It took me years to admit to myself that I might want to explore meditation. A meditator friend who knew me well suggested more than a few times that I learn. I resisted. And resisted. And resisted. My resistance multiplied again every time I logged into Facebook and saw an article about how meditation can cure nearly every ailment. The whole idea of meditation started smelling like snake-oil. But it sat there in my consciousness anyway. Nibbling.
I don’t think I could have verbalized it five years ago, but over the past five years, I’ve been on a mission to reduce stress. I’ve not-so-systematically eliminated as many stress-inducing activities I could from my life. The more I focused on the things that didn’t cause me stress – those things I love to do – the more I was able to better serve writers. During that five years, I also met several other admirable people who meditated regularly and I noticed a few things they had in common: A lightness, a heart-centeredness, and best of all, their stress-levels declined. They inadvertently broke me down. I decided to admit my curiosity and learn to meditate.
The meditation I started with was a mantra-based quieting-down-the-mind kind of meditation. It has and continues to serve me well. My focus has improved and I’ve learned to slow down my mind when I need to. And believe me, my brain needs slowing down.
Mindful meditation is slightly different than mantra-based meditation. Mindfulness welcomes sensory awareness and rather than focus on a mantra you go deeper into the physical awareness of your body and surroundings.
Both meditation types serve the same purpose, however. They both invite a sense of calm and teach one how to slow down the internal talk. Both of these things can be very helpful to a writer whose very craft relies on quieting down one’s mind and listening to one’s imagination to generate ideas.
So when I found an MFA grad and writer who also teaches yoga and mediation and wanted to offer a Mindfulness and Writing workshop, I nearly jumped through the phone and pulled her here straight from New York City. Luckily, she’d been planning to move here already.
So I’d like to introduce you to our newest workshop:
Leader: Sarah Herrington
Stories live in our bodies. In this workshop we’ll use mindfulness techniques such as breath awareness, body scans and meditation to drop into and hear the narratives our bodies hold. We will alternate seated meditation practices including mindfulness/breath-based practice and metta/loving kindness practice with in-class writing exercises. Meditations will aid us in dropping deeper into the body and present moment. From that centered place, we will then write (in all forms: poetry, fiction, essay). We will learn how the present moment can be a source of inspiration and wonderful, constant writing prompts! We will also learn how to use writing itself as a way to check in with the present moment.
Participants will not only leave with new writing but new tools and practices to deeply inhabit our bodies and to facilitate more creativity.
This meditation and writing workshop is great for both beginning and experienced writers.