2018 Laughing Body Report

The summer workshop “The Laughing Body: The Art of Care” ends in the wild care of the forests of West Virginia

Since 2011, our friends Ginevra and Italo (Clown One Italia) and Mariko (Clown One Japan) meet in West Virginia in the summertime. They have created a week-long program that offers workshops on taking loving care of their selves, their community, and Mother Nature.

In these past 7 years, over 200 participants, from all around the world, have traveled to West Virginia to participate in these workshops. From within the heart of this forest, we are watching the growth of Patch’s dream of a communal eco-village and hospital dedicated to love for to all living things and nature.

Our workshops offer the opportunity to clown, meditate, explore trust, listen to needs, walk in forests, and experience the joy and wonder of waterfalls and mud baths! Our goal is to promote personal health and to bring out that primal urge to reconnect with nature.

Participants this year have traveled from Japan, Finland, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, and across the United States. We also had special guests this year from Italy and Russia. Our friends from l’Aquila, Italy survived a horrible earthquake in 2009. This earthquake killed many members of their family. After the earthquake, we invited them to come with us to Russia. Our Italian friends have been coming with us to Russia every year since. Our Russian friends have traveled from Moscow. Maria and her daughters came to visit us this year! Maria is the director of Maria’s Children, an organization that helps orphans in Moscow develop ways of expressing themselves through art.

Our workshops include dance, games, and meditation to rediscover talent, creativity, and imagination. We also explore the use of the gaze, voice, and body contact; playing with the space that united us and separates us from others. We offer this exploration in a safe and welcoming way to develop a climate of trust and care for oneself and others. Clowning lessons and improvisation techniques also include the exploration voice, body, and the heart.

We joyously raise our voices to feel more united and harmonious with the world around us. Silently, we walk through the forest that surrounds and protects us while we visit the Gesundheit Institute. In one of our experimental games, we ask participants to slowly walk blindly through the forest. Every morning, we offer a short lesson in Aichi, a tai chi of the heart, in the lake near the art center.

Our friend Patch typically visits the workshop for a day or two. While visiting, Patch offers a lecture on ways of living life joyfully. This lecture is always followed by questions and comments from the participants. Afterward, we all get together to soak in the mud pit. Imagine relaxing to the sound of the waterfall. Imagine the joy and intimacy of joining others in the mud!

We are especially thankful for the staff of the Gesundheit and all of the friends who have accompanied us throughout the years in this visionary project. Thank you, Adam, Holly, Ben, along with little Elam and Emrys, and all of the volunteers. Thank you, everyone, who accompany us in this wonderful presentation of knowledge and joy.

See You All in 2019!


Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute, P.O. Box 307, Urbana, IL 61803

© Copyright 2022 Gesundheit! Institute