TLA Classes

We offer online classes to help you deepen your understanding of Transformative Language Arts, explore the craft of various genres and arts related to TLA, and develop your livelihood, community work, and service related to TLA.

Designed and taught by leading teachers, transformative language artists and activists, and master facilitators (want to be one of them?), these classes offer you ample opportunities to grow your art of words, your business and service, and your conversation with your life work.

The online nature of the classes allows you to participate from anywhere in the world (provided you have internet access) at any time of the day while, and at the same time, the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the classes helps students find community, inspiration, and greater purpose.

While each class is unique to the teacher's style, all classes include hands-on activities (writing, storytelling, theater, spoken word, visual arts, music and/or other prompts), plus great resources, readings, and guidance. We use the online educational platform, Wet Ink for our classes. Our classes generally combine a combination of in-person meetings on Zoom and asynchronous gatherings via Wet Ink:

  • Our Community Online Classes have a set period of time, ranging from four to six weeks with a small cohort of 5 to 25 people. Every Wednesday a new weekly module opens for you to engage with on your own time, with forums and opportunities to share, interact, and receive feedback from peers and the teacher. If the teacher wants to schedule a live meeting, they will coordinate directly with enrolled participants. Classes remain open and available to enrolled participants for at least a week after the class end date.

Enrollment Cost

Classes are priced by the number of weeks they run, and members get a $20 discount. Early Bird rates end two weeks before the class start date, and registration increases by $40 thereafter.

Each registration is for one participant only, and all classes, unless arrangements are approved beforehand by the teacher and the TLA Network managing director, are for people age 18 and up.

NOTE: When there is a sale, the class page only displays the non-member discounted price. If you are a member, it will show the member discount once you start the registration process.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Cancellations: A nonrefundable fee of 20% is included in each registration. No cancellations after the class begins. In the case of extenuating circumstances, please contact us.

Low Enrollment Cancellations: Classes that do not meet a minimum enrollment may be canceled a minimum of 3 days prior to the first class meeting with full refunds for all registrants.

Incomplete: Students seeking the certificate in TLA Foundations who cannot complete a class due to extenuating circumstances may be granted a discounted registration on the next available offering of that class. To be eligible for the discount students must communicate their circumstance to the teacher as soon as possible.

Community Online Classes

    • 07 September 2022
    • (EDT)
    • 12 October 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Online
    • 6
    Register


    UPDATED DESCRIPTION!

    A SIX WEEK PLAY LAB & PERFORMANCE SHOWCASE (Oct. 12, 2022, 6:30 p.m. ET) ON ZOOM 

    This six-week webinar is designed for new & experienced writers to write dynamic short monologues for the stage. Participants will generate & polish new monologues that are ready to be performed as staged readings in showcase, (online with audience) and submitted to play festivals and publishers. PLEASE NOTE: The WEEKLY ZOOM PLAY LABS WILL BE SCHEDULED ACCORDING TO PARTICIPANTs WHO REGISTER.

    Our primary way of working will be a weekly LIVE ZOOM WEBINAR PLAY LAB experience. Writers will bring DRAFTS of new monologues to be read out loud (by guest actors) and discussed for feedback & revision. Additionally, in Wet.Ink, the course includes six learning modules delivered weekly (including writing prompts for those who need them). In Wet.lnk, you can upload drafts of writing you are working on for comments by instructor & peers. The course culminates in a Showcase of works in process, performed by actors, via Zoom on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 6:30 p.m. ET

    OVERVIEW:

    There’s beauty and meaning to mine from your life story, and this workshop will help you artistically express what you’ve overcome and achieved, and creatively share your experience to benefit others through the medium of theatre. You’ll learn how to write successful dramatic monologues based on your life that are personally meaningful, emotionally satisfying, and relevant and engaging for an audience. In class, through thematic writing prompts and creative exploration, you’ll develop your ordinary and extraordinary life experiences into powerful, dramatic monologues that can be performed – by you or an actor – with universal appeal. In class meetings will present elements of dramatic structure and explore the artistic qualities necessary for an effective dramatic monologue.

    We’ll explore the role of conflict, plot, communicating subtext, voice, narrative, and the importance of set-up. New writing will be generated in and out of class, shared in class and aspects of revision will be presented and practiced.

    SPECIAL FEATURE: The course will culminate in an online SHOWCASE of works in progress generated by participants, featuring readings by actors, on WEDNESDAY, October 12, 2022, 6:30 p.m. ET

    “Memoir as Monologue taught me the power of my own story. Kelly’s guidance on creating effective drama, her concrete feedback on improving my work, the nurturing environment she created for participants and the excellent resources she brought to the table opened a whole new world for me. This was one of the most effective online classes I’ve taken.”  Diane Glass, 2016 class member.

    Read an interview here with Kelly on this dynamic class. 

    Week by Week 

    Week One: Memoir vs. Monologue: How Dramatic Writing Makes the Leap from Page to Stage

    All kinds of expressive writing, from diary/journal writing to memoir to poetry, foster healing and personal growth. Writing for the stage offers a uniquely imaginative process for healing and transformation as well. We’ll explore how writing for the stage differs from writing a memoir or personal essay. You’ll learn tools for adapting personal story for dramatic writing as a theatrical experience that engages an audience. Elements of dramatic structure will be introduced.

    Week Two: The Art of Crafting Set-Up

    We’ll explore taking a short piece of memoir and shaping it theatrically, focusing on developing an effective dramatic set-up. Crafting an effective monologue  set up involves imagination and immediacy, a distinctive voice, cohesive narrative structure, meaningful theme, and cohesive plot. We’ll explore personal themes of life choices, mistakes, roads taken and not taken, encountering internal and external obstacles, new beginnings, thresholds, rites of passage as the source for crafting dramatic monologues.

    Week Three: Conflict – Experiencing Obstacles, Crafting Resilience

    Conflict is a universal experience, a fact of life, and a necessary element of dramatic writing. How we meet it, how we shape it, how we share it is the stuff of wise living and great storytelling. We’ll experiment and explore conflict as a personal encounter and literary device and as a necessary stage of any journey toward wholeness. This session will explore how to artistically construct compelling narratives from personal conflicts, shaping the experience of resilience to involve and inspire an audience.

    Week Four: Showing Versus Telling – Voice as a Vehicle for Dramatic Action

    The memoir writer uses written description and authorial narration to illustrate setting, character, internal thoughts, external actions, feelings, motivations, needs, conflicts and consequences. The dramatic writer of monologue must craft, from the voice of a single character/speaker, compelling speech and gesture to show, rather than tell a story. We’ll explore how monologue presents a speaker’s needs, motivation and conflict in a way that involves the audience by establishing a “willing suspension of disbelief.”


    Week Five: Creative Tools for Revising & Fine-Tuning

    Focus on how the process of revision moves from page to stage - and stage back to page; additional thematic writing prompts for use with writing already generated in class; discussing strategies for going deeper; dealing with creative blocks and putting it all together – theme, arc, voice, stagecraft.


    Week Six: The Art of Collaboration – Presenting Your Monologue

    Whether or not you plan on personally performing your dramatic monologue or putting it in the hands of an actor, your writing will take on additional dimension in the journey toward sharing it with an audience. We’ll explore aspects of collaborating with a director, an actor, a designer, producer or publisher in the process of reaching an audience as well as resources for finding potential collaborators.


    Whether or not you plan on personally performing your dramatic monologue or putting it in the hands of an actor, your writing will take on additional dimension in the journey toward sharing it with an audience. We’ll explore aspects of collaborating with a director, an actor, a designer, producer or publisher in the process of reaching an audience as well as resources for finding potential collaborators.


    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is ideal for people who do word arts–writing, storytelling, spoken word, theater, and other forms of TLA–and are ready to put themselves out there more in the world and in their work. Because of the innovate exercises and engaging discussions, this class would be very appropriate for both new and seasoned word artists who want to learn more, and find greater community together.


    This is an online class with weekly assignments in Wet Ink, including three, bi-weekly, webinars on Zoom (scheduled during the first week according to best availability of participants).


    PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL ONLINE SHOWCASE where works in progress will be presented as readings, and performed by trained actors, on October 13, 2022.


    PLAY LAB FEE: This Webinar charges a small additional fee for actor stipends. Guest actors are in attendance at the three Play Labs and final Showcase to perform works in process for the writers. 


    Format

    Each week will consist of engaging content designed to spark personal reflection, discussion and dynamic writing to be shared via the online teaching platform, Wet InkThe Wet Ink platform allows writers to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions. 

    The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email  tlan.coordinator@gmail.com.

    Each week will consist of engaging content designed to spark personal reflection, discussion and dynamic writing to be shared in Wet InkEach week will also include various texts to help us explore disability and creative modalities that can help us deal with and manage chronic illness and disability, and will include discussions of the readings and our personal experiences, as well as creative writing prompts. Students should plan to spend 3-4 hours per week on the class. However, because our spoons vary day to day, the class will be formatted in a way that is flexible for working when you can and resting when you need.


    Participants should expect to spend no more than 2 hours or so on the weekly writing prompt, revisions, reading and commenting on the work of others, viewing and participating in live discussion, and sharing works in progress live. We’ll create a safe and supportive environment, offering respectful support that inspires the development of every writer’s voice.


    About the Teacher

    Kelly DuMar, M.Ed. is a poet, playwright, and workshop leader who generates enlivening writing experiences for new and experienced writers. This is the fifth time Kelly has offered this monologue class for TLAN. Author of three poetry collections, girl in tree barkTree of the Apple, and All These Cures, Kelly is also author of Before You Forget— The Wisdom of Writing Diaries for Your Children. Kelly’s award winning plays have been produced around the US and Canada, and are published by dramatic publishers. She founded and produced the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights at Wellesley College for twelve years, and she is a past president of Playwright's Platform, Boston. For the past five years, Kelly has led the week-long Play Lab Intensive at the annual conference of the International Women's Writing Guild. Kelly is a certified psychodramatist, former psychotherapist, and Fellow in the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama. She founded Let’s Talk TLA, a bi-monthly tele-conference and poetry open mic for members of the Transformative Language Arts Association. Currently, Kelly serves on the board & faculty of The International Women’s Writing Guild. Kelly inspires readers of #NewThisDay - her daily photo-inspired blog - with her mindful reflections on a writing life. You can learn more about Kelly, at www.kellydumar.com.

    • 14 September 2022
    • (EDT)
    • 26 October 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Online
    • 9
    Register

    In this fun and interactive class, we’ll explore journey narratives that go beyond the traditional hero’s journey. Collaborative, inclusive paths that have been identified include the heroine’s journey, the journey of integrity, the seeker’s journey, and the healer’s journey, each encompassing their own narrative arc and distinct beats to their paths. These narratives tend to be more expansive, including the behavior and plight of the individual yet elevating the focus to another level, involving each person’s interaction with others and effects on society at large. For six lovely weeks, we’ll investigate and discuss each of these journeys through their appearance in literature, film, fairy tales from around the globe, and the lives of public figures, supplementing our study with stimulating poetry, videos, and podcasts. We’ll engage with creative and expressive writing prompts, SoulCollage®, metacognitive drawing (no artistic ability required), and other interactive exercises and activities designed to gain a deeper understanding of these journeys for use in our creative projects, with equal emphasis given to how aspects of these narratives exist within our own lives. Our premise will be that as we discover where we are in our own journey, we can best help ourselves and offer our gifts both to those closest to us and to efforts for social change that are calling our names. Join us for the journey!

    Week by Week

    Each week will include readings, thoughtful discussions, writing prompts, journaling exercises, and other imaginative activities related to the designated journey, via the Wet Ink platform. Relevant videos and podcasts will be shared for further reflection. By focusing on the specified narrative arc in literature, film, and the lives of public figures, participants will be encouraged to explore how aspects of these journeys exist within their own lives and how the gifts of the journey can be effectively used to manifest social change in their own environments. The three 90-minute zoom meetings will offer additional opportunities for creative interaction and playful activities in real time for further investigation into each journey’s pathway. Readings will be made available online and will include stories, essays, poetry, and excerpts from work by Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Lesser, Gail Carriger, Albert Murray, Christopher Vogler, Toko-pa Turner, Carol S. Pearson, and Maria Tatar, amongst others. Conversation and the giving of feedback to written work will be honored and guided by principles of Amherst Writers and Artists and The Circle Way.

    Week 1: We’ll begin by giving attention to the well-known hero’s journey, as a foundation and start-point for our exploration of more inclusive and collaborative journey narratives. We’ll also look at the journey of the creative who is working towards change, giving participants the opportunity to think about the material on a more personal level.

    Zoom #1: Our first meeting will include an introductory activity, followed by a review of the hero’s journey and a discussion of the need for other journey narratives. Through poetry reading, free-writing to various prompts, and mind-mapping, we’ll generate excitement and chart our path for the weeks ahead.

    Week 2: This week continues with a focus on the heroine’s journey, as developed by Maureen Murdock and Victoria Lynn Schmidt, as well as the corresponding journeys of people from marginalized and oppressed groups.

    Week 3: We’ll focus on the healing journey this week, described as “a physical and mental/emotional/spiritual paradigm shift that enables protagonists to accept their circumstances and view themselves with compassion.”

    Zoom #2: For our second meeting, we’ll hear from guest speaker Lisa Marchiano—a writer and narrative medicine expert who focuses on the heroine’s journey—to conclude our discussion of the journeys studied in weeks two and three. Following her talk, we’ll engage with writing prompts along with a fun and enlightening metacognitive drawing exercise.

    Week 4: This week’s focus will be the journey of integrity, identified by Nancer Ballard, in which “the protagonist makes a deliberate decision to speak out or take action based on the needs or plight of others,” even though the decision “may have irreparable adverse personal impacts that are beyond the protagonist’s control.” Martin Luther King, Jr. is thought to have dealt with the conflicts of this journey, balancing his call to public service with his love for and duty to his immediate family. 

    Week 5: The seeker’s journey will be the focus of this week, as developed by Savannah Jackson, who has stated “to adjust what you are doing and to seek out something new that works better for you is to take care of yourself. It is how we can live consciously and creatively in an evolving world.” In this context, we’ll discuss Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the offerings of other spiritual seekers as part of our exploration.

    Zoom#3: For our last meeting, we’ll discuss the most recent journeys studied, then use journaling prompts involving favorite films and literature, as well as SoulCollage®, to discover or revisit the themes and journeys that have brought each of us to this current moment and that can serve as guideposts to light our path ahead.

    Week 6: For our final week, participants will contemplate and map out their own individual journeys, e.g. the journey to belonging, which may differ from those surveyed in this class. We’ll also play with the idea of the changing journey, whose path develops based on choices, circumstances, and synchronicity. We’ll conclude on a note of optimism, taking delight in the possibilities that exist for ourselves and the world as a result of renewed commitment to both self-compassion and social change.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class welcomes creatives in any medium, from all levels of experience, who seek to delve into journey narratives for purposes of self-awareness and self-discovery, by way of compelling readings, interactive exercises, and imaginative prompts and activities. Participants looking to then take that knowledge and apply it—by mapping out their individual narrative arcs up to the present and meditating on next steps in their personal lives and efforts for social change—will benefit from this exploration.

    Format

    This is an online class, hosted on the online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as Zoom. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions. 

    The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email tlan.coordinator@gmail.com.

    Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

    Zoom Meetings

    #1 - Saturday, September 17, 2022, 8-9:30 am Pacific Time 

    #2 - Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 4-5:30pm Pacific Time

    #3 - Sunday, October 23, 2022, 8-9:30 am Pacific Time 


    About the Facilitator

    Kimberly Lee (@klcreatrixleft the practice of law some years ago to focus on motherhood, community work, and creative pursuits. A graduate of Stanford University and UC Davis School of Law, she is certified as a workshop facilitator by Amherst Writers & Artists, the Center for Journal Therapy, and SoulCollage®. She has led workshops at numerous retreats and conferences and is a teaching artist with Hugo House and Loft Literary. She serves on the board of the Transformative Language Arts Network and is actively involved with The Center for Intentional Creativity. A former editor and regular contributor at Literary Mama, Kimberly has served on the staffs of Carve and F(r)iction magazines. She holds a certificate in copyediting from UC San Diego Extension and is an active member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and ACES: The Society for Editing. Kimberly’s stories and essays have appeared in publications and anthologies including Minerva Rising, LA Parent, Fresh Ink, Words and Whispers, Toyon, The Ekphrastic Review, Wow! Women on Writing, Read650, Quillkeepers Press, I Am Woman: Expressions of Black Womanhood in America, and elsewhere. Kimberly trusts in the magic and mystery of miracles and synchronicity, and believes that everyone is creative and has unique gifts to share. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three children. See more about her work at kimberlylee.me.

    • 13 October 2022
    • (EDT)
    • 16 October 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Online
    Register

    Our 2022 conference - The Power of Words: Hope is a Discipline - will feature three keynote presentations, more than 30 workshops, panel discussions, performances, constituency groups, celebrations, and more. The conference brings together writers, poets, artists, storytellers, performers, songwriters, community leaders, activists, healers, therapists, educators, health professionals, facilitators, and more, as we turn our collective energies to cultivating the Power of Words in all people, with the goal of transforming our world for the better. 

    This year, as transformative language artists, our work is aimed at inspiring, building unity and connection, sharing perspectives, and moving us collectively towards transitioning in the 21st century from Climate Emergency to Climate Emergence—the emergence of a more balanced, harmonious human relationship with all life on our beloved planet.

    The conference, founded in 2003, features workshops in six tracks: narrative medicine; social change; right livelihood (and making a living through the arts); ecological literacy, engaged spirituality, and performance/writing craft.

    Due to the continuing impact on our community of the pandemic, we will meet online, via Zoom. As always, we prioritize the health, safety, and economic well-being of our community, and look forward to gathering in person as soon as it makes sense to do so.

    Friday's Pre-Conference is open to all Conference attendees for an additional fee. The Pre-Conference will feature workshops and a panel discussion with the keynotes. 

    Pre-Conference 

    Friday, October 14, 10 - 5:30 PM EST

    The Pre-Conference will feature workshops with each of the keynotes. Don't miss the chance to spend the day in an intimate setting, learning from and with these three incredible transformative language artists. 


    The Pre-Conference is available for an additional fee of $130 and is open to all who are registered for the full weekend conference. Registration for the Pre-Conference opens up once you register for the full Power of Words Conference. 

    Power of Words Conference

    Friday, October 14, 6:30 - 8 PM EST

    Saturday, October 15, 10 AM - 8 PM EST

    Sunday, October 16, 10 AM - 4 PM EST

      Includes more than 30 workshops, panel discussions, performances, celebrations, and keynotes presentations. 



      2022 Keynotes

      Pádraig Ó Tuama

      Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centers around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. He is the author of four books of poetry and prose: Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community, In the Shelter, Sorry for your Troubles, and Readings from the Books of Exile. He presents the podcast Poetry Unbound with On Being Studios, where he also has responsibilities in bringing art and theology into public and civic life. From 2014-2019 he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community. He is based in Ireland.


      Camille Dungy

      Camille T. Dungy is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award, and the essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood and History (W.W. Norton, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dungy has also edited anthologies including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry and From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great. A 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, her honors include NEA Fellowships in poetry (2003) and prose (2018), an American Book Award, two NAACP Image Award nominations, and two Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominations. Dungy’s poems have been published in Best American Poetry, The 100 Best African American Poems, the Pushcart Anthology, Best American Travel Writing, and over thirty other anthologies. She is University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University.


      Kathleen Adams

      Kathleen (Kay) Adams is one of the most prominent and established voices in the field of therapeutic writing. She is an author, psychotherapist, registered poetry/journal therapist (PTR) and master mentor/supervisor (MM/S) whose gift and life mission is sharing the power of writing with all who desire self-directed change. Kay is the author/editor of 12 books on the power of writing, including the best-selling Journal to the Self. In 1985, at the beginning of her graduate training, Kay taught her first journal workshop. Three years later, at graduation, she founded the Center for Journal Therapy. It has grown into an international training and consulting company offering workshops, on-line classes, certification training, retreats, intensives and individual consultations on the use of writing in therapy, health and wellness, coaching, and spiritual direction. She has worked as a journal therapist in private practice, in-patient, and intensive out-patient psychiatric programs. Kay is adjunct faculty in the Professional and Creative Writing Master’s program at University College at the University of Denver, where she teaches Writing & Healing.

      • 26 October 2022
      • (EDT)
      • 07 December 2022
      • (EST)
      • Online
      • 15
      Register

      In this class, the participants will write, reflect, meditate, and engage in discussions about what it means to free ourselves from fragmentation and to find ourselves whole again. Fragmentation of the self has unintended consequences, such as depression, anxiety, blocked creativity, and especially fear. By exploring Mindfulness in our writing and lives, we can pivot from fear and panic toward the freedom of embracing our humanness.

      This class is informed by the Buddhist way of living and seeing the world, with specific focus on the four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the four Brahmaviharas  or the “immeasurables” (Love, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity).

      Through this process, we will approach both a personal and communal awareness of the playful and cleansing power of language, in keeping with the Jewish proverb: “As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul.”

      Week by Week

      Each week includes Mindfulness meditation, writing, and other activities, and all weeks include online interactions. Each assignment is intended to solidify a Mindfulness practice in the general sense and specifically to writing. An important aspect of the assignments is that they are conducted or developed within a symbolic, ritualized context. That is, that you establish specific times during the week to read and work on the assignments via specific rituals that serve as conduits for the creative, authentic expression of the mature human you are or strive to become.

      Each practice we do is intended to tap into body, mind, and spirit to awaken parts of the self to render it whole.  The paths are illustrated by poems that can help generate integration. The practice of meditation and the seeking of wisdom leads to what is called a mature human being.

      The following poets, among others, will be center-stage: J. Rumi, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Wendell Berry.  


      Week 1

      (Zoom Session: 6pm EST)

      Theme: Pathways to Wholeness

      Topic: Shaping our community

      We’ll get to know each other and to discuss in depth the central tenets of the Pathways to Wholeness.  The kind of writing we’ll do together has the potential to open new pathways in the brain to help us venture into the vastness of being focused on the present moment and free from fragmentation. We will also do introductions via our Zoom session.


      Week 2

      Theme: Re-cognizing the Self

      Topic: Fragmentation and wholeness

      We’ll focus on how we can release our creative potential by recognizing depression and anxiety as forms of separation from the true self. Examining the shadow parts of us can shed light into our consciousness. We’ll examine the First Pathway: Dwell in the house of the self


      Week 3

      Theme: Discernment and the freedom to be

      Topic: Our story in the context of our history. We’ll examine the Second Pathway: Use Discernment to understand the true meaning of history and our own story.


      Week 4

      Theme: Shared Humanity

      Topic: Changing perspectives

      We’ll examine the Third Pathway: Recognize Shared Humanity and accept suffering as part of life. To do this, we’ll take a “Momentous Leap of Meaning.”


      Week 5

      Theme: Cultivation of kindness and equanimity

      Topic: Shedding the Light of Consciousness on the Shadow

      We’ll examine the Fourth Pathway: Cultivate kindness toward the self through the four immeasurables. Also, we’ll briefly focus on the shadow part of the personality.


      Week 6

      (Zoom class: 6pm EST)  

      Theme: Closing (holding a council)

      Topic: Our ending is your beginning

      The power of transformation begins right at that moment when we are willing to challenge our own assumptions. Our closing is an invitation to practice self-inquiry by practicing the activities.


      Who Should Take This Class

      This class would benefit individuals who are on the path of self-discovery as well as those who facilitate self-discovery with others. Teachers, therapists, writers, community leaders are ideal candidates. This class was designed for individuals who are curious about how to integrate the multiple parts of their lives into a cohesive whole. We welcome individuals interested in having a regular integral practice in their lives that includes living with integrity and excellence, becoming more alive and creative, and engaging in mindful movement, sitting meditation, walking in nature. Lastly, this class is for individuals interested in creating more psychological flexibility, so they can embrace life with curiosity, detachment, and depth.

      Format

      This is an online class with two Zoom sessions. Students are encouraged to set aside a minimum of two hours a week to engage in practices, including reading and writing about poems and essays pertaining to the topics of spirituality and psychological flexibility. Students are expected to read and respond to comments on the accessible and welcoming online platform.

      About the Teacher

      Marianela Medrano is a Dominican writer, poet. and a psychotherapist, with aPh.D. in psychology, whose practice includes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, Transpersonal & Integral Psychotherapy. Medrano has extensive training in Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and Mindful Eating with Jan Chozen-Bays and Char Wilkins. She has taught at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now Sophia University, in Palo Alto, California, and as a visiting scholar at Goddard College.

      Her work as a poetry therapist was recognized with an outstanding award from the National Association for Poetry Therapy. in 2007. She is also a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy.

      Through the Palabra Training Center, she offers on-site and remote programs for individuals and groups in poetry therapy, applying literature and psychology to help participants forge their own paths to wholeness. She also presents, with poet Annie Finch, Woman, Poetry, and Spirituality at the Garrison Institute. Her Four Pathways to Wholeness workshop has been presented at the Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Studies World Conference in Seville, Spain in 2017, the National Association for Poetry Therapy Annual Conference, and the Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, India.

      Her individual publications include: Oficio de Vivir (Buho,1986), Los Alegres Ojos de la Tristeza (Buho,1987), Regando Esencias/ The Scent of Waiting (Alcance,1998), Curada de Espantos (Torremozas, 2002), Diosas de la Yuca, (Torremozas, 2011), Prietica (Alfaguara, 2013).  Rooting (Owlfeather Collective, 2017). Her poetry has been translated into Italian and French. In 2015 she did a TEDTALK at Ursuline College.

      • 26 October 2022
      • (EDT)
      • 07 December 2022
      • (EST)
      • Online
      • 9
      Register

      Sudden life changes including war, displacement and forced migration and can leave a lasting impact on a person and continue unnoticed through generations. Our emotions, memory and feelings of identity and safety are often anchored to these incidents. Who am I and where do I belong? Why is this knowledge relevant to my life today? This course aims to address these questions through engagement in a series of visual art and creative writing sessions informed by the facilitator's own journey of self-discovery , transformation and change.

      Each week you will be introduced to the style of a visual/literary artist e.g. portraiture cubism and quilting. We will use their work as a starting point for discussion and reflection.

      Over the weeks, relevant to the week’s theme, you will be introduced to inspiring work of visual and literary artists from India, Nigeria, Lebanon and Syria to broaden your understanding of the theme. Your interpretation of their work will inform your response to the week’s creative prompts. The selected artists/authors include (but are not limited to) Rabindranath Tagore, Arundhati Roy, M.F Husain, Chinua Achebe, Amin Maalouf and Majd Kurdieh.

      You will be encouraged to explore the use of both creative writing (e.g. poems , stories) and visual art (e.g., photography, collage making, painting, drawing) during the course to expand your perception and use of these forms of creative expression. The interface of artmaking and writing as creative expressive forms encourages the engagement of the whole brain through the sensory, cognitive and motor nature of the activities. This also enables the accessing of memories from the deeper parts of our minds.

      Giving our thoughts and feelings a more concrete physical form through both writing and image making provides an opportunity to view and examine them from different perspectives which simultaneously leads to an improved sense of meaning, repair and restoration.

      Week by Week

      Week 1: A Sense of Wonder- Preparing for the journey

      The course begins with self-introductions through a form of portraiture and an acknowledgement of everyone in the group that forms the circle of support over the next weeks.

      Week 2: A Sense of Identity- Who am I?

      We are many things. Informed by cubism, we deconstruct our life to explore our belongings and allegiances to gain new perspectives on the multiplicity of who we are and how we see ourselves.

      Week 3: A Sense of Place- Where do I belong?

      Places and objects hold significant memories and can help anchor us and find our roots. We will revisit a place in time to recover and reclaim some of those stories that stamp our cultural identity and explore them through writings and folk art.

      Week 4: A Sense of Self- What lies within

      The fabric art of quilting as a form of storytelling, can be described as a story in pieces .We take a deeper look at our unique life story, our attachments, gains and losses, the layers and pieces that contribute to our unique construction. Very often it’s the random, scattered moments that seem to scar or embellish our life. Working from inside out, we will gather some of these and examine their role in reconstructing the narrative fabric of our life.

      Week 5: A Sense of Purpose- What matters to me?

      An improved sense of self fills and energizes our spirit and allows us to look outward and serve from the overflow, connecting us with the world outside. Through a review of some stories of change, impact and survival, we will identify stories and causes that resonate/connect deeply with us and examine why, so as to better understand what we can do about it using our own creative voice.

      Week 6: A Sense of Knowing-Who I am.

      Final Project combining artmaking and writing to consolidate the insights gained of ourself through the course. We sink our roots in as we create a visual reminder of who we choose to be.

      Who Should Take This Class

      This course will serve writers and TLA practitioners at all levels of experience, as well as anyone interested in personal and artistic development. No prior experience is required, just a willingness to experiment and explore.

      Format

      This is an online class, hosted on the online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as Zoom. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions. 

      The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email tlan.coordinator@gmail.com.

      Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

      Zoom Meetings - TBD.


      About the Facilitator

      Renu Sarah Thomas is an Art Psychotherapist (British Association of Art Therapists - BAAT) and workshop facilitator. She has several years of experience in introducing and conducting programmes that promote the personal, social and emotional wellbeing of individuals in Dubai, India and Scotland and adapting these programmes to suit the cultural climate of the region.

      ​She is a self-taught artist and although Renu finds pottery making and acrylic painting centering and enjoyable, it is through writing that she has found liberation and empowerment. Her growing areas of interest include displacement and trauma and through her spontaneous creative art and creative writing workshops, she passionately encourages people to pursue some form of creative expression, embrace their authentic selves and intentionally find their purpose.

      Born in India and raised in England, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, Dubai has been her home for the past 20 years.

    Past Classes

    15 June 2022 How Pictures Heal: Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
    15 June 2022 Leverage Your TLA Expertise as a Social Arts Practice, for Community Engagement, & Radical Livelihood // with Yvette Hyater-Adams
    18 May 2022 Flash Fiction: Writing from the Subconscious // with Riham Adly
    20 April 2022 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
    09 April 2022 What Is Your Poem Begging to Look Like? Finding the Best Form Through Revision: How to Take Your Expressive Writing to the Next Level // with Fleda Brown
    16 February 2022 Not Enough Spoons: Writing About Disability & Chronic Illness // with Angie Ebba
    14 January 2022 The Quest of Purposeful Memoir: Exploring the Past, Creating the Future // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD
    12 January 2022 Grief Pages: Moving Through Change and Loss with a Creative Notebook Practice // with Lisa Chu
    17 November 2021 Pathways to Wholeness: Mindful Writing Toward Momentous Leaps of Meaning // with Marianela Medrano
    10 November 2021 Kissing the Muse: A Messy, Magical, Art-Making Adventure // with Robbyn Layne McGill
    28 October 2021 Monologue Showcase: Voices of Healing & Transformation
    28 October 2021 2021 Power of Words Conference
    15 September 2021 Your Memoir as Monologue with Showcase: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
    30 August 2021 For the Love of it: A Mindful Moment of Rejuvenation for Educators // with Joanna Tebbs Young
    07 July 2021 Future Casting: Writing Towards a Just World Vision // with Caits Meissner
    02 June 2021 The Art of Facilitation: Facilitating for Change & Community // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
    17 May 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Curriculum // with Liz Burke, EdD
    26 April 2021 Tools for Teachers: Marketing Your TLA Class // with Liz Burke, EdD
    18 April 2021 Monologue Showcase: Voices of Change
    05 April 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Proposal // with Liz Burke, EdD
    24 March 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Curriculum // with Liz Burke, EdD
    24 February 2021 Tools for Teachers: Marketing Your TLA Class // with Liz Burke, EdD
    03 February 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Proposal // with Liz Burke, EdD
    03 February 2021 Your Memoir as Monologue: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
    20 January 2021 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
    06 January 2021 Kissing the Muse: (Another) Messy, Magical, Art-Making Adventure // with Robbyn Layne McGill
    09 December 2020 TLA in Action: Connection, Collaboration, & Community
    05 December 2020 Fireside Tales: A Virtual Camp In // with Lyn Ford
    04 December 2020 A Virtual Greenhouse: Cultivating, Nurturing, and Sustaining Creative Growth through Literary Friendship
    04 November 2020 Leverage Your Expertise as a Social Arts Practice, for Community Engagement, and Radical Livelihood // with Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams
    28 October 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Roots and Blossoms of Facilitation // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
    18 October 2020 Writing to this Moment: Taking Uncertainty to the Page // with Joanna Tebbs Young, MA-TLA
    14 October 2020 Kissing the Muse: A Messy, Magical, Art-Making Adventure // with Robbyn Layne McGill
    23 September 2020 How Pictures Heal: Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
    05 August 2020 Pathways to Wholeness: Mindful Writing Toward Momentous Leaps of Meaning // with Marianela Medrano
    24 June 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Facilitating for Change & Community // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
    24 June 2020 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
    25 March 2020 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
    25 March 2020 The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD
    15 January 2020 Your Memoir as Monologue: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
    15 January 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Roots and Blossoms of Facilitation // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
    23 October 2019 15 Poets to Change Your Life & Spark Your Writing // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    23 October 2019 Poems As Prayers: Writing Towards a Just World // with Caits Meissner
    04 September 2019 Speaking Your Truth: Creative Writing in Political Times // with Angie Ebba
    26 June 2019 15 Poets to Change Your Life & Spark Your Writing // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    24 April 2019 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
    06 March 2019 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
    16 January 2019 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
    24 October 2018 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    24 October 2018 Leverage Your TLA Expertise for Publication, Community, Business, and Livelihood // with Yvette Hyater-Adams
    05 September 2018 Cultivating Our Voices: Writing Life Stories for Change // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
    05 September 2018 The Five Senses and Four Elements: Connecting With the Body and Nature Through Poetry // with Angie Ebba
    27 June 2018 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennye Patterson
    27 June 2018 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
    27 June 2018 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
    16 May 2018 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
    04 April 2018 Stories with Spirit: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice // with Regi Carpenter
    14 March 2018 Writing for Social Change: Redream a Just World // with Anya Achtenberg
    21 February 2018 Funding Transformation: Grant Writing for Storytellers, Writers, Artists, Educators, & Activists // with Diane Silver
    10 January 2018 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
    18 October 2017 Writing Our Lives: The Poetic Self & Transformation // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
    18 October 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
    06 September 2017 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance // with Kelly DuMar
    06 September 2017 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
    14 June 2017 The Five Senses and Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry // with Angie River
    14 June 2017 The Poetics of Witness: Writing Beyond the Self // with Caits Meissner
    19 April 2017 Diving and Emerging: Finding Your Voice and Identity in Personal Stories // with Regi Carpenter
    01 March 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
    01 March 2017 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
    11 January 2017 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
    11 January 2017 Writing from the Root & Through the Body // with Marianela Medrano
    11 January 2017 Your Callings, Your Livelihood, Your Life // With Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    26 October 2016 Leverage Your TLA Expertise for Publication, Community, Business, and Livelihood // with Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams
    26 October 2016 Not Enough Spoons: Writing About Disability & Chronic Illness // with Angie River
    14 September 2016 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
    14 September 2016 Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity // with Laura Packer
    29 June 2016 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    29 June 2016 Making the Leap into Work You Love // with Scott Youmans
    18 May 2016 Saturated Selfies: Intentional and Intense Photography and Writing
    18 May 2016 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs Young
    28 March 2016 Gathering Courage: Still-Doing, Big Journaling, and Other (Not So Scary) Ways to Begin Accommodating the Soul
    15 February 2016 Living Out Loud: Healing Through Storytelling and Writing
    15 February 2016 Soulful Songwriting: How To Begin, Collaborate, And Finish Your Song
    04 January 2016 The Five Senses and the Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry
    04 January 2016 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance

    "The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 873 Lansdowne, PA 19050 USA

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