“Of course, it is all in the noticing, which is different than looking. It requires a more active, searching attention. A generosity, I would even call it.”
This gentle four week adventure into listening with our bodies is for people feeling stretched, overwhelmed, scattered—as if they are rice paper thin.
Facilitators, coaches, counselors, activists, educators, writers, poets, students, word artists of all kinds—this is an invitation to explore the ways you notice and what you notice (what I call listening with our bodies) and discover how your noticing affects the steadiness of your resilience.
Over the course of our time together, in both our online class space and the optional Zoom meetings, we will use our love of language coupled with multi-sensory exercises to connect more deeply with our senses and explore our noticing patterns.
In the final week, with support and encouragement from your fellow travelers and I, you will pull together the strands of what you’ve discovered to create your own gentle, noticing practices and map manageable resilience-strengthening strategies.
When I was a small child, I was convinced the old white pine tree next to our home and the puffy clouds in the sky were telling each other the most amazing stories. I thought that if I could just figure out the right way to listen, I’d be able to hear them.
You're so tall—
oh tell me
I will stretch to hold them.
Determined and achingly curious, my small arms and legs climbed that pine tree nearly every day. I can remember feeling as if I was trying to open my senses like a sunflower—all bright petals following sunlight—so I could catch cloud stories and tree tales.
Clinging to the sticky trunk, right ear pressed to smooth bark, left ear tilted to the sky, nose filled with resin and wet air, I was a tiny girl antennae on a wind-swayed pine. This was my first experience of listening with my body.
Tree and cloud and
me—I am tiny
Years later, as I navigated the saw-toothed gift of recovering from sexual trauma, listening with my body anchored me in the present, in a felt sense of safety and belonging. My body wisely transmuted sound, rhythm, and gesture into words on a page and the perceptible hand-on-pen, pen-scratching-paper feeling of writing was key to restoring my equanimity.
In the past few years, listening with my body and writing about it refills resilience depleted by the intensity of the times through which we are living. This practice is balm, relief, and solid and fertile ground from which to engage and create.
Week by Week
Weekly class materials will always include an embodiment practice, such as a mudra or breathing exercise, and one or more writing catalysts.
We will also engage with:
essays, articles, or book excerpts
connecting with the natural world
developing a practice, ceremony, or ritual
Some (definitely not all) of the words, images and music we will encounter are created by: Joy Harjo, Margaret J. Wheatley, David Abram, Terry Tempest Williams, Yo-Yo Ma, Mary Oliver, Major Jackson, Camille Dungy, Henri Rousseau, Yayoi Kusama, Andrew Wyeth, Frida Kahlo, and Derrick Jensen.
The Zoom meetings will give us the chance to do some of the exercises and writing catalysts together, to support each other in real time, and to ask and answer questions.
Week 1: Noticing Our Noticing—Saying Hello—Noticing What We Bring
Accompanying Zoom meeting: Saturday, April 22, 2 - 3 pm New York time (UTC -4)
and the world—
and the tender,
that ties you
How does the tender, thunderous noise that ties you to the world show up for you? With which senses do you notice it? Connect with it? Create with it? We will spend this week exploring what you notice each day, and how you notice it.
Week 2: Going Deeper and Wider—Stirring the Pot
Accompanying, optional, Zoom meeting: Saturday, April 29, 2 - 3 pm New York time (UTC -4)
This week we will experiment with different ways to connect more deeply with our senses and continue noticing how and what we notice.
Week 3: Unearthing Insights, Drawing Conclusions
Accompanying, optional, Zoom meeting: Saturday, May 6, 2 - 3 pm New York time (UTC -4)
Exercises and writing catalysts this week will be designed to unearth insights and realizations and help you begin to gather threads and notice patterns.
Week 4: Your New Solid Ground—Closing the Circle—Offering Appreciation
Accompanying, optional, Zoom meeting: Saturday, May 13, 2 - 3 pm New York time (UTC -4)
In our final week using inspiration from other artists and wise folk, you will identify, imagine, design and/or create practices to support your resilience. They can take the form of rituals, ceremonies, tools, calendar notifications, whatever actions or activities that work with your innate noticing rhythms and are easily folded into your daily life.
Who Should Take This Class
Facilitators, coaches, counselors, activists, educators, writers, poets, students, word artists of all kinds who feel stretched, overwhelmed, scattered—as if their resilience is pulled rice paper thin—would benefit from this class.
The point is to support word-loving folks working to foment individual or collective transformation by helping them pause, take a breath, hear the beat of their own heart and develop personalized noticing and resilience practices.
This is a hybrid 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 four optional Zoom sessions are open to everyone, especially folks who love to learn in a small group by doing and hearing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
About the Facilitator
Tracie Nichols, M.A. writes poetry and facilitates writing groups from her small desk under the wide reach of two very old and very loved Sycamore trees in southeastern Pennsylvania. She’s a Transformative Language Artist in-process and is fascinated by the potential of language to heal and transform people and communities. Putting her master’s degree in Transformative Learning and Change to good use over the past two decades, Tracie has designed and facilitated many virtual and in-person lifelong learning experiences on a truly wide range of topics for small groups. She’s just beginning her foray into submitting poetry for publication and has already accumulated a healthy pile of rejections to her few joyfully celebrated acceptances. Learn more at tracienichols.com.
The Transformative Language Arts Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit email@example.com