Embodying Our Nature – An Exploration of This Year’s Theme

Embodying Our Nature explores relationships between gender expression, nature(s), and bodies. To better understand this theme, we must first begin with descriptions of theme as pointers for our general direction, nuggets of understanding to springboard further exploration:

Gender expression
Fluid rather than fixed, not bound to anatomy or cultural conventions, “gender expression” encompasses a wealth/range/ continuum rather than the constructed constraints of categories as masculine, feminine, and androgynous.

“Nature” can be thought about in at least two ways.

First, there is a sort of physical nature–whether we live in rural areas or urban centers, “Nature” can be understood as that in which we live and is present everywhere.  Nature encompasses the Earth with all the flora and fauna, all species and naturally-originating elements. While both science and spirituality explore Nature’s nature or mysteries, Earth-revering traditions honor Nature’s inhabitants as spirits and often with a gender.

Second, “nature” can also be understood in terms of our individual selves, made up of our quirks, talents, gender expression, community with others, and ways through which we understand ourselves and operate within the world.

These physical vessels we inhabit are constantly changing and aging. Like our bodies, Nature also is shaped with bodies of land and water. Even the planet as Mother Earth is understood as a body, a living being.  Bodies are part of embodiment–how we treat both our discrete individual bodies and the Earth in which we live.

How do we express ourselves with our bodies?  As individuals and communities of intersecting individuals, how do we talk, walk, take up space? Our bodies have languages, as genders have identities.  Bodies are flesh, matter, yet are animated by our inspirations, even spirits.  What does this mean for how we live in the world?

We invite ALL to actively engage in discussion on this theme, to suggest readings that speak to them, to explore questions and propose answers to them.  Most of all, we look forward to February 17-18 when we will meet in person to explore together in real time and real space.

Leave a Reply