A Creative Approach to Disconnecting

All’s Well That Ends Swell

By Tara Kirkpatrick | Photos Vanessa Price

No weekend in Montauk is complete, it seems, without a full menu of wellness events.

CBD-yoga classes or beach-view boxing classes followed by botanical-infused, low-calorie, functional cocktails all promise even more ways to relax and feel even better than good. On Sunday, in the backyard of the Montauk Beach House, a wellness practice as old as pencil and paper went down when a dozen women learned the therapeutic effects of journaling at Laura Rubin’s “Nature as Muse” AllSWell writing workshop. The event provided a digital detox maybe as good as any yoga class, a series of exercises for the creative muscles and, yes, okay—it had surprisingly-delicious-for-being-so-healthy cocktails courtesy of Two Chicks.

It all started with a meditation to the background pool-party soundtrack of Earth, Wind and Fire. It’s like the DJ knew we were honoring all the elements. It was a remix, of course, because he was really there to turn up the pool party at 2 p.m., but he did inadvertently spin some inspiration for us. Workshop co-lead Sarah Rigano, who designs interiors and exteriors based on energetic vibrations of people and objects, had set the long table we sat around. It felt more like an altar really, with rocks, saltwater, wood and crystals running down the center, intended to raise our vibrations. The DJ missed this, and did not play Marky Mark. Or maybe we missed him playing it, entranced by Sarah’s guided meditation where we faded the bumping background from our minds and called up instead our favorite places in nature. Afterward, Rubin prompted us to write on what came up for us. I felt a bit basic that mine was a setting in Montauk but was joined by the better half of the group. The standout among us being the woman who described Antarctica. Have meditation will travel.

Such a good vibration.

Over the next two hours, we sparked creativity from the old flames of nature and artists: Henry David Thoreau and his love for the woods in Walden, David Shumate and his wonder for the night sky. The AllSWell company itself is a byproduct of the forces of nature at Ditch Plains. Six years ago, Laura Rubin caught the inspiration for the journals, instead of waves, when she went to surf one morning. Back then, she said the response she got when she told people she’d founded a journal company was something like, “Oh, that’s cute,” while today, Laura says people are leaning in to hear more about what she does. “Our digital sponges are just so full, now we need a place to wring them out,” Rubin said.

Our digital sponges are just so full, now we need a place to wring them out.

Sarah and Laura.

Rubin started the workshops in response to early customers saying they did not know how to keep up with a regular journaling practice. One of her favorite things about spreading the health-improving habit of journaling is its accessibility. “You don’t need a membership or a special outfit,” she said. Grab your pen and paper and step outside.

The simplicity behind it is perhaps why AllSwell—which ironically has the word well in it—has steered away from the buzzword “wellness,” which has become complex with its many layers and definitions.

And as our group disconnected from phones, dug our feet into the sand and just sat to think, that’s what the workshop reminded us—why we came here to Montauk in the first place: for the nature.