“Every day I walk out into the world
To be dazzled, then to be reflective.”
~ Mary Oliver, from Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond)
Join us in September 2019, on a 9-day pilgrimage of experiential creativity in nature. From Lucca to Siena, we will explore the vast Tuscan countryside… while tapping into our interior resources & landscapes.
Nature welcomes and renews us. So does the creative spirit and calling. Together, they offer us an unparalleled opportunity to be reflective. To re-engage all our senses. To explore and restore.
In these challenging times of ‘indoor migration’ and ‘digital addiction,’ it is essential that we consciously carve out time for a more balanced and healthier life. My wish is to contribute to this healthier balance by encouraging creative exploration, re-activating our ‘nature brain’ and immersing ourselves in intentional stillness.
Let us find the courage to reveal the fullness and depth of ourselves, as we are, in a given moment of our lives.
Let us strive to be in the world as who we really are – forever in flux. Works in progress.
Let us excavate and re-imagine our inner essence.
Let us do so by returning to nature. And to the earth. Nature is a tonic, a balm that calms our rushed and rankled lives. It is a laboratory for our self-discovery. Let us reconnect to the natural world and to the healing power of nature. A date with nature is a date with the divine.
What better way to do that than unplug, immerse yourself in nature and let your creativity come alive? Join us, as we walk for 9 days, through the Italian countryside, as we explore the landscapes of lush and tranquil Tuscany – and those that lie deeply buried within ourselves.
Pack up all your tangible gear into a bag for transport – especially all those weighty gadgets. Lighten your load, in any ways that you can.
BUT. In your wholeness, as a human being, you will no doubt bring along your hopes and dreams and joys. You will carry your fears and loneliness and imperfections. Don’t be afraid, for you’re not alone. This world embraces all of you – with your heartbreak and doubts and failures as much as your happiness and successes. Bring your mind, body and spirit into alignment, and let us find respite and grow together on this path.
Solvitur ambulando. (It is solved by walking.)
Whether or not we find the precise answers, we will spend each day shedding layers, as we gift ourselves the time and space to restore and explore the present as well as what might lie ahead.
If your soul craves a primal re-dive into nature – with ALL your senses, please consider joining our group. It takes guts and support to take a leap into the unknown, but it helps to join others who are walking a similar path. Literally.
Retreat on Your Feet offers pioneering physical and mental wellness journeys, adapting creative processes into natural settings. This year, join us as we embark on the first Retreat on Your Feet along Italy’s renowned Via Francigena.
The Via Francigena beckons adventurers and pilgrims from around the world. Not only for the religious-minded, this hiking route is laden with meaning. What is it about the Via Francigena that calls people to walk its path? Much like Spain’s Camino de Santiago, embarking on the Via Francigena pilgrimage path is not merely about walking; for some, it is a spiritual odyssey; for others, it is a return to nature or an inward-looking journey. But these paths of pilgrimage can prompt one’s creative spark. Through expression, feeling, insight, observation or conversation, we are guided to unleash our inner soul-explorer and spirit-seeker.
What we offer through a Retreat on Your Feet :
- Create innovative pathways for women and other humans to evolve;
- Assemble and connect and inspire the sort of people you want next to you as you go on this journey.
**These creative explorations are free of judgment, purpose or agenda, with the sole intention of helping your inner seeker and artist flourish. Leave your inhibitions at home, and bring only your creative spirit for this lightly guided, walking experience.
Our exploration will unfold on the way, and in flow!
- We will walk and lay in fields and stare at the stars. We will watch tides, winds, wildlife and the movement of clouds across the sky.
- We will gaze at majestic landscapes and earth’s creatures; all of it, up close and beautiful. Listen for messages hidden away in bushes and trees. Watch slugs glide up stalks. Observe leaves swaying in the breeze. We will notice and note the minutiae.
- We will read written passages about nature’s gifts from authors like Mary Oliver, Henry Thoreau, Nan Shepherd, Rachel Carson, Maurice Sendak, Susan Fenimore Cooper, Peter Wohlleben, Annie Dillard and many more. And we will write – with prompts, and without. In light of inner (or external) promptings, sympathetic reflections, and our surroundings, we will exhale through our words. Imagine: Penning your very own pilgrim’s haiku!
- We will move our bodies. We will wander through the stillness of forests and taste the cool flow of streams. Releasing tightness and tension, we will stretch out our tightened joints and tired muscles. We will curl up and twist our spines and open our hips and strengthen our legs. We will let our organs breathe freely, again, in the wild.
- We will sing and make art. For, as philosopher Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong wrote: “Art holds out the promise of inner wholeness.” Our art-making will be sourced from our interactions with our daily surroundings. Using ingredients that we discover in nature, we will make art; re-awakening our dormant cravings for creativity. Our explorations will lead us deep into the roots of our artistic spirit. These hand-on activities will unfold without instruction per se; rather only gentle guidance (as and when called for).
- Spontaneously, we may create: a brief mime performance, a song, a grass labyrinth, a stone mandala, a ritual to mark a personal event.
- Much more: deep breathing, storytelling, body poetry, silence, journaling, tree-hugging, close-up and intentional observation of the natural world.
Step into your curiosity. Unearth your dormant creative spirit. Connect with the earth and with your purest self.
September 10-18, 2019
Lucca to Siena – A Pilgrimage of Creativity – Walking through Tuscany
9-days of innovative, interactive and immersive activities (peppered throughout the journey)
Includes: Light guiding and facilitating, necessary writing and/or art materials, daily support as needed. A PDF list of accommodations along the route, and a suggested packing list, will be provided at time of registration.
Excludes: Accommodations, *insurance*, transport and food (but, as we will walk – loosely – as a group, nobody will be left behind!)
*For this Maiden Voyage & Trial Run* – only 180 Euros.
Itinerary for Italy: September 10-18, 2019
Day 1: Lucca – Altopascio
Day 2: Altopascio – Ponte a Cappiano (or Fucecchio)
Day 3: Ponte a Cappiano – San Miniato
Day 4: San Miniato – Gambassi Terme
Day 5: Gambassi Terme – San Gimignano
Day 6: San Gimignano – Colle val d’Elsa (or Strove)
Day 7: Colle val d’Elsa – Monteriggioni
Day 8: Monteriggioni – Siena
Day 9: Allocated for a rest day or detour, en route; or exploring Siena.
Day 10+: The journey continues to Rome.. and you’re welcome to join us!
Your Pilgrim Guide
A lawyer by training, Amit Janco is a writer, artist, and practitioner of Iyengar Yoga, Narrative Therapy and Reiki (Level II). With a wide and eclectic background, in fine and graphic arts, energy healing, yoga and therapy, Amit offers an unorthodox approach to her individual and group HEARTshops.What might begin with a stroll along the beach or in a forest, might expand into a multi-dimensional practice incorporating the arts, music, movement, writing, visualization, essential oils and energy healing. Amit’s passion for long-distance, mindful walking, resurfaced as a result of a devastating and near-fatal accident; during a prolonged period of physical recovery and rehabilitation, she rediscovered the healing powers of art, walking, stillness and nature.
In 2013, Amit walked nearly 1000 kms along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. Her newly released memoir, (Un)Bound, Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond), weaves together the disparate threads of physical impairment, emotional acrobatics and a search for spiritual grounding on the Camino.