In this class, the participants will write, reflect, meditate, and engage in discussions about what it means to free ourselves from fragmentation and to find ourselves whole again. Fragmentation of the self has unintended consequences, such as depression, anxiety, blocked creativity, and especially fear. By exploring Mindfulness in our writing and lives, we can pivot from fear and panic toward the freedom of embracing our humanness.
This class is informed by the Buddhist way of living and seeing the world, with specific focus on the four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the four Brahmaviharas or the “immeasurables” (Love, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity).
Through this process, we will approach both a personal and communal awareness of the playful and cleansing power of language, in keeping with the Jewish proverb: “As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”
Each week includes Mindfulness meditation, writing, and other activities, and all weeks include online interactions. Each assignment is intended to solidify a Mindfulness practice in the general sense and specifically to writing. An important aspect of the assignments is that they are conducted or developed within a symbolic, ritualized context. That is, that you establish specific times during the week to read and work on the assignments via specific rituals that serve as conduits for the creative, authentic expression of the mature human you are or strive to become.
Each practice we do is intended to tap into body, mind, and spirit to awaken parts of the self to render it whole. The paths are illustrated by poems that can help generate integration. The practice of meditation and the seeking of wisdom leads to what is called a mature human being.
The following poets, among others, will be center-stage: J. Rumi, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Wendell Berry.
(Zoom Session: 6pm EST)
Theme: Pathways to Wholeness
Topic: Shaping our community
We’ll get to know each other and to discuss in depth the central tenets of the Pathways to Wholeness. The kind of writing we’ll do together has the potential to open new pathways in the brain to help us venture into the vastness of being focused on the present moment and free from fragmentation. We will also do introductions via our Zoom session.
Theme: Re-cognizing the Self
Topic: Fragmentation and wholeness
We’ll focus on how we can release our creative potential by recognizing depression and anxiety as forms of separation from the true self. Examining the shadow parts of us can shed light into our consciousness. We’ll examine the First Pathway: Dwell in the house of the self
Theme: Discernment and the freedom to be
Topic: Our story in the context of our history. We’ll examine the Second Pathway: Use Discernment to understand the true meaning of history and our own story.
Theme: Shared Humanity
Topic: Changing perspectives
We’ll examine the Third Pathway: Recognize Shared Humanity and accept suffering as part of life. To do this, we’ll take a “Momentous Leap of Meaning.”
Theme: Cultivation of kindness and equanimity
Topic: Shedding the Light of Consciousness on the Shadow
We’ll examine the Fourth Pathway: Cultivate kindness toward the self through the four immeasurables. Also, we’ll briefly focus on the shadow part of the personality.
(Zoom class: 6pm EST)
Theme: Closing (holding a council)
Topic: Our ending is your beginning
The power of transformation begins right at that moment when we are willing to challenge our own assumptions. Our closing is an invitation to practice self-inquiry by practicing the activities.
This class would benefit individuals who are on the path of self-discovery as well as those who facilitate self-discovery with others. Teachers, therapists, writers, community leaders are ideal candidates. This class was designed for individuals who are curious about how to integrate the multiple parts of their lives into a cohesive whole. We welcome individuals interested in having a regular integral practice in their lives that includes living with integrity and excellence, becoming more alive and creative, and engaging in mindful movement, sitting meditation, walking in nature. Lastly, this class is for individuals interested in creating more psychological flexibility, so they can embrace life with curiosity, detachment, and depth.
This is an online class with two Zoom sessions. Students are encouraged to set aside a minimum of two hours a week to engage in practices, including reading and writing about poems and essays pertaining to the topics of spirituality and psychological flexibility. Students are expected to read and respond to comments on the accessible and welcoming online platform.
About the Teacher
Marianela Medrano is a Dominican writer, poet. and a psychotherapist, with aPh.D. in psychology, whose practice includes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Transpersonal & Integral Psychotherapy. Medrano has extensive training in Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and Mindful Eating with Jan Chozen-Bays and Char Wilkins. She has taught at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now Sophia University, in Palo Alto, California, and as a visiting scholar at Goddard College.
Her work as a poetry therapist was recognized with an outstanding award from the National Association for Poetry Therapy. in 2007. She is also a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy and currently serves as the president of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, NAPT.
Through the Palabra Training Center, she offers on-site and remote programs for individuals and groups in poetry therapy, applying literature and psychology to help participants forge their own paths to wholeness. She also presents, with poet Annie Finch, Woman, Poetry, and Spirituality at the Garrison Institute. Her Four Pathways to Wholeness workshop has been presented at the Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Studies World Conference in Seville, Spain in 2017, the National Association for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference, and the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, India.
Her individual publications include: Oficio de Vivir (Buho,1986), Los Alegres Ojos de la Tristeza (Buho,1987), Regando Esencias/ The Scent of Waiting (Alcance,1998), Curada de Espantos (Torremozas, 2002), Diosas de la Yuca, (Torremozas, 2011), Prietica (Alfaguara, 2013). Rooting (Owlfeather Collective, 2017). Her poetry has been translated into Italian and French. In 2015 she did a TEDTALK at Ursuline College.
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