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Writing Your Dharma: Sharing Your Path with Humility and Authenticity

11:00am – 12:30pm EST, Every Saturday: May 6 – June 10 

The world needs to hear your Dharma: your own spiritual journey, expressed with truth, humility, and grace.

In this six-week workshop, we will learn how to share our spiritual paths in writing: how to write with authenticity and vulnerability, how to say what we mean, and how to support others and be supported in the act of creation. Each session will explore another facet of spiritual writing. We will be writing together, examining the works of renowned writers who write about or lace spirituality through their stories, their essays, their poems. We will hear from contemporary artists writing from a spiritual perspective, and have the opportunity to ask them questions and explore our writing with them.

We will discuss and explore how we connect with the mind of meditation and our own, essential creative force. This course is a safe and supportive space to take risks with our writing, and to find a warm community of fellow writers.

Outline of 90-minute Live Sessions: 

Session One (May 6, 2023)

  • Introductions, discuss our writing aspirations
  • Overview of the course with Mimi Valiulis and Frederick Meyer
  • Meditation instruction
  • Introduction to daily writing process throughout the course
  • Group writing exercise
  • Choosing weekly cohorts for accountability and sharing, for participants who want them

Session Two (May 13, 2023)

  • Guided meditation
  • Presentation and discussion with Brad Wetzler: Balancing “Show” and “Tell” in nonfiction writing
  • Writing exercise and group share

Session Three (May 20, 2023)

  • Guided meditation
  • Presentation and discussion with Gaylon Ferguson: The relationship between connecting with the mind of meditation and writing
  • Finding inspiration, and some of the pitfalls of spiritual writing

Session Four (May 27, 2023)

  • Meditation
  • Writing mindfulness with Marc Olmsted: How to write through sense perceptions and “first thought, best thought”
  • Writing exercise and group share

Session Five (June 3, 2023)

  • Meditation
  • Bring a piece of writing to the session, for group workshopping with Mimi Valiulis and Frederick Meyer
  • Writing exercise and group share

Session Six (June 10, 2023)

  • Meditation
  • Workshop on storytelling with Barbara Bash
  • Course close, and discussing next steps from here

About the Teachers

Mimi Valiulis has been practicing meditation in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition since 2001. She taught writing in Paris, and was an editor for literary magazines in New York and Paris. Mimi received a MFA in fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has worked as the Dean for Shambhala Online, the Director of Shambhala Online, and now serves as the Creative Director. She is passionate about all the ways we can illuminate and share the essence of meditation and the buddhist teachings, as well as having a deep curiosity about the ways the wisdom of Buddhism intersects with other world religions and spiritual traditions.

Gaylon Ferguson, PhD, has led group meditation retreats since 1976. He taught at Stanford, the University of Washington, and Naropa University, where he was a Core Faculty Member for fifteen years. The author of two books, Natural Wakefulness (on the four foundations of mindfulness) and Natural Bravery (on fear and fearlessness as path to manifesting bravery), his articles have appeared in Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, and Buddhadharma magazine. He contributed the foreword to the pioneering collection Black and Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation and Freedom (Shambhala, 2020).

Marc Olmsted has five books of poetry and has appeared in New Directions in Prose & Poetry, City Lights Journal, New York Quarterly, Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and a large international variety of small presses. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Olmsted received the San Francisco Acker Award for Poetry in 2014. Marc began mindfulness meditation in 1974, went on to become a student of Lama Tharchin Rinpoche in 1991, and completed a three-year retreat supervised by this great teacher. Olmsted’s 25-year relationship with Allen Ginsberg is chronicled in his memoir Don’t Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg 1972-1997 – Letters and Recollections. For more on Marc and his work, visit his website.

Brad Wetzler began his writing and publishing career serving as an editor at Outside magazine. He later turned in his editor’s pen for a writer’s. He traveled the world writing for major national magazines about adventure and exploration, business, politics, the environment, sports, yoga, and wellness. In midlife, after recovering from a long, debilitating depression, he became a certified yoga teacher and began exploring and writing about our inner landscape: psychology, spirituality, meditation, and yoga. Brad holds a masters’ degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He is a book editor and writing coach. His forthcoming memoir Into the Soul of the World will be published by Hachette Book Group in March, 2023. He lives in Austin, Texas. Learn more about Brad here.


Frederick Meyer is a lifelong Shambhala and Buddhist practitioner. He has worked professionally as a humor writer, blogger, copy editor, and writing coach, and is the director of Writers.com, the internet’s oldest creative writing school. His life goal is to help the Dharma flourish in the West. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, Clara, their daughter, Anna, and their dog, Lucy.

Barbara Bash is a lover of the alphabet and a calligraphic practitioner of contemplative art with brush, pen, and pencil. Her contact with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche guided her into a deeper play with the ancient principles of heaven, earth and human in the creative act. She has collaborated with musicians, storytellers, and dancers in fresh forms of visual improvisation. Barbara teaches expressive brush, contemplative handwriting and illustrated journaling widely. She also leads workshops in Nonviolent Communication and monthly Circle Practice online. Being on the Creative Process team at the Authentic Leadership in Action conferences from 2001 – 2013 led to the creation of her big brush events. Barbara has written and illustrated a number of children’s books about the natural world and more recently True Nature : An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York. For more information about her work, visit her website or her True Nature visual blog.

2023-06-01 16:01:17