Next Step Integral presents:

with Brooke McNamara

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!

profile

Brooke McNamara

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."

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Write to the Heart of Motherhood

$249.00

with Brooke McNamara

6-week online course
through Next Step Integral

Nov. 2 – Dec. 11, 2020

Cost:
$249 US
* if cost is prohibitive, we offer partial scholarships (see FAQ below).
Category:
6-week online course
with Brooke McNamara
Nov. 2 - Dec. 11, 2020
Reclaim and Reignite your Creativity!
Course fee:
$249 US

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.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Week 1.  START HERE, WHOLEHEARTED! 
In this first week, we explore the power and auspiciousness of simply choosing to begin -- right here and right now, centered in our hearts, embracing our genius, our limitations, and our full humanity. We'll clarify what is most important in our creative work and mothering, so that we may return to this intention like a vital pulse as we need to along our journey. 
Week 2.  LISTENING & VOICING 
Our capacity to express ourselves with range and depth is dependent on its opposite: our capacity to listen with our whole being. We'll practice how to settle, cohere our attention, get quiet (even in the midst of movement and noise) and listen for what most wants to be spoken. As we practice listening both for language, as well as the space between the words, we'll become more able to express our depths, as well as the wild, tender, and humorous textures along the surface of our lives.  
Week 3.  PRIVACY & COMPANY 

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.

Week 4.  PLAYING & WORKING 

In our fourth week we'll look at how to harness exertion and discipline to show up for the important work of writing, as well as how to interrupt the heaviness of our expectations of ourselves and our process, so as to keep the whole endeavor playful, fun, and life-giving.

Week 5.  CREATING & DISMANTLING

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.

Week 6.  INTIMACY WITH ALL THINGS

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

$249.00

with Brooke McNamara

6-week online course
through Next Step Integral

Nov. 2 – Dec. 11, 2020

Cost:
$249 US
* if cost is prohibitive, we offer partial scholarships (see FAQ below).
Category:

Course facilitator:

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 ~


INTERRUPTION

 

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, 

great-grandma’s bedroom 

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:

Diane Portrait copy
Roger Housden headshot
Ken Wilber headshot
Rose Mina headshot (1)
dorothy hunt headshot
stuart davis headshot

 

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

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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

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This Kosmic vitality is what poetry at its best is meant to evoke.

Ken Wilber, Integral Meditation

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Brooke has helped honor my heart's voice with compassion, accountability and openness. I don't ever feel judged. I can ask for what I need and am always met with abundant love and guidance. Brooke has offered me writing prompts that have allowed me to explore my voice in ways I wouldn't have been able to access alone, but that nonetheless are true to me. Brooke is reliable, kind and flexible, and I don't know what I would do without her!

Rose Mina, writing coaching client.

Brooke McNamara’s words fall like raindrops filled with light – fresh, gentle, nourishing, and utterly authentic.  Her poetry invites us to stop, listen, and rest in the truth of what we most deeply are,  inviting us to wake us up to the infinite beauty of BEING here and now, completely human and completely divine.

Dorothy Hunt, spiritual director of Moon Mountain Sangha, author of Only This!, Leaves from Moon Mountain, and Ending the Search: From Spiritual Ambition to the Heart of Awareness

Brooke McNamara's poetry leads me to an event horizon - something powerful and unfamiliar waiting for me on the other side.

Stuart Davis, creator of Love Has No Opposite
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