Unfinished Thoughts from Joan Anderson
January '09 Retreat Location
Chatham Bars Inn
 Chatham Bars Inn
Take a look at our beautiful retreat site for January '09! 

January '09 Retreat Registration Form
If you are already registered for the Winter Retreat at the Chatham Bars Inn, you can receive $100 credit for the remainder of your balance or use it as a credit toward a future Joan Anderson Retreat by refering a friend. Your friend must attend the Winter Retreat in order for you to receive the credit...What a treat...start refering now!!!
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September/October '08

Winter at Chatham Bars Inn

 Fall is here!  The holiday season begins and so does the hustle and bustle!  That is why I have scheduled a restorative retreat mid-winter at the Chatham Bars Inn.  With NEW SPECIAL WINTER RATES you can treat yourself after the holidays to some much needed rest and rejuvenation!!  Or better yet, put this retreat on your Christmas wish list!!
Some Unfinished Thoughts
Joan AndersonBecoming a Rebel with a Cause  - Step Out of Line
It's always been my nature to defy convention. Tell me that's the way it's done and I will surely choose another way. My taste for such behavior goes back to my formative years and the attraction I had for my Aunt Elsie. Blond, beautiful, and outrageous, she held court at our family reunions with her tales and a twinkle that always sent my imagination into overdrive. Aunt Elsie had a common-law marriage; she was well traveled and dripping in jewels and mink. Everything about her was far more entertaining than Aunt Mary who more than paled in comparison.
Still, my mother waxed poetic about Aunt Mary, professing her virtues which included staying married to a very dull man for fifty years, bringing up four outstanding children, and never raising her voice.  As far as I could gather she loved domesticity more than anyone in their right mind should.
So, when recently my uncle compared me to Elsie, I was flattered, even though I knew deep down that he did not intend it as a compliment. She was the family's black sheep and I was following suit. Running away from home, living apart from my husband for over a year, and then turning my adventures into a book was no way to accrue points in a repressed waspish family. I felt a sting when I heard his comment. Living up to your own secret standards cannot compensate for falling short of someone else's. Still, what's a woman to do?

The Jungian psychologist, Clarissa Pinkola Estes insists that women by nature are wild. The frustration so many of us feel comes from being tamed by the culture which spoon- feeds our values rather than making it acceptable to explore feelings and express contradictions.

Recently a young mother of four sought me out, haunted as she was by her husband's accusations that she was selfish. "Selfish," I howled. "Up until now it seems you've been selfless and that's why you are in trouble. If it is in a woman's nature to nurture, (and it is), than you must nourish yourself.  The cruel truth is that nobody else stands ready to do it." 

I think that is why so many women attend my weekend retreats and why they leave open, refreshed and empowered. They have done something for themselves-rekindled the fire within by allowing themselves to move about as they wish, in nature, beside the hearth, with each other. They've grown their spirits back and reclaimed those yearnings, intuitions and interests that have been dashed by a society that prefers us programmed and predictable.

"Every person has their own destiny," writer Henry Miller said. "The only imperative is to follow it, accept it, not matter where it leads." It's all about finally being your own person. In any case, it's pretty deadly not to be.

If that means breaking a few rules or stepping out of line, so be it. We have a choice-to allow things to happen to us or finally to decide to happen to ourselves. That's what taking a second journey is meant to be-a second chance and perhaps the first time you ever permitted yourself to be yourself. When the dreams of youth begin to seem shallow and pointless, than it's high time to create some new dreams.
Quote of the Day
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
 Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
 Explore. Dream. Discover.  
 Mark Twain

Fall Musings

Joan in Iona

 I have always loved fall for the energy it brings--the start of a new season--the pulling in and holding to agendas after the free form-ness of summer--a gathering time as the days shorten,  dusk descends and a pot of chili bubbles up on the stove.
Oh,I remember it well and loved this season most when the children were still at home. As a family we were like intertwining circles connecting and disconnecting as we went our individual ways but always coming back together in the evening to compare notes, so to speak, and to rejoin the core as we huddled under one roof.
But ever so gradually as the boys flew away like the colored leaves that fall from the trees and are carried off to some unknown place, the fall took on a new meaning. It would now be up to my husband and me to focus on our individual futures--to allow ourselves like the fallen leaves to drift off to some distant place or simply be raked up in a pile and dragged off to the dump.
I had long since planned on a future without the boys. Still, there was harsh reality staring me in the face when that time actually arrived. So it is with many women who came to a recent book signing held over Labor Day weekend. They lingered at my table, one after another, having just driven their last child to college or married off a daughter or son. Some would quietly whisper that their husband would soon be retiring and horror of horrors, wanted to spend the winter playing golf in some warm climate.
Unspoken in each confession was the question: Now what? Each knew that they were facing a time of living in a quiet house and few distractions with a husband to whom they hadn't paid much attention in the intervening years.
But such is life--constant beginnings and endings--alpha and omega. There's no way around it, only the realization that with each new phase you have a chance to do things differently--try on that new personality--give yourself a little more freedom--get rid of some of the old structures--throw off the bowlines and sail away from the safety of the shore--and yes, become a rebel with a cause--your cause!
Fall seems to be the perfect time to begin. Several cultures (the Hebrew and the Celtic) actually celebrate the New Year in October. Pablo Picasso believed that during the first half of life we are meant to become an adult and during the second half learn to be that child again. Weren't we all rebels in the beginning--testing our parents, breaking the rules, defying authority as long as we could get away with it?
I read somewhere that French women, while making it an art to please others, make sure they please themselves in the process. What a novel idea! So let this fall be a time for you to JUST DO IT, as the Nike Ad proclaims. Choose to be naughty rather than nice. Be a little wild.

Do something selfish. Make a wish or fulfill a long held dream. No more muzzled mouths. Say what you think and live what you say. Being on hold is no longer in vogue. And always remember that a fool thinks herself to be wise but a wise woman knows herself to be a fool and has more fun because of it.
                                                           Happy New Year!