KOOJAREWON!

koojarewon view

Yesterday I drove up the range to Koojarewon, the site of the forthcoming retreat and this is the glorious view that awaited me at the top. Koojarewon is an Indigenous word meaning “top of the range” – it was an important waypoint on the local people’s way to a scared celebration site nearby.

The camp is in a beautiful spot – that’s a picture of the view! It has 16 acres of old growth trees and while I was there the only sound was birdsong and leaves rustling. An owl hoo-hooted throughout my visit, so calming.

 

I met Jodie and Dallan, the lovely workers there, who are super excited to be hosting writers and yogis and are preparing vegetarian feasts for us to enjoy. Behind me in this shot is the fire pit for Saturday night’s festivities. Jodie has promised us marshmallows! YAY!

The dorms are actually quite pleasant. And, as we have the run of the entire campsite, we can spread out through them, making little private rooms for ourselves with a few sarongs strung up here and there. The  communal bathrooms were inside and lovely and clean with plenty of sinks and showers.

There are also a couple of private rooms with ensuites – but only a couple. If you have health issues or a terrible snore do let me know and we’ll see if one of them has your name on it! Koojarewon me

What I liked best, apart from the trees, the fire pit,  and the view, was the cosy sitting room with couches, beanbags and a kettle – just perfect for settling in to do some quiet writing of your own. Jodie also told me about a wonderful place to visit for sunset drinks with a magnificent view of the Western Plains.

It took me about an hour and a half to drive up from Brisbane. My Sat Nav lady sent me through Murphy’s Creek which was actually gorgeous – much more pleasant than the highway. I felt like I was driving back in time 🙂

Here’s the link to book your spot UNLEASH THE RETREAT INFO AND TICKETS

Or if you’d like to ask me anything email me HERE

Spoil yourself with a weekend of writing and gentle yoga and relaxation in the mountains. We all need a little time out now and then. Come and roast some marshmallows with me 🙂

marshmallows

 

 

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New Review!

RW3 group shot goodie

New review just in from the fabulous Jenni Mulligan – she’s the one in the fancy chequered flares!

Last year I subconsciously made a commitment to attend a Relax and Write Retreat having seen a few enticing event invitations and images float through my Facebook feed.

When the Evans Head event notice popped up I decided to go for it even though it involved a complicated calendar reshuffle. This effort was rewarded a thousand-fold.
Edwina’s blog post covers the details and structure of the retreat, so I’ll just summarise my highlights.

I loved the daily yoga and meditation sessions, was at the edge of my seat during the fascinating, emotional and hilarious writing sessions, was in awe listening to the writing of my fellow retreaters, partied at Saturday’s Open Mike Night and felt so pampered having a wonderful dinner cooked for me each evening. As a bonus, the retreat was located across the road from the beautiful Evans Head beach… so was able to have early morning and sunset walks.

I feel confident saying that the long weekend will be in the top 2 of my annual 10 Great Things I Did This Year… and I’ve had a bloody amazing year.

My thanks to Edwina and Helena for not only sharing their experience, industry insights and talent with us, but also for creating a safe and loving space and time for creativity, open heartedness and laughter. Suffice to say, Relax and Write Retreat at Evans Head 2019 is already in my calendar.

Jenni Mulligan.

Thanks so much Jenni! See you next year 🙂 xx

Next retreat is in the mountains near Toowoomba. See here for more details.

Come along and join the fun!

RELAX AND WRITE IN THE MOUNTAINS!

Come and join me in the mountains!

Edwina Shaw

Dateless LOGO NO KOINONIA

RELAX AND WRITE YOUR WAY TO WELLNESS!

I’m excited to announce the next Relax and Write Retreat – this time in the mountains west of Brisbane – from Friday 5th October to Sunday 7th October 2018.

As part of the Unleash the Beast, Writing and Wellness Symposium, I’m holding a special retreat in a beautiful mountain-top location, for women to relax with gentle yoga and meditation, and get writing with inspiring creative workshops.

The lovely people at Koojarewon Retreat, in Highfields – 12 kms north of Toowoomba, are turning the entire place over to us, and they’re providing all the meals, so it should be truly relaxing, even if the accommodation is pretty basic.

It’s dorm style but we have plenty of room to spread out through the dorms to claim a patch for privacy. And, best of all, the bathrooms are inside, so there’s no traipsing out to…

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WEAR THAT BRINY CROWN

A new poem from one of our chief mermaids and poet laureate, Nina Woodrow. And a fabulous blog post from new mermaid Nicola Wardley with some of her beautiful writing. Helena and I are always amazed by the fabulous writing that is created on camp.

RW3 group shot goodie

WEAR THAT BRINY CROWN
mermaid testimonies
start small
tiny grits
like celery seeds
mermaid testimonies
start tentative
they come in fits
grow slender tendrils translucent
in the coloured light
rooted deep in fecund matter
mermaid testimonies
start in a wild place
breathe slowly
take some time
give them rare grace
gentle air space
and mermaid memories
gather force become
effervescent and if you
are not still enough
not awake enough
not brave enough
you might not feel
the disturbance
you might not sense
the current change
you might be numb
too slow to succumb
to this stream of life
this trouble
this strife
this oddly fierce
dark humour
(mermaid testimony
blindness in fact
afflicts many)
mermaids know though
that home grown
trauma syndrome
blooming through generations
has no other
antidote
what other answer
is there?
what else dilutes
the granular poison
of ancient brutality and grief
like this testimony?
what else dissolves
alchemically evolves
exposes this dark matter
to the light
sets the celery seeds
a-germinating
like mermaid tears
like mermaid songs
like mermaid laughter?
so ahoy there
sea faring folk
landlubbers
and story grubbers
the tides have turned
there is a new game
its time to heed the siren call
let mermaid testimony
take its place in the
hall of fame
and mermaids
take your time
say the things
that need to be said
shed all the tears
that need to be shed
sing your fearsome songs
and wear that briny crown.

AND here’s a link to our new mermaid Nicola’s take on the retreat.

https://www.nicolawardley.com/blog/ever-wondered-what-happens-on-a-writing-retreat

 

THE MAGIC OF MERMAID CAMP

 

early morning beach STAR

Relax and Write 3 at Camp Koinonia in Evans Head finished up yesterday. Helena and I are always amazed by the wonderful women who come along and how quickly the magic of Koinonia and the sea and writing and yoga starts to make itself very evident.

cheers!

Within twenty-four hours, or even less, secrets we swore we’d never tell are shared and held and then let go. Old wounds are uncovered and start to heal. We realise very quickly that all of us have stories that need to be told, alongside those we want to tell. But it is the kindness and upholding of each other which is most precious. With this sharing of secrets a deep bond is forged and we transform from the ordinary creatures we are in our everyday lives as teachers and accountants and mothers and business women and writers and workers into mermaids and scribes.

workshop helena STAR

We did a tremendous amount of writing with workshops on writing your way into a story, writing the body, dialogue and more, and had heaps of fun along the way – laughing and singing and swimming and feasting and dancing.

 

circle om

Katrina taught us all the Samba on Saturday night and with Jenni did a performance that made us all gasp! Maria became our photographer and took most of the beautiful shots I include here.

 

 

Carol and Helen and Angela did a fantastic job getting our delicious dinners ready. I loved Helena’s macerated cumquat and almond cake. YUM! That and Nina’s dhal were my food highlights.

 


Josie’s enthusiasm made us all feel good. Jude’s bawdy jokes made us laugh. Helen-Ellie scored a new name and a place in our hearts and Loma humbled us all with her tale of recovery. Nicola wowed us all with the book she’d made herself. Everyone shared hints and tips and made leading the groups easy.

RW3 group shot goodie

It was sunny but the swims were still cold. I saw a shooting star and had my heart opened again and again by the wisdom and compassion of the women who came along.

 

Special thanks go to Craig and Marie of Camp Koinonia for hosting us all with such generosity. All the years Helena and I have been coming to Koinonia we never knew it’s meaning, but we do now.

The lovely Kathy provided this translation and the beautiful shot below.

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“In spite of fragmentation, which is an evil from which we need to be healed, there has resulted a kind of rich bestowal of grace which is meant to embellish the koinonia.”

Koinonia is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution.

YES! That’s the magic of mermaid camp – union – like yoga – a community of women sharing as equals. Each of us feeling valued and embraced.

Come along and join us at the next one!

Lots of love, Edwina and Helena xx

LOVE Log STAR

RETREATS AHOY!

cropped-dateless-logo-no-koinonia

Only a few weeks until Relax and Write 3 at Camp Koinonia in beautiful Evan’s Head northern NSW. There are still a few spots free, if you’d like to come along and join the fun. We always have a wonderful time.

It’s on from Friday 31st August until Monday the 3rd of September with prices starting at only $440.  Check out all the details here or drop Helena a line at helenapastor2@gmail.com for more info and to book.

koinonia beach camp 2

Can’t wait to get onto this beautiful beach again!

In other news, we’re running a very special retreat in partnership with the Unleash the Beast Writing and Wellness Symposium in Toowoomba west of Brisbane, from October 5 – 7th at Camp Koojarewon in Highfields looking out from the top of the range. It’s fully catered and by the looks of things they plan to stuff us like geese. We’ll have the run of the whole place too, so although we’ll be in dorm-style accommodation, we’ll have plenty of space and privacy and, most importantly, toilets inside within easy reach!

koojarewon dorm

Like our other retreats it’s a great blend of yoga, relaxation exercises and creative writing workshops guaranteed to refresh your spirit and get you writing stories that surprise you.

For further details and to book, please see HERE

I’m so excited about doing a retreat in the mountains 🙂 Come along and relax and unwind among the trees with me.

Looking forward to sharing my love of writing and yoga with you!

unleash the beast headshot

 

 

YAHOO! YIPPEE! RELAX AND WRITE 3!

mermaids swimming

This Spring, forget the housework – SPRING CLEAN YOURSELF!!

Come and join our merry band of mermaids and scribes at the next Relax and Write Retreat from Friday 31st August until Monday 3rd September 2018 at beautiful Camp Koinonia by the sea at Evans Head Northern NSW.

Bookings are now open for Relax and Write 3 with early bird prices in effect until the 31st July. Places are filling fast so make sure you put your hand up soon by contacting Helena at helenapastor2@gmail.com for more info and a booking form.

The program includes a fun mix of yoga in the mornings,

relax and write yoga

and informative and inspiring creative writing workshops throughout the day.

relax writers at work

With lots of time for relaxing, swimming, walking, meditating, chatting and little lie downs 🙂

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PROGRAM FOR RELAX AND WRITE 3

FRIDAY
Arrival from 2 p.m. Check-in
5:30 p.m. Welcome, drinks and nibbles, intro
6:30 p.m. Deep relaxation and introductory
writing exercises
7:30 p.m. Dinner

SATURDAY
7:30 – 9 am Gentle morning yoga and breathing
exercises with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 p.m. Writing Your Way into a Story – Helena
FREE TIME FOR LUNCH AND
BEACH ACTIVITIES
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Using yoga and drama techniques for
developing your characters – Edwina
7pm Dinner
OPEN MIC NIGHT If you’re up to it, please bring
along a song or other musical item,
a poem, a short performance piece
or whatever else you would like to share…

SUNDAY
7:30 – 9 am Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30p.m. Structuring for Suspense – Edwina
EXCURSION TO CHINAMANS
BEACH FOR PICNIC LUNCH AND
FREEWRITING
4pm – 6 pm Writing Dialogue – Helena
7pm Dinner

MONDAY
7:30 – 9 am Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 p.m. Pitching your work – from bios to synopses
to grant applications – E and H
Feedback and farewells.

COST

We’ve done our best to keep prices for the retreat reasonable – we know women often don’t have much cash to spend on themselves. We also know they really need some time out to nurture themselves and their writing.

$470 for single room in ensuite cabin
$430 for twin share in ensuite cabin

EARLY BIRD $440/$400 if booked and deposit of $150 received before 31st July 2018

The cost includes:
• 3 x yoga sessions
• 6 x writing workshops.
• 3 x nights accommodation
• 3 x healthy vegetarian dinners

If you have any ideas for workshops you ‘d like to see included, please let us know.

For more information and to book please contact Helena

We’d love to have you come along and join the fun. We always have a wonderful time 🙂

Helena and Edwina photo

Helena and Edwina

REVIEWS!

Here’s a couple of reviews by participants in our March 2018 retreat.

mermaids swimming

VAHIDA BERBEROVIC

I attended the relax and write retreat, organised and facilitated by writers Edwina Shaw and Helena Pastor, at Camp Koinonia from 16-19 March 2018. The retreat was organised, as the title suggests, around relaxation sessions in the early mornings, followed by writing workshops in the morning and in the afternoon. There was also time for a swim each day. Edwina has practised yoga for 25 years, and it shows. She was able to get the best out of all of us, and even a novice and highly cynical uptight person like myself managed to relax and let go. Helena’s workshops focussed on getting into the writing groove, and keeping at it, writing dialogue and pitching, while Edwina workshopped character development and structure with us. Both Edwina and Helena showed knowledge and experience of the writing process, as well as the publishing world, but were also understanding and sensitive of our individual needs. Helena was kind enough to give feedback to each one of us on ten pages of our writing. The evenings included a delicious meal and wonderful company.

I very much enjoyed all aspects of the retreat – the relaxation, the socialising, the writing workshops, the food. While the accommodation was quite basic, it was not an impediment to our writing, exchanging ideas, experiences and advice. It pales into insignificance when one considers the benefits. The main benefit for me was being in the company of other writers like myself who work mostly in isolation and whose voices of self-doubt often drown out any other voices we might have. I feel refreshed after the long weekend, filled with new energy to approach my writing project and view it from a new perspective. The retreat has definitely enriched me as a writer and as a person (I can’t believe that a socially anxious person like myself spent most of the stay with everyone else), and I look forward to next year.

banksia

CAROLYN NUTTALL

‘Evans above! Who would have thought so much wellness and so much writing could be achieved in a few days?

Go to ‘Relax and Write’ a short retreat run by two gifted teachers Edwina Shaw and Helena Pastor.

Over 3-4 days, they get you in their sights and recharge you with excellent teaching, yoga, relaxation, good food and time to swim and rest.

Their choice of site, part of effective planning, was inspiring. The  beach at Evans Head was magnificent and the weather was perfect.

I am reminded of one of the writing sessions.- pitching to an audience, I hope Edwina that I have pitched this endorsement well.

Book for the next retreat if you want to recharge and renew your spirit. These women will not disappoint you.

Carolyn Nuttall

Thank you dear Vahida and Carolyn. It’s the women who come along that make these retreats so special. Missing everyone already! xxx

 

 

MERMAIDS

Waterhouse, John William, 1849-1917; A Mermaid

A Poem inspired by Relax and Write 2 by our lovely Nina Woodrow

in coloured glass chinks
the light gets in
through the cracks in everything small windows
gently open to show new glimpses
of old struggle and pain, courage and love
tinted by time
and the big fish swims by
in coloured glass chinks
the archetypes stand
and fall like neptune’s metropolis under the sea
death and grief making way
for brand new beginnings a city
decayed and reclaimed
and the big fish swims by
in coloured glass chinks
monuments are spoken
remembered, retold in spite of the tremor myths
way too big to swallow whole
are refracted with squinted eyes and
some kind of magic
and the big fish swims by
the mermaids
they have a way with big fish
and ruins under the sea
they sing them to sleep
with siren songs they plait their hair
and rearrange
the shells on their shore
till something new
is formed every time it seems
that this gentle light cant possibly
be enough but spells are cast
in moments
in single words
in hearts warmed with rose oil
and seaweed
and the tears
that finally find their season
and make their way
from the mountain
to the sea

NINA WOODROW March 2018

MERMAIDS AND SCRIBES TOGETHER AGAIN!

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Just back from RELAX AND WRITE RETREAT 2! And what a wonderful time we had. The photograph above was taken at our picnic at Dirawong Reserve a short drive from Mermaid base camp (as we now fondly refer to Camp Koinonia). It’s all part of beautiful Evans Head, a special place for the Bandjalang Nation who we thank and acknowledge as the original people of this beautiful part of the world.

camp 2 koinonia cabins

We had perfect weather for our three nights and big days of  writing workshops and yoga to refresh the spirit and body and inspire new stories. Again we had a wonderful warm group of women, some returning for a second dose of retreat bliss, and several new friends. One of the highlights for Helena and I as facilitators was watching how easily everyone bonded, supported each other and readily shared their stories. We had a great time!

yoga camp 2 downward dog

We had women ranging in age from 28 to 70, experienced writers with several books under their belts –  to newbies making their first attempts. We listened and learned from each other, laughed and swam, and feasted and sang. We held our first ever open mic night and unearthed some wonderful talents. It was lovely to have some music as part of the retreat this time.

candles-camp-2-close-up.jpg

Our next retreat is tentatively booked for the 31st August to 3rd September 2018 – so make sure to put your hand up if you’d like to secure a spot. Drop us a line through the contact page.

I’ll finish with some feedback from one of our lovely participants:

Thank you for these three beautiful days. They have re-invigorated me as a writer, and as a human being.” Vahida Berberovic 19/03/2018

You can’t ask for better than that 🙂

For more reviews see here

cloud rainbow

More photos!

Our beach 🙂

koinonia beach camp 2

Our cabins.

cabin shotour hall camp 2 chapeltime for a swim!

mermaids swimming

misty mornings

mist through trees caMP 2

sunrise with person camp 2

Come along and join the fun!

Lots of love,

Edwina and Helena xx