“Unless you humans come back here to weave a web of courageous hearts, disciplined acts of service and sacred conversations, you will all wither away in the Great Forgetting.”Message of the Four Sisters of the Last Forest of Earth to humanity (Azul-Valérie Thomé)
Web of Life is a way to bring together people who are passionate about an equitable future for people and planet to co-create a sustainable and resilient community to better navigate the challenges of our time through a deeper and embodied connection to the natural world and to ourselves.
If you sometimes feel the pain of the disconnection between human beings and the natural world, and from our own bodies, I invite you to join us. Through body practices that weave together breath, movement, nature-based practices and the power of sound, I’m visioning an embodied community of the heart as part of a global and interconnected web of beacons of hope amid chaos and challenges. It’s offering some ways to explore of growing collectively into deeper resilience through connectivity to ourselves, each other and the natural world, through many pathways including body and breath practices, dream time, our reciprocal relationship to the natural world, and the power of sound, music and chant. There is a strong focus on the body as a place both where trauma may be stored and where resourcefulness and resilience may be accessed. This includes both our human bodies and the ‘body of the Earth’ – what happens when we create more space to be in a loving and reciprocal relationship with our bodies and the Earth?
“It is time to change, and if we do not change, something stronger than us is going to do it for us.”Arkan Lushwala
Being embodied, being in relationship with Life
This as a co-creative journey which is above all based on a conviction that creating a sustainable and resilient future is a collective process which is more powerful than what any of us can do individually. Web of Life is about creating a culture of interconnection to recognise the way that we are in an “inescapable network of mutuality” (Martin Luther King) . The vision explores how embodying this interconnection may be resources to face urgent collective challenges of our time.
When practised by enough people… simple primordial activities can begin to change the world, body by body.Resmaa Menakem: My Grandmother’s Hands
Can the way we relate to ourselves, our bodies, and both the human and other-than-human world around us allow us to touch into new or different ways of being human, and to revisit and reclaim some ancient ways of being human? What would it look like to acknowledge in an embodied way the many, often marginalised people of our planet who have been walking these pathways for a long, long time. Are there places in each of us that still know how to do this?
Can we collectively shift how we view and interact with both the natural world and with ourselves, so that nature, other human beings and our own bodies are no longer tools to be manipulated but instead to be cherished as precious and vital parts of the web of life, without which life cannot continue?
“You can’t Google wisdom. We find wisdom deep inside ourselves. The people we call indigenous live with that understanding that we are the water and the water is us, and what happens to you happens to me”Anita Sanchez
What is most important to us? What is worth preserving? What is no longer helpful and what is causing harm? In exploring these questions not just as intellectual challenges to think about, analyse and solve but opening up to the fullness of ways we can be guided as human beings, we may walk together some of the pathways to co-create what Eisenstein calls “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible”.
A co-creative journey
This project is a collective one that includes witnessing each other and being witnessed as well as the way we experience and integrate practices and dream time in our individual bodies and selves. It brings together nature-based approaches with a commitment to practising as a community how we can embody, and witness each other in embodying a way of interconnection that honours the whole of life. We could talk about this, read and write books about it, and debate it endlessly, yet the heart of this project explores ways to relate to the body, and to people and planet in what Martin Buber calls an “I-Thou” relationship knowing deep inside our blood, bones, breath and veins our mutual interdependence.
What exactly is the project offering?
The project weaves together group and solo practices, both online and offline, in a way that will allow resourcefulness to grow. If you join us, there will be a number of invitations, all of which will be optional and adaptable to suit you.
– experiential group video calls which you can participate in live or through a recording, with body and breath practices, movement, song, live music and time for deep relaxation, dreaming, journalling, contemplating, resourcing and reflecting… There will be at least one of these gatherings each month, on a Saturday or Sunday early evening UK time, with the possibility of accessing the recording should you be unable to come live.
– optional small group sharing time at a time to be worked out between group members (with an ‘in person’ option should pandemic conditions allow it)
– a dedicated online community platform where you will be able to communicate with others in your own time in between sessions with the option to share resources, links and to stay connected (to keep this safe, intimate and focused, this will NOT be a Facebook group – a space for collaborative sharing with content decided by our circle of human beings rather than by potentially polarising algorithms)
– recorded body practices that weave together breath, movement, nature-based practices and the power of sound to support deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us (you can download these or stream them and use them as resources in your own time, whether outdoors in nature or in your home space)
– a growing library of links to videos, audio, articles, and books to explore in your own time to complement the experience of the shared body practices
– in time, collaborations with others (invited guests to share practices, reflections and ideas for inspiration, nourishment and growth) There is an interest to explore ways that a community interest model can enable this work to touch the lives of young people, marginalised groups, and others who would benefit from this.
This project may be a good fit for you:
- if you would like to deepen your connection with nature and the body
- if you are curious about how music, sound and chant can be a resource for reconnection and deepening embodiment
- if you would like to bring together spirituality and a sense of engaging with the world and its issues
- if you sometimes or often feel the pain of the disconnection between human beings and the natural world, and from our own bodies, or if you think or care about this yet wonder why you don’t feel the pain of it
- if you are drawn to the idea (and the reality of) a sustainable and resilient community to better navigate the challenges of our time through a deeper and embodied connection to the natural world and to ourselves
- if you are feel a call to explore the power of collective practices and/ or the wisdom of a group when we tune in together
- if you have an interest in learning from other people’s experiences and the way that this may differ or correspond with our own
- if you believe that difficult emotions as well as easier ones may all bring important insights as part of the messiness of the organic process of life
- if you have an openness to explore ‘blended learning’ with a combination of online and offline activities and offerings, exploring some of the offerings in your own time
- if you are open to exploring the possibility that collective inner work can have a positive impact on the world
- if you see the world’s challenges as requiring a deep shift in approach to face adequately
- if you are open to seeing this collective journey as being like “broccoli seeds” that will require soil, planting, watering and attending to for a possible harvest. (Thanks to “Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures” for this image)
This project may not work so well for you:
- if you are looking for a forum to discuss theories and solutions mainly in an intellectual or theoretical way
- if you are looking for top-down answers and packaged strategies from an expert without an interest in being part of a group journey
- if you are highly sceptical about the value of giving time to pay more attention to the body
- if you see the work we do inside ourselves as irrelevant to world issues and social justice
- if you would struggle to make at least half an hour a week to engage
- if you are likely to struggle to stay engaged should difficult emotions arise in yourself or in another community member
- if you would struggle to seek/ find one-to-one support should you be triggered or overwhelmed by anything that comes up during the process (although the practices may be highly therapeutic, they are not a substitute for one-to-one therapy)
If you are in any way unsure if this is for you, you are welcome to get in touch.
How long am I committing to?
There is no minimum time commitment and you are free to leave and cancel your pledge at any point. There is no minimum time commitment per month though the suggestion is that for many people will get most out of the community by engaging for at least half an hour per week.
Using technology wisely – online connectivity to deepen our offline connectivity
The project is a hybrid one in which we’ll have a chance to explore ways to use internet technologies in a discerning way – is it possible for online connectivity to deepen our offline connectivity? Can we use the ‘worldwide web’ to support connection and interconnection, to support a remembering of the larger Web of Life, with an awareness of the dangers of distraction, overwhelm, disembodiment and information saturation? In the live group sessions there will be continual invitations to check in with the body, and there is a strong focus on the experiential and how we can integrate this into our daily life in all aspects of the project.
What is the cost?
The project is launching as a membership community in which members are asked to pledge a monthly fee (with a wide sliding scale to maximise accessibility) to support the project to grow and to thrive as well as to ensure that those holding this space can devote to this community the attention and love it deserves while earning a living wage. It’s based on a community interest philosophy – should this project go beyond meeting its costs and supporting a living wage for the hours put in, the next step for the project would be to ‘pay this forward’ in investing in more ways for this work to reach people who would benefit from it.
Monthly membership options range from £15 – 75 per month for the initial pilot programme. If you feel you need this community, there’s the option of other ways of exchange should this sliding scale still not be affordable. If you would need a different membership fee from the options below, please get in touch. Part of the vision is that everyone who needs this community is able to have access.
As a rough guide, the following is suggested, inviting you to a conscious choice from the heart about where you currently fit on a self-selection basis (you will be able to revisit this should it no longer feel right or be feasible). By choosing generously you are directly supporting this project to grow. (If you’re not sure where you fit in, £45 per month is a suggested average amount, which is likely to be a sustainable amount for the project should the majority of people choose this rate.)
Higher income consider choosing the violet or indigo pledges if you are on an above average income or have above average access to wealth.
Standard income rate consider choosing the blue, green or yellow pledges if you are on an average income or have average access to wealth.
Lower income rate consider choosing the orange or red pledges if you are on a low income or no income or have lower than average access to wealth.
Community access Should the red pledge be difficult to afford please get in touch to discuss other options.
Who is hosting this?
I am a teacher, workshop facilitator, coach, musician and composer living in the south-west of the UK. My work brings together the power of music, chant and sound with an embodied and nature-based approach to life. You can read some more about me here or just explore this website to find out some more about some of the different strands of my work. You can hear some of my own music here. Eventually I envisage this project to have a strong element of collaboration and co-creation.
This offering emerges from a rich web of interconnected threads. Thank you to the countless people, places, connections, teachers and wisdom keepers that are making this possible.
What people have said so far
“I am drawn to support what you are doing because it very much matters to me that the values you represent and the opportunities you are offering are made as widely available as possible. I very much appreciate that everyone is able to participate in their own way, and that the Web of Life has the feel of being very inclusive and accepting. I appreciate the practices that you are sharing, and the links you send.”
This looks very interesting. I would like to speak with you about it, if that’s possible. Do you have a contact telephone number please.
Hi Sue, thanks for getting in touch. I have sent you a message via email. best wishes, Matthew.
Hi Matthew, I can’t find where to register for tomorrow.
Hi Fergus, I have just sent you a response by email with the links to register. warm wishes, Matthew.