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What is Embodied Writing?
When we inhabit our bodies, we include more of our selves in our lives. Our writing becomes sparky and full figured. Memories acquire flavor and smell. Our interior lives describe themselves with new richness. And when we combine some of this vital, embodied writing with deep listening? Magic.
Blending meditation and gentle movement with writing exercises and (optional) sharing, Embodied Writing explores what happens in our writing when we invite our whole selves into the room.
Johanna’s talk on Embodied Writing at Pecha Kucha Portland, May 19, 2016:
What participants are saying about Embodied Writing:
“Truly a magical experience. The power generated through this shared writing & witnessing has been a life changer.”
“The way the class was designed helped me feel at ease and willing to explore.”
“True heart space – thank you.”
“I loved your openness, permissiveness and total acceptance and lack of judgment. I felt safe right from the start. I loved that it was a whole day retreat so I could really sink in and be fully here.”
“A lovely size group. I love this space. It feels intimate and sacred.”
“I love the whole premise of the retreat, bringing words and embodied presence together and inviting that into our lives outside of this space. I appreciated the back and forth between body movement and written word, always balancing the two…I think the opportunity to keep dipping into this work and the growing trust within a group is profound. You offer such total presence and integrity to the circle, you create a rich and safe space for discovery. The world needs this work…!”
Backstory & sample work
For nearly ten years I directed a national network of youth radio groups for the Public Radio Exchange (PRX.org). I helped hundred of young people around the country use the medium of radio to tell the stories of their lives. My students astounded me. They spoke of heartbreak and hunger, of pregnancy and escape. Telling these stories changed them. Changed all of us.
But what I discovered was this: Yes, part of the transformation came in making the stories. Students chose how and what to voice. They honed writing, interviews, editing. They worked hard to polish the pieces to ready them for broadcast. But much of the magic was in getting heard. They represented their version of their lives to a real audience.
Whether I’m teaching or offering a bodywork session, I’m after this kind of creation and presence. We need to share our story with an audience. Kind witness gives us a different kind of permission to embody our stories, to make new choices in our unfolding lives.
Through all of this, writing helps me find my voice; it’s a place for incubation, discovery and play.
Some sample work:
- The Root Therapy blog
- Teaching Writing with Radio, English Journal, Vol. 104, No. 5, May 2015
- Everyone Should be able to see Bully, HuffingtonPost, March 2012
- Portrait of the Bully as a Young Man, Transom, March 2012
- Youth Radio Specials from PRX, broadcast nationally, 2007-2012