Summoning the Unseen:
Poetry and Meditation to Conjure Deep Support and Inspiration
An 8-week online workshop series
with Brooke McNamara
& Special Guests
Ellen Bass and Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Tuesdays, 8 live workshops:
Sept 6, 13, & 20,
Oct 11 & 18,
Nov 1, 8, & 15
9-11am PDT/ 10am-12pm MDT/ 11am-1pm CDT/ 12-2pm EDT/ 5-7pm BST/ 6-8 pm CEST
Please choose the price that works for your current financial context:
$565, $345, or $125
~ Scholarships Available ~
In these bewildering times, both our inner and outer worlds are undergoing rapid change and unraveling. So much is unknown and yet to be seen. We may fear becoming overwhelmed or disconnected from the emotional, relational, creative, and spiritual resources we need most right now.
What if there is a dimension of experience always available right here, which is innately meaningful and vivid - without cause or condition?
What if it's possible to tune ourselves to receiving and transmitting this poetic dimension of being human?
When we tune and open ourselves to the poetic dimension of life, we may access the world’s innate aliveness, teeming with unseen layers of imagery, intimacy, guidance, archetypal narratives and codes, as well as spacious awareness holding and infusing it all.
How do you tune to the poetic? Do you remember your ways as a child of connecting to this animate, breathing world?
In these times of rapid change, challenge, and opportunity, with an overwhelming flood of imagery, information, and disinformation flowing in from the outside, it is vital that we become both discerning about what we take in to our minds and psyches, as well as pro-active about sourcing the imagery and intelligence of our own souls, intuition, and deep being.
It is vital that we connect in brave, supportive community to feed each other the wisdom and vision we receive when we turn our embodied gaze toward unseen, poetic dimensions folded into any and every moment of being alive.
And, in this kind of trustable community, we can learn, discern, and think critically together about what information - whether received from the outside or inside - is truly life-giving, and also gently come to know what might be unjust or oppressive, to ourselves or others, that we’ve simply assumed to be the way things are.
Poetry can usher us into this realm of soul, imagination, and the liminal where we remember or sense things we didn’t know we knew. A realm where we can receive vision or calibration not available through thinking or the conventional five senses alone. Where we may court and be courted by our muse. And where we can unfold and reveal bits of magic and insight simply by showing up to listen or bring pen to paper.
Meditation can harmonize body, mind, and breath, allowing deep letting go of unnecessary tension and revealing an ever present Awareness. This deeper nature is our birthright to realize, is not separate from any moment or expression of life, and is refuge when old reference points fall away.
It is vital to gently allow in to our awareness and nervous systems that which has been in shadow, individually and collectively, and - as in the teachings of activist, author, and lawyer, Valarie Kaur - to wonder about who we really are, what we must resist and dismantle to enact a revolutionary love, and also how we can reimagine something more beautiful, equitable, and life-giving for all.
This may emerge for you in a short poem of forgiveness for yourself. It may manifest in a letter of apology to an estranged friend. Or it may become a vision for deep structural change at work. “To attend to the moment is to attend to eternity. To attend to the part is to attend to the whole,” asserts the maxim from the compilation of Jewish teachings, Pirke Avot.
In these transitional times, it is vital that we help each other feel and express the pain of injustice and loss. It is vital that we also feel the burn, ache and pleasure of longing for something more for ourselves and our world, something deeper in, something more alive, connected and intimate with the holy truth of death — something perhaps already here, but as yet untended or made manifest.
You are invited to enact, articulate and enjoy your vision of truth, beauty, and justice, presence and play, together in community, as a weekly ritual.
By writing our way into and from our deep hearts, our untethered imaginings, and our solemn declarations of what we stand for in this life, we will create a blueprint for our living and relating with all of life in its sentience, wonder, grief, and mystery.
We will summon the unseen forces around and within us to activate deep support, inspiration, and service, here and now.
Week 1, September 6th: Ordinary Magic: What Does it Mean to Summon (& be Summoned by) the Unseen?
Week 2, September 13th:Concentration and Abandon: Gathering, Working with, and Releasing Attention and Power
Week 3, September 20th: Special Guest, Ellen Bass
NO CLASS SEPT 27th & OCT 4th: Catch Up, Integration, & Rest
Week 4, October 11th: Tangible and Transcendent: the Poetic as Integral and Multidimensional
Week 5, October 18th: Prajna: Wisdom through Head, Heart, Body, and Beyond
NO CLASS OCT 25th: Catch Up, Integration, & Rest
Week 6, November 1st: The Art of Revising: Tending the Garden
Week 7, November 8th: Special Guest, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Week 8, November 15th: A Celebration of Beloved Community: Integration and Completion
Ellen Bass’s most recent collection, Indigo, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Her other poetry books include Like a Beggar, The Human Line, andMules of Love. Her poems appear frequently in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and many other journals. Among her awards are Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The NEA, and The California Arts Council, The Lambda Literary Award, and three Pushcart Prizes. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Bass founded poetry workshops at Salinas Valley State Prison and the Santa Cruz, California jails, and teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University. www.EllenBass.com
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel is an author, poet, and ordained Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of the upcoming book, Opening to Darkness (March 2023). Her other works include The Shamanic Bones of Zen, The Deepest Peace, Sanctuary, The Way of Tenderness, and Tell me Something About Buddhism. A native of California, she currently lives in New Mexico. More at ww.zenju.org
“The struggle of the world melts into the beauty of itself when the words come from an experience of peace. Writing becomes meditation when it’s steeped in the essential.”
― Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, The Deepest Peace: Contemplations from a Season of Stillness
What people are saying about my online workshops:
"Participating in Summoning the Unseen will be etched in my heart as the most powerful medicine during these times. The combination of meditation and poetry continues to invite me into deep inner stillness, amplifying my capacity to listen and reflect, to move beyond the noise and chaos and witness my own quivering voice.
This course has offered a practice that reverberates connectedness between us. There is magic to be experienced as our whole group listens to a poem and allows it to land with unique resonance. The beauty of witnessing how each of us are moved within the online space has increased the beauty tenfold and I am deeply grateful to be held in a circle of people with hearts wide-open, as we weave the words, witness ourselves and each other, and uncover wisdom to navigate these times.
The guest teachers have been a delightful bonus to find new pathways into this art; they have inspired me deeply. Some are lingering with me, weeks later. For me, Summoning the Unseen is weaving an invisible web between the hearts of the world and whispering poetry, vulnerability and love into these silken strings, summoning the soul to wake up more fully into conscious living."
~ Heather Baillie,
Death Doula, Poet, Teacher,
“My expectations have continually been surpassed. Every week the balance between space and structure is delicately and sensitively facilitated by Brooke (sometimes accompanied by other guest teachers that bring their own energy to the space) so that I have been delighted by the range and depth we have accomplished in a relatively short time. The sessions stay with me all week and I find myself having a wider palate to delve into and many moments of inspiration and experience when I want to find my voice. I would highly recommend this course for poetry beginners or seasoned practitioners.”
~ Priya Logan, Aritst, Doula, Mother Scotland
Enjoy an introductory
"Summoning the Unseen" workshop:
Please join a powerful, intimate, international community of humans for an exploration of opening to the poetic together, and sourcing the support and inspiration of the unseen around and within us all.
For me, there are four enduring, overlapping practices for opening to the poetic: reading poetry, writing poetry, meditation, and real connection in community. Exactly how these practices work their magic feels like a matter of grace, but they reliably provide bridges into the breathing soul of this moment.
Reading and writing poetry, meditation, and connection in community, as practices to up-level sensitivity toward and enchantment with this gorgeous, terrible world and our gorgeous, terrible selves requires embodied perception. These practices require that we feel the language of the poetic touching our private inner landscapes so we can become awake to the wisdom locked up or liberated in our flesh and bones. For this reason we’ll include gentle somatic practices and inquiries to open and activate the intelligence and perception of our whole body and being.
The real beauty of reading and writing poetry as a presence practice, the secret that keeps me coming back to drink this water-from-the-source, is that it requires my embodied perception, but at the same time trains it. The more I give, the more I get, so to speak. The more I wrestle, die, and delight with my favorite poets and poems, the more I perceive the rest of my world with full body-mind, sensuous curiosity and love. And then, at moments, this “me” perceiving “my world” dissolves into simple, undivided flow - the poetic.