What is Embodiment Activism?

This page is under construction. The essay that follows is a work in progress.

Embodiment Activism is a new term and is currently the nexus of a many activities, practices, and ideas. Abbi Jaffe of The Everything Space seems to have first defined and use the term and defines it as engaging in “act[s] sharing one’s way of listening in to the body and listening out, to the earth and each other, that support others to do the same.” Jaffe goes on to elaborate on how greater direct experience of our bodies can change how we interact with each other, who we are, and, ultimately, the world itself.

Abbi Jaffe’s description of embodiment activism may cut to its essence. I see embodiment activism more in terms of relationship between different aspects our selves. These aspects are socially reflected specialized discourses and practices. I see the body as the focal point, the true meeting place for the essential truth of all these activities. Part of embodiment activism is dialog between these activities.

Embodiment activism is perhaps a strong, solid, yet graceful four legged animal. Maybe a giraffe. Each leg is essential for its strength and vitality. These four legs are:

  • Individuals engaging in embodiment practices;
  • Professionals teaching embodiment practices or providing embodiment-oriented therapies;
  • Academics in many disciplines defining and researching embodiment-related topics; and
  • Activists either utilizing embodiment-related techniques for other social or political goals or seeking to create more social space for embodied being.

The embodiment activist giraffe’s head, a place of honor, goes to

  • Artists using their skills in embodying feeling in material or expressive form to create greater space and respect for embodied experience.

The embodiment giraffe’s vitality and speed comes from the creative fusion in its core of all those energies coming from those different directions though its extremities. This giraffe can represent a dynamic social movement. or society. It could also represent one of us.

There are many types of embodiment practices. Yoga and qigong are two prominent examples. Dance can be an embodiment practice. Many arts have a strong embodiment aspect. Ultimately, it is perhaps not the practice that is essential so much as the intent exercised by the practitioner. This view of embodiment practice corresponds to Jaffe’s “one’s way of listening in to the body.”

To be continued.