School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: March 2011
Deferred Gratification

By Roland

I sometimes imagine that, as a child, I was chosen to participate in the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment designed to test a person’s ability to defer gratification. In this experiment a group of four-year-old children were each give one marshmallow, but were promised that they could have two marshmallows on condition that he or she wait twenty minutes, before eating the first marshmallow. Some children were able to wait the twenty minutes, and some were unable to wait.

After the twenty minutes were up I would not only be one of those children who still was there with a marshmallow in front of them and so entitled to another one, I would be fervently hoping that those running the experiment were going to double the offer and offer 4 marshmallows for those who would wait another twenty minutes.

I was a child who never spent all his pocket money, and who as a teenager went for a long weekend to Cornwall with just £1 in my pocket and when I hitchhiked home on the Monday still had enough money in my pocket for half a pint of beer in the pub. I was a student who managed to save money rather than run into debt (admittedly this was in the days of student grants – yes the government actually gave us money to study - rather than student loans). And today I receive immense satisfaction every time that I put a piece of wood on the fire which two or three years earlier I had collected, cut, split and then stacked in the wood shed.

Today I have been to Rill to book participants onto the Phoenix Retreat and experienced one of the ultimate moments of deferred gratification – the building work on a new 165 square metre studio has at last begun.

In 2005 we started working at Rill Farm in South Devon. The venue was perfect in many ways but the main hall was too small for some of the courses we wanted to run. We talked to the owners about the possibility of building a new studio but they were reluctant to spend any more money having already spent vast amounts lovingly converting the derelict farm buildings into a beautiful residential centre – yes Rill Farm had now become The Rill Centre.

Sadly, two years later they made a sudden decision to sell and we found ourselves having to search in a hurry for a new venue in which to run our major courses.

Meanwhile, for nearly two years the Rill centre was empty until it was bought by Richard and Louise Holman.We immediately began talking to them about running courses there again. And in the spring of 2010 we were back. Now The Rill Centre had become The Rill Estate and it took a year before we began serious negotiations about a new studio and a further six months before we had a satisfactory arrangement for everyone concerned and still more delays while planning permission was obtained, but finally the diggers are busy clearing the ground where the new studio will be.

I also would like to share with you another piece of very delayed gratification that I have recently experienced. Regular readers of this newsletter will probably remember that I undertook a very long walk from the Lizard which is the most southerly tip in Cornwall in S.W. England to the island of Iona off the West Coast of Scotland where my father’s ashes are scattered. I made the journey for a variety of reasons but chief among them was a desire to somehow settle some deep rooted negative feeling about him which somehow I couldn’t shake even after his death. When I did the last leg of my journey I was consumed by dark feelings of pessimism and slept very badly. I told myself “This should not be so! I should be elated. Why isn’t the medicine working?”

So it was with some satisfaction that about two weeks ago I should have a dream about my father in which he appeared wearing some rather odd clothes. “Hello, my old friend!” I exclaimed, throwing my arms around him. “I haven’t seen you in ages. It is so good to see you again!”

Now for those of you who might share some of these personality traits with me, here’s a thought. The next Apprenticeship Programme will begin in Sept 2014 and will be held in the wonderful new studio at Rill. Now is just the time to be considering taking part in this as you will need to complete the following pre-requisite workshops – SEER Process, Journey of Empowerment, Initiation and the Phoenix Retreat. My point being that is never too early to start planning such an undertaking. Many of the best things in life are those which we have both worked hard for and waited for.

The next SEER Process will take place 19th – 24th March at Waldhaus in Switzerland. There are still some places left for this workshop. For queries and to book please contact Roland at 00 44 1803 762255 . To download the application form please go to

The next Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group is also due to take place at Waldhaus and first session will be in May 6th – 11th 2012. For queries and to book please contact Roland at 00 44 1803 762255 . To download the application form please go to

Initiation will take place 31st Aug – 9th Sept and will be in the new studio at Rill Estate. For queries and to book please contact Roland at 00 44 1803 762255 . To download the application form please go to

Also happening soon:

Webinar 13th March. Our webinar series continues. For more details, follow the link.

Shamantics. 16th March. Both a live fundraising event in Totnes but also a global event via the internet. In aid of the Achuar People of the Amazon Rainforest. Again follow the link for more information.

On the 24th and 25th March Susannah will be teaching the Arc of Time workshop in Berlin. For more details and to book please contact Kathrin at 00 49 30 28458820 or

And a few days later 24th -25th March she will run her residential workshop for women Sanctuary which will take place on the Isle of Sylt in Germany.  There are just a few places left.  Contact Petra +49 4651 87 12 76 for more details and to book.

Ya’Acov will be in Paris teaching The Way of the Dancing Warrior on March 30th – April 1st. For more details and to book please contact Pierre-Henri + 33 615 325 816

And do have a look at the new MP3s to down load at the Musical Mosaic of the Movement Medicine shop,

Best wishes from me to you in whatever long term endeavours you are involved in,


For more information about the Marshmallow experiment go to

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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.