Tag Archives: journaling

Two New Summer Classes Offered!

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Our fall classes are filling up fast, but take heart—we’ve got two new classes we’re offering this summer!  One focuses on new folks, and one is for alums who need to “maintain their writer’s shape” over the long summer. More details below.

Summer Sampler on June 13

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New to Women Writing for (a) Change, Jax? Please attend our upcoming Summer Sampler 2017: Telling Your Story. We’ll be introducing you to our writing practices, helping you tell your own story through poetic inspiration, a well-tested writing method, and community support. We all have stories to tell, and most of us simply long for a place to tell them. Please join our circle and tell your story. We’ll be so glad to have you.

p.s. Plus, you’ll get to check out our new ”She Shed” in the garden out back!

Details:

When: Tuesday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Opening Circle in the new “She Shed”
Who: New women writers
How much: $25
RSVP: Register here. Limited spaces available.

Maintain Your Writer’s Shape July 19

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Are you having withdrawal symptoms because you haven’t been to one of our writing circles in awhile? Or perhaps your writing has been suffering a bit because you’re out of your routine? Or perhaps you just miss your tribe?

Then please join us for a special summer session: Maintain Your Writer’s Shape 2017 on July 19. We’ll be previewing our memoir series this fall by telling the stories of our own summertime experiences. Please bring a photo of one of your summer vacations!

Details:

When: Wednesday, July 19, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Opening Circle in the new “She Shed”
Who: Alums of any of our other classes
How much: $35
RSVP: Register here.  Limited spaces available.

Please bring a journal, your favorite pen, a sweater, and a photo of one of your summer vacations. Hope to see you there!

“A circle of women may be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, Dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love great. You will be changed. The very fabric of your Being will be altered by this.
If you allow it. Please, allow it.”

— Unknown

We Gathered: Journal Conference 2016

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IMG_5990Just back from a rich and deep experience at the 2016 Journal Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, where we celebrated 30 years of journal therapy through the pioneering work of Kay Adams and The Center for Journal Therapy. We also launched the next 30 years of work in this field. The big vision: To make journaling as integral to our health and our community healing as yoga is today.  And we are definitely on our way there.

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Natasha Trethewey

It was a time to meet and celebrate some of the pioneers of this work, including Kay Adams, Peggy Heller of the National Association of Poetry Therapy, Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea of PeerSpirit and The Circle Way, Richard Gold of Pongo Teen Writing, memoir specialist Linda Joy Myers and author Judy Reeves, as well as Pulitzer-Prize winning Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

Beyond that, we experienced fabulous workshops; to name just a few: Writing and Transitions with Leia Francisco; Writing and Neuroplasticity with Deborah Ross and Kay Adams; the new Positive Psychology Strengths Assessment with Edwina Cowdery and Nancy Scherlong, plus sessions on poetry, sacred song-writing, memoir writing, and others. A highlight was a workshop on writing a non-fiction books using journaling techniques to structure your approach, with editor/coach Nancy Evans. Other master journalers presenting were Linda Barnes,  Susan De Wardt,  and Anne-Marie Jobin of Journal Creatif…and many, many more.

People are doing incredible work with journaling around the world, and more is yet to come.  Journaling can jumpstart any writing effort, and can launch anyone’s writing career. Journal therapy also can be used by many professionals to enhance their healing in this world.  Find out more by becoming a member of The Journalverse or taking classes with the TWI Institute.

It’s a community that is changing the world, one journal entry at a time.

SoulCollage® Comes to Unity Plaza

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soulcollage-012What part of your soul is saying “give me life?”

SoulCollage® is a creative tool for artful self-expression. It was developed by psychotherapist and author Seena B. Frost, M. Div., M.A, in the 1980’s. Ms. Frost studied theology at Yale Divinity School and received a Master’s degree in psychology from Santa Cruz University.  Her blend of spirituality, psychotherapy and creativity continues to grow world-wide.

In this 6-week series, trained facilitators will teach you to use and enjoy this process of personal growth.  Using the SoulCollage® methods, each person creates a personal deck of collaged cards using index cards, glue, scissors and magazine images. SoulCollage® is a creative process that is truly accessible to everyone, even people who believe they have no artistic ability.

WHEN: Starts Sunday, Oct. 25, though Dec. 6 , for six weeks (skipping Thanksgiving),
TIME: Sunday afternoons, 2-5 p.m.
WHERE: Unity Plaza Community Room
WHO: Jennifer Wolfe and Stephanie Durham, co-facilitators
REGISTER NOW: On Meetup

As your deck grows, your cards begin to guide you through self-exploration and self-acceptance.  Using  imagery, imagination and intuition you learn to access the wisdom and wonders that lie within you as you create your personal deck of cards.  These cards are designed to give a voice to our inner thoughts, dreams and experiences while also honoring your deepest self…a visual narrative of your own unique story.  This  practice  honors  every step of your personal  journey.

This class is being offered as a joint venture by Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, and  Hope at Hand, Inc.  Hope at Hand is a local nonprofit that provides art and poetry therapy to vulnerable and at-risk youth populations in North Florida.  Participating in this class will directly support the community missions of both Hope at Hand and Women Writing for (a) Change.

Discover your wisdom, change your world!

This Summer: Ukuleles, Beyond Bars, and (new!) Our Writing

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Gather the women; save the world. — Jean Shinoda Bolen

It’s been a busy spring and summer for Women Writing for (a) Change here in Jacksonville.  We finished up our Spring Series in early May, held our first Public ReadAround mid-May, and began our Summer Series at the Women’s Center in early June.

Public ReadAround at Coast Occasions in Jax Beach

Public ReadAround at Coastal Occasions in Jax Beach

In the mix of all that, I presented a workshop at the National Association of Poetry Therapy in Scottsdale called Song of the Soul, which I repeated in Austin on June 5 and will conduct again in New York City in August. (My ukulele plays a key role.)

Plus, we also held our first ever Feed Your Creative Soul Art and Writing Retreat at the Evervess Studio in May, mixing art and writing, a little dance, and even some delicious organic food from Down to Earth Farm here in Jax.  Maybe you heard our promo spot on NPR’s Morning Edition?  If not, listen to it on our media page here.

Feed Your Creative Soul Retreat

Feed Your Creative Soul Retreat

Speaking of publicity, it was fun to get another article published on us, this time in Jacksonville Magazine (here’s the link). Also had fun presenting on compassion for PechaKucha Night in St. Augustine on May 14.

I’ve got one more session planned for the Summer Series at the Women’s Center, in which I’m writing with the formerly incarcerated women of the Women Renewed program. They are getting training and finding employment to transition to self-sufficiency “beyond bars,” in the outside world. (Thanks so much to all of you who have funded our effort with the GoFundMe campaign!

This is a magical, miraculous experience, let me tell you.  I am so amazed by the tenderness, the thoughtfulness, the poetry of these women.  Whatever assumptions I may have had going into this (and I tried not to have any) have been shattered.  They so totally and completely GET it.  And their writing ROCKS.

In fact, we’re going to have a “private” ReadAround at the Women’s Center next week, after we finish our last session Monday. So watch for some posts on that, I hope.

Collage from the Women Renewed Series at the Women's Center.

Collage from the Women Renewed Series at the Women’s Center.

I was especially thrilled because my daughter, Camille, has been able to assist me at several of these circles, which has been good for her and for me.  She can see what I’m doing and get exposure to a world that she has not seen up close before.  This is good for everyone.

Not to mention, I finished two videos on The Conscious Feminine and posted to the media page on our site.  Check them out here; I’d love your feedback.  I also decided recently to become the Regional Coordinator for Gather The Women, an international group of women who are holding sacred circles to promote peace and prosperity for all, based on the book The Millionth Circle by Jean Shinoda Bolen.  I’ll be holding a regional event in March 2015 in honor of  National Women’s History Month.  More to come on all of that.

I am looking forward to our Fall Series starting September 10, 2014, for which we actually only have a couple spots left.  Register by August 1 for the Early Bird Rate of $300.  You can register here.  You can also sign up for the Fall Sampler on Wednesday, August 27, which should be a lot of fun.  Register for that here.

Manatee musings (image credit Wikipedia)

Manatee musings (image credit Wikipedia)

But the MOST TIMELY reason I’m writing is because I wanted to encourage you to check out a NEW page of our website, which is called Our Writing, in which we feature some of the women writers who have participated in our circles.  Check out “You Found Me” (tender and lovely) and Naturally Curly Hair” (hilarious).  I guarantee you will enjoy them.

I hope all of you are enjoying a slightly slower pace this summer.  After a spate of travel, I myself spent the last couple days in my garden, catching up on mulching and weeding and filling up all of my bird feeders.  The bluebirds have built a nest in my new bluebird box, and the eggs have hatched! I’m thrilled to rest and enjoy the haze of summer as I sit on my garden bench and dream of new ideas and more circles of Women Writing for (a) Change.

Peace to all of you.
Jennifer

p.s. check out more info and stories on our new Facebook Page!  And please “like” us if you want regular updates.

She preached good posture

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‘Heard last night’ at the Women’s Center

Woman Renewed collage project

Women Renewed collage project

I’ve held several circles at the Women’s Center of Jacksonville so far this summer for the Women Renewed program participants.  These are formerly incarcerated women who are finding hope and new life through this program, which gives them coping skills and  employment opportunities.

One thing I’ve learned from this work is, for women to stay out of jail, they need three things: a job, support, and their GED.  The Women’s Center helps them with all three. Thank you, to those of you who have contributed to the fund that allows me to do this work with them, which I hope is giving them additional skills of self-awareness to help them make this transition.

Our theme for this series is, The Heroine’s Journey, based on the book by the same name. It’s about our spiritual journey as we move away from our mothers and away from our feminine self, experience pain and suffering as a result, and then come back Home again.

I’m struck, when I hold the circle, by how quickly they “get it.”  That they notice, and appreciate, the sacredness of the circle, and quickly settle into it.

Below are two found poems they agreed I could publish.

The first is to the prompt, “What do I want to keep that my mother (or grandmother) passed on to me?”

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She Preached Good Posture

She preached good posture.
I can’t let her go.

She sewed my cheerleading outfit.
I can’t let her go.

Being complete is to be whole.
I can’t let her go.

I am needed. I have a job to do.
I can’t let her go.

The love my mother had.
I can’t let her go.

The long suffering my mother endured.
I can’t let her go.

The ability to know when to be a woman.
I can’t let her go.

She had a very kind heart.
I can’t let her go.

I lost the mom I once knew.
I can’t let her go.

I was fortunate to have a second mother.
I can’t let her go.

I can’t separate myself from my mother. I’m her baby.
I can’t let her go.

— Found poem, Women Renewed participants, May 27, 2014

Last week, we read the Poem, She Let Go, by Rev Rose Safire.  Read the full poem here. Then we wrote to the prompt, “What do I want to let go of?”

Here’s what I heard:

New Page, New Journey

New page, new journey.
No, no, no, not a new chapter, a new book of life.

Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You can feel that breeze again.

I can see the moon and the stars at night.
I have let that day go.

I’m surprised I have the patience for this.
I won’t give up for anything.

I’m not in this room right now.
The anxiety of the feeling that I may be violated.

I know that God has me.
Trouble is so easy to get into, and so difficult to get out of.

Letting go is not an easy thing to do.
Sometimes you gotta lose to win again.

You gotta take a leap of faith;
Listen to your inner self.

— Found poem, Women Renewed participants, June 2, 2014

 

Heard Last Night

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We’ve had a wonderful Spring Series this year, and last night was an especially inspiring session for me. Therefore, I feel inspired to share this morning just a few things I heard at our session last night, for your reading pleasure. 🙂

Opening Poem

Resilience.
Communicate slowly.
Awaiting.
Never let it starve for lack of what it needs.
Love.
We therefore have an obligation to each other…not to gaslight each other.
Friendship.
How do you know when you are done?
Awaken.
We therefore have a primary obligation to each other: not to undermine each other’s sense of reality for the sake of expediency.
Help.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
— Group poem, based on the poem, “How to Be a Poet”

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Favorite quote last night:
“My computer at home doesn’t have an “n” or a “b.”

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Word we learned:
“Prosody,” which means, from a reading teacher’s perspective, reading with ease and smoothness, but, do look it up in the dictionary if you get a chance. (Thanks, Meg!)

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Favorite Readback lines:
One big fat ringlet.
I’ve been forced to look at my relationship with boundaries.
I felt like I was flying through the palm tress.
They began to moan and dance.
“It’s my passion.”

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IMG_5516Did you know it’s National Poetry Month? You can write a poem a day by going to the NaPoWriMo site.  Here’s my 3-minute writing to the prompt of, “I’d love to be a… [name an insect]:

I’d Love to Be a Ladybug

I’d love to be a ladybug.
Their wings are so tiny, so precise, yet strong.
I like the way they fold in when they land,
in several layers of red and white and black.
Their wings don’t always fold back completely,
as if their slip is hanging out a bit
and they just don’t care.

Ladybugs are sure of themselves, of their femininity,
of their purpose (but what is it? Eating bugs, I think!)
They don’t care if their skirt is a little rumpled for a minute.
But then they fold everything back in, neatly.
Unless, of course,
they suddenly, determinedly, take off,
which always surprises me.

Journal prompt: “I’d love to be a [name an insect, set your timer, and write for three minutes.]”

What’s THEIR Passion?

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IMG_4992Part Three of Three

On February 25, I attended PechaKucha Night here in Jacksonville, which was organized around the theme of “What’s Your Passion?” I was moved by what I saw and heard.

  • I heard a father, Carl, speak passionately and proudly about his daughters, how fearless, determined, and free they are.
  • I heard Jessie talk about how writing, at age 12, transformed him from victim to survivor.
  • I heard Cole talk about his passion for “authentic” expression.
  • I heard Cathleen inform us that the #1 litter in the world is cigarette butts: 2 billion butts are thrown away EVERY DAY!
  • I saw the tears of Amy, who authentically spoke of her love and respect for her mentor, Paul.
  • I heard Kathy ask an important question I love to ask: “Hey, what’s cool about you?”
  • I heard Joe say his passion is “to help creators grow,” and then he reminded us to “be the change,” to be the “one spark” that changes everything.

These are powerful passions, and each one spoke to me.

Which is why it is so gratifying for me, as the facilitator of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, to do this work. It is an authentic transformation process that is working, right here, right now, helping women to do all of the things listed above:

  • to be fearless and free,
  • to transform from victim to survivor,
  • to be authentic,
  • to speak up about what bothers us,
  • to cry our tears,
  • to ask important questions, and
  • to help creators grow.

It takes hard work, and dedication, and resilience.  And passion. Like gardening, as I learned from my 10-year-old gardner friend, Evan.

I am grateful for the seeds that are sprouting here in Jacksonville. And I want to celebrate that today.

Here.
In the garden.

Journal prompt: So…what’s YOUR passion?

p.s. If you’d like to celebrate the passionate, authentic women of Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, please come to our Public ReadAround on Sunday, May 18, from 2-4 p.m., at the fabulous Coastal Occasions in Jacksonville Beach!  More details here.