Being Nature
 

24-28 August 2022

2.30pm start / 3pm finish 

Dartmoor

£470 adults

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Being Nature: Finding our way home through body, awareness, ecology and community.

“Body is our first environment.. It’s the medium through which we know the earth.”

Andrea Olsen, Body and Earth

So often when we speak of nature, we miss our selves - our own species - out of the picture. And yet here we are, in an animal body, born of evolution just like the oak, the lizard or the chimpanzee. For generations we have distanced ourselves from our own ‘deep ecology’, our own embodied awareness of self and our belonging as nature.

How is it to slow down enough that we feel the meetings of body and earth, spine and tree, skin and moss more intimately? To slow down enough to know the earth, waters and air within us? Through presence and awareness practices, movement, play, foraging and enquiry we’ll invite each other back home to our innate connection to life, as life.

Over 5 days in the Dart Valley with river, woodland, rocks and each other we’ll explore questions like:

  • What is the natural movement of our being, moment to moment?
  • How do we relate to and engage with the world differently when we are ‘embodied’?
  • What’s in the way of our sense of belonging and participation as and for nature?
  • How might we explore our own indigeny to the world, and access the insight, wisdom and creativity available through the body?

We’ll follow trails of sensate awareness, of pleasure, of somatic intelligence and re-wilding through inner and outer landscapes, spending time as a group, in pairs and ample solo time. The sharing of hearth making and the forming of a temporary community together will add to this rich soil of exploring who we are as human bodies, minds, souls and hearts. We’ll call up stories of how we fit in the web, challenge the stories we’ve been told and sit around fire together in silence.

“...let the soft animal of your body love what it loves…” Mary Oliver

All around us we see what a mess is made when societies lose their place in the web of life and forget the healthy entanglements with and as nature. After many years of exploring movement and stillness practices, culture change and foraging, activism and improvisational prayer, Toni offers a depth and breadth of holding to support a collective inquiry into what it is to re-member ourselves. There is no easy fix and we will fail often, but to come together and make time for these things is golden.

Inevitably what we meet as we explore belonging and reconnection, is the impact of the cultural and societal split from nature and the feelings this can bring up of grief, longing and more. We’ll offer a space and pace that welcomes it all as part of the whole.

Along the way we will also include questions of a more collective context such as:

  • How might these themes and practices of ‘Being Nature’ weave into everyday community? Economics? Decolonial practice?
  • How do we experience the split from nature? And how does trauma awareness support the wholeness we seek around us?
  • How do we learn from and support existing Indigenous cultures without repeating the extractive patterns of disconnection?

And any other questions you might bring to explore.

The time together will include a simple structure of morning practice, taught sessions, some hearth and food making (alongside the hearth team) and space to follow what arises in the moment. The sessions will include activities gleaned from embodiment practices, study of indigenous cultures, ecology, trauma awareness, ecopsychology, improvisation and mystic traditions.

This is not a boot camp but a being camp! A chance to strengthen your muscles of awareness, connection and belonging in and as nature.

 

Event Leaders

Toni Spencer: Toni’s work as a facilitator, poet and mentor seeks to enable a deeper and more diverse engagement with the ecological, cultural and social issues of our times. She creates spaces where grit, grief, messiness, and laughter are welcome and where new shapes of wisdom and power can emerge. Born in London as a daughter of immigrants and now residing in Devon she has spent the last 20 years exploring themes of presence, participation and belonging both personally and as an essential ingredient of collective change. She delights in sitting by and in wild water, in foraging and feasting with wild foods and in the sound of birdsong - wherever she is. Read more about Toni Here.

The Dart Valley: The place and the ecology of the place will be co-guiding our time together: the running river, birds and mosses, dark nights and damp dawns, summer foliage and all others who make their home in this sweet campsite by the river.

Assisted by:

Jenna Blencowe and the WildWise hearth team.

Jenna is a nature connection facilitator, ecotherapist and outdoor enthusiast. Since stepping out of mainstream teaching sixeight years ago, she has been on a journey of enquiry and exploration into rewilding herself and the education system. Jenna is a lover of all things song, particularly if it’s around a campfire.

 

Cost

£470   NB Some concessions might be available (based on financial need) subject to application

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • All main meals. Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten & Dairy Free diets catered for.
    NB Bring any snacks or luxury foods; plus any foods for any other special diets
  • Some shelter for group activities.

 

WHAT TO BRING

  • Camping gear (tent, mat, bag, torch etc); spare clothes; yoga mat or similar.
  • Snacks & Luxury Foods

Full details on booking.

 

HOW TO BOOK

1. Email us here: please provide your contact details and how you would like to pay i.e. BACS or card
2. By phone: call 01803 868269 (message service when office unattended)
3. Online booking via Eventbrite: instant booking with immediate confirmation (eventbrite fees apply) - coming soon

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