Dominique was my French writing teacher some years ago, she has been a literary advisor for over ten years and leads workshops in London and retreats abroad.
She was very keen to test my "Dynamic Relaxation and writing" workshop this year: learning to listen to the body to find a different type of inspiration.
I offered a small group of friends, including Dominique, an introduction in French to sophrology and its principles: How sophrology works for the harmony of body and mind. In this particular workshop the emphasis was on how creativity stems logically from an alert mind in a relaxed body, working on individual focus through Dynamic Relaxation. I chose the great Japanese form of the haïku, a free, adaptable poetry style and therefore a fantastic ally to sophrology.
"In a kitchen
Five women are breathing
To live better"
"The blue of the night
burrows in my mouth
My lungs swallow it."
As sophrology liberates the mind and non judgement gives way to imagination and intuition, ideas surge naturally, in a meditative exploration. Writing can be a work of rational thinking, organising ideas in logical and precise forms. That's how we went about it, revising our skills to create haïkus, very free haïkus of course, haïkus that would convey instant, passing sensations, in one breath. Haïkus are about changing landscapes, through seasons , detachment of the author, they are undefined in their essence. In the context of the workshop, they were about the body being a changing landscape, whilst exploring a different time zone during the sophrology exercises, namely the Dynamic Relaxation.
In practical terms, I guided specific Dynamic Relaxation exercises one by one after an initial Body Scan standing, eyes closed. After each exercise from level one sophrology, eyes closed, therefore very much about body awareness and listening inside, with "I" as a subject, my friends paused to welcome their sensations, then sat down and opened their eyes but maintaining their focus on their sensations, still welcoming them, and they grabbed their pen and paper in a mindful manner, letting the ideas and words flow and take the shape of haïkus.
Belly rythmically bouncing
Shoes well fixed."
Each writing moment took around five to ten minutes, the whole session lasted an hour and a half. Dominique was experiencing the writing workshop with the point of view of the student, "to be at last on the other side of the desk" as she put it. The perception of the body was sometimes geometrical:
"Rectangle up top
Square and right angles in the middle
Two sticks at the bottom."
Sharing a creative moment in a mindful way was at the centre of the workshop, it was wonderful, allowing each other to be free, non judgemental, developing focus and positivity with the help of words, breathing to be aware of our lives and friendship: