"Ecosystem Spoons" is a somatic support group for people who are living with energetic sensitivity or invisible illnesses like chronic fatigue, autoimmunity, or environmental toxicity that require us to slow down to a different rhythm of reality underneath the pushing through of the dominant culture.
We will be playing with meeting each other as organisms, reorienting our habitual patterns of connection away from cultural scripts of human-ing and towards an emergent presence with what is moving in our systems, listening for the pauses in which authentic responsiveness can emerge.
The focus of this group will not be on “healing” anyone or fixating on the intensity of our symptoms, we will be practicing being with what is present in our bodies, following subtle impulses for somatic nourishment, and sensing the holding of wider ecosystemic fields of support.
Feedback from previous partcipants:
"It was the most profoundly supportive space I have experienced in forever. Time slowed down during our group in a way that felt deeply calming and restorative. There is so much that I struggle to access on my own and the regular, loving reminder from you that that makes total sense and is an ok place to be right now felt so supportive and helpful to my often pressure-full system. The potent magic of the group container helped me reconnect to the wider web in ways that have been holding me on my own, even in moments when I am having trouble connecting, because my body remembers more of what's possible now, and more of what's real and available. It feels less scary when I can't connect, and more like "ok, that's ok, we're growing these muscles again and now we remember all that is right there holding us throughout regardless." —Parker Rice
"Powerful group container, experientially nourishing. I have a deeper felt sense of being held by the larger field. Helpful on multiple levels. I was amazed by the depth of connection expressed and experienced by all across a wide variety of locations through Zoom. The power of community cannot be overstated!" — Patti Gmeiner
"A support group for the chronically ill that doesn’t turn into a fix fest or victimpalooza or the ghosts of abelism - praise be! This feels like a nourishing counter point to the systems and cultures we currently try to survive in. Dancing with ways to pull these ways of engaging into everyday life." —Kate Munson
"The guided time in our bodies was soooo helpful and dynamic. As I turn my energy back towards myself and divine energy and all the ecosystems of which I am a part for the first time in years, I feel really intimidated and out of my league sometimes. The way you guided us and also the topics you dove into throughout the groups felt really accessible and unintimidating, even as the subject matter was experientially complex and profound. I felt SO supported in Ecosystem Spoons! " —Parker Rice
Next Ecosystem Spoons group will be April-June 2023, meeting most Fridays, 2:00-4:00pmCT.
The full tuition is $450 and includes 9 two hour class sessions over three months, a Long Body Prayers oracle deck, and three months access to Shante's online course BE:LONG. Payment plans and scholarships available.
Note that some class sessions may need to be rescheduled as Shante' is also living with unpredictable chronic illness.
You can apply to participate using the link below. The questions in the form are to get a sense of who will be a good fit for this particular group field since the numbers will be kept intentionally small. Participants will need some familiarity with nervous system resourcing and the ability to track their embodied experience, as well as a willingness to release narratives of "fixing" or "problem-solving."
Somatic reflections from Shante's experience of being in a sensitive body
For several years I had been feeling how dissonant I was in terms of what my mind was doing and what my body was doing. In my work as a practitioner, in my studies, in my relationships, I felt the out of sync-ness between what I was trying to accomplish and what my body needed. So in a weird way the overwhelming body symptoms of my chronic illness brought me to the point of having to sync up because there was nothing else to do.
For me it’s felt like as my body has pushed back against the ways that I’ve been pushing, I’ve needed to learn to slow down and sync up, that the symptoms actually become indicators about that. And sometimes in the slowing down, then a bunch of backlog and needed detoxing takes place where there are flares even during times when I feel pretty in alignment.
So that’s a whole new kind of relationship is being with myself when that is happening. At a certain point my whole orientation to life has shifted where it’s much more about not knowing how I’ll be on a certain day or even in the next hour, but having the trust that I can meet whatever comes, that I can respond to the needs arising from my system.
I lay down on my back, knees up, feet on the ground, pressing my palms over my eyes. The music is immersive, embracing. I relax into the soundscape, into the feeling of gravity beneath me. Attention to lower body, pelvis, legs, belly. Feeling myself going down, down, yielding to more sensation. Such a lot of intensity has been held up, in my mind, in my chest. So much more ground here, so much aliveness.
Subtle movement is happening, rocking, unwinding, feeling the support. More and more softening—so simple to stay with the sensation without needing to do anything. So much in need of being let down here. The slowness, aware of how meaning and description slips away from me here, how the part the knows words has not quite made it to this depth yet.
They call it “self-sourcing.” That feeling of being connected to your own deep sources of replenishment. But that again touches the question of "what is a self?" As with so many things about “self,” about “individuation,” it’s not really about the isolated individual. What are you sourcing?
You are meeting yourself as an organism held within a wider ecosystem. The power doesn’t come from you, it comes from your attunement with reality, with this wider body that supports all aliveness.
A lot of what I do when I’m alone in practice is turning towards myself in the way that I feel accompanied in the bodywork sessions and somatic workshops. Turning towards myself like maybe in a healthy culture, others around me would have been able to be present with me as a child from a place of resource.
There is such a cultural taboo against turning towards your own system, being in the field of what’s present, including all that is there below the level of words. So few of my recent ancestors got to rest like this, got to turn towards themselves in this way. It seems so simple but it’s so easy for an activated nervous system to brush right past this kind of presence. It’s so easy to bounce back and forth between activation and collapse, missing relationship with what is real.
Laying on my back just feeling gravity, often seems too simple to be really doing anything. “Is this really a practice?” I wonder. “Am I doing it right?” And yet from this attunement I feel the resonance, the chiasm of turning towards myself, the vibration humming between skin and skin, the newness of meeting my system in this moment, even the closest in, still such a distance to unfold.