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At the root of our climate crisis is trauma we carry in our relationship to the planet, each other, and ourselves. This trauma, unprocessed and often ignored, prevents deeper self-awareness and limits our ability to transform the systems that are the source of that trauma. Many religions and Indigenous communities teach that we are inherently connected to all beings; that healing ourselves heals the world. In Grace Lee Boggs’ words, “Transform yourself to transform the world.” Healing requires clearing the internal chaos of anxiety and fear so we can reconnect with and trust our intuition; our interconnectedness to the world. This step is critical to designing new ways of being and transforming corrosive systems that have created imbalanced relationships with others and our Earth. The goal of this workshop is to support personal healing and empower designers and community members to embrace transformative and resilient ways of being. “By understanding ourselves as a practice ground for transformation, we shift the way we see and feel the world” (adrienne maree brown 2017).
This workshop will use movement, breathing-meditation, and written reflection to support deeper self-awareness and connection to our intuition. We spend so much time in our minds–ruminating about tasks, worrying about money, judging ourselves and others. In order to clear our minds, we must come into our bodies. Calling our attention to the feeling of breath moving through our body, and the sensations we feel as we move – this is embodied awareness: a state that can be built through practices including meditation, yoga, dance, martial arts, and other healing traditions.
Traditional Knowledges and Western science alike have proven that body awareness is a salve for traumatic wounds. It heals our internal selves, opening our mind to new possibilities that were previously unseen. With this perspective, we can imagine opportunities, draw connections, and design solutions with greater potential to mitigate climate impacts and build resilience to the changes upon us. “Reflection on climate change naturally evokes intense feelings…Nevertheless, emotions, embodied and intuitive knowing have remarkable value in our search for vital knowledge for survival” (Lehtonen, Salonen, and Cantell 2019).
This workshop will include exercises to reconnect with our bodies in community, and will be accessible to all including those with physical disabilities. We will start with meditation to build awareness of the breath and ground ourselves in our reality of climate change. We will then move through and create personal resilience maps to illustrate what climate resilience looks like in our lives, both in their current state and future states we envision. With our personal maps, we will collectively define what resilience means to us as a community.
To complete the workshop we will choose an element of our future resilient state to manifest in our lives by creating a personal movement mantra. These mantras are our prototypes for building climate resilience in ourselves, and by extension, our communities. All participants will be invited to continue practicing their mantras after the workshop, testing our prototypes and iterating on them as part of a community of practice seeking to transform ourselves and transform the world.