Melanie Cooley is a University of Arizona graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry from the University of Michigan. Through her writing, her massage therapy career, her lifelong passion for dance, and her study of 5Rhythms moving meditation, she has spent much of her adult life investigating embodiment — the profound impact that a deeper presence in our bodies can have on our lives and culture.
She is also passionate about helping people become more fully present in the communal experience of the All Souls Procession. Deepening their experience–whether that means learning that they can put a remembrance in the Urn, discovering that they can create something extraordinary at one of the workshops, or joining one of the volunteer crews for the Procession.
She moved to Tucson the year that the All Souls Procession was founded, but didn’t attend her first Procession until 2006–at which point she stood slack-jawed, wondering why on earth she hadn’t attended before. And she’s been part of the Procession ever since. In 2009, she joined the Community Spirit Group as an Urn Attendant–the group that escorts the Urn, collecting prayers, messages, and remembrances from people along the streets. She went on to found the Ambassador wing of the Community Spirit Group and in 2013 became the Volunteer Coordinator for the Procession. In 2014, she joined the Many Mouths One Stomach board.
For the past 17 years, she has made her living through teaching an array of topics–composition & creative writing, English as a Second Language, logic, and information technology–and currently manages an information technology training group at the University of Arizona.