Profile

Shannon Smith

Shannon M.D. Smith

Communications Manager

Shannon is a ritualist, dancer, facilitator, traveler, administrator and life long student. She holds a BFA from SUNY Purchase and has taught contemporary dance technique, authentic movement, and contact improvisation. Her passions have evolved to include consciousness studies from around the world including Chinese Medicine, Polarity Therapy, Afro-Brazilian spirituality and Goddess studies. These many energetic and archetypal maps have informed her perspective on dance, consciousness, and the body as a whole. As an activist, Shannon has found a calling working for the water, and finds the place of art, spirituality and ecology to be one of the most fulfilling marriages in her life. She has variously taught, performed and presented work across the country in Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, North Carolina and Connecticut. Shannon has been the Facilitator at the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary since September of 2016.

Q&A with Shannon

You do a lot of work surrounding water. What draws you to water and why is it so important?

As my Hopi Auntie reminds me again and again, ‘We come into this world behind the water. It’s good to stay that way’. Nature is an incredible teacher if we only take the time to stop and observer her. Water gives us an example of selfless service, ever fluid, purifying, persistent, persevering. She is beautiful whether she is calm or fierce. We accept her in all her forms. She shows us a reflection of who we are. And most fundamentally, nothing on this great Earth would be alive without her. As a dancer, the qualities of momentum, tidal flow and the concentric circles in air and water deeply influence the way that I move, as well as, the way I perceive life and how to engage dynamic energy within it. As we sing when we gather to honor her: “Born of water, cleansing, powerful, healing, changing – I am.”

Why is spirituality so important the work of ecology? How do they inform one another?

I think that it’s one thing to ‘think’ something is true. It’s quite another to know it in your bones. When an active spirituality is present in the work of ecology, you have a vibrant inter-active experience of creation. Your moral compass intuitively and definitively adjusts to include the now obvious reality of all LIFE. Your love of creation, love of the intelligent divinity in the universe that made this great big beautiful mess – that love mandates you must protect all life. That is where humans often get stuck. They want to pick and choose which life to protect. But that mandate really means protecting all of humanity, animals and plant life. It means protecting the trees which are the lungs of the Earth and the soil that nourishes our food. It means protecting the water – the source of all Life.

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