This workshop series is dedicated to one of our core principles — embodied culture. Embodied culture is rooted in the journey towards cultural transformation, where the values guiding human life are shifting: personal enlivening and purposeful living replace the traditional ideas of success, relationships grow to be mutually aware partnerships, attention to life around and within, balance and respect of differences, and holistic mindset become unifying embodied principles. Embodied Culture is a culture with an expanded field of attention at its roots, inspired by the integrity of Earth’s living systems. It’s seeking re-integration of the world in a larger sense. Our health is in our re-connection, in that all parts of ourselves are integrated. Thinking, feeling, senses, intuition, rationality, physicality — all the different aspects of human experience are playing together like a jazz band, unified in diversity, in free play. How can embodied culture come back or come forth and land into our lives? This is the question at the center of this series. We look at a variety of subjects, from "togetherness" and "personal sustainability" to "creative courage" and “connection with the environment”, which we explore through different media (conversation, illustration, sculpture, music, writing, animation, theatre, design, or other proposed by our team and chosen by you). We connect a chosen medium with the practice of embodied inquiry, and offer an approach that aims to transcend disciplinary boundaries. These experiences aim to shift the habit of treating the world as a divided place that can be looked at from the outside but not lived in, sensed and felt. To continue reading, here is our story of embodied culture.
Part 1. Introduction
Culture is like the soil we grow from. It nurtures us and shapes us in profound ways. It extends around us in circles — starting with individual culture reaching outwards to larger communities (family, organisation, country, etc). Embodied culture is a holistic approach to culture that supports social transformation towards more sustainability, well-being and creativity, individually and collectively. At the root of it is embodied perception and understanding, that places direct experience before concepts in order to reverse the so often occurring situation when real life questions are dismissed while theoretical systems are treated as real. In this introductory workshop we will share some of the work Foresta Collective is doing around this subject, the elements, principles and values of embodied culture, its material and immaterial circumstances. There will be some theoretical insights, conversations, inquiry, reflection, practice and exercises.
Part 2. Personal Sustainability
What we mean by personal sustainability is a compilation of personal maturity, empowerment, confidence, ability to make decisions and take responsibility over one’s life, to be attentive to the world within and around and act accordingly. It has to do with being the leader of your own change. Personal sustainability is basically an ability to sustain yourself, to be well in any area of your experience. This workshop aims to develop personal sustainability as an attitude in life. From our first day at school we are taught to listen to everything and everyone except ourselves. Personal Sustainability comes from being engaged and not a passive figure to be moved by someone else, from inner and outer integrity within living systems and surroundings.
This workshop offers a way to discover the existing connections between mind, perception, expression, emotions, behaviour and the physical body and to integrate these different parts into a more harmonious whole. It is based on learning to pay attention, to be honest with what we perceive and express, what we want and don’t want. It supports participants to develop attention and sensitivity towards their personal needs, visions and wishes, and to train qualities that enable them to face challenges and complexity they encounter on the way with confidence and creativity, to build up mental, emotional, physical, social and strategic resources, to take risks and go their own way.
Part 3. Creativity and Being in the World
Everyone is first and foremost, an artist and a designer of one’s own life. We look at creativity in terms of the inner powers which inhabit human beings and which can be developed further, so that self-realisation can happen. Creativity has to do with being true to yourself and your expression, confidence in your personal trajectories and inspiration from the continuously changing world around. Through languages such as storytelling, drawing, writing, painting and playing with colours, we set onto a journey exploration of creativity as a life force. How to integrate the spirit of creativity and genuine expression into daily life is what we are up to.
Part 4. Relationality and Collaborative Mindset
The world is a living process of mutually transforming relationships. When individual agencies connect and form healthy partnerships embodying honest interest, shaping the world together becomes possible. How to support each other in finding personal drive and ways of expression, to stay true to oneself, stay whole, and still find common ground with another? How to create an environment where nobody needs to compromise, obediently submit or control others? Individual wellbeing is also social and environmental well-being. What is needed for a collaborative mindset to emerge? How to relate to each other with less “labels” and express more freely who we are? How can everyone tap into their personal strengths and wisdom, expand their capabilities, confidence and resilience, and be part of building strong and trustworthy relationships? This workshop is an exploration of these questions. Participants will be offered exercises and experiences in a group that aim to bring more physical awareness, drop unnecessary efforts and feel more free while connecting to people.
Part 5. Senses and Connection to the Environment
Embodied culture stands for integrity, inner and outer. Disconnecting from our senses and the physicality of our being we also disconnect from the natural environment. In the disembodied setting we spend much time in an urbanised context, where it’s easier to value rationality at the expense of other more experientially embodied aspects of human nature. This last part of the series is about re-connecting to our ecological heritage, to the wild sensuous nature that stays untamed by our conceptualisation of it. This last part contains a set of experiences that invite participants to step into the rich and expansive world that we didn’t create, the world that created us, and to renew the bond with the earth through. They aim to re-balance the rational with other dimensions of experience (body, heart, imagination) that are intrinsic to holistic well-being and an integrated sense of human potential.
The series is inspired by the work of Bauhaus movement; Black Mountain College; Joseph Beuys; Gabrielle Roth; Maurice Merleau-Ponty (specifically his work on embodiment, perception, and ontology); David Abram; Twyla Tharp; forests; Zeitgeist; the unnamed.