Meg enjoys customizing workshops to meet the needs of particular groups. Her interests lie in the intersection of creativity, movement, mindfulness and recovery. She brings her Pranavayu yoga training, love of poetry, meditation practice, and twenty years of songwriting and performing to her workshop experience. Supporting transformation and inner freedom is at the heart of all of her teaching. Meg Hutchinson Resume
Here is a sample of possible workshop themes:
Songwriting – Where do songs begin? What makes a song different from a poem? What is the relationship between lyrics and melody? What are the songwriter’s best tools and how do we allow both mediums to support each other? When should a song keep its secrets? These workshops tackle the many exciting challenges, both creative and technical, that we face as songwriters.
Poetry – How do we reclaim poetry in our lives? What are the best exercises to free ourselves from writer’s block? These workshops focus on gathering fun and playful ways to immerse ourselves in a writing practice and make the most mundane experiences extraordinary again.
Memoir – How does the story we tell ourselves of our lives shape our reality? How do we map the most significant moments in our lives and discover an authentic way to describe our experience? How can the act of remembering allow us to transform and grow? These workshops are centered around many generative writing exercises and geared towards uncovering a wealth of material that writers can bring home and work with.
Yoga & Creativity
Unlocking our Stories – Our bodies are maps which have stored every experience we’ve ever had. Although we may not consciously remember much of what we’ve been through, it all lives in our neurological memory. Our entire body has been shaped by what we wish to protect, to achieve and to guard against. Even our subtle fears have become formative in our lives and are often unexamined. Through yoga, journaling and discussion we will begin to uncover the true story of our lives and learn how let go of so much of the fear that has motivated and shaped us.
Returning to Play – Children learn best in the spirit of play. Watch any four year old engage in the world and you’ll remember that much of what is important we learned through our imaginary play and our physical engagement. Much of this spontaneous joy and risk-taking has been trained out of us. Along with this censorship we’ve also become our own worst critics. Through yoga, writing, and group exercise we’ll shed some of these layers and return to this spirit of playfulness and joy in our creative endeavors.
Freeing our Voice – We were all born with an instrument entirely our own. This unique shape of our body has given us a singing voice unlike any other. So many of us are afraid that we can’t sing that we never explore this voice we were given. One of the essential elements of learning to sing is learning to deeply breathe and to relax. Through yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and play, we will explore the music in us and discover the power of our own songs.
Yoga & Mental Health
Coming home again – One of the common experiences of those of us living with mental illness is the feeling that our body has somehow betrayed us. To be diagnosed or to endure an excruciating bout of depression is to feel that our body is the enemy, that our body is where the illness lives. One of the gifts we can give ourselves is to recognize that our bodies are one of the greatest assets in our recovery. Through gentle yoga and meditation practices we will learn antidotes to insomnia, anxiety, and depression and rekindle a sense of safety and power in our recovery.
The Brain is not The Mind – Somewhere in the 19th century we began referring to psychiatric illnesses as “mental illness.” Implicit in this term is the idea the mind itself is ravaged by the disease. What I have found in my own recovery is that it is essential to differentiate between the brain and the mind. In the Buddhist tradition “mind” is seen as the seat of consciousness and if it has a physical correlate it is said to be located in the heart area. Even when I was really struggling there was a part of me that remained witness to my experience. There was a part of me that felt connected through this invisible thread to a deeper part of myself. Call it spirit, soul, higher self. It is paramount to recovery that we view psychiatric illness as an illness of the brain, not the mind. Drawing on the ancient wisdom of the Buddhist tradition, this workshop will explore methods for cultivating this understanding that the mind is essentially healthy, and that at our core we are well. The mind can be our best ally in managing an illness of the brain.
Healing at the Foundational Levels – One inherent flaw in our Western approach to medicine is that we lose agency in our own healthcare. We are blessed with treatment methods and medication opportunities unheard of even fifty years ago. But in the process of treatment in this country we also let others assume full responsibility for our health. Endemic in this approach is apathy, overmedication and the idea that “stabilization” means health. What I have found in my own work of recovery is that stabilization and medical treatment is only the beginning. In order to truly heal we have to meet our physical, spiritual and creative selves and heal at the very foundation of our lives. We will take inventory of what heals us and develop methods for cultivating agency and engagement in our recovery.
Mindfulness: The Foundations of Mental Health Recovery – In the spirit of twelve step programs this workshop will outline the steps that I have found to be fundamental to recovery. We will learn methods for cultivating each of these steps through designing an individualized daily practice for ourselves. We will also discuss the importance of celebrating our accomplishments along the way.
“Meg presented a workshop to our college student leaders at our national conference in 2011. Her gift as a facilitator lies in her ability to adapt to the needs and interests of her participants to maximize creativity and inspire deep self-reflection as well as hope for the future.” Maggie Bertram, Speaker and Program Manager, Active Minds, Inc.
Quotes from workshop attendees:
“Meg Hutchinson was so very approachable and open, I really enjoyed her.”
“Meg is just wonderful, she inspires me to be creative through her music and her willingness to relate to us.”
“Meg Hutchinson continues to make my jaw drop – I can’t wait until she comes to my campus.”