Montreal author, Sabina Walser, describes her recent Artist Retreat experience where she focused on her novel.
I needed a serious place. I’ve never been to a serious spiritual place like the Ashram for this length of time. I’ve done meditation retreats but not in a place like this where everyone carries the lineage forward, embodies and embraces it.
I had considered going to The Banff Centre but realized I wanted spiritual practice present in a daily, consistent way. That presence was key to getting into my project from a different perspective.
My editor had pointed out that the narrator in my novel needed to show more empathy towards the main character. Being here I realized I needed to show that empathy to myself. Only then could the writing be more organic and authentic. I can be so demanding of myself, so self-critical. That voice is not productive.
I thought I would show warmth toward the character by using words, by creating sentences – a very structural approach. But after awhile, the distance, the criticalness just melted away. It was an amazing process. I’ve been able to do what I need to do. I feel more sympathy for the character and for myself now – a gentleness. It has been truly profound.
“Thank you for the Light. Thank you to all the pine trees and pine cones and turkeys and squirrels and chipmunks and deer and ferns and rocks and leaves and statues and bridges and streams and clouds and rain and ravens and robins and the mountains and the sun and the stars which make this place so magical.
“Thank you to all the swamis for their constant kindness and support and wisdom and gently curiosity. Thank you for the Perfect Tiny Cabin next to a sparkling burbling brook overlooking a majestic lake. Thank you for all the satsangs and their beauty and wisdom which cut deep and for the chanting and singing and praying which touched my soul.” (excerpt from Sabina’s thank you card.)