Student Workshops from the 2017 Spring Residency: A Sampling

Stefania (left) with students Rachel Economy and Jan Booth in Stefania's herb-filled home

Stefania (left) with students Rachel Economy and Jan Booth in Stefania’s herb-filled home

Embodied Plant Medicine, with Returning Student Stefania Patinella. Healers and medicine people across history and culture have used direct, embodied communication with plants to tap into the powerful medicine they hold for the human body, mind and spirit. In this workshop, we will practice such direct knowing by tasting an extraction of a medicinal herb and using our senses, intuition, heart and imagination to listen to and learn something about it. The plant will be unknown to you so you can approach it without preconceived ideas. We will then share our individual experiences as a group, and begin to weave a collective story about this plant’s medicine. Finally, I will reveal the name of the herb and talk about its materia medica–its history of use, medicinal qualities, origin, botany and folklore–so we can tie our personal experiences into the plant’s wider tradition.

Tracy Murphy

Tracy Murphy

Interfaith Gathering, with Returning Students Tracy Murphy and Jojo Donovan. Unlike a workshop or presentation, this time will be spent as an Interfaith gathering available and open to everyone. No matter what faith, tradition, spiritual, or general beliefs, you are invited and welcome in this space. We will take this time to gather together to witness unity and to honor the diversity of our beliefs. With an open heart and mind, we hope you will join us for music, a message, and silent meditation and prayer time.

Permaculture 101: Resilient Social and Ecological Design, with Returning Student Rachel Economy. Learn and play with ethics, principles, and practices of permaculture design, a system for using patterns in nature to create thriving human and ecological

Rachel Economy

Rachel Economy

systems. We will explore the hands-on agricultural and ecological applications of these principles, as well as the social and political possibilities it offers. Participants will leave with a clear understanding of permaculture design principles, a how-to understanding of the design process, and a framework for further places to learn and apply permaculture.

Radical Hospitality: Honoring Illness as Disruption and Unexpected Guest, with Returning Students Shomriel Sherman and Louella Morgan-Richer. For many of us, major illness, if and when it arrives in our life, is the great disruptor. Our schedules must change to accommodate it, our priorities must shift, and what we think we know about ourselves and our world is turned upside down. Whether illness is a chronic condition that we must learn to live with or a one-time event, we do not go back to the way we were. Our perspective is permanently changed. This workshop is inspired by the work of Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Coyote Wisdom: The Power of Story in Healing, and Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process. In it we will be engaging in dialogue with our illness, however we define that, through guided meditation, art, and writing. The goal of this time is to begin to empower ourselves by transforming our relationship with illness through the practice of radical hospitality. By inviting into the home of ourselves this illness which has shown up on our doorstep, we can allow this disruption, unexpected and unwelcome as it may have been, to move us into greater awareness and integration.

Radical Pleasure: Feeling Ourselves Free, with Returning Students Brighde Moffat and Jojo Donovan. When our bodies are targeted, exotified, and policed, feeling good becomes an act of resistance. Framed by Audre Lorde’s groundbreaking essay, The Uses of the Erotic, this workshop will explore the radical potential of our capacity for pleasure. What barriers prevent us from enjoying our bodies? What power can be reclaimed through pleasures labeled as taboo, transgressive, or frivolous? Together, we will use creative writing, embodiment practices, and open discussion to move towards a shared understanding of pleasure as an essential force in resisting, disrupting, and transforming systems of power and oppression.

Zelda Johnson with graduating student Dan Kaminsky

Zelda Johnson with graduating student Dan Kaminsky

The Salutogenic Model of Stress: Using NLP, Music, Visualization and Medical Meditation, with Returning Students Amber Marie Ortiz, Susan Wilkes, and Zelda Johnson. The Salutogenic Model of Stress: Using NLP, Music, Visualization and Medical Meditation. If disruption is that which displaces something that exist and produces something new and more … then replacing stress by promoting calm is certainly a good technique to know and implement. What we say and how we say it internally and out loud impacts our homeostasis; our narrative can promote calm or intensify stress, liberating or imprisoning us. What music we listen to, and visuals we choose to view, can play an important role in how we respond to our feelings and use our bodies. Focused meditation techniques that correlate all our senses, for both promoting calm and performance, can change the perspective of managing stress from a pathogenic model to one of concentrating on it as a state of health and wellbeing – a salutogenic model. Four engaging segments will be taught supplementing ancient and modern techniques with audience participation and a gift for each at the end of the workshop. You will leave with techniques for promoting calm, academic performance, and a sense of joy.

Unshared Perceptions as Human Experience, with Returning Student Julia Fenton. In this workshop, we’ll look at alternative ways to understand voices, visions, and other sensory experiences outside of consensus reality. Participants will be given the chance to write/think critically about the lenses through which we view altered states of perception, and the language we use to describe these perceptions. I will share the history and philosophy of the Hearing Voices Network (HVN): a worldwide movement of people who self-identify as having experiences beyond consensus reality, which meets in non-clinical, trauma-aware support groups to explore and find meaning in voice-hearing experiences. We’ll discuss the origins of Western cultural assumptions about voice hearing, the complex role of traditional plant medicine in (suppressing or inducing) voice-hearing, and how cultural understanding of consensus reality shapes our approach to voice-hearers. The conventional medical model sees voice hearing only as pathological or disruptive – but understanding these experiences outside of this paradigm allows us to see the meaning and value in voice-hearing as a lived experience.


This entry was posted in Activism, Arts-Based Inquiry, Community Building, Consciousness Studies/Transpersonal Psychology, Creative Writing, Creativity & Imagination, Embodiment Studies & Body Image, Ethnobotany, Food Studies, Health Arts and Sciences, Herbalism, Sexuality & Erotic Studies, Spirituality & Religion, Sustainability, Sustainability & Place Studies, Transformative Language Arts, Transforming Trauma, Visionary Studies, Workshops and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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