Shannon Gray

Jul 25, 2022


Psycho-Somatic Soul Work as Movement, Expression, and Improvisation through Connection with the Small

New Books Network 2022

In this episode we meet East-West Psychology MA Graduate, Shannon Gray, a trapeze artist and circus performer who after a devastating fall, came to EWP to process and explore this physical and psychological rupture in her life through studying the nature of injury and somatic psycho-spirituality. Shannon speaks about how one can fall back into their senses rooted in our bodies as a way to connect us to the natural world, as well as the body’s capacity and potential to connect with soul. She shares her approaches to overcoming problems of disembodiment through confronting death and doing grief-work, as well as inner healing through deep relationality with animals. The conversation turns to the potential of artistic creativity to transcend the limitations of human conditioning by opening to cosmic forces beyond forms of traditional representation, and we discuss the contemplative practice of deep awareness of the small, or micro, which can lead to moments of radical presence, embodiment, and authentic creative expression.

From the time she could remember, Shannon Gray’s relationship with dreams and the unseen world was profound; as was her relationship with movement, creativity, and animals. The merging of these passions led her to discover circus arts at the age of 22. Over the years, Shannon has cultivated her unique and emotionally poignant approach to dance trapeze and has performed and taught internationally through circus festivals, aerial dance companies, and social circus organizations.

In 2014, Shannon suffered a life-altering injury. This rupture of both body and spirit led her to seek out a masters in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. The result of her studies became The Sentience Project: an embodied inquiry into injury, healing, and our connection to non-human animals. Shannon currently lives in Bolinas, California where she is completing her short film, The Sentience Project. Her performance life is deeply inspired by collaborations with other artists such as videographer, Lawrence Martinez, and musician, Mia Pixley. Shannon is a youth mentor, a surfer, and an animal rights activist.

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Music at the end of the episode titled Braided Fate, by Jonathan Kay and Andrew Kay, from Temple Meditations released on Monsoon-Music Record Label

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Stephen Julich and Jonathan Kay

Stephen Julich has worked as an adjunct instructor in History and Anthropology at the City College of New York, as a lecturer in Jungian Studies at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles, and as an adjunct instructor at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he has taught classes on ensouled writing and Western Esotericism.

Jonathan Kay is a professional musician, and is currently a PhD student in the department of East-West Psychology at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco under the mentorship of Dr. Debashish Banerji.

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