Class Title: The Medicine Wheel as a Tool for Writers
Instructor: Susan Hagen
Class Term: June 5-July 17, 2017
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The Medicine Wheel is an ancient teaching about the cycles of nature as they reflect our human lives. Using the Medicine Wheel as a tool for writing, you'll begin each session by listening to an audio podcast (10-15 minutes) and writing from a jumping-off line at the end. The podcast is designed to help release the thinking mind and bring your awareness to body sensation, feeling, emotion, and memory. We also practice the art of deep listening and mirroring (instead of critique and commentary) on the stories posted to a private group.
The Medicine Wheel teaches us that we are more than our history and/or our present circumstances. All aspects our lives—child, adolescent, adult, and spirit—are alive and engaged at any given time. The teachings of the Medicine Wheel, along with nature-based practices and meditation, give us a combination of writing tools that open us to deeper aspects of the inner life. Thus, our writing tends to be more spontaneous, authentic, and relatable to others.
At the end of this class, students will have a basic knowledge of the Medicine Wheel, how to use it as a tool for writing, and the gifts it offers for your life. You'll know how to get your writing started, regardless of how you feel in the moment, or the present circumstances of your life. You'll have six stories that you've created from writing meditation, and supportive mirroring from other writers. And you'll have the beginning of a nice collection of Medicine Wheel podcasts that you can use whenever you like.
Instruction/Communication Method: Members of this group will communicate with me and each other through a private Yahoo Group. On the first day, I will post an overview of the Medicine Wheel and how we use it as a tool for writing. I will also offer guidance on how to post your work on the Yahoo Group, and how to respond to each other's work using deep listening and mirroring techniques. This is a practice we'll develop together over the six-week course.
At the beginning of each of the six weeks, I will post a 10- to 15-minute audio podcast designed to lead you into your writing. Each podcast includes nature-based practices, a meditation based on the medicine wheel, and a jumping-off line to get your writing started. We used timed writings for the writing practice, and we write without stopping to stay connected to the inner life.
You can listen to the podcast from your phone, computer, or any other device. When you're ready to write, find yourself a comfortable place (indoors or outdoors) away from distraction, and have your notebook and pens handy. Set your timer, and be sure to turn your phones and other devices off. Take a deep breath, relax, listen, write, and see what comes.
- Unit 1: An introduction to the Medicine Wheel and your first writing from its teachings.
- Unit 2: The South (summer, earth, child, love of body): Write to explore life through the body; how your senses inform you about your world, and how those details are stored as body memories always available to the writer.
- Unit 3: The West (autumn, water, adolescent, love of self): Write to explore emotion, love, loss, longing, change, self-awareness, and self-acceptance.
- Unit 4: The North (winter, air, adult, love of community) Write to explore family, relationship, purpose, interconnectedness, and the gifts you bring to the world.
- Unit 5: The East (spring, fire, spirit-self, love of spirit): Write to explore your oneness with all things, and to illuminate the teachings that have come through life experiences.
- Unit 6: Your final writing in this series, from each perspective of the Medicine Wheel as it relates to your life.
Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required
No writing experience necessary. REALLY. You can be a total beginner, an explorer, or a seasoned writer. We all begin in the same place, and there is something here for everyone.
You will need access to a computer in order to listen to podcasts and post your stories. You will need to use Word or a compatible word-processing program to compose (or transcribe your handwritten) stories. You can also listen to the podcasts on mobile devices.
Time Commitment: It varies, but you can expect to spend about two to four hours a week. This includes listening to the podcast, writing practice, transcribing, posting, and offering deep listening/mirroring to other writers who post in the group.
Tuition/Fees for this course
SCN members: $192. Non-SCN members: $240.
Susan Hagen is a wilderness rites-of-passage guide and co-author of Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion. She combines her experience as a writer and guide to offer heart-opening, life-affirming writing workshops and retreats for women. She is also available for individual coaching and mentoring to help foster your creative life and move your writing projects forward. Learn more on her website.