by Janna Diamond
I invite you to sit up tall. Relax your shoulders. Soften the muscles in your face. Inhale and exhale. Tune in to where you are.
Did you know that movement in the body does not repeat itself? Even the most subtle motion. Each gesture is an expression of exactly where you are in space at a given moment. Movement is information. Sensation is knowledge. Every second is a discovery. You are here.
The body is our environment. The environment is our body.
Let us become fluidly adaptable beings, softening to ourselves and those around us. Generating authentic expression. Naming what we see and feel. Allowing sadness, fear, and hope to surface. In the face of incredible uncertainty, let us focus on how the physical body literally roots us in the perilous social and ecological conditions of our time.
We must acknowledge that all bodies are not considered equal. We are seeing Brown bodies deemed illegal, Black bodies criminalized and brutalized, and all bodies, especially poor bodies, poisoned by the destructive consequences of capitalism.
How are we relating to the body? How do we care for our home?
We can embody change once we recognize that systemic transformation comes from our ability to connect to ourselves, each other and life around us. If we act from a deep sense of awareness and empathy, we intentionally practice that which we want to become and act according to our vision and values.
We can overcome fragmentation and detachment. We can connect the dots between one another. We can draw connections from the issues at hand to the social movements working for justice. Let us join forces with greater clarity, purpose and power. Only then can we fundamentally disrupt the unjust systems that threaten our existence.
Elul readies us for turning, returning, and change. We are made to change. Change is possible and inevitable. Change is our nature.
In the face of all that is here and all that is to come, let us turn toward our relationship to our body. To thank it for holding us up. To allow it to express in real-time. For renewal and resiliency. For healing. For moving forward and moving towards wholeness.
Earth Etudes for Elul are a project of Ma’yan Tikvah – A Wellspring of Hope.
Janna Diamond is a movement builder and activist. She spent years as a professional dancer in New York City, shifted gears to focus on social justice and communal healing, and now seeks to bridge these languages. Janna works at HIAS, the Jewish global non-profit that protects refugees. She is deeply drawn to issues of forced migration, displacement, and the emotional and psychological effects they have on a population.