with Miriam Hall
June 28 / 7:00 PM - June 30 / 6:00 PM
I have written and read since I was in primary school, when I learned that fiction could carry me away from difficult struggles at home. Poetry saved me from my father’s death in middle school, and plays softened the harsh realities of my high school experience.
But it wasn’t until after college that I discovered there was another way to approach writing. Writing not just for writing’s sake, not just as something to be edited, finished, published; writing also as a process, a practice. My first teacher, Paula Novotnak, taught me first and foremost that “Practice makes Practice, not Perfection.”
She was the first person to create for me an environment of raw creativity I felt I could rely on, week after week, as a safe container for whatever needed to emerge. Learning to abide by the creative process, all of its ups and downs, resistance and flow, is essential if we want creativity to really work in our lives.
On this weekend retreat we will work with Walking Meditation, Contemplative Writing (writing and listening) and Sitting Meditation. The writing is on a theme, with guiding questions. The writing is without break and often subconscious. The second half is spent sharing and/or listening to each other. The Creative Writing and Compassionate Listening are inexorably linked, which becomes apparent to all who practice over time.
Compassion comes out of Buddhist teachings, but can apply to any religious belief or philosophical approach. It is a common core for all of us. All of our relationships, activities, creative or otherwise, need compassion in order to truly benefit the world. The practice of listening, being listened to, and reflecting back to each other is perilously rare in our modern world.
Through the mixture of practices of stillness and sharp awareness, our writing begins to sharpen and deepen, and, most importantly, we begin to connect with ourselves and each other as human beings with real hearts and real stories.
Miriam Hall is a senior Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography, Contemplative Writing and Shambhala Art instructor. She teaches in North America and Europe, and frequently publishes articles related to her teaching online at elephant journal.
To register: If you are based in the UK, you can make a cheque deposit payment of £50 to:
London Shambhala Mediation Centre
27 Belmont Close
Please write " Contemplative Writing" on the back of the cheque and enclose your address and e-mail.
Cost: course fee: £150, Friday evening taster: £20, concessions are available on application
Timings: Friday 7pm registration. Saturday & Sunday 9.30am-5.30pm
For further information, accommodation and concessions and please email: firstname.lastname@example.org