Five Mondays, October 15, 22, 29, and Nov. 5 and 12, 2012
Admission: Free. All are welcome.
Description: Dancing with Life, Death & Beyond is a five-week course engaging participants on many levels. Its purpose is to help people change their relationship to death from fearful to one of grateful acceptance.
Sessions include: storytelling from participantsâ€™ experience, as well as folk literature; deep inquiry; meditative reflection; plus nonverbal creative exercises that trigger the six senses and can reveal fresh connections. Participants leave with new tools to remind them to love and celebrate life, trust its process and embrace the unknown.
Jane Hughes Gignoux, a native New Yorker, is the author of Some Folk Say: Stories of Life, Death, and Beyond, a collection of stories and poems from many different cultures. She offers workshops and courses widely. www.lifedeathbeyond.com
Session I (Oct. 15): Why Death? â€“ With the wisdom of folktales as the entry point, people begin to explore the very basis of how life and death engage in their never-ending dance here on Earth. They open new doors by asking questions such as: What brings me here? How am I living my life? What do I care about most? Why? What do I fear most? Why?
Session II (Oct. 22): Balancing Life & Death â€“ Continuing the inquiry, people allow folktales to guide them toward an awareness and appreciation of the myriad ways life and death are interconnected and balance one another. People explore the concept of death being their birthright, rather than their enemy, applying that idea to their personal situations.
Session III (Oct. 29): Lessons for Life â€“ What have my own experiences with life and death taught me? What can I learn from the world around me? What is my vision for the future? Who am I really? Using these questions as a guide, people create a visual collage of images to express their essential wants, needs and goals.
Session IV (Nov. 5): What Happens after Death? â€“ People examine this perennial question, addressed in folktales of many cultures, noticing its affect on how people live their lives. Some teachers say fear of death is the source of our obsession with the material world and success. People engage in a non-verbal simulated experience of taking the journey from life through the doorway of death into the afterlife. They reflect, individually through journaling and in small groups on what happened.
Session V (Nov. 12): Acceptance of Life, Death & Beyond â€“ Reviewing their experiences in earlier sessions, people reflect on ways they plan to embody what they have learned. Working in teams collaboratively, they create their own ceremonies of gratitude and celebration for life, death and beyond. Once again, folktales assist in this process, which will include music and dance.