Tag Archives: journal writing workshops

Swindon Celebrates International Women’s Day 8 March 2014

IWD2014Poster

Once again the women of Swindon are gathering to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

A packed programme of workshops, art and craft displays, talks, poetry recitals, singing and dancing is planned to take place around the Central Library and Art Galleries adjacent to Regent’s Circus.

The theme of the day is RESPECT NOT VIOLENCE – taking a stand against violence against women – and the Balloon Launch at 1pm will represent the hopes of Swindon’s men and women that RESPECT will always win through.

I’ll be running a short journaling workshop at 1.30 on the 2nd floor of the Library – so come along and learn how to discover your inner icon through reflective writing.

Look forward to seeing you!

 

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How journaling can reconnect us with our community

Walk into any good quality stationers and browse their journal shelf and you will doubtless find a notebook designated as a Travel Journal. This is for recording thoughts and reflections in places we visit, on holiday, or as part of a conscious effort to be ‘away from it all’, in places that aren’t part of our usual itinerary.

But what about journaling in places that are already familiar to us? That form part of the landscape we already call home? What can that do – to us? And to the place?

Yesterday I had the privilege of leading a group of journal writers through a short workshop in response to our surroundings. These were Old Town Gardens in Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. We used the Bowls Clubhouse as our base – whose members could not have been more accommodating or welcoming – and enjoyed an hour and a half of companionable journaling and reflective discussion.

First, everyone was invited to choose an inquiry from our specially created washing line:

Washing line of inquiry

Then we all embarked on a meditative stroll around the park, allowing our bodies and our minds to slow down and notice what we notice – using our senses, paying attention to whatever caught our eye, picking up “objets trouves” along the way, seeing how our perceptions were affected by the inquiry we had selected – or not! Sometimes called psycho-geography, this is a way of seeing how our environment affects us, how we interact with it and what we take away from it physically, emotionally and psychologically.

Upon our return we enjoyed a few minutes writing about our experience – what we noticed, what memories were evoked, what was important to us about the place, what connects us to it, what feelings and emotions arose, what insights occured.

And then we shared something of our reflections in a respectful and open discussion.

Everyone went away feeling completely relaxed and connected – to each other, and with renewed fondness for the place. We all experienced something of the power of community journaling, and glimpsed the potential of how this type of shared mindfulness, through the medium of reflective writing,  might help us re-shape our relationship with the environment, and with the places we each call home.

Bandstand

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Journaling in Town Gardens!

The Town Gardens in Spring by Jane Milner Barry   If you’re looking for some extra journaling inspiration during this hot spell why not come along to Town Gardens Bowls Clubhouse in Swindon, Wiltshire on Saturday 27 July, to try out a bit of psycho-geographical journaling with me and artist Bea Menier?

Come and explore what your environment means to you, what you notice as you stroll around the park, and what your journal has to tell you about it all!

Bea and I will have the kettle on from 9.45am, ready to set you off on your journaling adventure between 10 and 11.30 am, pursuing a line of inquiry of your choosing. Just bring along a notebook you love to write in and a pen it gives you pleasure to use. Hope to see you there!

(The workshop is being offered as part of Town Gardens’ Little Big Festival, with thanks to Josie Williams of Commonweal School and to Town Gardens Bowls Club for their kind hospitality in allowing us to use their clubhouse. Also thanks to Jane Milner-Barry for her beautiful image of Town Gardens Bandstand.)

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News of summer and autumn journal writing events in Swindon

The Town Gardens in Spring by Jane Milner Barry

Image of Old Town Gardens Bandstand courtesy of Jane Milner-Barry

If you’re in Swindon, Wiltshire this July through to October and you feel like spicing up your reflective writing, discovering new creative inspiration and meeting new friends try out these 3 journaling opportunities to give your creativity a boost and ease you into the darker months.

In July and September it’s time to explore what place means to you with two free workshops, as part of Town Gardens’ Little Big Festival,  guiding you towards a new reflective and artistic appreciation of your environment.

Then from September to the end of October embark on your own voyage of reflective self-discovery with a guided series of workshops exploring the exercises in The Journal Writer’s Handbook. Treat yourself to the very special feeling of companionable, stove-side journaling at Lower Shaw Farm. It’ll be just the thing to keep the autumnal chill at bay.

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Need a reason to sign up for the autumn workshop series?

Sometimes we receive feedback which is just too good not to share. Here’s an extract from an email that I received from one of the participants in the Spring workshop series, who articulates so well the impact I intend for people who join the programme – to realise their own inner strength through journaling.

Here goes:

“It was an excellent course. Each night I explored something different. It broadened my horizons and certainly inspired me to carry on writing.

“What I liked most about this course was that it was a mind-opener. It gave me many different ways to approach journaling. The one that’s freshest in my mind is the use of cards to represent skills, talents, interests, values and commitments, as we did on the final evening. I found that the “value” card I picked up was not at all relevant to the “commitment”. This led me to reflect on whether any of my values would have been relevant to that commitment. I found it was a very useful exercise. Earlier on in the course, drawing a distinction between inner and outer causes was great. It turned the positive tap on as it made me realise that I had great inner strength.

“Writing with fellow journal writers was an enjoyable experience, too. Though we were not obliged to share, we often had the impulse to share.

“I also had some fun moments. On the night we were doing metaphors, I picked up the kazoo, which to me was a most obscure object. It also failed to make a sound. I struggled to write anything meaningful. In the end, I started with, ‘Life is a kazoo. It’s narrow at both ends and big in the middle, with a lot input from the top.’ I laughed all the way home. When I got home, I carried on with kick-off sentences like, ‘Life is a bowl of soup’, ‘Life is a lantern’ and ‘Life is a smartphone’ … Most of them ended up as nonsense – but entertaining nonsense. However, a few of them worked and helped me when I was stuck.

“I shall certainly carry on journaling. I have gotten into the habit of carrying my journal with me, and I have altered the seating in my room so I can more readily sit at my desk when thoughts come to me. I find journaling so rewarding. I often feel as though the more I write, the more threads there are for me to explore. Among other things, I have started a journey rediscovering my past. Before the course, I’d never felt comfortable reflecting on the past and had even convinced myself that I had forgotten most of it. However, our past is what makes us who we are. I have started to write about how I grew up. As I write, more and more memories come back to me. I am finding it a very positive exercise.

“I think I need some more help writing to my future self, but I’ve been surprised by the wonderful feeling of my pen running smoothly over the pages. As for the venue, it’s hard to find a better place for writers in Swindon than Lower Shaw Farm.”

Wow.

If this whets your appetite go right ahead and reserve your place on the contact form on the Events page.

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Book early for Autumn 2013 workshops and receive a free signed copy of The Journal Writer’s Handbook

We had such a blast at the last course which finished last Wednesday 10th April that I went straight ahead and rebooked the venue – the inimitable Lower Shaw Farm, the jewel in Swindon’s life-long learning crown – for an Autumn series.

I already know that places are in demand for the next course so if you’re interested in picking up a notebook and deepening your journal writing practice don’t delay. Fill out the contact form on the Journaling Events page right here and book your place!

Here’s the low-down, so grab your diary:

Dates: Monday 2 September – Monday 21 October 2013
Place: Lower Shaw Farm, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK
Time: 7.30pm – 9.30pm
Cost of programme: £80 per person payable on booking.

Don’t forget, EARLY BIRD bookings confirmed by 31 July 2013 will receive a free signed copy of The Journal Writer’s Handbook.

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Another radio interview

Tune in to BBC Radio Swindon on Tuesday 5 Feb at 2.45pm to hear me talking to Sue Davies about the upcoming journal writing workshops I’m leading, starting on 20 February for 8 weeks at the fantastic Lower Shaw Farm here in Swindon. To find out more about the workshops click here.

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