Review — 3-Week Course
I am amazed at how much I have written in the 3 weeks and how it is coming together.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the course it has pushed me to believe that I am able to write something worthy.
Stephen, your course has helped me overcome the negative mind that always lurks in the background but has now been stopped and I just keep driving through it.
My husband and I would love one day to do one of your retreat writing & yoga courses.
Wellness and Writing Immersion Retreat – Reviews
|Stephen is wise beyond his years. As a writing teacher and motivational coach he brings a strength and serenity to the process that is steeped in years of study from well-known experts in personal development and writing. He imparts this knowledge and his own insights in a modest, grounded way allowing you the space to be introspective, authentic, and true to yourself.P.S., Wellness and Writing Retreat , Tuscany 2011|
|I wrote more in the two weeks at Spannocchia than I did in my first year of my MFA.I took home 12 new friends, a much stronger work ethic, several journaling prompts and ideas for how to keep going if I reach a mental block and a new life goal (&).Stephen’s discussion questions along with the exercises and examples in his book were great to turn to when I reached a block in one of my own projects. Also, when I started a writing marathon or a spurt of writing with one of his exercises, I found that my writing would wander or end up in a very creative and fun place. The writing exercises brought ideas and memories out of me that had been hidden or buried for years. When answering a question about goals, three pages later I found myself forgiving myself for something I’d done in the past or I’d find myself writing poems about inanimate objects that love each other. The prompts and exercises gave me no excuse to stop and encouraged me to keep moving forward with my writing. I am a writer and my time at Spannocchia was the most productive time I’ve ever spent at my craft.Rachel, 2011 Writing Immersion at Spannocchia|
|Stephen was so gifted at bringing us in to focus on the larger purpose of our choice to write and our practice of writing. For me, the writing advice he gave me was the extra nudge I needed to really feel confident in my ideas, to hone in on them and trust their interplay and organic development as a valuable and interesting process. He offered ongoing support after the retreat, recommended reading, suggestions and other guidance in addition to the focus and encouragement. I felt the retreat exercises brought me to the exact place I needed to be in my writing. They opened and emptied me, so I could let the freshness and clarity into my work and let go of the self-criticism and doubt. In particular, the writing exercise in which we wrote from the perspective of already having achieved our most important goals had a huge impact on my writing and on me personally. Clearing away obstacles that were keeping me from what I know I want to do, the exercise brought me closer to the pleasure of achievement, so I could take ownership of it and go home intent on not losing it. I am changed forever by this experience, and I would encourage anyone considering the retreat to allow themselves the same gift.Amick, 2011 Wellness Immersion Retreat Participant – Tuscany|
|The environment that Stephen and Jade created at Casa della Pace was fairytale- like. It was if one was walking in a waking dream, waking every morning to the streaming sunlight, elongating yoga poses, and freshly brewed coffee. The retreat not only helped me to become a better writer, but a better person. I learned so much about myself as well as the direction I want my life to head. Stephen and Jade may be the most beautiful people I have ever seen. The genuine kindness that they share, trickles to others and helped me to see the beauty in mistakes and the beauty of a somewhat chaotic world. They are true examples of the cliche “anything is possible.” They created a life that to many seems unrealisitc, yet somehow, they experience everyday. The proof of their happiness and simplistic style of living, made me strive to discover what I wanted from nature and from myself. The retreat was not only a way to become a better writer, but a way to discover who I want to become, using the tools of the lovely book of exercises and poems that Stephen compiled.Jordan, 2011 Wellness and Writing Immersion retreat at Casa della Pace – Italy|
|I liked eating hot dogs and smoking cigarettes and running around my Los Angeles-paced life complaining about how I can’t find time to write and worrying about my herniated disc destroying my yoga practice and making me an invalid. Two weeks in the gorgeous Umbrian hinterlands, and I kicked my 17-year nicotine habit, I got 15 rough chapters of my book written (could’ve done more if I didn’t catch a bug on my weekend trip to buy leather goods in Florence), I was walking almost pain free, and I’m committed to eating more fruits and nuts. If you want your head rearranged by the positivity of the people (Stephen, Jade, Santi, the staff, and all the other participants) and the sheer serenity of the place, come do this. It’s so amazing and magical that re-entry into real life might get a little rough, but that’s just an indication that you’re bringing home a better, more determined, more centered you.Felice, 2011 Wellness Immersion Writing Retreat at Casa della Pace|
|My dearest memory from the Tuscany retreat was the collaborative Queneau Journal because my simple story told and written from someplace simple and real was followed up beautifully by Anu, another retreat member and I realized how powerful collaborative art is.Jade and Stephen are extraordinary.The most enlivening writing exercise for me had to do with Joseph Campbell’s models for living. I loved the conversation on David Deida– excellent for life and writing.When I asked Stephen’s opinion of my work it helped reaffirm my belief in original work and the maintenance & preservation of its integrity.Critiques of my personal project were structured, far from hard to hear, inspired me to work more and get it done, helped with organization and vision.To those considering coming on a Wellness Immersion retreat I would say don’t think about how you’ll get here, don’t think about whether you can “do this right now.” I would say seize the opportunity, if there is any way you can, and carry it with you until your spirit, art, and destiny ask for more.Anissa, 2011 Wellness Immersion in Tuscany|
|Stephen encouraged writing using a variety of exercises. The marathon stood out as memorable because of my fear of not possibly having enough ideas and words to write to fill the time. Memorable because distractions appeared as decisions to categorize and address them intertwined with the lesson. The focus on writing about happiness and goals added some ease and some surprises.Marcia, 2011 Tuscany Wellness Immersion Retreat|
|Jade and Stephen are incredibly kind, receptive and calm teachers. Just looking at them makes me feel relaxed–their energy is positive, good and zen. I think every single person in the world could benefit from a retreat like this (specifically, theirs) because it provides a centering and necessary exploration of one’s psyche while communing with nature, listening and practicing Stephen’s wisdom, and doing Jade’s centering and enlivening yoga. This is a great way to take care of one’s soul. I am so so glad to have done this – I had no idea what to expect (first experience with a retreat) and I can truly say (even if cliche) that it was life-changing.It helps me to focus my priorities, remove writer’s block (helps to be away from all the distractions of everyday life) and provide much needed clarity to the writing and to life. I was able to write a piece that I’d been unable (or too lazy) to write in the busyness of home and I have experienced more “flow” here than I have at home.I initially was nervous about the group readings and critiques but it helped build confidence that others were writing in a similar style and the frustrations were common to everyone. It really removed a block that had made me afraid to write (since it has been so long since writing creatively) and the pressure that the words must come together perfect.I came here wanting this experience to serve as a catalyst to write seriously as a profession and it certainly opened up that portal of opportunity.I have gained a sense of serenity, peace, and balance that was definitely slipping and feel bad for those that do not have this experience!.Thank you Stephen and Jade – you guys are a gift!H.S., 2011 Wellness Immersion – Tuscany Retreat Participant|
|What a remarkable experience the Writing Immersion retreat in Tuscany has been for me. For one week I entered into a truly unique experience that far surpassed what I was looking for and wanting. Stephen and Jade Webber do an outstanding job in combining breath work, yoga, writing and painting techniques and one-on-one teaching to create an environment that inspires the spirit, strengthens the body and challenges the mind toward creative development.I liked having a smaller retreat group (12-13 people) and the screening process that is done beforehand. Stephen and Jade prepare the participants beforehand with information that brings a camaraderie and cohesiveness to the group that makes one feel comfortable, relaxed and prepared.Some of the things I enjoyed the most was the daily morning breathwork and yoga, the marathon writing day, the nature walks and writing, the daily gathering in the spirit circle to share and discuss and the opportunity to learn to paint.I plan to attend another retreat given by Jade and Stephen next year and stay in contact with them through the newsletter and writer’s discussion group that Stephen offers well after the retreat is over.This is a state of the art retreat, professionally posed and postured for anyone that wants to expand their creative arena.Jeanne, 2011 Tuscany Wellness and Writing Immersion Retreat|
|I was hesitant at first in applying to go on this retreat as I’m not a writer, but was attracted by the yoga and wellness emphasis and was delighted when I was accepted. I didn’t feel out of place with all the other writers as the way Stephen presents the material made it easy for me to be part of the group. I found I could write and with Jade’s gentle coaxing, I can even paint! I highly recommend this retreat to anyone who wants to take time out to discover their potential.Liz, 2011 Casa della Pace|
|When I read about the Writing Immersion in Tuscany, my first response was that the program as described appeared to come from my dreams, to turn them into a tangible reality. I would be traveling with one of my favorite people (her daughter was also a participant) and doing almost all of my favorite things: immersing myself in writing and drawing, partaking in fabulous food and wine, hiking and having adventures at my fingertips. To top it off, this would all take place in a sustainable environment in the region I chose to visit for my first trip to Europe five years ago, and to which I had longed to return.And the tangible reality turned out to be exactly that. I was not disappointed on any counts. My experiences exceeded my hopes. Stephen put together and led a group of 12 individuals with greatly varied writing styles and experience on a 3-week adventure that was challenging, supportive, encouraging, and constantly rewarding.It was as remarkable to watch myself write as it was to watch how the group cohered under his leadership during the time we lived in that amazing environment.I am so glad that I followed this dream. It was a fabulous experience. I am grateful that I was able to share that time with these two gifted and caring people.Laurie, Writing Immersion Participant 2010|
|Writing at Spannocchia was everything I’d hoped for and more—a serene and naturally beautiful environment and a supportive and congenial group of peers. The non-competitive, motivating structure of the retreat felt just right—a balance of solitary writing, one-on-one conversation, and group critique that empowered me to meet my writing goals and surpass them. I was exhilarated when one of the daily writing prompts introduced me to Jean Follain’s prose poems and opened up this author as a model for my own writing about my father’s childhood in small- town Illinois during the previous century. This breakthrough was the unexpected gift of a marvelous 3-week immersion in the writing process.Lucia, Writing Immersion participant 2010|
|I hope to go to the Writing Immersion retreat again, and again the next year, and the next. Living at Spannocchia for three weeks, having only my writing to focus on, I learned that such seclusion and beauty can make you capable of moving into new regions of creativity.First and foremost I consider myself a fiction writer. Besides producing hundreds of pages toward stories and a novel (between fifty- and sixty- thousand words), I began to do something I never thought I was able to do. I began to write philosophically. Philosophy is not everyone’s thing, but I also dabbled in other new areas. Poetry has always been a litte intimidating, but I was able to produce some really exciting pieces. I believe it was because I was in a terrific environment, in a beautiful country, with nothing to be concerned with but writing, and occasionally my overall wellness, too.Also, I believe that my fellow writers contributed to my wonderful experience during the Writing Immersion retreat. Stephen did a simply excellent job choosing applicants. Everyone was dedicated, and no one ever got in the way of anyone else.I strongly recommend the Writing Immersion Retreat. Stephen is a great guy, a good instructor, and a wonderful friend.David, Writing Immersion Participant 2010|
|Thanks to Stephen and Jade Webber for a great experience in the Writing Immersion Course at Spannocchia. This was the perfect environment for writing and learning more about myself as an artist and writer.In three weeks I was able to add another 100 pages to my novel, complete a collection of short shorts, travel to Florence, Siena and Rome on the weekends and also partake in yoga and painting on the farm. The casual evening critiques offered necessary feedback on work that I was just starting and Stephen was also always willing to meet and discuss my progress. It was great to work with a community of writers all pursuing different goals, but often with common challenges. Having the time to work in this environment – so conducive to the artistic experience – was absolutely incredible.Thank you so much!Dana, Writing Immersion Participant 2010|
|If I wanted to sit somewhere and write for sixteen hours I could do that. If I wanted to sit and write for a half an hour I could do that, which opened it up for me to find a new relationship with writing. I started to play with my words and my sentences again, finding things that just made me happy to write. In that process I feel like you begin to become more aware of your surroundings and to look at things differently. You notice the way that beetle-bugs sound when they fly by or the colors of things.I was able to return to the place where I really like writing. The retreat helped my writing immensely. I came here wanting to be done with six stories and I left with two new collections and notes on a novel.I went well past what I expected I could do.Stephen was very open immediately from the first day when he met with each of us. He said, “What do you want? What are your goals?” So we got to set the terms. There were optional exercises but no set parameters, no limitations. I could come to him and say, “Give me a deadline today please.” Or, “I need someone to talk to.” And he was open to that.I was really impressed because one day I came to him again and again for advice on this story. He was able draw out of me what I wanted from the story without setting any terms for me. He would listen, ask questions and reiterate until it became clear.What would I say to someone thinking of coming? Definitely come.I learned a lot about myself through my writing and through being around a group of very different people.If I were you, I wouldn’t hesitate to come.
Gina, Writing Immersion Participant 2010
|Thank you, Jade and Stephen, for your kind and super-supportive words about me and my writing. I can only say that being around you two was a real joy for me and that whenever I am seen and appreciated the way I was at the retreat it frees me to express the very best parts of myself. There was so much love and acceptance emanating from Jade and Stephen that anything seemed possible during those two weeks in Umbria. And, it was so much fun! Even though we did a lot of serious and useful work, we also spent a lot of time laughing, and everyone knows there is nothing better for healing than humor. For me personally, the goal writing and creative exercises helped me to find my writing voice again; it had been buried for a few years and now I’ve got it back. That is one of the greatest gifts I took home with me from the retreat. Thank you, Stephen.Sharon, Casa Della Pace retreat member 2010|
|Thank you Stephen and Jade for providing an invaluable and extraordinary experience…for your thoughtfulness, consideration, for the poetry, for the place, and for who you are, for the serenity of your souls–it was an exceptional experience and I’m so happy to know you and to be here.Jade and Stephen lead retreats with exquisite serenity, consideration and intelligent planning. The experience informed, transformed and inspired immense shifts in both the inner and outer realms of my existence. Jade’s breathwork opened up the body and channels for Stephen’s writing exercises, coherently inviting the soul on its authentic journey here. I appreciate their candid insights and encouragement and the follow up intention for goals dreamed and defined in the peaceful space of Umbria. The extravagant birdsong and wind in the trees, the fireflies in the starlight, the happy laughter and sharing, all wonderful memories. Grazie mille.Isabelle, Casa Della Pace retreat member, 2010|
|I sit down and now I look at my journal, and now I see growth. I think that’s the big picture, that’s what’s important. I thank Jade and Stephen and everyone here who helped me to get there—one big family of friends and people I’ll never forget.Vanessa, Casa Della Pace retreat member, 2010|
|Why I love Stephen and Jade Webber’s Writing and Wellness Retreat in Italy -
Let me count the reasons:
I love the helpful guidance on writing poems and examples given.
I appreciate the materials he brought on different authors presenting a variety of writing illustrations.
I love the special attention he gave each student–one on one.
I love the caring way he guides us in setting our goals.
I love the way he instills confidence to read our poems and stories in the group and gives us constructive suggestions.
to participate in.
I would highly recommend this life changing event to anyone.
I am sooo GRATEFUL it happened for me!!!!Sylvia, Casa Della Pace retreat member, 2010