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Writing With Deena Metzger

The 2013 Writing and Story Intensive
A week=long exploration with Deena Metzger
May 25-31 in Topanga, California (near Los Angeles)
Applications Open

Entering The Work

deena-metzger1This intensive is envisioned as a circle, a small group of women and men gathered to devote themselves to their work, that is to the work.

Many beautiful and profound works and explorations have been launched through these intensives in the last 13 years. Many writers have emerged and many have been transformed, their lives deepened and made soulful by this intense, often luminous writing experience augmented by the qualities of medicine walks and quest, by community and solitude.

This Intensive provides an opportunity to begin, as well as to enter more deeply into a manuscript. It calls us to find our own true voices, to break open the forms, to explore hidden realms, to devote ourselves to the stories and manuscripts that are calling to us. It is an opportunity to experiment and dare. This intensive honors the stories that must be told whether one is beginning the exploration or has delved deeply into a manuscript. What is called for is devotion and commitment to bringing the story to the page.

Many participants will be experienced, even published writers, looking for inspiration, direction or support for new or on-going work. For some this Intensive may be a beginning. Often people who have not thought of themselves as writers become aware that there is a book they are called to write. We call such people Story Carriers.
Imagination and the Future

For every writer, the imagination can be a real place. The real life and our future reside there. When we enter this sphere, the writing experience calls self and other(s) into dynamic relationships on the page. This writing can be like a council that holds all the voices, including our ancestors and descendants, the visible and invisibles and the beings of the natural world, as cohorts. It develops from the intrigue that we can each imagine and enter a new literature that looks to and helps create a vibrant and beautiful future.

But each of us is required, given the state of our world and the transformative possibilities of 2012, to consider our assumptions and understanding about who we are as writers, peacemakers, and members of a community of beings. Story carriers, writers, and artists living in these times of grief and possibility are called to imagine and commit to a new literature and a new culture so that the lives of the humans and non-humans and the earth itself will be vital again. Our words can destroy or restore. What we write matters. Together and as individuals we will seek out new forms resonant with the land and these times to engage with the world, the future and the spirits.

We will be actively seeking new language, new forms and new visions. On behalf of our writing and the word, we will engage storytelling, dream telling, ethical reflection, prayer, meditation, silence, music, divination, indigenous and wisdom traditions and the voices of both the visible and invisible presences, on behalf of a vital and sustainable future for all beings.

In this week we will address the issues that must be addressed, explore our lives, souls, minds, and creative work through formal and informal teaching, directed and spontaneous writing, circle work and individual sessions, solitude, time on the land, visioning, ritual and ceremony as appropriate.

For more information email or call Danella Wild at 310-815-1060 for details, fees and how to apply.

Listen To Joan Baez

Dear Gabriel,

All this month, artists and human rights activists like me have proudly raised our voices to defend human rights with Amnesty International. Now, it’s your turn.

Sunday is your last chance to double your gift. Please join me by donating to Amnesty International right now.

Your gift matters – collective action releases people from prison, torture and execution:

“I don’t regret a single moment. I celebrate the work that I do and the people I work with…We are in it together.”

That’s Jenni Williams, the inspiring co-founder of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise. She’s been arrested 43 times and been beaten severely for defending human rights in her country. Jenni credits Amnesty International members with saving her life multiple times.

Jenni is right – we’re in this together to shine a bright light on the horrific acts of violence committed by Syrian security forces against their own people, in the hopes we can help end the atrocities.

We’re in this to fervently declare love a right, not a wrong, and work to overturn the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

We’re wholeheartedly taking part in this because we refuse to yield to oppression and to hate, and we will not let slip our hard-fought gains.

With the world facing unprecedented assaults on human rights, Amnesty’s mission is more relevant and urgent than ever.

Your gift will help Amnesty rise to these challenges. Donate now.

Very truly yours,
Joan Baez
Musician, Human Rights Activist

The Mindfulness Revolution

This is an excerpt of a review I wrote for The New York Journal of Books.

The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life. Edited by Barry Boyce (Shambhala Publications, March 8, 2011).

The revolution to which this book refers is the widespread use and acceptance of mindfulness and how it has been applied throughout society. “Mindfulness” in this context refers to mindfulness meditation practice. And one of the wonderful aspects of The Mindfulness Revolution is that the essays address opportunities for mindfulness in everyday actions, such as shopping and online activities.

One of the contributors to this collection, Jan Chozen Bays, provides a simple, yet eloquent description of mindfulness: “Mindfulness means deliberately paying attention, being fully aware of what is happening both inside yourself—in your body, heart and mind—and outside yourself in your environment.” It involves the awareness of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and behaviors without judgment or criticism. Further insight can also include investigating who or what it is that is aware of our experience when being mindful.

Historically, the most prominent practitioner of mindfulness was Siddhartha Gotama, who became known as The Buddha. His meditation practice and teachings spread around the world and have been used for over 2,500 years. Similar methods of contemplation, prayer, and concentration are also present in every major religious tradition.

In the West, one of the first pioneers in establishing mindfulness as a secular discipline was Jon Kabat-Zinn, who begin sharing it with his patients to help them manage various health issues and concerns. He called it Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This compilation looks at how mindfulness and MBSR has since been applied and the many forms and avenues it has taken.

The book is divided into four complementary sections by editor Barry Boyce and provides a comprehensive overview and specifics, with examples, instructions, research, and lessons.

Part I is titled How to Practice Mindfulness. Part II is called Mindfulness in Daily Life. The third section is Mindfulness, Health and Healing. The fourth area is Interpersonal Mindfulness. The excerpts for each section are provided by experienced and well-known practitioners that include Jan Chozen Bays, Jack Kornfield, Bob Stahl, Chogyam Trungpa, Norman Fischer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nat Hanh, Sue Moon, Elisha Goldstein, Daniel Siegel, Steve Flowers, Peman Chodron, Susan Chapman and The Fourteenth Dalai Lama. There is also an excellent resource section and contributor bios at the end of the collection.

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