School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: November 2011
Raising Money: Swimming in the Sea of the Unknown

This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher

By Kristin Glenewinkel

Raising money for the ceremony of the Long Dance during the workshop with Ya’Acov For all our Relations pressed a lot of buttons for me. It took me days to create a letter that was personal and at the same time clear and understandable. I felt ashamed and very insecure when I sent out the e-mail to my family and friends. I had never asked for money in this direct way before!

For eight years I worked and lived in a Buddhist meditation centre in the Swiss Alps. The principle of generosity is a foundation of all activities in this Sangha and during this time I became very familiar and comfortable with this principal. The staff’s motivation was to offer time and energy to benefit the project, serve the Dharma and run this non-profit-centre. All of the meditation teachers gave their teachings for donations only, simply putting a box out on a table when the retreat was finished. Even the huge seminar house was bought by donations from the community. Countless volunteers helped in the background and it was an astonishing experience to see that this can really work. Because of this many people are able to go on retreat for a fair price and cultivate their inner life.

Now the task was that I reach out as an individual and connect with friends and relatives; to tell them about my passion for dance and prayer and ask them if they might want to support me by giving a gift to the ceremony. I was not asking for money for me personally but it felt like this and it was really uncomfortable for me. Why would anybody be interested in what I am doing? Why would anybody want to support me and send money so that I could pass it on to some organization?

It felt strange. This was the “Sea of the Unknown”, and I was drowning in it. My well known pattern was to work for other people and support their work. But to stand up and ask help for my own thing, oh no, that felt impossible. In the process of writing my letter I saw, in the mirror of my heart, my insecurity and my doubt about what I really care for. I saw my fear of people’s opinion. I wanted to hide and not reveal my dream and vision. However, a part inside me kept saying, “Look, dear one, you can do it. You are creative and joyful and no one will harm you only just because you follow your heart. Open up and tell people what you feel.”

I was dancing inside with my fear and panic. I took myself by the hand and said, “Keep calm, send your letter… pray. Wait and see what happens.” The first response was from my brother. He said, “Thank you. Finally somebody tells me where I can donate some money. I never know who to give it to.” That surprised me. I thought, “oh, maybe I am not annoying people with my letter? Maybe some people can feel inspired and uplifted by this information?”

My aunt wanted to know more about the ritual and dance and gave me a donation after this short exchange. My father didn’t say a word but supported me with a big donation and many friends shared their thoughts and supported me in whatever way they could; financially, emotionally, physically, and with connection and love. I was overwhelmed by the responses, the good wishes and prayers that people sent me, and I received more donations than I would have ever expected.

I tried to take this experience into my every cell during the ceremony.

I offered the envelope with the money I collected, placing it in a big bowl on a beautiful table that was covered with candles and augmented with a tree of life. I was proud, happy and humbled at the same time. I danced with the friends and relatives that had stretched out to me with so much care; praying that I will recall this experience again when my “Understudy of Doubt and Fear” comes along to tell me that it is useless to stretch out and dream. During the long dance, in the middle of the night, I could feel that I was a little star dancing in the sky with millions of other stars and that it is my nature to shine, stretch out and be simply myself. I felt faith and invisible support from all directions.

Kristin Glenewinkel, Switzerland

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.