Writers on Meditation

Writers on Meditation Podcast

Tess interviews writers and artists about their creative journeys, the “material meditation” of creating art, and how their spiritual practice—however they define it—supports, informs, or inspires their work.

Mar'ce Merrell


Join novelist, essayist, and canoe adventurer Mar’ce Merrell as she unpacks her spiritual and creative toolbox, sharing how she uses meditation to move through stuck places in life and on the page. Mar’ce describes the steppingstones of her journey from the moment her therapist first suggested meditation to a literal “breakthrough” experience at an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Retreat with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli at Mount Madonna Center. The breakthrough encouraged her to “show up for herself” in radical ways. She undertook an Outward Bound Woman of Courage Canoe trip, during which she wrote a prophetic letter to her future self. Mar’ce’s spiritual and creative explorations then took her to Greece, where she participated in a GoodWorld Journeys Writing Salon taught by George Saunders and Mary Karr—another life-changing experience. In the course of the interview, we discuss George Saunders’ story “Victory Lap,” and how the surrendering of old beliefs has been a through-line of Mar’ce’s journey. Finally, Mar’ce describes some of her extraordinary life-and-death moments in the canoe, how she learned to work with water and not against it, and how her life has unfolded in the gap between the impossible and the possible.

Mar’ce is the author of the novel Wicked Sweet, a Barnes & Noble Best Summer Read pick for Young Adults. Her stories and essays include: “Water Calls, Water Holds” (Embrace Your Divine Flow), “Architecture as Reconciliation” (Fold Magazine), and “Variations in a Living Thing(Hags on Fire Magazine). She holds an MFA from Sierra Nevada College and lives in Ghost Lake, Canada, where she “writes to observe and record the natural world and the wilderness in our minds.” Mar’ce currently facilitates online creative writing circles or “Nests” whose participants hail from all over the world. Mar’ce is on Instagram. You can find out more about her work and her mentorship at www.marcemerrell.com.

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DISCLAIMER: Meditation is not a substitute for professional psychological or medical healthcare or therapy. We do not accept any liability for any loss or damage incurred by you acting or not acting as a result of listening to this recording. Use the material provided at your own risk. Do not drive or operate dangerous equipment while listening.

Don Freas


Join sculptor and poet Don Freas, author of In-Between: Creativity Set Free and Swallowing the World: New and Selected Poems, in a rich exploration of the relationship between meditation and creativity. Don describes how his practice of Liangong, a form of Qigong, deepens his somatic awareness in the studio and in life. He explains how his process of journaling, partly inspired by Robert A. Johnson’s book Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, has deepened self-inquiry, and thereby, self-compassion. Don lets us in on his decades-long conversation with an inner wisdom figure he calls Sophie, a voice who regularly encourages his intuition and questions him when he goes off track. He describes Sophie as “a voice from the long history of humanity, or of the universe.” Don shares insights gained from many sources, including spiritual teacher Byron Katie, physicist David Bohm, Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson, and Akashic Records teacher Linda Howe. Don takes us on a deep dive into the “material meditation” of making art. “When you look back,” he says, “your own accrued shape appears in the spaces between the things you’ve fashioned.”

Don holds an MFA in Poetry from Bennington College and lives in Olympia, Washington, where an upcoming exhibit of his sculpture will take place at Childhood’s End Art Gallery. Visit www.DonFreas.com to learn more and follow Don on instagram@donfreas and FaceBook@donfreas.

Audio Engineering by: https://www.audio-refined.com/
Music by Christopher Lloyd Clarke.

Support the Show.

Tess on Insight Timer
Tess on
YouTube
Tess’s novels:
https://tesscallahan.com/

Thank you for listening !

DISCLAIMER: Meditation is not a substitute for professional psychological or medical healthcare or therapy. We do not accept any liability for any loss or damage incurred by you acting or not acting as a result of listening to this recording. Use the material provided at your own risk. Do not drive or operate dangerous equipment while listening.