Tassajara Retreat Center

Carmel Valley, California

 

Sunday, July 17 – Thursday, July 21, 2022

If you want to write your heart out in a supportive community while savoring natural hot springs in a magical valley, join master teachers Laura Davis & Tova Green for a deeply transformative writing and meditation retreat.

Imagine leaving the world behind, traveling far down into a magical sacred valley, a place of incomparable stillness and deep relaxation, a serene, quiet world where you leave your phones, computer and worldly concerns behind.

Walk in beauty. Spend five days and nights wrapped in the embrace of natural beauty, surrounded by lush gardens, winding paths and natural hot springs lit by kerosene light, melting you into an oasis of deep creativity and relaxation.

Savor gourmet vegetarian meals and world famous Tasssajara bread three times a day. Each day, you will eagerly wait outside the dining room, anticipating the healthy, delicious bounty of the next meal.

Photo Credit: Margo Moritz
Photo Credit: Margo Moritz
Photo Credit: Valerie Boquet
Photo Credit: Valerie Boquet

You will savor days far away from all the worries, stresses and concerns of home, soaking in hot springs, swimming, hiking over creeks to natural water slides, drinking in the sacred beauty of Tassajara.

Study with two master teachers - one in writing and one in meditation - who will demonstrate how writing practice, meditation and deep listening can unleash your most powerful, compelling stories.

Experience the camaraderie of a supportive, compassionate writing community and discover the courage and power that only a safe vibrant circle of writers can offer.

"I loved listening to the other participants read and hearing Laura and Tova share their wisdom—deeply drinking their encouragement."

—Cricket Halsey, El Cerrito, CA

"The harmonious compassionate teamwork between Laura and Tova made the retreat genuine and deeply meaningful."

—Julie Tavé, France

"I felt free to write about anything."

—Carolina Sturgeon, Mountain View, CA

"If you come to Tassajara, you'll learn buckets about writing, process deep material in a safe space, while resting in an idyllic natural spot."

—Kay Taylor, Emeryville, CA

"I'd absolutely recommend this workshop. Come with blank paper and no expectations about how good or lousy a writer you believe you may be, or how alone you are in your misery. You will find love in the circle." 

—Enid Brock, Santa Cruz

"What delighted me most was the warmth, kindness and depth-the seriousness of commitment and yet the lightness and grace I felt, coming from the workshop leaders and each member of the group."

—Cricket Halsey, El Cerrito, CA

"I valued this retreat as a way to check in with my own interior. It's a real renewal to be away from daily life in a beautiful setting with delicious food, and to have the retreat led by folks who share their own process as well as their skills."

—Kathleen Mock, Kensington, CA

"The retreat was perfectly planned and delivered, and I wouldn't change a thing."

—Lynn Menon, Pleasanton, CA

"I had been caught in a long drought with respect to writing, blocked partly by my resistance to repeatedly stirring the embers of grief. My writing had been reduced to barely a trickle. I hoped to loosen the hold of that block and refresh my intention to practice. I learned that I have not 'stopped writing.' I've renewed my commitment to writing practice and discovered there is much soil left to cultivate. There were times I was surprised by what emerged as I wrote, and those moments of grace were treasured gifts."

—Cricket Halsey, El Cerrito, CA

"If you're interested in immersing intensely into expressing your personal stories through writing but don't know how or have never had the courage or permission to do so, this is the retreat for you."

—Leslie Bullock, Fresno, CA

"The Writer's Journey Retreat is the bowl that holds and rings the truths that we all share."

—Mimi Liem, Orinda, CA

 "I would recommend this retreat to anyone looking to unplug and get in touch with themselves and their creative energy."

—Anne Williams, Pleasantville, NY

"I was surprised and delighted how this journey transformed me from being someone completely resistant from plunging into writing without advance preparation and planning to someone unafraid to take the plunge and share my raw drafts with the group. I am grateful to Laura for providing the personal time, sharing her insights and wisdom, and her ability to put her finger on each person's pulse during each and every session."

—Brad, San Jose, CA

"What I learned and gained from this experience is that no matter how unique each person is—how much they struggle or achieve—humanity's suffering and joy always comes back to universal themes—and healing them is healing and enlightening."

—Nancy Kramer, Galt, CA

"You can't improve this workshop. It was perfect the way as is."

—Elizabeth O'Neill, San Francisco

"I was surprised by the steady flow of the group to work at generating endless pages of creative expression; the willingness to listen to every person's story or stories; to accept the diverse experiences of the participants. I was delighted to see how some members dropped their reluctance to share their secrets, shame, anger, fantasies, and over the days accept their inner experiences and shoo away the critical, analyzing mind." 

—Mimi Liem, Orinda, CA

"Listening to the pieces everyone read to the circle was by far my favorite part--challenging, at times intimidating, but always impressive whether for the craft evinced, the struggle and emotion of the story or the two together."

—Peggy Hansen, Santa Cruz, CA

"Hearing others speak their truth was very impactful on me. We know that each person carries a story--but to watch each take the risk to speak aloud was humbling. Some of the experiences conveyed and turns of phrase with stay with me indefinitely."

—Joanna Ewing, Los Angeles, CA

"The most meaningful part of the retreat was the human connections, the deep profound moments of connecting at the core of being with others."

—Juliana Quinn, Oakland, CA

"The most meaningful part of the retreat was the deep, honest sharing of every participant."

—Daniella Woolf, Santa Cruz, CA

"I was delighted and moved by the synergy created in the group and how well and how quickly we bonded. For the first time in my life, I felt confident and safe to share my writing. Interestingly, even without verbal feedback or critique, I felt support, encouraged that my writing was okay. I learned to break through my fear of not writing 'well enough,' to let go of the inner critic, for the first time in a long time. I learned that maybe I can write, that maybe I am a writer. Something broke open inside me with each piece I wrote and I felt freer. I am so grateful for this opportunity and experience!"

—Leslie Bullock, Fresno, CA

"I gained a deepening in my faith in people's capacity for kindness and community. I gained experience and practice in sitting meditation and in writing as a practice for personal growth and reflection. I believe I will take the lessons home with me and listen to what my pen might want to tell me. And quieting my anxious mind with a modest meditation practice will be of great help."

—Monika Zerzan, Arcata, CA

"Reading out loud without getting feedback, but only appreciation, felt like a breakthrough for me."

—Sheila O'Neill, Brooklyn, New York

"As an editor, I have thought of first drafts as a necessary step on the way to finished work. Embracing the first spark of writing without judgment or critique is new for me and cause me to step away from judging work as good or bad. I listened differently and more openly, and discovered the depth and power of everyone's stories."

—Anne Williams, Pleasantville, NY

"A great way to find art and learn more about yourself--and to become more expressive in your writing. Get ready to have your mind cracked wide open."

—Daniel Kramer, Galt, CA

"I would definitely recommend this retreat to a friend. The integrity of Laura and Tova, the environment created and enforced, and the quality of the instruction in writing practice and Zazen were all outstanding." 

—Monika Zerzan, Arcata, CA

"The most meaningful part of the retreat was the compassionate, loving, safe and invigorating space created by Laura and Tova."

—Brad, San Jose, CA

"I'd definitely recommend this workshop, It's fun, hard, fascinating and valuable. Laura and Tova team well together and bring very different energies to the circle—complementary and illuminating."

—Peggy Hansen, Santa Cruz, CA

"Being at this retreat made me think a lot about how a circle, when assembled as a safe space with clear guidelines can be a place where people can have catharsis or come together to make change."

—Joanna Ewing, Los Angeles, CA

"I learned that it is possible to explore various experiences with pen-in-hand, rather than feel the fear of not having anything to say or that no one would understand what you wrote."

—Mimi Liem, Orinda, CA

"It has been over a week since I have returned from your retreat, and I am still turning over memories in my mind, savoring them as I would a delectable meal. The safety, sorority, serenity, growth . . . and oh yes, the writing!! Everything served as nourishment for both body and spirit. I have never experienced anything like it. I cannot thank you enough for the profound experience that I just underwent under your gentle and wise ministration. I have begun a transformative journey on so many levels, and will be forever grateful for your help in setting me on this path."

—Emily Bitton, West Orange, New Jersey

"Thank you, Laura, for a powerful retreat. You are an extraordinary teacher-your warmth, your humor, your wisdom and your insight provide a safe haven for all of us on the Writer's Journey. The pacing of the writing experience was remarkable. I loved being able to relax into the experience, knowing it was safe to go deeper and deeper."

—Belinda Carter, Sacramento, CA

"I have been opened and touched in so many ways. I am in awe and will treasure this experience forever."

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz

"Laura has immense gifts as a writer, as a teacher and as a visionary."

—Linda Lapetino, Los Angeles, CA

"I've never read Laura's books, but I'd like to get to know her better. Based on the way she carries herself—her struggles, her passion and service shine through in a perfect intertwined web which brings light to all of our lives."

—Nancy Kramer

"My heart is filled with gratitude. I have never felt so embraced by others as I have by this community of people. The retreat was sacred, safe, transformative. Thank you Laura from the bottom of my heart."

—Tammy Merlo, Valley Village, CA

Sound good? Are you ready to join me at the world-renowned Tassajara Retreat Center?

Here's my promise to you:

During this magical retreat, you will:

  • Experience deep relaxation and the kind of serenity and deep insight that only comes when you leave your daily life, your assumptions, your worries and stresses behind.
  • Detoxify your mind, body and spirit while eating delicious, organic food and soaking in the healing waters of the rejuvenating Tassajara hot springs.
  • Unleash your creative potential and your wild writing voice. Discover the stories that are living inside you, begging to be told. Marvel at your voice--your true voice--turned loose on the page.
  • Learn to listen from a new depth. Be cracked open by the transformative experience of having your words and your being deeply witnessed and held by a room full of compassionate listeners.
  • Identify and break through personal barriers that keep you from communing deeply with yourself, so you can write the stories closest to your heart.
  • Discover how meditation and writing practice can work together to help you discover your truest and most powerful healing stories.
  • Make powerful, lasting intimate connections with your fellow students. Many lifelong friendships have naturally evolved from Laura's retreats.
Photo Credit: Valerie Boquet
Photo Credit: Valerie Boquet
Photo Credit: David Haye
Photo Credit: David Haye

The Setting

"Tassajara offers a rare opportunity, for a few days at least, to step away from the busy demands and pressures of life. Find the rhythm of your own breath supported by the sounds of temple bell and creek-song. Feel the summer breeze, enjoy delicious food, immerse yourself in the water of the hot springs and relax in the shade of maples and sycamores. Here you may taste the wisdom of a life of compassionate appreciation for the inter-connectedness of all beings."

—Former Central Abbot Myogen Steve Stucky

Tassajara is a remarkable, remote haven nestled in a mountain valley, inland from the Big Sur coast. Long known as a place of healing, the hot springs of Tassajara were first used by the native Esselen people. Since the 1870s, generations of settlers and visitors have come seeking renewal and tranquility.

In the mid 1960s, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and his students were searching for a location to establish a mountain temple like the remote Buddhist training monasteries in Asia. In 1967, Tassajara was established as the first Zen training monastery outside of Japan, and now offers monastic training periods during the fall and winter.

Each year from April to September, Tassajara opens its gates for the summer guest season.

Photo Credit: David Silva
Photo Credit: David Silva
Photo Credit: Alison Bank
Photo Credit: Alison Bank

The Baths and Hot Springs

The world-famous Tassajara baths are fed by natural hot springs that fill the baths with healing water year round. People have come from around the world to bathe in these healing, transformative, deeply relaxing waters. There is also a swimming pool, amazing hiking and great natural beauty.

The hand-crafted Japanese-style bathhouse has separate sides for men and women (there is co-ed bathing on the men's side in the evenings), and is clothing-optional. Each side has a tiled indoor hot plunge, an outdoor plunge, steam room, communal showers, and a private bath. There are spacious decks for sunning and creek access.

Bring Your Spouse or a Friend?

There is plenty to do (or to not do--to simply relax) at Tassajara. There will be plenty of people savoring all that Tassajara has to offer who are not part of our workshop, so feel free to bring your partner or a friend if you'd like a companion during your free time.

Come soak in the hot springs, participate in a transformative retreat, settle into silent meditation, meander along the trails and creek, and savor Tassajara's flavorful vegetarian cuisine.

Photo Credit: Margo Moritz
Photo Credit: Margo Moritz

And there's great food too . . .

25 - Dining Room Tassjara Asya Tabdili

The Splendors of Tassajara Cuisine

Tassajara is famous for its gourmet vegetarian cuisine, and three luscious meals are included every day as part of your stay. Breakfast and dinner are served family style. For lunch, you may choose between eating in the dining room or making a picnic "bag lunch" from a buffet featuring homemade gourmet spreads, delectable desserts, and freshly baked bread.

Accommodations

Guest accommodations at Tassajara are rustic, peaceful, and range from private cabins to shared dorms. Prices listed reflect the cost for a one-night stay. As there is no electricity in our guest rooms, kerosene lamps are used for light. Bathing facilities are in the bathhouse, and all cabins and rooms have a private toilet and sink except as noted.

Many of the rooms can be booked as a single for a higher cost.

Information about housing for summer 2022 has not yet been updated on the Tassajara website. As soon as it does, we’ll link to it here.

Photo Credit: Asya Tabdili
Photo Credit: Asya Tabdili

Getting to Tassajara

Photo Credit: David Haye
Photo Credit: David Haye

If this is your first visit to Tassajara, you may wish to consider taking the Stage, which is an eight-passenger shuttle that leaves from Jamesburg, where the paved road ends. The Tassajara-bound Stage boards at 10:15 am and departs Jamesburg at 10:30 am daily. If there is high enough demand, we will also offer an afternoon Stage, boarding at 1:15 pm. The round trip fare is $63 per person. The Stage usually departs Tassajara at 3 pm. (Day-of departure time is at Tassajara's discretion and is confirmed on-site.) Reservations are required, and the Stage is available only for overnight guests.

You can refer to this page for directions to Tassajara, information about booking the Stage, and the precautions to take if you want to drive down to the bottom of the canyon yourself. NOTE: Updates for the Tassajara season 2022 have not yet been made on the Tassajara site. We will link to them here as soon as they are made.

It's an adventure to get to Tassajara, but definitely worthwhile!

Tassajara is one of the most beautiful, sacred places I know on earth. And that means it requires a little more effort to get there. But it's definitely worth the journey.

The only vehicle access to Tassajara is via a 14-mile dirt road, a winding, mountain road that takes an hour to drive and cannot be safely navigated by all cars, especially some with automatic transmissions. Many people come on the Tassajara stage (this is what Laura does) which leaves from Jamesburg twice a day to bring people down the canyon.

Photo Credit: David Silva
Photo Credit: David Silva
Tassajara_0030 by Margo Moritz
Photo Credit: Hamish John Appleby
Photo Credit: Hamish John Appleby

The Workshop: Crafting Personal Stories That Are Vivid, Compelling and True

Many of us hold a deep dream of wanting to write so we can understand ourselves more deeply and so we can be seen. We sense stories living inside us that need to be told, but we haven't created the time, space or circumstances to do so. This healing, transformative workshop will give you that time.

We'll utilize writing practice, developed by Natalie Goldberg, to create a vibrant, compassionate writing community. Alternating periods of writing with meditation, we will deeply listen to each other from a place of focused attention and unconditional acceptance.

The writing portion of this retreat will not be a critique group for polishing finished pieces. Rather, we will alternate periods of writing with listening to each other-not from a place of judgment or analysis-but from a place of focused attention and deep acceptance.

You will walk away from this workshop with a substantial body of writing, as well as many essential skills and exercises for generating evocative, powerful, vivid stories about your life.

New and seasoned writers welcome to attend. You can be a novice at meditation as well. Instruction will be given.

Your Guides

Laura Davis

The author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We'd Never Speak Again. Laura's groundbreaking books have sold more than 1.8 million copies around the world. Laura has also worked as a columnist, talk show host, radio reporter, radio producer, blogger, editor, and speaker. Words have always been at the core of her work and her self-expression.

Laura's newest book, The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story, her first memoir, tells the story of her dramatic and tumultuous relationship with her mother from the time of Laura's birth until her mother's death.

Laura has been mentoring and supporting writers for the past 20 years. It is truly the work of her heart: "I love teaching. I love watching my students find their natural voice and their rhythm. I love it when they find their true stories and discover the courage to put them on the page. I feel like a midwife as my students birth their stories, and I feel honored to witness their bursts of creativity and pure life energy pouring out on the page. Our writing circles are safe places where skills are honed, tears and laughter are welcome, and each writer is seen, heard and deeply known."

Laura leads weekly writing groups and retreats in the Santa Cruz, CA region and online, as well as retreats internationally. She has taken writers to Bali and Scotland, Greece, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. She documents these trips to the delight of many readers in her blog, The Virtual Vacation. You can read a wonderful interview with Laura here.

Laura-suit-smiling
Laura and Tova
Laura and Tova

Praise for Laura

"Laura is a dear and supportive guide to tipping into your inner world and bringing it forth."

—Kimlin, Santa Cruz, CA

"Laura is the master creator of the circle."

—Daniel Kramer, Lodi, CA

"Laura is a masterful guide. She coaxes the heart to speak just by modeling it herself and respecting all the voices in the room. Laura opens her own heart and invited me to do the same."

—Karen Zelin, Santa Cruz, CA

"Laura brings years of skill as a writer, kept the group on track and provided a safe place to share personal work. She provides guidance to both committed, experienced writers and to those using the craft for self-knowledge."

—Kathleen Mock, Kensington, CA

"Laura is a great facilitator and a profound listener. I felt safe. I knew she had my back."

—Melinda Iuster, Santa Cruz, CA

"Laura is a master, an exceptional writing teacher. Her warm presence and comprehensive instruction made for a productive and enjoyable retreat."

—Lynn Menon, Pleasanton, CA

"Laura is dynamic and passionate, yet warm and approachable. Her expertise is evident in her personal writing skills and in the readings that she selects to share. Beautiful words, lovely teacher."

—Laura Barnett, Chicago, Illinois

"Laura is a gifted teacher, very receptive, open, kind and generous in sharing her knowledge and encouraging each of us at whatever our level of experience. Her dedication and talent are inspiring."

—Cricket Halsey, El Cerrito, CA

"When Laura speaks, she is eloquent and concise—a spokesperson for all of the emotions and thoughts I have in my soul about writing and life. I feel she is in my head—a kindred spirit. I can't stop smiling because I relate so deeply with her words."

—Nancy Kramer, Galt, CA

"Laura runs the circle with empathy and a firm set of rules, which allows everyone to find their stories. Her confidence in her methods is infectious. She inspires trust and openness while ensuring boundaries. She is extremely effective and personally engaging." 

—Anne Williams, Pleasantville, NY

"Laura changed the way I see myself as a writer. She approached each session with a deep sense of empathy, clear instruction, and brilliant writing prompts."

—Brad, San Jose, CA

"Laura is a master at pacing and creating trust in the group. She gently nudges us to say more and be more than we believe we can be." 

—Enid Brock, Santa Cruz

"Laura is like a conductive metal that brings an emotional, electric change from you back to the ground. She is the encouraging catalyst that sparks the flame that could not be seen in the dark, and shows the arch between each participant so each one will cross the bridge."

—Mimi Liem, Orinda, CA

"Laura gave us a framework for practicing writing and was a model and arbiter of how we should treat one another during the retreat. As a result, anywhere I interacted with the other retreat participants—both in the writing circle and outside of it—there was consideration, kindness and respectful boundaries in our interactions." 

—Monika Zerzan, Arcata, CA

"Laura is an amazing leader. She takes the reins as needed to help the writers and sharers n the group move through the experience of searching out what story they need to tell."

—Daniel Kramer, Galt, CA

"Laura is a master. I found the rules of the writing circle to be very powerful."

—Elizabeth O'Neill, San Francisco

"Laura is a skillful group facilitator. She is just the right balance of firmness and warmth."

—Juliana Quinn, Oakland, CA

"Laura was an outstanding, supportive and wise writing teacher and guide. Her experience and skill as a writer and as a writing teacher shone through every session. She was organized, clear and firm with boundaries and structure, but she wasn't intimidating. She never came off as the expert. Most importantly, Laura skillfully and warmly created a safe, supportive container to allow all of us to write and share from our hearts and the deepest places inside us."

—Leslie Bullock, Fresno, CA

"Laura is a master group facilitator. Her skills at making the group feel safe to share deep feelings is brilliant."

—Daniella Woolf, Santa Cruz, CA

"Laura created a safe container by her actions and words and willingness to share in a mature, wise way."

—Sheila O'Neill, Brooklyn, New York

"I appreciated the way Laura held the space for those in the circle. Laura's technique of coaching without coddling worked well to create an atmosphere where many voices could be heard."

—Joanna Ewing, Los Angeles, CA

"When I'm in Laura's writing circle, I feel giddy. The excitement moves me—as does the contentment. I feel there is no other place I'd rather be. I'm in love with writing and all that it brings, and Laura makes it possible."

—Nancy Kramer, Galt, CA

"Laura was a great guide. She was experienced, shared her knowledge freely, supported the group and role modeled how to show compassion."

—Martha Sosu-Johnson, Orange County, CA

"Laura is a great teacher—kind and open-hearted."

—Daniel Kramer, Galt, CA

"Laura masterfully created and maintained a safe environment to develop a holistic and healing approach to writing."

—Brad, San Jose, CA

"Laura was the beautiful sailing ship that held us during the retreat. She moved with the changing seas, knew where we were going and returned us safely to port. Above all, she was a kind, personally open, and strong captain."

—Haven Logan, Ukiah, CA

"Laura was our beacon of light that shone on us constantly. Her glow never dimmed. We followed her light and never got lost."

—Mary Lasher, Morgan Hill, CA

"Laura holds a sacred space for us to share our deepest sorrows and joys."

—Teri Ketchie, Santa Cruz, CA

"Laura's role as facilitator was beyond words, but I'll try: skillful, passionate, caring, compassionate. Where would I be today without her presence in my life?"

—Connie Hanstedt, Livermore, CA

"Laura Davis is born to teach."

—Darcy Hansen, San Francisco

"Laura, your clear, vast, strong, real, non-judgmental group facilitation takes my breath away-in the best way."

—Becky McGovern, San Anselmo, CA

Tova Green IMG_0493

Tova Green

A SFZC resident and teacher, Tova Green was priest-ordained in 2003 and received dharma transmission from Eijun Linda Cutts in 2015. She views Zen practice as a catalyst for individual and societal change. Tova co-founded San Francisco Zen Center's Queer Dharma group 7 years ago.

Tova has written poetry and prose since high school. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1990, her essays and poems have appeared in Turning Wheel, the journal of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship; book reviews in Inquiring Mind, and a commentary in The Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women.  She has also published two prose chapbooks, Zen Moments and Tassajara Moments, and several chapbooks of poetry.

Tova has participated in poetry retreats with Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Hirshfield, Ellen Bass, Kim Rosen and Ben Jackson.  She enjoys helping others find their voice through writing.  She co-led a writing retreat at Tassajara with Susan Moon and Melody Ermachild Chavis, and has taught classes at San Francisco Zen Center on the Zen Poetry of Aging.

Praise for Tova

"Tova brought the presence of Tassajara and its mission to the forefront and grounded the retreat in meditation."

—Regine, Wilson, Nevada City, CA

"Tova radiates deep peace and invites you into it with her words and presence."

—Kimlin, Santa Cruz, CA

"Tova's mentoring in Zen and meditation practice brought together the writing and feelings."

—Daniel Kramer, Lodi, CA

"Tova's presence was essential. She exudes calmness and peace of mind. She is a wonderful human being full of generosity and kindness, an unusual spiritual teacher."

—Workshop Participant, France

"Tova's teaching every day set the foundation for meeting the terrain of the heart."

—Karen Zelin, Santa Cruz, CA

"I loved the addition of Tova's wisdom and compassion. She held the spiritual wise woman space and provided meditation instruction that helped everyone have a deeper experience."

—Kay Taylor, Emeryville

"Tova brought a spiritual and personal grounding that worked well with Laura's teaching. She focused on compassion in ways that were helpful to my needs. She shared herself in a deep way, as Laura did, providing a good model for the participants."

—Kathleen Mock, Kensington, CA

"Tova gave of her heart and was vulnerable, writing along with the class, but also held the space for all of us."

—Melinda Iuster, Santa Cruz, CA

"Tova is a kind and compassionate and I love her bright smile. I appreciated her wisdom and facilitation of peace that she brought to every class."

—Lynn Menon, Pleasanton, CA

"Tova, with grace and sensitive, light touch, added depth and wisdom that anchored our practice. She has a sweetness I love and great generosity of spirit. Her kindness and encouragement will stay with me as I continue to sit and write."

—Cricket Halsey, El Cerrito, CA

"Tova's spiritual mastery and guided discussions of powerful stories each morning opened my heart and gave me the courage to dive deep into old wounds. She provided meditative tools to recharge my soul and begin each day with practical deep compassion for myself and others."

—Brad, San Jose, CA.

 

"Tova is the kindness of all goddesses and wisdom passed from a long study of Zazen teachings. Her own endeavor and commitment to writing her story is an inspiration and reminder to each participant to tell their own truths."

—Mimi Liem, Orinda, CA

"Tova provided a gentle, wise presence and greatly enhanced the overall experience with the Zen readings she chose to share with us. Again and again, I found myself surprised and challenged by the experience of sitting and by her lessons."

—Enid Brock, Santa Cruz

"Tova is a mountain of compassion."

—Barbara Noda, Orinda, CA

"Tova is sweet and peaceful—l love that she shared her writing with us so we not only got to know her as a teacher, but as a person with struggles, love and deeply profound and everyday experiences. I plan to sit every day and I will think of her forever."

—Nancy Kramer, Galt, CA

"Tova's gentle presence is valuable in terms of teaching meditation and bringing in stories that inspire contemplation and discussion."

—Daniella Woolf, Santa Cruz, CA

"Tova introduced us to Zen meditation in an approachable, clear way. Her readings were well-chosen and thoughtful. Her advice to me was so valuable. Thank you Tova! You are a source of peace of love."

—Anne Williams, Pleasantville, NY

"Tova provided excellent instruction in Zazen and shared readings that were meaningful and applicable to our writing assignments and the struggles that come with quieting the mind and being as honest as possible in our writing."

—Monika Zerzan, Arcata, CA

"Tova is generous and openhearted, sharing her deep commitment to Zen practice so lovingly."

—Elizabeth O'Neill, San Francisco

"Tova's quiet presence centered each session and created a positive experience."

—Sheila O'Neill, Brooklyn, NY

"Tova brings a wealth of Buddhist knowledge and a warm calm compassion. I can't imagine our circle without her."

—Anne Williams, Pleasantville, NY

"Tova is a gentle, loving presence. She was able to guide us into the practice of meditation in a very loving way. It was a beautiful addition to the emotional experience of practice writing and sharing."

—Juliana Quinn, Oakland, CA

"Tova was fascinating to be near. Her calm and peaceful leadership created a setting that was okay even though my mind wanted to be turbulent. Just being near her calmed me."

—Daniel Kramer, Galt, CA

"I will forever cherish Tova's insightful discussions and moving Zazen instruction."

—Brad, San Jose, CA.

"Tova was amazing, strong, wise and wonderful—the right quote or koan for each moment. She provided an anchoring presence that helped create a sense of safety."

—Peggy Hansen, Santa Cruz, CA

"Tova was a wonderful, calming Zen presence in the group. Her role as the meditation teacher and leader each morning was a perfect start to the day and a good complimentary balance to Laura and the day's writing tasks."

—Leslie Bullock, Fresno, CA

How Do I Sign Up For This Fantastic Retreat?

Your Investment:

Tuition for the workshop is $361 for the five-day retreat and $306 for Zen center members.

Lodging, including three meals a day plus use of all facilities, is charged separately from tuition (in addition) and depends on the accommodations you choose. Housing/meal rates for retreat participants vary in price from dorm rooms on up. Prices are posted on the Tassajara website. Singles are available, on a first come basis, at a higher cost. Housing prices have not yet been updated for the 2022 summer season.

Photo Credit: Valerie Boquet

Sunday, July 17 – Thursday, July 21, 2022

Registration arrangements at Tassajara are unique and the booking process is, too. Registering for this retreat is different than signing up for Laura's other retreats. It happens by phone or through the Tassajara website will begin in February 2022. Exact date still to be announced. We’ll update here as soon as we have the precise information.

Tassajara is such a magical place and is so much in demand that spaces fill very quickly every year.

You'll need to mark the day registration opens, put in on your calendar, and sign up AS SOON as registration opens. The dates for 2022 are as follows:

Mail and online reservations open: in February, exact date to be announced
Phone reservations open: in March, exact date to be announced
Summer Guest Season: 2022 dates yet to be announced

If you complete the form below, I will send you a reminder right before registration for this retreat opens on the Tassajara website

If you'd like to learn more about the registration process at Tassajara, you can go here. This page includes info on how to make reservations, ride sharing, and rooms and rates. NOTE: Tassajara website still to be updated for 2022 summer season.

<span style="color: #ffffff;">Photo Credit: Margo Moritz</span>
Photo Credit: Margo Moritz

What people are saying about Laura and the Writer's Journey

"I've never read Laura's books, but I'd like to get to know her better. Based on the way she carries herself—her struggles, her passion and service shine through in a perfect intertwined web which brings light to all of our lives."

—Nancy Kramer

"Laura Davis is born to teach."

—Darcy Hansen, San Francisco

"I have been opened and touched in so many ways. I am in awe and will treasure this experience forever."

—Tamara Myers, Santa Cruz

"I valued the sacred space and the pace of the retreat."

—Melinda Iuster, Santa Cruz

"Laura, your clear, vast, strong, real, non-judgmental group facilitation takes my breath away-in the best way."

—Becky McGovern, San Anselmo, CA

"My heart is filled with gratitude. I have never felt so embraced by others as I have by this community of people. The retreat was sacred, safe, transformative. Thank you Laura from the bottom of my heart."

—Tammy Merlo, Valley Village, CA

"I am forever changed."

—Jackie Baritell, Soquel, CA

"Laura has immense gifts as a writer, as a teacher and as a visionary."

—Linda Lapetino, Los Angeles, CA

Testimonial

"I return home from each of Laura's trips a little wiser, a little more open, and a lot more compassionate. I greet my family, friends and daily life with sparkly, clean energy and a renewed patience, brought about by way of re-writing old stories that I needed to let go of. I come home ready to move forward in my life.

A retreat with Laura Davis is one of the best gifts I ever received and gave myself. It took many years to realize that I was worth the time and financial investment, but now there is no looking back."

Julie Sheehan, Livermore, California

Be the First to Learn About Upcoming Retreats with Laura!

Not sure which retreat is right for you?  Interested to hear about exciting new locations and adventures?  Enter your name and email below and I'll let you know before new retreats are released on my website.

Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice

A Gift to Inspire Your Writing

Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice.

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