How are you inhabiting your own unique consciousness? 
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Dear Good People of the Mat & Pen~

I hope you are well and tending to your inner landscape in this winter of cold and snow. I just completed my ten day residency that begins my second semester of poetry graduate school, and like any immersion, my experience spanned the entire spectrum from ecstatic bliss to deep self doubt. I'll share a story. If you know me and my writing, I tend to work with a looser poetic line that ebbs on prose. I like to tell the narrative through emotive image combined with abstract thought--the kind that we might think of as the "larger mind" witness thinking our yoga practice facilitates & fosters. I ran into some trouble with this in my first semester of grad school; I had a professor who is very traditional in his own poetry writing and teaching of poetic form, and he was often most concerned with both the form and the "sound" of the language in my poems versus the experience and meaning. Intention is a big writing value of mine, and so, the poem's meaning and my own intention need to be in symbiotic relationship. And I'm also interested in exploring further the ways form creates the framework for how we communicate & experience creative content. 

The similarities and differences in writerly values between my professor and I opened up dialogue that was both uncomfortable and productive, and again gave me the opportunity to examine what writing intention means to me, and exactly what mine are. To my surprise and my slightly panicked "not again," when I met with my newly assigned mentor for the second semester, intention became a hot issue again. 

I wasn't entirely sure why this was still happening---both being made to feel like my interest in more organic forms and ways of expression were being criticized, and this overall experience of wondering if I was in the right place. I had in fact been thinking about another program where contemplative thought and spiritual practice are part of the foundational elements of their academic poetic approach. Different I assumed from the cynicism I saw wash over my current mentor's face when I used the phrase "mystic poets." And yet, if one looks at the vocal, organic, rhapsodic & ecstatic poetry of the Beat poets for example, that is a poetry that welcomes and gives voice to the entirety of our human experience which is also of great importance to me--sacred, mundane & profane themselves carrying their own mysticism. 

A few days after my mentor meeting, I was in a seminar called "What kind of Fool are You?" and I was so grateful for something that spoke to the occult and to creative process rather than just the formation of tangible product. Again, the outwardly immeasurable & experiential are a *HUGE* value of mine in both my own writing, and my writing & yoga teaching. At the end of the seminar, we read Shakespeare's play King Lear and I volunteered to read the part of the fool; maybe in the hopes of embodying some of his wisdom. We were also handed a black & white photocopy of the very first card of the Tarot deck "THE FOOL," sun shining, heart open, holding a rose, and in surrender to whatever experience he may encounter.  The professor defined the fool as: "The spirit in search of experience."

So I'm wondering: where might this openness to whatever obstacles you are encountering either on or off the mat or page serve you? How might they be your own spirit in search of human experience? And where does opening to the fullness of experience at times feel impossible to put into tangible language? Where do we or others shut down when we are categorizing people or things as prose, poetry, sacred, secular, mystical or mundane? How can form and meaning continue to co-habitatate, alongside a sense of creatively expressive freedom?

I'm exploring this all right alongside you. 

Creating Our Way Forward 

I'm teaching a few writing classes this winter/spring at GrubStreet in Boston and would love to have you join me as we explore the questions above, generate some new drafts of poetry and prose, and learn about elements of creative writing craft.

Jumpstart Your Poetry: Friday,  February 23 10:30am-1:30pm 

Embodied Poetics: Friday, March 23 10am-4pm {registration should be live in the next 1-2 weeks} 

Writing With the Self as Witness: Saturday April 28, 10:30am-1:30pm {registration will be live in the next few weeks} 

Each class has room for 15 students, and they tend to fill quickly. If you are interested in me dropping you an email when registration for the March and April classes is live, please hit "Reply" and let me know.

Group Yoga Classes

I'm in conversation about a weekly group yoga class, please stay tuned!  
To Your Unique Consciousness & Forever Flowing Ink,

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