Transforming Conflict through Embodiment: Reflections from Staff

Earthdance Staff share reflections on our work with Martha Eddy, who led the workshop Transforming Conflict Through Embodiment this past April at Earthdance:


Transforming Conflict Through Embodiment offered me a way to practice being more fully present to how conflict arises in me and how I respond to it.  It was especially potent to have this space here at Earthdance where I work and play and live all the while attempting to do the transformation work of being myself and constantly co-creating the visions of an ideal world.  Phew, that's big work!  I came to appreciate more of how big it is and how intense and important the work that we do is here when you look at the suffering that is happening everywhere, in Boston as a result of the recent bombing, in Syria, in abusive homes, on city streets and how it is felt in our own bodies.  I realized that I have the capacity to acknowledge and accept it all just how Martha guided us to write all the conflict that we could muster up on the big role of paper that we are concerned about in our families, our communities, our nation and beyond ranging from stress all the way to trauma and then to lie down with it all feeling the weight and to find connection to others, to feel and move and sound with them and to rise that energy into an ecstatic expression of what we want in our lives.  How we want to feel and be together and to create here at Earthdance and take into life out there.  I found myself exclaiming that I wanted to taste abundance from our garden, and to co-create joyfully and to work while enraptured by my sensation and to share this beyond Earthdance.  I truly believe that if I am fully alive and empowered then I will enliven and empower others naturally to do the transformational work themselves.  This workshop gave me another taste of this personal truth and strengthened my faith in the process.  Thank you Martha and thank you to everyone who participated for your offerings and openings.

- Hilary Lake


Martha presented us with so many tools from her wealth of knowledge as an accomplished teacher of somatic movement, particularly within the realm of transforming conflict.

Through simple visualization and movement exercises, we learned ways to determine our desires, maintain healthy boundaries when needed, and to tap in to each of our own bodily wisdoms to bring healing to past traumas, thus clearing the way for open and honest dialog with ourselves and with others.

- Matt LaSalle


“To be our creative selves is really what our purpose is on Earth”– Martha Eddy
Uttered by Martha at the beginning of the workshop, these words stuck with me, and I'm only now really understanding the connection between them and the conflict work we dove into that weekend.

This is a wonderfully diverse world, down to the cells and organisms that make up our own bodies, which engage in conflict every second of the day. Conflict is inevitable, deeply embedded in life, perhaps even beautiful, depending on how we interact with it. What we did in Martha's workshop was to look deeply into our own personal interactions with conflict, exploring questions along the lines of: How can we tune in more to ourselves, to our personal triggers, to our true wants and needs? How can we most effectively communicate these individual thoughts, wants and needs, rather than simply expressing them to others? How just can we be open, porous, and practice empathy, all the while maintaining our boundaries when and where we need them? How do we foster a world where conflict is merely a form of engagement with one another – an exercise in stepping into one another's shoes - in openly communicating, empathizing and improvising creative solutions, as opposed to inciting violence and pain?

As we explored questions like these, I felt the world open up a bit. I released some fear around facing conflict, acknowledging it as key to expressing oneself, interacting openly & honestly, and living fully with those around us. I came to appreciate the opportunities conflict gives us to freely express ourselves, engage with our abilities to empathize and step into new perspectives, and to create with one another the world in which we want to live . . . conflict by conflict.

- Kelsey Hobbs


The resonance of Transforming... has continued to feed my thinking and my approach to life here at Earthdance. I have been experimenting with ways of weaving Martha's experiential, no-nonsense approach to conflict into our Group Process for staff, conversations, meetings, strategies, and my own day-to-day decision-making. Drawing from the activities of the weekend, I have gained a better understanding of the deeper work of living and working in community and a broader outlook on what it takes to nurture a healthy, productive, and creative atmosphere. On a personal level, I discovered that I prefer to observe conflict before diving in; I can, in fact, speak my dreams with clarity; and moving while talking helps me to better speak my mind.  Duh.

Martha Eddy and Carol Swan, who was an invaluable contributor from afar, are enormous assets to the Earthdance community. Their support and generosity run deep! Their ability to face conflict head-on and revel in it as opportunity for growth is an inspiration. The tools they share are empowering. Their investment in continuing the dialogue, and willingness to offer their wisdom with care and attention is humbling. I send my deepest appreciation their way. The work we have begun has given me courage to unapologetically nurture both my strength and vulnerability. Can't wait until they come back!

- Sarah Young


Much deep gratitude to Martha Eddy (and to her long-time cohort, Carol Swann, whose long-distance presence and support we felt throughout the workshop). Thank you for enriching us with your wisdom and empowering us with the tools to open, communicate honestly, boldly face conflict, and transform this world!