School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: May 2012
Coming Back Together

By Susannah

What an amazing time to be alive. After 400 years of separation, its time to re-connect the parts! I realise the meaning of that sentence may not be self-evident, so Iíll explain!

An Achuar leader talks about the prophecy of the eagle and the condor. In this prophecy it is said that for thousands of years the way of the condor dominated. The condor is said to represent the ways of indigenous people who leave close to, and in harmony with, the natural world. Then, about 400 years ago (about the time of Colombus) the people of the eagle came and the way of the eagle dominated.  The eagle represents the western way of rationally understanding of the world as full of separate parts. The Achuar leader tells us that the prophecy says that “now is to be the time when the eagle and the condor fly together in the same sky. It’s the time of integration, where the best of the way of the condor can come together with the best of the way of the eagle.” He spreads the fingers on both hands and interweaves them. This image and these words always resonate deeply for me.  It’s not about either/or. We don’t have to abandon the gifts and power of the western model. In fact they are needed. We simply need to harness them (as the Bishop of London startlingly said at the Royal marriage last year, amongst the forest which temporarily graced Westminster Cathedral ) for the care of the earth and for the future and well being of everyone and everything. In other words, link the power of the modern technological age with indigenous wisdom. 

In the west, we have spent four centuries pulling things apart and learning about the individual and apparently separate parts. As a strategy, this atomised thinking has been very effective for gaining power over the natural world, but not very good for learning how to live within and as part of it. We are living within the crisis (and also the possibilities) that this model and its success has precipitated, as an increasing global population increases its per capita consumption on a finite earth.

Another aspect of this separation has been the way we have separated out human attributes into specialisms which, though this has resulted in huge gains of knowledge and ability, has also disinherited many of us from our natural full spectrum of curiosity and enquiry, creative possibility and full participation in life.

Imagine a ceremony in ancient times when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. Or imagine a ceremony of the San Bush people of the Kalahari. In your mind’s eye you will probably see a ceremony which involves everyone singing, dancing, possibly painted or in costume, possibly with a dramatic aspect, in which the people are participating in a healing or re-balancing that links the human, the natural and the spirit world. Though there may be shamans or healers with particular roles, the force of the ritual is carried by the whole people, singing, dancing, praying, focusing, enacting the journey of the ceremony together. I think this was why my earliest ambition was to be a “cave (wo)man”. I yearned for a life lived in deep participation with the natural world, the earth, plants, animals and seasons, and where creativity, healing, community, and interaction with the spirit world was a normal, natural part of being human. Not so strange that I find myself immersed in Movement Medicine then!

We people of the modern world tend to think in either/ors: this or that. We go to see a theatre show or a music performance and it is clear we are separate: audience or performers. We vote (or not) and think our role in the body politic is over: political person or the rest of us. At 16 years old we choose (most of us in the UK who stay at school after 16) ‘A’ levels in the arts or sciences: arts or science. We tend to think there are some creative people, and then the rest of us: creative or ordinary. We tend to think of ourselves as powerless to change the big picture, rather than of ourselves as intimate parts of the big picture: micro or macro. We’ve tended to divide into people whose focus is on the world “out there” and people whose focus is on the inner world of the personal: spiritual and human potential orientated or political, economic, scientific orientated. And many of us often think of ourselves and others as either “alternative” or “mainstream.”

Specialisation has sub-divided knowledge and the quest for knowledge. Not only has it divided science from arts, politics from spirituality, but it has divided each area into smaller sub-divisions. Within science it has divided specialists in different fields so fully that to quote one example, it is possible to be a specialist studying the blood of a particular crab without ever knowing what that crab looks like or how it lives. Another everyday example of separation which we are all familiar with, even if we are not aware of it, is how disconnected we are as consumers from the provenance of what we buy. We buy things and often have no idea where they come from or what processes, either benevolent or destructive, were involved in the acquirement, processing and transporting of them. Even someone involved in one part of the chain of production will often have no idea of what happens in the other parts of the supply chain.

All this differentiation, specialistion and separation has, despite its costs, given amazing results. Across so many different disciplines individuals have achieved extra-ordinary levels of knowledge and skill which never could have been achieved if everyone had remained as “all rounders”.

We have between us learnt a vast amount in an extra-ordinarily wide range of different fields. Think about it! Between us we know how to make gardens bloom in the desert, we have digital wizards and horse whisperers and sub atomic specialists. People who know about the effect of music on the brains of slugs, people who can make an artificial eye, create ever more effective materials for doing what we want to do, build more efficient vehicles, opera singers and cob house builders, raw food cooks and Derren Brown (how to classify him!), expert mediators, meditators, machine makers, violinists, taxi drivers, farmers, osteopaths, hip replacement surgeons, psychotherapists, people who know how to train guide dogs for the blind, people who synthesise the sound effects for films, and mathematical geniuses. When I think about it, and all the thousands of examples I didn’t write down (and I’m sure you have your own scintillating list) and realise this is just a part of the knowledge base of one species, I’m rather overwhelmed. This is US! WOW! What an amazing power.

What would happen if we all got together to make it work? I feel that today we already have everything we need now to bring about the changes in consciousness and ways of living that can lead to a truly sustainable world for all. What we need to do is connect; put it all together, find out how the pieces of the jigsaw fit. We need to discover how to collaborate, co-operate, inspire, learn and co-create across and between specialisms. And it’s happening. A friend recently was at a TED talk, and heard the guy who started TED speak. He said just that people at the cutting edge in every area are making integrative connections, reaching beyond their field of expertise to “cross-fertilise” with other disciplines and approaches, and that’s where the great creative breakthroughs are being made.

In the context of scientific research, as I heard quoted recently on the radio (Radio 4, Start the Week with Andrew Marr on Creativity- details on my face book posting) people are realising that today’s complexity of problems means that one person and one knowledge set alone cannot possibly understand or solve things, so there is an increasing amount of collaborative research going on. As the scientific commentator said it’s commonly acknowledged that “we can succeed together or fail alone”.

How do we do this? It’s not necessarily easy. If all the parts of a bicycle were lying on the floor in front of you a bicycle is a possibility but not yet present. It would be quite a process to work out for yourself how everything fits together. If you have a manual of how to put the parts together a functioning bicycle as end result becomes much more likely. If it is true that one of the main things we need to do now is find the link between all our different parts, how do we do this? As far as I know, we don’t have a manual. But unlike the bicycle parts, each of us is sentient, aware (at least to some extent) of what she or he is trying to achieve (in my case, I’d say a healthy, healed, sustainable world where all life has the possibility to flourish) and able to act. I trust that, given the motivation to collaborate, the willingness to make mistakes, to explore and experiment, we can work it out.

I was told recently of a Bavarian farmer’s wife who is channelling Mother Mary. Apparently Mother Mary has a very funny voice as it comes through her. But besides that, she says some very interesting things. She was asked why so many people have such great ideas but fail to act on them. She said, “If you have an idea, an inspiration, act! Go on! Take the first step! The spirit world is waiting to help, but it cannot until you go first. Even if it turns out to be the wrong direction, it doesn’t matter. Take the risk. Make your move!” 

So, I better finish this article, because, as usual, it’s becoming a long essay! I love Movement Medicine because there is space for all of this inside it. The micro and the macro, the inner world in relationship with the big picture, accepting all that we are, becoming all that we may become, and giving all that we can give.  Exploring on the dance floor how to co-create and collaborate, developing the creative, healing force of being an engaged part of the whole, through dance, voicing, percussion, ceremony, journeying, community, and offering. The Long Dance is a dream come true in that respect. A place for modern “cave men and women” to gather together in thanks, praise and healing for all of life. This year the central charity which we are collectively raising funds for is the Pachamama fund for supporting the Achuar people of the Amazon rainforest. If you feel this dream resonating in you, do come and join us. Summer Long Dance

Also, do get to a Pachamama Symposium as soon as you can! If you want to do one with us with Movement Medicine integrated with the Symposium there are several opportunities this year. For more information about the Symposium (and a good introductory mini video) see

Details below of our dates.

So! That’s all for now! I’ll leave you with a few suggestions from that creativity radio programme. To increase your creativity: 1) focus and work at something, put in the effort (they called it “grit”) and have time out from it.  2) Day dream. Let go. Do what Y and I call “letting the mind go sideways.” There ‘s your yin and yang. 3) Put yourself in new situations with new challenges, new perspectives. Learn new things. 4) Communicate, dialogue, share about your dilemma/creative challenge/opportunity with people who you might not normally, with people who have other skill sets or backgrounds and let the dialogue spark new answers, perspectives, ideas and ways of looking at it.


So, I wish you happy re-connecting your parts, inner and outer, and let love and freedom reign!


Blessings on us all, and I wish you every joy with the vibrant new leaves of spring, or the vibrant colours of autumn if you are down south! Hope to see you at the Long Dance if not before!


With love,




Movement Medicine Pachamama Symposium possibilities:


Dublin: May 10th  “Pachamama Symposium” Dublin, Ireland, with Ya’Acov         

Kate + 353 83 370 3601

Copenhagen: May 18th (eve)- May 20th  “E-Motion: Dancing with the Heart of the World” Copenhagen with Susannah

Contact Bina +45 22 84 88 22

Warsaw: 18th October

And there will be a Pachamama Symposium in Warsaw in October, probably on the 18th October.

Contact Olga; +48 509 774 884

















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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.