Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring

Drinking from the River of Light: the life of expression

Spring 2022
Every Wednesday morning for 10 sessions, Starting April 6
Time: 10 a.m. to noon
Place: Online – Zoom
Cost: $250.00 CDN plus HST (13%)

“Meaningful art, enduring art—and the transformative process it awakens—keeps us alive,” writes Mark Nepo. In Drinking from the River of Light, this bestselling poet and philosopher leads us on a journey to discover just how art and authentic expression can bring our deepest truths to bear in the world.


As some of you know, last fall I (Sue) led two 10-week workshops where we worked our way through the program laid out by Peter Levitt in his book about writing and creativity as a path to freedom: Fingerpainting on the Moon. (BTW – I’ll be doing that again this spring of 2022 starting March 30 if you’re interested.)

The format worked so well, that I am going to do it again. This time we’ll be exploring the material from another book: Mark Nepo’s Drinking from the River of Light: the life of expression. I have long been a fan of this book and have dipped and delved into it at various points. Now I want to devote some serious time to examining the concepts in it and working my way through them — in your company! Because I’ve learned that I will show up consistently to my own work when I’ve made a promise to you to do that. I’ve also learned that a small and devoted community engaged in similar pieces of learning helps the transformation go much deeper and further.

As always, we’ll be holding the space using the principles of Amherst Writers (AWA) Method to support a safe creative environment.


Mark’s work has been celebrated by thinkers from Parker Palmer and Tara Brach to Mark Matousek. The latter has said about Mark and this book: “Mark Nepo is that rarest of literary birds: a Renaissance-style writer who dares to bring his whole hybrid self to the page―literary poet, unabashed mystic, homespun philosopher, cancer survivor, and impassioned seeker singing the glories of the world. This wonderful book is a deep dive into the universal art of self-expression, exploring how to give voice to our deepest, most original self in a world where we often feel unheard, and how to hear the voice of God in our own when we listen closely to what is inside us. Candid, rich, and consistently profound.”

In this collection of interconnected essays and poetry—covering subjects ranging from the importance of staying in conversation with other forms of life to a consideration of how innovators such as Matisse, Rodin, and Beethoven saw the world—Nepo presents a lyrical ode to the creative urge that stirs in each of us. Whether it’s the search for a metaphor to reveal life’s beauty or the brushstroke that will thoroughly capture the moment, Drinking from the River of Light examines what it means to go “. . . beyond the boundaries of art, where the viewer and participant are one.”

In Nepo’s words, “This book is meant to be experienced and journeyed with.” Including dozens of journaling prompts and personal exercises meant to enliven the reader’s creative instincts, Drinking from the River of Light traces the search for our most essential selves and the importance of the life of expression to bear witness to the sorrow, depth, and joy of life.

In these 10 weeks, we will indeed be experiencing and journeying with this material in the company of one another.



Testimonials from the 10 week program in Fall 2021

Peter Levitt could not have hoped for a more devoted, engaged and engaging guide than Sue Reynolds to lead us through his generous and remarkable book. The whole experience was one of trust, encouragement, joy, and self-discovery with some raw and revealing creative writing to show for it. It was so nourishing to have spirituality recognized and called upon for its inspiration and heartbeat throughout the creative process. I bow. ~ Susie Whelehan

Most enjoyable were the distinct voices answering ‘what was strong for you in this piece?’ It gave me ideas about what to notice in my own writing: beginnings, endings, concrete words.
I would recommend this workshop because it is invited but not mandatory to share; participants learn from the exercises, fellow writers and themselves as they write. ~ Claire Sullivan

I would recommend this workshop to anyone who appreciates a gentle, creative, spiritual approach to writing. Sue is a master teacher of compassionate, nurturing, and inspiring workshops. ~ M.M.

Finger-painting on the Moon blends the wonder and wisdom of Peter Levitt’s amazing book with the sacred depths of an online circle that Sue Reynolds safely and skillfully holds–for delving into our creative process, naming our fears and blocks, welcoming our insights and personal truths and pouring this into powerful writing. This is an extraordinary journey into our own creative genius, resistance and all, towards the universal beauty that is creativity and creation. Sue Reynolds brings the book to life in an embodied way that is unique and magical. I ‘d recommend this for anyone wanting to dive deeply into creativity. ~ Kate Flaherty

My morning walks have come more alive, a sort of creative meditation, rekindling a spark that had gone out, refilling my creative well. ~ M.L.

This workshop is second only to the seminal work of Pat Schneider Writing Alone and With Others in creating a motivation and an action oriented way of working with inner creative resistance. Sue is a gifted and generous facilitator and made room for the variety and presence of unique genius among all her participants. Her gentle guiding makes me a lifelong Sue fan. I will definitely join the next session. ~ A.F.