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Berkshire Writer's Haven in the News

by Lisa Avnet

Wonderful article by local writer Robin Catalano in November edition of Berkshire Home Style:

http://readhomestyle.com/issues/HomeStyle_1019/HomeStyle_1019.html#page=6

Finding Creative Flow in the Midst of Chaos

by Lisa Avnet

Women, Creative Flow States, and Fragmented Time

When my children were younger and still at home, it was almost a given that when I set time aside for myself to write or make art, suddenly and eerily a snafu or drama that required my time and attention would occur.  It seemed that a part of them knew that my energy wasn't going to be available to them, and set about to remedy that by producing a drama. 

A writing Wednesday booked off work, a weekend writing getaway, a two hour slot in my calendar for when they were supposed to be asleep, or at their dad's - whatever I scheduled unbeknownst to them, would be impacted. Their unerring instinct for knowing when I scheduled blocks of time for myself was very frustrating, to say the least!  I got good at backup plans, and second backup plans and making do with what time I had left.  I became an expert at shifting my attention, and re-focusing from the mini-crisis du jour back to my scheduled writing time, yet another skill in the marathon of motherhood.

Learning self-hypnosis was a game changer for me.  Prior to that, when the kids were younger, breathing practices,and other practices to move energy including dancing, making quick doodles with colored markers, and reading poetry ,all helped me stay on course and not dissolve into frustration.    These are some of the practices I offer in my writing facilitation sessions at the Haven, honed in my daily life as well as with clients in my  practice.

Here's a great article I ran across recently on the same topic: link to Guardian article

 

Antidotes for the Angst, Anxious Feelings, and Fears Writers Face

by Lisa Avnet

One of the most unique features of the Berkshire Writer's Haven is that we focus on supporting the inner writer through our healing arts program.  Writing and publishing your work can trigger many kinds of fears and unpleasant feelings.  Inner voices  can plague us, shutting our creativity and voice down at times.

What if there was a magic wand that one could wave, that swept away the gray cloud of these fears, feelings, negative beliefs, and other obstacles to your creative expression, and replaced them with lasting feelings of peace, well-being, and confidence?  Unfortunately, such a literal magic wand doesn't exist, but hypnosis is the metaphorical magic wand that can provide these benefits, and more.

I like to support such statements about hypnosis with real life examples, and this July 2019 article in Dance Magazine by dancer Crystal Nicholls gave me the perfect springboard.  Crystal was having the kind of emotional turmoil that, untreated, could have wreaked havoc on her performing career.  In desperation, she decided to try hypnosis to address the intense anxiety and other feelings that were plaguing her.  It worked.  I love hypnosis work because the benefits are immediate and concrete. When hypnosis helps us access the healing power of our minds - like magic, lasting change can happen.

In addition to being available to writers on retreat with us, hypnosis sessions are available to the public Monday through Saturday in my Haven office by appointment.  I'm also available for group workshops or talks.  If you'd like to book a session, or find out more, give me (Lisa) a call at 860-985-1682

Summer Specials

by Lisa Avnet

Summer here is gorgeously, vibrantly, green and abundant with the full flowering of performing arts and all the Berkshires have to offer.  Edith Wharton's estate, The Mount, and Herman Melville's farm Arrowhead are both open to visitors in summer, as are many of the other museums.  The Frelinghuysen Morris House; Chesterwood, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Berkshire Botanical Gardens, Naumkeag, The Mission House: so many options!

We've been busy here at the Haven and although most of the remaining summer weekends are already booked, we have mid-week stays and two weekends left in August.  Book now and receive a 15 percent discount on your stay.

Sumer is Icumen In

Summer is here at the Haven and our gardens are in their glory.  Each day brings a new bloom, a new pattern of colors and shapes.  Flower power!  My heart just leaps to see each new blossom, and in the abundant growing season I'm out tending the grounds every morning.  Lots of weeding here!  In addition to the Japanese garden and the other gardens on the grounds, we have two kinds of raspberries, blueberries, currants, blackberries and assorted fruit trees.  No vegetable gardens at present due to a very persistent groundhog family, but we source fresh vegetables from local farms.  There are many special spots where we sit and revel in the beauty of the grounds, and even a small screen house for keeping out the bugs if we feel like writing up in the back.  Sharing the beauty of the property with other writers has been a long term vision of mine and I'm excited to be hosting our first year here at the Haven.  

Here's a fun salute to summer - a song by the Hilliard Ensemble .  The Berkshires in summer are so lush, expansive, vibrant.....inspiring generations of artists, writers and musicians.  

Hypnosis Class for Writers

by Lisa Avnet

It's Writing Time

I'll be teaching again in New Haven, CT on June 15 - come join us!  

Writing for Hypnosis

The Garden Muse Outside at the Berkshire Writers Haven

by Lisa Avnet

I gave my "Courting the Muse" workshop down in New Haven last weekend  for a wonderful group of women and am still smileing.  Introducing people to the benefits of hypnosis just fills me with joy. It's such a gift to see eyes light up and the excitement people feel when they feel and  see the difference in their writing.  Luckily it rained that day, which made being inside way more fun.

We're planning an Open House event here at the Berkshire Writer's Haven for area writers to come visit.  As part of the Open House I'll be offering a group class to introduce my hypnosis work.  If you Like our Facebook or Instagram pages, you'll get automatic get updates on the timing.  Right now the date is TBA;  the gardens should be showing some real glory by early June so that's the target.  If you can't wait, call us and set up a time for a visit.

Speaking of the gardens, all the photos on our website are  on our property - a lush 3 acres that includes fruit trees, berry bushes, and wild areas that provides inspiration year round.  The jewel of the property, though, is the Japanese style garden you can see on our welcome page banner, designed by my sister in law Judy who runs the Old Farms Nursery in Lakeville, CT and installed about 20 years ago.  It's stunningly beautiful and has generated a lot of writing and conversation over the years.

Nature is a beguiling Muse - inspiring many of my favorite poets, particularly Mary Oliver.  The rhythm of the lush summer plants giving way to less colorful autumn plants, and then finally the monochromatic bare bones of the stones and grasses in winter, and then the blossoming of spring means there's always something to see and write about.  

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The above photo is a rare sight- the stone river only flow when the ground is frozen and we get heavy rain. Then it flows down to the left with little ice waterfall-ettes sometimes too. 

Sitting and writing in the sunporch looking out at the gardens is one of the pleasures of winter at the Haven.

Earth and the beauty of the natural world is the first and longest lasting Muse of all My earliest memory from when I was about 3 years old, is squatting on the sidewalk outside our apartment complex, marveling at every detail of the flowers pushing up through the cracks: dandelions.  I can still smell that tangy odor that got on my hands from the milky juice in the stems when I picked it.

What's your first happy memory of being outside?  Did you have a special flower or tree?  Write about it for 10 minutes.  Be that child, and imagine, sense and feel that moment.

I'm waiting and watching as each shoot begins peeking up out of the ground.  The snowdrops and pink hellebore are blossoming, the magnolia tree and the daffodils should come out on the next warm and sunny day.  I can't wait!!  The weeds and the gardening chores will follow on their heels, but that's another Haven story!