Wednesday, November 13, 2013

365 Inspirations—317: Teaching Intuitive Writing at Kalani

Teaching Intuitive Writing at Kalani on The Big Island
"The intellect has little to do with the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you, and you don't know how or why."—Albert Einstein

I'm the Artist-in-Residence for the Hawaii Yoga Festival at Kalani on the Big Island. Yesterday I taught my first class called First Thoughts: Intuitive Writing for Greater Clarity and Purpose.

There was a pretty good turn out to my class. I started out by telling my story of how I met Yoon, how I started sharing my writing through blogging and how I published my book Lessons from the Monk I Married.

I am a firm believer in not only writing intuitively, but living intuitively.

The best things in my life came on their own. I didn't have to force anything. When I let go, I'm often led to what I need in my life, but that is still scary for me.

The funny thing is, I'm not sure why it is scary. Experience has taught me that it works. That all good things—my husband, my book, being here at Kalani—all flowed into my life at just the right time.

Of course, I did do the ground work. I was seeking something. I was curious and searching, but I found that I had to let go of the hows. I had to truly trust and believe in myself completely.

There are still areas of my life that don't feel quite right. I am still holding on to that little bit of my past and the false sense of security that it brings, which keeps me from living fully how I'd like to. I'll get there. Too many amazing things have happened to me and now I'm beyond doubt. I know I will follow my heart completely.

In my writing class, I gave the students a one-word prompt. I told them to keep moving their hands across the page. I told them not to stop and not to think. Once the thinking mind comes in there is a tendency to edit. The inner critic comes in and starts giving reasons why we should stop writing, why we are no good, why we should just stop before we even begin.

Keeping the hand moving across the page keeps the intuition engaged and leaves the left-brain thinking on the side. Often times, people have no idea what they have written until they read back over  their journals days later. This is usually when people find answers, nuggets of wisdom, words they were looking for, direction, ideas, purpose and light.

Intuitive writing is playful. You can write with your left hand or your right. You can write in symbols, doodle, repeat words, write fragments, run-on sentences, forget about punctuation. Intuitive writing is very FREE and in it contains a power that comes from oneself, but is also beyond the small selves that we are.

I shared with the students a book that really helped me with my writing and life called The Intuitive Way by Penny Peirce. Penny has appeared on my blog before and wrote a lesson as part of my 31 Writers, 31 Lessons series. I shared writing prompts from her book and asked the attendees to pick a prompt and write intuitively for five minutes each day. We will have a follow-up class on Saturday.

Here's what Penney Peirce has to say about first thoughts and intuitive writing:

"Natalie Goldberg, who teaches writing as a spiritual practice, advocates writing from 'first thoughts' as opposed to second and third thoughts, which the inner censor has rehashed many times. She says, "First thoughts have tremendous energy. It is the way the mind first flashes on something....First thoughts are also unencumbered by ego...(and) if you express something egoless, it is also full of energy because it is expressing the truth of the way things are."

I was excited to see how engaged everyone was with the first one-word prompt which was 'nature'. The second prompt I gave was 'love'. There are many other prompts one can use.

Signing books at Kalani!
I plan to teach this class again at a yoga/writing/collaging retreat along with my husband at The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island January 23-26. The class is called Setting Intentions and we will be setting powerful intentions for the new year.

Have you ever written intuitively? Do you feel you live your life intuitively?


  1. I so enjoyed your talk yesterday! (I'm the one in the second picture with the red pants - your almost birthday twin!) I just sat by the pool today and read through your entire book in one sitting. I found it inspiring and so very real and it helped me through a difficult decision I have been trying to make over the last few months. I am glad you felt the urge to share your story with the world, and thank you for your contribution!

    I also wanted to say I think I know the yoga ashram where you did your teacher training that you speak of in your book! I was having flashbacks to my own traumatic yoga teacher training experience at their sister ashram in Kona. Though the experience did eventually propel me in a positive direction, I I laughed out loud as I read the summary of your resistance to the cult-like experience. Santa Claus - exactly!!

    I wish you and Yoon the best, and hope to cross paths again with you in the future. Enjoy your time at Kalani!!

  2. Hi Char! I'm so glad to see you here on my blog! Welcome....I'm doing the crazy task of writing 365 Inspirations for this year and much of it comes intuitively. Thanks for your kind words. It would be wonderful to cross paths with you again someday. I hope you are enjoying or enjoyed your stay at Kalani!

    1. Thanks Katherine! Good luck with your inspirations! I'm really enjoying them. I'm back home now, but had a wonderful, inspiring stay on the Big Island. Safe travels!

  3. Fantastic post Katherine - lovely insights about intuition that I need to hear - Thank-you!