August 30 to September 1, 2024 – Forest Bathing: A Walk in the Woods for Writers

Drawing upon the principles of Shinrin-yoku, a Japanese wellness practice that can be translated as “taking in the forest atmosphere,” forest bathing involves connecting with nature using all five senses. Through the relational and ecological practices of forest bathing, we come into deeper contact with ourselves and the more-than-human world that we inhabit.

During this weekend retreat, we will meander, sit, breathe, move, play, and rest in the beautiful forest surrounding Rockvale. In addition to several forest bathing sessions, there will also be integrative conversations in which we will consider various ways in which a forest bathing practice can impact the embodied processes involved in writing. Unstructured time for wandering alone in the woods and writing freely will also be included in the schedule for the weekend.

Cost: $425.00 PLUS TAX – (includes 2 nights in a private suite, 5 meals, snacks, 4 workshops, and plenty of private time for writing)
Date: Friday, August 30, 2024 (Check-in: 4:00-6:00 pm) to Sunday, September 1, 2024 (Check-out: 11:00 am)
Place: Rockvale Writers’ Colony, 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, TN

The Schedule (tentative)

Friday, August 30, 2024:

4:00 to 6:00 p.m. – Check-in and settle in. You’ll be given a short tour and we’ll show you to your assigned room
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Welcome and Overview of Retreat
7:15 p.m. – Workshop: Introduction to Forest Bathing + Practicing in the Moonlight
After introducing the theory and practice involved in forest bathing, we will sit outside under the moon for a mindful encounter with the natural world at night.
9:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Saturday, August 31, 2024:

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready!
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come anytime you’re ready.
8:30 a.m. – Workshop: Forest Bathing Walk
In this fully-guided forest bathing experience, participants will be invited to engage with the more-than-human world of the woods. (This walk will follow the standard sequence of forest therapy walks as taught by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy.)
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
12:00 p.m. – Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Unstructured time for solo forest bathing and writing.
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Connecting Forest Bathing with a Writing Practice
In this indoor workshop, we will discuss the relationship between deeply sensory encounters with the world and the emotional and
kinesthetic experience of writing.
8:30 p.m. – Reading / Share your Writing – Sharing is optional; however, we ask that you attend whether you read or not, in order to support other writers.
10:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Sunday, September 1, 2024:

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready!
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come anytime you’re ready.
8:30 a.m. – Workshop: Forest Bathing Walk
For our final encounter with Rockvale’s woods, we will work with invitations designed to center our learnings from the weekend and guide us gently out of the weekend.
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
11:00 a.m. – Checkout and Goodbye

Melissa Jean is an Assistant Professor in the Mindfulness Studies masters’ program at Lesley University. She teaches courses in academic writing, creative writing, research methods, and mindfulness and the environment. Melissa is a Forest Therapy Guide, trained through the Association for Nature and Forest Therapy, and has undergone Wilderness First Aid training. She is certified in Mindfulness Facilitation through Vanderbilt University’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Melissa received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Lesley, and a PhD in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management from Utah State University. Her writing has appeared in The Colorado Review and a variety of online journals, including most recently The Hopper, Junoesq, Waxing and Waning, and Causeway Lit. She also contributed to the Dream Geographies project, to Reckoning: Tennessee Writers on 2020, and to Poetry in the Boro’s 2023 poetry calendar.

Please note the following due dates and refund policy:

  • $150.00 non-refundable deposit due upon registering.
  • Balance due August 2, 2024
  • If cancellation by retreater occurs 2 weeks to 1 month before retreat (August 2 to August 15, 2024)– refund is 50% of the balance owed.
  • If cancellation by retreater occurs less than 2 weeks before retreat (August 16 to August 30, 2024) – no refund
  • If RWC cancels the retreat for any reason, full refunds will be provided to all retreaters.