Finding My Inner Author: My Experience at a Tom Bird Retreat-Class Has Begun

Friday, April 01, 2011
I'm bringing you along on my journey to find my inner author at Tom Bird's 5 Day Writing Retreat. You can catch up on previous posts by following these links: First, Second, Third and my arrival in Sedona, AZ

The excitement is tangible as participants take their seats. Tom lays down the rules for the next five days:

  • We are to switch seats each day; he doesn’t want us feeling that our comfort with writing comes from a particular seat or sitting next to a particular person.

  • We will begin writing long hand on large pads of unlined paper. This helps connect the heart and mind.

  • Once our speed is up we can switch to our laptops.

  • There is an energy field behind our facial system, if we are feeling stuck we should smile.

  • Mentors are here to help us through emotional outcomes. Hmmm…

  • Our writing will be literary, personal, spiritual and passionate. Okay, that sounds good.

We begin with a demo by Lori who worked on me earlier; she is demonstrating a seated technique she will be offering participants throughout the workshop to work through physical tension and emotional distress. A volunteer sits in front of her; Lori instructs her to allow her body to move. The woman begins rocking and swaying. Lori uses her hands to help balance and hold positions.

“If you feel pain, go into it. Pain is just the unraveling. Your body will not move into injurious positions. What will happen is that you will find a still point. Your body will just stop at the positions holding the trauma.” Lori tells us.

Next up is Anne who practices Holographic Repatterning. As a group, she says, we share certain patterns of beliefs which she can access in a group session. By using a technique known as muscle testing she determines that we share a belief through the lineage of our fathers that we are not good enough. This is an intrinsic belief that we don’t question and may not be aware of.

A woman volunteers to stand in for all participants. Anne goes through a lengthy process of having the woman place her hands in certain positions and repeat certain positive statements. Determining that the pattern has been changed she goes on to the next limiting belief. Several beliefs later I look around the room; people are tired and hungry and losing attention. It’s time for dinner.

I finally take a moment to check into my room. Two queen beds, two upholstered chairs, a mini fridge and a patio. The d├ęcor is what I like best, in a place where Southwestern is the norm Sedona Rouge is refreshingly European—not a kokopelli in sight. Most intriguing to me is the shower/tub combination. Large class doors open into a large shower area. On the right is a rain-shower shower head and in front of me, the full length of the enclosure, is a massive tub. So, the tub is actually in the shower. That’s different!

A quick bite at the buffet and back to the workshop…

  • We will be writing in 15 minute segments at the end of which we will count our words and continue for the next 15 minutes—our goal is 400 words per session.

    • Tom will be coming around to check our word count; if we are not meeting our goal he will give us tips on how to reach it.

    • If we do not make our daily quota we will be given homework.

    • We will be given two 10 minute breaks per day and one 45 minute lunch.
    We begin now. Tom turns on the subliminal CD we all received in our attendee packages.He leads us in the breathing exercise designed to center and focus our attention. He asks us to go back to the first time we realized that we wanted to be a writer and ask that part of us what it wants to say. Then the writing begins.

    It is 10pm and everyone is exhausted, just what Tom was aiming for. He said his job tonight was to wear us out so that our resistance would break. We will start meet tomorrow at 8 AM.

    I’ve written 1708 words of something, but I’m not sure what.

    Robyn Chausse

    Interested in the Tom Bird Method? Check out Tom's website for information on his upcoming retreats as well as free webinars.

    Barbara Barth said...

    I took his publishing course at Emory University and he was wonderful!

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