Healing Through Our Stories

A writing and storytelling retreat — June 23, 24 and 25

Retreat group
Eleven writers came together at Kirkridge Retreat Center for Healing Through Our Stories and formed a bond that lasted after our weekend together.

All humans are storytellers. Stories are how we give sense and meaning to our lives. When we encounter trauma and loss, stories provide a way to heal. Whether we are trying to find meaning following the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, or after physical illness or abuse, stories can help us to process what has happened. By embracing our stories and those of the people closest to us, we open the door to write new endings. At the first Healing Through Our Stories retreat, participants explored difficult stories in a supportive atmosphere.

I had the opportunity to attend Vicki’s “Healing Through Our Stories” weekend retreat in June. The journaling, art projects and writing exercises were keys to unlocking past hurts and fears, creating a space for them. But I also learned that I can overcome them and become a stronger and more resilient person through “the telling.” Vicki was an excellent facilitator in the process, always offering room for discussion, processing and by providing tangible tools we may use as we continue to examine how future healing can take place through our writing and telling of our stories. — Sharon Vidmar McCarthy

The retreat allowed participants – whether they defined themselves as writers or not – to use stories to explore loss and other life challenges. Sessions included exercises in journaling, writing prompts and hands-on activities such as art journaling (no artistic experience required!) The weekend also offered opportunities for relaxation and renewal.

Location:

Outside FarmhouseThe retreat was be held at the Farmhouse at Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center in Bangor, Pa. Located on a ridge of the beautiful Kittatinny Ridge of Northeast Pennsylvania and overlooking the Delaware Valley, for more than 75 years Kirkridge has provided a place for rest and renewal. As the Kirkridge web site states, “Our retreats, our hospitality, our gorgeous vistas, and our sacred grounds have blessed, and continue to bless, countless lives.” To learn more about Kirkridge, visit the center’s web site at http://www.kirkridge.org.

The following photos give a flavor of our wonderful weekend!

Workshop Leader:

Vicki Mayk is a memoirist, nonfiction writer and magazine editor whose work has appeared in print and online publications including Ms Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, Literary Mama, and the Manifest-Station. She created and teaches a memoir workshop for the bereaved at St. Luke’s Hospice in Bethlehem, Pa., and teaches writing workshops for those dealing with loss under the umbrella of her business, Write To Heal. She is the editor of the magazine at Wilkes University, where she also teaches adult creative nonfiction workshops and a class about the power of story for freshmen.

Schedule: (Subject to change)

Friday, June 23:

Welcome

Wine and hors d’oeuvres reception

Saturday, June 24

8 a.m. – Breakfast

9 a.m.  – Focused journaling

A technique called focused journaling can help us to examine important events and people in our lives. We’ll introduce this practice during the retreat and offer guidance for continuing it at home.

10 a.m – noon – Writing difficult stories

We will explore ways that writing about difficult experiences can help us to process them and re-frame them in ways that bring comfort and renewal.

Noon —  Lunch

1-2:30 p.m. – Break/Hike the grounds or shop in Kirkridge’s Book Store, filled with books and unique handmade items

2:30-4:30 p.m.  – Every picture tells a story

Participants will bring a photo of someone or something important to them. (A loved one lost, a treasured family heritage photo, their grandparents’ farm, a beloved pet – anything and everything is allowed). We will use the photos as writing prompts to explore different stories about the people and places in the pictures.

4:30 – 6 p.m. — Time on your own

6 p.m. – Dinner

7:30 p.m. – Art Journaling Our Stories

Participants will be asked to bring personal photos and artifacts to create an art journal page about themselves and one about someone important to them.

Sunday, June 25:

8 a.m. – Breakfast

9- 10 a.m. – Focused Journaling

10 a.m. – Noon: Writing a new ending for our stories

Noon – Lunch

1 – 2 p.m. – Closing and departure.

Retreat cost:

$325  — Includes workshop materials and activities, two nights accommodations/ Shared room and shared bath Friday and Saturday nights, (Limited single rooms available) wine reception Friday night, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

Day rate: Prefer not to stay overnight?  Participants can choose to drive in for the retreat activities.  Cost: $200 – covers all retreat activities, opening reception, meals and snacks.

Note: Single day rate available. Please contact me for details.

Deposit to hold place in the retreat: $50

Balance due: June 10

To register: Please send a check made out to Vicki Mayk, 236 Machell Ave., Apt. 3, Dallas, PA 18612. Or pay through Paypal

Questions? Write to vicki.mayk@gmail.com and please put Retreat in the subject line of the mail.