • June! (from Facebook)
  • Stan! (from Facebook)
Contact me here with your mailing address, and I’ll send the DVDs out this week!
 

 
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