Spring Retreat in Taos: Greening your Creative Spirit
With Carolyn Scarborough and Sharon Zeugin
The Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Taos, New Mexico
April 4 to 9, 2021
Have you ever sat down to create… and found something depleted that used to be full? Perhaps your creative spirit feels flat where wildness used to roam? Maybe you sense there’s something essential missing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it?
Mabel Dodge knew that feeling, too. That’s why she escaped the confines of her upper crust New York life in the early 1900’s and journeyed to Taos, finding herself reawakened amidst the stunning, untamed New Mexico landscape.
She channeled this inspiration into building a home that would become a creative hub, drawing literary and artistic luminaries from Georgia O’Keeffe to D.H. Lawrence.
Her home is still an inspired place that calls the weary spirit to rest and revitalize, making it the perfect place for our Spring Retreat in Taos. Amidst the mountains and vast skies, essential pieces of your creative soul return. And as you move deeper into presence, creative energies begin to percolate. You pick up a paintbrush and what is true begins to flow through it. You sit under a cottonwood tree and your pen beckons with inner stories waiting to be told. Soon, your natural creativity is flowing again as you rediscover yourself as artist, writer, free spirit, inspired human…
Who is this for?
Women ready to escape the demands and depletion of everyday life and instead immerse in deep personal and creative renewal through art, writing, movement and natural beauty. (No experience necessary; all levels welcome).
… She holds the space so beautifully and with such a sense of safety and nurturing that your creative self can’t help but find its way to the surface and blossom. Reluctance falls away and even latent ability awakens. I began with an open writer’s mind and through the exercises, my writer’s heart burst open too. Carolyn helped me re-establish a vital connection within myself as a creative writer, and for that I’m super grateful!” — Angela Loeb, Writer, Speaker & Consultant
What you’ll experience during this retreat…
- Replenishing your creative well
- The experience of creating from abundance rather than pushing
- A mix of reflective free time and daily guided art and writing playshops
- A focus on process, not product, so stress is replaced with curiosity and wonder
- In-the-moment coaching to get you unstuck and back into your personal rhythm
- Connection with women who “get” you and the joys and challenges of the creative life
- An art studio, accessible and open all day for those who want to dabble there
- Time to work on your own art or writing projects if desired
- Gentle movement to open your creative channels
- Writing prompts and exercises to spark creativity and self-exploration
- Plenty of laughter, warm community and delicious, fresh food!
- Take home tools to creatively refuel anytime
Location, location, location
The Mabel Dodge Luhan House is a rambling hacienda nestled between an Indian pueblo and the artsy village of Taos. This historic home has inspired creatives since the early 20th century. Imagine sketching in the landscape that inspired Georgia O’Keeffe, or writing in the room where Willa Cather pondered and penned her books. Named after Mabel Dodge, a patron of the arts who married Native American Tony Luhan in the early 1920’s, this home exudes creativity, spirituality and intimacy.
While the interior of this quaint adobe is warm and cozy, it pales in comparison to the beauty just outdoors. Walk the labyrinth in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Settle into an outdoor rocking chair to capture ideas. Or watch mockingbirds slice through the blue skies.
This is a place to commune with beauty, listening for inspiration, be it rock, sky, bird or mountain. If ever there was a place to simply BE, this is it. You’ll come across the vibrant green of a spring leaf, the cawing of far off crows, the scent of pinon. We will learn not just to create, but first to SEE as we focus on what is before us, not simply what is in our heads. The mind chatter quiets as a spaciousness opens inside us as vast as the New Mexico sky.
This was nothing short of a life changing retreat in Taos. Making the decision to go was the first creative challenge I overcame, since I’ve never taken the time or spent the money on a retreat for myself. My mind was a mess of jumbled thinking.
Not believing I had an artistic bone in my body, I thought “Well, I will check out the art activities, but will be spending my time writing and relaxing.” This was a perfect example of limiting oneself because of our stories. I reluctantly went to try the art… and found that there are no mistakes! When it doesn’t turn out as expected, Sharon taught that one can just “pivot.” Carolyn had the same “no mistakes” attitude and made the writing feel effortless as we explored with prompts and “finished” poems.
Between that and the creativity workshops where I learned how to deal with my pesky inner critics, I became energized and alive to possibilities. I enjoyed hearing other women’s stories as we shared. Carolyn and Sharon create an ideal space for contemplation, camaraderie, laughter and opening to new possibilities!” — Donna Linn, creative soul explorer
Tentative Schedule of Typical Day
- Breakfast at Mabel Dodge
- Gentle guided movement
- Workshops on writing, art, creativity
- Lunch at Mabel Dodge
- Guided sketching, writing or mindful photography walks
- Free time
- Dinner at Mabel Dodge
(Note: Writing and art studios open and available 24 hours a day)
A Culinary Repast
Mabel Dodge is known for its healthy, delicious food created by top local chefs from the nearby pueblo and beyond. When possible, garden-raised or local produce is used. A typical lunch might be pissaldiere (a yeasted crust topped with caramelized onions, cheeses, herbs and olives from Provence), tomato bisque served with croutons, mixed baby greens with Dijon vinaigrette and carrot cake. To keep you energized throughout the day, coffee, tea, water and fresh baked cookies are available.
Carolyn’s ability to help people find their voice, tap into what inspires them, get unblocked and find joy and pleasure in writing is a huge gift. She’s warm, nurturing, encouraging, creates a safe space to help you access your inner wisdom and really honors each and every participant. A small investment with a huge return. I can’t wait for the next retreat.” — Renee Trudeau, Life Balance Coach, author of “Nurturing the Soul of Your Family”
Two Teachers for the Price of One
Instead of one teacher for the week, you get two seasoned teachers. Sharon and Carolyn are both are skilled in working with women from those highly experienced in art or writing to others who may be mildly terrified of either! If you are a writer who has never done art, you have the option of playing with art (making marks, as Sharon says)… or not. If you are an artist who has been curious about writing but never tried it, you’ll get fool-proof ways to get you going if you so desire. So options abound, but directives do not. Dive in as deeply as you choose in either medium.
It’s the Journal, not the Destination
During the retreat you will have the opportunity to create a simple “journalette” of your Taos experience with words and images. The process of creating this book is intimidation-proof and lots of fun. Use it for writing down insights, capturing lovely words or drawing what you see. It will be both witness and inspiration for your journey through the retreat. When you return home, it is a portal to return to that inspired place of beauty and possibilities over and over again. When you feel dry, it will remind you of who you really are and reconnect you to your creative soul.
- All materials needed for the art-making exercises are included in the supply fee.
- We will supply a list of suggested materials that are NOT required, but might be fun if you want to focus on any specific aspect of art-making for the week.
Carolyn’s gift is creating relaxed, non-judgmental spaces to explore. We will gather daily to play with prompts, presence exercises, and a variety of writing techniques for self-discovery and to free our unique voices. The goal is less the exact words that land on the page and more about uncovering and expressing what’s inside. You move from resistant to refreshed as writing flows. Whether you are dipping your toe in writing or have been doing it a long while, you will leave with renewed zest, confidence and lots of ideas and tools for future writing.
What is Included in the Retreat Cost?
- Lodging in one of Mabel’s historic rooms (unless you choose the commuter price)
- ALL meals, which includes snacks and 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 gourmet dinners in the Mabel Dodge Dining Hall.
- Writing, art, and creativity workshops
- Gentle expressive movement
- A beautiful hand-created, take home journal
- Guided writing and sketching walks
- A private Facebook page for participants to communicate before and after the retreat
- A post-retreat group call to keep the momentum going
Given the pandemic, Sharon, Carolyn and the Mabel Dodge House are committed to your safety. Masks will be required during group gatherings, as well as social distancing. Meals can be eaten in the lodge with space between participants, or you may take food outside or to your room. Surfaces will be cleaned daily and all New Mexico guidelines will be followed, including limiting the number of participants in the retreat if necessary. Single rooms will be the only option this year unless you are coming with someone in your “pod.” Your safety is our number one priority.
Registration and Retreat Information
A $250 deposit is required to hold your spot. However, this year only, we are refunding the full deposit if you are not able to go and let us know by January 14, 2021.
- $1,950 – Single Room ($250 deposit now + $1,700 by 2/5/21 )
- $1,750 – Double Room ($250 deposit now + $1,500 by 2/5/21)
- $1,150 – Commuter Fee ($250 deposit now + $900 by 2/5/21)
(Note: Commuter price includes meals and all other retreat benefits)
* Payment plans available upon request
You may arrive any time after 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 4 and we will all gather for dinner at 6 p.m., followed by our welcome program. The retreat ends after breakfast on Friday, April 9. If you want to come a day early or stay a day later, discounted rooms are available at the lodge.
To get to Taos, you can fly into Albuquerque and take a shuttle or rent a car (You can inquire about carpooling on the private Facebook page). There is also a bus from Santa Fe. Austin, Texas and other cities sometimes offer flights directly to Taos on Taos Air. For more travel details, visit the Mabel Dodge Luhan House website.
If you cancel before January 14, 2021, we will refund your money, including deposit. If you cancel within 60 days of the retreat, we will not refund any money, but you are welcome to gift the spot to someone else.
Questions about the retreat? If so, contact Carolyn here.
Thank goodness I didn’t let my fear stop me from signing up for the retreat or I would have missed a transformational experience that has catapulted me into the next level of my creative journey. The questions I hadn’t pondered before I registered? What if I experience a spiritual awakening? What if I fall back in love with my life and my writing? What if I become reacquainted with the beauty and wonder of Creation all around me? Because that’s what happened…” — Didi Rowland, LCSW, writer and joy-seeker
About Carolyn and Sharon
Carolyn Scarborough founded and hosts the Creative Soul Community, where women in the second half of life gather to create lives of greater purpose, vitality and creative expression. She is an award-winning author, creativity/writing coach and women’s group facilitator. Her style is intuitive and nurturing as she leads popular writing retreats, weekly writing circles, creative women’s circles, teleclasses and private coaching sessions in Austin, Texas and around the country. She is the author of “Backyard Pearls: Cultivating Wisdom and Joy in Everyday Life,” has written more than 500 articles for national and international magazines and has studied various creative/spiritual practices for more than 30 years. Among the places she has presented are Story Circle Women’s Writing Conference, the International Coach Federation, Esalen Institute, Seton Cove, the National Speaker’s Association’s writing program and Unity Church. Carolyn is passionate about removing blocks that keep you from your authentic voice, purpose and creative expression in the world. Read more about Carolyn.
Sharon Zeugin makes art and teaches workshops in her Austin, Texas Studio, and throughout the USA, Canada and Italy. In addition to being a faculty member of numerous international calligraphy conferences, Sharon has been Program Coordinator for the Literally Letters Program at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, and is a faculty member of the Austin Contemporary Art School. Her award winning work appears in publications such as Letter Arts Review, The Calligrapher’s Engagement Calendar, Somerset Studio Magazine, the Lark Book,” The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering,” and most recently, the 24th edition of the classic Speedball Textbook. Teaching people to overcome fear of the blank page is her mission and all levels of art experience are welcome at her retreats. Read more about Sharon.