Monday, July 28, 2008

Creatively Ignited!

This last Sunday I offered "Writing from Your Body," the first workshop in my "A Year of Living in Your Body" series. For four hours I led my lovely and creative participants in exercises with breath, sensory experience, movement, and physical touch. We wrote from our feet, intestines, and hearts; engaged with all of our senses; took a centering walk; breathed into our bellies; wrote in different positions and locations; shook out stress and balanced our brain hemispheres; and shared the messages we received from our bodies in a safe and open setting. And much, much more! Wow!

I want to send a scrumptious thank you out to my participants! You were sensorily-activated, bodily-focused, and creatively-ignited writerly rock stars! This was my first time leading such a long workshop--and yet those four hours felt like absolute PLAY for me. And even though I played facilitator, I did have some interesting moments of my own writing, including the discovery that "my pelvis is a bowl in my body, catching the contents of my desires--a bowl to catch my heart when it drops." I think there's a poem hidden in there.

One of the books that I introduced to the group (and that influenced my workshop) is Laraine Herring's Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice. If you have any interest in how breath (and being fully in your body) can allow for a deeper writing experience, Herring's book is a must-read.

In honor of my workshop, here is a little exercise you can try as a way to engage with your body in a different way. Choose of these pairs of words and write from the part of the body with an awareness of the sense listed. For instance, if you were to draw "elbow" and "smell," imagine what your elbow might smell on a daily basis. Lemon pledge? Pizza dough? Printer toner? And feel free to write in the voice of that part of the body. You never know--perhaps your teeth have something to get off their chest, so to speak!

teeth - smell

eyes - touch

knees - sight

hands - taste

heart - sound

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saying No = Opening to Yes

“I’m learning to embrace the word no, for balance, for equilibrium and to honor my intuition. Like a box, no provides walls and boundaries. It’s a container, a framework in which creativity can come forth with controlled abandon. No stops me in my tracks and opens up a new place for me to begin. It can hold possibilities. Time for me and my ambling.” --Susan Wooldridge, Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process

“Soon I realize I am saying yes, and inner yes, supported and held in place by an outside no. Yes to doing what I want. Yes to how I feel.” --Susan Wooldridge

While in Hawaii with my family over the past week, I was immersed in constant activity and interaction. It was heaps of fun. Well, most of it anyway. But since being back home in Seattle I realize that I hadn’t had much privacy or down time. You see, we were all sharing a small condo together. (We = six adults and a baby.) Boy was it noisy, cluttered, and alive with movement!

During the first half of the trip I hadn’t really noticed the close quarters and lack of private time so much. In fact, I was enjoying the shared space and constant stimulation, introvert though I am. But this soon grew overwhelming and a tad exhausting. One day I realized that I hadn’t even had a moment to use the bathroom without a worry that someone else was waiting to use it! And I noticed that I had only read seven short chapters in Foolsgold, when normally I would have devoured one or two whole books.

So when I was asked whether I wanted to join the evening festivities of a road trip and dinner on my last evening of the trip, I heard myself utter “No thank you.” I felt a little ripple of a wave inside my stomach guide me to stay home with my books and journal and computer—and the silence. Oh, the silence. Except for those rhythmic ocean waves, of course. And the tropical birds cooing about. And the clicking of my computer keys. My body softened the moment I said no.

Susan Wooldridge is right: sometimes when you give the world an outward no, you are actually giving yourself a powerful inner yes. You are giving yourself permission to be yourself in this very moment with what you feel you need. She’s also insightful when she notices that no can hold possibilities. When I say no thank you to one thing, I say yes, please to a multitude of other things. And most importantly, I say yes to me.

Try this:
Listen to your gut when you are asked to do something. Perhaps you really must do this thing (after all, there are tasks that we must complete even if we don't want to), but if you do truly have a choice, consider asking yourself what you really want. Try on "no thank you" once in a while. See what possibilities open up for you when you say yes to yourself and your desires.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Mixed media collage: "Super Girl Goes to Hawaii," 9" x 12"

I'm off to Hawaii for about a week with my family and created this piece above to send me on my way. I may be able to blog from where I am staying, so stay tuned for tales of adventure, wisdom, and healing from the Pacific Islands!

And here's a little bit about aloha:

"Summing up, one islander says
aloha means 'Hello, goodbye, love, compassion, welcome, good wishes. It means belonging to others with a common humanity. It's defined better as a feeling in the heart than by words.'" (

I send you all some aloha spirit. I feel so thankful that you are part of my little community.

Peace and Mahalo,