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November is a month when we pause to consider what we are grateful for, we think about our blessings, even if for just a few minutes as the aroma of turkey fills the room and we look around at those who are gathered with us. We may need reminding about the importance not only gratitude but of other positive qualities that enhance our lives. As memoir writers we are trying to find a perspective, even forgiveness and compassion, for ourselves and others as we write our stories. I’m so pleased to have found the Great Good Science center, headquartered in Berkeley, an organization that gathers and presents the research about gratitude, positive psychology, and how to develop empathy. I have attended workshops through them, and want to share their wisdom and ideas with all of you.

Our monthly NAMW member teleseminar guest is Jason Marsh who will talk with me, Linda Joy, about the healing power of art. Yes, memoir writing is an art–and you are an artist as you write, remember, and create. Please join us for a great teleseminar. If you are not a member yet, think about joining to be able to enjoy this wonderful teleseminar.

Jason will talk about How Art Can Heal–the Power of Compassionate Connections

At at time when people are becoming more socially isolated, with fewer strong social connections, research is documenting the profound psychological and physical benefits of connecting with other people, ranging from stronger immune systems to greater happiness. But how can we foster this connection? A recent wave of studies is suggesting that art can play an important role. This research suggests that creating art–through writing and other methods–brings many of the same therapeutic benefits as maintaining close relationships. What’s more, studies have found that art can boost important qualities–including greater empathy–among people who consume art, not just those who create it.

You will learn:
*   A deeper sense of why social connections are important to mental and physical well-being, and how art can provide many of these benefits of social connection.
*  An overview of research on the healing power of art.
*  An understanding of the link between art and compassion and empathy, both for the creator and the consumer of art.

Jason Marsh is the editor in chief of Greater Good, the online magazine published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. He is also a co-editor of two anthologies of Greater Good articles: The Compassionate Instinct: The Science of Human Goodness and Are We Born Racist? New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology. Previously, he was a reporter and producer at KQED Public Radio in San Franciscohas, the managing editor of the political journal The Responsive Community, and has also worked as a documentary producer and kindergarten teacher. His first documentary, Unschooled, debuted at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. A graduate of Brown University and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Jason lives in Berkeley with his wife and daughter.

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