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Giving Sorrow Words: Mindful Writing for Disenfranchised Grief with Marianela Medrano, PhD


This workshop focuses on ambiguous loss/disenfranchised grief and mindfulness as vehicles for inner transformation and liberation from unnecessary suffering. Ambiguous loss, when unaddressed, is pernicious and travels inwardly, damaging the soul. Mindful Writing is appropriate for examining the gifts of loss and building spiritual and transformative grief. Dr. Kenneth Dako coined the term Disenfranchised Grief to identify the pain that stems from ambiguous loss, such as in the case of divorce, breakup, loss of a job, or chronic illness, among many other situations. When expressed, Disenfranchised Grief can turn into Transformative Grief, which happens after we descend into the depth of feelings, thoughts, and emotions about a loss.


Participants will write, reflect, meditate, and engage in discussions about what it means to free ourselves from the grip of repressed grief. The participants will identify ways to transform sorrow into liberation by writing from a centered place. We will read poetry, meditate, and dialogue to regenerate the spirit.


This liberation moves from mourning and sorrowing (ritualizing our feelings to make them overt) into meaning, creating new ways of looking at oneself in the context of loss and our ability to regenerate.


Ambiguous loss, when unaddressed, is pernicious and travels inwardly, damaging the soul. Loss is ubiquitous; sooner or later, we will experience it. MW uses all the senses without judgment to express true-to-life depictions of our inner and outer experiences. This therapeutic approach aids in the cultivation of more in-depth relationships with ourselves as we traverse loss. In Greek, the word “crisis” means “turning point.” Losses tend to send us into crisis or turning points. To be creative, adaptable, and compassionate is to walk into inner freedom.


About this Class


This class is designed for writers curious about self-healing through writing. It is meant for individuals interested in creating psychological flexibility and emotional language fluidity to embrace emotional pain with curiosity, detachment, and depth. The writing prompts lead to exploring new ways to become alive and creative.


Learning Objectives:

1- The participants will be able to explain how mindfulness can positively transform their writing practice.


2- The participants will be able to explain ambiguous loss, and disenfranchised/transformative grief.


3- The participants will walk away with various mindfulness practices and a selection of poems appropriate for generating self-compassion and reconciliation of mind and body.



• 10:00 AM Introductions and discussions of the day logistics

• 10:30 AM Discussion of Agreements for Multicultural Interactions

• 11:00 Discussion on the principles behind Mindful Writing, with some hands-on activities

• 12:00 Group interactions

• 12:30 Lunch Break

• 01:10 Mindful Movement /writing

• 01:40 Discerning ways to move from ambiguous loss/disenfranchised grief into transformative


• 02:00 Break

• 02:10 The Interactive Process in Mindful Writing

• 03:10 RAIN practice/with writing

• 04:00 Sharing/Large group Q&A and intentions for future practice

• 05:00 Closing



In person at Westport Writers Workshop

25 Sylvan Rd S, Suite J

Westport, CT 06880


Saturday, July 13, 2024 



10 am to 5:00 pm EST



For more info, call 203.227.3250 or email



Dr. Marianela Medrano was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and has lived in Connecticut since 1990. A poet and a writer of nonfiction and fiction, she holds a Ph.D. in psychology. Her literary work has appeared in anthologies and magazines in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. She is the founder of Palabra Counseling & Training Center, LLC. Her TEDTALK at Ursuline College speaks about her work and research on the Taino people:


Dr. Medrano is a certified Mindfulness Meditation teacher and mindful eating instructor. She is a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, IFBPT. In 2023, she was awarded a grant by the Bess Family Foundation to research interspecies care. She loves the earth and is committed to caring for the pluriverse until her last breath. Dr. Medrano has lectured in many countries, including Spain, India, Colombia, El Salvador, Panamá, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

Giving Sorrow Words: Mindful Writing for Disenfranchised Grief - IN PERSON

SKU: S713m24
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