Mindful Writing @ 1880

July 27, 2019

This programme was put together based on my knowledge and experience in having facilitated numerous workshops and retreats in the various approaches to the teaching of writing. It’s a unique blend of ideas that I have gleaned from the National Writing Project (US),  Jon Kabbat Zinn’s Mindfulness Meditation and the Amherst Writers and Artists (AWA) who in the 1970s were responsible for de-mystifying the art of writing with the following beliefs that I strongly believe in:

  • Everyone has a strong unique voice
  • Everyone is born with creative genius
  • A writer is simply someone who writes.

In this session participants experienced:

  • responding to their personal creativity in writing
  • the value of striving to be creative. How it made them feel? How it made others feel?
  • pushing their own creative boundaries to demonstrate a strong and unique writing voice
  • responding to other’s writing without evaluating or making judgments

1. Short Meditation: 10 min

Intro: Sit in any comfortable position. Sit with dignity. You may sit on the cushions provided or on chairs if that’s what makes you comfortable. 

Meditation: When you are ready dropping your gaze, close your eyes gently. If you prefer to keep your eyes open soften your gaze.

Let’s begin by taking deep breaths. Breathing through your nose, take a deep breath and release the air through your mouth. Again, breathing through your nose, take a deep breath and release the warm air slowly through your mouth. 

Allow your breathing to return to normal and observe its natural flow. As you breathe in, observe the sensation of the cool air going through your nose, moving down your throat and reaching your belly.

As you exhale through your mouth, observe the gentle contraction of your belly. 

As you inhale again observe the gentle expansion of your belly.

Whenever you find thoughts entering your mind, acknowledge your thoughts and let them go with kindness. Gently return the mind into the present moment.

I invite you now to bring a gentle smile into your face. Feel the corners of your lips rise gently to form a kind smile. Visualise that smile spreading quietly and slowly to your eyes.

It may help if you imagine a warm early morning sun touching your face while you soak it in. Allow your smile to radiate down to your torso. Smile at it with all the gratitude that keeps you alive…

Now let the smile surround your whole body making it warm and relaxed. Bathe in that feeling.

Pause

For the last moments of this meditation bring your smile to your breath and stay here…in the present…with gratitude for every breath you take.

Read poem:  5 min

Pat Schneider was the founder of the Amherst Writer’s and Artist’s Movement. Her classes just like this one started small because people were generally not familiar with the idea that anybody can write, and everybody has a creative genius. 

I will now read a poem by Pat Schneider. 

THE PATIENCE OF ORDINARY THINGS

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

~ Pat Schneider

3. Writing No 1

Quickwrite: (5 min)

Dropping in on yourself with loving kindness write on any topic that comes to your mind. You are not required to share this piece of writing as you are writing for yourself… but if you feel you want to share this writing please let us know.

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