The Encouragement of Light: September Ghost Ranch Retreat 2017

Friends, I’m dancing-in-my-chair thrilled to invite you to join me and my dear friend and guest teacher, Nan Seymour, for a one-of-a-kind retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico this September.

The Encouragement of

with Erin Geesaman Rabke, Feldenkrais, Embodied Life, & Meditation Instructor

and special guest teacher Nan Seymour, River Writing Facilitator

Erin Geesaman Rabke and Nan Seymour

Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
We all remain



Thursday September 21 at 5:30pm – Sunday September 24, 2017 at 1pm. 

You can check into your room at Ghost Ranch as early as 3pm Sept. 21st, and join us for dinner at 5:30pm.  We’ll gather for our first evening session in the Yurt at 7pm on Thursday. We’ll savor expansive, open days together on Friday and Saturday with time for guided activities, exploration of the land, and rest, and we’ll finish up Sunday by noon so you can enjoy lunch and either linger to enjoy the beauty, make your way to nearby Ojo Caliente Hot Springs, drive into Santa Fe for the next leg of your adventure in high desert beauty, or make your way home. Many more details on our daily schedule can be found below. 

Fall is utterly spectacular in New Mexico. With warm days and cool nights, astonishingly beautiful skies, and stunning landscapes illuminated by that singular September light. It’s a perfect place to retreat from everyday life so you can return refreshed and see your life through new eyes, inhabit your life in new, inspired ways. BPFY1100


We’ll be spending our time together at the lovely Ghost Ranch Retreat Center in Northern New Mexico, located in a landscape of sublime beauty, admired by so many, including Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived and painted at Ghost Ranch over many years.  The accommodations are simple, rustic, and comfortable. It’s a place of magnificent natural beauty, with deep, multicolored canyons, mesas, and cliffs, plains, grasslands and streams. And oh, the skies! New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment for good reason – you will be enchanted.  The unique quality of light which has enchanted artists over the ages, the impossibly beautiful skies, the inspiration that inevitably comes from immersing yourself in such a place of natural beauty… it’s a perfect place to retreat from the craziness of the world and immerse yourself in the splendor of nature and the lightness of being.   

We invite you to book your own lodging so you can pick out exactly what you want. To explore lodging options, click here.  

DXPI7679What is it?

  •  4 days dedicated to your vibrant well-being
  • an adventure
  • a skillful sequence of powerful invitations to be in your body in nourishing ways through Feldenkrais lessons and other somatic practices
  • immersion in a stunning natural landscape with plenty of time to simply be
  • a precious occasion to be lit up by inspiring community
  • the generative opportunity to be with your own heart-mind, open space and time, and sometimes, a blank page and a pen
  • the kind attention of skilled facilitators who are there to support you
  • an opportunity to reorient to the deep dreams you may have put aside, and support to kindle your courage and your vision for your life
  • grounding in the deeper truths that live in your body-mind, which are accessible when you slow down enough to listen to that sacred intelligence
  • an immersion in brave friendship with yourself, just as you are
  • a transformative, sacred space of encouragement
  • an immersion in beauty, awe, and wonder

Join us for a long weekend of dedicated time away from your everyday responsibilities. No dishes! No emails! Sleep in late or wake early, get into your body, sit in stillness and quietude, do a little walking meditation, enjoy a breakfast lovingly prepared for you, go for a stroll or take a hot shower, savor liberating and enlivening movement lessons that will allow your body to unwind and recenter, listen to your inner wisdom through a guided practice, have a leisurely lunch, go for a stroll along a gorgeous hiking trail in a stunning landscape under gorgeous skies, take a nap, sit among your new friends and marvel at the magic that unfolds when you put pen to page and free your own voice, listen to others and laugh together, feel your heart deeply touched, fall in love with a poem, stretch out and stare at the magnificent sky, savor a delicious dinner alone or with friends, head to the fire pit and enjoy the sounds of crackling wood and the warmth of the flames as twilight turns to starlight, wander to your cozy room and reflect on your amazing day, surprised at how good your body feels, how full your heart is. Fall into a deep sleep, and do it all over again the next day. 

Our retreat will include morning sitting meditation, nourishing movement practices, and wise guided practices to invite you to listen deeply to your own inner wisdom and what’s wanting to emerge in your life. Nan will guide us in River Writing during the afternoons as a powerful tool to listen to ourselves and our unique lives, to practice courage and to free our creativity. You needn’t be a writer or have any experience with writing to reap great benefits from this practice. Nan is truly a gifted instructor who will support you in feeling brave and falling in love with your own voice. Many people who’ve been hesitant about the writing component in the past have fallen head-over-heels in love with it! Your particular witness has never been more needed in the world, and Nan will help you to bring it forth. 

During the retreat, you can freely follow your own lead, and you’re invited to join us for the guided activities, or you can feel free to skip a session and take extra time to yourself to rest in your room or wander the hiking trails.  There will be no dishes to be washed, no laundry to be done, and if you’re brave enough to unplug (which we heartily encourage) you’ll give yourself the gift of no emails, texts, or other messages to respond to for 4 whole days! (Can you even imagine how time and space will expand?) You’ll be given generative invitations to enter the wilderness of your own body, heart, and mind to listen, listen, listen to your own wisdom and your current longings. We’ll have some periods of dedicated silence as well as opportunities for the nourishment of community connection.  

Creatives and visionaries have been drawn to this area for good reason. You will be inspired here. New possibilities will emerge that you may not see from the comfort of your own home.

We’ll explore gentle and wise movement lessons that not only help your body feel good, but also rewire your brain to eliminate habits of over-efforting & getting in your own way, so you can live and actualize your intentions more clearly, simply and effectively.

You’ll be gently invited to slow down, get quiet, and be present with yourself with kindness and respect. This changes everything. 

We’ll explore all this and more in an environment of kindness, openness, generous curiosity, and willingness to be surprised. Good things will happen. Inevitably.

Please join us over 4 days and 3 nights in beautiful New Mexico during one of the most gorgeous times of the year. We have a private yurt for our community time, plus the vast expanse of this stunning and spacious natural landscape.

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To Glow – by Mark Nepo

Like light in the sun

spilling out of the sun,

the spirit within

beams its way

through all our cracks

till our most treasured

walls come down.

The coming down

of those walls is the

blessing we crave

and resist.

The coming down of

those walls – so the light

of the soul like the light

of the sun can help the

world grow – this is

the call of calls.

Are you called? We believe at this time, intentionally taking time to retreat from the maelstrom of modern life is essential. It’s important so that you can remind yourself of your light. So you can remember how it is to let your shoulders drop, your jaw unclench, your belly soften and your breath deepen. So you can remember how time expands when you’re not constantly “checking in” but rather, being immersed in your own body-mind, moving at the speed of life in a timeless and inspiring landscape. You’ll have time to stroll among mesas, to stare at the vast skies, to rest and reflect. To befriend your own mind and heart. To remember your intention to be a light for others, and to be so deeply replenished, you won’t be able to help being just that when you return home. It’s not an escape, but an essential refilling of your well so you can return to life as your best self, giving the gifts to the world that only you can bring. We intend for you to feel and be deeply nourished by the encouragement of light. 




$485 covers tuition and supplies for the 4-day retreat. You are responsible to book your own lodging. You can do that here. Lodging at Ghost Ranch is rather inexpensive and includes all your meals. (Special dietary needs can be accommodated.)

Register right here.

Reasons to RetreatYCOE2825

One past participant shared about her experience at our New Mexico retreat in 2015:

“Since returning, I have felt less anxious…an overall sense of ease with myself and softening of areas where I was feeling edgy. I came home feeling completely inspired to create and put some long standing discomforts to rest. And, I keep having flashes of sweet moments where I connected with each of the [other participants] over the weekend…really touched by the depth of sharing and willingness to open up with each other. So much to savor.
I left feeling integrated in my body, heart and mind and much more at ease with myself.  I returned home with a renewed sense of creative energy and direction. I returned home feeling a depth of connection with my life and with a group of amazing people. 
Before: Anxious. Vulnerable. Fear. Heartache. Lost.
After: Joyful. Full hearted. Tender. Inspired. Creative direction. Reconnection.”

Let’s look at a few of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of Retreat:

 :  an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable (Are you hungry for that?)

:  a place of privacy or safety : refuge (Bring it on!)

:  a period of withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction (Oh yes.)

:  an intentional pause from the fullness and busyness of everyday life (Yes, please!)

I am so honored and excited for this one-of-a-kind Embodied Life Retreat in one of my very favorite places in the world.

Santa Fe


We begin with dinner at 5:30pm Thursday evening Sept 21st and continue through lunch on Sunday Sept. 24th.

What follows is our best estimate of the schedule details, which may be subject to change. Start and end times will remain the same. 

Thursday Sept. 21st: Arrive at Ghost Ranch. 5:30-6:30 dinner. 7pm we’ll gather in the yurt for introductions and some nourishing movements to allow your body to unwind after a day of travel.

Friday Sept. 22nd: The early morning hours are optional, and you can come to all, some, or none of the pre-breakfast offerings. Other than instructions, mornings will be held in silence. 6-6:30am, lying-down somatic meditation. 6:30-7am, sitting meditation. 7-7:15am, walking meditation. 7:15-7:30 writing meditation. 7:30-8:30 breakfast. 9:30-12 We’ll enjoy Feldenkrais movement lessons and wise guided practices. 12-1 lunch. 1-3:30 free time for napping, hiking, or whatever you like. 3:30-5:30 River Writing with Nan. 5:30-6:30 dinner. 7pm we’ll gather around the fire pit.

Saturday Sept. 23rd The early morning hours are optional, and you can come to all, some, or none of the pre-breakfast offerings.Other than instructions, mornings will be held in silence.  6-6:30am, lying-down somatic meditation. 6:30-7am, sitting meditation. 7-7:15am, walking meditation. 7:15-7:30 writing meditation. 7:30-8:30 breakfast. 9:30-12 Feldenkrais movement lessons and wise guided practices. 12-1 lunch. 1-3:30 free time for napping, hiking, whatever you like. 3:30-5:30 River Writing with Nan. 5:30-6:30 dinner. 7pm we’ll gather around the fire pit.

Sunday September 24th: The early morning hours are optional, and you can come to all, some, or none of the pre-breakfast offerings.Other than instructions, mornings will be held in silence. 6-6:30am, lying-down somatic meditation. 6:30-7am, sitting meditation. 7-7:15am, walking meditation. 7:15-7:30 writing meditation. 7:30-8:30 breakfast. 9:30-12 Closing session, including embodied practices and more. 12-1 lunch.journal

Embodying The Masculine 2016


Getting there:

  • Travel: Either fly into Albuquerque and rent a car or plan on a gorgeous road trip to Northern New Mexico. You can click here to read Ghost Ranch’s recommendations for travel. Personally, I adore the road trip to New Mexico and always prefer to drive.  It’s a gorgeous, spacious drive from Salt Lake City through open western landscapes. We also enthusiastically invite you to consider giving yourself an extra day or two in Santa Fe to explore. It’s such a gorgeous city, so full of culture, art, beauty, excellent food, and inspiration galore. Click here to read suggestions from Ghost Ranch Retreat Center on “getting here.”

Some wise words from Parker Palmer and Mary Oliver:

“There are many kinds of light. There’s the light that allows people lost in the dark to find their way home. There’s the light of compassion that comforts everything it touches. There’s the light of truth-telling about ourselves that allows us to see what we are doing — or allowing — that has helped bring this darkness upon us. There’s the light that shows us the way forward toward a better world. There’s the light of courage to walk that path no matter who says “Stop!”

No one of us can provide all of the light we need. But every one of us can shed some kind of light. Every day we can ask ourselves, “What kind of light can I provide today?”

The Buddha’s Last Instruction

by Mary Oliver

“Make of yourself a light”

said the Buddha,

before he died.

I think of this every morning

as the east begins

to tear off its many clouds

of darkness, to send up the first

signal—a white fan

streaked with pink and violet,

even green.

An old man, he lay down

between two sala trees,

and he might have said anything,

knowing it was his final hour.

The light burns upward,

it thickens and settles over the fields.

Around him, the villagers gathered

and stretched forward to listen.

Even before the sun itself

hangs, disattached, in the blue air,

I am touched everywhere

by its ocean of yellow waves.

No doubt he thought of everything

that had happened in his difficult life.

And then I feel the sun itself

as it blazes over the hills,

like a million flowers on fire—

clearly I’m not needed,

yet I feel myself turning

into something of inexplicable value.

Slowly, beneath the branches,

he raised his head.

He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.”



Nourish yourself in the encouragement of light so you can make of yourself a light. That’s the invitation.

Want to join us? I’m so glad! We can’t wait to share the weekend with you!!!

No experience is necessary. All genders are welcome.


Register here.

Once you do I’ll send you a short inquiry form so we can get to know a bit about you and your intentions for your retreat. Make sure the email you use to pay via PayPal is the one you’d like me to use, and if not, please send me at note at to let me know which email you’d like me to use for all retreat related communications. Thanks!



You do not have to walk in darkness.
If you will have the courage for love,
you may walk in light.  It will be

the light of those who have suffered
for peace.  It will be
your light.

– Wendell Berry


Our Crystal Clear Cancellation & Refund Policy

When you sign up for one of our courses, workshops, classes or retreats, we think of it as being like buying a ticket to a concert or an event. You reserve a spot which is then unavailable to others. As such, all of your retreat, workshop, and course payments are non-refundable. This is the kind of warm-hearted tough-love policy that invites you to have a wholehearted YES about the commitments you make and to respect our time, your time, and that of other people who wish to work with us.

We invite you to be clear, to sign up for experiences you really want to be present for, and then to show up! We love it when you show up. Magic happens.

We also know from experience how easy it is to decide, “Nahhh, I don’t really feel like it now.” Or to mismanage your schedule. Or decide you don’t feel like driving.  Or decide that you’re too busy these days and you’d rather stay home. As with a concert or event, if that’s what you decide, no problem. It’s your choice. You miss out on the experience. You also don’t get a refund or a credit. Same is true for our offerings.

To wholehearted Yesses and embodied respect!

With love,

Erin & Carl

(Special thanks to Susan Hyatt whose clarity inspired this policy.) 


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By training and profession, I am a somatic educator. Over the past 25+ years I have trained in and taught modern dance, tai chi, Indian and Tibetan yoga, yoga therapy (specializing in back pain). I completed a 4-year professional Feldenkrais training in 2007 and a 3-year Embodied Life training in 2014. I also study and work with somatic meditation and the profound practice of embodied inner listening known as Focusing.