The Co-Becoming Plunge: Writing with the World
ZOOM – Wednesday evenings 7-9pm, February 8 – June 14 (fully booked – contact me to be added to the waiting list/future course list)
WARBURTON – Friday afternoons 1-3pm, February 10 – June 16
To enrol there’s a $100 deposit to secure your place, refundable before the end of December.
This half-year 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 will 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 and complexity of ecological systems through tangible embodied practices
- Experience, through creative participation, the beauty, resilience and flow innate to life
- Represent this learning in poetic and visual forms, and
- Grow our capacity 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 June 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 work is based on the Co-becoming Practice Community courses I’ve been running since 2020. It will include members of those groups but will also be welcoming and accessible for newbies. Here’s a testimonial from a current participant:
The co-becoming practice community has been a highlight of 2022! With wisdom, skill, playfulness and humility, Maya has guided us into a deep, ever-evolving and often surprising relationship with the more-than-human. I feel an increased capacity to listen deeply and remain present with what is within and outside of me. Never have I felt so accepted and at home with a group of people as I have in this community. – 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
If this work calls to you, email me to register your interest on email@example.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 every two weeks, in circles radiating from the body.
Each fortnightly theme has these components:
1.In the first week a 2-hour co-becoming practice session where we work with each circle in turn – the substance of our work together
2.In the second week a 2-hour check-in conversation and creative/emotional support session 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
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. The second week’s conversation will engage with this part of the project.
Of course, life can be busy. The minimum commitment is the fortnightly co-becoming practice session. Everything else is designed to nourish that.
There will be two groups of maximum 11, one on zoom, one for those who could travel to Warburton every two weeks. The Warburton group fortnightly co-becoming practice sessions will be in person at my place – all other sessions are on zoom.
The course will include an optional 2.5 day beach retreat at the end (priced separately)
The Background to the Co-becoming Plunge
Core to this work is cultivating body awareness; energies, sensuality, pleasure and liveliness, and how we may 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.
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.
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, Freya Mathews, Jon Young, Tom Cheetham and Zen Buddhists Susan Murphy Roshi, Junpo Denis Kelly, and Corey Hess.
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 to work with, speak with and shape 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.
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.
Starting at the beginning of February to the end of June, the course is of 20 weeks duration.
Concession $600 + $100
Part-time income $800 + $100
Full-time income. $1000 + $100
The plus $100 will go to the Gay’wu group of women
About the facilitator
Maya has many years of experience as a writing teacher, facilitator, public speaker and retreat and festival organiser. Her focus 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