School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: February 2012
Strength over Power

By Ya'Acov

We've just returned from spending a month travelling in South America. At the beginning of 2011 when doing my collage for the year ahead, I was surprised to see that some beautiful mountain ranges seemed to figure prominently in my collage.

We've been doing these New Year collages for the past 10 years. We make them without a plan following the whimsical ways of attraction guided by intention and seeing what shapes and stories emerge from the process. After they are complete we give our collages a voice, that is to say we speak as if we were the collage. It's at this point when the artwork seems to come to life and the intelligence that exists behind our normal consciousness becomes visible in a new way. As I spoke as Ya’Acov's collage, I found myself speaking about the need to be in the mountains. It was clear from the image that Ya’Acov needed to spend some time in the clear air away from the ‘noise’ of everyday life. It was clear that by the end of the year Ya’Acov would need some time away from his computer screen and away from teaching to be able to clear his mind, re-gather his strength and top up his resources for the year ahead. Furthermore, it was clear that we were to visit the Andes in South America, the Altai Mountains in Siberia, and the Himalayas in India.

At that point I had no idea how busy 2011 was going to turn out to be. It was a year in which we completed our first apprenticeship, carried out our first Teacher Training, began our work with the webinars, and went through the application process for our next Apprenticeship Programme, which starts in April. We did all this alongside our normal work schedule and much as we enjoyed the journey, it was certainly a stretch! It was also the year in which Susannah's parents fell ill in the summer and so our normal summer break was somewhat interrupted. I'm happy to report that Susannah's parents are now both very well, but as the winter approached, we both felt that we were in need of some timeout.

So we spent a quiet Christmas at home and then on December 27th, we set off for Quito, the capital of Ecuador, our first stop on the magical mystery tour we were about to embark upon. We had planned two consecutive journeys. The first was in Ecuador, with the Pachamama Alliance, and the second in Peru with a Shaman that I had been in touch with for the past few years. And, yes, we left our computers at home!

South America has been home to many extraordinary cultures, traditions and civilisations and for me, it has been a place where I have received healing upon healing. Our two journeys were a blend of ancient and modern. We met some of the mysteries of antiquity and we came face to face with the challenges we face today for our very survival as a species.

Ecuador is a remarkable country full of live volcanoes and magnificent landscapes, a mixture of peoples and cultures, and geopolitical stress lines caused by the hunger for oil. Our journey there was organised by the Pachamama Alliance, an organisation that has been a source of inspiration to us since we first heard about it from Bernadette Ryder many years ago. The Alliance was set up at the request of the Achuar people who live in two and a half million acres of pristine rainforest in Ecuador and Peru.

Through years of diligent work, the Pachamama Alliance were able to secure the Achuar people's right to their own lands. But the Achuar also asked Lynne and Bill Twist to think about how they may be able to, in their words, “change the dream of the North." The Achuar shamans had seen in their ceremonies that it was what we might call our collective story or dream that was driving the need for oil and the culture of consumption that it supports. As a result of this request, the Pachamama Alliance designed the fantastically effective Awakening the Dreamer symposium which we have integrated into our work over the past few years in the workshop called Dancing with the Heart of the World. To have the opportunity to go and meet the Achuar people, to be in ceremony with them and to exchange with them in their homeland, touched our hearts very powerfully and has had a deeply strengthening effect on how we feel about our work. Their land is once again under threat and as one of their Shamans, Don Rafael Taish, said to us, they are prepared to die to protect it. They do this not just for themselves but in reality, for all of humanity, for the rainforest and all that it holds is sacred in the truest nature of the word.

To be welcomed as friends into this community, and to be able to exchange with the shaman, who recognised both of us as colleagues and welcomed our support in ceremony, including asking us for to perform a healing for one of his grandchildren, has somehow strengthened the very heart and soul of the purpose of our work through the School of Movement Medicine. In the middle of the night, held by the peace and the melody of the forest, singing in ceremony with my new elder brother, there was nothing else I could do other than to pledge my support to these people, their home, and to all of our descendants who depend on us changing the way that we think, dream, and live. It's hard to put into words how I felt in that moment, but as I write, I notice my pulse racing, and I feel the deep love that seems to play its rhythm in my blood, reminding me of my pledge and urging me and all of us into action.

On March 17th, we plan to run a fundraising Party and Prayer night to raise money for the Achuar people to support them in their fight to protect their culture, their land, and the magnificence of the rainforest. We will let you know details as soon as we have them but we are planning to run this as an extra webinar event so that you can participate wherever you are on the planet. There are many important things in life and we know that these are difficult and challenging times but protecting the rainforests is an urgent and common need for all who care for life on Earth.

We want to thank the Pachamama Alliance for all their work over the past 20 years or so and to urge you, wherever you are, to get yourself as soon as you can to an Awakening the Dreamer symposium or a Dancing with the Heart of the World workshop so that you can experience first-hand for yourself the inspiration that is the direct result of their work. We are also in the early stages of dreaming up a Movement Medicine journey to Ecuador to meet the Achuar in their forest home. Needless to say, this won't be a holiday but a working time to deepen our commitment to serving life on Earth.

Our journey to Peru was no less inspiring. In a series of ceremonies as we travelled through the Andes, we had a necklace full of pearls of learning opportunities. From facing death to gaining a whole new perspective on the practices and rituals of ancient people, we were expertly guided towards the zenith of our pilgrimage. We were taken in ceremony to a 4000 year-old temple, surrounded by ancient guardians in the form of beautiful mountains, which is, without doubt, the most spiritually uplifting of places that I have ever had the joy to visit. It offers a template of balance; balance between feminine and masculine, between the lower, middle and upper worlds, between the spirits of the land and the spirit of life itself. We followed the ceremonial pathway that our ancestors walked and we both felt as if our very cellular structure was being recalibrated to a place that mirrored the poise and equilibrium of the place itself. At one point I said to our new friend, the shaman leading the pilgrimmage, that I felt as if my bones had been made in this place. The similarities between these ancient ceremonies and the ceremonies that have evolved in our own practice are remarkable. Just as the people who built this place had travelled there to find the source of the great Amazon River, our own pilgrimage to this place feels to me as if we travelled back in time to meet the very source of the Movement Medicine Mesa. The Maestros of this place left us an astonishing and compelling reminder of our capacity as human beings to overcome the temptations of power and instead, to dedicate the totality of our strength towards the service of the community of life.

The timing of this encounter was perfection itself. For many years I have been saying that it's almost impossible to find examples of people who have overcome the temptations and the corruptions of power. I can no longer say this. And this makes me a very happy man indeed. This past month has consisted of a perfect blend of teachings, a deepening of understanding, and a strengthening of the knowledge of who I am and what I'm here for. To be able to return home and to have in front of us an open channel into which we can pour the inspiration that we have received is a great blessing and I give thanks for it.

Whatever 2012 brings, I am certain that the dance and the dancer inside all of us will be more needed than ever. As we turn our attention towards our upcoming trip to South Africa, I wish to send out a blessing and a prayer in all directions. May you be well. May you know happiness. May you recognise that you are a blessing. May we all dance our dance, dream our dreams, and use the creative force that we have been given for the benefit of family, friends, community, and for all our relations. I look forward to seeing you somewhere on the road in 2012.

Ya’Acov. February 2012.

Ya’Acov’s Programme:

10-26 February A series of workshops and events in South Africa

4-11 March The Phoenix Retreat in Devon

13 March Bringing the Dance Back Home – Webinar

17 March Fundraising Party & Prayer Event for The Achuar People

19-24 March The SEER Process Intensive in Waldhaus, Switzerland

30 March – April 1 The Way of the Dancing Warrior in Paris

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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.