Guided Writing Sessions

Guided Writing Session Directory

Below, you will find recordings for each Guided Writing Session dating back to August 2021 when the sessions were began.

Take a moment to review the Usage and Guidelines Folder below for information on how to post work and use the directory.
Use the Independent Entries Folder for submissions not specific to a monthly program or Guided Writing Session.

More About Guided Writing Sessions

Forum Navigation
You need to log in to create posts and topics.

Guided Writing Session: December 15

Thanks to all that joined the session.

Watch the Video Playback

Listen to the Audio Only

Writing Prompt 1: Do you believe in "redemption"? If so, what does this mean to you? If not, why not?

Writing Prompt 2: How might you exercise more discernment in your life today? Why is this important? Be specific.

To share a piece of writing, click 'Reply', post your work, and click 'Submit'.

Just to expound a bit on my post yesterday: saying redemption set me free from the shame of my past.  I've always looked at redemption as from the Lord. Knowing Christ holds nothing against me. Through yesterday's sharing I realized that it was I who held my past against me.  What freedom to let me off the hook.

Just three years ago when I began a memoir: my motive being so that others know why I was the flawed human being that I was. Oh, how I've grown since then. Mark, your transparency in your memoir helped me see the stinkin thinking in my logic.

Thanks, Jimmie Ellen!  Isn't it amazing how "stinkin' thinkin'" straightens itself out over time!  It's always WE who judge and blame ourselves -- never Jesus (or whoever one's divine doppelganger is)! What a relief to know that. : )

Great to see you in the Writers Circle.  Have a wonderful holiday.


  1. How might you exercise more discernment in your life today? 

To me, the word “discernment” has an undertone of choices.  Options in choosing one’s perspective.  I think of Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” and the way a sense of purpose can make any living vital, if only we’re engaged in it.  

I loved that book for it’s message of our inalienable right to hoping.  It reminds me there are wonders to see, even in the most difficult of situations.  Hope is the nature of the soul.  

Even when I collapse into despair, I‘m caught by my hope in the unknown.  Mystery is there to catch me.  It  buoys me.  Anything can happen.  There’s even a possibility I’ll appreciate what next unfolds.  

Saying these thoughts, I worry I’m presenting myself as Panglossian.  I’m not saying this is the best of all possible worlds.  There’s too much hurt in the world for that to be true.  Everyday, I do actions that carry unintended consequences. I act out my fears, seeing them as protections, while they limit me from other possibilities.  

Like everybody else, I’ve formed my identity with the simple split of good/bad.  Inclusion/exclusion.  Like everybody else, I get confused sometimes. Where do I stand?    I’m unsure of what’s real, and what I’m projecting.  Like everybody else, I’m often blind to the consequences of  my actions.  My emotions can be anchored in my past, blocking me from seeing now.  In all these instances, I’m out of sync with myself, fumbling for balance.  

My stubbornness used to read this as “do more, faster,” thinking speed is what I need.  These efforts were exhausting.  They caught up with me.  Slowed me down.  Cancer was a blessing.  It helped me realize the beauty of resting and making space for hmmming. 

Perhaps my needs will change, at some future point.  Right now, pausing works as discernment for me.  It lets me balance my actions with the heart of me...more of the whole of me.  This slight hesitation, for examining my options, widens the possibilities I see.  It lets me check their resonance.  I can ask if a reaction still rings true, or is sounding as an automatic stimulus/response.  Reflexive living leaves me unsatisfied, and often brings me troubles.  

Recently I was writing about the end of my first serious relationship.  I had rushed right by looking at it, as life kept moving on.  I felt too isolated to risk feeling. 

That sense of aloneness hadn’t been there when I got on the plane, and traveled 2000 miles to see Joel.  Between my disembarking the plane, and our reunion, after a month of being apart, an incident occurred.  

I experienced not only trauma, but a poking at a wounded place in my identity. My lack of father.  I was in a state of primal pain, over an occurrence in which Joel was not involved.  Except, when it was over, I needed  Joel to a degree I never had before.  

I felt myself as emptiness demanding attention.  I didn’t say my need with words, because I had none.  In the usual story, I see rejection on Joel’s face.  But it wasn’t his face I was seeing.  It was my father’s.  I didn’t recognize this at the time.  

In the pause that writing brings, I noticed something I’d missed, in my flurry of coping.  It’s only now that I can remember that look of gladness on his face, before he saw my tears.  One second, maybe two.  Was it a memory-mirage?

In my lamentations, I rushed past this detail.  I sped so quickly,  I now question memory’s reality.  Yet it keeps being there.  If only I’d embraced that split-second of contact.  Seen it as enoughness.  But I couldn't.  Therein lies the rub.

There was something inside me, itching for a fight.  Something not quite five-years old, longing to throw itself against the floor.  I craved the body-slam of tantruming. The coolness of tiles against cheeks hot with tears.   The pounding  of my toes against the floor.   A boundary to contain my wail, the way my foster-mother did for me, so long ago.  

Instead, I felt the scream inside me was going to swallow me up.  Turn me inside-out. I held my breath to change it. 

I watched Joel’s confusion slow his pace, as caution.  His eyebrows shot up, wrinkling his forehead.  His smile turned into almost a grimace, like mine.  I had no awareness of my expression, or its causality to his reaction.  I simply saw him as rejecting.  

With this interpretation, our possibility as lovers lost its golden glow.  Yet he continued his approach.  He took me in his arms, still puzzled.  If I had stood on tiptoe, I might have pressed my ear next to his heart, and heard that calming song of lub-dub, lubdub.  Instead, I stiffened and drew away.  Why that urge to run? 

Now, I recognize it as my feelings from the precipitating incident, spilling over onto Joel.  Anger with Joel was safer.  

In that moment, I didn’t choose to be aware of my fury.  I didn’t know what to do with it, or what to call it.  I’d lost my words, along with my thinking.  I felt broken.  What I needed was to connect to some sense of containment, and then ask myself what was now and what was not.  I didn’t have the resources or the wisdom to use discernment then.  

Yet now, it seems a simple act.  To inhale, rest, then exhale.  There’s benefit in even one such moment.  To me, it’s how my body greets my spirit, and vice versa.  It is a gathering of the possibilities of me.  

My strategy is not so much about increasing my discernment as it is about redefining it.  I want to avoid the innocent narcissism of youth, unthought feeling, I also want to refrain from thinking without feeling.  There is a middle way of both/and.  I can learn from experience when I give pause.