Deborah Jay-Lewin: Celebrating Embodied Movement
By conference convener, Stephanie Mines.
No more swallowing: As a daughter, a sister, a mother, a friend, a lover, as a woman. The Earth spews out. Unable to absorb all that is being deposited inside her, forests cut down, waters polluted, excessive landfill, gases galore. As the ice caps melt, the deserts crack, the trees burn, the rivers flood and the wind howls she says No More Swallowing. And I say, ‘Me too.’ Deborah Jay-Lewin
Reversing the order of the “C” words in CLIMATE CHANGE & CONSCIOUSNESS to emphasize Consciousness puts us face to face with the link between personal evolution and the challenges of the Great Turning. Is there a difference between what is roiling in the world around us and what is emerging from within? Could it be that our inner upheavals mirror the tempests stirred by climate change? Perhaps both are edging us nearer to manifesting essential purposefulness? How do we find out if this is true?
Movement artist Deborah Jay-Lewin has, for decades, told her own story through movement expression and she encouraged others to follow suit. She embraces the interface between what is happening in the world outside with what is happening within us. In international movement workshops and on social media, Deborah speaks to how we step up to help climate refugees, victims of wild fires, youth activists for the environment, stop fracking, and end sexual violence as much as she addresses emotional release, women’s empowerment, gender stereotypes, group dynamics, faith and mortality.
Deborah’s ability to incorporate multiple issues is largely because her medium of embodied movement is spaciously non-verbal and elastic. That is what makes it such a fabulous path to understanding what is going on here and now. What does “embodied movement” really mean? Of course all movement is theoretically embodied, but the level of embodiment that the term implies is quite profound. As someone who has moved with Deborah, I can say that she understands intimately how sensory experience is channeled through the human form to communicate individuated truth in gesture, rhythm, structure and spatial dynamics. Deborah has educated herself to track these characteristics and suggest movement routes for health, emotional freedom, expression and a felt sense of personal integrity.
Deborah’s acute awareness of how personal process operates somatically combines with her immersion in the healing arts to give her unique perspectives on movement dynamics. This is the artful discipline she has evolved to be a leader in her field. Through her authentic presence, her practical attention to detail, honed intuition and skillful means, Deborah Jay-Lewin is a true resource for finding personal truth in the midst of collective experience.
Recently, Deborah shared about stuttering as a youth, and sometimes now as an adult. In retrospect she recognizes stuttering as a somatic advertisement of distress that she has learned, largely on her own, to embrace. She reflects on whether this may have ignited her lifetime devotion to embodied movement as a non-verbal route to understanding self and circumstance.
As one of the weavers of the three part AWAKE*CELEBRATE*ACT structure of CLIMATE CHANGE & CONSCIOUSNESS Deborah will be a guide in channeling our individual and collective responses into embodied movement during that event. This will be available to everyone, including live-stream participants. She will draw from her deep well of wisdom to give us this personal and community resource that has deep roots in human history. Having a mentor to help us translate our complex feelings into safe movement expression unburdens our nervous systems and liberates resiliency.
In my observation, one of Deborah’s greatest gifts is the capacity to steer large groups effectively, instilling a sense of spaciousness and possibility alongside containment, even when the room is packed. This is no small feat. Deborah can be trusted, under all circumstances, to hold a space for embodied movement exploration from which everyone will emerge fulfilled and grounded, even in the midst of crisis. Which is precisely what we need right now.
Deborah, like everyone engaged in CLIMATE CHANGE & CONSCIOUSNESS, is preparing herself for a transformed future world through her own personal evolution and her services to others. We are all in training. In the words of Cynthia Bourgeault, ‘Our real task at this evolutionary cusp is not to lose sight of what is coming to us from the future, the vision of our common humanity that is groaning to be born.’