Taking time to be grateful

This past year I spent much of my time developing mindful writing curriculum and leading workshops and retreats. I love this work, not only because it brings me joy and purpose, but because of the people it has brought into my life. I looked back on how I came to develop this work and found that there were a lot of people to be grateful for.

I am grateful to have discovered mindfulness all those years ago by reading Dani Shapiro’s Devotion.

I am grateful to the Penn Program for Mindfulness. It was there when I needed it after my husband’s death, giving me a way to structure my grief and a new way to live my life moving forward. The MBSR foundational 8-week program really did change my life.

I am grateful that I created the mindful writing practice (daily meditation followed by writing) for myself. My formal meditation practice had helped create a stillness within me where my imagination could return. Meditating and writing each morning continues to give me the foundation to create on and off the page.

I am grateful to Lynn Rosen at Open Book Bookstore for inviting me to teach my first mindful writing class at her store. Our partnership continues, as I’ll be part of her Capturing the Muse: A One-Day Retreat for Writers on January 12th!

Once again, I am grateful for the Penn Program for Mindfulness for inviting me to teach in their program. Robin Hall and Mara Wai have been wonderful to work with—enthusiastic, supportive, and insightful.

This year I also paired with two yoga studios for The Body Tells the Story workshop. Lauren Giordano at OHMGrown Yoga is a beautiful soul. Her studio has yoga and an array of eclectic classes. At Wake Up Yoga, I co-led the workshop with Corina Benner, who brought Yin Yoga into the practice. I’ve been going to her Wednesday morning class for two and a half years. Each week she brings us into the present with appreciation for ourselves and our bodies.

Mindful writing has been powerful for my students as well. Following a workshop, one man said, “this is the beginning of something big for me.” Writers couldn’t believe how well the practice opened them up and helped them set aside the inner critic and “create a space” for their creativity.  At each workshop, course and retreat, students come with an openness and willingness to reconnect with themselves and often find that they are truly fascinating. They make connections through which their lives make more sense, they build gratitude for the life they are living, and they unleash creativity they’d forgotten they had.

And I get to be there to see it all happen.

Their stories and wisdom have enriched my practice and my life. Their feedback has informed my future workshops and retreats. For instance, with their encouragement I extended the 4-week Building a Mindful Writing Practice to six weeks, and I created The Body Tells the Story workshop.

I’m looking forward to 2019. Let me know in the comments or via email me what you’d like to see in Mindful Writing this year.

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