School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: March 2011
Return to Africa

By Susannah

Returning to Africa was huge for me. I lived with my family in Kenya as a child- we went out there when I was 4 and came back when I was 7. Not long, but I got the wild, fierce energy, the hot red earth in me, the smells of the bush, gloriously fresh after the rain, the laughter of the people, the dance, the animals who were in every story I wrote at school. I was so heartbroken when my parents (for good reasons I can now understand and respect) brought us back to England.

They wanted to bring us up as we were, English in England, with a solid root, and they were not happy with the neo-colonial aspects of being in Kenya. My Dad realised that his job could (and should) have been done by a Kenyan architect, not an English one brought in because they did not yet have confidence in their own people. And I was SO angry and upset. I vowed I would not go back as a tourist, but when I had something of meaning to offer and to share.

That time has come. Through Ya’Acov’s work there in the last years, we were able to offer many workshops, and also work with people from all over Africa at the Drama for Life department at WITs University in Johannesburg, and people from a range of community theatre groups in Cape Town. A huge thank you to all the many people involved. We were taken to the bush, and stayed at a gorgeous eco-lodge whose mantra is to take care of the land, the wildlife and the people (both guests, staff and locals), which they do with admirable oomph, joy and effectiveness. Our ranger (Derrick) and tracker (Norman) were local men who had learned to track at their grandfather’s knees, and then had learnt the more western components of being rangers through the lodge’s training system. What a pleasure and privilege to be out in the bush with this level of sensitivity, knowledge and humour. Lion, leopard (up close- AMAZING. The picture above is it!), giraffe, rhino, hippos, wildebeest, and impala. God the earth and her creatures are beautiful!  I’ve come away with renewed wildness in the blood,  renewed reverence for creation in its amazing multiplicity and gratitude for those who protect and care for it.

On the last night, we were playing “All the Earth is Sacred” in our room, and there was a knock on the door. One of the staff was there saying, “I heard you playing guitars, I love the guitar, can I come in and listen?” He turned out to be Biko, the brother of Derrick, and in the end he played us one of his songs, a searingly beautiful tender love song- what a voice. Another magic moment.

My heart opening “returning home” moment came as we hugged goodbye with all the staff we had connected with. A sense of genuine human connection alongside the roles of guest and staff, and that heart openness had me weeping and laughing all the way along the track out of there. Then we turned the corner and met elephants! Amazing Grace.

We made many, many connections on this journey, and also saw our work, and the relevance of Movement Medicine afresh from the perspective of African eyes:

1) That it has been born from the space between a man and a woman, it comes from the synergy and relationship between us two.

2) That the bigger picture of how we contribute and are part of the bigger picture of life on earth is intrinsically woven into the work, along with the relationships between sustainability, creativity, healing, individuality, co-creation and “inter-being” (to quote Thich Nat Hahn).

3) That MM is an integration of ancient and modern wisdom, weaving together shamanic, psychotherapeutic, scientific, artistic and ecstatic approaches to growing the human being.

4) That inclusivity and diversity are key to our work everywhere, and there is lots more we can do in terms of supporting this. Thank you Sponsorship Fund!

Do come and visit with us on our Webinars, and especially come and party and pray with us for the Achuar of the Amazon rainforest on the 16th March. Shamantics

And I’ll leave you with this wonderful poem, which dancer Simric Yarrow wowed us all with at the end of the workshop in Jo’berg. Here performed by the poet himself:

If you want more, (and its worth it!) go to

and have a shop of Sim’s poem (Take Off 2012) and other delectable rare MP3s, all towards a good cause, supporting the One World Mosaic to empower our voices of love for the earth to reach, support and inspire each other. You can make your love visible in this way too, if you haven’t already!

Love to all and each of us humans, doing our best to show up and find what is true, and beautiful, and to find the courage to follow it,

Happy being and becoming, and hope to see you soon somewhere!


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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.