“At the epicentre of a storm, it is always calm. Find that centre, your centre. That’s where you will find strength.” – AVIS Viswanathan

There’s no denying it: We’re definitely weathering a major storm as a society right now. With the twin crises of the global coronavirus pandemic and financial meltdown, there is tremendous uncertainty swirling around, not to mention profound isolation. As a writing teacher and consultant, I want to be of service and help my students, clients, and friends find their calm centers and connect with others through the power of writing.

Since research shows that journal writing reduces stress and thereby boosts immunity, I think it’s an especially valuable activity right now. Starting this coming Tuesday 3/24, I will be offering ongoing, drop-in, “pay if you can” group journaling sessions via Zoom. Here’s all the pertinent info:

WHAT: During each session, I’ll have a new writing prompt/exercise for the group to get your journaling juices flowing and help you process your emotions. There will also be opportunities for sharing with the group (if desired but not required) to help create community.

WHEN: Every Tuesday and Thursday 12pm-1pm PST. You don’t have to sign up in advance — you can just drop in to these ongoing sessions any day you’re in the mood to reflect and connect. And feel free to eat your lunch while we journal if the sessions happen to fall during your lunch hour (you can watch the video while having your video feed off so we won’t see you munching).

WHERE: Just head over to this Zoom meeting link (https://zoom.us/j/944052087)! If possible, please drop me an email at writestrong@gmail.com if you’re new to the group to let me know you’ll be joining us. If you need to dial in by telephone, here are the call-in numbers:

One tap mobile
+16699009128,,944052087# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,944052087# US (Houston)

Dial by your location
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 301 715 8592 US
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 253 215 8782 US
Meeting ID: 944 052 087
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/abAE2FrVxH

COST: Each session is only $5, but if you can’t pay right now, no worries — you can join for FREE. On the other hand, if you can pay a little extra to cover someone else who can’t, then swell! You can Venmo to @Rachel-Levin-8, PayPal to writestrong@gmail.com, or Zelle to rachel.levin@sbcglobal.net.

GUIDELINES (adapted from Journal to the Self by Kathleen Adams): Sharing is optional but encouraged! Due to time constraints, I will limit sharing to two to three people for each writing activity. Participants are invited to give feedback on each other’s shares, but please talk in terms of “I” statements about how the share resonated with you or moved you, as opposed to “you” statements that offer participants evaluation or advice. We will focus on process, not product — even “bad” writing can make for powerful journaling! This is not a “therapy” group, though many people experience therapeutic outcomes from journal writing activities. This group CARES!:

  • Confidentiality: You’re always free to talk about your own experience. Please don’t talk about anyone else’s without that person’s agreement.
  • Acceptance: There’s no way to do it “wrong.” Please accept yourself and each other without criticism or judgement.
  • Respect: We celebrate diversity and allow for differences in culture, process, opinion, and style.
  • Empathy: We hold each other’s work gently and with compassion.
  • Support: We offer positive feedback, encouragement, and wisdom.

Please feel free to spread the word… while doing everything you can not to spread the virus.

Hope to see you on Zoom!