Madhu Bazaz Wangu | Writing & Meditation
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Writing & Meditation

Conversations with Mindful Writers: Lori M. Jones, A Stellar Woman

In March 2011, when the Mindful Writers Group (North) met for the first time, Lori was one of the five participants. She is the only one from that meeting who continues to participate and occasionally lead the group of twenty writers. Since that March, Lori has become an award-winning author of women's & children's fiction. Her first children's book, RILEY'S HEART MACHINE, was released in 2012, followed by CONFETTI THE CROC in 2014. Mother of two young daughters, Lori’s younger daughter's heart defect was the inspiration behind Riley's Heart Machine. Her debut novel, RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART has won the SILVER medal by READERS' FAVORITES in women's fiction. Her second novel, LATE FOR FATE, is forthcoming in 2016. Lori is on the national Board of Directors for the Children's Heart Foundation and...

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Conversations with Mindful Writers: Kathleen Shoop

For several months I will be conducting a series of interviews with Mindful Writers, titled Conversations with Mindful Writers. The first one in the series is my interview with the best selling author Kathleen Shoop. A prolific and gifted writer, Kathleen Shoop’s historical fiction comes alive with authenticity of setting and characters that breathe. I met Kathie in 2005 at writers groups, Fat Plum and at Pennwriters Critique Group North. We became friends and continued to read and critique each other’s rough drafts. By 2009 she had completed six to seven novel manuscripts. Then slowly, her attendance at the critique sessions dwindled until she stopped coming. After a year of deep thinking and soul searching Kathie had decided to boldly venture on the path that most of us were hesitant to take....

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DEFINING MOMENTS & LESSONS LEARNT by James Robinson

A number of defining moments have shaped my life such as my marriage, the births of my children and grandchildren. Equally important are the defining moments of my writing life. The moments that "I chose (this path) and that's what's made all the difference." (Robert Frost) One such moment happened when-after our family's annual trek to Hilton Head Island in 1994. I promised myself to begin writing in earnest. I began by writing about mid-life. I had a lot to write about. My body, at the tender age of 40, was starting to betray me. My buttocks sagged. My favorite pair of jeans became ill fitting overnight and so on. I had a book's worth of material. I tentatively titled the book Fighting Mr. Gravity. Pretty silly, right? I queried to agents...

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FINDING A SAFE PLACE by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts

"Wisdom is like a fire; people take it from others" (East African proverb)   I joined the Mindful Writers Group in 2012 just before the group went on its three months winter hiatus. I had attended only three meetings and looked forward to the Spring 2013 when the yearly session was to start. I had no idea if I would really feel at home writing in a room full of people and food (although the food was definitely a bonus). But now that I know and understand the group mindset I find it a very fulfilling experience.   The Group is an interesting exercise in trust and acceptance. Perhaps some of the writers know each other outside of the group but I do not. Yet I come eagerly every week to sit...

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CANDY By Gwyn Cready

My grandmother used to read me a story about a girl who was given a magical box of candy. As long as the girl ate no more than two pieces each day, when she woke up the next morning, the box would be full again. But if the girl got greedy and ate more than she needed, which of course she did, the box would lose its magic and never refill itself again. I can think of no better metaphor for the joys of this world. If we can give up our need to dictate the terms of our joy-the amount, the timing, the flavor-we will find all the joy we could want without even looking for it. We need the red leather sandals with silver buckles, but we find unexpected joy...

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MINDFUL WRITING PHENOMENON–TRAINING FOR A MARATHON by Lori M. Jones

"Just stick with it. What seems so hard right now, will one day be your warm up." I came across this quote from a running Facebook Page, but I thought it could apply to writing as well.   A few years ago, I needed a goal to maintain my workout schedule. I'm a quitter when it comes to exercise, but I enjoyed running. My goal was to run in a 5K. No measly 5K, I signed up for Pittsburgh's Great Race with 5,000 other runners. When I survived that first one, I scheduled the next and the next.   Each one became easier than the previous one. As a writer, I decided to implement the same plan for establishing a schedule and improve my writing stamina. I needed a goal. My...

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GO DAD GO! by Meredith Mileti

For the last several months I've been traveling between Pittsburgh and Boca Raton to help nurse my dad as he battles the challenging complications of a chronic illness.   Although lately I haven't been able to devote as much time to my writing as I would like, every day I try to practice what I've learned in Mindful Writers Group with whom I practice the Writing Method Meditation. Never before has the Method, which includes Journaling and Meditation, been more important to me. Journaling allows me to create quick emotional sketches that provide insight into what I am feeling. Meditation sharpens my focus, while also centering and calming me. Together the two practices help me understand and accept the next steps in this difficult journey. Being mindfully present with my...

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FINDING THE PORTAL by MaryAlice Meli

Before I met Madhu B. Wangu, meditation was a dim memory from the late sixties and came with headbands, patchouli oil, aummmmmm and the kind of fragrant smoke that makes one crave cheese doodles. I've practiced a kind of meditation all my life; I just didn't know that's what it was. I thought I was praying or concentrating or daydreaming. What I didn't understand was how to intentionally meditate. "But what am I supposed to think about?" I questioned Madhu, a patient, clear and creative teacher. To meditate, she simplified it for me, is to breathe. Just breathe and don't think? Too simple, surely; but not too easy.   Now I follow Madhu's quiet instructions and, after several minutes of clearing my consciousness of tasks, problems or other thoughts, I am always astonished...

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LIFE TRANSFORMED by Kathleen Shoop

All my life, exercise has provided me the opportunity to do more than raise my heart rate. For example, repetitive physical acts like swimming and walking have allowed my mind to unwind, solve problems and reduce stress. As I developed my writing career I found that through exercise I was able to provide the perfect runway for my writing to take off and unwrap plot and character problems. In those early days, I found I could belt out thousands of words in just a few hours after exercising. The cycle of exercise and writing fed itself, creating excitement for me as well as concrete progress in the quality writing.   As critique became part of my writing, exercise became even more important as the critique partners raised problems in my stories...

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MINDFUL OF MY TRUTH by Julie Long

I'm on the edge of something -  an idea, a truth. Trying to write about it feels like drawing an object when I can't yet picture it in my head but I feel it. Putting it in writing will give it permanence I'm not sure I'm ready for. This is so often the case with me: I want to see the entire picture before I begin. In reality my truth changes daily. How silly I have not recognized this before. In January I turn inward and stay quiet. I am giddy with pleasure at having the freedom to do so when the rest of the world is kicking off a new year with gusto. Being home alone with no interaction is bliss. I do what feels right: meditation, yoga, and walking, reading,...

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