Rebel Therapist
Rebel Therapist
Annie Schuessler
Moving A Retreat Online With Michelle Boyd
42 minutes Posted Oct 20, 2020 at 12:00 am.
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How do you create an incredible, deep and effective retreat? How do you bring that magic to an online retreat?

Those are the questions we're tackling today.

Retreats provide a special opportunity for real time transformation. As a participant of a silent retreat at spirit rock a couple of years ago, I had a transformative experience. This retreat was about renewal and rest. Setting aside those days in a sacred space, learning from the teachers, and immersing myself in the process gave me what I needed. On the third day, I felt a shift. I was no longer bored. I started to be able to observe my thoughts in a new way. I got something on a gut level that I hadn't gotten before.

If you're considering creating and running a retreat, it might be partly because you've experienced the magic of a retreat as a participant.

But how do you create that magic for your participants?

And now in 2020, how do you bring that magic online?

I invited a master of retreats, Michelle Boyd, to help us answer these questions.

Michelle is an award-winning writer, a former tenured professor, and the founder of InkWell Academic Writing Retreats. She helps scholars who dread writing free themselves from fear and build a satisfying, sustainable writing practice they can actually be proud of.

Here's some of what we talked about:

  • Helping scholars with the emotional component of writing
  • Decreasing terror, overwhelm and fear while increasing pleasure and joy in writing
  • Why being in a retreat, in community changes your relationship to writing
  • Discovering that running writing retreats is a big part of her path
  • The ingredients of a successful retreat: separate space, trust in the facilitator, and trust in each other
  • Starting her retreats with dinner to set the tone and create the container
  • Finding and setting up the space to encourage writing and inner transformation
  • Setting the schedule for the participants and for herself
  • Changes she's made to her retreats since she started, including leaning into the value of the community
  • Adjusting her work and her role so she's holding the entire community
  • Moving her retreat online because of the shit show of the pandemic
  • Being surprised by the ability of participants to get value from an online retreat and detach from their regular lives
  • Setting the frame to help people get the most value from the experience
  • Creating a pilot version of a follow up program
  • A behind the scenes look at her own writing practices
  • Why retreats should not be seen as an add on, but rather a place where certain kinds of transformation can happen

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