Saturday, October 15, 2022

Panel at the University of New Hampshire Deep Time Lab






I'll be talking about mindful writing as a panelist at the University of New Hampshire's Deep Time Lab this Tuesday. 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM.

Deep Time Lab: The Present is the first in a three-part series of community conversations exploring how we situate ourselves within Time. The series explores new connections between past, present, and potential futures through the research of UNH faculty and community scholars. The conversation is a compliment to the Solastalgic Archive and Deep Time Lab exhibition at the Museum of Art. The exhibition asks viewers to consider living in our current age of accelerated change, which reveals that there is not a single, predictable future. Panelists will explore the idea that history is a story that can be retold and revised: What will be is being scripted right now.

Deep Time Lab: The Present features a conversation between Dr. Cristina Faiver-Serna, UNH Department of Geography and Women's and Gender Studies, Dr. Alexandria Peary, Salem State University and New Hampshire Poet Laureate, and Dr. Tu Lan, UNH Department of Geography. Join us to explore time as a language, a measure, loss, abundance, a social context, a scientific principle, a spiritual space, and a cultural expression.

This event is a hybrid in-person and Zoom event. Location: room A218 in the Paul Creative Arts Center. Registration is required to attend the program via Zoom.

Register to attend via Zoom here.

Joins us for all events in this series, Deep Time Lab: The Past on October 27th and Deep Time Lab: The Future, on November 3rd.

Deep Time Lab: The Present compliments the exhibition the Solastalgic Archive and Deep Time Lab on view at the Museum of Art through December 3, 2022. 



Thursday, September 29, 2022

Free Mindful Writing Event for Students








Mindful Writing Event for Students



Next week, I'll be presenting to students (from any school in the country) ways to use mindfulness to become less stressed about writing. This session will last around 50 minutes, is free for students, and is happening online.


Registration required: register here.


October 3, 2022—Downgrade Doubt & Procrastination: This session is designed for middle school to college-aged students. Teachers are welcome to sit in and observe. If you’ve been slogging through a writing task, a powerful transformation can happen just by switching your attention to the present moment. The battle of self-doubt and procrastination that has been raging in you turns into a temple of self-respect and focused calm. In this session, we’ll walk through a series of quick steps at the desk to reduce writing worry through mindfulness so that, within minutes, you’ll be starting or continuing that writing assignment.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Materials on Mindful Writing

 
Here's a compilation of my recent publications
and talks on mindful writing as a
resource for you.




Book and articles:

Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing (Routledge 2018). 

Promo code SS225, when used at checkout at https://www.routledge.com/

will generate a 25% discount.


“The Role of Mindfulness in Kairos.” Rhetoric Review. 35.1 (2016): 22-34.

"Mantra of Intention." New Writing: International Journal for the Practic
and Theory of Creative Writing. 19.1 (2022): 3-12

"What Does Mindfulness Offer Teachers?" Interview with NCTE, Council
Chronicle, November 2021:  article here.

Desk Meditations: here.

“Writing in the Company of Ghost Readers.” The Writer’s Forum. Vol. 205. 
Nov. 2018.

“The Ability to Write is Always Present.” Guest Blog Post for National 
Council of Teachers of English, May 2018: here.
 
“The Point of Now.” Guest Blog Post for the North American Review, 
Summer 2018: here.

Presentations available online:

2019 TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You 
Write”: video.

“How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write a Novel.” Webcast for 2021 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):  video.

NCTE Mindful Writing Webinar Series at National Council of Teachers
of English. Host and architect of show. (A new series is happening in September/October 2022: more info soon): here.  here.  And here.

Mindful Writing: A Conversation. Featured speaker at What a Word 
is Worth Podcast: Conversations with Creative People on Collective
Healing Using Innovative Means. Host: Dr. Marianela Medrano. 
December 5, 2021: podcast.
 
“Why Writing Goes Better in College if You’re Mindful”: Academic Speaker Series
Lecture at Landmark College, Putney, VT. February 23, 2022: video.

           
Additional presentations:

"Present Moment, Prolific Moment: Using Mindfulness to Write." Workshop I 
offer through New Hampshire Humanities: here

 Keynote Address on Mindful Writing for Secondary Schools Writing Centers
 Association (SSWCA) Conference. March 2021. 

This Very Moment is Perfect for Writing.” Presenter. 2nd Annual Conference 
on Writing and Well-Being Crossings: Exploring Shared Work in Writing. 
University of Nevada, Reno. January 2021.

Presentation on Mindful Writing for Southern New Hampshire University. 
April 20, 2020. 



Sunday, April 10, 2022

Groundlessness: A Compilation



I invited the students in my ENL 221: Mindful Writing course to share their thoughts on groundlessness with you.


Authors: Dasia Dobbs, Meghan Miraglia, J. G. Bova, camryn rose, Bailey Hughes, J.P, Gabrielle Vitiello, Sofia Ciriello, Iliana De Peña, R. LeBlanc Lutts, Casey Saraceno, Joseph Tadesse, Matthew Lydon, and Phoebe Leo.

 

QUESTION 1: How would you explain groundlessness to a friend or family member?

I would explain groundlessness as a form of recognition without preconceptions, being open to what is already happening but not too fixated on it.

Groundlessness is letting go of all control, all preconceptions, ideas, opinions, etc.

I would explain groundlessness as letting go of your preconceptions and start looking at everything around you with a benign indifference. The world is what it is and you are just floating in it.

Groundlessness is the acceptance that there is no ultimate answer or destination or reason for being. It is the ability to accept everything and nothing simultaneously.

Groundlessness is being more open minded to the ideas of things in question, it is a question with the answer being more willing to listen to more ideas.

Groundlessness is a state of knowing and unknowing in which people simultaneously find comfort and discomfort all at once; the notion that our existence simply is.

Groundlessness is the complete release of depending on things that keep you numb. You may think you're secure, but groundlessness pushes you to a space of deep discomfort and lack of control.

Groundlessness is just being okay with the fact that nothing stays the same.

Groundlessness is not holding onto your teachings as the rule because there is more to everything than what you were taught and you should be open to experiencing more.

Groundlessness is a being open minded to things going on in your mind.

Realizing that nothing is permanent and just accepting that everything is constantly changing. Just like our breath is constantly changing so is everything else, nothing will stay the same.

Groundlessness is the state of letting go of preconceptions and other thoughts.

Groundlessness is the idea of truly understanding and being able to accept change. Everything changes all the time everyday, every second.

The way that I would explain groundlessness is that it's an idea where you would not hold on to things and make room for other things without clinging to one idea.

I would explain this as a way of letting go of all other perceptions so that they do not reflect and cause me to hold onto preconceived thoughts. This can cause you to lose your own wisdom.

 

QUESTION 2: Why should we be interested in groundlessness?


You should be interested because it gives us the freedom to simply be and to exist without fear—since whatever you're doing is enough.

Doing this will not hold you back to new experiences, ideas, opinions, etc. if you cling on to something or don’t challenge yourself, you are vulnerable.

We should be interested in groundlessness because anything that keeps us dependent keeps us unreal. These things we over-rely on make us unknowable, even to ourselves. Groundlessness helps us accept change and accept the fact that the things we cling to are already decaying.

You should be interested due to the fact it is a way to enlighten your mind, a way to develop and keep growing as an individual. A way to become a better person.

You should be interested in groundlessness because your habits might not be you. They may be because of someone else and in that case you should try and let go of them to discover more.

We should be interested in groundlessness because by detaching  from our worldly concerns or responsibilities, even those that give us feelings of security, we can see what comes to us in our state of emptiness without the influences of other things.

You should be interested in it because Pema Chodron mentioned it allows you to connect with the mind that knows no fear. Accepting that things are constantly changing and you shouldn't hold onto the concept of anything. This allows for no suffering and to really connect deeper with your mind.

The way that groundlessness can be applied is that it could be helpful when trying to learn something new and the topic is always changing so it would be not a good idea to cling to one.

This is something to take interest in because without this idea we can easily fall behind or become “vulnerable” to multiple things surrounding us like: ideas, definitions, topics, beliefs, etc.

If you’re not noticing and accepting groundlessness, you allow fear to get in the way of your being.

Groundlessness is interesting because it detaches one from everything and nothing at the same time. It is a state in which people can delve deeper into the connections that lie all around them.

Groundlessness is the opposite of being grounded, because if you find something to ground yourself with that "something" could change and throw you off your course again. So you can't root yourself in anything and be completely safe. Hence, accepting groundlessness.

It allows us to be open minded and let things go.

 

QUESTION 3: How should a person practice groundlessness?

 

Start by realizing that emptiness is a form. If you pull away from it and get rid of it, you are able to start the process.

We can practice this by letting thoughts go as they come in and releasing our preconceptions. Not just things that trouble or worry us, but also those that we typically love or enjoy.

How you should practice groundlessness is really hard for me to explain. I feel like learning the term and what it really means is a start; once your mind can wrap around the idea of groundlessness, your mindset may be able to slowly be altered to try and fulfill a kind of groundlessness, even if it isn’t all at once. Yeah.

We can practice groundlessness by understanding that there is nothing to hold onto, including the teaching that there is nothing to hold onto. We should also question and experiment with things our "teachers" tell us: we should accept nothing without thoughtful inquisition.

To practice groundlessness, I believe you have to remind yourself constantly about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Are you doing it because you are curious and are trying to learn from all different sources so you can gain your own thoughts or are you doing it because that is exactly what you were taught to do so it is comfortable?

Learn to question but actually listen and absorb.

I would say that groundlessness is a state, it simply is. I think that it is unwise to call it something to achieve. I think it would be possible to practice it by doing and not attaching yourself to the idea of it.

You can practice by challenging your thoughts and asking yourself “why” when you are doing things. Maybe the “why” is because that is what the teacher is asking us to do to complete the assignment. But that is all it is, it is not a fundamental, universal reason for doing it.

The way that you can apply this is to not accept things the way they are but make sure to keep an open mind.

Practice it by just accepting what is there and don't judge, perceive, or hold onto it. Just let it be, whatever happens, happens. Maybe just take everything that you believe and accept that it is not real or permanent. It is not going to be there forever.

Find comfort in things but don't get too comfortable so that when things change it won't be as detrimental or surprising. 

How to practice this? Is never holding too hard onto anything. Understand that these should all be loosely understood in your mind. No matter how factual it may seem, you don't know if it will change one day. Holding on and believing everything you think is true will never change can be dangerous.

By not being attached to anything and keep learning more different perspectives and ways of thinking.

 


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Master Class on Mindful Writing [offered in-person and online]

 

Master Class on Mindful Writing: How to Reduce Writing Problems through the Present Moment

2-4 PM    May 6, 2022

[Offered at the 2022 North Country Writers' Day. Info on other events available here.]

White Mountains Community College

In-Person and Virtual

Writing can become much more fulfilling and joyful if we think of it as happening right Now. Whenever we overlook the present moment, we give up rewarding writing experiences in exchange for stress, procrastination, boredom, and shortchanged creativity. It’s a poor bargain. This interactive session focuses on how to use mindful writing techniques to write with more peace and productivity. We cover the basics of mindful writing, including impermanence, audience ghosts, monkey mind, and preconceptions about our writing ability. Participants gain hands-on practice with several mindful writing techniques. Geared for participants ages 13 and older, this master class is designed for people who occasionally or often struggle with writing, who teach writing, as well as for participants who don’t struggle with a writing block but are interested in picking up skills. The strategies apply to creative, academic, professional, and personal kinds of writing.

About the Presenter:

Alexandria Peary (MFA, MFA, PhD) specializes in mindful writing. She is the author of Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing as well as the architect and host of the mindful writing webinar for the National Council of Teachers of English. Alex is a frequent presenter on mindful writing for New Hampshire Humanities and has also presented on mindful writing for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), NH Children’s Trust, and as the 2021 keynote address for the Secondary School Writing Centers Association Conference. Her 2019 TEDx talk “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write”  can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yxnFac7CNA  Alex is a professor in the English Department at Salem State University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on creative writing and mindful writing.

Event is free to individuals ages 13 and up. Registration required for either in-person or virtual. Participants will be contacted with room and/or Zoom info in late April.

To register by Apri 15:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/master-class-on-mindful-writing-tickets-262683081167

 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Loving-Kindness Meditations for Writers: Guest Post from Salem State University Mindful Writing Undergraduates

 


Loving-Kindness Meditations for Writers

[Written by students in ENL 221: Mindful Writing, Spring 2022]



May you feel important in your writing. May you fully believe in your writing. May you receive everything you deserve from your writing. May you not second guess yourself. May you feel confident in your writing. May your mind stay present. May your writer's demon go away. 

-Iliana De Pena

***

Collapse Subdiscussion

For Sahara:

May your writing bring you the closure that often evades you in your waking life. May your writing bring you joy and peace. May your writing forever be a space where you find justice, security, and serenity. May your notebook and Notes app forever be bursting with new ideas and fresh lines. May you find inventive rhymes and may you always stumble upon the perfect words to describe your feelings.

-Meghan Miraglia

***

May my writing be a relief to me. May I sit down at my computer and relax with each breath. May I feel lightened by my own kind words, and free from pressures and expectations. May I be happy and peaceful. May I feel mentally and physically healthy. May my writing bring me happiness and feed my inner child. May I be free to be myself.

-Gabrielle Vitiello

***

May every time you find internal peace within yourself, be another moment of blissful writing. May the thought of negativity become a thing of the past and be forgotten. May you be happy and content with yourself as you speak within your thoughts and writing. May you find happiness in the word that come from your fingers. May you be free of stress and worries, instead be grateful.

- V.P. 

***

May you find that your strokes of pen be so full of feeling and realization. May your worlds be unobstructed by the judgment of society. May your fields of flowers and honey revitalize you and your work in ways that you never could have imagined. May you continue to grow and keep growing, despite all that you may face. May you find that your writing reaches for the stars and grasps them with the might of the universe. May your writing stretch to every nook and cranny of the multiverses in your mind and beyond.

-J. G. Bova

***

May your writing be powerful. May your writing be authentic. May your writing flow from your brain to the paper. May your writing be imperfect.  May your writing give you a sense of happiness and purpose.

-Casey Saraceno

***

May every breath be filled with peace and exhaled with kindness. May you grant the space to be yourself. May you free yourself from the weights of judgement and comparison. May your words flow lightly. May you hold no attachment to the outcome. May you appreciate that your words are yours, may they serve you, and help ease your soul.

-Riley LeBlanc

***

May your writing be passionate. May your writing be free of sufferings. May your writing instruction manifest wherever you want it to go. May your writing instruction build different levels of creativity. May your writing blossom. May your writing choose to inspire. May your writing be you. 

-PL

***

May your writing always have loving-kindness. May your writing always be as free as a bird. May there be no judgment upon your writing. May your writing be a source of your happiness. May your writing be an escape for you. 

-SC

***

May your ideas inspire my writing and let it continue to do so. May your suggestions and critiques help better my writing. May your support motivate me to write. May your guidance give me clarity in my writing. May your thoughts on my writing be an inspiration to me. 

-JT

***

May your writing and creative thoughts always be free and inspired. May your writing journey be strong and may you always find enjoyment in it. May you always know how powerful your words are.

-Bailey Hughes

***

To someone, I once used to call professor, 

May you believe in your students' work, and not compromise their comfort. May you find peace within your own work, and then you will be able to find it in others. May you tell your students that you are proud of them, within their work. May you help when it is sought. May you allow them to feel comfortable, vulnerable, and accepted. 

 -DD

***

May your writing flow peacefully. May your writing be filled with confidence. May your mind stay calmly in the present. May you feel inspired and special. May you get the recognition you deserve. 

-KC

***


May you write passionately and with a sense of self. May your edits align with this original passion and sense of self. May you find freedom in your writing path, passing less judgment onto yourself. May you write the detailed thoughts you think rather than locking them up for fear that they are lacking something. May you write simply for the process, and worry not about the finality of your pieces. May you find enjoyment in writing, even when it is for something other than your enjoyment.

--Camryn Rose

***

May your writing be everything you hope for it to be. May your mind be free of any darkness or demon, holding you back from your full potential. May writing no longer be a chore for you. May your writing become expressive and creative. May you learn to fall in love with writing once again. May you learn to love yourself once again. 

-Savannah Hathaway


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Why Writing in College Goes Better If You’re Mindful





Why Writing in College Goes Better If You're Mindful


I'll be presenting in-person for the Academic Speaker Series at Landmark College on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 4-5 PM. Location: Brooks M. O'Brien Auditorium/Lewis Academic Building

More info here.

DESCRIPTION: In this interactive session, Peary will cover the basics of mindful writing and provide hands-on opportunity to work with the technique. You'll learn about mindful writing tools, including impermanence, self-talk, and awareness of the writing body, to reduce stress around writing assignments. You’ll practice ways to manage monkey mind, that pesky inner voice that hands us preconceptions about our writing abilities, and reader ghosts, those inner critics who make us doubt ourselves. With increased attention on the present moment, every writing moment can be a calmer, more prolific moment.