The Writing Immersion Retreat is actually a “Wellness Immersion.”  While the retreat is designed to give you the “time, space and structure to work creatively,” the mission is much broader.   According to Stephen Lloyd Webber, founder,  “We bring together creative writers, painters, yoga practitioners and those interested in sustainability, nature and self-development.”  It is from this space, in a setting that is breathtaking and inspiring, that we will immerse ourselves in self-discovery from which we will create.

The countryside is magnificent:  rolling Tuscan hills, vineyards surrounded by forests, stands of olive trees through which local sheep roam – it was idyllic.

Ebbio Vineyards

Sheep wandering through the Ebbio Entrance

The retreat center, Ebbio, enhanced the experience.   This stone house is steeped in history and has been sharing stories for 800 years.  Currently, it is a working farm with lush gardens, rows of grapevines, olive trees, wandering sheep, donkeys, geese, dogs and cats.

Geese showing off for new visitors

Ebbio Bee Hives

One of my favorite views from my bedroom window

Jeanne feeding the wandering little horse

Adding to this charm is a yoga studio on the ground floor providing breathtaking views of the countryside.  The room is serene and peaceful.  The wood floors are gorgeous, but it’s the brick arch in the ceiling that captures your attention.  There is a grand piano in one corner of the room and as the week unfolds, we would eventually be serenaded by talented retreat participants.

Ebbio Yoga Room

 Jade Webber – Our Fabulous  Yoga Instructor

Stephen Lloyd Webber & My Roommate Rosemary

The intention of the afternoon was to relax and to get to know each other.  There were 13 women participating in this retreat, from all walks of life and representing many states and countries: California, Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, Copenhagen and India. While we were a diverse group, we shared an extraordinary connection – a thread that wove its way through each of us – and we felt an instant kinship.  I’ve been to many retreats, conferences and workshops and I’ve never experienced the instant camaraderie that blossomed at Ebbio.

New friends – Jess, Amick, Rosemary, Dina and Prema

We united with similar purpose – to embrace this opportunity to write, create, learn and grow.   We wanted to contribute to each other and learn from one another.  We wanted to experience a richness in life and in living.  It was truly extraordinary and it was clear that this was not a chance meeting of 13 strangers.   There was a source that brought this specific group together.  There was an openness, an eagerness, to learn from the unique perspectives that would surely open our minds and hearts to understandings we didn’t have before we met.  This was a noticeably open group with a willingness to unabashedly share their hearts and minds; souls and secrets; dreams and desires.  We created a space to be vulnerable, which is a rare gift that led to profound insights and deeper connections.  We talked of energy and healing work; of eastern medicine and alternative therapies; of causes and needs.

The structure of the retreat was designed to fully support our self-defined purpose for being there.  The morning would begin with yoga in the yoga room guided by Jade.  After yoga, we had a silent breakfast that we generally enjoyed outside under a vine-covered ramada on the patio.   The food was wholesome and raised on the farm.  The silence was beautiful.  We enjoyed each other’s physical presence in a serene setting and were more present to life.

Looking down at breakfast from my bedroom window

So magical even the cats and birds shared breakfast

After breakfast, we would join in a clearing overlooking the olive trees and distant forest.  There were lessons and opportunities to share.  After the lessons, we had the opportunity to write or explore or paint or take any action that moved us.  Lunch was on the same patio and it always a feast.  I love Italy because wine flows at each meal and it was refreshing and so natural.

Delightful Meal Gathering

Engaging Post Meal Conversation

In the afternoon, we had more lessons in the clearing and time to write or create anywhere on the property.   Dinner was dynamic and very engaged as we shared stories, laughed, and savored life.   After dinner, we met and had the opportunity to share our writing and to receive critique, if desired.

Stephen Reading

An Attentive Audience – Rosemary, Yema & Marcia

Evenings were filled with camaraderie, sharing, yoga, and creating.  Every event was optional so we were encouraged to check in with ourselves and do those things we were moved to do, or create our own experience.  Stephen also strongly encouraged us to either work 100% or relax 100%, but don’t play in the middle.  I loved the structure of the retreat because it gave us permission to be responsible for ourselves and to fully show up in the places and at the times that moved us.  It simultaneously provided structure and no structure and this juxtaposition supported the creative spirits that desired to thrive.

There was one common goal, the thread that bound us – to find our unique voice and powerfully share it with the world.