Write From the Soul
September 7-10, Benet Hill Monastery, Colorado Springs, CO
Give yourself a deeply soul-nourishing writing retreat in a Colorado forest monastery imbued with spirit, peace, and magic.
Spiritual writing can make us wiser and more loving human beings, no matter how each of us might define or experience spirituality. Through gentle guided writing prompts and creative conversation, we’ll come together to unearth our deepest, most genuine voices. With balanced time to wander, discover, rest, and seek solace and meaning, we’ll write across genres (poetry, fiction, memoir, songs, or drama) our way into greater wisdom, inspiration, compassion, and community. Come join us in the foothills of the Rockies for a time out of time as we dwell in unfolding mystery, beauty, and wondrous writing. We welcome all who want to discover and recover their voice and vision through writing that feeds our souls.
Does Write from the Soul Call Your Name?
We’ve found through our combined 50-plus years of facilitating writing workshops for many populations and venues that amazing things happen when we gather in community and listen to ourselves and each other. We also continually witness how valuable it is for people to write together across experience and background. We uphold ground rules that give you a balance of freedom and safety. No one has to read their work aloud if they wish, and everyone is also welcome to write whatever emerges, no matter the prompt. In other words, if you want to work from our prompts (always lots of options) or on a chapter in a novel, a new song, an old set of poems, etc. the whole time, you are welcome. We offer free discovery calls to talk about whether this retreat is a good match for you at this time. Please contact us to arrange a 15-20 minute visit on Zoom or by phone.
Why We're Offering This Workshop
For fifteen years, we've been talking about the possibility of offering a spiritual writing retreat, something that called to both of us. Timing is everything, so here we are now! Last year we returned to Benet Hill, where we first met back in 2002, to plan this retreat. We’re thrilled to invite you to join us on this sacred and beautiful land.
“I’ve been writing since I was eight years old, and even in my first childhood jottings, I was drawn to all that was human–and spiritual. An orange meringue Kansas sunset filled me with wonder and longing, and that’s what turned me to the pen and paper to marvel, seek, question, and reach for the transcendent–a practice that’s continued all my life. Spiritual writing captures the very deepest aspect of our lives and loves. I believe in its power enough to know you can discover beauty, meaning, wonder, and insight through your own practice of spiritual writing." -- Joy Roulier Sawyer
"Writing has been a spiritual path for me since I first started putting words in a journal over 50 years ago. Each word on a page in the dark lights up the way just enough to see where to step next and how to find and keep to my path. At the least, writing gives us a way to feel just a little more hope, glimpse just a little more clarity, and feel just a little more less alone. At the most, this practice gives us our wings so that we can widen our perspective while taking creative leaps of faith." -- Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
What Our Students and Clients Say About Us
"Beyond being detailed, caring, and brilliant in her editing and consulting work, there is something about Caryn's warm, authentic, empowering, Inspiring, and joyful presence that I have rarely observed in other leaders." -- Harriet Lerner, bestselling author of The Dance of Anger and Why Won't You Apologize?
"I've had the pleasure of interviewing and working with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg for the past decade, and have rarely encountered a more insightful, compassionate, or integrous teacher and coach." -- Mark Matousek, author, teacher, and speaker
"Caryn's skill, talent, wit, and wisdom have shown me the way to begin writing again, which is a restorative healing process. Caryn has taught me to reach deep within and unabashedly, without apology or shame, to tell my own story.” -- Julie Flora, artist and writer
"Infinitely supportive and inspirational, Caryn creates a learning environment designed to honor the individual's unique voice and yet, gently prod them on to better and better work." -- Sharon Bray, writer
"To work with Caryn is to open your mind to the creative power within, and to show and better appreciate the creative power of others." -- Tracy Million Simmons, publisher, Meadowlark Press
"I have only fallen in love with your writing instruction within the last year. You make us all feel fulfilled and artistic in our striving to express ourselves. Your class has, indeed, saved some lives!" -- Georgia Copeland
"Joy Sawyer is one of the most inspiring, uplifting, and energetic writing teachers with whom I’ve ever studied, and I’ve taken literally hundreds of classes with dozens of writing teachers over many decades. She brings a fresh and very optimistic attitude to every class that she teaches. She is amazing." -- Paula Hagar
"Joy is an absolutely phenomenal teacher: encouraging, enlightening. She’s very knowledgeable and clearly a skilled writer. And she provides such a beautiful, positive environment in which writers can be challenged without becoming discouraged. What a wonderful writing instructor she is." -- Christina Lewis
"Joy Sawyer has an exceptional ability to discuss the tiniest nuances of writing, all genres, all levels—each writer and poet is encouraged. She encourages great sharing and participation among writers. She gives such welcoming encouragement to each person in her classes." -- Mary Van Pelt
"I have taken classes with Joy for several years now. She has a signature style, one that combines her own life and writing experience with a personalized mentoring approach. Joy makes me feel that I have something important to say, and it’s helped me become a better writer. I always feel heard and valued in her classes, and that is worth everything." -- Carol McDonald
"Joy is a tremendous person and enthusiastic person who has made me want to write at a time when I wanted to be as far from a pen and paper as possible. Her enthusiasm and love for writing is infectious. Without a doubt, Joy is one of the best writing teachers I’ve ever had because she made me want to write." -- Joe Medeiros
"Joy is an amazing teacher. Many teachers mouth a lot of platitudes, but Joy speaks words of writing wisdom you can carry with you a lifetime. She is a great listener, and also keeps things interesting in her classes -- Holly Woodward
Schedule and Registration
Thursday, Sept. 7:
6 p.m. – Welcome Dinner
- 7:30-9 p.m. - What Calls You?: Opening Writing Workshop
Friday, Sept. 8:
- 8 a.m. – Breakfast
- 9:30-11:30 – Finding Your Path: Writing Workshop
- 12 p.m. – Lunch
- 1:30-4 p.m. – Afternoon Solo Writing and Wandering*
- 4-5:30 p.m. – Afternoon Tea Writing Workshop
- 6 p.m. – Dinner
- 7:30-9 – Fire on the Path: Poetry Across Spiritual Divides – Performance by Joy & Caryn
Saturday, Sept. 9:
- 8 a.m. – Breakfast
- Morning Solo Writing and Wandering*
- 12 p.m. – Lunch
- 1:30-4 – Where Does Your Path Lead?: Writing Workshop
- 5-6 – Mini Coaching Sessions
- 6 p.m. – Dinner
- 7:30-9 - Coffee House of Spirit: Open Mic
Sunday, Sept. 10:
- 8 a.m. – Breakfast
- 10-11 – Writing Your Way Home: Writing Workshop
- Lunch available
* Solo writing and wandering times are for you to immerse yourself into what tugs at you to be written. We’ll provide an array of writing prompts and creativity stations where you can explore new approaches to writing.
Lodging, Meals, and Registration
Our all-inclusive fee includes lodging in Pine Haven or Abrahaven (houses on the grounds), all meals from Thursday September 7th dinner through Sunday September 10th lunch, workshop fees, ample handouts, refreshments, and some special gifts. Registration is limited to 12 people.
Both houses (close to each other also) have full kitchens, multiple bathrooms, decks, laundry rooms, comfortable living rooms, and other amenities. We have four double rooms available (two single beds), one regular single (with a twin bed), and two deluxe singles (full bed and larger room). Singles are available on a first-come basis.
- Double: $790 early bird until 7/1/23/ $850 regular fee - Click here to purchase
- Single regular (limited availability): $850 until 7/1/23/ $910 regular fee - Click here to purchase
- Single deluxe (limited availability): $890 until 7/1/23/ $950 regular fee - Click here to purchase
Health: Benet Hill Monastery requires that all visitors be fully vaccinated with at least one booster.
Benet Hill offers a shuttle service from Colorado Springs International Airport for a fee. Benet Hill is also only 60 miles from Denver International Airport, and we are happy to connect you with others flying in if you'd like to make plans to rent a car or share an Uber or Lyft. The address of Benet Hill is 3190 Benet Lane, Colorado Springs, CO 80921.