Writing Circles for Healing
uses creative writing for self-awareness and healing
Writing is a way to express our authentic voice and to access our inner guidance.
Creative writing can help us heal illness, loss, grief, and trauma by tapping into our own inner wisdom. When we write in a safe, supportive circle, we are able to express our deepest feelings. By sharing our stories and listening to each other with empathetic, focused attention, we validate our experiences. We gain fresh perspectives, we may be surprised at what flows out on the page, and we can experience creative rejuvenation. We recognize and celebrate our strengths and that we are not alone. We discover an ability to meet our challenges and our journey of healing is undertaken with courage and hope. Healing is a process and we can encourage this process through writing with intention.
Writing is a way to listen to the deepest self, to pay attention to our intuition and to interpret our experience. It is a way to learn from the past, plan for the future, and to coach ourselves through a crisis. We can transform what may be painful into something profound and full of meaning through the process of writing, reading, and listening. Writing during life-altering transitions such as bereavement, re-location or divorce can be therapeutic. These writing circles are not therapy sessions and I am not a therapist. I am an experienced, devoted writer who uses writing for my own self-awareness. I believe that writing is a way to accentuate our innate ability to heal.
By using simple techniques of self-reflective writing and sharing our stories, we experience commonality, connection, meaning, and wholeness. Transformation comes from understanding both the positive and the negative aspects of our experience as we delve deeper into its significance and find hope, grace and renewal.
Story as Medicine
From Clarissa Pinkola Estes quoted in Radiance Magazine:
"In this tradition a story is 'holy,' and it is used as medicine. The story is not told to lift you up, to make you feel better, or to entertain you, although all those things can be true. The story is meant to take the spirit into a descent to find something that is lost or missing and to bring it back to consciousness again."
photo courtesy of Peter Thorpe
Wendy Brown-Báez is a writer, teacher, performance poet and installation artist. Wendy is the author of a poetry CD Longing for Home, a full-length collection Ceremonies of the Spirit (Plain View Press, 2009) and chapbook
transparencies of light (Finishing Line Press, 2011). She has published both poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in print and on-line.
Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone's support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women's retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Christ Church, and El Colegio High School. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students' reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face's after school program's writing instructor.
Wendy received a 2012 Minnesota State Art Board Artist Initiative grant to bring workshops into non-profits. Workshops were held at The Bridge for Youth, Pathways, Shingle Creek Commons, Saint Paul Almanac, The Hennepin County Library, Saint Louis Park Friends of the Arts, Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, Springhouse Spiritual Center, Wellstone Center, Harriet Tubman, Cornerstone and Abbot Northwestern Heart Institute. She continues to volunteer at Pathways.
Wendy has taught Telling Your Story classes at MCTC continuing education. She teaches through community ed at Patrick Henry High School and through the Twin Cities Daily Planet. Wendy is a member of the MN Prison Writing Workshop and has taught at Stillwater and Moose Lake DOCs.
Wendy is a performance poet whose vivid performances have been seen nationally and in Mexico, in cafes, bars, galleries, bookstores, cabarets, cultural centers, peace centers, writers groups, art festivals, women's retreats, and private homes, solo and in collaborations.
In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated adults and teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written her memoirs of her adventures.
Wendy is available to speak to your writer's group, classroom or support group on the practice of creative writing, writing to heal, poetry on the page and stage, the nuts and bolts of having a writing practice, memoir writing, and how to use writing as a therapeutic tool or to your book or artists' group about poetry and writing, publishing and blogging, promotion and marketing, creating events and collective artistic projects.
Taking this class has helped me overcome many weaknesses and build confidence. —Fong Lee
Thank you very much for taking timeout of your busy schedule to share with us your love for writing, poetry and story-telling. Your teaching technique was really inspiring and fun. It also taught me that even if you’re not so good at writing or hate it, inside everyone of us there is a story ready to be told and as long as you can picture an image in your mind, you will always have something to write about. Also it doesn’t really matter how you write because everyone has their own style. Thanks, I learned a lot.—Xee
Your impact cannot be measured. Just know that you are nowforever part of our writers’ journey. —C.F.C.
Thank you for your time and dedication, your insight and knowledge, your voice and critiques. It’s nice to have a voice from the “outside” come here and impact us in a positive way. —B.M.B.
I just wanted to thank your for helping me get started with your writing workshop. I have been thinking about how therapeutic the writing has been for me, and how it has inspired me to write further. It has been very confidence building!
Thanks again, Julie
I was so impressed by your talents to teach; to create; to inspire; to yield stories from the heart. I loved being there, in fact, I would take your class over again--you have a very unique way of stimulating our stories.
I attended a writing workshop led by Wendy during the 2008 Madeline Island Women's Weekend. Her ability to unlock the potential of the writer in each was contagious and an inspiration to those of us exploring for the first time getting our thoughts on paper, and the seasoned writers.
Wendy Brown-Baez was a marvelous teaching speaker without coming across as too heavy handed. --J. T.
Wendy's presentation on form and structure was clear, very instructive, practical, and a great help in understanding the importance of consciously structuring our writing. Great job, Wendy! – Shane N.
Wendy Brown-Baez was quite knowledgeable about poetry and it was a worthwhile evening. –Kate O.
Anyone is welcome to join our writing circles; you don't have to be a writer.
Just show up with a pen and a notebook
and a willingness to find your own words!
Go to the next pages for information
on workshops currently scheduled.
To contact Wendy:
other places to find me: