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writing &

workshops & retreats
for mindful living

about writing & Mindfulness

The Writing and Mindfulness workshops were developed by Zen practitioner and bestselling author, Janis Cooke Newman, and grew out of her own experience.

Not long after taking up a meditation practice, Janis noticed that the cultivation of mindfulness had a powerfully positive effect on her writing.

During the pandemic, Janis discovered that her daily meditation practice, as well as her daily writing practice, worked together to ground and center her.

Janis has taught Writing and Mindfulness at both the Esalen Institute and the San Francisco Zen Center, where she practices. She is the author of a memoir, and two award-winning novels. She is also a long-time practitioner of meditation, and received jukai (lay ordination) in April 2019. She volunteers with the Zen Caregiving Project.

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choose a workshop

writing & Mindfulness:
A practice for navigating difficult times

A daily writing practice and a consistent meditation practice have the power to ground and center us during difficult times. Writing gives us perspective and helps us make sense of the world. Mindfulness teaches us how to make space for the joy as well as the fear.

This workshop is designed to encourage participants to use both a mindfulness practice and free written 'morning pages' to navigate difficult situations and emotions.

A Practice for Navigating Difficult Times can be offered as both a multi-day retreat and a day-long workshop. While it works in an online format, it's best offered as an in-person retreat.

writing & mindfulness:
How a Mindfulness practice can make you a better writer

We all know that a consistent meditation practice can lower stress, improve well-being, and enhance relationships. But did you know that cultivating mindfulness can also make you a better writer?

This workshop is designed to show participants how to use both mindfulness and free writing to nourish their creativity and improve their writing skills.

How a Mindfulness Practice Can Make You a Better Writer can be offered both online and in-person. It works well as a multi-day retreat, as well as over multiple weekly sessions. An abbreviated version can be offered as an in-person day-long.

writing & mindfulness:
a free half-day workshop for front-line workers and caregivers

This half-day workshop, which incorporates some of the techniques taught in A Practice for Navigating Difficult times, is offered free of charge for groups of front-line workers and caregivers.


We didn't just acquire some valuable tools and techniques for meditation, and useful tools for writing - for which alone the workshop would have already been entirely worthwhile - you held a rare space for us to share our stories.

- Esalen participant