Our local death festival is fast approaching. For a week there will be all kinds of events exploring all kinds of aspects of death and dying. There will be workshops, talks, films, creative stuff and performances.
All events are free but donations are welcome. The money goes towards necessities like printing programs, tea and coffee and biscuits. Some events you have to book because there are limited places.
Everybody is volunteering their time and energy. At the heart of the festival is the the hope that together we can build more compassion communities.
The full programme can be found on Pushing up Daisies website
There will be some events looking at suicide
I will be talking about my personal experiences of trying to find ways to live while longing to die. And I am hoping there might be interest in setting up a local peer support group for people who live with suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Peer support for people who think about and long to die is still a hot potato – too much risk assessment involved and a suspicious stance towards those of us who feel like dying… ‘wouldnt a support group just encourage them?…’ But it’s slowly changing with the public realisation that it’s not just a few people who feel so overwhelmed by life that they want to die but actually so common that it must approaching the threshold of being considered ‘normal’. And services and organisation don’t have the resources to offer support to that many people so we to need to start thinking about how we create support in our communities.
I am inspired by my experiences of the support that can happen in hearing voices groups and also by the Alternatives to suicide group in Western Massachusetts that I have been lucky enough to visit.
And there will be loads of other exciting and amazing stuff – like these ones.
To get a better feel of what the festival is like you can revisit the 2017 festival in the video below.
With dance we can look at topics that can be difficult to talk about. Dance allows for new angles and for expressing the things that are beyond words.
Here is a little collection of things I have found fascinating and moving.
How can men and girls engage with each other in positive ways in societies full of fear?
Personal journey of an indigenous Australian ballet dancer. The world of dance often reflects the mainstream discrimination that happens in our society – dance can be very elitist and exclusive.
Dance can also be inclusive and bring joy to all of us. We are all responsible for defining what gets called dance.
Personally I think dance is about using your body for expression. It’s not about looking gorgeous, being super-flexible or having the fastest feet. I see any physical expression that captures my heart through authenticity as dance.
Finally holding the real thing in my hands.
What an amazing journey it has been so far; from meeting Ilse Sand in 2008 because she was one of the only therapists working with highly sensitive people in Denmark at the time, to reading her book the first time in 2010, then moving to England and realising how much I wanted to be able to share Ilse’s writing with people I met over here and while teaching and travelling.
Translating the book was exciting and hard work but the toughest bit turned out to be trying to find a publisher. In December 2015 things suddenly picked up and a contract was signed with Jessica Kingsley Publishers by the end of the year – and now it’s here! All those months and months of work made tangible.
It’s been a great privilege to work with Ilse Sand on getting her book published in English. I’ve learned a lot about how the publishing world works and feel a bit more confident about one day writing my own stuff and getting it out there.
The past couple of months my obsession with dance has crawled up on me – slowly but surely.
I keep wondering what it is about dance that makes me feel this indescribable feeling inside. I love technique and am fascinated with body control. But dance is nothing without intent, without something pouring from the dancing body – something more than the body, more than the person, more than the movements…
Here are some of the things I have been inspired by recently
Music by Hozier
Butoh dancer Maki Watanabe
Glorious mix of 66 dance scenes. Old school stuff
Sia – bird set free
Dancer Ricky Ubeda
Sia – elastic heart
Dancers Shia LeBeuof and Maddie Ziegler
Choreography by Ryan Heffington
Just thought I’d share some of the things I’ve enjoyed reading this past week.
Not necessarily enjoyed in the sense that they made me feel uplifted. More that they all feel like important reads for different reasons.
Clicking on the titles should take you to the articles and blogs.
First a couple of things related to the medical model of Mental Health
Reading it left me feeling angry and despairing as my own experience is that my chronic pain and migraines started after being on (and coming off) Olanzapine. So then I do appreciate that there are resources like this next one available out there on the beautiful world wide web.