Writing Workshops

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  In the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in TWO writing workshops. I signed up for them hoping to pick up a few more tricks of the trade. I’ve learned from my years in the classroom, that one can never have too many tools in their toolbox! Okay, I’ll back off the clichés. Both experiences were enjoyed, but brought forth different thoughts than what I had expected.

   The first one was called Automatic Writing. I thought it would be something about getting the creative juices flowing with, maybe, word associations (recently read a great article/interview in Rolling Stone with Robert Downey, Jr. and their time playing word associations). The instructor might hold out an object, ask us to write what we saw, what we thought it would weigh, or smell like, or look like if we broke it open. Perhaps we’d get to view a silent video and then write dialogue, or what happened before or after the brief video. (Just suggestions to grease the gears of creativity, by the way, so you may want to take advantage of them.) What did happen, was something quite different. The instructor played a guided visualization CD, something she said our left brain would listen to, then she would ask us questions, to which, with our left brain occupied, the right brain could flow with answers that were from that part of us that is often ignored for most, or all, of our lives. Because I often write in a stream of consciousness, I was willing to play along and see if something new and different would arise. Her questions were related to life goals and God talents. We went over our answers, and I was able to jot down the questions, something I didn’t do as we went through the exercise because I was in the state of ‘automatic writing’. My answers weren’t bizarre or eye-opening. I had been contemplating, finessing finances, searching the web, talking with friends (who, unfortunately had no new insights to offer), and meditating (remember, I’m a student of yoga!) on possible scenarios to move my life from where it is to where I want it to be. The responses to the questions just reaffirmed, again, what has been consuming my conscious thoughts for some time now. It’s likely that I will do the exercise later, on my own, to check on the progress of my intentions.

   The second workshop was a combination of Kundalini Yoga and writing. It revealed to me a few more details, and whether it was because the class was in a yoga studio, or due to the physical poses to were done before the notebooks were taken up, my responses were more positive and uplifting. The postures were selected because they worked the part of the body that houses each of the seven major chakras. With the chakras ‘activated’, or at least touched, the statement we were asked to finish allowed thoughts to flow ‘automatically’ onto the paper. In Kundalini Yoga, as I learned today, there is an eighth chakra, the auric field around the physical body. Just to give you an example, the fourth chakra, or heart chakra, is related to love. After ‘stimulating’ that area of the body, we were given eight minutes to write automatically on, “I love . . .” For the throat chakra, the fifth chakra, the question was, “Truth is . . .” I have some knowledge of the chakra system and wasn’t surprised by the questions we were invited to write freely about. And, as with the first workshop, this is something I plan to use again.

   Coincidently (if you believe in such things), the email newsletters I’d been receiving this past week were all about setting intentions, living the truth, removing subconscious blocks that keep one from living the life of their dreams, and, believe it or not, THREE times, I got the questions: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? and What fear tactics are you abiding by to keep you stuck? Okay, so this isn’t a blog on connecting with your Hight Self, living your dreams, or improving your life. Or is it? This is a blog about inspiring people to merge with their creativity and allow it to enrich their lives. Hmm. Fear? Failure? Higher Self, dreams, life?

  Your first invitation is to play some classical or new age music (both have been proven to affect the brain differently than, say, The Doors, or what the members of The Doors used to alter their own brains). Grab a pen and some paper (yes, even those of you who cook, dance, write music, paint, or sculpt!). Close your eyes, take three, deep, conscious breaths (in other words, know that you’re breathing in and breathing out), and ask yourself the following questions. Open your eyes and write for five minutes or fill a page. Even if you think you don’t have anything to write about, keep the pen moving.

Questions: 1) What would you do if you knew you could not fail? 2) What do you need to succeed? 3) Who or what is keeping you from those things? 4) How would your life be if you could have/do that thing? 5) How would you feel, what would you do, if you could have/do that thing?

   Invitation #2: The second chakra is the seat of creativity, and is located an inch or so below the navel. Put on an orange shirt and lay on your back. Do a few leg lifts (placing the hands under the low back of there is a low back issue). When you feel a little heat generated there, grab your pen and paper and finish the sentence, “I create . . .” Write until you’ve filled the five minutes or a page.

   No exercise would be complete without some reflection. Did anything new come up for you in the first activity? If so, do you plan to do anything with the information? If not, why not? How many sentences did you generate for the second activity? Did it stimulate any thoughts or ideas on current or future projects? Was there anything that surprised you? Is there something you need to do or someone you need to speak with NOW, while the energy of the thought still runs through your mind and body?

   I ask you to reread the sentence: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? And in the words of Susan Jeffers, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” In an attempt to lead by example, I invite you to visit my newly remodeled web site www.myjoyenterprises.com This is the cornerstone of the path that I’m paving over my own fear of failure (or is it success?). Several new items will be added over the next three months, so you may want to bookmark it and return to the site just to check out the laying down of paving stones.

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