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Writing & Mindfulness: A Practice for Navigating Difficult Times
October 18–22, 2021
October 18–22, 2021
with Janis Cooke Newman

Please note: On Wednesday September 20, online registration may be unavailable for up to 15 minutes while system maintenance is performed. If the 'Register Now' page does not load, please wait about 15 minutes and try again.

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Need a scholarship? Apply here.

Need a scholarship? Apply here.

Daily writing practice and consistent meditation practice have the power to ground us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for joy as well as fear.

This experiential meditation retreat and writing workshop invites writers and meditators of all levels to delve deeply into both practices. We’ll begin each day with a burst of freewriting—what Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice’—generating work we will share with each other in a safe and supportive environment.

This will be followed by guided meditations crafted to help us develop the resources necessary to cope in times of crisis, as well as nourish our creativity. Our meditations will encourage us to be more present to the world, to forge a strong mind/body connection, and to more easily access our emotions and empathy.

The workshop’s meditations are grounded in both Vipassana and Zen Buddhist traditions, as well as the mindfulness work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hahn. The meditation experiences will be supported by prompted bursts of free writing designed to help us tap into our creative energy, bypass our internal judgment, and bring out our most original and deeply felt writing. We’ll also explore how the practices of free writing and journaling can support us during times of uncertainty and change.

There will be time to write — and time to share what we’re writing with the group. Together, we’ll explore:

  1. Guided meditations to encourage us to be more present to the world, to forge a stronger mind/body connection, and to access our emotions and empathy
  2. Prompted free writing to help us tap into our creativity and bring out our most deeply felt writing
  3. Exploring how both daily meditation and daily writing practice can help us stay grounded in difficult times

By the end of the workshop, everyone will leave with the tools—and the inspiration—to cultivate their own daily meditation and daily writing practices.

Learn more about the requirements to receive continuing education credit.

Lead photo:
Janis Cooke Newman

Janis Cooke Newman

Janis Cooke Newman is the author of two award-winning novels, and a memoir. She has taught writing and mindfulness workshops at Esalen and for the San Francisco Zen Center. She is a long-time practitioner of Zen.

Read More

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Workshop Schedule

Mon 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tue - Thu 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tue - Thu 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Fri 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Summer Groovers will experience Esalen in a format similar to our Self Guided Explorations workshops. Each Summer Groove week or weekend will open and close with a circle, and be filled with festive, nostalgic activities that harken back to those days of yore.

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Please note: On Wednesday September 20, online registration may be unavailable for up to 15 minutes while system maintenance is performed. If the 'Register Now' page does not load, please wait about 15 minutes and try again.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive tuition that includes lodging, three meals per day, access to the baths, and all activities on the Summer Groove schedule.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

As of June 30, 2023 we no longer require a negative COVID test at the time of check in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing

with Janis Cooke Newman

October 18–22, 2021
Register Now

Daily writing practice and consistent meditation practice have the power to ground us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for joy as well as fear.

This experiential meditation retreat and writing workshop invites writers and meditators of all levels to delve deeply into both practices. We’ll begin each day with a burst of freewriting—what Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice’—generating work we will share with each other in a safe and supportive environment.

This will be followed by guided meditations crafted to help us develop the resources necessary to cope in times of crisis, as well as nourish our creativity. Our meditations will encourage us to be more present to the world, to forge a strong mind/body connection, and to more easily access our emotions and empathy.

The workshop’s meditations are grounded in both Vipassana and Zen Buddhist traditions, as well as the mindfulness work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hahn. The meditation experiences will be supported by prompted bursts of free writing designed to help us tap into our creative energy, bypass our internal judgment, and bring out our most original and deeply felt writing. We’ll also explore how the practices of free writing and journaling can support us during times of uncertainty and change.

There will be time to write — and time to share what we’re writing with the group. Together, we’ll explore:

  1. Guided meditations to encourage us to be more present to the world, to forge a stronger mind/body connection, and to access our emotions and empathy
  2. Prompted free writing to help us tap into our creativity and bring out our most deeply felt writing
  3. Exploring how both daily meditation and daily writing practice can help us stay grounded in difficult times

By the end of the workshop, everyone will leave with the tools—and the inspiration—to cultivate their own daily meditation and daily writing practices.

Learn more about the requirements to receive continuing education credit.

Lead photo:
Janis Cooke Newman

Janis Cooke Newman is the author of two award-winning novels, and a memoir. She has taught writing and mindfulness workshops at Esalen and for the San Francisco Zen Center. She is a long-time practitioner of Zen.

Read More

Workshop Schedule

Mon 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tue - Thu 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tue - Thu 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Fri 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Summer Groovers will experience Esalen in a format similar to our Self Guided Explorations workshops. Each Summer Groove week or weekend will open and close with a circle, and be filled with festive, nostalgic activities that harken back to those days of yore.

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive tuition that includes lodging, three meals per day, access to the baths, and all activities on the Summer Groove schedule.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

As of June 30, 2023 we no longer require a negative COVID test at the time of check in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing

with Janis Cooke Newman

October 18–22, 2021
Choose Your Path

Daily writing practice and consistent meditation practice have the power to ground us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for joy as well as fear.

This experiential meditation retreat and writing workshop invites writers and meditators of all levels to delve deeply into both practices. We’ll begin each day with a burst of freewriting—what Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice’—generating work we will share with each other in a safe and supportive environment.

This will be followed by guided meditations crafted to help us develop the resources necessary to cope in times of crisis, as well as nourish our creativity. Our meditations will encourage us to be more present to the world, to forge a strong mind/body connection, and to more easily access our emotions and empathy.

The workshop’s meditations are grounded in both Vipassana and Zen Buddhist traditions, as well as the mindfulness work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hahn. The meditation experiences will be supported by prompted bursts of free writing designed to help us tap into our creative energy, bypass our internal judgment, and bring out our most original and deeply felt writing. We’ll also explore how the practices of free writing and journaling can support us during times of uncertainty and change.

There will be time to write — and time to share what we’re writing with the group. Together, we’ll explore:

  1. Guided meditations to encourage us to be more present to the world, to forge a stronger mind/body connection, and to access our emotions and empathy
  2. Prompted free writing to help us tap into our creativity and bring out our most deeply felt writing
  3. Exploring how both daily meditation and daily writing practice can help us stay grounded in difficult times

By the end of the workshop, everyone will leave with the tools—and the inspiration—to cultivate their own daily meditation and daily writing practices.

Choose Your Path

Workshop Schedule

Mon 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tue - Thu 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Tue - Thu 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Fri 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

Summer Groovers will experience Esalen in a format similar to our Self Guided Explorations workshops. Each Summer Groove week or weekend will open and close with a circle, and be filled with festive, nostalgic activities that harken back to those days of yore.

More activities can be found on our open class schedule.

See general schedule information including arrival, departure and meal times.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive, program-specific tuition. Please note that not all accommodation levels are available for every workshop and additional faculty fees may apply.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

Click Register Now to view availability of accommodations and all-inclusive tuition that includes lodging, three meals per day, access to the baths, and all activities on the Summer Groove schedule.

We offer scholarship funds for those with financial need. Learn more.

Accommodations & Tuition

For this workshop, you will register and pay for accommodations and tuition in two separate steps.

First, sign up and pay tuition directly to

Second, click Book Accommodations from this page and enter the password to complete your reservation to stay at Esalen.

Prices for accommodations include your lodging, meals, open classes, and use of the baths and other facilities. View partner program accommodations pricing.

COVID Update

As of June 30, 2023 we no longer require a negative COVID test at the time of check in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

In addition to proof of vaccination, all guests and faculty must provide proof of negative test results at time of check-in. Please read our current COVID safety guidelines for complete details prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective January 7, 2022 in response to the rapid spread of the new Omicron variant, all guests and faculty will provide proof of negative PCR, NAAT, or antigen test results at time of check-in. The test must be taken within 72 hours nd results must come from a laboratory or healthcare provider.Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective December 15 in accordance with new guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Health, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccine status, for the next four weeks (December 15, 2021 through January 15, 2022). Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Effective November 19, 2021, in accordance with new guidance from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, all guests, students, staff, residents, and faculty are no longer required to wear masks indoors on campus. Please read our updated COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Starting November 5, 2021, due to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission in Monterey County, a mask mandate established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors will go into effect. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

All guests will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival starting September 3, 2021. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

COVID Update

Masks are no longer mandated indoors or outdoors, except during massage sessions. Guests are not required to provide testing or vaccination verification before arriving on campus. Please read our COVID safety guidelines prior to booking your stay.

All-inclusive Pricing