Taos retreat: Memorable!


The magic of Camp Creative Thunder still continues for me even though it has been a couple of weeks since I returned from Taos, New Mexico. Jill Badonsky’s retreat at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House historical hotel and conference center is beyond memorable. Camp Creative Thunder has made a significant difference in my creative work as I recall the activities we did together and tap into the creative energy that was stirred and stimulated by Jill’s guidance and inspiration. I will always cherish the time and the new connections I have made.

I described the first 24 hours of the retreat in previous posts; however, I just scratched the surface of the experience. Days 2, 3, and 4 were equally spellbinding and thrilling. In a nutshell, yoga started day 2, followed by breakfast, then we met at the classroom for a more exceptional writing experiences starting with tips from Jill and her writing process. One of the biggest takeaways for me was: Write what you WANT to read. This statement is hugely validating for me, as I make an effort to write what I most enjoy reading.

For writing, as for any activity we do, it is also important to remember WHAT we LOVE most about what we do. Too often we lose sight of the joy we get out of our writing, our art, our teaching, our craft, our jobs. It is imperative that we reconnect to that bliss and remember that we get to do it, and let go of the “I HAVE TO DO IT” mindset.

In the afternoon after lunch, Jill took us through her art process and shared some her watercolor painting techniques. I really enjoyed liberating my inner child as we did quick sketches, blind sketches, and non-dominant hand sketches for the first part of the afternoon before we delved into creating a watercolor painting. We also had the opportunity to decorate our very own cowboy hat that we all wore to dinner in Taos at Guadalajara Grill.  Dinner was absolutely fabulous! I had their chicken quesadilla.

On the last full day of the retreat, after breakfast we all went on a “field trip” to WIRED? Coffee-Cyber-Café, where we applied our newfound art and writing techniques. The time went by both slowly and then quickly. Funny how that was. I find that new experiences go by very slowly at first, but then once I am into a flow or zone of comfort, “boom” time slips away. That afternoon, we decorated miniature birdhouses, which became the focal point of a story-telling contest. We each presented our birdhouses to each other as we shared stories about them.

That night, our last night of Camp Creative Thunder, we were treated to a private concert: Kate Mann and Mark Dudrow. They were phenomenal! And, then we had a lovely, moving and meaningful closing ceremony that I will always cherish. Incidentally, over the past couple of days, I was able to get my signal light assembly fixed on my SUV at Doc’s Automotive (in Taos) in time for our drive back to Virginia; I was deeply grateful to Doc’s for being able to accommodate us on such short notice and in a timely fashion. The next morning, after breakfast, we met one last time for improvisational theater games that were enormously fun and energizing! Some of the campers had to leave right after our final activity; but, many of us were able to have one last meal together. Then each of us were on our way back to our lives; and, for Rick and I back to on our Road Trip Adventure… next stop, Roswell!

All rights reserved. ©2016 by A. K. Orobko


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