Expand Your World

Through Embodied Dialogue

The overall quality of your life depends on
the quality of your relationships.

So wouldn't it make sense to get more clarity about what your body & mind are really doing when you relate to other people?

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Join the unique community practice that develops your capacity for creating meaningful connection, so you can:

  • Deepen your closest relationships
  • Find comfort in different environments and in the company of different people
  • Confront long-term behaviors that contribute to social anxiety, loneliness, and isolation
  • Build new friendships & explore distributed cognition through the art of dialogue

"You're going to leave this class in a
profoundly different state."

Hear embodiment & business coach Chandler Stevens talk about who this class is - and isn't - for

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December Class Series: Reimagining Language

Classes meet Wednesdays 8-10pm EST, December 1 - 29

The way you relate to the words you speak is defined by your habits of thought, speech and relating. Redefine your self-expression by reimagining language, expanding the resonance of your speaking voice and unlocking the musical dynamics of everyday conversation.

(Scroll down for detailed description of individual class themes)

Cost - $50, recordings included

How the Expand Your World class works:

Each 2-hour class moves through 3 stages to develop warm human connection between the participants - kindling, sparks & flame.

We begin and end with an exchange of ideas about how we relate, taking up a different specific aspect of this theme in each class.

We afford equal reverence to the unfolding sensations in our bodies as we do to the meaning of the words we speak, in a collective exploration of the felt sense of relationship.

The two conversational encounters are bridged by an exploratory movement process designed to refresh your nervous system through the engagement of novel patterns of action and non-habitual use of the attention.

Then, with a newly drawn map of mind, body, and self, the group returns to reengage in fresh dialogue and even deeper felt connection.

December dialogues:

December 1: Harmonizing with the environment

The earth has music for those who listen.

-   WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

The speaking body readily transposes qualities from one sensory domain into another, according to a logic we easily understand but cannot easily explain.

- DAVID ABRAM

The unspeakability of nature is the very possibility of language. 

- JAMES CARSE

The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.

-   HENRY MILLER

December 8: Voice, Posture & Gesture

To the fully embodied animal, any movement might be a gesture, and any sound may be a voice, a meaningful utterance of the world. 

- DAVID ABRAM

Things are never as easily grasped and expressed as people assume. Most experiences are unsayable; they become real to us in a space no word has entered.

- RAINER MARIA RILKE

Without context, words and actions have no meaning at all. This is true not only of human communication in words but also of all communication whatsoever, of all mental process, of all mind, including that which tells the sea anemone how to grow and the amoeba what he should do next. 

- GREGORY BATESON

December 15: Non-Habitual Phonetics, Sprechstimme & Sound Poetry

Relentless, the rebel peddles these theses, even when vexed peers deem the new precepts ‘mere dreck’. The plebes resent newer verse; nevertheless, the rebel perseveres, never deterred, never dejected, heedless, even when hecklers heckle the vehement speeches. We feel perplexed whenever we see these excerpted sentences. We sneer when we detect the clever scheme - the emergent repetend: the letter E. We jeer; we jest. We express resentment. We detest these depthless pretenses - these present-tense verbs, expressed pell-mell. We prefer genteel speech, where sense redeems senselessness.

- CHRISTIAN BÖK

The vitality that can stand the abyss of meaninglessness is aware of a hidden meaning within the destruction of meaning.

- PAUL TILLICH

Language is a labyrinth of paths. You approach from one side and know your way about; you approach the same place from another side and no longer know your way about.

. . . Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.

. . . To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life.

. . . The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

- LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN

December 22: Call & response in communication & perception

Human communication is an alive, ever-changing creation - it is created, re-created and co created in each moment. And creation requires patience: the ability to tolerate emptiness.

- SUSAN CAMPBELL

A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.

- DAVID WHYTE

The letter you do not write, the apology you do not offer, the food that you do not put out for the cat - all these can be sufficient and effective messages because zero, in context, can be meaningful; and it is the recipient of the message who creates the context. 

- GREGORY BATESON

Infinite speakers must wait to see what is done with their language by the listeners before they can know what they have said. Infinite speech does not expect the hearer to see what is already known to the speaker, but to share a vision the speaker could not have had without the response of the listener.

- JAMES CARSE

December 29: Speaking the truth

When we relate we value what is over what should or could be. When you relate, as opposed to when you control, you speak the truth of what you think, feel, and notice as a way of sharing information and making emotional contact - and not as a way of getting a particular outcome. You speak your truth without knowing how this truth will be received.

- SUSAN CAMPBELL

Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.

- MARTIN HEIDEGGER

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

- OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

HOW THE CLASS WORKS

Every Expand Your World class is two hours long. Movement practice and embodied dialogue combine to create a group process that fosters deeper human connection. Its three-part structure roughly maps onto the process of building a campfire. It begins with kindling, continues with spark, and then moves into flame.

 

KINDLING:

Class begins with “kindling” - these are words I’ve chosen that point us towards some universal aspect of human experience we are all capable of feeling, recognizing and contemplating together.

We will investigate this aspect of being human together over the course of the entire class, through our movement, the use of our attention, and our capacity to connect our nervous systems through the magic of language, or embodied dialogue.

The initial “kindling” for each class is always posted ahead of time (see above). Participants are invited to bring their own complementary “kindling” to class to expand the dimensions of our collective practice.

At the beginning of the class, these words will be read aloud. Every participant will have the opportunity to read. 

We read to dive deeper than the surface meaning of the words and into the sensory and somatic experience of how they shape our lips, teeth and tongue, and resonate the voice in our throats. We sense how their vibrations are captured by our ears, digested into images by our brains, and watch how they flower into sensations throughout our bodies.

While we speak to each other we also attend to our collective vibrational experience as we build connection through the voluntary sharing of space for the exchange of ideas.

(For those familiar with it, one might think of our process as something like an ensemble experience of the contemplative practice of Lectio Divina.)

 

SPARK:

We begin by facing each other in order to tune into our felt sense of relationship. Then we enter into the exploratory process of Awareness Through Movement, a form of somatic inquiry that combines the use of novel movements and non-habitual use of attention to refresh the nervous system. 

The intention of the practice is to redraw our internal maps of mind, body, and self in order to awaken more graceful and comfortable movement and clearer perception. Each class includes a new sensory journey that fits both the monthly theme of the class and the words that have just been read aloud.

 

FLAME:

After exploring inside, we expand our attention outside of ourselves once again, bringing each other back into our field of awareness. We endeavor to do this while remaining connected to our own insides. 

With new eyes, ears, and mouths, we revisit the words that birthed our inquiry, inviting them to burn even brighter. 

Then we gradually remove formalities, speaking more freely from within the unfolding sensations of our shared experience. Through the exchange we make further discoveries together that none of us could individually arrive to on our own.

The invitation and intention of the class is to create the experience of a kind of a group flow state that opens us to a new experience of relating.