Write to the Heart of Motherhood: 6-week virtual course
with Brooke McNamara
Connecting to our True Voice in the Middle of our Messy Lives
Nov. 2 - Dec. 11, 2020
Since becoming a mother, I have made a surprising discovery:
I have less time than ever to write, AND I need to write more than ever. Why?
- Because my body and soul got cracked open giving birth, and now poems want to be born through that space in me.
- Because the demands of motherhood are so deep and wide and endless that I need the release of speaking my whole experience in order to stay well and inspired.
- Because the wonder of loving my children with such raw potency makes me crave to share the wealth with anyone who cares to read.
- Because it all moves so quickly, and writing gives me the superpower to slow time and create artifacts that make this precious time *almost* re-livable.
I’ve made an obsession of writing since my boys came to me: I don’t care if it’s good - I have to do it. I read an article arguing that mothers can’t be artists because motherhood essentially requires us to be selfless and true artistry requires us to be selfish. I thought: Bullshit. I’ll find a way. I’ve made methods, prompts, vows, and cues, all to keep me writing, all to keep me congruent and happy. I want to share what I’ve discovered. Mothers have so much to say and so little time and space to say it! I want to create a little more space for us to listen and be received.
WRITE TO THE HEART OF MOTHERHOOD is a space for mamas to unleash and harness your holiest and messiest feelings, exercise and nourish your voice, and bond deeply with other amazing women on the ride of motherhood.
The unique terrain of mothering is always, already shaping us into ripe and powerful writers: we are tired so we are funny and real; we are in love so we are tender; we are damn strong so we have conviction. I want to bring our ordinary, extraordinary realities out of hiding and into view, for ourselves, each other, and the greater public if we so choose. This is my activism. This can be your activism. This is a chance to know and be known by each other, amazing mamas.
I want to hear our voices, quivering and quaking, or bold and unapologetic. Mamas, I want to hear your voices!
poet. mama. teacher. performance artist. zen monk.
Appreciated for her capacity to transmit the sacred through accessible and digestible pieces of poetry, performance, and teaching, Brooke’s work is an emanation of her core longing to feed the soul.
"Your voice - as mama, as woman - is what this course takes a stand for. This voice matters. It is sacred. I don’t care if you write an entire book during our time together, or one single line. Finding and using your true voice — the one that gives you goosebumps when you use it, that turns you on, that brings tears to your eyes, that suddenly aligns your body, mind, and heart — matters. It is what connects you to God, Spirit, Mystery, Your Own True Self. It will bring you alive, from the inside out. It will move people, should you choose to share it. It’s like well water, bubbling from the depths, for those who are thirsty, including your own self."
This virtual course includes:
- Weekly inspiring teachings and guidance for your writing journey, in written and audio form, including brief centering/ embodiment practices, and artistic and technical prompts.
- Membership in a private Facebook group in which to share and give feedback on your writing (as you so choose) in a safe, contained, supportive space.
- Daily morning quotes delivered to the Facebook group to nurture and inspire your mothering and your writing (also collected and sent in the weekly email)
- Weekly community workshop space on Zoom video chat platform, in which I will facilitate time for us to connect, work on our writing, and discuss what’s coming up along the way.
- A list of short poems to live with/ memorize, as you like, to support your mind, heart, and creative process.
- Methods honed particularly for Mother-Writers, so that all of this connects to the flow of your life, rather than feeling like another “to-do”
If you miss any of the sessions, you can access on our online course members’ page all the course session materials (recordings to listen to by playback or by download to your audio player, as well as all accompanying handouts and materials). The beauty of this format is that you can work with this course at the time that is most convenient for you and your family! For further details on course dates, times and cost, please scroll down to FAQ.
Two vital needs get explored through the practice of writing: we plunge deeply into our solitude and privacy in order to claim the gems of our own sweet truth, and we also take healthy risks when we are ready to share our writing with others. Both the freedom in our aloneness as we write, as well as the fullness in our connection to others through sharing our writing, will be highlighted this week.
As our exploration deepens into our fifth week together, we’re probably becoming aware of how the activation of our creativity can cause or necessitate its opposite: destruction. As we stir the pot of our deep hearts and give voice from there, we can also bring awareness and care to what ways of being, old habits, outdated commitments, and unnecessary activities must be dismantled to make space for more truth to move through our lives.
In our final week of this journey together, we'll explore an overview of where we've been, what's been most valuable, and where we intend to go from here. We'll integrate the most meaningful threads from this experience over the past 6 weeks, and weave a way forward and beyond in intimacy with our motherhood, our creativity and, ultimately, all things.
Write to the Heart of Motherhood
with Brooke McNamara
Nov. 2 – Dec. 11, 2020
I wrote my first poem in 5th grade as a way to explore and understand what it might be like for my pet bird, Bart, to exist within the confines of his cage. I've continued writing poetry on and off since then, forgetting and remembering over and over what deep medicine reading and writing poetry is.
From those early poems, to the angsty teen poems you'd never want to lay eyes on, to my college thesis of 30 original poems, to my book "Feed Your Vow" published in 2015, the practice of writing is not something I do, but somewhere I go. When I give myself fully to whole-bodied listening for poems, I am never disappointed. Even if nothing comes, the tuning itself creates a presence and vitality in my being that support me profoundly in living and mothering. Poetry, for me, is language that carries both meaning, imagery and story, AND, more importantly, life force itself. We feel an injection of aliveness from reading and writing poetry that quite literally feeds our soul. As Leonard Cohen says, "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."
I'm so honored to be your guide through this 6-week online journey. I've been teaching creative writing, dance, yoga and meditation for over a decade and care deeply about holding a warm, safe, inspiring space for all of us to learn together. I hold a BA in Dance and English from Connecticut College, where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude, and an MFA in Dance with a focus on somatic studies/ yoga from CU Boulder. I am now on Faculty at Naropa University in the Yoga Studies department, where I've taught for the past 6 years. I’m also co-director with Lauren Beale of Eunice Embodiment, an organization through which we offer cutting edge dance-theater performances, movement education, creative practice labs, and performance salons for the community.
I have practiced meditation intensively in the Zen tradition for the past eight years, and been empowered by my teacher to instruct others in the art and practice of Zen meditation.
I live with my huge-hearted husband, Rob, and two adorable, wild sons, Lundin and Orion, in Boulder, CO.
~ A poem by Brooke McNamara ~
I love to wake early and sip strong coffee
and sit like a queen in the dark
and ask my death to reach back and teach me
so I can write down what I hear. If I listen
with my whole spine, the currents
of deep grief and wild arousal wash me
to a more original body. So I sneak
out of bed early this Christmas eve,
and float to the kitchen to percolate
in my husband’s parent’s home, past
the blind dog sleeping in her crate,
where little girl dreams dissolve
even as they form translucently around her
in the dark dry morning air.
I come back to our room
triumphant with my mug,
set up my cushion, and hear
Lundin, 8 months old, pile of sleep squirming -
snortling and milk-hungry, my husband’s hand on his heart
to soothe. Back-bending and flapping arms that thwack
pillow and little protruding belly, stretch that furrows
the brow and pooches the lips and makes a tiny
tremble through the absurdly adorable body,
and I’m called
to my first purpose, to feed
from my own body, to feel
these rivers of simple service that destroy
ideas of who I think I am pull
from my bones and pour
into his little suckling lips.
My desires are silent as I give up
writing this morning, and lay here instead,
my hand petting his hair, everything
for the moment effortless, awestruck
by death's teaching today.
Reflections on Brooke's Work:
Brooke is an immensely gifted artist and teacher. Her elegance, love, and wakefulness are uniquely interwoven into her offerings. Brooke’s teaching is a true treasure.
– Diane Musho Hamilton, Zen Teacher, author of Everything is Workable and The Zen of You & Me
These are gloriously urgent wake-up poems – wake up, astonished, to the only moment we have - this moment. McNamara is a modern Zorba. She urges us to stop, to rest, to listen to the life pouring through and over us, to steep ourselves in the mystery that we are, 'the rapture of being just this'.
– Roger Housden, bestselling author of the Ten Poems series
This Kosmic vitality is what poetry at its best is meant to evoke.
– Ken Wilber, Integral Meditation