a one-day writing & meditation retreat for building inner fire


This day-long contemplative writing workshop, held in deep autumn at the beautiful Theodore Wirth Pavilion, strives to create a powerful portal to the submerged creative unconscious just as we enter one of the most inward and contemplative times of the year. Our retreat combines extraordinary creative writing exercises with guided meditation and an array of powerful sensory awareness activities including the resonant sound bath of Tibetan singing bowls. The goal? To build awareness and reawaken in every cell of the physical body, beginning with awareness of the breath, in order to strengthen the creative flames that burn continually beneath the surface of our otherwise hectic lives. Our creative pilot lights are always lit. Really, truly. But are our burners firing? That’s what this day is about.

spiraling into the depths

After a guided meditation to open the day, we will weave between guided writing exercises that lead you to surprise yourself on the page, powerful sensory awareness building, and guided meditation, all the while spiraling deeper and deeper into the creative unconscious with each three-part cycle. You will have the opportunity to produce several short pieces of writing—these might be kindling for longer work to be completed later or simply mirrors into your inner world as it is currently unfolding. As the day progresses, you will gain a heightened awareness of the natural world as well as a deeper understanding and appreciation for your body’s place living, breathing place within that world. Finally, you will have the opportunity to surprise yourself with the discovery of new, enlivening, and healing language, images, and metaphors for the precise articulation of inner and outer truths, both light and dark. You will have the opportunity to ignite the fire of truth.

register now

This workshop is filling fast and we recommend you register as soon as possible. Tuition of $190 for the full day event can be submitted via PayPal or by check (email for check instructions).


Jeannine Ouellette will lead writing. She is the founder and director of Elephant Rock and a certified yoga unnamed-14teacher, though she focuses her attention on writing and teaching writing while keeping yoga and meditation as a personal practice. She serves as nonfiction editor for Orison Books and staff reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly and has authored several nonfiction books and the children’s picture book Mama Moon. Her stories and essays have appeared in magazines and literary journals including UtneThe Rakedecember magazineThe Doctor T.J. EckleburgProximity, and Nowhere, as well as several anthologies, including the 2017 Nowhere Print Annual, Women’s Lives: Multicultural PerspectivesFeminist Parenting, and a forthcoming print anthology from Proximity. She is a recent prizewinner in the Curt Johnson Fiction Awards and Proximity’s Essay Contest as well as an honorable mention in the Fairy Tale Review contest, Glimmer Train Fiction Open, Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Contest, Orison Anthology Awards, and the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations. Jeannine lives near the banks of the Mississippi and recently completed her first novel.

Tyler Lewke will lead meditation. Tyler is an Upasaka (ordained Buddhist vow taker) as well as the president and operational director of the Blue Lotus Temple in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He is the author of Empty, Empty, Happy, Happy: The Essential Teachings of a Simple Monk, which chronicles the core teachings of Bhanta Sujata, and he is currently completing his first spiritual memoir. Tyler is an optimistic pessimist, an awesome dad and friend, a hard-core capitalist, and a deep-seeking mindful and compassionate guy who’s most inspired by helping people through the bullshit parts of religion and spirituality to define a life of joy and contemplative service to others. He believes there is “no way out but in” and that business and mainstream consciousness are here to stay. So he stands in the center of it all helping to transform things from the inside out. He teaches meditation and mindful leadership in locations across the country, and has written as a form of art and spiritual practice every day for as long as he can remember. Tyler thinks we all have only one real job, to add more love to the world.  He lives in Chicago and from his backpack as he explores the world.


Place: Theodore Wirth Pavilion

Date & Time: October 29, 2017, 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Cost: $190 (payment must be made in advance via PayPal or check).

what to bring

Notebook, pens/pencils (this is an unplugged retreat)

Meditation cushion, pillow, or folded blanket if desired for sitting on (we will also have tables and chairs for the writing portions of the day)

Bag Lunch (coffee and light snacks will be provided)

to register

Email and we will add you to the roster upon payment (payment can be made via check or PayPal). Full tuition is due at registration and is non-refundable. We greatly look forward to writing and breathing and awakening with you!