Somatic Practitioner Specializing in Ecological Grief and Climate Trauma
Janna is a somatic practitioner, intuitive healer, and cultural activist who works with individuals and groups around the globe to cultivate emotional and spiritual resiliency in times of uncertainty. Her therapeutic practice focuses on helping people process inner responses to the climate crisis.
How did you first become involved with the environmental movement?
It started with the anti-fracking movement and the Keystone XL pipeline fight around a decade ago. Reading about the devastation was one thing, but visiting Wyoming on a camping trip and seeing firsthand just how many drilling sites punctured the spectacular landscape left me completely undone. I became a witness to the earth stripped of her protective layers, and for the first time, connected this pain to my own.
I showed up to nearly every protest I could In those days. I raised my voice and helped to organize climate marches, channelling some of the stirring that was growing inside. I sensed that the gnawing inner ache couldn’t be satisfied by shouting in the streets, although it certainly helped. I longed for a fuller expression of what it meant to be alive in these times, and then went searching for it.
How has your work and relationship to the environmental movement developed since then?
My focus now is on supporting people as they awaken to the heartbreak of what’s happening to the global ecosystem. Those on the frontlines of the environmental and other social movements tend to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted. Growing our capacity to embody a world we long for requires paying attention to our inner life and restoring balance to the nervous system. Being in right relationship to our home---both body and earth---and to one another is an entirely different place to take action from.
So, the past decade has been about studying with teachers who have helped me loosen my grip on what I thought to be true. I learned to slow down, to tune into my body, and how to hear what was being asked of me. I committed to finding my authentic voice and speaking truth out loud and in community. In doing so, I’ve grasped the magnitude of what’s possible when humans come together to honor their emotions and feel what they need to feel. We just may find that underneath our fear and grief for the aching planet is a love so vast it can’t be contained.
Tell us more about the relationship between Climate and Migration.
Climate-driven human migration is well underway. The scale is massive---68.5 million displaced people around the globe, 25.4 million of whom are refugees fleeing persecution---that it’s increasingly difficult to determine who is fleeing home for what reason. So now you add climate change to the already tension-filled soup of other factors and we’ve got ourselves quite a dilemma.
Having worked in the refugee and immigration field, I’ve often imagined what mass movement patterns might look over the next 5-10 years. As sea-level rises, extreme temperatures become the norm, soil erodes, and water diminishes, heading towards more inhabitable land will be part of adaptation. All of us will be affected in some way. The question then becomes how we welcome each other upon arrival. We don’t need to wait for that day to come, we can start now.
What is climate therapy session like? Why and to who do you recommend it?
Every thought or emotion you have gets stored as stress and energy in the body. When you bring consciousness to these areas, another level of freedom is possible. And Core Energetics, the body-oriented psychotherapy modality I practice, is a powerful tool in the process of freeing up places that get stuck so that you can find the grounded strength to keep going.
This work is for anyone with the courage to see themselves as human. If you’re overwhelmed by the latest climate facts and figures, you’re not alone. If you’re exhausted from trying to hold it all together, it’s time to put some of that down.
Wisdom emerges when you lean into emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and grief. You gain insight into how your personal experiences and unresolved trauma have shaped you, which is all information about the way you meet what’s in front of you today.
In a session, you’ll get the support you need to unwind these responses so that space can open up for more presence and clarity in all areas of your life. It’s integral to our work for a livable future.
What are the most important lessons that you have learned from doing this work?
Take time to pause and integrate. Be gentle. Start exactly where you are. Lead from the heart. Build deep connections with others---alone is not the way.
We spend much of our lives chasing an idea of greatness, a hyper-productivity tied to the myth of endless growth. Giving yourself permission to rest in the ordinary can be most liberating of all.
What advice do you have for the youth?
It’s not your sole responsibility to save the world but you do have an obligation to seek the inner gifts and skills that are yours to bring. Then invite yourself to have the most fun sharing them.
Who, or what, inspires you to take action?
My ancestors whispering words of encouragement. And children playing. The fact that I’m alive now is motivation enough to wake up each day, say good morning to the mountains and the birds and trust that I’ll be carried where I’m needed most.
Why do you love the ocean?
The ocean can hold our tears and remind us that our nature is to flow. Stand before her and you will be humbled.
Favorite sea creature/spirit animal?
I do a little sea otter dance where I make two fists with my hands and ever so gently rub them on my cheeks with my eyebrows raised. Add a little groove through the hips like you’re working to stay afloat. See, now you can do it too.