5 Minutes... with Martha Eddy

by Monel Chang
In April, movement educator and somatic therapist Martha Eddy facilitated a weekend workshop entitled “Transforming Conflict Through Embodiment.” It was a well attended workshop with a variety of somatic, energy, and therapeutic practitioners and educators. The bulk of the workshop was attended by closely affiliated Earthdance community as well as a few newcomers. As a follow-up to our experience, I interviewed Martha. This interview is a shortened version of the original 15 minute interview. 

Monel Chang: I know that you’ve been coming here for many years. With all of the different modalities that you’ve created, spread, and facilitated, what encouraged you to bring “Transforming Conflict” to Earthdance as opposed to “Moving on Center” or “Moving for Life”?

Martha Eddy: Thank you. When I was shifting to the East Coast, we [Carol Swann] were able to bring to fruition a dream we’ve had from the beginning, which was to partner more with Earthdance as an institution, so [to create a partnership] between Moving on Center and Earthdance. What mostly would come to Earthdance was my training in Dynamic Embodiment, which is a form of somatic movement therapy. And yet what Carol and I share and had never shared here at Earthdance is our work with conflict resolution, conflict transformation, or just embracing conflict as part of life, and working with that. In particular what we also share, aside from interest in the whole topic, is the idea of using somatic approaches or embodied approaches, which is just kind of taking hold in the conflict world. And it’s just great that people are getting the word out and finding the physical experiences to include the body in conflict work. And when Carol and I look at each other and ask what’s juicy for us, what do we want to be spreading, it’s often that work. There’s something we call the socially conscious body which is a term we came to in looking at the body as also holding privilege, gender, race, ethnicity, and that when we’re working with the somatic processes, that it’s important to be alert to all those forces as well.

Monel: In your way of expressing embodiment, how do you encourage people to connect to embodying a certain aspect of themselves or of the other?

Martha: Great, well one of the first things we do is identify a theme that has some conflictual tensions in it—something that’s got tension in it, and just naming them. And then we’ll spend time, sometimes a short amount of time, sometimes a longer amount of time, really finding the movement underneath that theme. [Martha describes a process using “privilege” as an example and exploring dramatic versions of playing characters who themselves embody such a quality, while exploring the breadth of aspects something like “privilege” may encounter.]

What did you take away from your weekend here?

Thank you. Well being at Earthdance is always a treasure. I think a big theme of this weekend really is the role of Earthdance on this planet, as a holder of an archetype of the healer and the healer that’s in connection with diverse communities and I’m very pleased to see that Earthdance has really embraced more diversity over the years—it’s a big shift and I know it’s not easy. [Earthdance] continues to represent caring for the planet and continues to represent the desire to live in community in respectful ways and I know that those are hard, hard things to do to live in large groups with other people, being dependent on other people for the income is just really challenging and being with new people all the time is really challenging. I just really appreciate that the Earthdance Staff were bringing those exhaustions and questions and feelings forward within this workshop. So, I just have a great respect…and we hear children playing in the background right now. That was a high point, really in the workshop for me, was hearing kids outside playing, and that that kind of level of vitality is accepted and encouraged here. The child within all of us is encouraged in playfulness of dance. So it was important for me to sing and I didn’t really sing as much as I would have liked, but we did sing while washing dishes, which was fun. And Carol Swann would have had us singing more, which would have been great, and we did sing, I can’t remember which, Earthdance person turned us onto the Birthday song, which says “god danced the day you were born, grateful for the gift of you”—we had a birthday today. All of those moments are really what I take home with me. Plus the people I met in the workshop, who were fantastic. Thank you.


To listen to the interview, please check out this audio file!