The Co-becoming Plunge: Writing with the World: a year-long immersion

Two streamschoose between in-person or online.

In-person – a half-day gathering on the first Sunday afternoon each month, 1pm-5.30pm, from February to November in Warburton.
Plus a monthly zoom check-in Thursday evening 7pm-8.30pm, (11 days after our gathering).
Online – the first three Wednesday evenings each month, 7pm-9pm.

This year-long course is for those wishing to deepen both their nature connection and creative practices within a nourishing and supportive community. Using an embodied process of stream-of-consciousness writing, we enter into presence with the more-than-human world and bring back other – and ancient – ways of knowing. We call this co-becoming: a transformative/altered state learning that comes when we open ourselves, with humility, care and wonder, to the animate world. 

Through the Co-becoming Plunge we will 
  • Encounter the depth, beauty and complexity of ecological systems through tangible embodied practices 
  • Experience, through powerful creative practices, the invitation into an exquisite sense of belonging, participation, and flow: the world of co-becoming
  • Grow our creative capacity, developing skills and mastery in words and other art forms
  • Embed nourishing practices of connection and service to the more-than-human realms, integrating them into daily life
  • Learn about the long-buried but re-emerging practice of depth perception, its diverse and intercultural roots within ancient spiritual traditions, Western and Eastern philosophies, indigenous ways of knowing, somatics, neuroscience and more, with a workbook of focussed readings and audio links.
  • Be astonished by the beauty and wisdom of our human companions, and rejoice in the sacredness and vitality of words spoken as offerings to the aliveness we are entangled within
  • Gain courage and confidence to share our imaginal and spiritual unfurling with the world

These times are asking us to step into more life-affirming, somatically aware and interconnected knowing. In trusting the wisdom and holding of the alive world, combined with the support of a community of practitioners, this course will strengthen our capacity to make positive change. 

The course will include aspects of a sangha (the Buddhist term for a spiritual community) and a writers group/creative support community. But the core of it will be body practices, meditations and writing as a way to meet the more-than-human world. It will run from February to November and have a maximum of eleven participants in two streams – one in person in Warburton and another on zoom. There will be a two-hour gathering once a week, plus optional readings and projects.

This course is based on the half-year Co-becoming Plunge I facilitated in 2023, a beautiful deep experience with twenty participants, which evolved from writing courses I’ve been running since 2020.

To anyone teetering on the edge of Maya Ward’s year-long Plunge program, I say grab hold of your heart, your favourite pen and your most beautiful notebook and dive in! The unfathomable Ocean of the Imaginal Realm is lonely and longs for you to enter. ‘Co-Becoming’ is no place for dilly-dallying, toe-dipping lookie-loos. So come on, JUMP! Come to meet the Ocean and find yourself along the way. Maya’s exquisitely delicate yet robustly informed holding of this work offers you the opportunity for an embodied understanding of what it means to be supported by the infinite web of relationality. If you are willing to turn your brains inside-out in service of something greater than yourself and recognise the need for an experienced guide and practice community to help you remain grounded in the process, then you will find good company here.  — Julie

Working with Co-Becoming practices has been an immersive and deeply transformational experience for both myself personally and in my creative work as a writer, musician and artist. Being in a state of reciprocal conversation with the living world, weaving these practices into my daily life and creative processes, is opening a well of inspiration and new-yet-profoundly-and-innately-known experiences. This vivid living-with, and presencing-with life and the animate world are rich and fecund landscapes to inhabit. Thank you Maya for the space of flourishing and edge-expansion you are offering us all in sharing this work. – Phoebe 

This conscious focus on co-becoming opens new pathways for understanding, awareness, gratitude, respect and even reverence. Participating in this process as a group, and the conversations about our awareness and shared experiences has been a really valuable way of extending that awareness. My belief is that it is opening up deeper, richer, more conscious pathways for us all collectively. — Kate

This work is a way of re-imagining our relationship with the world, with culture, with the earth and all the beings we are interconnected to. Bayo Akomolafe reminds us that new ways of being will never come from the centre, they will come from the cracks, from the edge. This is an ‘edge’ practise that guides us into deep relationship with the natural world and as we do that our place within it becomes re-arranged. It’s a practise that becomes a path towards right relationship once again. Thank you for your stewardship of this practise that is an offering for the world. Thank you for the process, the lineage, for helping to create a practise that I will carry with me. I am seeded into deeper relationship with the more than human, with the All. — Kairava

If this work calls to you, email me to register your interest on mayawarby@gmail.com

In more detail…

Diving deep, and riding the ripples out from our centre, we will come into presence with the concentric circles of being. Through various creative and embodiment processes we will experience this universe, from the tiny bacterial lives inside us all the way out to distant galaxies, with increased intimacy, animacy and attunement.

We will do this in a way that is psychologically supportive, artistically and intellectually extending, spiritually expansive and somatically grounding and integrating. The process will also include acts of service, giving back to that which nourishes us so generously.

Underpinned by values of generosity, humility, truthfulness, beauty, compassion and self-compassion, patience, and reciprocity, this course is also designed to be a fundraiser for some of our First Nations elders, the Gay’wu group of women, whose book, Songspirals, has been core to the development of the Co-becoming work. $100 from each place will go direct to them.

We will work with nine themes, one a month, in circles radiating from the body.

  1. Body – cellular, breath, energy
  2. Body participants – food, water, bacteria, excrementals
  3. Our intimates – close family or friends, pets and totem animals, vestments and adornments
  4. Home – the structure we sleep within
  5. Garden – the rooted, legged, feathered wild ones close by
  6. Community – people and animals, close ecosystems, waters, mountains
  7. Elementals – weather
  8. Gaia – Earth
  9. Cosmos – Universe
Each monthly theme has these components:

1.A 4-hour co-becoming practice session where we work with each circle in turn – the substance of our work together (the online course breaks this into two sessions)

2.A 90 minute check-in conversation and creative/emotional support session on zoom where we talk more broadly about the work

3.A page on my website with optional readings, listenings, further practice suggestions, and possibilities for service, plus weekly guidance in somatic and creative practice to ground the work in ritual, in practice and in body.

4.Artistic/physical expression – A creative practice that embeds the work in some kind of tangible form. This will give expression to each circle or layer – such as making a series of ever-bigger bowls, or an expanding painting, photo collage, weaving, mandala or garden, or visual depiction of your co-becoming stories/song-cycle/poem. The outcomes of this can then be part of an altar/special place for ongoing contemplation and ritual engagement. This is a way to bring this work into the heart of our lives, to nourish and support both us and our communities of care. 

There will be two groups of maximum 11, one on zoom, another in-person in the Melbourne area. 

The course will include an optional 2.5 day beach retreat at the end (priced separately)

The Background to the Co-becoming Plunge

SOMATICS

Core to this work is cultivating body awareness; energies, sensuality, pleasure and liveliness, and how this facilitates presence within the bodies of the more-than-human world. There is rich paradox in this endeavour: through body awareness we also become more attuned to that which has non-physical body – whether we call this the imaginal, the spirit world, the animist presence of all things.

Incorporating lessons from many modalities, this work is informed by body-mind practices including hatha yoga, chi gung, contact improvisation and ecstatic dance, Zen meditation, Body-Mind Centring.

PSYCHOLOGY

Focussing, process psychology, various Jungian-inspired practices, the role of trauma in culture and how this impacts our somatic experience – these are lenses to support this deep individual and community work.

PHILOSOPHY/THEOLOGY

The Co-becoming Plunge will accessibly present some of the wealth of our intellectual and spiritual history and demystify fuzzy mysticism, while deeply honouring the mystery. The course will include content influenced by Taoism, Buddhism, Tantric Hinduism, Deep Ecology, Neoplatonism, Romanticism, Feminism and Indigenous metaphysics, as well as exciting developments in neuroscience, biology and botany. We will dive deep into the experience of the Imaginal – the co-creative edge between matter and spirit, the place where all is alive and all words matter, the beautiful, powerful realm humans have long visited, the place hidden inside the old European term “faerie”, (a word derived from the ancient term fari – to speak), a place that is correlate with Aboriginal Dreaming.

The co-becoming work was consolidated during teaching the course ‘Acknowledging Country’. By bringing a spiritual, somatic and intellectual understanding of the ethical dilemma of living on stolen lands, that course sought to deepen into the challenge First Nations people have set us – to properly respect Country, and allow ourselves to be transformed by an authentic relationship with this alive and listening Earth. Indigenous philosophers and teachers who have inspired this work include Bill Neidje, Mowaljarlai, the Gay’wu group of women, Tyson Yunkaporta, Max Harrison, MK Turner, and Ian Hunter from Australia, and Martin Prechtel from Guatemala/New Mexico.

The course also draws from European mystical and Neoplatonic philosophers including Goethe, Heidegger, Jung, Hillman and Stephen Buhner. The Plunge integrates what I’ve learned from my studies with philosophers and meditation and somatic practitioners including Josh Schrei, David Abram, Bill Plotkin, JF Martel, Freya Mathews, Jon Young, Tom Cheetham and Zen Buddhists Susan Murphy Roshi, Junpo Denis Kelly, and Corey Hess.

ARTISTIC/POETIC PRACTICE

Creating and participating with the beautiful is a core human experience, one that can transform poverties of all kinds into dignity and richness. Beauty is often marginalised within the techno-capitalist worldview, yet it is an essential part of a human and nature-centred activism. Humble yet archetypal, storyful, unfashionable and soulful – these are ways of being to work with, speak with and create with the alive world. Honouring beauty herself, beauty as an alive, animate force, will be part of this work. Creating form will be a powerful and somatic act to ground our learning.

So while developing skills and mastery in words or other artforms may be an outcome and be personally satisfying, this will be understood as a natural outcome arising from our honouring of life, and experienced as a gift to all of us, and to the whole.

SERVICE

From care for our bodies, nourishing others, tending the green ones, living lightly, random acts of kindness – this is the natural inclination of the connected soul. We will share ways in which we strengthen community bonds and feed the reciprocal flows.

Investment

To enrol there’s a $100 deposit to secure your place, refundable before the end of December. 

Suggested prices:

Earlybird – $50 discount if signed up by December 15

Concession             $1200 + $100

Part-time income   $1500 + $100

Full-time income.   $1800 + $100

The plus $100 will go to the Gay’wu group of women

Please note these prices are guidelines – enquire direct to Maya if you’d like to apply for a scholarship. Payment plans are also possible.  

About the facilitator

Maya has many years of experience as a writing teacher, facilitator, public speaker and retreat and festival organiser. Her passion for over 30 years has been to deepen ecological awareness, belonging and connection to place through diverse creative practices. Her PhD in Creative Writing explored the embodied experience of the alive world, otherwise known as the archetypal or imaginal realm. Her research ranged across neuroscience, somatics, psychology and shamanistic metaphysics. She has a Masters in Education (Social Ecology) with undergraduate studies in Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Her memoir The Comfort of Water: A River Pilgrimage, published by Transit Lounge, is an account of her 21-day journey from the sea to the source of the Yarra River, following the length of a Wurundjeri Songline. This book has been on the curriculum in universities around Australia, and was shortlisted by the State Library for the 2012 Year of Reading Award. Her writing and poetry has also been featured in a variety of publications, including a chapter in the book series Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations, edited by Robin Wall Kimmerer and others.

Currently she lives on the banks of the Yarra in the mountain village of Warburton, in the beautiful Country of the Wurundjeri people. In this place she continues her learning as a pilgrim, walking the forest and river paths, and negotiates with the birds for a share of the food forest she plants and tends.

The Experience of Co-becoming: Testimonials

This is deep and profound work of joy and connection, healing and offering much meaning. …It deepens authentic living in surprising and beautiful ways. I love the community, and the intimacy of the small groups in breakout rooms. I feel supported both personally and professionally. Thanks Maya for your bravery and vulnerability, I think this is the leadership we need in such times. – Kerryn

I see the work you are inviting us to do as very significant, hugely important, and an integral step on the path to deep relationships in community and co-becoming. – Bronwen

You create a safe container and encourage and listen without judgement. It is a lovely process to allow the more-than-human world to have a voice, to be witnessed and to have agency, and this further enables a sense of belonging. Co-becoming means to loosen fixed concepts and to be with the other in a different more expansive way.  There is an entering into a new pattern of relationship that is entangled, embodied and alive. It allows a new way of perceiving to emerge; pattern-thinking. The discussion, the witnessing others, and the embodied exploration all enabled a new way of being with this more expansive world. – Jackie

Date

Feb 04 2024
Expired!

Time

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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