Writing Ourselves Alive is a programme of autobiographical and embodiment courses that was established by Tracy Breathnach PhD in 2020. This approach to writing has come out of Tracy's PhD research on embodied storytelling.
Tracy and her team support people to connect/reconnect to their bodies through embodiment exercises and writing. Their somatic approach encourages people to become the authors and authorities of their own experience.
This path is not always easy or comfortable – when we choose to orient from/towards our bodies we are challenging the Western cultural narratives and paradigm that splits our bodies from our minds. This is perpetuated in unresolved personal, intergenerational, cultural and racial trauma, which leads to dissociation, numbness, addiction and experiences of existential separation.
Yet, when we turn towards our bodies, we can learn a new language made up of sensations and emotions, which is very direct. When we come back to our bodies, we come home. We connect to our sense of Being, which is our truth.
What's important to us?
There are 3 things which underpin everything we do:
1. Safety - We want our participants to feel safe with us. We start every course teaching people about resourcing, which is the somatic practice of connecting to a sense of safety. This might come from connecting to what feels safe in our body, or sometimes we begin by finding something in our environment that we can connect to safely. When we work with the body we will feel 'things'. If we have spent much of our lives disconnected from our body, this can take a while to get used to, but it is essential if we want to reclaim our authority over our own experience.
2. Compassion - Learning how to connect to our bodies can be a life-long journey for some of us, so we remind ourselves and each other to bring buckets full of compassion, patience and gentleness as we tend to our own hearts. Our human minds have the capacity to attack, blame and diminish ourselves through self-judgement. When we judge ourselves we stop learning and growing, and we usually isolate ourselves from others in the belief that we are not worthy. You are worthy. You deserve to love and be loved. You deserve to be free and experience joy and peace.
3. Improvisation - We are learning all the time. We don't usually know how things are going to work out. We create our programmes with the blessings of creative flow. We follow our inspiration and sense of play. In other words, we make it up as we go along! This means that we are always changing, shifting, adapting and responding. We listen deeply to our own guidance and each other's ideas on what comes next and we listen to you for your feedback. It brings us great joy to welcome spontaneity in our work - it means we don't get bored or complacent in what we offer you. We want to enjoy what we do and we want you to enjoy it too!
We are a team of highly trained and experienced professionals.
Tracy Breathnach PhD, Director
Tracy is a performance artist, researcher and writer based in south Wales, UK. Originally from Ireland, she has worked extensively in communities in the UK and abroad across arts, wellbeing, health and education fields for 20 years and is passionate about inclusive cultural provision.
Tracy is a qualified teacher and holds a PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University. She has developed her own approach to embodied performance and living, which she shares through her teaching courses and creative projects. This is inspired by integral philosophy, which includes all aspects of our human Being-ness: physical, emotional. mental, psychic (soul) and spiritual, and informed by a range of trauma-informed healing practices. Tracy visits and delivers teacher training in Auroville, India.
Tracy holds a PhD and a MA with distinction from Aberystwyth University, both in Performance Studies. Tracy’s research is practice-based and explores embodied storytelling. Her PhD focused on autobiographical birth story-telling. From this she has developed a trauma-informed programme called Birth Cafe for women in the community to find new ways of telling their experiences in partnership with People Speak Up. In 2020, Tracy gave a Tedx talk on her approach to embodied birth-storytelling.
Tracy has undertaken a 3 year post-graduate somatic training course with Joan Davis and Julia Gombos in Gorsehill, Ireland 'Original Nature – A Practice in Presence' (2018-21). This included the foundations of the ground form of Authentic Movement, moving it into Embodied Spiritual Practice and further deeply cultivating the practice of entering into Direct Embodied Experience of the here and now with oneself and others. This is practiced both indoors and out in nature.
There are a number of ways you can learn with us.