Guest This Week: Jennifer D. Diamond
At the Online Mindful Writers Group (OMWG) Page, I invite a new guest-of-honor every week. This week’s guest is Jennifer D. Diamond. To read her daily posts go to the Home Page on this website and click the middle button, “Visit and Join.” Here is her bio:
Jennifer D. Diamond, MS/CCC-SLP, holds national certification in Speech/Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Pennsylvania K-12 teaching certificates for Speech/Language Impairment and Reading Specialist, PA state licensure in Speech/Language Therapy, and is a writer of short stories, personal essays, and In-Between/Tween Fiction.
Diamond’s first published short story appears in the Mindful Writers Retreat Anthology, Over the River and Through the Woods, forward by Kathleen Shoop, edited by Demi Stevens, 2019. Her short personal essay, Fighting the Shadows, was accepted for the COVID-19 themed anthology, The New Normal: Voices From The Pandemic, soon to be released by Headline Books, Inc.
When not hiking, SUP boarding, or substitute teaching, Diamond is transforming her first Contemporary Young Adult novel, How We Spin, (third place winner in the Pennwriters 2019 Novel Beginnings contest), into a leveled Hi/Lo trilogy for In-Between/Tween readers.
As Area 4 Rep for Pennwriters, Inc., Diamond coordinates the Inkwell monthly meetings, arranging for guest speakers, shared reading nights, and enjoying learning from fellow writers. Diamond embraces a mindful approach to writing by practicing daily meditation, mindfulness, and journal writing with the Online Mindful Writers Group via Facebook, and by attending Mindful Writers Retreats.
Follow Diamond on Facebook @Jennifer.D.Diamond.writer, Instagram @jennifer_d_diamond_writer or find her blog at jenniferddiamondwriter.wordpress.com.
DAY 287, Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Good Morning, Mindful Writers.I began using mindful meditative walks in 2015. But first, a little backstory/infodump on WHY I started my mindful/meditation practice. Back in 2012, I had buried myself in a pit of depression, clawing deeper and deeper. Fear, with waves of dread, and hypervigilance over my son’s newly diagnosed epilepsy, had overrun my life. (His type of epilepsy has a high rate of Sudden Unexpected Death-also known as SUDEP.)
I wasn’t sleeping and was constantly worried about my son’s seizure activity. At some point, about three years into this state of depression and high anxiety, I decided that I didn’t want to live in fear anymore.
I started walking every day, no matter the weather. Also, I made a rule for myself; I wasn’t allowed to worry while I walked. This simple rule opened my heart and mind to mindfulness. I paid attention to the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of my surroundings. My gratitude for the beauty and wonderment of nature blossomed.
It was hard to break the habit of worrying, even if only during a brisk walk. To help me let go of the negativity, I started using mantras to take my focus off the anxious thoughts that kept rising. A simple marching band trick helped; “left, left, left-right-left.” (Yes, I happily call myself a “Band Geek” with no offense intended because it’s a compliment.)
I began using the Headspace App for guided meditation during this same time. I was finally beginning to create some peaceful time in my day. I also created new and empowering mantras as I developed mindfulness muscle. Once my son’s doctor found the right medication, he’s been seizure-free for four years.
When first introduced to the Online Mindful Writers Group and Mindful Writers Retreats in 2019, I knew I had found my “people.” Reading the daily posts on Madhu’s OMWG Facebook Page has deeply enriched my writing life and truly helped me feel connected during the pandemic. Thank you.
GUIDED AND SILENT MEDITATION
Today we’ll practice “Walking Through the Forest” from the CD, Meditations for Mindful Writers II.https://youtu.be/lpD8va8eegcOr select one meditation of your choice from Meditations for Mindful Writers CDs at:https://www.madhubazazwangu.com/publications1/meditations-for-mindful-writers-i-ii-iii-cds/
JOURNALING OR POETRY WRITING
Journal about a persistent negative thought or worry which repeats itself in your mind. Now create a positive mantra which is OPPOSITE of this negative thinking pattern.For example, my negative thoughts swirl around a to-do list; in a nasty voice, I hear, “I need to ______. I have to _____. I should be doing _______.” When I am walking, I use the positive mantra, “I am here to walk. There is nothing else to do but walk.”
For the beginner/very basics: The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day, Andy Puddicombe (2012) 225 pages.
Jennifer D. Diamond
Thank you, Madhu, for the lovely introduction. Thank you for inviting me to post for your Online Mindful Writers Group Facebook Page. It is an honor.
Madhu B. Wangu
You are welcome, Jenn!
Great to have you as my guest!