Mary Paterson

author, yogi, lover of the Buddha, traveler

Website for: Mary Paterson, author of the spiritual memoir, The Monks and Me: How 40 Days in Thich Nhat Hanh’s French Monastery Guided Me Home; yoga/meditation instructor; Buddhist practitioner; adventurer.

Writing With Listening Eyes
An intensive 5-day small-group writing course with meditation practices for devoted writers seeking expert guidance to create powerful stories.
July 10th - 14th, 2017 (Maximum participants = 8)

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We live in a world filled with illusion. Life is constantly playing tricks on everyone. Don't fool yourself into thinking you know what your story is actually about. Whether you are writing a memoir or a fictional tale, as you write, you must constantly ask yourself questions... "What is actually going on here? What is at stake? Why does this story matter and who will benefit from your deep examination of its themes? Be like all great writers: show deep reverence to readers by voluntarily going into a big black cave, wait patiently for your eyes to adjust to the dark, and then make sense of all that mystifying writing on those damp walls. It is a privilege to shed light on the complexities of life for the benefit of every human being!

5-Day Course Fee: $495 + HST


Monday, July 10th - Thursday, July 13th: 
10:00 am - 10:30 am - guided meditation session to develop "listening eyes"
10:30 am - 11:00 am - setting of artistic intentions/goals, free-writes, and personal check-in.
11:00 am - 1:00 pm - Inspirational and expert videos/podcasts, followed by group discussion. Story-telling techniques of literary stars and how to write compelling prose. More free-writes.
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - lunch
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - guided meditation session (chanted or walking meditation for deep listening)
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm - group workshopping of your writings
3:45 pm - 4:00 pm - Meditation for intuition "To See the Unseen"

Friday, July 14th:
9:00 am - 9:30 am - guided meditation session to develop "listening eyes"
9:30 am - 10:00 am - free-write and check-in
10:00 am - 11:30 pm - Q&A with special surprise guest
11:30 am - 12:00 pm - final guided meditation and reaffirmation of artistic intentions


A deeper understanding of the real themes of your story
Polished prose
Effective tools to continue a regular daily meditation practice
Music mantra files
Ongoing support and connection with a community of like-minded artists

*For more information and questions: Inquire to register


"I have taken probably 15 courses/retreats with other teachers in creative writing and did not expect to learn much more at this point. Mary is a truly a gifted teacher who possesses both a great deal of knowledge/skills and a caring/kind personality that makes it safe to go really deep. I had so many revelations in one week with Mary that from now on I feel like my writing will be SO much better."
Dr. Sara Aharon

"Mary is a born teacher. 
I've always enjoyed writing, but didn’t know how to improve my stories. Mary taught me the fundamental rules to create a good story.  During the work-shopping process, her advice is always bang on. Above and beyond this, through class exercises and meditation, Mary has helped me understand how to be brave, dig deeper and write stories that will resonate with readers. Mary is patient and kind but also knows when and how to challenge her students to create.  I have taken four of Mary’s 8-week series, and am still improving. I know she has more to teach me.  More than ever before, I am excited and inspired to write." 

~ Elizabeth Miller

"In a time when I felt completely lost with my writing, Mary's support and sure-handed guidance was exactly the encouragement I needed to get back on track. The writing and meditation course is more than just a workshop on improving your craft. It is about looking for the stories deep inside yourself, and learning how to connect them with the rest of the world. Mary is both honest and caring, and helped reinvigorate my passion for creativity. The five-day course was the perfect way to launch me into a summer of writing!"
~ Wes Armitage

"Mary is clearly a spiritual and creative guide who acts as a bridge between our seemingly mundane lives and the deeper dwelling of our hearts." 
~ Janelle Clarke-Brutus

"Mary is a wonderful, enthusiastic and energetic teacher!
In the Writing and Meditation class, I was introduced to a variety of meditation styles, and encouraged to find methods that worked for me personally.  Meditation and “free writes” gave me an opportunity to go deep and find my own stories. Within the open and welcoming atmosphere Mary created a space for lots of thought provoking discussion and feedback." 

~ Dr. Laura Zacharin

"Mary deftly shows how both meditation and writing are about letting go and expanding into the moment. Writing tips and techniques are useful tools, and Mary imparts her knowledge of both expertly, but her real gift is getting her students to tap into the magic of the moment and own what they possess within.  Powerful, life-changing stuff. I will always be grateful to her for sharing this with me."
~ Elizabeth Mitchell

"Never write anything boring again. Mary’s writing classes incorporate meditations to connect you to inner truths, helping you produce vulnerable, sad, funny, and engaging writing. Through workshopping, watching thematic videos, and practicing both quiet meditations and ancient mantras, stories take form. Mary has a beautiful way of bluntly critiquing my work, while at the same time making me feel successful in my attempts. While tough, she’s also encouraging,  and she’s funny. Whether you’re hoping to publish a memoir, novel, or are wanting to write for your own self-discovery, Mary’s Meditation and Writing classes can help you achieve your goals."
~ Jennifer Snowdon

"Mary creates a welcoming and energizing space to explore the raw material of one's life.  The writing guidance and tips, as well as the constructive feedback, and sense of community within the workshops gave a real boost to my writing production. I highly recommend Mary's courses."
~ Colleen O'Toole

"Mary is a compassionate, and knowledgeable teacher. Through guided meditations, and her own wealth of experience, Mary inspires me to delve deep. I have participated in Mary’s courses at the University of Toronto, as well as her group writing workshops. She always creates a kind and supportive environment for me to grow as a human being and as a writer."
~ Samantha Adamson