eat, move, think, feel

Stories of the Body: Weekend Retreat March 22, 2011

Stories of The Body: A Retreat

March 28-30, 2014

Santa Sabina Center •  San Rafael, California

Body my house/my horse my hound….–“Question” by May Swenson

This weekend retreat will be a lovely opportunity to hear the stories that our bodies want to tell, to sit quietly with them, to move them, to write about them, to nourish them with simple and delicious food.

The event, led by writer, teacher and food/fitness blogger Susan Ito, will feature a combination of shared, facilitated time and open time in which participants are free to:

  • Write (inspiring prompts will be provided)
  • Make art (collage, paint, calligraphy, origami and more) in the extensive Art Cellar
  • Rest or meditate
  • Walk or hike (there is a wonderful local “tree walk” that includes visiting a number of amazing historic and beautiful trees)
  • Enjoy a massage (optional/additional cost)
  • Be a hermit in the Hermitage

    the Hermitage

Registration begins at 4:00pm on Friday. We will start on Friday evening for a shared silent dinner (all meals at Santa Sabina are silent except for the final lunch). We will practice mindful eating during the beautiful and simple meals. Then we will have an evening gathering to open the weekend.

On Saturday, we will meet in our shared space periodically throughout the day and evening, but there will be large chunks of free time as well to do activities of your choice. The facilitated time will include writing prompts, short talks (I hesitate to call them “lectures”, and sharing. We will have a chance to share our writings or other offerings during an evening gathering.

Sunday morning will feature one more shared meeting, more free time and then an unsilent (!) lunch when we get to chatter away. People are free to stay on the grounds of Santa Sabina until evening time or can leave after lunch.

Much of the beauty of this weekend will be the experience of being at Santa Sabina, which is an inexpressibly lovely, calming and inspiring place. There are many intentionally created spaces for contemplation, creation and just being. I have been visiting Santa Sabina for over 27 years now and it does not fail to bring me to a place of deep peace.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Retreat Rates: rates range from $250-500 depending on early bird registration, shared vs private rooms, and commuter vs overnight participation.

Email me at if you would like to discuss an installment plan or would like to inquire about partial scholarships (limited scholarships may be available).

All rates include 2 nights lodging, six meals, and event facilitation. The only charge not included is (optional) payment for massage. A massage practitioner will be available during free periods.

Click here to register and see all rates in detail. EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTS until January 28th!

garden courtyard

Additional Nights: Participants in this retreat are also welcome to “add-on” additional nights at Santa Sabina (Thursday or Sunday) at the special rate of $75/night (meals not included).

Event Capacity: This event is limited to a maximum of 16 people. Register early for the (limited number of) best rates and to be assured a spot! When the capacity is reached, a waiting list will be established.

Shared Rooms: You may designate a preferred roommate when you register, for shared lodging.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: This policy is reflective of Santa Sabina’s group rental policy. If cancellation is received 30 days (February 28th) or less prior to the event, there will be no refund but you are welcome to sell your place to another participant.

About Susan Ito:

Susan Ito is a writer and blogger who has been teaching writing and leading retreats for 18 years. She is the editor of A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption (North Atlantic Books) and the author of over 35 published stories, essays and poems. She is also creative nonfiction editor and columnist at Literary Mama. Her work has appeared in Growing Up Asian American, Hip Mama, Literary Mama, Woman’s Day, Making More Waves, Choice, and elsewhere. She blogs at and  She has taught writing at UC Berkeley Extension, local community colleges, privately and online.

About Santa Sabina Center/Getting There:

Santa Sabina is a private retreat center on the grounds of Dominican University in San Rafael, California. It is located in Marin County, 32 miles north of San Francisco International Airport. The Marin Airporter bus service runs from SFO every 30 minutes and costs $20/ per person.  A shuttle service from the bus to Santa Sabina will be available for an additional $10.

Ready to sign up? Have questions? Email Susan with any questions of if you would like to register.


14 Responses to “Stories of the Body: Weekend Retreat”

  1. Oh, Susan, this sounds so utterly amazing. I would so love to return to Santa Sabina with you someday, and this focus is so up my alley, but I don’t think I’ll quite be ready to leave the baby for a weekend this year. Hopefully in the future, I’ll get to share that beautiful space with you.


  2. Oh – yummy yummy yummy – and not in the traditional sense Susan. This really looks so lovely.

    Warning… when I go to retreats I tend to sleep – it’s so weird – my body just SHUTS down!

    But it’s been a while for me, and I’m definitely due. I’m hoping my calendar is free – or if its not – if I can hire a replacement for me. I think I could disguise someone and they wouldn’t know the difference!


  3. Mollie McLeod Says:

    I want to go! Currently, I’m in the lead in the biggest loser competition at my work and if I finish in 1st, I’ll almost have enough to pay for the weekend. Now, I need to line up child care for the weekend. This is seeming within the realm of the possible. Yea!

  4. Susan Friesen Says:

    This retreat looks absolutely amazing and I sure do need respite, as I’m undergoing a very painful domestic violence divorce taking more than 3 years, care for two children with heart transplants. Do you ever offer scholarships, or partial scholarships for someone deserving (hint!). I am working on a medical memoir, would greatly appreciate this time to reflect meet other gentle souls.

  5. Kristin Says:

    Hi! This looks like an awesome retreat and while I can’t swing it this time around, I hope to attend if there is a another one. My life coach, Davina, sent me the link and I’ve been reading your posts about your weight loss. Go you for getting healthy! I have lost 156 pounds this year (with 30 more pounds to go) and it has changed my life in more ways than I imagined it would. I subscribed to your blog and I look forward to reading more.

  6. […] that happens to be set in a place that is so near and dear to my heart. I happen to be hosting a writing/art/movement retreat (!!) at that very place in just a few weeks. (notice to the five people who are still reading this blog – there are spots open, and some […]

  7. […] 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 […]

  8. […] Susan, AKA FOODIEMCBODY, is one of my favorite people. One of our favorite people. Ive asked her to take the reigns today and share about something close to her heart… […]

  9. […] Susan, AKA FOODIEMCBODY, is one of my favorite people. One of our favorite people. Ive asked her to take the reigns today and share about something close to her heart… […]

  10. […] Stories of the Body: Weekend Retreat […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s