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  • Writer's pictureTemenos

16-19 April 2021 | Zen Pen: A Writing, Being & Meditation Retreat with Dorian Haarhoff

Updated: May 14, 2021

We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us to see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our silence. (Yeats)

Zen (Chinese chán ‘quietude’) invites us to be present, to live and write simply.

Pen (Latin penna ‘feather’) refers to both practicing the art of writing and to the implement we use. It also invites us to play in a safe place - as in playpen.

Time to write, walk, circle the garden, sit amidst blue glass, breathe and be….

What do writing, being and breath share in common? They all bring alive and expand the present moment. They invoke a conversation with ourselves and others. An exchange of energies. Writing is a skill drawn from attention, presence and openness – an organic process rather than a talent.

On this retreat in a sacred space (Temenos) discover the writer inside you. We explore our innate creativity and imagination as we connect writing to mindfulness and bodyfulness. We write and meditate on the many changes and transformations as we journey down the river of our lives. We consider how creativity and imagination steady the boat and how writing helps us dip the oars into dark water so we may navigate the river safely.

The retreat also focuses on how to pay attention, be present in your writing and engage the reader as a creative partner. And source your bliss. Beginners are welcome.


The cost of R3865 pp includes:

  • Temenos accommodation – two nights plus free third night

  • 2 brunches and 3 suppers in Tibaldi’s (ex Mon breakfast)

  • Teas (drinks own account)

  • the retreat expereince

  • a gift related to writing

  • a story evening (Oom Schalk. Nasrudin, Rumi the Rabbi and You)

Booking and payment through Temenos 023 625 1871

Living a larger Life- Storytelling Evening: Oom Schalk, Nasrudin, Rumi, the Rabbi and You (Sat night 17 April ) R80 (wine inc) for public

Stories start a conversation with ourselves and with our community. We enter the world of story to recover our creativity, zest, energy and passion. We allow the imagination to lead us. We consider how attention to life stories and fiction, so rich in image, symbol and rhythm, can rekindle joy, help us heal and create a more abundant life. Everybody has a story. Listen to Oom Schalk, the veld philosopher, Nasrudin the trickster, to Rumi the mystic, to the quirky Rabbi. To Anansi the spider, Come and raise your story IQ.

Your far reaching and profound knowledge and your generosity and calm clarity of spirit makes you a superb teacher. Not only do you share your rich knowledge and insights. You emanate a field of creativity in which we are inspired and gladly participate. (Evette Weyers, sculptor)

Dorian Haarhoff is a story-teller, poet, speaker and a writing mentor. A former Prof of English Literature (Univ of Namibia) he has also taught in a Canadian faculty. Dorian now facilitates writing and story-telling wordshops. He has frequently led writing retreats at Temenos and Buddhist Retreat Centres. Dorian is passionate about developing innate creativity and imagination. He believes in the power of stories and images to create new realities. To bring healing. To build our belonging. His workshops are based on his text, The Writer’s Voice. A Workbook for Writer’s in Africa.

Bird to Bird

my heart in hiding, stirred for a bird Hopkins)

as dreams migrate

the quote of a poet

flits at first ray

to awakening mind.

it wings its way

through the sky

to the heart’s nest.

feeds me beak to beak

the ingested worm of words.

I drink from her

splashed feather breast

dew carried through the air.

in a flutter of breath

on the precipice edge

slaked, I chirp, twitter, coo

the Lauds of first light.



At Temenos we're always happy to host Retreats and Workshops,

for more details contact Margaret



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