If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are interested in looking inward. But how do we make time for this, especially in our busy world? And how can we justify this attention?
I remember being at a New Year’s Eve party maybe fifteen years ago—most of us were in our early thirties, beginning to solidify our adult lives.
We were going around in a circle, saying what we wanted to focus on for the year, and one friend said, “This year I’m going to focus on myself more.”
He meant his statement as a joke. After all, he was a struggling to be in a serious relationship, and part of that struggle was to listen better, to not always put himself first. He thought it was funny to suggest that he’d be more narcissistic.
But I wondered whether, in fact, what my friend really did need was more attention to himself—just in a healthier way.
We live in a culture that often cannot distinguish between healthy and unhealthy self attention. A narcissist focuses on his outward needs, appearances and gratifications. Blocked from his own inner life, a narcissist doesn’t recognize the inner lives of others; this is dangerous for the narcissist and everyone else (and yes, this is relevant to contemporary politics.)
Healthy self attention, by contrast, is being able to be with oneself, with whatever arises, with curiosity and compassion. This attention actually makes us more available for others, more present in our lives and more able to be our best selves.
But because many of us associate self-attention with narcissism, we don’t know how to focus on ourselves in healthy ways, and so we miss out on a chance to really know ourselves and to wake up to the great miracle of who we are in the world.
In fact, many of our blocks—in life, in our creativity, in our relationships and at work—come from the ways in which we cannot fully be with ourselves.
And many of the imbalances in our culture come from our inherited discomfort with ourselves.
What would happen if you took more time to get more comfortable with yourself, to sit, to listen, to tune into your creativity, to attend to your body, to move, to relax, to wake up? What would it be like if you could justify taking the time and energy to do that? Even if you’re a regular meditator, are there parts of your being, your wholeness, that you’re overlooking?
This week I’m offering you a short meditation and writing prompt that invites you to come into your light and wholeness. It’s guides you through a five minute meditation and ten minutes of writing. (Go to the bottom of this email)
And please join me for some of my upcoming events, in which I offer a variety of ways to get through whatever is blocking you so that you can come into greater wholeness, creativity and energy. Because paradoxically, when we take the time to be with ourselves, we end of having more time, energy, spaciousness and flow for everything else in our lives.
Next week, August 4th I’ll be leading a three hour Writing Through Blocks workshopat Grub Street. https://grubstreet.org/findaclass/class/writing-through-blocks/
The weekend of August 18-20 I’ll be leading a full weekend retreat on living from our center, designed to nourish you through writing, yoga and meditation.
And my online course Align Your Story, also designed to nourish you through writing, yoga and meditation, is open for enrollment, and now, when you sign up you get immediate access to the course. (See the link to the newly designed page here: www.alignyourstory.com)
See more events below and, as always, reach out just to say hi or with any questions.
Align Your Story Course
NEW POLICY: when you enroll in the class you have immediate access to the online material so you can start this summer! Conference calls will start again in September.
Writing, yoga and meditation course to get through blocks, integrate mind body and spirit
and give you tools to write what you want—and need—to write.
NOW OPEN FOR EARLY BIRD DISCOUNTED REGISTRATION.
Writing Through Blocks
Friday, August 4th 10:30-1:30
Grub Street, Boston
Living From Your Center: Integrating Mind, Body and Spirit
August 18-20 Full Weekend Retreat
Copper Beech Institute, West Hartford CT
Treat yourself to a full weekend of self care, integration and growth
with writing, yoga and meditation.
Writing and Kundalini Yoga Workshop
August 30th 7-9pm
Beverly, MA (more information to come)
In Person Writing Workshops:
Fall 2017. Cambridge, MA
Reach out to me for details and to reserve a spot. Classes will fill fast.
Where the Social and Personal Meet
6 Thursdays, from 10:30-1:30 starting September 7th
Grub Street, Boson.
Appropriate for writers of all genres.
MEDITATION AND WRITING PROMPT
I hope you’re having a good Monday! I spent last week at Kripalu assisting at the second annual narrative medicine conference, which was wonderful!
At the heart of the conference was the insight that the stories we tell have the power to heal—and also to harm—us.
This was so exciting to me, because the whole week helped me flesh out many of the ideas that I’ve been coming to these past years, but that are rarely articulated.
The stories that we tell and our imaginative life are not disconnected from our bodies. Quite the opposite! The stories that we tell and the way we see and imagine ourselves and our world, directly affect how we feel—both individually and socially.
I’ll give you two snippets of research that I loved learning about:
This week we were also lucky to hear from a truly dynamic, inspirational Minister, Dr Jacqui Lewis, who reminded us that racism is itself a story—or rather, a lie. And yet, that social “story” affects the health of millions of Americans (almost all health indices are lower for blacks in America than for whites). And so, through the power of the stories we tell, we can literally affect the health and wellbeing of individuals and of society.
Similarly, the stories we tell about, for example, plastic or non organic fertilizers or about our past or our future also affect our health.
Our stories matter, and they are all interconnected.
I’d love to connect with you and hear how the stories you tell—or don’t tell—affect your body and your world.
And I’d love to work with you.
Because a number of people asked me to join my online course Align Your Story this summer, I have a new policy in which you get immediate access to the whole course when you sign up, and then we will have weekly conference calls starting in the early fall.
The course walks you through lessons to get comfortable with and trust your own voice, learn from great writers, and connect mind and body through yoga and meditation—which are taught through video and audio recordings.
You can see more here (I’ve updated and redesigned the page—check it out!).
If you sign up now, there is a 20% early bird special. And if you sign up with a friend you each get an extra 15 % discount.
Reach out with any questions. And see more ways to connect with me and my offerings below.
I’m writing on my last day in Italy before flying home. It’s been a lovely vacation—lots of really nice family time in beautiful locations. From Lucca (where Eric and I spent 10 weeks 18 years ago, and where we conceived Gabriel at the end of that summer) to Chianti, Bologna, Verona, Venice and Lake Garda, we’ve had a wonderful time!
This trip was largely about looking out: to the views, the colors, the sites. It was about being available to my family. And it was about absorbing different experiences.
I try to incorporate some mindful meditation and exercise into my life no matter where I am, and to balance the inward and outward focus. But it’s also true that different periods have different intensities—like different seasons. We’re taught to eat a well balanced diet every day, but in fact, strawberries are only really ripe in early spring, and so traditionally people would eat seasonally and get their nutrients seasonally.
These past weeks I’ve filled up on some of my favorite things—travel, family, exploring different cultures—and I’ll store up these experiences for the rest of the year.
Next month, I’ll be leading a full weekend retreat that focuses on some of my other favorite things: yoga, meditation and writing and inner centering. Sometimes more intense retreats can help us fill and store up on what we need to find our center and remain grounded.
If you want a weekend of inner alignment at the end of the summer, before the rush of fall begins again, I hope you’ll join me!
The weekend is designed to meet you wherever you are. Not comfortable doing yoga? I’ll help you modify, and you can do chair yoga instead. Haven’t written for decades—write in ways that make you feel at ease.
The weekend is about self listening, self acceptance and self love. Held at the beautiful Copper Beech Institute in CT, August 18-20, with delicious home cooked meals and the support of a small, supportive community, it will guide you on a different kind of journey: a journey into your own center. I’d love to see you there! You can see more about the weekend here and see more upcoming events below.
Reach out with any questions.
Emotional Healing & Mindful Writing Blog | Nadia Colburn
I blog about creativity, writing, yoga, meditation, justice, women, the environment and integrated well being for the individual and society.