The Return to Embodiment: consciousness, culture, creativity and flourishing
By Kim Rothwell
The Return to Embodiment is love song to the ordinary, the poetic, the implicit world of the body itself as a place of knowing and movement as our very first language. It's a phenomenological exploration of how and what moves us as we travel among the social, cultural, historical, environmental settings in which we find ourselves. Each individual I interview offers particular experiences, grounded in this knowing.
There are times when a teacher offers perpective you cannot find on your own. If one listens, with an open mind, an open body, in this episode, Jeff walks us through his journey into the richest ecosystem on earth, the Amazon River basin. He describes the dieta, his apprenticeship with the plants and the Shaman, including the hardship as well as the joy, weaving observations of his changing self in relationship with the environments within which he finds himself. Jeff's journey has lead him to integrate his past experiences and study including dance/movement therapy, organizational development, and bodywork with his own healing and awakening to our shared ecological condition, with a vision for the present: to be fully alive, which means noticing when ecotrauma causes us to numb ourselves. Yet, his vision extends beyond the wounds and the suffering to a hope of true freedom, to move towards community and to find the joy found in right relationship with the earth, with ourselves, and with one another. To get in touch with Jeff, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hona Backstom is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, and a board certified acupuncturist and herbalist. Hona shares about how her experience of dance was seminal in finding within a sense of embodiment. She speaks about embodiment on seveal levels: pesonal, professional and from a Chinese medicine perspective. She also provides some gentle guidance into acupressure points that help with curbing fear, during this pandemic.
Hona reminds us that illness manifests differently in different bodies, so embodiment as a practice of conscious connection and observation of ones own body, is an essential part of empowering both health and wellbeing. Hona offers both virtual consultations and in person acupuncture treatments. She can be found at www.bluebirdwell.com and on Instagram at Backstrom_acupuncture.
Peggy Hackney is co-founder of Integrated Movement Studies (www.imsmovement.com) and teaches in their Laban/Bartenieff Certificate Program. As a registered somatic movement therapist (ISMETA), a certified massage therapist, and a teacher of labanotation, Peggy Hackney has been working in the world of movement and embodiment for over fifty years. She teaches globally and has written the seminal book "Making Connections: Total body integration through Bartenieff fundamentals" which was inspired and formed by the almost fifteen years she worked alongside Irmgard Bartenieff, who shared the motto: "Constant Change is Here to Stay." Peggy acknowledges the source and practices which support her ability to find aliveness, and to move with the unknowns of change.
In this conversation, I am discussing with Cameron Scott his journey of recovery and moving towards authenticity, wholeness and hope. Cameron is an outdoorsman, a fly fishing guide, a white water rafting guide and a custom home builder. Cameron finds great satisfaction in his work as a life coach with a focus on helping men to step into the life they want with more balance, worthiness and truth. In 2018, Cameron shares about his journey of transformation in a TEDxBigSky talk: The Journey Within: A Story of Transformation. For more information, please visit: https://cameronscottcoaching.com/ Cameron embodies courage and compassion in letting go of the old stories that hinder us from life, for himself and others, in this journey of transformation from suffering to the practices of peace.
As we recognize and respond to the ongoing inequities and violence in American society, this episode offers a personal exploration of how the harms of racism and injustice are embodied and impact my ability to hold space. What does it mean to hold space for learning and change, to cultivate spaces that can acknowledge the traumas of our history and our present moment, to create spaces that propell actions of equity and justice for all of us? WIth gratitude to all who model the beauty of holding space for grief, for compassion, for growth and for transformation. A special thank you to Quinlan Mitchell for his poetry.
Trigger warning: Please note that this episode has racial violence imagery that could be triggering.
Psicotango is dance therapy born from tango culture in Buenos Aires. Ignacio Lavalle and Monica Peri are both students of Rodolfo Dinzel, the tango dancer, developer of a choreographic notation system, and theorist who first described the healing powers of the tango and urged them to research the healing power of tango for themselves.
Monica Peri is a journalist, broadcaster and milonguera as well as a coordinator of classes in psicotango. Monica's research into tango and its relationship with psychoanalysis has lead to the book Tango: un abrazo sanador.
Born in Buenos Aires, Ignaicio Lavalle is a pschologist with a masters degree in Analytical Psychology through the Fundación C.G. Jung of PA. He has studied tango since 2002 in various schools of Dinzel. As a writer and researcher of the healing effects of tango dance. Ignacio offers workshops in public hospitals and consultations on psicotango. Ignactio practices and teaches tai chi chuan and integrates it with the psychotango. Ignacio has written the book, Tango: una danza interior.
Together they have recently translated into English their book, Psico Tango: Danza como terapia, which is available on Amazon and mercadolible. Psicotango classes are available both online and in person through their website www.psicotango.com.ar
In this conversation, Monica Peri and Ignacio Lavalle speak to the elements of the tango that make it such a healing dance form: the embrace, the gaze, the community, the use of improvisation/play/creativity and the rhythm. Tango generates the creative force of the erotic as an answer to our mortality, challenges limited conceptions of gender, and nurtures community based upon breath and heartbeat and touch.
Within our conversation, Monica offers two experientials: in the first, we closed our eyes and placed our palms together, to communicate through the contact points of our hands, shifting leadership and allowing movement to unfold creatively together. The second was, simply, an invitation to embrace, to savor holding and being held, to remember the experience of being welcomed in a hug, which is perhaps the most compelling argument against disembodiment.
In a time of social distance due to Corona virus, Luz de Olano reminds us of the tenderness and beauty found in the embrace. Luz is a tango dancer and a tango singer who has performed internationally. Luz teaches tango with a playfulness that promotes ease in the learning process, and she provides tours of milongas throughout Buenos Aires. Luz has studied psicotango with Monica Peri and offers insight into how tango teaches embodiment for the individual and the collective. Luz can be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/LuzdeOla) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/luzdeola/?igshid=1k0nq3if1196f).
Deirdre Fay MSW, LICSW invites us to trust the process of reinvention that occurs throughout life and is occuring now. She encourages us to slow down and to differentiate between what is the past coming into the present through thoughts, feelings or sensations, and what is truly happening now. In the book, Attachment Based Yoga and Meditation for Trauma Recovery, Deirdre draws connections between ancient yogic wisdom and contemporary attachment theory, integrated with decades of knowledge derived from her own and her clients' real lived experience. With gentle hope, Deirdre suggests we may build a different story, and find more fulfillment and peace in our lives. Deirdre teaches pactices that nurture the capacity to "rest in essence" as she writes on her website, and she can be found on instagram where she models the authenticity and courage that she teaches. More information about Derdre, including her books, workshops, and trainings, can be found at dfay.com.
Lisaura Lozada-Goode is a licensed clinical professional counselor, dance/movement therapist, and partner dance instructor. Through her private practice, Drawing Closer Counseling and Wellness, she helps couples and adults create safe bonds and develop thriving relationships through couples counseling, individual therapy and dance/movement therapy. Lisaura completed an Externship in Emotionally Focused Therapy, and uses this modality in her work with couples.
Lisaura sees partner dancing as a creative, fun, and fruitful way to support wellness, where socialization, safe contact, and joy can be practiced. She offers a private format for couples called Therapeutic Partner Dance, where partners can explore relational dynamics as they “show up” on the dance floor. To contact Lisaura or to learn more about the services she provides, please visit: www.drawingclosercounselingandwellness.com
Rachel Sherron talks about inner sense healing arts collective and the vision of preparing teachers to be trauma and mental health aware. She also describes work with clients including subtle movements in the healing of trauma. Rachel's creative endeavors include: a private practice in Chicago (somawisechicago.com), teaching yoga at Innersense Healing Arts Collective (www.innersensehealingarts.org), and Breathe, a four day festival of meditation, yoga, slacklining, swimming dancing eating together (www.discoverbreathe.com).
As we practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible during the time of the corona virus, Rachel Sherron has joined me to offer a concrete and accessible resource for creating external space within ones home to practice or to find peace within. Practice yoga with Rachel online by going to www.innersensehealingarts.org/onlineclasses
Rachel Sherron talks about the origins of embodiment in her own life and her ability to recognize and cultivate embodiment in others, and how the intentional creation of spaces can facilitate healing that can translate from individuals to the world. Rachel's creative works include: a private practice in Chicago (somawisechicago.com), teaching yoga at Innersense Healing Arts Collective (www.innersensehealingarts.org), and Breathe, a four day festival of meditation, yoga, slacklining, swimming dancing eating together (www.discoverbreathe.com).
Shannon Suffoletto MA, LCPC, BC-DMT, GL-CMA, R-MPA specializes in a public health apporach, applying dance/movement therapy and movement analysis concepts in her work as Director of Health Promotion and Wellness at DePaul University. Shannon tracks her professional development, examining the places, people and opportunities that lead to her current work, enlisting embodiment as a key to learning, self-awareness and cultivating a culture of wellbeing.
The Return to Embodiment is a love song to the ordinary, the poetic, the implict world of the body itself as a place of knowing, and movement as our very first language. it's a phenomenological exploration of how and what moves us as we travel among the social, cultural, historical, environmental settings in which we find ourselves. Each individual i interview offers particular experiences grounded in this knowing. Thank you to Josie Rothwell for the music and acknowledgement that the official title of Joan Fontcuberta's photomosaic mural is El món neix en cada besada, [The world begins with every kiss].
Kris Larsen BC-DMT, LCPC, GL-CMA, is a therapist, educator and performer. he has been in private practice for 25 years and taught in graduate education for over 20. Kris teaches 'The Neuroscience of Embodied Presence' through the Embodied Education Institute of Chicago. In this podcast, Kris challenges the idea of trusting the body and advocates for valuing the body as a source.
In this conversation with Megan Ross, PhD, we explore how embodiment is a key aspect of integration. As a dancer, dance therapist and researcher, Megan talks about embodiment as an aspect of performance, clinical work, and international relations. Her PhD research on the inclusion of women in peace processes throughout the world informs her desire to bring integration to broader systems such as health care organizations, nations, and individuals. Megan reflects upon herself as a system, with curiosity and humor, and describes her hope for an inclusive model that prompts alignment between the values and actions in the world.
Laura Allen LCPC, BC-DMT, GLCMA brings a down to earth humor to her reflections upon embodiment: she shares the beginnings of dance in her life and how it grew as a concept in her life, work, and vision for the future. Laura pictures a world where we remember and cherish all we have available to us in both the body and in our interpersonal relationships.
In this podcast, Stacey Hurst LCPC, BC-DMT, GL-CMA examines her clinical work with people who have suffered trauma as it relates to the evacuation and reinhabiting of the body. The power of attachment, especially in the context of being seen as a mover comes into the conversation along with some reflections on her own experience as a mother. Stacey currently teaches Laban Movement Analysis courses at the Embodied Education Institute of Chicago.
Kris Larsen BC-DMT, LCPC, GL-CMA, is a therapist, educator and performer. He has been in private practice for 25 years and taught in graduate education for over 20. Kris teaches ‘The Neuroscience of Embodied Presence’ through the Embodied Education Institute of Chicago. In this podcast, Kris brings humor, honesty, and generosity of spirit as he shares about the ways in which Tourette's disorder has informed his embodied experience as a teacher, a dancer, and a therapist.
Rosey Puloka BC-DMT, LCPC, GL-CMA teaches "Cultural Humility and Responsibility Through the Power of Story" at the Embodied Education Institute of Chicago, as well as providing workshops and training in conferences nationwide. Rosey provides counseling support to LGBTQIA folks at Howard Brown Health in Chicago. In this podcast, she brings her movement experience and clinical training in complex trauma treatment and program development to bear in discussing embodiment, body authority, pleasure, humor, and the importance of establishing space that can hold our many different and sometimes conflicting parts.
The Return to Embodiment is a love song to the ordinary, the poetic, the implict world of the body itself as a place of knowing, and movement as our very first language. it's a phenomenological exploration of how and what moves us as we travel among the social, cultural, historical, environmental settings in which we find ourselves. Each individual i interview offers particular experiences grounded in this knowing.