oaxaca creativity retreat

Visual journal page by Lisa Sonora

Creative Gateways to Your Purpose and Power:
Writing, Art, Astrology & Yoga
with Emily Trinkaus, Aaron Zimmerman and Lisa Sonora

A New Year’s Retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico, January 3-9, 2018


Please note: Oaxaca City and the Art House (where the retreat is happening) is unaffected by the recent earthquakes. What’s confusing, is that the news reported on earthquakes in or near Oaxaca, but Oaxaca is a state as well as a city. Oaxaca City is in great shape, and it’s safe to travel there.


The New Year is a time of visioning, going deep within, getting clarity and planting seeds for what you want to create in 2018. Treat yourself to the time and space to pause and reconnect with who you really are in an environment of warmth, beauty and inspiration. This creativity retreat will help you find clarity about your ever-evolving purpose and access your internal resources, so you can be of service in the world in meaningful and fulfilling ways.

Creative Gateways offers a rare opportunity to work with and be inspired by three experienced and compassionate facilitators whose work is aligned with their life’s passion and purpose.

This retreat weaves together the transformative power of creative writing, visual art, astrology and yoga to allow you to drop into your body’s wisdom, hear the voice of your intuition, and replenish your creative well. You’ll be immersed in a fun, encouraging, and supportive environment where you can listen to all the parts of yourself, create with freedom and joy, and see the bigger picture.

Our days will be spent in the practices of creative writing, art and yoga, plus group excursions and other activities, with plenty of time to explore Oaxaca. You’ll have the freedom and permission to use the time on retreat however is best for you.

Absolutely no previous experience in writing, art, yoga or astrology is needed!


Writing – guided by Aaron Zimmerman

We will write together daily in a safe and encouraging environment designed to create space to allow our creativity to flow freely. The workshop will allow writers of all backgrounds, ages, experience levels, and genres to work together and grow as writers.

By listening deeply to ourselves and each other, we will allow our voices to emerge, expand, and have deep impact. All of our workshop sessions will use the Amherst Writers and Artists writing workshop method, created by Pat Schneider and described in her book Writing Alone and With Others.


Mixed-Media Visual Journaling – guided by Lisa Sonora

oaxaca creativity retreat

Visual journal by Lisa Sonora

Creating a Wisdom Journal taps into your intuitive, imaginative and creative powers as you play with all manner of art supplies in the least intimidating and most freeing ways possible. It’s easy to access this wisdom waiting to guide you. It’s right here inside you. Hiding in unexpected turns of phrase, in daring splotches of color, and bold mark-making.

Lisa will show you how to transform big, unassuming pieces of blank paper into collaged, painted and inked pieces that automagically become the pages of your Wisdom Journal. Once we’ve assembled our books and put the pages into order, we’ll download our guidance with a variety of prompts and potent questions that Wisdom loves to be asked. Voila! Let the Wisdom we seek be revealed!


Yin Yoga & Meditation – guided by Emily Trinkaus

Yin Yoga is a gentle, slow-moving and deeply relaxing practice, where we hold simple and accessible poses for 3-5 minutes at a time. The focus in Yin is on how you FEEL rather than how the pose looks, supporting you to turn your attention inward and listen to your body’s wisdom. We’ll follow each yoga practice with a short meditation. These sessions will help you calm your mind and drop into a deeper level of knowing and guidance.


Personal Astrology Readings – by Emily

Each retreat participant will receive an individual, one-hour astrology reading, tailored to your specific needs. Astrology is a powerful tool for identifying your gifts and mission, and how your individual story intersects with the unfolding collective drama. Your reading will also help you understand the meaning and purpose of the current time period, and how you can best access and utilize the available energies.


This retreat is for you if you want to:

  • Return to your center and uncover your inner guidance
  • Unleash the power of your creativity
  • Rekindle your passion and purpose
  • Clarify your priorities and next steps for the new year
  • Spark your enthusiasm and inspiration
  • Rest, regenerate and recharge your batteries
  • Recalibrate your direction and focus
  • Take a break from your ordinary reality and the everyday demands of your life
  • Be a part of a community of like-minded, creative people


Oaxaca, Mexico (Oaxaca is pronounced Wa-Ha-Ka, and is both a city and a state (like New York, NY) in Southern Mexico).

Oaxaca is a Unesco world heritage site, with one of the most beautiful zocalo’s (town centers) in all of Mexico, and no less than 21 cathedrals within the historic center.

Oaxaca, Mexico is a land of magic, mythos, and art. You’ll find traditional weavers, sculptors, potters, dancers, musicians, storytellers and curanderas (indigenous healers) mixing it up with modern painters, photographers, writers, and poets—all in a renown food destination.

The pace of life is slower here, and things are still done the way they were thousands of years ago: vibrant local markets, deep social connections, food of the Gods. Think: Chocolate and Mezcal.

Also: it will be delightfully warm and sunny here in January! The light and air are extraordinary. Oaxaca is situated in a high desert valley ringed by mountains.

All of this cultural and creative bounty will support you to step away from your ordinary life, so that you can more clearly hone in on your higher purpose. We’re here to support you!

Location: Art House Oaxaca, in the historic center of Oaxaca City, Mexico


Retreat Details

Dates: Wednesday, January 3 (arrival day) – Tuesday, January 9 (departure day), 2018

Workshop Registration with Double Occupancy Lodging On-Site (3 rooms available) Early Registration: $1775  (before July 31; after $2150)

Workshop Registration Only — Stay OFF-Site and arrange your own lodging in Oaxaca (we’ll email you our list of favorite places a short walk away when you register). Early Registration: $1575 (before July 31; after $1950)


Please make sure you’re OK with the policies, below, before you register.

If staying on-site in a double occupancy rooms, you’ll be assigned a roommate, or you can let us know who you’ll be rooming with if you are attending with a friend.

Your registration deposit confirms you’ve read and accepted the policies.

A $500 holds your spot:


Registration includes:   

  • Workshop instruction plus a personal astrology reading
  • Pre-trip notes and guidelines
  • Six nights double occupancy lodging if staying on-site –  Check-in on Wednesday, January 3 — Check-Out on Tuesday, January 9, 2018
  • Six breakfasts
  • Six lunches
  • Advice on travel plans before or after the trip, if desired 



By registering, you agree to these terms. Confirmation: You’ll receive an email after you make your deposit. This is your registration confirmation, and contains helpful info to get you started planning your trip to Oaxaca. Please keep this email in a safe place. It’s recommended that you print it out.Important: All retreat information will be emailed to the email address you used when registering. If you require the materials be sent to an alternate email address,  please email Emily (etrinkaus @ gmail (dot) com) and let her know right away.


Cancellation, Refunds, Payment  Schedule…A deposit of $500 USD will hold your space.Deposit is fully refundable until July 31. On or after August 1, your deposit is non-refundable.

The balance is due by September 30, 2017.

You’ll receive an invoice from us for the balance. If you’d like to pay the balance in smaller payments over time, no problem. We’ll set up a payment plan that works for you at no additional charge.

Cancellation before September 30: a refund of monies paid, less the $500 deposit will be issued to those that cancel their registration. After September 30, registration fees are non-refundable.

Refunds will be issued to those that cancel their registration by emailing Emily at etrinkaus (at) gmail (dot) com. Please include Cancellation Request in the subject line, and in the message, include the name and PayPal email address you used to purchase your registration.  A full refund will be made to you via Pay Pal within 72 hours of receiving your cancellation email.

Got Questions? Please feel free to email us with any questions or concerns about the workshop. Not sure if this is the right workshop / retreat for you? Got travel questions? Please do get in touch.

Hurry! Lodging on site is limited to 6 participants, double occupancy.

Because Oaxacan cuisine is so wonderful, dinners are not prearranged to give you freedom to choose where and what to eat. We will point you to our favorite restaurants and even make reservations for you.

Everything is an easy walk from Art House Oaxaca (where you’ll be lodging and enjoying studio time). Taxis are abundant and affordable if you prefer not to walk.

We also have a lovely cafe on site. Most people pair up or go to dinner in groups, so don’t worry about dining alone.


Your Retreat Guides


aaron zimmermanAaron Zimmerman has worked with writers of all genres, backgrounds, and levels of experience, and especially focuses on creating safe, judgment-free space where we can all be at our best as writers and people.

He is the Founder and Executive Director of NY Writers Coalition, one of the country’s largest community-based creative writing programs. NYWC launched in 2002 and has served  more than 12,000 writers from underserved communities. Aaron has been leading creative writing workshops using the Amherst Writers and Artists method for nearly 20 years, and is a former co-chair of the Board of Directors of AWA.

Aaron has an MA in Creative Writing from City College. He also has taught creative writing at City College. His novel, By The Time You Finish This Book You Might Be Dead (Spuyten Duyvil, October 2003), was selected by Poets and Writers as a “New and Noteworthy” book. His fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary magazines.

lisa sonoraLisa Sonora is an American artist and creative entrepreneur living in Mexico, who wants to live in a world where following your heart’s desire is considered practical, and making a living from your gifts is a no-brainer.

Her first book, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Guidebook to Making Business Ideas Real (Quarry, 2008), won two independent publisher awards and launched a movement that has helped thousands to make their creative business ideas real. The Creative Entrepreneur is used as a textbook in many business, entrepreneurship, and arts programs, including University of Madison School of Business.

A sought-after facilitator, she’s led international creativity workshops on five continents for the past 20 years: at schools in Africa, inside tech companies, coach training programs, churches and zendos, and at retreat centers and universities. She trains others to lead creativity workshops in her Creative Journey Facilitator Training, and has a Creative Entrepreneur School in the works.

When she’s not consulting or in the studio making stuff, you can find her journeying to foreign lands in search of textiles, trying to take better photos, and adding to her visual journal sketchbooks in cafes around the world.


emily trinkausEmily Trinkaus is an astrologer, writer, teacher and healer based in Olympia, Washington. She is the co-founder of the Galactic Priestess Academy, offering unique online programs to women around the world. Her gift is to translate the complex language of astrology into relevant and inspiring information you can use for growth and healing.

Her background includes a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in Women’s Studies from Emory University. She has also trained in several healing modalities, including BodyTalk and Polarity Therapy, and is a certified writing workshop leader in the Amherst Writers & Artists method.

Emily is a regular contributor to The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and the author of Creating with the Cosmos: An Astrological Guide to Awakening and Enhancing Creativity. She has been a devoted practitioner of Yin Yoga for 9 years, and has taught Yin at Om Base studio in Portland, OR and at several retreats.


Meet the facilitators in this one-hour mini-workshop: