Author Archive

Around the Listening Table, or, What it Feels Like to Write Together

November 14th, 2023 — 1:11pm

This poem by Julia Fehrenbacher describes what it feels like to write in a safe, supportive circle of women. In our practice, we use poetry lines as a prompt and write quickly and steadily for a set amount of time. If we were in class right now, our jump off lines would be:

Our only job is to tell the truth

This is what seeing looks like

This is what listening sounds like

This is what free feels like

I warmly invite you to join my next Women’s Writing circles! Zoom classes begin Wednesday, January 10th, 6 to 7:30 PM PT, and my in-home class begins Friday, January 12, 10 to noon PT. Fees are $45 per class/$360 for the series. If you sign up by December 10, the series is $310. The series runs for eight weeks. If you are experiencing financial challenges, please reach out! Any questions or if you’d like to talk more, email me at

Let’s write!


Around the Listening Table – Julia Fehrenbacher

We arrive one by one, carrying the heavy

of the body’s aches, the mind’s angst, the day’s
so-muchness, the warring world’s weight. We carry all
of the beautiful things too. All of it is invited.

We put pen to paper, throw off
the saddle, and away we gallop, we gallop fast enough
to outrun the ones who want to shut us up.

One word at a time, our only job
is to tell the truth. One word at a time, we say
what we want to say, what we don’t want to say.

There is no wrong way. It is all life. It is all right.

And then, we listen. We listen as each woman
empties herself. Each string of each heart
gets plucked. We bow. We cry. We laugh. We say thank you.

This is what seeing looks like. What listening
sounds like, what a little closer
to free feels like.

I walk away with their stories and hearts forever woven
into mine, like braided sweetgrass that can never
be unbraided. Like a notebook that holds every last word—

a symphony of sisterhood that can never be unsung.

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Free Women’s Writing Circle November 28

November 12th, 2023 — 10:25am

There is tremendous healing power in telling our stories. Sharing our stories in a circle of supportive women not only helps us grow and heal, it helps others do the same. However different our lives are, we share a common thread — the desire to understand and find meaning in our lives. Women’s Writing Circles offers a practice that helps us with our journey.

On Tuesday, November 28, 6 to 7 pm PT, I will be offering a free, one hour Women’s Writing Circle practice to share a taste of this work. The practice is simple and deep: using poetry as a prompt, we write quickly and steadily for a set amount of time, pen doesn’t leave the page. That’s it! Writing quickly helps us bypass our inner critic, offers a real opportunity to meet our authentic selves on the page, and lets our creativity shine. It sounds too simple to be that powerful — yet it is. This practice is as joyful and freeing for those at the beginning of their writing journey as it is for those who have travelled a ways down the road. 

If you are interested, email me at for a link. Let’s write!

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Expressing the Ineffable: A Brief Practice

November 6th, 2023 — 7:07pm

I’m at a loss for words. The tragedy that is unfolding in Israel and Gaza, the continued tragedy of Ukraine, the global rise in overt antisemitism, all of it makes me pause.  What words can you write when you can’t find the words?

There is a word for that — “ineffable” — meaning too great or extreme to express in words. This includes both the beautiful and the horrific. This word describes the moment we are in.

My heart is breaking. But I am committed to finding the words, to name and witness what is happening in the world and within me. Grief. Despair. Love. I use these very words in my daily writing practice. I believe the act of committing words to paper is healing. I find writing in a safe circle of women healing. 

And so I’d like to share with you a brief writing practice for the time we are living in.

This practice is simple and can go deep. Using poetry as a prompt, we write quickly and steadily, pen not leaving the page. I chose this month’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things,” by Wendell Berry, because it acknowledges both the truth of suffering and the possibility of grace. 

Below are brief instructions, as well as an accompanying video. Our souls are worthy of expression. This is the gift of this practice.


You can do this practice alone or with a trusted friend.

What you’ll need:

Ten minutes of quiet

A pen

Some paper or a journal. (I recommend pen and paper instead of your computer. It is a more visceral experience.)

1. Set your timer to ten minutes or have a clock handy.

2. Read the poem below out loud.

3. Choose one of the jump off lines from the poem:

  • When despair for the world grows in me
  • The peace of wild things
  • I rest in the grace of the world

Or you can use an alternate line: A few things I might want to write about…

4. Read the poem aloud one more time —then…

5. Begin writing. Pen doesn’t leave the page. Keep your belly soft. Say yes to what arises. If you’re stuck use the line, “Here’s what I want to say”… and keep writing.  When the time is done, put the pen down. Take a few deep breaths, then…

6. Read your piece aloud to yourself. Reading aloud helps your words land in your body. (Or read to a trusted friend. If reading in pairs, please do not comment on your friend’s writing. Simply acknowledge non-verbally, like nodding your head or prayer, hands and bear witness. This is part of creating a safe space.)

7. Take a few breaths. Your practice is now complete.

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


I will be offering a free, one hour writing practice on Tuesday, November 28, 6:00 to 7:00 PM PT. If you’re interested, please email me at to receive a zoom link.

The next round of Women’s Writing Circles begins January 10, both on zoom and in my home in Berkeley. Join our wonderful and supportive community of women as we write our truths together. You can read more at, or email me for more info.

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October Writing Practice: Follow Those Spiritual Breadcrumbs!

October 2nd, 2023 — 2:09pm

Greetings Friends! Just halfway through my first season of teaching Women’s Writing Circles and I love pretty much everything about it — the honor of hearing people’s stories, and the simplicity and generosity of a process that invites us to meet ourselves on the page. The practice can be full of surprises, words sprinkled with our unique spiritual breadcrumbs, all leading us back to our true selves.

What we do in these circles is simple, I read a poem and we write together for a short amount of time. Then one by one we read. We listen, we do not comment. It takes courage for sure, but the gifts are worth it —meeting all parts of ourselves in a circle of safe listening. It’s an honor to facilitate these circles.

There’s no better way to get a feel for what the practice is than to try it. So I would like to share with you a short poem and video so that you can try this on your own, or maybe with a trusted friend. If you watch the video, I will give you brief instructions on how the practice works. If reading is more your thing than watching, simple instructions are below.

The next round of Women’s Writing Circles begins mid January, both on zoom and in my home in Berkeley. Find out more at Or feel free to email me at for more info.




October Writing Practice

What you’ll need:

A pen

Paper/journal (I recommend pen and paper instead of your computer. It is a more visceral experience.)

• Set your timer to ten minutes or have a clock handy.

• Read the poem below out loud.

• Choose one of the jump off lines from the poem below:

• Everywhere you turn there is an entrance

• Everyone is connected

• Or an alternate line: Here’s what I want to say

• Read the poem aloud one more time then… 

•Begin writing. Pen doesn’t leave the page. If you’re stuck use the line, Here’s what I want to say… and keep writing. Keep your belly soft. Say yes to what arises. You got this.

•When the time is done. Put the pen down. Take a few deep breaths, settle in, then read your writing aloud to yourself (or if writing with a friend, take turns reading out loud. Listen and do not comment).

Take a few moments to feel what lines you wrote resonate in any way. Surprise. Laughter. Anger. Grief. These are our spiritual breadcrumbs. They are windows into knowing ourselves better. It’s all part of the human stew and it’s all good.

“An Entrance” by Malina Morning

If you want to give thanks

but this time not to the labyrinth

of cause and effect–

Give thanks to the plain sweetness of a day

when it’s as if everywhere you turn

there is an entrance–

When it’s as if even the air is a door–

And your child is a door

afloat on invisible hinges.

“The world is a house,” he says,

over lunch as if to give you a clue–

And before the words dissolve

above his plate of eggs and rice

you suddenly see how we are in it–

How everywhere the air

is holding hands with the air–

How everyone is connected

to everyone else by breathing.


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Women’s Writing Circles Begin Mid-September!

August 12th, 2023 — 4:04pm

Friends, some news! In mid-September, I will begin offering once-a-week women’s writing circles — one in my home in Berkeley and another on Zoom. 


Women’s Writing Circles offer a simple and beautiful process to meet our true selves on the page: I read a poem, we take a line of poetry as our inspirational prompt, then we write, ten minutes with pen and paper, pen doesn’t leave the page. We write, we read, we listen, we don’t comment, we simply support, and we move on to the next prompt. That’s it. This practice is as simple as it is deep, offering us a safe and loving space to meet our authentic selves in a community of supportive, soulful women.


Once-a-week online evening class begin Thursday, September 14, 6:30 to 8:00 pm PST, and once-a-week in-person classes in my Berkeley home start Friday, September 15, 10 am to noon PST. Classes run for 8 weeks. I keep classes intentionally intimate, currently accepting no more than eight people per class. Both classes are currently half full.


This process lets you know yourself more intimately and deeply with open arms. It brings your truth home. It’s freeing. In my own life, it has increased my capacity for kindness and joy, and has shown me how to live with greater understanding, less judgment, and deeper appreciation for what it means to be human. It is an honor for me to know people more deeply through their stories. Deep bow to my dear friend and teacher, Laurie Wagner, for teaching me this Wild Writing practice.

Open Invitation:

You don’t need to be a writer or want to be a writer to join. You simply write (and that’s what writers do anyway). No labels, no categories, but an open invitation to be who you are. 

Does this resonate?

Happy to answer any questions! Message me, or email me for more info: More info also at

Love, Dayna

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Women’s Writing Groups Starting in September!

April 19th, 2023 — 2:45pm

Dear friends,

Beginning in September, I will be teaching two women’s circle writing groups. One will be at my home in Berkeley, the other over zoom. The technique we use is brilliant and simple: I read a poem, we take a line from the poem and begin to write, pen doesn’t leave the page. It’s a practice that is as simple as it is deep, one that helps you hear your inner voice, learn what you value most in yourself and others, and experience the joy and freedom that comes from your abundant creativity!

This class is structured to bypass our inner critic (we do not evaluate each other’s writing, for example, we witness it), so we can experience the freedom of expression, and, the joy of meeting ourselves on the page! You don’t need to be a writer, call yourself a writer, or aspire to be a writer to grow from this work.

I’ve got some openings in both my in-person class and over zoom. I keep classes intentionally intimate, no more than eight people per class. We will meet once a week for an hour and a half starting mid September and classes will run for eight weeks. Classes in my home will be one morning per week, zoom class will be in the evening.

If you’re interested, feel free to reach out to me at

Image Credit: Plataresca

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Many Moons Ago, in a small Swiss Town…

September 8th, 2022 — 10:05am

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I lived in Fribourg, a small town in Switzerland with my then boyfriend, a lovely man who was a professor of mathematics and philosophy at the University. We met while I was doing my graduate work in the states. My father had just died after a long and tormented illness. I felt gutted and lost, so I moved halfway across the world to try to heal my broken heart.

It was an extraordinary experience. I woke up in the morning hearing cowbells tinkling in the distance. I went to my very first farmers market and learned that olives did not just come in cans but in dozens of varieties. I ate triple-cream cheeses and rich chocolates and fell in love with both. I went to concerts given by his younger sister, a gifted pianist. We went to Zürich where I met Federico Fellini, a friend of his uncle’s, at the premiere of his film, “And the Ship Sails On”. I went to Christmas midnight mass in Einsielden, a tiny town where his family had lived for generations, and saw priests wearing golden vestments, gently swinging thuribles filled with frankincense and myrrh. After, we walked back to his parent’s home, through the cemetery where generations of his relatives were buried while snow gently fell. I continued my studies in French, and by the time I left I was dreaming in that beautiful language.

One morning a few months later, I woke up and thought, this place is magical, but it’s not my home. So I left and moved back to New York. But I never forgot the beauty of that place, or the kind humans who gave me a few months of solace and peace.

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Tune In for My Interview on July 27, 1 PM PDT Shift Network Intuitive Medicine Summit

July 26th, 2022 — 9:06pm

I’ve been interviewed by the fabulous Lisa Bonnice for The Shift Network’s upcoming Intuitive Medicine Summit! . My small contribution to their stellar lineup is to discuss the role of intuition in healing eating imbalances, and learning to trust your intuition so you can live your authentic life (it’s precious! And it’s the only one you’ve got!) My segment airs Wednesday, 7/27 at 1PM PDT.

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Loving Your Good Enough Body-Part II

July 11th, 2021 — 11:38am

Here’s a link to my interview with the fabulous Nick Mattos for The Shift Network’s Transforming Your Health Summit!

This interview is part of the Transform Your Health Summit a free online event. For more information, please visit This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.

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Loving Your Good Enough Body

June 24th, 2021 — 1:01pm

Pretty darned happy to be presenting at The Shift Network’s upcoming Transform Your Health Summit! I’ll be speaking with the wonderful Nick Mattos on Loving Your Good Enough Body (for real folks, no time better than now). The Summit runs June 28 to July 2. My session is on June 29 at 1 pm. Here’s the info, but check out the other speakers including John Douillard, Bernadette Pleasant, Abiola Abrams and others. Did I mention it’s free? Such a deal!!

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