A Writer’s Retreat with Jennifer Louden

I originally posted this a year ago, and as I was reviewing the last twelve months as a blogger, this retreat stands out as one of the hallmark experiences in my healing and writing process. The week spent under Jen’s tender guidance gave me the permission I needed to start exploring what I wanted in life, and write it down unapologetically on paper.

One of the most healing things I have done throughout this experience is write. I record my thoughts in a journal, I write letters, I track my appreciation for the small things that make me smile and I take copious notes. For a while I was awash in binders, journals, pads of paper and Post-It notes, and it was a messy paper trail tracing my steps into the abyss and back out.

As the result of a high school English teacher commenting that I would “never amount to a writer,” I never thought of myself as a writer, even though I loved it. The blank page has always led me home to my true self. This thought that I wasn’t a writer shifted last year when I followed the encouragement of a friend and attended a writer’s retreat with Jennifer Louden at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, NM.

Jen Louden and Dianna Bonny

Having never been to a woman’s retreat, or Taos, I found the entire experience a delightful surprise.

I will admit I was intimidated by the prospect of the other women being “real” writers and arrived feeling like an impostor. What I found was a group of amazing women who simply write. Some professionally, some just for the love of it, but everyone there added an interesting dimension to the definition of being a writer.

The week began with the inviting prompt, “What do I want?,” which is something I had never truly considered. Quite frankly, just thinking about it scared me, but after some quiet consideration it opened doors to longings in my heart that I had never dared give a voice too. One of the most illuminating workshops examined the “inner critic,” something I wrestle with on a daily basis. I was surprised and relieved to discover that every other woman in the room had a similar voice inhabiting her mind.

Taos bridge | Dianna Bonny Photography

The week was a combination of incredibly healing and healthy food, the beautiful Taos mountains, a labyrinth, daily yoga, and workshops that allow one to stretch out fully into their own possibilities. And then of course, there is the wise and kind presence of Jen. She gave me permission to honor my experience and a week under her wing brought me full circle and reset my compass for the future.

Taos mountain | Dianna Bonny Photography

If you long for a nurturing space to land and recalibrate, I can’t say enough goodness about what Jen offers.

With love,


Who is Dianna Bonny:

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.

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