School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
Issue: December 2011

Terspsicore Muse
By Roland

Every few weeks I take a phone-call from a mother insisting that we start teaching her 8 year old daughter ballet. I am usually half-way through an explanation about what we actually do when the mother will interrupt with something like “I’ll bring Sophie over Thursday afternoon after school. Can I have the directions please.”

Then there are the phone-calls from medical equipment salesmen. “Surely you need a few stethoscopes?”

So, as you can see, I am used to receiving slightly odd phone-calls. However, I was unprepared for the phone-call that I received a few weeks ago.

“I need to speak to the Dancer,”  demanded the woman in a tone of voice that she might have used as if she wished to speak to the Manager. She spoke with a foreign accent that I couldn’t place.

“To who?” I asked.

“The Dancer. The man or woman who dances. Is that you? Are you the Dancer?”

I explained that although I liked to dance I did not really consider myself a dancer. I was more of an administrator or organiser.

“The real dancers are not in the office.” I said.

“So I waste my time,” she said. “When can I speak to these real dancers?”

“You can’t speak to them on this phone-line. I can take a message or maybe if you go to one of their workshops you can speak to them in person."

“OK I leave message. Tell them: ‘God respects you when you work, but he loves you when you dance.’”

“And who shall I say called?”

“My name is Terpsicore Muse.”

After that she started phoning every few days to leave a message about dance for the ‘real Dancer’. As far as I could tell most of these messages were quotes from famous people. For example one time the message she left was ‘Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost!’ It didn’t take me long to find out that this was the title of the film about the work of the dancer Pina Baush. Incidentally on the strength of this we rented the film and found it highly inspirational.  Other quotes were Sufi sayings, some from famous poets, several were from Martha Graham, and there were also the occasional quotes from the world of rock and roll.

Increasingly she became irritated with me. “Have you done your dancing practice today Roland? No? Then do it now. Do you have a body? Yes? Then use it. Find some good music. Go on – dance!”

Each time she phoned I was left with the impression that somehow I that I was failing her, so in the end I asked her what she really wanted.

“I need to speak to people who will listen to me and who care about what I have to tell them. How is that possible? Tell me.”

I tried hard to persuade Terpsicore that really she was best advised to go to one of our workshops, but she insisted that was very difficult for her. However, she did sign up for the webinar series when I told that there was going to be a section at the end of the webinar when people would be put in small groups and given a topic to talk about. She has also recently joined the Movement Medicine Facebook Group and since she has stopped phoning me completely. Of course, like you, I was a bit suspicious about Terpsicore’s name and looked it up on the internet. Terpsicore is the name of the Muse of Dance.

The next webinar will take place on Tuesday 13th of December at 7.30 UK time. This time the webinar will be led by both Susannah and Ya’Acov. After receiving feedback such as “I danced for the first time the Medicine dance and it was just fantastic. Feeling was great, energy came through, I felt it very strong and sacred. I moved around my room, I found my dance and felt great to be connected with people around the world in such an unusual way.” from Leja Benedicic, Slovenia. We have decided to make the Webinars an ongoing series. So you can now sign up at any time for a series of 10 webinars for £35. If you miss one it is also possible to watch it later. We have also added a telephone support group element led by Susannah and Ya'Acov, so it will be possible for participants to talk with each other at the end of the webinar. Please go to: http://www.schoolofmovementmedicine.com/webinars.php if you would like to sign up. Also if you want to see some comments from other participants please go to: http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/webinars-feedback.php.

It did occur to me that a subscription to the webinar series might make a splendid Christmas present.

We are very indebted to Jens for his technical help with the webinars.  In fact I think without his services we would probably have given up on them.  His is brilliant at coming up with solutions to the kind of problems which are thrown up by such a project.

So if you are need similar help we highly recommend him.  He can be contacted at info@Liedtke.IT and his webpage is at http://www.Liedtke.IT

On Friday 16th of Dec.  Susannah and Ya'Acov will be teaching a Move! evening in London 7 -10 pm  at St Peters Church,310 Kennington Lane,  Vauxhall.  St Peter's Church is 5mins walk from Vauxhall station (Victoria line tube / buses / overland rail) and 10-12mins walk from Oval station (Northern line tube) Cost per person:  £15 or £10 discount if you bring a friend who has not danced with us before. Wear warm layered clothes and bring water to drink!

The Returning Home workshop 17th – 21nd December is now full and we have started a waiting list. If you would like to join the waiting list please contact me on roland@rwevents.co.uk.

In January Susannah and Ya’Acov will take a well-earned break and will be off travelling. 

10 Johannesburg, SA Ya'Acov Move!

11 -12 Johannesburg, SA Ya'Acov  The Circle and the Sword

19 Knysna, SA Susanna and Ya'Acov    Move!

21 Cape Town, SA Susannah Move!

20 - 26 Cape Town, SA Susannah and Ya'Acov Re-Creation

For further details and to book any of the South African workshops please contact Jayne +27 766963527 shellosh@yahoo.com

Susannah and Ya'Acov will also be doing work in townships with theatre groups.  They will not be charging for this work  and the associated costs of this work will be support by the Movement Medicine Sponsorship Fund.

If you would like to support the Fund by making a donation or offering fundraising support, please contact the trustees at mmsf@phonecoop.coop, or go to Roland Wilkinson’s fundraiser page at www.justgiving.com

Jan 21st.  Premiere of The Angel in the Forest: at St James's Church, Piccadilly - a dramatic song cycle: music by Julian Marshall, text by Gertrud Kolmar.  See Julian's article elsewhere in this newsletter for more details.  All profits from this concert will go to the Barenboim-Said Foundation - the remarkable organisation that creates high level opportunities for young musicians from all the Arab countries and Israel, most notably in the form of the West-East Divan Orchestra.

By the way, if any of you should come across Terpsicore on the dance floor, please do let me know.

Sending you seaons greatings

Roland

Our teacher, a large Austrian man named Batty Thunder Bear Gold, taught us that since there is no inherent meaning in life whatsoever, and since as human beings, we are story tellers, we may as well find a story which makes our hearts sing, gets us out of bed in the morning with a spring in our step and generally gives our existence a sense of dignity. Choice of perspective is the warrior’s freedom and it is the warrior who has the commitment, determination and dedication to succeed in setting their perception free.

I remember how I found this perspective very empowering and exciting when I heard it for the first time and I recognise how it has become woven so deeply into the fabric of my day-to-day life. It’s not a nihilistic perspective. If anything, I find that it frees me to trust my own heart more and to commit to the things in life that truly matter to me. The warrior’s freedom concept has given me the feeling that I am dancing with life. As our dancing journey evolved alongside our other studies over these past 24 years, a new story named Movement Medicine gradually, and step by step, emerged in our lives. At the heart of this story is the experience we have had time and time again that the dance of life and the dancer inside us are perfect partners. You might say that they were born to dance together. The Great Choreographer provides us with the score and the dancer has all the tools that they have learned on the dance floor to create with whatever life brings. As we all know, the Great Choreographer likes to drop the odd challenging situation or two along the way. And how we respond to the challenges of life is the territory of the Dancing Warrior.

The Way of the Dancing Warrior intensive workshop maps the journey through a series of archetypal stations along life’s road. We need courage and commitment to be able to dance as deep as we can and enter safely into the shadow realms. The intention of the work is to be able to ritualise in movement the journey from the Unconscious or the unknown, through the Victim/Persecutor dynamic, to the Survivor who stands at the crossroads, able to see what has been, what is, and what may be. It is remarkable that we can survive so much and still be able to make the choice to heal and create something different to the experience we and our ancestors have had so far had of life. It is here that we meet the Artist who recognises the capacity they have to take the ingredients of their life and to truly create with them. Once we have direct experience that the dancer inside us, with the help of deep practice and a strong circle, can dance with and through anything, then we have entered the realm of the Dancing Warrior. Once we know we can, the question remains, will we? The “known” as painful as it sometimes is, has the comfort of being known to us. To challenge the story that we are victims in the situation, or to challenge the cold and distorted “power” of the persecutor who thinks that their violence offers some sort of protection, we need the strength, dedication and total commitment of the warrior. So often, in the very moments when we need to use the medicine we have gathered, we don’t. It is the warrior who gives us both the strength to change this and the compassion to kindly acknowledge when we don’t.

I wish I knew what it was that makes the difference between someone who collapses under the weight of their experience and someone who takes this same experience as the motivation to heal, restore their dignity and make something of their life. To look upon all that has happened as the raw materials that life has given us to create with is not some fluffy, new age fantasy. It takes effort. It takes the willingness to feel the pain of the past and to transform it step by step through your art. It takes an embodied imagination to be able to dream a new outcome through the sweat of the dance. It takes the willingness to keep showing up and to recognise that whatever we meet on the stage of life is a part of the collective theatre of the human drama to which we belong.

When we begin this work, it is remarkable that all the characters that have had a significant role in our lives are there in the room, on the dance floor, waiting to dance with us. Yep, he reminds me of my father, she talks just like that woman who betrayed me, and yes, there are the ghosts of 1000 stories waiting for us to release them. For instance, if we have a challenge with authority, isn’t it amazing how we keep meeting the very challenge we are trying to deal with. I so remember how many vicious police officers I met when I was active in the Peace Movement through non-violent direct actions. Here I was, all sweetness and light and non-violence, and lo and behold, the one who arrested me was always a nutcase who seemed to take a particular dislike to me. I couldn’t understand it until years later, I realised just how much fury was hiding behind by pacifist smile. These men, doing what they were charged to do, became mirrors of my own unexpressed rage. Once I took ownership of it and recognised it for what it was, strangely enough, this particular flavour of encounter disappeared entirely from my life. Make of that what you will.

It is so easy to blame others for our experience. We humans are experts at coming up with all kinds of reasons why what is happening between us must be your fault. We have experienced this a thousand times through the 25-year dance of our own relationship. To create the kind of trust we have now has meant to be willing to take the risk of showing up with each other in our most hurt and vulnerable places. Not just once, but time and time again as the love between us deepened and took us closer to the draw bridges around our hearts. It is the Dance and more precisely, the Warrior inside us who has given us the strength to be vulnerable enough to learn to truly love. And for me, this is the true purpose of getting to know the Dancing Warrior inside us. The Dancing Warrior has a tool kit and keeps it handy and available for all situations. What they learn on the dance floor is a practice for the dance of life. It may take them years to build that bridge. Along the way, they will forget many times. But they will come back to what they know and to the incantation that is tattooed on their soul through thousands of repetitions. Choice is primary. Not in what happens. But in how we dance with what happens.

As Einstein so clearly put it, we cannot solve a problem using the same paradigm that created it. When it comes to the victim/persecutor dance that has been our regular diet for so long, we have to recognise that it is destined to be stuck on repeat for ever until someone has the courage to break the chain. This is true in our relationships with our selves, with each other, and between communities and nations.

If we are fortunate, at some point, we recognise the help that life is offering to us, and we come to recognise that whatever has happened, we are still here, the heart still beats, and the flame of life still burns in our cells. We have survived and the survivor begins to see the slightest of cracks in the story of blame and counter blame and at this ‘eye of the needle moment,’ a new story can begin to be told. How this step happens is a mystery. Some people, maybe most, never take it. Some seem to be propelled forwards in their determination not to repeat the suffering they have experienced. I am reminded of a great woman who I have mentioned before called Grandmother Thunder. She came out of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp as a teenager, a survivor, determined to dedicate her life to peace and to making sure the kind of degradation she had experienced would not be passed on to future generations. What gave her this strength I do not know. I honour her for it. I honour all of us for the times we make this choice and for the times when we are not able to. I honour all the participants on this past workshop in Israel who dared to enter this territory and who knows, may have made more space for the dream of peace to land in this troubled region. And I honour the dancers who came to Beit Jallah, and Ben Yaeger and his colleagues in the Combatants for Peace Movement for organising the dance meeting that happened there after the workshop. They are also truly dancing warriors.

One thing I do know is that Movement Medicine, just like many practices before it, has arisen out of the passion to support people to recognise that they have a choice. The Dancing Warrior inside you knows this. And I hope that one day, if you haven’t already and if it be your will, you will get to know this archetypal force inside you.

As those of you who work with us know, we live by the knowledge that our philosophies and teachings are a story, not the truth. We don’t presume to know what is true for you. We only wish to share our experience in the hope that it may be useful, either because you recognise it as true for you too, or because through disagreement, it takes you closer to what you know to be true for you. I say this here because I recognise how easy it is to ‘blame the victim’ for not being strong enough to change. One thing we do in the intensive version of the Dancing Warrior workshop is to take the victim and the persecutor and hold them in our heart. To exclude them and their reality from the dance is not the art of radical inclusion that we are attempting to practice.

So dear Dancing Warriors, if I may be so bold to call you so, we move towards the end of another year. We have three gigs in December before we take a break over the New Year. Last week, we worked with all the apprentices on the second module of our teacher training. Many of them have already begun taking Movement Medicine out into the world and we are excited to see their excellence and diversity as they grow into their offerings.

We have the last webinar of the 2011 on December 13th. The quality of the last one was so much better and this time, we intend to host a half hour session after the webinar so that you can share your experiences with other dancers around the globe. Our last gig of 2011 will take us back to the Waldhaus in Switzerland for Returning Home.

I wish you a peaceful and creative Winter Solstice time and all good things for the festive season and New Year. As we finally enter the mythical 2012 (and who knows what that will bring!), I wish you the strength to be who you are and the joy of giving what you’ve got. You may as well.

Finally, please raise a glass and join us for the School of Movement Medicine’s 5th Birthday celebration  on January 10th.

With love and deepest respect to one and all.

Ya’Acov. December 2011.

JoE 2011
By Susannah and the Group

The Journey of Empowerment 2011 was quite a Journey! I think, feel, and see that we who participated have all been changed by this process. For me, the most stunning thing was to see what sharing a real, lived experience of love and unconditional acceptance does in people. Through seeing themselves and being seen in truth and love, we discover that there is less and less need to hide. What arose from this is quite extraordinary and magical to me. Each one blossomed in his or her own unique, creative way, and we saw it and we heard it and it was unmistakable.

What absolutely moves me about this, and it makes me simultaneously happy and sad, is this: if we, a quite ordinary collection of people, discover that once we melt through the habitual masks of fear and self protection, we discover such unique, beautiful, creative treasure in everyone, then this must be NORMAL. This must be what we are as human beings. Wonderful that this can be uncovered and released relatively easily. And tragic that we this is so unusual. It is one thing to know this intellectually. (“We are all amazing unique creative beings”). It is another thing to witness it being embodied, made manifest, over and over again. Thank you, you beautiful dancing companions.


"We had our amazing ending celebration of personal empowerment and we had our beautiful collective moment of “coming out”  together with many other people: http://youtu.be/_6vWOX3FCuM

I asked the group to help me describe the experience, so here are their words. The next Journey of Empowerment  begins in May in Switzerland. Bravo and blessings to you all on your flight to freedom, my love and respect and thanks always, Susannah"


"Learning to see, feel, hear and accept yourself, a wonderful experience. Thank you!"


"JOE feels like powerful magic has been weaved to precipitate unimagined transformation…. And yet the work we have done is grounded in a series of clear simple tasks that are underpinned in solid theory. The ‘magic’ is created by the willingness of each person to be vulnerable and open and to commit to taking daily small steps that build significant change. It feels like being wrapped in a family where unconditional love and acceptance are the norm, and you can’t help but give in and start to love and accept yourself.

Being led, step by step, to places you did not know or expect, may not have chosen if asked, but afterwards are very glad to have gone."


"Being seen and allowing ourselves to be seen in our vulnerability which really is the source of our strength and our radiant selves. With each module we moved more into the heart of who we are: creative, loving, beautiful, connected beings"


JOE is a powerful expedition and rediscovery of yourself and your resources. I have integrated the following important points for me: Who am I without my mask? Where I am standing now in my life? What is my next baby- step to my life mission? Manuela.


"About coming home to myself, to the voice in me that wants to pulse through my body and sing out; to being with and fully part of the community and to love."


Is where your dreams of freedom become manifest. It is a journey of intimacy, challenge, courage, vulnerability and love. Everyone should do it!"


“To become free with your heart, to feel love in your body, to find the spirit in you in movement, full of joy and tenderness.” Siem Van den Berg


"The earth has made us, we are fired by the sun, the air helps us fly, and the waters make us one.

We built a field of love, safety, welcoming, acceptance, courageand responsibility, that enabled us all to let our spirits through and shine in our unique beautiful ways, and to see and welcome the beauty of each other. These gifts of learning to shine and to see the light within others we can take with us out into our lives beyond the group,enabling others we meet to be touched by that light, love and welcoming, so they too may find more freedom to be their unique selves and let their own light through,and together we play our parts in expanding the flow of beautiful, responsive human spiritwithin this world." Ailsa.


"An invitation to take a magical mystery journey to find your way home to your most embodied, creative, open hearted self. Thank you!

A sacred journey to the heart, grounded in the body and a revolution for the mind.

A chance to be born anew, embodying life affirming beliefs and really saying “yes!” to yourself.

A journey of uncovering the creative, strong, beautiful, pure spring in your being to let it flow out into your own life, into the community and really start to enjoy the flow with the feetsafely on the ground.

Much love with and gratefulness"  Katerina


"A mix of dance floor, play ground and stage, where you get an individual map for your growth and individual fertiliser.

Being together with a beautiful flock of rainbow birds.

A possibility to take care of myself in a deeper way saying “yes” with love to myself, and from this kind of connection with myself, to connect with others.

A beautiful mirror that shows the truth of the heart.

Finding the joy of your voice.

To came home into the body, to share the warmth of the heart, the fluidity of mind… and the soul blossoms.

Through dance, singing and incantations…laughter and tears, connections and silence… with the wise elder and the four elements, the warm support of the group, assistants and Susannah in a joyful atmosphere with own small everyday steps – it is possible to do a lot of things….even change old patterns."  Irena


The next Journey of Empowerment will begin in May 2012.  For an application form please contact Roland at roland@rwevents.co.uk

Tul- Karem/Shufa. Meetings and dancing – hopes for a better future
By Ben Yeger

In May 2011 I had the privilege to assist Susannah Darling Khan on a weekend MM workshop in Israel together with my fellow MM apprentice teacher Silvana. Alongside this workshop I organsied for Susannah to lead a couple of MM opportunities in Tul Karem and Shufa in the Palestinian occupied territories. The first was a dance with a group of Palestinian Women in Tul-Karem and the second with a group of Israeli and Palestinian representatives from the Combatants for Peace Movement of which I am the UK represenative (www.combatantsforpeace.org)

Both these opportunities were made possible through the financial support of the MM sponsorship fund.

Given that I wasn’t at the session with the Women in TK I want to take the time to reflect on the CfP session on Saturday the 21st of May, only 2hrs after the workshop in TA Israel. This workshop took place on the roof of one of the participant’s houses and was therefore restricted by the fears of the Palestinian participants (our hosts) of normalising the occupation through joint participation of Israeli and Palestinians in activities which are not directly linked to ending the occupation and bringing about peace…or are they?

So here’s the rub- Why MM in the context of a movement like CfP? How does doing Movement/Dance/other creative workshops contribute to ending the occupation and bringing justice to the people on both sides of this historical conflict? It seems to me that no one way will do the job and that if the conflict is to be resolved and a real peace to be arrived at then MM and other such activities have a lot to offer on very basic human levels.

By these I mean- building deep trust, communicating in ways which reach beyond words and include the expressions of the whole body, the heart pulsating within it. Seeing the other move and be in ways that transcend culture, religion, colour, and even historical difference. Seeing the other simply do their dance without it becoming a threat to my existence. All these can and do happen in the context of MM and other creative workshop methodologies.

Seeing the other simply do their dance without it becoming a threat to my existence.

For me at the heart of the answer or I might say the argument for including MM and other such approaches in this context is the possibility of imagining change and manifesting it through the Dance/still sculpt or voice in real time, So that the imagination is leading the process, is at the forefront. If we can imagine ourselves as the free spirits we all are in essence, including our experiences of oppression, loss and trauma, and working towards changing our internal and therefore our actual narrative- essentially imagining change, then surely that is a good enough start. It’s a gateway to imagining that we have a say in how our destiny turns out, how it could be different from the present. That’s why I believe that Israelis and Palestinians dancing and imagining together is a part of making peace. Because I saw in the eyes of participants in Shufa on both sides a softness, an imagination of a better life, of a time free of conflict, I had a sense of hope and deep engagement which so often is in question, even though we have been meeting for some time now. It allows for a depth, which will support and sustain something valuable along side direct action demonstration and other forms of non-violent peace activism. That is my hope anyway.

As I said, the end of the occupation and arriving at a just and sustainable peace in Israel/Palestine will take time and many different combined efforts from a wide variety of people. I’m grateful to have the opportunity, means and time to do what I do with those who are willing to join- and that MM is part of my journey and part of my little contribution- thanks to all those who joined in and to Susannah for having the courage to come and teach and to YaAcov for paving the way with me last year. And last but not least thank you to my fellow CfP activists on both sides who can see the benefit of joining in the midst of a very difficult and drawn out process.

Go well all and see you soon on some part of the dance floor hosting this fascinating dance called life…

Movement Medicine Sponsorship Fund – Love in action

If you would like to support the Fund by making a donation or offering fundraising support, please contact the trustees at mmsf@phonecoop.coop, or go to Roland Wilkinson’s fundraiser page at www.justgiving.com

Beginners Mind, Awakened Heart and Body
This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher

By Miriam Platt


A small blue flyer came into my hand and its message resonated in my being; I saw it said “The Poetry of Presence “ …and somewhere on it Movement ….. and it kept on calling me. …My head had all kinds of reasons why not….but the call of it found me heeding it, following it, and it took me, with some excitement to an open evening one mild Friday evening , ….with no knowing of what I was coming to.

Surrounded by the dance, the gentle invitation of the music….whatever few words offered in invitation, direction, found the space inside of yielding into the movement , found inside the feeling, knowing, being, interplay of yin turning to yang again and again . Each energy distinct and particular, recognising the profound truth each its own distinct note yet moving with grace; a divine dance.

I wrote this to Ya’Acov

“That night I experienced the presence, in my being, of both yin and yang energies ina beautiful conversation in a way that was new , but once feltin my body, I can go there again. That's a huge gif especiallyto one who knows an excess of one, yin,and a dearth of the other! I trust I will continue to live from andinto it.”

There are few times in my years of journeying that I have touched the dancer inside and felt the connectedness of being .feeling the wholeness, the connectedness of that A most precious life gift.

I would share the essence of the last day of the weekend with the spontaneous flow of writing that was invited. Dance. Write, Observe or Meditate…. This is what flowed off my pen.

Poetry of Presence ‘Tree dance writing. November 2011 Cape Town.

I had this written at the top of my page. “How is the garden of my life right now “

Writing after dancing roots;

The earth shakes. I dig deep from my heart song ~ the drum song swaying, the journey into exploring, feeling the earth shift to receive my life searching journey. Soil black receptive, opening, roots dark thrusting marriage of moist darkness, power in penetrating, direction seeking~ the soul connection of my ground of being.

I live grounding the feeling force. I~ has meaning, purpose, direction, life, life giving, life making, power, part of all of the greater mystery of creative creation.

This song, elemental , this dance of life to live live live live in goodness and strength giving protection to growing things, ideas, meaning, living being … beating the drum, the consistent support of the Mother, the constant strength of the Father.

This is the time of the new story. I plant my will in small steady consistent patterns of doing, doing stillness, doing power, doing the spring cleaning of heart and mind and body to create the life giving story, now this, now this, ‘God hover over me ‘‘show me what I need to know’, know now and let all the doing spring from the sacred contract of this I AM, in wholeness, in union, in singularity, in connection, in even textured being of hope for future growing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing after dancing branches;

Energy pouring into the heart and sky and strength and fluidity, and power and always knowing the pouring radiance~ attracting the Sun energy that is always life giving, taking it all and giving it all back, constantly aware of the life seeking in me, the life inside seeking expression. Power and Grace and Joy and Wisdom of the fitness of things, if you will it Lord, I am, the story is always moving, now soft, now strong, a river of delight sings in the heart, always knowing, always knowing connection and giving direction, creating the dance out of fullness, out of strength, out of clarity, out of inner intelligence, inner intelligence, the knowing heart and the mind delighted to obey.

The sheer delight of all the parts engaged; entrained with the drum, delight ~of the light~ over and over ~ in and in up and above~ inside all at one with the drumbeat of creativity, of life living itself. Over, inside above, feeling the body pulse and pull. the arrow of life show the way, single story, many rhythms and movements within the one direction.

Writing after the heart of the tree dance.

Such sweetness in alone, in together, such a ease to feel lightness of being, being present, a present of place and people, and the ever rhymness rhythm nice nice nice drum drum incessant insistent beat, the dance of living, the dance of change and being and sweetness and ease and pleasure, and spontaneity drumming and dancing in concert, alone, the heart of the tree is delighted, easy, large, flowing being, dancing a new story.

The paths in my garden, maybe a cross to bear, maybe a medicine wheel open to the four directions, leaving a space for creativity to flow and find the quadrant that needs nourishment~ now community, once family, now back to family and familiar, grow all the garden, growing the whole, ever letting the light of my sun shine, inhabit it all~ done, service here and service is all service, who is served, who is the servant, no one truly served unless God is served, not the pots, not not not not ~ who is held in the arms of love, who is holding and time to write an old story into newness ~ the screams of the trapped ones are released.

I am, watching from a place of all is seen by the great God ~who is part of me and I am not apart, language holds us, story holds us …………………………….

Poetry of Presence; November 2011 Cape Town

This is the distillation of what I wrote in the three dance movements; Roots. Branches and Heart-of tree;

This is the time of new story

I plant my will in small steady consistent patterns of power

Springing from the sacred contract of who I am

Life seeking expression, now soft, now strong

A river of delight sings in the heart

Creating the dance of life out of fullness

Out of strength,

Many rhythms, one direction.

Lightness of being

Incandescent beat of the drum

I live the dance of living

I live the dance of loving

I dance a new dance

This is what I wrote to Ya’Acov afterwards;

“ the last piece became 'poem' by the way I placed it on the page when I typed it !...

When I came to almost the end I was challenged by what I had written about one of the unresolved pieces in my life , and am sitting with that breathing deeplyand wondering if that being surfaced was an integral, part of the process. In any case I wrote it , so it came to be madeconscious

I was surprised that the voice of the heart of the tree speaks my current internal dilemma, and the challenge is of living into the revelation of the writing even with its ‘maybe …living as I have for long years in ‘spiritual’ based community in S Africa, my beloved daughter and grandchildren in Devon. Which part of the garden of my life to love and tend at this stage of my life is a question that shakes me.

.

Fulfillment of a Dream
By David Mooney

I first landed on a dance floor with Susannah and Ya'Acov in February 2004 for the ongoing group Zero Zone. During the first dance the words 'this is home' came to me, this body, this heart, the dancefloor. My heart opened, my body relaxed and my spirit danced a homecoming after a very long journey. It has been with me ever since and I often send gratitude back to that moment of opening and landing.

It has been quite an adventure since then of dancing many dances, being challenged and inspired in all sorts of ways and meeting lots of extraordinary human beings with the courage to meet themselves, each other and really give it a go in the dance of life. So in many ways for me there has been a natural progression towards a deepening relationship with this work.

I'm very grateful that so far there have been real gem moments along the way and one of these came during our first meeting on the Apprenticeship training. We were working in a small group with Susannah and setting our intentions for the arc of the apprenticeship. Through the subtle and fine facilitations of Susannah, I came to a place in the dance of remembering my deep love for nature and trees. This love has been with me all my life and has always seemed to be with me, in my cells, in my bones, it seems it came in with me when I was born.It is a simple and deep love. As a child, I would spend many hours adventuring in the woods near where I grew up and felt more at home here than most other places I knew as a little one. It is still the woods that whisper home to me with more resonance than most other places. During that small group, with Susannah's guidance, I began to see and imagine the makings of a bridge between dance and the woods.That session was one of those gem moments in the weaving between dreaming and manifesting.

It has been a dream of mine for many years to be in circle with this kind of work in amongst and with these ancient woodland friends. During the arc of the Apprenticeship and on into the Teacher Training this little acorn of a dream has quietly sprouted and taken root.

For the past 6 years I have been incredibly blessed to offer classes in Dublin in movement meditation and ecstatic dance. Without getting ridiculously poetic I can't really find the words to explain to you how this has been for me to offer and share what I can of this rich work to groups over the past 6 years. Lets just say its one of the deepest joys of my life.

Over the last 10 weeks I have been holding the space and facilitating our first Movement Medicine ongoing group in Dublin. It has been a beautiful journey with many learnings and discoverings of the subtle richness of the Movement Medicine mandala. I felt and experienced its fine, strong, sensitive and deep support over the ten weeks.

The picture above is of the fire we danced around and into which we offered our prayers and gratitudes during our last session together on our Movement Medicine ongoing group in Dublin on Tuesday night. We had a beautiful night in the woods overlooking the ocean, with the stars winking above.Needless to say there were challenges as it was a first for many people to be working in this way in nature.With the Mandala holding us, in this fine group of people, we danced our prayers and introduced ourselves to the land and surrounding trees, who were looking on in delight, some even joined in....Later we sat around the fire, which has representations of each place on the mandala, and I shared the story of this movement medicine mandala on into the starry night. Dreams coming true...

I will be holding a new Movement Medicine ongoing group in Dublin from February 7th 2012, during which we will spend some time working in nature. I teach workshops in Ireland and will be offering Movement Medicine weekend workshops during 2012. I also teach weekly Embodiment classes in Dublin. If you would like to know more about my classes and workshops in Ireland or are interested in inviting me to your area to teach see: www.embodiment.ie

Congratulations!!! !!!! !!!!! !!!!!!!!!
By Ya'Acov

We are delighted to tell you that we have completed our first teacher training and more importantly, that now, where once there were stood three pathfinders, there now stand three fully qualified and fully-fledged Movement Medicine Teachers. A huge and hearty congratulations to Caroline Carey, Mark Boylan and Christian de Sousa, who all passed through their assessment panel and initiation this past week. We want to thank them for all their hard work as pathfinders for this path and to welcome them as colleagues. For information about their work, please check out this link: http://www.schoolofmovementmedicine.com/mm-teachers-facilitators.php

The ceremony was a beautiful and strong event, supported by the Staff and Elders of the School, David Rose, Sue Kuhn and Jo Hardy, and the whole community of Apprentice Teachers and Facilitators. As well as there now being three fully qualified teachers new on the block, there are also a further 39 Apprentice Teachers and Facilitators out there with full permission and support to share their own particular ways and fascinations with the Movement Medicine teachings. We fully recommend them to you and we are so happy that the network of people offering this work is growing into a healthy, strong and diverse field.

We want to thank David, Jo and Sue for their fantastic support over many years and over this teacher training as Staff and Elders. We also want to thank Roland who has held this dream steadily for many years and worked so hard to bring it about.

Once again, congratulations to one and all!!!

Make Your Love Visible
By Susannah & Ya'Acov

We want to invite you to communicate your love for the earth, straight from the heart. What would you say if you could be face to face with the climate change politicians meeting at the Earth Summit in Rio next June?

There is now a digital channel for you to speak out directly from your heart and, if enough support is gathered, a good chance that together we can create something with real impact, a way for us as individuals to inspire and empower world leaders and climate change politicians to find the courage to make the decisions needed to protect life on earth. Here it is: http://oneworldgroup.org/oneclimate-community-mosaic

I want to introduce you to Anuradha Vittachi. She is the visionary founder of OneClimate and a wonderful writer (see her article in this newsletter, originally published in the Huffington Post) which links to our Totnes 11.11.11 flash mob event. She and her husband, Peter Armstrong, have done an extraordinary job in realising a vision in creating the Mosaic Earth - and now you can use it to upload your messages. http://oneworldgroup.org/oneclimate-community-mosaic (go to ‘Tell the World’)… Some of you already have, and if you browse the Mosaic, you will see some of your Movement Medicine colleagues with their messages.

The Mosaic Earth is a lot more than a petition. It’s a visual, creative, beautiful potent way to communicate, personally and as part of a global chorus. It can be a picture and a message, or a video. You are free to be the passionate, creative being you are, and make your love for Earth visible! If you look at the messages there you will see lots of great, clear communication. What I think we, as a Movement Medicine community, have to offer is a level of being unafraid of the heart. So please do take this opportunity to let your voice be heard! The way I see it is that it is, ultimately, a matter of heart, a matter of waking up to the voice of the heart, to the empathy to care for people and beings we have never met, now and in the future, and to let our care for our planet and for the amazing, beautiful web of life rock out there and touch and be touched. We do not have all the answers, we don’t have to, we simply have the possibility to discover the way, to make, as Martin Luther King said; “a way out of no way” with courage and love, together, one step at a time.

Here are two of mine:

from the simple:

Message: “One step at a time, we can do this together!” together with a photo of a foot walking on pebbles, to the longer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Npaz7DM1WUk&feature=email&email=comment_received

We want to warmly invite you to be part of supporting Mosaic Earth reach its full potency and make a real difference at Rio and in the future. There are several ways you can add in your drop to make a true ocean:

1) Use it to upload your message!

2) Tell your friends and connections, spread the word!

3) Every time you buy a CD from us, we will contribute £1 to the fund to support Mosaic Earth www.movementmedicineshop.com

4) You can donate directly to the fund to support Mosaic Earth www.movementmedicineshop.com go to “Donate”, every bit makes a difference!

5) Buy a “Musical Mosaic MP3” from the shop, all the money from which will go to the Mosaic Earth fund. Some of our musician friends are donating a track of their amazing music for us to sell as an MP3. This group of “Musical Mosaic” MP3s is going to grow and grow, keep watch!

THANK YOU!

Love to all, and huge thanks and respect to Peter and Anuradha and their team at www.oneclimate.net Check their work out!

And last but not least, the pioneering work of the Pachamama Alliance, which has so inspired us, is now available as a DVD. This is exceptionally intelligent stuff about the challenging times of such opportunity that we find ourselves in. We highly recommend it. http://www.gaiam.com/product/awakening+the+dreamer.do

Thank you for your participation in the global chorus, on whatever level, many drops make an ocean! Wishing you all joy dancing, singing and loving life, marrying action, intention and appreciating the great gift of being alive.

Susannah and Ya’Acov Darling Khan

To Dance Is a Radical Act

Marold Emmelkamp sent us a link to this article published in a recent edition of Psychology today that we would like to share with you.

"The practice of dancing is vital to our survival as humans on earth.


To dance is a radical act. To think about dance, to study dance, or to practice dance in this 21st century is a radical act.


Why?
"


Shop
We have lots more music available as MP3s, and this will be increasing week by week, including the new "Musical Mosaic" MP3s which is going to grow into a wonderful collection of unusual music, with lots of wonderful new tracks from great musicians some of which are not available elsewhere, so keep checking in  http://www.movementmedicineshop.com/home.php!

Thanks to all the musicians who contributed their tracks to the musical mosaic collection.  All the proceeds from the sale of these tracks go the Mosaic Earth fund.

Also, of course, we have lots of great CDs and lots of clips so you can hear the music before you decide what you want to buy, and our book! If you have not read it yet, it is a great resource for your Movement Medicine practice. As we get more and more feedback, we can confidently say, it was not only good to write, it is good to read! The book is also available in French and next year, it will come out in German. There are also easy ways to make a donation to Mosaic Earth, (go to Donations). Happy shopping, and if you need any help or have any queries or feedback please do feel free to call Frazer on 0044 1803 731003 or write to him at info@movementmedicineshop.com

11.11.11 and all that

11.11.11- Movement Medicine dancers singing and dancing on the street! http://youtu.be/_6vWOX3FCuM

Get up to speed on Durban climate change talks: http://oneworldgroup.org/durban

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/11/durban-questions-and-answers?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487


Monty Python and the Future of Life on Earth

As first published in the Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anuradha-vittachi/monty-python-and-the-futu_b_1100914.html


By Anuradha Vittachi

A happy coincidence! As the ethical challenges to the church created by the Occupation's presence at St. Paul's grew increasingly Pythonesque, the BBC screened a dramatised reconstruction of the Pythons' own encounter with organized religion.

When the Pythons released Life of Brian, back in 1979, their mild lampooning provoked a religious furore even greater than the reaction to the Occupation's tents at St Paul's Cathedral, despite the fact that the film focused not on Jesus -- who was portrayed throughout with conspicuous respect -- but on the hapless Brian, a baby born in a neighbouring stable.

The plot is triggered when a religious follower misidentifies the adult Brian as Jesus, and the word passes swiftly round to others who are equally credulous. Brian's desperate efforts to prove that he isn't their Messiah only make them more convinced that he is.

The moral of the movie is clear: when people attach their identities to an ideology, they become disinclined to let a few measly facts get in the way of their fundamentalist 'truth'.

The film didn't apply this warning only to followers of organized religion. It showed political activists falling into the same trap -- as the priceless 'What have the Romans ever done for us?' scene unforgettably demonstrated. Here's an abbreviated extract:

Reg: [The Romans] have taken everything we had... And what have they ever given us in return? Xerxes: The aqueduct. Reg: Oh yeah, yeah, they gave us that. Yeah. That's true. Masked Activist: And sanitation! Stan: Oh yes... sanitation, Reg, you remember what the city used to be like. Reg: All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and sanitation are two things that the Romans have done... Matthias: And the roads... Reg: (sharply) Well yes obviously the roads... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads... Another Masked Activist: Irrigation... Other Masked Voices: Medicine... Education... Health... Activist Near Front: And the wine... Masked Activist at Back: Public baths! Stan: And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now. Reg: All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?

And yet, when the film was released, an extraordinary thing happened. Life imitated art. Thousands of real-life religious people confused Brian with Jesus, just as Brian's mad-eyed fictional followers had in the movie. It didn't matter how many times the Pythons explained that Brian and Jesus were two separate characters, their protestations had no more impact than Brian's had.

The Pythons' enraged critics seemed unable to absorb the simple, central logic of the film: not only were Brian and Jesus different characters, they had to be different characters. Otherwise, where was the joke when the followers pursued Brian? Perhaps no-one wants to get the joke when the joke's on them. Even less when the joke is them.

In the UK, ancient blasphemy laws were hauled out from the dungeons, clanking heavily, and dropped on this charming and endearing film -- luckily not quite crushing the life out of it. It survived to become one of the best-loved comedies in the world. In 2006, it soared to the top of Channel 4's best film comedy list even though, a quarter of a century earlier, the tide of sanctimony against it had risen to a world-spanning tsunami of outrage and the film was banned in dozens of countries.

Nowadays audiences laugh where once they took offence. They understand the ludicrous credulity of Brian's followers and of the Judean People's Front (or was it the People's Front of Judea?). But laughing at other people's failings is one thing: what about seeing our own?

One of the best questions I have ever been asked was: 'What are you being blind to now?' An answer popped out of its hiding place like a Jack-in-the-box before I had time to censor it. I've since asked others the same paradoxical question. Some people parry, hiding their secrets with the bland counter-question: 'How can I know, if I am blind to it?' But others are startled into sudden honesty with themselves.

If a Jack-in-the-box startled us into honesty not only about small personal secrets but about the big picture of the world, and our part in it as global citizens, what might we see?

First we might see the state of the world: tableaux of economic meltdown appearing like dancing apparitions on the horizon; symbols of worldly success, prized above empathy and compassion, encouraging looting and violence; oceans acidifying and submerging islands that are home to animals, birds, trees, bees, children... Terrifying and painful sights.

And then we might see our secret slipping out about how we help maintain this nightmare reality: through the absurd, concealed hope that we can somehow keep on living our familiar lives -- our high consumption, high-waste, self-aggrandising lives -- without it really mattering. It's a hope as ludicrous as the hopes of Brian's foolish followers that he is their Messiah.

But all is not -- quite -- lost. All over the world, movements and groups are springing up that contest the comforting blindness. The Occupation is one such movement, growing fast. And here's a video sent in to OneWorld a few days ago of a small group standing by the kerb in their hometown, singing in the rain. They're expressing their desire to protect life on earth, and despite the freezing November weather, they look like they're having fun.

Ah, now they're dancing -- not quite Gene Kelly, more a shuffle, but then there's not much room as more and more people are joining in, and there are more umbrellas and more traffic than Kelly had to contend with.

Their humour is infectious. I wonder if the Pythons would have joined in too, if they'd been passing?

With thanks to the Pythons for the extract from the Life of Brian, and to the citizens of Totnes for singing in the rain.http://youtu.be/_6vWOX3FCuM

 

Follow Anuradha Vittachi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/oneclimate

 

The Angel in the Forest

By Julian Marshall

In November 2007 I stumbled across the poetry and letters of Gertrud Kolmar.

Her work, the most important of which was mostly written during the 1930s (she perished in Auschwitz in 1943) is strikingly full of life – colour, vibrancy, deep sensation – and her cycle Welten especially stood out to me as presenting a remarkable group of poems to set to music.

Kolmar’s writing evokes powerful images in a constant morphing from ‘fantasy to reality’ - simultaneously serving as an eerie foretelling of the imminent tidal wave of horror about to hit the world and a most vivid account of life experienced in full colour. For me, it exquisitely demonstrates a remarkable body of work springing from a life of impossible circumstance. As a German Jew, her work is, of course, firmly imbedded in both time and social context but profoundly addresses timeless issues that have relevance for so many today.

I have been asked what are the more personal reasons that I might have for writing this music and setting Kolmar’s poems.

It was only when my mother died, some ten years ago, (who was herself Jewish, my father Anglican - and both fervently non-religeous) that I became properly interested in my Jewish roots. I learned that my great grandfather was the last in an unbroken line of ten Rabbis and that a good deal of the family came from Poland. I also learned a lot more about my Jewish family history. But what lay behind the interest in the personal story were other, much more universal thoughts and questionings about identity and the never ceasing drive for me of wondering what it is that we do, as human beings that denies our oneness within the plethora of human diversity?

I attended retreats at Auschwitz, read books and watched films about the Holocaust, Israel the Middle East and talked to my Jewish and non-Jewish friends about life, being Jewish, not being Jewish and everything.

Gertrud Kolmar deeply fascinated me – I found myself being more and more drawn into her life.

Here she was, an assimilated German Jew, with a highly successful German (Jewish) judge as a father who suddenly found herself as ‘other’ – one day, a patriotic and respected ‘friend’ of Germany and the next outcast and killed…. And yet, her writing, to me, always reveals a humanity that shines through only the stronger, it seems, for the darkest of circumstances.

My life experience, as I have become older, has been a great deal about acknowledging shadow – mine and ours. Martin Sheen, the actor, has been quoted as saying that beginning to find community starts with surrendering to our brokenness. To me, Kolmars writing reveals this quality way beyond the words she uses.

But a common mistake I can make is to think that I can take my ideas and feelings and just plough them into a piece of music. What I have finally begun to glean is at least SOME recognition that the whole point of music and the arts is that they begin where words and ‘ideas’ end. To me, music in particular can reveal both a specivity and a whole world of experience way more powerfully than I can speak or write about – even think about. And it is here, for me, that the mystery lies. Kolmar’s writing invites me into an enquiry. All I can do, in my own way, is to do my best to musically serve the words she writes.

I have come to serious musical composition quite late in life (I didn’t have a language that I felt I could draw on until now). I have no idea what this journey is really about, only a conviction that it is a journey well worth taking. If hearts get touched in the process, then perhaps that reveals a more authentic underlying drive… for what else is there, when all is said and done, other than to live, love and to heal?

Julian Marshall

The Premiere of Angel in the Forest,  a Dramatic Song Cycle with
music by Julian Marshall and text by Gertrud Kolmar
will be on the 21st January at St James, London.  For more detail follow this link. http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bd8d97080c10a8159ee743f21&id=3cb13013aa&e=19395a53bb

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. schoolofmovementmedicine.com