Through an innovative, embodied teaching style that is deeply roots in wisdom teachings, Emily Jarrett Hughes offers a variety of workshops to support the process of coming into right relationship, relearning a profound sense of belonging and awakening to a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. Each of these workshops address an aspect of cultivating the inner resilience and spiritual bearings needed to guide us through transformation. Depending on the workshop and needs of the group, participants may be moving their bodies anywhere from 20% to 80% of the time.

Emily also assists organizations in incorporating embodied learning into workshops and events. Through a deeply collaborative process she helps design experiences that build community and anchor big ideas in felt experience.

The Wisdom Dancers, directed by Emily Jarrett Hughes, are also available to bring their life energy and community spirit to your event.

Workshop Descriptions

Faith Hope and Love: A Collective Movement Meditation

Circle of dancers

Faith, Hope, and Love are the intangible qualities that guide us through uncertainty and loss. They are woven into our disposition and how we interpret the world. Rational routes to faith and hope rarely satisfy because these qualities, like trauma, reside within the automatic responses of our body-mind.

In this workshop we will cultivate our ability to feel faithful, hopeful, and loving by engaging our bodies in a collective movement experience. Faith, Hope and Love is the name of a dance created by Armenian dancer Shakeh Tchilingirian. You will learn the slow, repeating symmetrical pattern of this dance and together we will explore its many healing properties. The circle form, the pulsing step, the way we join hands – all of these aspects of the dance awaken our hearts and connections to each other.

Based on traditional Armenian steps, this dance allows for continuity with those who can no longer be heard. While the dance specifically affirms the lives of those lost in the Armenian Genocide, dancing in this way honors the value of all lives lost to injustice and inhumane treatment. We will explore how significant the community of a dancing circle can be for expressing what cannot be spoken in words and healing collective trauma. For example, current techniques in somatic trauma therapy are already contained within the dance pattern.

Come and experience a new way to nourish your ability to encounter the world with the spirit of faith hope and love. All movement abilites welcome, this dance can be experienced seated as well as standing.

Workshop length: 90 minutes

Introduction to Traditional Circle Dances: a Living Connection to Ancient European Roots

Dancing is one of the most profound expressions of harmony with earth and community. Most of us have lost a connection to dancing, place, community, and culture, a loss equivalent to spiritual exile. Earth-based European dancing traditions are tools for rediscovering our joyful interconnectedness and creative power. Dancing with embodied roots is a homecoming that supports personal and collective healing.

The Wisdom Dances dance practice is based in Laura Shannon’s pioneering approach to women’s ritual dances from the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor and how these dances can be tools for healing and transformation. Her research helps us unlock the wisdom about sustainability, community, and reverence for the earth encoded in the dances. Dancing with awareness helps awaken these qualities in our lives.

In this workshop you will learn some fundamental traditional women’s dances from the Balkans, Greece, and Asia Minor. We will also explore:

• How present day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey overlaps geographically with ancient egalitarian civilizations known as “Old Europe.” We will consider how folk dance has been repressed throughout history and why traditional circle dances survived in this region when it was destroyed throughout much of the rest of Europe.

• How ancient signs and symbols, what archaeologist Marija Gimutas named the ‘language of the Goddess,’ appear in traditional dances.

• What patterns we notice and meaning we discover by reading the intersections between dance steps, song texts, embroidered costumes, and myths, an approach pioneered by Laura Shannon.

• How traditional circle dances bring people together and affirm our relationship with the earth.

• How connecting with European roots through dance might not only support our own healing but also serve as a tool for healing historical trauma and responding to the ecological crisis.

No experience needed. All movements are very gentle on the body – if you can walk you can do these dances. Open to all genders.

Workshop length: 90 minutes

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

In his book The Divine Dance, Fr. Richard Rohr (with Mike Morrell) writes, “Let the circle dance rearrange your Christian imagination.” The circle dance metaphor refers to the dynamic relationship and flow found in the Trinity. He is inviting us to understand and experience a God of love and renewal. No more God throwing thunderbolts from a throne. This is a Trinitarian God of transformation.

We can best understand the strong metaphor of the “Trinity as Round Dance” by dancing ourselves. Just as Rohr draws upon Eastern Orthodox mystics to help us understand the Trinity, so too can the ritual circle dances from Eastern Orthodox cultures help us embody the divine flow of love.

Workshop length: four hour workshop or three sessions

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

Workshop length: four hour workshop or three sessions

In his book The Divine Dance, Fr. Richard Rohr (with Mike Morrell) writes, “Let the circle dance rearrange your Christian imagination.” The circle dance metaphor refers to the dynamic relationship and flow found in the Trinity. He is inviting us to understand and experience a God of love and renewal. No more God throwing thunderbolts from a throne. This is a Trinitarian God of transformation.

We can best understand the strong metaphor of the “Trinity as Round Dance” by dancing ourselves. Just as Rohr draws upon Eastern Orthodox mystics to help us understand the Trinity, so too can the ritual circle dances from Eastern Orthodox cultures help us embody the divine flow of love.

Changing our understanding of God changes everything else: The Trinity and a Just Transition to regenerative culture

Workshop length: 60 – 120 minutes

Moving our community towards a regenerative culture requires not just changing how we work, our sense of purpose, our use of resources and system of governance. The transformation we seek is also completely entwined with changing our understanding of God. Starting with ideas from the Just Transition movement, we will explore the theological underpinnings of our culture of extraction and violence. How much have we been unconsciously driven by a God in the sky wielding thunderbolts? In contrast the Trinitarian God of relationship invites us into community, cooperation, and sustainability. When we change our theological foundations everything about how we live our lives together also shifts. We will use a movement meditation to explore entering into the flow of this God of transformation.

WW workshop photo

Connecting with the Story of the Cosmos: Profound belonging and evolutionary purpose

Workshop length: two hours or a two day retreat

How do we move towards more life in our careening world? It helps to understand how the universe has been moving towards more love and more consciousness since the big bang. Building our embodied confidence that life is evolving into something wonderful unlocks our creativity and ability to meaningfully engage with our world.

Science and theology are both offering exciting new insights into our interconnectedness and the cosmic story. We are quantumly entangled; God is an all-giving, relational fountain of fullness. These concepts are awesome and mind-blowing and too often don’t stick as in-the-bones knowing. Our capacity to connect to the whole is nourished by contemplative practice, the senses, the breath, rhythmic movement, and voice.

In this retreat we will immerse ourselves in the woods, the four elements, and the evolutionary story of the universe to revitalize our lives with creativity. Our days will be a combination of meditation, time outdoors, qigong movements, group sharing, and rest. We will also draw upon the repeated meditative step patterns of ritual dance from the Balkans and Asia Minor – an ancient practice for reflecting and enhancing the beauty and order of the cosmos.

Come fall more in love with the earth through embodied spiritual practice. Attune to the universe’s movement towards more love and more consciousness. Discover a sense of profound belonging that unlocks your creative power and offers profound hope.

UTS tree picture

Earth Meditations: Connecting with the Four Elements

“The Christian is one who is connected through the heart to the whole of life, attuned to the deeper intelligence of nature, and called forth irresistibly by the Spirit to express creatively his or her gifts in the evolution of self and the world.”

Ilia Delio, from the Unbearbale Wholeness of Being

Being outside somewhere beautiful fills the soul. It can be difficult to carry that sustainence through our daily, mostly indoors lives. These earth meditations will facilitate ways to deepen our communion with the natural world, so you can more readily fill up on nature even with you are inside.

Attuning to the deep time within nature can open our hearts to connection with the whole of life. Our profound connection with the earth and our bodies, and through them the Divine, is the essential wellspring of love and energy for creating healing and justice.

Each month we will use our bodies and the simple acts of breath, drinking, eating, and lighting a candle as gateways to connecting with and praying through air, water, earth and fire.

Fire centerpiee

Living Water

Workshop length: 60 minutes to a two day retreat

Cultivate a connection to an inner wellspring of life by exploring the many dimensions of living waters. Re-encounter water, story, and sacrament in a way that celebrates the aliveness of water and grounds us in the watershed as locus for a life of faith. This workshop will enliven all of the senses through contemplation, experiential learning, getting wet, movement, liturgical ritual, and live music. Come encounter water as the source of new life.

Let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as gift. – Revelation 22:17

Water centerpiece

Pilgrimage to the water

Workshop length: Preferred design includes a introductory 2 hour workshop preceding the pilgrimage

Deepen your connection to water and to source through the ancient practice of pilgrimage. In the introductory workshop learn more about the Christian tradition of pilgrimage and the geological and cultural history of the water. The pilgrimage is for all ages, beginning with a sending, and welcoming people back from their journey. People may choose to visit the shore or walk around the lake, to connect with the water playfully or quietly.

Listening to the river jpg

Putting Your Love in Action Through the Water

Workshop length: 60 minutes to two day retreat

Get inspired about ways you can deepen your healing relationship with the water. We will expand on Spring Forest Qigong healing techniques with the water to explore ways we can heal the water and through the water heal all of life.

Putting water in lake

Special Event Leadership

Custom event design

I work with groups that are diving deep in exploring how we can be with each other in new ways. As we dig into the spiritual framework that we need to guide us, often things start to feel very abstract. We might talk about envisioning a new, reciprocal and sustainable way of being together yet the format of the conversation may still be very much in the old way. How are we to move from big ideas to embodied reality?

I work with groups to bring embodiment to the conversation. I work closely with the people planning an event, usually focused around a guest speaker, and design ways to wrap the day in felt experience. My work is integral to event planning and during the event itself I lead activities that embody what is being learned: a guided movement meditation for the entire group or perhaps a short dance performance to summarize the ideas presented.

Past collaborations include a day-long workshops at Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality with theologian Ilia Delio and at Hamline University with theologians Carol Christ and Judith Plaskow.

I would love to talk with you about what events you are planning and if I can help you make them an experiential and transformative experience.

Women’s Congress photo

Performance

The Wisdom Dancers awaken the village energy . Use old traditions to talk about how we are here.

Picture from Hamline event