Moving Into Relationship
Earth Body Connection is an opportunity to celebrate our interconnection with the living Earth. Move, play & dive deeply into the present moment through a mix of contemplative and body-based practices that nurture our kinship with nature and one another.
Nurturing our relationship with this beloved planet Earth is a daily effort within our fast paced, goal oriented society. I often find myself sucked into the cultural mind that says we must be humans doing, endlessly marching forward to progress. But always an inner voice whispers in protest. It calls out from the marrow of my bones. The voice is a memory. A remembrance of who I am, a human being who is interconnected with all life.
Come join me for a day of being. Just for a day, banish the to-do list and luxuriate in the spacious embrace of nature. Connect, express and renew your wild and creative spirit. Think of this as a gift to yourself, and to Mother Earth. She longs for our presence and the aliveness of our body and mind.
Created by Allison Caw, Earth Body Connection is inspired by Joanna Macy’s call for a diversity in activism to combat climate change. It’s ultimate intention is to nurture a shift in consciousness in how we relate to, and see the living Earth. Our societal view maintains that we are not only separate from but superior to the Earth and all other living beings. EBC seeks to subvert these societal perspectives one individual at a time, by offering experiences of interconnection and relationship with our greater community.
PHILOSOPHY & METHOD
Through the body we can sense our interconnection with all life. Awareness of our sense perceptions allows the world and people around us to become apart of our consciousness. Allowing for spacious, and natural time, enables us to attune to the rhythm of nature and dive deeply into the present moment. Creating safe spaces in which to play, move and express ourselves fully, empowers us to release protective walls and defenses. By opening in this way we can begin to viscerally perceive that we are not separate but a part of a much greater whole.
The method is to travel through three stages of awareness: self, community and Earth. As we cultivate presence in each stage we expand our field of awareness to include the life within and around us.
How do I come to know myself with compassion?
What is it like to express myself with no apologies?
- We begin by nurturing awareness of our own body, mind, voice and spirit with as little judgement as possible.
- By heightening our sensory awareness we channel our experience of the present moment through movement and voice.
What is it like to see and be seen by another person?
How do we strengthen the community mind?
- We open ourselves to another person through sight and dance.
- Through community building and play, we challenge ourselves to think and be as a group rather than isolated individuals.
How do I walk upon the Earth?
How does the Earth awaken me? How do I awaken the Earth?
- Dropping into slow, experiential time we start with our most basic connections.
- We cultivate curiosity and deep listening. Through movement and sound, we give expression to the life around us.
HOW THE WORK CAME TO BE
Allison Caw initially comes from a background of performance training. For years she wondered how to apply her skills in performance to serve the Earth and combat climate change. The seed for this work began on a retreat at the Tamarack Lodge in the Adirondacks more than 8 years ago. During these retreats Loyd Williamson, a movement specialist and performance coach taught how the Earth and the expressive arts, together in motion and stillness, have a tremendous power to open us more fully to the life within and around us. While training at Naropa University for her MFA, Allison encountered the somatic and contemplative teachings she needed to actualize her vision for Earth Body Connection. She began developing the work as part of her Master’s Thesis and continues to allow the work to grow and evolve with each workshop.
INFLUENCES & ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Allison collages together techniques from various disciplines to make up the experience of Earth Body Connection. These disciplines include the performing arts, somatic pedagogy and mindfulness practices. Without these techniques and the individuals who developed and teach them, EBC would not be possible.
The greatest inspiration for EBC comes from a method of acting training created by Loyd Williamson. Referred to as the “Physical Process of Communication in Acting”, Williamson Technique is movement training for performers that views the body and voice as a channel through which inner and outer life can flow. The body as an instrument is trained to expand the artist’s capacity to experience the world around them. As a certified Williamson Teacher (Level One), who has studied with Loyd Williamson for over 7 years in a retreat setting, Allison translates this work for the non-performer.
Mindfulness is encountered in every practice of Earth Body Connection. Whether we are engaging with oneself, another person or nature, our intention is to foster awareness. During her graduate education at Naropa University, founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Allison studied the basic principles of meditation in the Shambhala Buddhism tradition, which became the basis for her approach.
Work That Reconnects
Pioneered by Joanna Macy, the Work That Reconnects seeks to “help people transform despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action.” As an open-sourced body of work, Allison incorporates exercises created by Macy and imbues them with a somatic lens. (Note: Quote from Joanna Macy website.)
Body-Mind Centering ®
A somatic study pioneered by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Body-Mind Centering ® is an “embodied approach to movement, the body and consciousness.” Allison studied BMC during her two years at Naropa University’s MFA program under the guidance of Erika Berland, a Certified Practitioner of BMC. Allison incorporates the basic principles of body and mind synchronization. (Note: Quote from BMC website.)
Created by Mary Overlie, Viewpoints is a method of research and training for performing artists, which deconstructs the theatrical medium into 6 aspects; Space, Shape, Time, Emotion, Movement, Story. Allison has studied Viewpoints with a number of teachers including Wendell Beavers and Joan Bruemmer-Holden while at Naropa. For the purposes of EBC, Allison draws upon the ensemble building aspects of the work as well as its exploration of our relationship to the Space around us.
“Allison is an honest and trustworthy guide into an open and present relationship with yourself, others, and the Earth. There is simply no other practice I’ve encountered that can center me so fully in my body, in my voice, in my community and with my life source. Allison Caw is a gift.”
– Teresa V.
“Earth Body Dances is a brilliant combination of Eco Psych / deep ecology exercises and authentic movement from the Body itself. Allison’s voice and the rich embodied experience within her guiding enabled my experience to be what she invited: a kind, being present with, absent of judgment, allowing the Body …my dear Body ….to guide and direct its own experience and mine. I love what Allison has created. It is good, rock lichen covered good.”
– Bonnie S.
“Friend, I went out into Mother Nature and danced, sang, and moved my body. Allison exuded such joy and openness. I felt a beautiful lightness of being that was welcoming and inspiring. It made me desirous of playing. My spirit, my being felt a healing lightness…”
– Beverly S.