The Last (For Now) Embodiment Hour @ The Stoa Tomorrow at Noon EST ~ Last Call
Join me on Thursday for the last regular Embodiment Hour.
Tomorrow is the last regular Embodiment Hour @ The Stoa. If you loved it or if you never made a single one, come see us tomorrow. We’ll be back this fall (most likely) with a longer, monthly offering we can really sink our teeth into.
Peter Limberg and I launched this experiment in March of 2022. We’ve met most Thursdays since then. Every week I choose a piece of media content that is trending or topical (usually with the help of my partner, Ari Kuschnir) and together we feel into the feelings, memories, sensations, and insights it generates on a deep, embodied level. It’s a practice of embodied, collective sensemaking. Here is what I wrote in the invitation to the very first Embodiment Hour on March 2:
There’s something very unusual and liberating about being transparent with our feelings in a group space held in unconditional acceptance (and love, to be honest). We learn from each other. Someone else often names the thing I am feeling that I hadn’t yet put my finger on. Or maybe we’re having feelings we’re ashamed of and we feel a huge sense of relief when we hear someone else is feeling that, too. Feelings are what connects us humans in our human experience—the basis of real empathy. Sensemaking that doesn’t include feelings is incomplete in my opinion. It’s faulty. Often, the real import of a piece of information is in the feelings it provokes. Coming together to explore the dynamics of the embodied experience of information can help us develop precision in naming and owning our experience and acceptance for the position others are holding.
I do believe it delivered! Big time. Today I was reflecting on some of the primary lessons I’ll be taking away from this practice and process. Here they are in no particular order:
Tolerance is spacious and spaciousness is tolerant. So much of our media landscape is compressed and seemingly urgent. We have conversations about challenging topics that are pressurized and explosive. Each week we came together committed to feeling deeply and experiencing/hearing out people in their feelings. We create a lot of space…space for difference of opinion, difference of experience and perspective. And that difference actually enriched our understanding of the issue and gave rise to a lot of tolerance. As we felt the field get more complex, it got more interesting…tolerance (merely tolerating another’s opinion) sometimes shifted into an eagerness for dissenting opinions and different perspectives. We could hold it all.
Expertise provides texture. Sometimes we had subject matter experts in the room. It was really nice when we listened to music to hear about chord changes and the history of a band; when we read from great writers, to hear from other writers about their struggle with the medium; when we visited another geography, to hear from someone who had been there. Our personal stories intersected and overlapped with the content, providing us with rich layers and details that opened up new possibilities for deeper resonance with the material.
Some things are not worth feeling into. It was a struggle for me week-to-week to find news worth pouring ourselves into. So much news is sensational or politically-motivated. So much that is happening right now (even front page news) feels more like a circus sideshow than anything worth our precious attention. It wasn’t about steering away from hard or sad topics. We had beautiful and important sessions on the abortion issue, gun control, the war in Ukraine. I think those sessions were supportive and enriching for all who attended. What we found to be hardest to take in through the body’s sensing was often material that was designed to manipulate, persuade, mislead, or sell…in other words, bad faith communication. When you slow down and tune in to these pieces of content, the first thing you sense is the agenda of the maker/the way you are being manipulated and there is an instant block/boundary that goes up for most people. Feeling beyond that block was tricky.
Empathy is real and a potent medicine for these times. When we tune into the deeper emotional content of the news, we can sometimes find the humanity. For example, in the Johnny Depp & Amber Heard trial we had a beautiful session that became a kind of confessional. We related to the challenges of addiction in the family; of being in bad relationships; of witnessing the painful relating of our parents. By ceasing to experience the trial as the media spectacle it had become, we related to the people involved and found compassion (“I’ve done that…I’ve done that and worse,” said one man about Johnny’s actions.). We left that session with more compassion for ourselves and also for our toxic culture.
“Feeling the elephant” together. Sometimes I would bring in a piece of news or culture content that was bothering me or sitting with me. I knew my perspective was partial and incomplete. I knew I needed my brothers and sisters to bring their capable sensing to the piece in order to illuminate for me parts I could not yet see. I learned something every single session. Every session I was shown a perspective that hadn’t occurred to me on my own—might never have occurred to me on my own. We need each other. We need the diversity of experiences we bring when we come together to share openly. Embodiment Hour became a safe space, a caring space, for people to bring very personal and therefore, very unique, points of view forward. I loved it.
If you are interested, here is a partial list of the topics we covered:
Actress, Annalynne McCord’s, poetic appeal to Putin
Being with the war in Ukraine (photos)
Summer of Soul Oscar win by Questlove
Chinese vlogger, Li Ziqi on the rhythms of life
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at The Oscars
Freedom and pleasure via Jon Batiste (Grammy’s)
Non-linear worlds and the multiverse: Everything Everywhere All At Once
An Apology to Men on Rebel Wisdom
Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial
Kendrick Lamar video, The Heart Part 5
Abortion issue and a post-Roe world
False prophets and the Teal Swan documentary series
Leonard Cohen Hallelujah documentary
Joni Mitchell plays again
Land auctions to oil companies in the DR Congo
The building of The Line in the Middle East
Salman Rushdie’s attack/Satanic Verses
The last man of his tribe, Brazil
Taylor Hawkins plays drums at his dad’s tribute concert
This is just a partial list, but I hope it gives you a sense for the true diversity of cultural experiences we played with. Thank you to all the regulars…you made my heart sing and I loved your deep sensing. It was fundamentally reassuring week after week to make embodied sense with you through these wild times. Let’s keep it up. I hope to see you soon with an updated format and lots of new content to digest together!
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