Voie de Vézelay, Day 13 – 19



For years, I wanted to do a creative writing workshop with Natalie Goldberg. I was reading her books and did many of her exercises. This winter, I met her for the first time at a Ryokan workshop in Santa Fe. I was excited to be able to spend one week with her.

Shortly before the workshop started in Villefavard, I heard the sad news that Natalie became seriously sick with chronic lymphotic leukemia and could not come. I was very disappointed. But I went, nevertheless – and did not regret it. She was there – through her students, her structure of the course and her past teaching style.



Perfomance hall transformed into a Zendo
Perfomance hall transformed into a Zendo


Natalie Goldberg was a student from Katagiri Roshi. Many of her ideas come from the practice of Zen. The basics of her workshops are staying in silence, writing and reading with a nonjudgmental mind and getting the monkey mind out of the way. For that, she suggests keeping the pen moving until the specific writing time is over. I love these exercises.


My own writing exercise in front of the little Zen garden
My own writing exercise in front of the little Zen garden


In the morning, we started with meditation. The evening meditation was in the garden overlooking a lake and a meadow with gazing cows in the distance.



Meditation in the evening sun
Meditation in the evening sun



2014 06 19 AM Villefavard-52



Street from "La Solitude" to the farm
Street from “La Solitude” to the farm



Mist over the lake
Mist over the lake



Early morning
Early morning


Writing alone and sharing with the group was an essential part. Sometimes, we made up our own exercises, like reading passages from three different books.



Rebecca, Jody and I, reading aloud passages of three books
Rebecca, Jody and I, reading aloud passages of three books


The workshop contained challenges for me as past emotional difficulties were rising up from the unconscious. At the end of the workshop, I got a severe headache, had a bad cold and felt very weak. I was afraid that I could not continue my pilgrimage. But there was Erica, my “angel”, who helped me on the last seminar day not to give up. Her knowledge as a medical doctor was extremely helpful and she gave me lots of her own herbal medicine.



My angel Erica
My angel Erica


(Kevin S. Moul took all photos for the Natalie Goldberg seminar)



Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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