A month ago, my dear friend Edwina Shaw and I hosted our second ‘Relax & Write’ yoga and writing retreat for women at Evans Head, on the north coast of NSW. We decided to extend the program over three nights rather than two, which made the weekend more relaxed for everyone – especially as we had people travelling from Sydney to attend. Once again the retreat proved a fabulous success. More than half the women who came along last time returned, and it was lovely to reconnect with them and also good to see how their writing and confidence had improved over the past six months. Both the old timers and the new recruits settled in well to the rhythm of each day with yoga and writing workshops interspersed with plenty of time for leisurely breakfasts and lunches, chats, long walks and swims at the beach, or just hanging out on the cabin verandah.

When I think back on the weekend, I realise that relaxing and writing – and being nurtured through yoga, healthy food, friendship, laughter and picnics – is important for a whole host of different reasons. What do I remember? Champagne and candles, the sound of pens scratching across paper, the old-fashioned pleasure of listening to favourite stories, poems and songs at the open mic night, the deliciousness of Edwina’s roasted walnuts with ice cream and cheesecake, morning light shining through stained glass windows in the yoga studio, the stories behind our collages, the glorious temperature of the ocean, and women reading out extraordinary stories they’d written in the writing workshops – stories I’d wished I’d written myself.

When I told them so, the women kept saying, ‘But I’m not really a writer.’

Actually, you are.

The next ‘Relax & Write’ retreat is scheduled for the weekend of 31st August to 3rd September 2018, and Edwina and I are already planning new workshops and exotic dessert combinations. Full details on the retreat will be available soon, but if you’re interested in coming along, please send me an email at: helenapastor2@gmail.com

For reviews and photos of past retreats, check out the ‘Relax & Write’ website:

Hope to see you in spring with the other mermaids and scribes at Evans Head!