Lissa M. Cowan helps people become better writers and reconnect to their creativity. She is the author of Milk Fever, a novel, is a Huffington Post blogger and writes regularly for Canadian and U.S. magazines and newspapers. She speaks and writes about writing, storytelling and creativity.
She has been writing and telling stories in one form or another since she was six years old and has received awards for her writing from the University of Victoria’s Writing Department and from The Banff Centre, Alberta. She is an alumna of The Banff Centre and The Victoria School of Writing.
Lissa believes that inspiration for writing can come from anywhere and that lifelong creativity begins by cultivating a deep awareness of ourselves, and our place in the world. She coaches her students to develop the skills to trust their intuition.
She holds a Master of Arts degree in English Studies from l’Université de Montréal and a Harvey Southam Graduate Diploma in Writing and Editing from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She lives part time in Toronto and on Vancouver Island.
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Welcome to Writing the Body.
This course includes writing exercises and audio meditations to help you access the body's wisdom and become a more intuitive and better writer.
Using exercises that connect you to your intuition, and through inspirational quotes and excerpts by poets, mystics and writers, along with writing exercises that I have developed over several years, Writing the Body helps you (as one student said) "feel into the art of writing."
If you're looking to deepen your experience of writing and to allow the body--rather than the mind--to take the lead, then this course is for you.
I tailored the exercises so that students can spend less or more time depending on what interests them.
1) Download the materials and write in the shaded boxes for each exercise.
2) Listen to the meditations for each section. These are found starting in Section 7.
The course includes
Design of course materials by Pam Lostracco, artist, designer, muralist.
Many thanks to Anita Neufeld for her video and editing expertise, and to Christine Gibson of Code N Graphics for her participation as "student" in the film.
Module 1-- Accessing your inner creative source
Where does creativity begin? How does it manifest within us? Oftentimes, we have an idea for a story or poem and work towards what we think the final outcome should be like. Yet only using the mind when we write gives us a narrow view of the creative process. Exercises and readings in this module will encourage you to connect to the body in a way that develops increased awareness and eventually brings your own writing to life. How does it feel in your body when you write? Do you notice any aches, pains or areas that require attention? We will move through these and other questions as you strengthen your connection to your body, enter into a meaningful and loving dialogue with yourself and expand your sensual awareness.
Intentions for Module 1
1. Learn to notice how your body feels when you write.
2. Learn to listen to what your body is telling you and to follow your inner guidance.
3. Explore ways to use your body or intuition to guide the creative process.
4. Develop the ability to write from a deep place of knowing.
Module 2 – Taming the mind voices
If you have ever meditated before then you’ll know how difficult it is to calm your mind. No sooner do we sit down, when we are distracted by our thoughts. When we write there are all kinds of voices that can come up, and not just ones that remind you to buy milk or take out the garbage. Writing is a quiet, solitary activity that creates a sacred and safe space for connecting to your authentic self. Yet our inner voices might not want us to connect to the divine. As an example, they might say that we have no business taking time for ourselves to write. When we learn to acknowledge the voices without letting them run the show and discover the reasons why they are there, we can eventually tune into other more positive and powerful messages conveyed by the body.
Intentions for Module 2
1. Learn to be aware of the parts of yourself that make you feel small.
2. Accept that your voices exist and invite them to partake in your creative process.
3. Practice self-love as you open to your creativeness.
4. Use the voices as a way to strengthen your creative potential.
Module 3 – Listening to the body’s messages
All creative acts begin in the body. Listening to what your body is telling you can help you to develop authentic stories that not only make you come alive but also connect you to others through your writing. Exercises and readings in this module will help you to identify the body’s messages and develop a grounded and vibrant mind-body connection. What are some messages your body is telling you? How can you learn to tune into them and access the body’s wisdom whenever you wish? Here, we will also look at the role of dreams in self-discovery and the creative process.
Intentions for Module 3
1. Practice deep listening.
2. Develop a grounded and vibrant mind-body connection.
3. Use the messages you hear to fuel your writing practice.
4. Learn to access the body’s wisdom whenever you wish.
Module 4 – Body messages as stories
Our bodies are made up of water, fat, muscle and bone, but also memories and stories about our past and of who we are. Being able to access the abundant creative source locked in the body is critical to expanding our creative awareness. Being more connected to our physical experience also allows us to connect more deeply to our characters’ lives and to the worlds they inhabit. We learn to create authentic situations in our writing and to craft stories that ring true to others and to us. As we become better acquainted with our bodies we learn to use the body’s messages as creative nourishment for our writing.
Intentions for Module 4
1. Practice expanding your creative awareness.
2. Connect more deeply to how it feels to simply be.
3. Use the body’s messages as creative nourishment for your writing.
4. Learn to write authentically.
Module 5 – Lifelong creative practice
Committing to the creative process shows self-love and a recognition that we are worthy. When we take time to connect to the body’s wisdom through a creative act such as writing, we discover our true nature. This module will teach you how to develop strategies to ground yourself in the present in order to create your sacred space for self-expression. What items inspire you in your life and how can you use them to your creative advantage? Perhaps you have an inspiring statue or favourite pen you can bring into your writing space. Or maybe you have found that writing by hand rather than on a computer connects you in a more direct way to your body and its wisdom. Remember that there is no difference between the spiritual and physical realm; they are one in the same. When we nurture a deeper connection to material life we begin to uncover the life of the body and to forge a true relationship to the world--our divine birthright.
Intentions for Module 5
1. Learn to see what is beneath the surface of things.
2. Draw on your stories and those of your ancestors for inspiration.
3. Learn to view your dreams as connecting you to your true nature.
4. Commit to showing up creatively every day.
A brief introduction of materials for study. Please note that there are dozens more amazing resources out there. This is just a start!
This exercise will begin to make you aware of the connection between body awareness and creativity.
This exercise explores the 'cradle of our being.'
Do you have a creativity mantra? This exercise explores the connection between our thoughts and body sensations.
This is a writing exercise to help you de-stress.
This exercise will get you ready and limbered up for writing.
This exercise looks at the importance of your senses when creating.
This exercise looks at the colour, depth and texture of emotion and how it interacts with the body.
This exercise helps you connect more readily to your heart.
This exercise teaches how to access the body's wisdom with greater ease.
This exercise is about taking time to receive the world around you without judging or reacting.
This exercise helps you learn to use body awareness in your writing.
The exercise helps you begin to imagine a character for your story.
This exercise helps you learn to tune in and receive your stories.
This exercise helps you connect more deeply to the creative source within you.
This exercise is about art's ability to help you delve deeply into your emotions and to encounter unknown parts of yourself.
This is an excellent course to discover how to use the body, and the untapped intuition found within, to connect with writing. There were days when I spent more time with the course than I set out to, because I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I loved that this course allowed me to be in the flow and freely expressing myself without judgment.
This course exceeded my already high expectations. Cowan is so thorough in her teaching, I highly recommend to anyone looking to expand their creativity and their own understanding.
If you fear you're not creative, this course will show you that, in fact, you are but you haven't yet realized it. –Sergiu FUNIERU