Moving from grief to life — free creative writing workshops offered in Ojai

again web 5 14 1Ciena rose Photo1jpg copy Ciena Rose William


By Ciena Rose William

We have all been through a wake-up call and our world has changed. In the last year of unpredictable crisis and disruption, many of us are “grieving normal” and experiencing a sense of loss in some way: health issues, changes in significant relationships or work, isolation, or loss of a loved one.

Crisis can knock us off our feet and it can also initiate opening the door to the stories that only you can tell and poems that only you can write. Moving from Grief to Life — A Creative Writing Workshop is offered this month and next to explore the remarkable details of your life and experiences on paper in respectful community with others. Experience how expressive writing and conscious listening can become a healing practice. It can also build resilience and self-compassion and make meaning of upheaval in your life.

Each session begins with a brief meditation. We often do self-compassion and compassion-for-others meditations. This builds heart energy and mutual support in the group. We then move to the discussion topic, which often includes guidance on how to bring body awareness into our writing to foster creativity. The writing prompt, followed by a writing period is next and brings us to the time when writers can share their work and receive supportive reflection.

No prior writing experience is necessary.

Combining meditation and writing can help get grief out of the body and onto the page. This creates space for restorative energy to flow into the body. Developing compassionate listening for self and others empowers the art of listening in the group. This integrative process can help move us out of isolation, allow us to notice what else is possible, and nourish optimism and aliveness.

Sessions held in Ojai on May 26 and June 2 at 7 p.m. are hosted by Ojai Cares and are offered at no cost  to support the Ojai community and beyond, thanks to Zoom. An earlier session this month was hosted by the Cancer Support Community Valley / Ventura / Santa Barbara. For questions or to register, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and by phone at 805-371-1404.

Later in the summer and again in the fall, I will offer a deeper dive into the work.

So bring it all — your curiosity, beauty, scars, longing, wisdom and surely your beginner’s mind and heart. We will create from all of it!

— Ciena Rose William is a somatic business coach and meditation teacher with a specialized certification for working with PTSD. She has been a guest instructor at residential programs for cancer patients and their families. In the first several months of 2020, she was diagnosed with early-stage, slow-growing lung cancer by three oncologists. Lung surgery in November disproved this diagnosis. She wrote of that experience: “After surgery I poured my grief into creating this workshop for others to support them in building their own unique inner scaffolding to be with grief in an expressive writing community hopefully filled with meaningful connections.” Moving from Grief to Life — A Creative Writing Workshop was specifically designed during her recovery from surgery to support kindred spirits facing challenges and loss on their healing path.




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