Fall Artist Retreats – Opening to Creative Potential

Two recent Artist Retreat guests—writer Robin McDonald and visual artist Gabrielle Clarke—describe how the Ashram environment and practices took them more deeply into themselves and their creative process.


Gabrielle Clarke

I knew from being here previously for the 10 Day Yoga Journey that there were Artist Retreats. When I recently read back through my journals from that time, the idea of coming for an Artist Retreat came up many times. So the seed was planted.

As an art therapist working at a community counseling centre in an abuse recovery program, I am often faced with the heavy, hard and complex at work. My art practices are an attempt to shift this energy and story line for myself.

The way I was trained reminds me of the Dream Yoga process that we learned in the 10 Days—working with images, exploring what they mean right now and watching them shift. They are pregnant with meaning.

I was also really thankful for the daily two hours of Karma Yoga—it was spacious, practical and useful. It gave me a break, bringing me out of myself in a good way.

Robin McDonald

This was my second artist retreat at Yasodhara Ashram. It was late summer and the Ashram was astonishingly quiet, the fall colours just beginning to show, the apple and plum branches heavy with fruit.

In Yasodhara teachings, the outer landscape and circumstances are informative of the inner world. In my writing, the past gets examined in the light of the present. Working with the Ashram teachings and structures of community living (Karma Yoga, Hidden Language, Satsang), the present gets examined in the light of spiritual practices.

The Ashram is a place where I experience unseen realities more vividly than the urban center in western Quebec where I live during the rest of the year. As I renewed my relationship with the Ashram and went more deeply into the yogic teachings on retreat, the potential of rooting and belonging in Light felt more available and desired, a surprising link back to this exploration in my writing.

I am amazed at what can happen in one week at the Ashram. Not only were my writing goals met but there was clarification and direction for other areas of life and the knowing that I have been deeply cared for.



Comments are closed.