My name is Jeanne Denney--I am a body-centered (somatic) psychotherapist, a hospice worker
and a teacher.
After many years working in these life-affirming fields, I saw an profound need for professionals to have more understanding of vitality, human development, and the body's innate ways of knowing. I saw that most all people, but especially professionals working with people, need both training in Life (big L), and a space to claim their aliveness. I decided to start a unique school for adults. Students at this school learn about the vitality in nature, within their own mind and body, and within their relationships with each other. It is called “School of Unusual Life Learning (SoULL)”. It weaves together a lifetime of my own learning about birth, death, and all that lies between. It teaches about the body, energy, how we grow, change, connect, release, die and love. Yes, that much.
So far, the teachings of the 6 month program have had profound effects on the lives of many students (see testimonials below). Our first and second cohort of students included therapists, nurses, activists, artists, teachers, death doulas and other heart-centered professionals, many experiencing their own life transitions. Our third cohort will include an MD, a Chinese Medicine practitioner, a Nurse Practitioner, an OT, Massage therapists, social workers, end of life workers and just regular humans too. Students have affirmed that this material reaches far beyond personal growth and development. In addition to supporting professionals and culture-makers of our society, it has powerful implications for many aspects of personal health, the environment and the pressing crises of our times.
That's why I'm reaching out to you. With your support, we can continue to train students and teachers to offer this integrated scholarship to their communities and the world at large, and also develop practical applications to human problems.
Your donation will go directly toward:
-Scholarships for lower-income students--allowing us to be more fully inclusive across economic, racial, age and cultural barriers. -Seed money for our future programming. Please make a contribution if you can
(even small donations are very welcome). Or, if you are unable to donate, please consider sharing this page with friends, family and on your social media. Sharing this page goes a long way!
I will do my best below to further describe who these teachings are for, what we are learning and practicing and why I think it matters. You can also read more here
Who knows...maybe you will find yourself called to be a student one day! Our next program begins June 2019.What is it again?
SoULL is an edgy, wildly creative project about human development that teaches about aliveness. I like to say it is for “Holistic Practitioners, Healers, Wisdom-keepers and Creatives”, but actually it is for almost any adult with existential questions who has a yearning to think creatively about how energy and the body change together over time, how we die and how we love. People who know me often think that this school is about death and dying because I have a background in that work, but actually I believe it is really about right relationship between all beings and things and the nature of true abundance.
At SoULL we are learning a deep kinesthetic language. This language is necessary to understand our own lives, and work with all life processes. We might notice that we aren’t doing so well at that now as a species!. From health, hospice, psychology to climate work, understanding the deep rhythmic nature of life helps us walk fearlessly into change and even consider our own eventual death. This learning supports many surprising and creative solutions for life issues. Over time we will work to develop further applications of this work. Think of this as a laboratory for the vitality of our future.Where did this start and why am I doing this?
As noted above, the SoULL project has roots in my own work with as a body-centered therapist
and hospice worker. Working in both of these fields at once taught me how people’s bodies,
psyches and relationships change through aging and dying. I was also a mother at the time,
watching how my children grew and changed. I began to understand that these developmental
processes were related. In fact, life processes have amazing patterns that could be learned and
I have worked diligently to find a way to teach these basic principles. We start by looking at how nature moves: the principles of expansion/contraction, growth/decline, construction/deconstruction. We then look at how body and psyche change together through the life span in our own species, how relationships form and unform and much more.
The fact is, you don’t need a PhD in biochemistry or astrophysics to learn about life. All you really have to do is learn to recognize and engage it within yourself and the world around you. Doing so is a radical act.
Right now there is one, 5-month program called "Somatic SouLL. Several other projects are planned. Your support will help all of this grow.Who is this program for?
Could be anyone. But here are some people who especially benefit from this learning...
- Heart-centered health practitioners and teachers who enjoy thinking about the mind and body as one, are curious about mortality, energy, and are willing to touch into the unseen.
-Psychologists, social workers, healthcare workers, clergy, and end-of-life doulas who have a body-centered orientation or training.
-Professionals or students in helping, teaching or healing work: somatic therapists, healers, yoga teachers, or bodyworkers, for example.
-Anyone with curiosity about life, energy or relationships.
-Anyone with an inexplicable stirring within that says "I know I need to be there" is encouraged to apply.
“This teaching deeply touched my heart and opened it up to see my life’s purpose. It prepared me for the journey I had no idea I would take, when I was faced with my father’s passing. It gave me tools and language to explore my own body’s energy and to connect with nature and community around me.”
"As a woman in her mid-twenties, I have had my fair share of quarter life crises.... this program enabled me to discover and connect to the inherent wisdom within my body, and of life processes.... SouLL further strengthened my deeply rooted connection to nature.... I know that these teachings will be with me for the rest of my life and am in deep gratitude for them, for Jeanne, and having been able to bear witness to other students’ journeys as well. Their process deepened my process, and created a sense of community I know I have been missing."
"I am a sprightly active 68 woman who was freaking out about my aging. Taking the SOULL program last year re-callibrated my whole perspective on aging and dying and the pulsation of relationship and change. Jeanne Denney is on to something. This work certainly helped me figure out how to live the last quarter of my life. It has also helped me with clients in my psychotherapy practice and in my teaching....I recommend it to all ages but especially to the 60 somethings and on. Life vs Death is not the solution." -Liz Carl LCSW, CET, EMM, Co-Director of Core Polska
"Somatic SoULL has been a profound learning and life experience for me. It begins before the first gathering, and it continues far after the last. The course may span five months, but its teachings are like rich soil—the growth that emerges is quite endless.
As an embodied facilitator, cultural activist, artist, and plain old human, the program has had invaluable impact on all aspects of my life. It opens, it transforms, it challenges, it unveils. It strengthened my facilitation and expanded my internal and community resources.
I believe that Somatic SoULL speaks to the connective tissue our world desperately needs. Connecting question to question, life stage to life stage, individual body to group body, millenials to elders, end-of-life to beginning-of-life. Through this co-woven journey, I found more space to breathe, more space and courage to be fully alive."
"Doing this work with Jeanne Denney and the exploration of my own fear and beliefs is some of the most profound work I have ever encountered. In many ways just the path offers comfort and acceptance in a way I have never experienced before leaving me with more room for the full extent of my grief and my love. Please give yourself this amazing gift."
"I've spent years feeling like I was missing something about myself and life, as if there were pieces of a puzzle that needed to be found. Yet I didn't know what they were or how to find them. Meeting Jeanne and taking the Somatic SoULL program answered that call and placed me on a life path of deeper awareness and understanding. I still have much to discover on my journey, but my questions now come from a clearer worldview. It's as if I were fumbling around in a dark room and a candle was lit."