Day of Listening

Nov 25th, 2008

By Louise Smith, Crossroads — read the original blog posting here.

This Friday is a National Day of Listening. It is sponsored by StoryCorps and is intended to be a day when we gather stories from family members and friends. I like this idea. For two years, I had a subtext at the theater in all of my classes. It was called The Listening Project and was designed to foster listening skills in students, in the culture of the campus and in myself. The first year, students set up booths all over campus and collected stories from community members. We used them as our script in a performance that I hoped would be seen by President Steve Lawry, among others. He did not show up, but the shows were well-attended and well received. The next year, Migiwa Orimo worked with the Collaboration, Creation and Performance class. We did installations and events all term, including a cabaret, a real time interactive performance in town and installations throughout campus at homecoming. I loved these projects and am very proud of them, not just because I felt the art was good but because I felt the subject was so important and close to my heart.

I am a New Yorker by birth and in my family and social context back home, the idea of waiting until someone finished a sentence was anathema. We always interrupted each other. I saw it as a sign of enthusiasm and connection to what the other person was saying. We built on each others’ ideas rapidly and fluidly. That was on a good day. When I came to Antioch, I encountered another attitude about the art of interruption: that it was oppressive to the speaker, that it indicated an attitude of superiority. I was often shamed by the words :”Can you let me finish please?” in meetings and by students. I had not heard these words growing up. It was assumed you spoke when you felt the impulse. I began to recognize that listening is a learned skill and that our family experiences and regional backgrounds may not have fostered the best methods.
My assumption about the National Day of Listening is that it is intended to be a reminder to us to listen well to each other, to take the time to really hear the story of our lives as it speaks itself in others and to practice the art of listening with full intention so that we might get better at it. In the spirit of National Day of Listening, I have some ideas that help me stay on track that I would like to pass on. These are useful particularly in meetings, where we can tend to have a “my turn” mentality and get somewhat redundant, defensive, riled up etc.. They come from a variety of sources, most recently Urban Bushwomen in NYC.

1. WAIT: Why Am I Talking? This is a good question to ask yourself if you find you are taking up a lot of the airwaves in a group of people. Is it to impress, to think things through, to assert your authority? Take time to jot down what you want to say in as brief and direct way you can, then raise your hand.
2. WAINT: Why Am I Not Talking? Another question if it is just the opposite in a meeting. If everybody else is doing the heavy lifting problem solving are you not talking because you are alienated, clueless, or trying to work on really hearing what is being said.
3. AIR: Affirm, Inquire, Reflect: These are some words that help when you are having a difficult conversation. Affirming where the person is coming from helps to diffuse tension. Inquiring exactly what this person is trying to get across helps to get some clarity before you jump to conclusions. Reflecting helps after you have listened. You check out if you have heard it right.
4. Listen to My Body Talk: Body language is a huge part of communication. If we say we are listening but our focus is elsewhere, or we are physically closed off or commenting silently with gestures or facial expressions we send a mixed signal.
5. Listen with the Heart: Recognizing that every time someone speaks it is a risk that they are taking and having compassion for that individual can take you far in this practice. Being aware of your breath and really looking at the person is a gift you can give them.

Listening looks easy, but it’s not simple. Every head is a world.
-Cuban Proverb

Happy Colonial Holiday to all and thanks for listening!

Post-election Permaculture, Process, Peaches, and P(h)otography with Dennie Eagleson

Nov 17th, 2008

By Louise Smith, Crossroads — read the original blog posting here.

 
Dennie Eagleson has been around Antioch College for a long time.

DE: I graduated from Antioch and then started teaching as an adjunct in 1987. I also started making photographs for the college. I taught as an adjunct for about four years, then became half time faculty. Eventually became I full time and then tenured faculty over a really long time. So I would say that I worked at Antioch for almost twenty years, in one fashion or another and the time that I was not teaching I was doing freelance photography and making pictures.

I am talking to Dennie in her home out in the country where she has lived since moving out of town (across the street from my house) several years ago. I marvel at the work that has been done on the old farmhouse she bought with her partner Alan.

LS: How did your teaching and your art practice intersect?

DE: Probably the time that was the most powerful for me was when I was getting my MFA and teaching, between 1990 and 1994. I was going to University of Cincinnati and I had to produce work for assignments. I also had to write papers, teaching half time teaching and doing freelance. So I was stretched in ways I never had been before. I had a new appreciation for what students have to do to keep that level of production, find sources of creativity. Simultaneous with that I was working with a group of student, a lot of them from the theater who were willing to make big emotional investments in their work. I was at this point of really leaping off a cliff in terms of trying to grow into some new work myself; trying o really get a sense of how I approach making images. So they inspired me. I was at this point of vulnerability and innovation in my own work so it was a very mutual time. We also went through a lot together at that point because that was when we lost Belinda McGuire and there was a van crash in which a student died. It was a very close time, a heartbreaking time. It was also the time of the SOPP. I felt like I made deep connections with people and they helped me grow into my work. I became much more comfortable in terms of my own teaching.

LS: That is something that has always struck me when I have gone to see the photo shows or looked at the work that students have made and looked at your own work, is what an incredible dialogue you have with the students. There seems to be a real conversation going on artistically

DE: Thanks.

LS: So how does it feel now at Nonstop? Are there any echoes back to that time?

DE: I feel very excited to be working at Nonstop. It is a different kind of teaching It is not as deep as I was able to go with classes at Antioch because we do not have resources. I do not have my photo lab. I don’t have the computer lab. So people are not making work to the level of intensity that I am used to making work. I enjoy it a lot but I have had to limit the possibilities. I am working with a group of villagers and Nonstop students in a photo class where they have to own their own digital cameras and everybody has been very eager participants. People have been very sweet about sharing work and sharing feedback and really being inspired by each other’s work. Every week is a surprise. That part feels wonderful. I am always trying to problem solve about how to take people to a higher level if we don’t have those kinds of resources that we are used to having. I had to walk away from six digital XLR cameras. Now people are working in different platforms with different software. It’s hard.

LS: It’s a lot to manage.

DE: But I love the enterprise. I love what we are trying to do and trying to accomplish. It’s been really interesting over the summer—having so many different hats and working so hard–working with the Curriculum Committee to create that statement of who we are and translating that into brochures and powerpoints. Trying to get all that information out to alumni and to other institutions, I have been able to develop other kinds of skills. And the fact that we have this shared enterprise feels really good. That students trusted us to come back was amazing. That alumni see the power of this. It feels good to be working with something that we all believe in.

LS: So when you had to make that decision last summer to sign up for Nonstop or move on, how did you come to that decision?

DE: It was really no question. I had no ambivalence about it. I knew that I had energy. I mean it was hard, at the end of the spring it was like—how do we dive in and find the resilience to invent a college after trying to save it. I took May off and I planted my gardens and I got some of my spiritual rest—recharge– and then it was fine to get back. One of the other things that this has done for me is that—you know, I have lived in this town for thirty years so I am really connected with it but I was not involved—Antioch took a big toll.

LS: Antioch was pretty consuming.

DE: Wagons were kind of encircled. We were always trying to survive.Now we are able to develop courses and projects with people in the town. It feels like the best thing.

LS: You have done a lot of that. You ‘ve done those sustainable agriculture workshops with Andrew–

DE: Andrew Menari. Doug Christian, Kat Christian. Rob Content and Jenny Hack from Community Solutions. That has been amazing and part of this has been because I have had this passionate desire to know how to do this. How to do permaculture, how to do sustainable agriculture. I’m doing it out here and I have this opportunity to learn from people who have been doing this awhile and they are doing it on a very serious level. They also are really lovely about sharing information. We have a consistent group of about eight people who attend, mostly younger nonstop students, and a couple of recent grads who are going to be using this information no matter where they go. It’s really been fun.

LS: So you are blending how you are living with how you are teaching and working, with the edge of your own learning because this is a whole new field you are going into.

DE: I find myself– like yesterday I had a zillion questions and I was trying to hold back and other people did not know what kind of questions they wanted to ask so I took the opportunity.
The other half of what I do is the antidote to how hard Nonstop is. I am just working here planting and growing things and preparing a lot of new areas for planting. Planting fruit trees and blueberries and raspberries. I did a lot of drying this fall so I have this really sweet stash of—there was this peach tree that we discovered when we cleared out behind the barn—this ancient old peach tree that was so delicious. Putting peaches away and apples.

LS: I have a peach tree that never ripens. This actually ripened. Huh?

DE: You are supposed to pull off some of the flowers and the buds so that they get bigger so the peaches were small but it was such a reward for clearing out the honeysuckle. I can imagine in five years that I am going to be really busy putting food by and drying blueberries. Continuing to learn. Thinking about whether we want to add animals to this mix. Alan and I both work so much but it doesn’t feel like work. It is our pleasure and our joy.

LS: It’s your life in terms of how you are living out in this place which is really different than living in town. Nonstop kind of provided and opportunity that would not have happened in quote the same way.

DE: I would not have had to reach out to those resources. I have been involved in sitting on Ecology and Sustainability classes and we have amazing local resources in this area . Community Solutions and people doing serious work. In terms of crossroads, with this election, the energy crisis, the economic crisis—There is still so much reckoning, so much transformation that we have to make in our lives every day because we are such denialists. It will be really hard for people to think about giving up their instant car addictions and energy addictions, consumerism. There is a kind of education that can happen because people are in such tough straights. The country as a whole has—nobody has been strong enough or brave enough to name it all. I feel that Barack has been trying to name it. It’s been kind of gentle but there is an acknowledgment of where we are and how critical a time it is.

LS: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.

DE: Yes, and the Community Solutions folks—they are talking about a very, very dramatic shift, asking us to really be responsible in our use. Everybody is going to have to start growing food . Eating locally, buying locally. How can we create support systems so that everybody can have their needs met?

LS: The need creates the motivation to really do the stuff we needed to do.

DE: And the other thing that seems pretty interesting is my experience in Cuba where people had nothing –their lives were so full and so rich because they had this tremendous spirit of possibility. They figured out how to weather a 70% drop in their economic support . Their solutions were incredibly innovative and organic. They could not buy fertilizer and pesticides so they figured out how they could create their own source of food and health. There is a resilience in people and an enthusiasm when people have nothing. The American people –we don’t like it rough. We like it easy. We have not had leadership that has asked anything of us as a people.

LS: Look at Bush after 911—“Go shopping”.

DE: I was just reading an article in the NY Times about a man who is from Levittown. He had gone at the primary to talk to people. Many people said: Race is a huge issue. The unfamiliarity that people had with Obama was enormous. Hilary had a very high percentage of support and when he went back for the voting in the fall, these very conservative, working class white people, who had admitted to being racist were voting for Obama. They accounted for five months of familiarity, a lot of ads, his presence and consistency of message which helped to win them over and how dysfunctional McCain and the whole campaign was.

LS: There was a certain integrity that the other guy could not muster.

DE: It makes me feel a higher sense of respect for the American people. They have stepped up and met the challenge in a way I had not expected. I had done polling in Greene County—Xenia, Enon, Beavercreek, and I just felt like there is no way that Barack is going to win Ohio. There were people that I encountered who were like—“Can’t do it”. The one time that felt good was downtown Xenia, very diverse neighborhood. There was so much overt support and fewer people who had not decided. And I’m like—what’s going to make you make up your mind? What else do you need.

LS: David Sedaris wrote this great thing in the New Yorker about the undecideds:
“It’s like when you are on the airplane and they ask you do you want the chicken or the pile of shit with glass in it. And you say—I want the chicken. What’s to decide?”

DE: Exactly.

LS: When you look ahead to after the election, what do you see on the landscape for Nonstop?

DE: I think that maybe grassroots efforts—here is this grassroots effort that has had tremendous success and we are a grassroots efforts that is having its own success in its own time. Whether or not there is the will to try and rebuild the college in this environment is a big question. We are enacting a story that I think will be very instructive and inspiring to other people. I think that is why the alumni jumped on board because I think they see us persevering against so many odds, obstacles and underminings of our value and our worth. There are enough voices acknowledging that we are doing something important. And people who have come back who are so talented. Tim Noble, Michael Casselli, Meg Fleck, Chelsea who is providing amazing leadership for all of us, and Corrie came back to give us four months of her time and generosity. The staff people who are really skilled and committed who find a home in this—as hard as it is.
How do we all survive and what are all of our needs? We are working out so many things. There are not that many of us but we all live in different locations on the comfort arc and our ability to deal with the unknown. Everything takes a lot of time.
I never sat on Comcil before. The CM/s are really committed in the processes. They also know that you need to make adjustments all the time because we are not what we were.

LS: You’re not chucking the whole enterprise from before but you can’t just translate everything directly from the previous institution. It’s evolutionary.

DE: We have this ledge code but it is not our ledge code because it belonged to the college. We use it as a guiding principle and we are constantly evaluating the choices we are making now relative to that other context. What are we going to invent? How do we build something new and exciting?

LS: It’s really interesting in light of the whole permaculture metaphor.

DE: What we are doing at Nonstop is an act of permaculture.

LS: Clearing away the honeysuckle but letting things have their own shape. Things grow and it may not look like it is cultivated but it is.

DE: I think it is remarkable thinking about the fact that everybody who is here to learn is here of their own free will. There is no pressure from their parents or the draft They are here for the pure experience of learning. We felt that at Antioch. I have always felt that about my teaching at Antioch. It feels that students are committed and invested and want to be inspired and it didn’t take much to do that inspiring. Give them some tools and a framework and you encourage them to find their own voice. What a pleasure.

Boston Chapter Fall Symposium – Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nov 17th, 2008

By the Nonstop Communications Team

If you visited this page on November 15th, you were able to listen to a live stream here starting at 1pm and participate in a live discussion chatroom below. An archived version of the afternoon session will be available on this page in the next couple of days.

The Boston Chapter of the Antioch College Alumni Association Invites you to a Fall Symposium…

Reinventing Liberal Arts Education for the 21st Century: Promising Directions for a New Antioch College
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dudley House, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
(near Harvard Square Red Line stop – Directions)


AGENDA OVERVIEW:

Morning Session: 9:00 – 11:30 am
From Past to Future: Lessons from Experience and Imagination: A Facilitated Roundtable Discussion
Lunch (on your own) : 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Afternoon Session: 1:00 – 5:30 pm
Updates:

  • Status – Negotiations to Re-Open Antioch College – Lee Morgan Antioch College Class of ‘66, College Trustee Pro Tem
  • The Nonstop Institute and Antioch College Revival Fund, Hassan Rahmanian, Executive Collective Member, Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute
  • Keynote Speaker: Trends in Higher Education: Peril and Promise – Cary Nelson, Antioch College Class of ‘67, President, American Association of University Professors

Panel Discussions:

  • Service Learning & Co-operative Work-Study Programs
  • Inquiry-based Studies in Science and Environmental Sustainability
  • Computer Technology, the Internet, & Innovative Classroom Learning
  • Education for Participation in Democracy

Social Hour and Dinner: 5:30 – 8:00 pm – $30.00 advance contribution to benefit the Nonstop Institute and the College Revival Fund


RSVP by November 2nd to: Barbara Wallraff
(617) 365-9068
Boston Chapter, Antioch College Alumni Association

Please indicate which sessions you plan to attend: morning session, afternoon session, and/or dinner.


THE FULL SCHEDULE:

Reinventing Liberal Arts Education for the 21st Century:
Promising Directions for a New Antioch College

Morning Session: 9:00 – 11:30 am (for Antioch College alumni, staff, faculty, and extended community)
Facilitators: Elissa Tonkin, J.D., Director, EPA New England Dispute Resolution Program, volunteer community mediator/facilitator; Douglas Thompson, M.S., Senior Associate, The Keystone Center; and Niela Miller, MS Ed., Director, People Systems Potential.

This will be a facilitated roundtable discussion among Antioch College alumni. The session will include an experiential exercise directed by Niela Miller. It will enable participants to probe the own views and exchange perspectives about:

  • what they most valued about their Antioch experience
  • what they believe must be preserved about the “old Antioch”
  • what tensions, if any, exist between their notions of the essence of Antioch and the future viability of Antioch
  • what a reconstituted Antioch – true to our ideals and positioned to thrive into the future – might look like

Lunch (on your own) : 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Afternoon Session: 1:00 – 5:30 pm (open to all interested)

Presentations – 1 to 2:15 pm: Updates by Lee Morgan, Hassan Rahmanian and Cary Nelson.
Moderator: Everett Mendelsohn, Ph.D, Antioch College class of 1953, Harvard University Professor of History of Science

  • 1-1:05 pm – Introduction and ground rules
  • 1:05-1:20 pm – Update on Status of Negotiations to Re-Open Antioch College by Lee Morgan, Antioch College class of 1966, Antioch College Board of Trustees Pro Tem
  • The Work of the Non-Stop Liberal Arts Institute by Hassan Rahmanian, Executive Collective Member, Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute
  • 1:20 – 2:15 pm – Keynote Speaker – Cary Nelson, PhD, University of Rochester, 1970, B.A. Antioch College 1967, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; current President, American Association of University Professors — Trends in Higher Education: Peril and Promise

Panels – 2:15 to 3:15 pm: Promising innovations in higher education and previous experience with each approach at Antioch College (panels run concurrently)

  1. Service Learning and Co-operative Work-Study Programs
  2. Moderator: Janet Chumley, Instructor and Director of Student Teaching, Simmons College.
    Panelists: Stephen London, Simmons College, director of faculty Oversight for service learning; Patricia Linn, Antioch Seattle (videotape statement); Lee Morgan, Antioch College class of 1966, Antioch College Board of Trustees Pro Tem

  3. Inquiry-based learning for Teaching Science and Environmental Sustainability
  4. Co-moderators: Masha Jannine Etkin, M.D., Antioch College Alumna and Roy Crystal, Antioch College 1971, Environmentalist and photographer. Panelists: Stanley Bernstein, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Antioch College; Judith Greenwald Voet, Ph.D., Antioch College class of 1963, Swarthmore College; Davis Taylor, Economist and Professor, College of the Atlantic

Break – 3:15 – 3:30 pm

Panels – 3:30 – 4:30: Promising innovations in higher education and previous experience with each approach at Antioch College (panels run concurrently)

  1. Using Computer Technology and the Internet to Improve Residential Learning and Co-operative Work-Study Programs
  2. Moderator: Stanley Morse, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Antioch College Alumnus. Panelist: Katharine Galaitsis, Director of Distance Learning Programs, University of Massachusetts Boston

  3. Peace Studies and Education for Democracy
  4. Moderator: Zelda Gamson, Antioch College class of 1959, New England Resource Center for Higher Education, University of Massachusetts-Boston. Panelists: Dale Bryan, Assistant Director of Peace Studies, Tufts University; Jean Gregorek, Associate Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies, The Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute

Group Discussion – 4:30 – 5:15 pm: Full group discussion of promising innovations in higher education and report from the morning session on alumni discussions on elements that are most valued to keep in a new Antioch College. Moderated by Everett Mendelsohn.

Wrap-up and Next Steps – 5:15 – 5:30 pm

Networking and Social Time – 5:30 – 6:45 pm

Catered Dinner – 6:45 pm

Antioch’s Moses

Nov 13th, 2008

Letter to the Editor, Yellow Springs News

Some of us have been looking for a Moses to lead us into the promised land of a freestanding, prospering, undergraduate liberal arts college. We think of an inspired reformer like Horace Mann, or a creative genius like Arthur Morgan.

Look no further, friends. Moses is here. But Moses is not a single individual. Moses is a collective of faculty, students, staff and supportive alumni. We call it “Non-stop” because we are not supposed to call it Antioch. But it is the soul of Antioch College. These are talented, dedicated educators and students. They have created a college with very limited resources. They are teaching and learning.

This is the Moses that will lead us to a fully functioning Antioch that we can call by name.

As in the 1850s and the 1920s, they need money. A lot of money. You can help. Send what you can to College Revival Fund, P.O. Box 444, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.

You can earmark it for Nonstop.

by Carl Hyde

Community Forum, Yellow Springs News

NS Dispatch 4

Nov 5th, 2008

Globalization and the Future of the Liberal Arts

Prominent scholar and activist Cary Nelson examines the struggle between corporate investment, labor rights, and academic freedom in higher education. As part of his analysis Nelson discusses the effort to reclaim Antioch College from Antioch University and the subsequent birth of the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute.

Nelson, Antioch College alum ’67, is Professor of English and Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, He is also president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

This 4 minute Dispatch was excerpted from Nelson’s lecture “Globalization and the Future of the Liberal Arts,” presented in Yellow Springs, Ohio on October 24, 2008. To see the long version of Nelson’s presentation visit N-SPAN.

Jill Becker and Thicsotropy

Nov 1st, 2008

By Louise Smith, Crossroads — read the original blog posting here.

 
It’s Saturday morning on alumni weekend. This marks the end of festival week. There have been numerous events hosted by Nonstop here in the village. The Alumni Board is here meeting to make the decision about whether to fund Nonstop or not. I find it ironic that it is after the college closes, after all of the dreadful drawing out of the oppressive relationship with the university; the disappointing and vindictive behaviors of our captors, we are finally free in our spirit to teach and learn as we envision we could.

Later this day, the alumni board would agree to fundraise for the Nonstop effort for an additional term.

Before we knew this, I talked with Jill Becker. Jill has been the head of the Dance Department at the college for seven years. She is teaching at Nonstop and working two days a week at Ohio Wesleyan. She agrees to talk with me at the Emporium after her dance class in the morning. I attend the dance class and remember how wonderful it is to move in the ways that Jill’s classes ask of you. Her work is gentle and informed, playful and accessible, with its own kind of rigor.

LS: One of the things I was interested to talk with you about was the summer the college closed– when you made the decision to take a big leadership role in the faculty. I wanted to know a bit about what was going through your mind at that time.

JB: Well the funny thing is that I was there but I didn’t think I was very good at because I was convening meetings and not having a real agenda. Everybody just needed to vent.

LS: So you realized that everybody just needed to talk and you provided the opportunity to do that.

JB: Some people who are no longer with us in fact said: “Where’s the agenda? I am not coming to a meeting where I don’t know the agenda.” And it was pretty chaotic. But it was almost like stages of grief and anger. I felt like people were just saying what they needed to say, in the wake of being kind of traumatized because the decision was such a shock. I have such a clear memory of going into that meeting where Steve told us that we were not going to be happening anymore and nobody accepted that. You were there. It was like the whole world just sank. Sort of like when you hear a record winding itself out. And I think in the wake of that, before we got organized, people just needed to talk.

LS: So those meetings, I remember you were getting everybody together because you were on the Faculty Steering Committee. And that was, I think, the beginning of this movement in the faculty to try and impact the situation however we could. Out of those meetings what evolved was the lawsuit and the seeds of Nonstop in terms of: What is our response to this event as a faculty. You provided a forum for us to engage ourselves that was not being given to us by our administration or our administrators. Noone was advocating for us at that point.
How has your role evolved in this effort?

JB: Well, part of my job for Nonstop has been finding space for classes and that has actually turned out to be a very large undertaking. It is based on a lot of rapport. I have been, in a way, a little possessive about the spaces, some more than others. It took me all of this past summer to build relationships with everyone with the spaces. I want to make sure it is a well-lubricated relationship. I have put a lot of energy into having those relationships being clear and open and having a clear channel of communication and keep checking in. “ How is it going to have us here?” I think it has been important in giving people the feeling that they like hosting us. Someone said, one of our host places said “They are so professional.” That’s part of the rapport. You want them to feel that they are offering you something even if you are paying (where we do pay it is pretty minimal). You want people not to feel imposed upon or resentful. They need to feel that they are contributing and they are appreciated. I have found that I have really enjoyed that.

LS: Does it make you see town differently than when you were working on campus?

JB: Probably not. I have always had a fond appreciation for the culture of the town and I live right here. It’s not that I appreciate the town better but I think I have been interested to have these new relationships. It has been a breath of fresh air. I certainly appreciate the generosity of the town I also appreciate the fact that this town has needed money and we needed space. I think Nonstop has really contributed to the economy. We have spent a lot more money on coffee, for example. There is a lot of synergy. I feel it has been very symbiotic.

LS: So in terms of this past year, when the college closed, what crossroads did you find yourself at? What kinds of decisions did you have to make?

JB: The biggest thing for me was as you know was trying to open my possibilities in case, really , the end of the year was nothing. I felt a great loyalty to the college and appreciation for it and at the same time worrying about my survival. So I applied for many, many jobs. Trying to do two things at once full speed ahead plus still teaching. I think the crossroads was being in the present, being in the potential future and then trying to take care of my own survival.

LS: How has Nonstop been this semester for you?

JB: It’s been great. Even though the facilities are worse in terms of some things, the fact that the light is so much better.

LS: So you’ve been teaching in the Presbyterian Church great room where there is natural daylight and in the South Gym there was no natural daylight.

JB: And they both have bad floors! I love color and light and I feel like I get so much energy from light. Even though we did a lot of great things in the South Gym I’m not putting that down at all-but for me personally, I feel much more energetic. I also have really appreciated the multi-generational-ness of my Saturday class. There are 11-13 people in the class, depending on the day and five of them are over 70. And so it’s been interesting to see the mix and also challenging for me to teach people who are 20 and then almost 80 years old. They have the common ground of having bodies that could feel better. My class is all about feeling good in your body, and finding ways to help people you love feel good in their bodies. We do a lot of partner stuff. I have felt that the young people and the older people have really appreciated each other. There is a lot of synergy there. I have loved that. It was more challenging than I expected.

LS: So you have had to adapt some of your exercises so that people who are over 70 can feel that they can participate and find their edge without going overboard.

JB: Right. And it’s been an eye opener because all that body work I do I feel like anyone can do this at any age but there are some limitations. Like someone who is 75 does not go down on the floor and back up so in that class I try to go down once. We do an hour on the floor.

LS: That changes the structure whereas in a another class you might go up and down several times.

JB: And that is actually huge because I go up and down a lot. And it never occurred to me. At the same time I think the people of all ages are very appreciative of how they feel after they do an exercise. More and more—and this is from Feldenkrais- I have people take a walk and notice.

LS: You are building awareness that people have of their bodies.

JB: My theme over the years is about the liquidity of our bodies. I think part of the aging process is drying out. So when people move their thicsotrophy changes.

LS: Can you spell that?

JB: THICSOTROPY. When you take a piece of cold clay, it’s hard and as you work it with your hands it gets mushier. That is what we do when we move. That is what a body worker does when they give somebody a massage. They actually change the thickness of the tissue. And a lot of body work, and I know it happens in movement because you can literally feel things start to warm-up. They start to move. Some simple advice I would give to someone if they have trouble moving is to move before you get up, in bed. Jiggle and move and you can get rid of that stiffness that comes from all of your liquids pooling during the night. It is such a simple thing and it is really helpful.

LS: As you’re talking it strikes me as you are talking that what Nonstop is doing is a thicsotropic effort also. Keeping college lubricated and moving. It’s a stretch as a metaphor but it kind of works.

JB: No, no. It is actually the alternative between being dead and being alive. If you’re dead you get really stiff. And even bones. When you think of bones you think of dead bones but living bones have a lot of tensive strength and move-ability. We always think of bones as very brittle but that is because we never look at living bone and we don’t see what is going on. So I would say that this is very much the case. If we have to raise Antioch from the dead. It is going to be immovable. It is going to take so much. I think thicsotropia is part of it…keeping it alive and moving.