School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: June 2012
Vision and Integrity

By Roland

“Its ‘Three Dogs’ on the phone – are you available to talk to her?” calls ‘Scarlet Fever’ from outside my bedroom door. Its 11.30 Monday morning and I’m in bed, completely under the duvet feeling sorry for myself as I have an eye infection.

“Listen to this ‘Administrator’,” hisses ‘Three Dogs’ in her speciality evil voice, “I’ve pulled two Angel cards this morning.”

“Angel Cards!” I exclaimed, “Surely this is a little too much in the light for you ‘Three Dogs’? What cards were they?”

“Vision and Integrity – so I think I am going to come on the Vision Quest.”

“Ah! Vision!” I sigh, “I could do with some of that right now. I can only see out of one eye.”

Soon I find myself reminiscing with ‘Three Dogs’ about workshops we have done together in the past.  We recall, in particular, an Initiation workshop of many years ago which took place in Holland in a venue which we no longer use for reasons which will soon become apparent. 

Those who were running the centre seemed to have peculiar sadistic tendencies.  The cook would revel in producing certain foods on some days and then banning them on later days.  So for the first two days there was coffee for breakfast but on the third day there was none.  Instead he gave us a lecture on our addictive natures and how it was now time to get over them, then he went to a court-yard just outside the dining-room window where he proceeded to chain smoke cigarettes.  The next day a small amount of weak horrid coffee was produced for those whose addictive nature would not allow them to do without.  After one taste of the vile brew I left and after a short walk found a rather nice roadside café serving delicious pastries and wonderful cappuccino.  A similar story was played out with cheese. And I found if I was late for a meal that certain items would have all been eaten by the other participants.  Each time this happened I would look out of the window and there would be the long haired cook smoking his cigarettes.  I became a regular at the roadside café.

On the final day we encountered creatures far more vindictive than the cook.  There was an elderly couple who had some role in being responsible for the centre and they felt that we as a group owed them something as we had moved some chairs and tables during preparation for a piece of theatre and borrowed one or two props.  So as a group we agreed, as a penance, to do some cleaning and tidying on the last day before we left.  For some reason the power that this gave this couple was enough to reveal their true nature as prison guards.  Floors were swept and polished, bedding stripped and wash basins and toilets scoured. The worst though was reserved for those assigned to the kitchen where the female guard instigated a deep cleaning regime which included climbing up to high shelves that had not been touched for years and also, much to the disgust of ‘Scarlet Fever’, scrubbing away years of dirt from behind the cooker.  Finally the couple gave way to protest that participants had trains to catch and families to return to and let us go.  And I can assure you we never used the venue again.

But I have very fond memories of this workshop despite the nature of the staff and indeed despite the fact that the workspace was cramped and with a hard unforgiving floor.   The work we did was marvellous.  Each day we would do new surprising and engaging exercises related to the life cycles and there was plenty of time for dancing and most importantly for integration before we went onto the next cycle.  I learned a lot about myself and found that I was able to come to terms with aspects of myself left over from periods in my childhood and adolescence and to find a way to comfortably accommodate them into my present personality.  The work we did on fathers was particularly useful to me as my own father had recently died. Eventually the work we did there led to me making a walk of nearly a thousand miles from the Lizard Point in the South West of England, visiting various places he had lived or were important to him, and finally arriving at the Isle of Iona in Scotland where his ashes are scattered. 

My most vivid memory from the Initiation workshop is being out at night on a nature reserve.  A light mist had slowly turned to drizzle which in turn was beginning to become like rain.  So I left my small stone circle and sought shelter under a thorn tree.  A dog was barking in the distance.  I felt an intense happiness and contentment.  I was in the right place at the right time.  As I made my way back to the centre in the misty darkness of the very early morning I literally bumped into someone.  It was the girl I had recently met and with whom I had come to Initiation.  As we kissed I marvelled at the sensuality of the rain on her face.  And today I am still with her.  It was ‘Scarlet Fever’.

The perspective of time has also made me aware that, although the workshop did not change my life immediately in a radically dramatic way, it was crucially important in bringing shape and focus to the next stage in my life and helped me to find a way through a very difficult period.  It was also the moment that I first really saw how gifted both Susannah and Ya’Acov were as teachers and how much integrity they brought to their work.  And this, in turn, confirmed that my choice of working together with them as their ‘Administrator’ was really a wise one and a decision that I have never questioned since, even when the going has been tough or we have had disagreements.

Initiation is one of the key Movement Medicine workshops and the next one will be held 31st August – 9th September in the beautiful new studio at the Rill Estate in South Devon.  So although you may miss out on the discomfort of dancing on a hard floor and the sight of the cook chain smoking just outside the dining room window, and you certainly won’t be obliged to start deep cleaning the kitchen on the last day, I can confidently assure you that you will experience one of the best workshops of your life.  There is an application procedure for this workshop.  Please contact me if you would like a form.  You can either phone me on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255 or by email

There is still time to book our major summer event – The Summer Long Dance.  The Summer Long Dance is a chance for the Movement Medicine community to come and dance and sing together in a 48 hour ceremony for celebration and gratitude for life .  Susannah and Ya’Acov give their time for free for this event and one of the chief aims is to raise money for charity.  The last three Long Dances have raised between them well over £65,000 for a variety of different charities around the world.  If you are interested in joining us please contact me on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255 or by email

You may be interested to know that we have now published details of the next Apprenticeship Programme and they are available by clicking on the link.  The programme will begin in August 2014.  If the Apprenticeship is something that you are drawn to, we strongly recommend that you start to think about this now so that you give yourself good time in order to do the prerequisite workshops. Please go to this link for more information about the Movement Medicine curriculum.  The Apprenticeship is also the path to Professional Teacher and Facilitator Training. 

Our Webinar series is continuing well and the early technical problems have been sorted out. There are now nearly 200 people from around the world signed up to them.  The next one is on Tuesday July 10th.  Please click on the link if you would like to take part in the webinars.  The cost is just £35 for 10 webinars.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer


'The Administrator' - Roland

PS  You may be pleased to know I have now recovered from my eye infection.

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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.