LETTER FROM NINA
I hope you will join us for the next workshop in the Yoga of Writing series. Our workshops last year – How to Love our Bodies and Eco Grief -- were nourishing and revelatory experiences for many of us. I was deeply moved by the beauty and honesty of the words that emerged and the connections formed between participants. I believe our upcoming workshop Write to Heal will be as powerful.
Write to heal invites you to tap into the power of words to name and transform even our most difficult experiences. Rite to heal is a ritual of healing, a series of steps that initiate a journey of transformation. Right to heal – You have the right to heal – whether from an illness, loss, trauma or the collective grief we are all experiencing in a world transformed by Covid.
Healing became my mantra and top priority after my cancer diagnosis in June, 2020. I needed to search deeply to survive treatment and come back to life. What is healing? I have asked that question every day for the last year and a half. For me, healing was: writing, whether pain and confusion or gratitude and joy. Healing was pranayama when I couldn’t do asana, drumming when I couldn’t dance, humming when I couldn’t sing. Healing was communing with the backyard birds out on the deck when I couldn’t go anywhere else for months at a time. Above all, healing was the relationships with the people in my life and the love I felt for and from them. What is healing? The answer may be different for each of us. And we each have an inner healer who can guide the way, if only we listen.
We also have wise guides who have been there before us. One of my most trusted guides through this time has been dancer and expressive arts pioneer, Anna Halprin. I danced, drew and wrote with Halprin on the deck of that dance temple she created at the base of Mount Tam. After she died in 2021, I began to study with Rosario Sammartino, dancer and movement therapist at the Tamalpa Institute trained by Halprin in her Life/Art Process. Of her approach, Halprin said: “Curing the illness is not the same thing as healing the person.” Western medicine treats physical illness; the healing arts bring back our souls. Like dance, words can be medicine that bring light to dark, life to loss. We may never be the same person we were before, but the healing arts can help us to grow and deepen. Cancer and treatment were a terrible ordeal, especially in the midst of the pandemic – and coming close to death woke me to life. Halprin also said “Cancer is enlightenment at gunpoint.” She knew; she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when she was my age - and then went on to create the Life/Art Process that healed her and thousands of others for the next 50 years.
If you are considering writing with us for the first time, please know you don’t have to a “writer” to participate in these workshops. We all have powerful, unique voices that simply need the invitation, space and time to emerge.
Please feel free to email me or reach out with any questions you might have. I’m happy to chat about the workshops and answer any questions you might have.
I look forward to writing with you.