Will this help me jump-start my creativity?
April 26, 2009 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Have you done a workshop with Julia Cameron and/or have you spent time at Kripalu in Western Mass? I'm thinking about signing up for Julia Cameron's Artist's Way Workshop at Kripalu next week, but money is tight and I want to make sure this will be worth the $500.

I'm totally stuck in my creative work and need something to sort of help me get myself jump-started. I read Cameron's book years ago, and liked it, but never managed to get myself to stick with the morning pages.

I was thinking about doing a yoga/meditation retreat to clear my head and saw that Kripalu is offering this program, which seems pretty serendipitous. But I'm currently unemployed and would be paying for this with my tax refund. I set aside $500 to "do something nice for myself." So it's not like this money would otherwise be going towards food or rent. However, I want to have some assurance I won't be completely wasting this money.

Also, any other retreat suggestions in the New England area are welcome.
posted by wholebroad to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Kripalu twice around this time last year, and it was lovely. Both times were just for the "rest and rejuvenation" program, and I can't praise it too highly. It was a rough spring last year, and the retreat was just what I was needing. Accommodations are spare, but fine. The food is EXCELLENT, and I am not one who generally eats vegan/vegetarian as a matter of course. People are really great, and by going in the week, you will miss out on the weekend yogis/yoginis who breeze through in their designer yoga pants etc. At night, there are a fun mix of programs (movies, lectures on non-yoga topics, dancing etc.), and I thought they were a lot of fun. There are single-sex sauna and jacuzzi rooms, which are really relaxing after a day of yoga (or whatever).

Each time I went, I tried to have each meal with a different person or group, which greatly added to the fun of it. Plus, I met my last girlfriend there, and that proved to be a lovely plus.

Email me if you want more info or have specific questions. I hope to go back myself!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:50 AM on April 26, 2009

I think Kripalu is a fantastic place.

My experience of Julia Cameron as a speaker and workshop leader, having seen her several times throughout the last decade, is that her skill at leading groups can tremendously. My thought is that part of this may be because she is someone who deals with a lot of challenges regarding mental illness (which she has written about quite candidly, so for once I am not doing my usual armchair psychologist shtick) and apparently some chronic physical illnesses as well. So it's a bit of a crapshoot in terms of whether she is brilliant and inspiring (which she absolutely can be) or low-energy and abstracted (which she can be).

I also don't think that there's that much in her two-day workshop that isn't in the book. Yes, she's a smart person and a charming presence and she can be an electrifying speaker. But that's all in the book, at least from my opinion.

If I had $500 to spend on "jumpstarting my creativity" at a time when money was tight, I would be much more inclined to spend that money on a local course/workshop that met one or two nights a week for several weeks rather than splurging on the celebrity weekend. I think that that kind of thing is more likely to lead to long-term results.

That said, a celebrity weekend with Cameron at Kripalu would be a fun and fascinating vacation, so if that appeals for its own sake, why not go for it?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:16 PM on April 26, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I definitely think I want to go to Kripalu, and I'll think more about whether or not I want to do the workshop. As for taking a class - I think that would be the ideal thing, but I'm applying to jobs all around the country, several of which might come through in the next month, so I don't want to sink my money into something I might not be able to use.
posted by wholebroad at 2:48 PM on April 26, 2009

I enjoyed Kripalu when I went. The food and location are great. Admiral Haddock is right that the accommodations are spare. I stayed in the dorm, but saw a couple of the private rooms and it's basically a bed. The only thing I didn't like about it were omnipresent pictures of Yogi Desai and the constant hectoring hero-worship, but that's all in the past.

It's a nice place to spend some time. They have volunteer opportunities (many of the staff are volunteers there on four month stays) if you decide you want to take a longer break.
posted by MarkAnd at 6:15 PM on April 26, 2009

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