School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
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 roland@rwevents.co.uk

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 roland@rwevents.co.uk

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

Yours

'The Administrator' - Roland

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

The Dancing Warrior & The Summer Long Dance
By Ya'Acov

Calling all Dancing Warriors. It’s Summer Long Dance time again. And what better place to shiver your timbers and dance your prayers and dream your dreams for this great adventure called life on earth. This year, more than most, I seem to be spending quite a lot of my time teaching the Dancing Warrior map in weekends and intensives as I travel my way through a busy calendar. And each time I work with it, I understand more why it is so central to Movement Medicine practice.

I stumbled across this map many moons ago in one of those teaching dreams that I have learned to trust over the years. In the dream, I saw how strongly and for how long we have been playing out a shadow dance with power. The steps I was shown fascinated me. It was like witnessing a slow motion movie of human evolution. As I watched, I saw how unconscious we are most of the time as we busily rush through the dramas of our lives. I witnessed the seemingly endless cycle of the victim/persecutor dynamic being played out over eons as individuals, families and even nations passed on the inheritance of unhealed experiences for their descendants to play out. I saw how we have come to the understanding that power corrupts. I watched generation upon generation inheriting a worldview that serves so very few and whose natural outcome seems to be suffering. But then I watched as a transformation took place. In the dream, it took around 100 years as our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world evolved. Our focus shifted from dissatisfaction to gratitude. We noticed more and more how all things are connected and we recognised that our lives are a gift and that co-creation is our natural state. I saw a life in which all individuals, through being supported to be themselves, recognised their place in the great web of life and their ability to create with it. I saw an understanding that life is art and that every situation is an opportunity to create. And I saw the qualities of an archetypal force that was described to me as the Dancing Warrior, a truly empowered human being, engaged in body, heart and mind and totally committed to being who they are and making their contribution in all situations.

I struggled at first to understand how to work with the potency of this map, but as we followed our own evolution and the natural evolution of our work into Movement Medicine, it all started to make more and more sense. The Dancing Warrior deals with some tricky, sticky territory. It is a direct invitation to enquire into our relationship with power. And as we all know, power and the human psyche have a long and complicated past, and a turbulent and disturbing present. And of course, the fact that this material was appearing in my dreams was no random occurrence. I have had my own struggles with power too. As I began my own healing journey, I was determined not to repeat the mistakes of a patriarchal system that was out of control. And as I was taught at the time, power was to blame for our problems and particularly male power so the answer was obviously to join the ranks of good feminist men and get in touch with my real feelings. I thought I was doing very well until I met the dance. And then my emotions erupted like a fiery joy filled volcano as I realised that life as a castrato was simply not going to be the answer. The dance gave me my balls back but the challenge of not repeating the mistakes of generations past remained. How to be fully empowered and alive and well in the joyful dance of existence without becoming intoxicated by newly empowered sense of self and my capacity to create? I looked around for good examples of humans who have embraced the strength of who they are without at some point falling into the fantasy that their way is the best way or the only way. I looked for leaders who had embraced power and not been corrupted by it. I wasn’t looking for a saint or an angel. Just a good mirror of a human being who had got out of the way, humbled themselves and given everything. I looked but was sobered by the reality of how few have taken on this challenge successfully. What I found was lots of mirrors of ‘how not to do it.’ This was very a sobering time. Great and amazing beings and teachers all plagued by distortions of power. And me too, deeply involved in the story in my won way, with my own history to clean up. It’s more than a personal thing. And by that I mean that it’s no one’s fault. It’s a collective dance and it’s not down to one individual to change it. It’s down to us all to create a new relationship to power which doesn’t deny it but recognises the need to dedicate the strength we all have to the highest purpose according to our own heart’s truth. If I don’t wish to continue the old story, I have to know it, dance it, and release myself from it. My apprenticeship in the Amazon gave me the time and space to look into the dark mirror and purge as much as I could from my personal and ancestral stories with power. It was a truly uncomfortable time as I was presented with many truths I’d rather not have known about myself! But ultimately, it was just the medicine I needed as we were stepping into a new chapter in our lives. Without this medicine time, I would not have been prepared.

It was scary to recognise the territory we were in. Here we were, the mama and papa of a body of work that has come through us over the past 30 years, in positions of responsibility and power. How were we going to manage this dance? Well, we’re on the journey and I dare say we’ve made mistakes along the way and will no doubt make more. But the answer we have come to so far can be summed up in one word: dedication. As Merrilyn Tunneshende, a teacher I travelled with for a few years was fond of saying, everyone of us is born with a sword. So the question is not whether we have one, it’s what are we going to do with it and the answer to that is rooted in what we choose to dedicate it to. The sword is a symbol of power. And by power, I mean our capacity to choose, to create with life, to embody the force that is the Dancing Warrior. Power without heart is a dangerous thing. Power divorced from the heart and the wisdom of the body is doubly so. Knowing what we choose to dedicate our lives to is an enormous strength in challenging times and I don’t know if you noticed, but I am certainly noticing how much fear there is in the air with the amount of unknowns we are living with.

We know that our current lifestyle is unsustainable. We know that the financial system is a touch on the wobbly side. We sense that change is coming. We are in the process of change and humans are notoriously attached to what is known. When fear is strong, many cling to old ways. But to be overwhelmed by fear is to miss the great opportunity of the times. We only know two things for certain. We were born and we will die. Beyond that, it’s all a mystery, a great mystery. And now more than ever is the time to know what it is you are choosing to dedicate your sword to. Now more than ever, is the time to dance yourself as deep as you can go, to dance beyond the restrictions of old stories and to call out to the spirit of the dance to dance through you, whirling you through the eye of the needle, shedding skins along the way and washing you up on the wide open shores of possibility. And what force inside you can do this? What part of you has the strength, the focus, the power to overcome the fear that freezes instinct and cuts off creativity? That’s what I love about this Dancing Warrior archetype. It goes beyond caring what others will think. It goes beyond any certainty other than the certainty in your own heart that something makes sense and therefore you must do it. It goes beyond fears of failure and yet is absolutely not afraid to celebrate success. Even though loss is inevitable, this wisdom inside us is not afraid to love. And this place within us knows that in order to find peace, one has to have the strength to listen to and follow one’s own heart and that sometimes, this means swimming against the dominant current of our times.

The awareness of the Dancing Warrior recognises itself as a temporary structure, a part of the story of life that has spent the past 13.7 billion years in evolution. Who knows where this chapter in the story of life on earth will lead us? We can only know our own hearts and act accordingly.

I was talking recently in ceremony to the Great Mama, (as you do) about my dreams and hopes for these times. I wanted to know how the Earth is doing. I’d been in deep conversations during the week about the situation in Japan with the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor. There are radically different opinions as to how dangerous the situation is or isn’t. So, I decided to ask the Great Mama about it. Her reply broke my heart. She told me that we humans were putting her in a very difficult situation. She told me how much she loves ALL her children but that we humans were making her have to think about choosing between the well-being of some of her children above others, not to mention her own survival. Ouch! My heart broke again as I took in her words. What are we doing? One thing I am certain of is that the intelligent life force that is planet earth knows how to look after herself and she will do whatever she needs to in order to restore balance and maintain the conditions for life to exist, even if it’s at our expense. And another thing I know for certain is as a human race, we are capable of such apparently opposite extremes of behaviour. We can be so selfish, arrogant, and full of the sense of our own importance. We forget that we are part of life and that we are dependant on the health of the environment for our own.

As any of you who work with us will know, we are super-passionate about integrating the freedom and creative capacity we find on the dance floor into all areas of life. We are passionate about each individual’s potential to make a difference through being themselves and giving what they’ve got. And we recognise the power that each one of us has to make a difference in this life. And it’s because of this that each year, we run the Summer Long Dance. Dancing for 48 hours in ceremony is an act of power. The choice to show up with whatever is true, and dance through it to the place where our dance becomes a prayer, a part of the weaving of the human dream, a heartfelt reaching out to life for sustenance, a giving back, a thank you, a remembrance of what matters and most of all, a dedication or a re-dedication of our lives to what matters most to us. Please take a moment and look inside your heart and ask yourself, is there a place in this year’s ceremony with my name on it? If so, we’d be very happy to welcome you. Let’s dance. Let’s dream. For All Our Relations.

Ya’Acov. June 2012.

My Journey in Israel
By Susannah

I feel both touched and sad. I feel happy and at peace with the wonderful wolay (work and play) of the ‘Poetry of Presence’ this last weekend in Israel. At the same time I feel the pain of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse and the pain of the suffering and despair on both sides. As far as I have understood both Palestinians and Israelis experience themselves as vulnerable victims and the “other” as a fearful monster ready to strike. And of course there is at least some truth in that, from both sides. And round and round we go.

This last weekend I gave a workshop at the wonderful Arab-Jewish community centre in Jaffa, right next to the jewel blue-green of the Mediterranean Sea. Close by, inland, is a town called Tul Karem in the occupied territory. There are men, women and children who have never seen the sea, been on the beach, swam in the waters even though it is 15 miles away. As things stand they cannot ever go there. Neither can they go to Jerusalem to see their families. Don’t get me wrong; I am not naive about why there is an apparent or experienced need for this “containment”. I am not concerned about who is to blame. I am concerned that in this status quo, everyone suffers. The Palestinians suffer the loss of their freedom, their land, their economic self-reliance and dignity, and they suffer the feeling that there is a great big (Israeli) demon always intent on hurting them, or who, at the very best, does not care for their well being. And so they feel they have to defend themselves against this callous enemy. The Israeli people suffer the recurrence of their fear that they will be attacked, “pushed into the sea”, that they are seen negatively by the whole world, that they have no friends, and the feeling that there is a great big (Arab) demon always intent on hurting them, or who, at the very best, has no concern for their well being. And so they feel they have to defend themselves against this callous enemy. And round and round we go. How does one contribute to the change from a vicious circle to a virtuous circle? Especially when one side is still reeling (but does not acknowledge that it is reeling) from the vicious genocide of the Holocaust in which many Israelis lost most of their families.

I feel the pain of the holocaust. I hear the stories, over and over, terrible, extra-ordinary stories of enormous loss and survival against all odds, I weep again for this horror of horrors. And, I want to tell you about a moment recently when I was working in Germany.

It was in Berlin in April and we were dancing the Arc of Time, in which we dance back in time all the way to an ape-human ancestor at the edge between the forest and the savannah in Africa. As we prepared for this journey I realised that in our retrospective journey we would be travelling through the 3rd Reich as well as many other periods of history. I prepared the group to move as compassionate, truth seeing witnesses through whatever they encountered in their time journey. As we arrived at the brink of the holocaust the whole group, (as far as I could tell) started weeping as one. Me, the translator, all of us. A great wave of grief engulfed us and poured through our beings as the tears tumbled down our faces.  It was so real, right and spontaneous, and felt, to me, as if it carried its own healing. After a little while we journeyed on, through so many human eras and finally back to our gatherer-hunter forbearers in Africa. A great relief and joy came upon us. Having communed with our ape-human ancestors we travelled back to the present day. Once again we passed through that Second World War, once more a collective weep, and once more, bearing our gifts from the past, and washed, humbled and humanised by our tears, we returned to the present.

I tell this story both because I was moved by it, and because I think it is important for Jews (both Israeli Jews and others ‘round the world) to know that they are not alone in caring about and grieving deeply for the holocaust.

As I said, I am not concerned about who is to blame. I take it for granted that both sides (as well as the UK and others who so clumsily instigated Israel in the first place) have responsibilities for “how it is and for how it has become how it is”. I believe that most Israelis and most Palestinians want to live in peace and that the conflict serves the interests of a few extremists on either side. At the same time, politicians rule only with the tacit consent of the majority. I do not believe that we “ordinary people” are powerless. We are as powerless as we think we are. What I am concerned about is “what can be done, and what each of us can do”. We can each make a contribution to peace, even if it is an apparently small one. As Lynn Twist says in the “Awakening the Dreamer Symposium” “You don’t have a big part to play, you don’t have a small part, you have your part, and if you play it, your life will take on a kind of meaning that you have dreamt of”.

Our beautiful and deep thinking organiser Aviya took me to the beach on my last day. Having bathed in the sea and the sun, and sent the energy of the water spirit to those who cannot come there, we walked back to where we had parked. As you leave this beach there is a big sign “Go in Peace!” in Hebrew, Arabic and English. I can’t tell you how (though I know its just a sign and signs are ‘easy’) moved I was by those words.

So, yes, go in peace!

Susannah Darling Khan

Are you Ready For Initiation?
By Susannah and Ya'Acov

The circle for this year’s Initiation Odyssey is taking shape and we wanted to invite you to join us if it’s your year. If you are thinking about applying for our next Apprenticeship Programme beginning in August 2014, it’s time to sit down and look at the minimum prerequisites and make your plan for making the most of the journey.

Initiation is one of the main prerequisites because of the ground it gives us in relationship to our past, our present and our futures, including the reality that we are mortal beings. Part of the workshop involves an encounter with benevolent death, an archetypal energy that is one of the greatest teachers we have ever met. Shamans around the world have always supported their communities to embrace the reality of mortality. A good relationship with death brings us a calm urgency and an ever-deepening appreciation of the breath we breathe, the lives we are living, and the people we are living them with. Like any other relationship, our full attention is required. Unlike any other relationship, this is not one we can walk away from. Death is coming whether we are ready or not.

"I sit in the celestial court, still in the ethereal light, the wings of the angel of benevolent death and re-birth shining above me, and I can sense unseen beings of great strength and compassion hovering all around. In the mortal world, a friend reads my epitaph and blesses the life I have lived. Here in the space between life and death, I have been invited to contemplate the effect my choices have had on those around me in my life. With the presences of my Wise Elder close by, I see all this without judgement. The truth, I have been told, is ultimately what sets us free.

Then the angel of death and re-birth tells me it is not my time to die. I am being given another chance to return and to continue this life. Before I return, I am given the opportunity to renew, revise or reconsider the compass of my life. Having spent the past week travelling through the many landscapes of my life, I have a clarity I have not had before. The puzzle of my life has a sense to it. I don’t have all the answers but for certain, my compass is more finely tuned."

Each year in the Initiation workshop we make a grand imaginal journey, travelling each night on our ‘dream boat’ to visit the different ‘islands’ of the different life cycles (stages of life). We visit them to strengthen our resources here in the present by changing our relationship to the stories that live in the past. We have discovered time and time again that no matter what the story, it can become a source of inspiration and energy now once the necessary healing has taken place. We travel from conception right through to the present, and then we look ahead to our deaths, before returning to our lives, with a new sense of clarity and purpose. On each island we give space to acknowledging the truth of how things were and with the help of spirit, imagination, creativity, the solidarity of the group, and ceremony, we call in healing and a more choiceful, life sustaining relationship with each stage.

And you know what is amazing to us? It’s the power of this journey, the power of the symbolism and the ceremony and the shared intention. It reminds us again and again of how we humans seem to be naturally resonant with and nourished by the symbolic language of ceremony. And it reminds us of the depths that people can arrive in with themselves and each other relatively easily given the right conditions and balance of safety and the excitement of possibility and change.

Initiation is an odyssey, a ‘waking, shared dream.’ In this dream, we set sail and as ‘crew,’ we go through an initiatory journey with our companions from all over the world. For 10 days we become a crucial network of support for each other. In this deep “wolay” (work-play) of the spirit, things come to consciousness and are acknowledged, things come to resolution, and often, things may be enabled to come to rest which may have been ricocheting around the family closets for generations.

This is not a casual workshop (as you may have guessed!). It is a deep investigation that repays commitment with a harvest of rich dreams. It is an experience which many people over the years have found has nourished their lives, and their relationships for years to come. We hear stories all year long from people putting into practice things that they discovered in their Initiation.

This year, for the first time for a long time, Initiation is residential. It will take place at the beautiful Rill Centre in Devon, in the awesome new studio which Rill are building for our work. We are so excited to be bringing this workshop back to the residential setting and we are certain that the support of being at Rill will take our work deeper.

Please take this as your personal invitation to join us and the fine company which is gathering for the voyage.

Susannah and Ya’Acov

June 2012

Initiation will be held 31st August – 9th September in the large new studio at the Rill Estate in South Devon.  There is an application procedure for this workshop.  Please contact Roland if you would like a form.  You can either phone me on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255 or by email roland@rwevents.co.uk

 

The Medicine that Moves
This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher By Gianni Demozzi

The hours passed without being noticed, the music sometimes relaxed and some other time fast, was always the gentle friend holding me by hand, guiding me through colours, imaginary lights and opening my heart. Yes, that is the point, I thought when my heart was taking the place of the mind, I was in fact making this one step ahead to my intention and cleansing my deeper senses.

I joined last month in Warsaw the workshop "The Way of the Dancing Warrior" as a nouveaux, not having previously attended any Ya’Acov workshop or any other gatherings of the so called medicine movement.  I was rather going there asking myself ‘’is it some kind of a new organization moving medicines or some new medicine that moves ?’’

In my curious approach with the mind full of questions and answers I entered the door leading to the room appointed for the workshop, expecting to find a place as usually ready to comfortably receive the participants: a screen or a flip-chart where probably a bunch of diagrams or quotes would be exposed properly for the public and the unmissable classical chair where the guru would be sitting and talking throughout the whole weekend eventually sipping some water every now and then to get some applause or a ‘yeah-wow’ appreciation.

Yes, I sound skeptical maybe due to some previous experiences.

By to my surprise, I found  almost 100 people dancing, stretching gently or simply and softly waving their bodies at the sound of a chillout-lounge music which was coming from the end of the hall where instead of the guru stand there was something that more reminded me the David Guetta console.

Now this could look already something strange itself but considering that I was arriving earlier on the scheduled time of the workshop (You know, this way You normally choose the best place :- )) I naturally asked myself: and what now? Well, as all are doing 'this' I might as well do it and then, I thought, for sure at some point will start the long sermon of the guru to bring back all things in order.

Of course, at first I looked around trying to see how people move, in a way like we used to do when we go to the dancing clubs. But something look really different; it was fascinating to see people dancing in sport pants and whatever-you-have-home-stuff in which You can fit while moving, sweating, laying or sweeping your body on the floor.

It didn’t take me long to understand that the music here regenerates in completely new vibrations perhaps because it waves differently on people who, instead of finding the exclusive dress or the multiple layers of make-up, it simply find open souls without masks, without shields, nothing to re-bounce on but rather to go through.

I soon forgot about looking at others and gave myself to observe feelings at first with the help of my eyes closed but then learning that even with eyes open you see a world of images. I can not hide that often my mind was escaping to some planning for things to do next week, next month or next year, but when I was coming back to myself I was anyway moving one step forward to something which I would understand later.

Well, considering that all this happened before the workshop started I thought that I might be going in something really surprising. At a certain point Ya’Acov took the place sitting on the floor and we all gathered around him and that, I understood, would be the real beginning of the workshop.

That was the moment when the me-judging–all part came back saying “alright, here we go again, some thousand of words will wash my head, pity as I was starting to enjoy the dance”.          

Well, when he started, it didn’t take me long to catch right out that he is not a guru throwing to me words of wisdom for his pleasure or revealing higher secrets that comes from some remote ancient civilisation; he is simply one of us and like us feels and breaths, add to this music and here You get an organic ‘‘viva-la-vita-cocktail’’.

Yeah, I thought, this guy is cool, and when he disappeared again behind his multifunctional music console I found myself back dancing and reflecting on the way he introduced the workshop, a mix of love and 'You-better-wake-up before it’s too late'.

The message was simple, give yourself an intention for the result of the workshop and meantime forgive yourself. Now, in some other workshops I had teachers talking for hours and at the end often I would forget why I was there, sometimes go back home full of guiltiness feeling. Here I got the information from the very start and I still had the whole weekend to work on it.

I don’t know if I remember what the whole workshop was meant to be, maybe to go deeper into the two aspects of warrior and victim, maybe to meet the good and the bad, connect to mother earth and father sky or maybe many other things together, might not be so important, as I felt meeting especially with the dancer in me which I didn’t even suppose was there.

Ya’Acov is somebody between a poet-dj, a modern motley fool and an urban shaman; he takes You for a journey where everything is possible. His ceremony is a non-ending trip into stories, representations, an art that is coming out naturally from each soul and expressing  through the dance of each participant; an interminable whole night marathon of love until You surrender into the arms of the sunrise.

I was walking out of the same door which I entered at the beginning of the workshop as You walk into a new day of your life, still having many things to solve and think about but knowing that life, after all, is a big dancing space where all the characters are inside yourself.

Just one more reflection which came to me whilst I was dancing: In polish language “impreza” means a party or an event, in Italian (my mother tongue) “impresa” means “firm” (in polish language “firma”) - yes , I never thought about that, our job in reality should be a joyful event and our daily decisions a dancing step.

Today, after some days has passed after the workshop, I see in my mind slides rather than a film; this experience is made of infinite moments that I cannot put together, they are too rich individually to be joined in a whole, it’s as when You look at a goal, something far to reach that creates fear but then reduced into steps becomes affordable.

In the end, I think that a quote which comes to my mind in this moment can express properly my feeling “we all are sons of our God and our art is the nephew of the universe’’.

With gratitude,

Gianni Demozzi

So what has Movement Medicine got to do with peace making?
By Susannah

When I was in Tul Karem last year, a big hearted, curious and open Palestinian guy who is a social worker and a policeman asked me this, and the answers have been developing ever since. Since my last visit to Israel, there’s been another ‘down load’. Here it is!

1) Movement is a universal language. It is a sign language of the heart. It transcends our differences and helps us find the common humanity from which we can begin to look for a creative way forward together.

When we come together with people from the “other side” the level of mutual distrust can make creative dialogue impossible. Speaking often descends to a basic level of blame, accusation and defensiveness about whose “fault” it is.  Until there is some level of basic trust that we are willing and able to see each other, and that we care about each other’s well being as fellow human beings, even the best intentioned dialogue can easily collapse into a destructive reiteration of the status quo which re-confirms our starting positions. Sharing a movement space as a prelude or accompaniment to verbal dialogue may seem a strange and arbitrary thing to do for those not accustomed to this way of working. However, our experience suggests that it can be a useful tool to help create the conditions where positive dialogue and mutual understanding become possible.

2) Internal Freedom. To make peace we need to be grounded in “what is” and to be awake, courageous, connected with our integrity, our independent intelligence, our creative capacity to imagine and create new possibilities. For this we need internal freedom.  But when we have been in oppressive conditions, whether these conditions were in the past or are in the present, we often become our own censors, our own silencers. As if we have “swallowed the jailer”. We do not allow ourselves to go near an apparently dangerous thought/feeling or action. By oppressive conditions I mean conditions in which it was not safe to be or express ourselves: our experience, our perceptions, our feelings, our actions.

One way to approach this internal liberation is through movement, because it is live, direct, it goes straight to the visceral heart of the matter.  We reclaim the freedom of our own bodies, hearts, minds and bodies when we dance in Movement Medicine. This is often a quicker route than through talking, though of course truth speaking and deep listening is very important.

3) Empathy. To make peace I need to be able to empathise with you, the other. And how does this work? Recent scientific studies have found that the capacity to be aware of the physical sensations of your own body, called ‘interoception”                (‘interior perception’) increase both your own emotional intelligence about your self (i.e. knowing what you are feeling) AND your empathy with others. It has been found that psychopaths and sociopaths tend to have very low capacities for interoception. (1) So it seems that the capacity to harm others is linked to a deadening or numbing of the internal awareness of one’s own body, which deadens or numbs the possibility of empathy. So Movement Medicine, with its focus on both recovering internal listening and sensation, and on developing outer empathy and seeing of the other, in their full humanity, could be a tool in this process.  If we dance together we have a chance to feel each other’s co-humanity, strengthening our empathy so that we can deal with the conflicts and differences between us in a healthy way.

Empathy has been discovered to be a natural characteristic of us as humans and as mammals. (2). What are the factors that inhibit this natural tendency towards empathy? From the research I have done so far, they include:

a)    Having low “interoception”, not being able to feel one’s own body, inhibits the resonance with how someone else feels. . (1)

b)    Not being able (literally) to see the other. (2).

c)     De-humanisation or demonisation. The “pictures” of the other which allow us to think that the other is not really human, or not really the same as us, and which allow us to hurt the other, or ignore the other’s need, without feeling guilt or remorse. The process of dehumanisation is a well documented and almost universal prelude to genocide or mass cruelty of one group to another. . (2 and 4).

d)    The power of the “herd instinct”. If enough of “us” are doing something, however clearly wrong, mis-informed or irrational it is, there is a very strong tendency of humans to follow the apparent consensus. If one begins to challenge or question the apparent consensus, even on an interior level it can arouse uncomfortable feelings of guilt or disloyalty. This is very connected with, and re-enforces c).

So Movement Medicine can contribute to strengthening our empathy and human solidarity across borders by:

a)    Giving a methodology for growing our interoception

b)    Being a non-threatening context where people from different “sides” can   meet and literally see each other as humans.

c)     Through this develop some more real and personal “pictures” of the other.

d)    Develop the inner strength and autonomy to tolerate the difficult feelings which arise when one starts to stand up for a universal (rather than tribal) sense of conscience and identity as part of the whole human family. Also giving people a context to find other people awakening, (in many ways) from the ‘trance of separation” , so that they are not alone.

4) The peace movement. The peace movement is a movement! In order to make peace we need to be able to move from the fixed ground of what we think we know, who we think we are, who we think the ‘other’ is, what consensus reality defines as “the way it is” or “the way it has to be”. Literal movement awakens this capacity to move on other levels too, and to challenge our internalised pre-conceptions of “the way things are” and to open to other perspectives and possibilities.

5) Resolving Trauma. When we, as individuals or as a culture, have suffered great trauma, one way that the psyche (both individual and collective) responds to survive, is to create a fixed view of the world as not safe, a self identity as a victim, and a strategy of pre-emptive aggression which is experienced as absolutely necessary. This survival strategy “trauma loop” keeps us reactive rather than responsive, and tends to re-confirm its own reality through selective perception and the way that reactive action normally creates the very reaction in others which it fears, and thus re-confirm the beliefs which drive it in the first place. When trauma is held deeply in both the individual and the collective and where a whole edifice of society is unconsciously built on the foundations of our collectively agreed survival strategy there is a huge momentum in place which seems to confirm that “this is reality”. How to shift this? My experience, and that of many respected trauma workers such as Peter Levine, (3) is that unlocking the body is the key to releasing trauma. Once one comes into a free relationship with the sensation and freedom of one’s own moving body, once can come home to a new sense of safety, presence in the ‘now” and openness to new possibility.

6) Personal well being. Working for peace has all sorts of tensions. We are often accused by our own people. We may feel painful inner tension between different loyalties. It is not always easy to keep the source of hope and joy and creativity clear and fresh. When we dance we can simply release, let go, be cleansed and renewed, find our spirits refreshed, and re-connect with the deep love of life and our deepest purpose.

6. Equality On the dance floor we all are equal. This opens the space for real empathy and empowerment.

7. True and honest dialogue. Freed from words we become more free from our habitual roles and defense mechanism as “defenders” of our nations. We are who we are at the moment in "what is" with the humanity of ourselves and each other.

8. Experiential Learning. Movement helps us to actually experience the change we want to be, it helps us to make the transition from cognitive awareness into action, where the positive feedback loop of interaction with other dancers can support new channels of communication and real “see-ing” of those we may have seen as “other”.

That’s as far as I have got so far!

Love to all! This document will be translated into Arabic and Hebrew.

Susannah Darling Khan

 

Bibliography:

1)     The Body Has A Mind Of Its Own by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee, Random House, 2007

2)     The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waal.

3)     Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine, North Atlantic Books, 1997

4)     Nottingham holocaust museum.

A Big Thank You!
We’d like to pass on Peter and Anuradha’s thanks to the Movement Medicine dancers who have been buying music from the Musical Mosaic from the www.movementmedicineshop.com . And we’d also like to give you the latest very exciting report about the Mosaic, so you know a bit more about what it is you are supporting!

Anuradha Vittachi and Peter Armstrong run the organisation ‘One Climate’. Peter was originally a film-maker and someone who, for many years, has been at the forefront of digital interactive technology. Many years ago he decided to use his technological whizz kid know how in service of life on earth. Anuradha is a journalist and writer who is a strong visionary. Peter and Anuradha have adopted, manifested and developed Susannah’s vision which was originally called 6 Billion Reasons and is now the One World Mosaic.

Peter says: “Thank you so much for all the support for the One World Mosaic. This is about how individuals together make up the vital big picture, so that every contribution in words, pictures, cash, video or music is hugely appreciated and plays its part in building the whole experience for those who encounter and are moved by the evolving mosaic.” Below is more current information about the ‘One World Mosaic’.

One World Mosaic project.

Mosaic Power

From OneWorld UK

A Unique Development

OneWorld UK has been pioneering new ways to unlock the power of deep-zoom mosaics - together with our partners: Professor Nigel Osborne, Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs, the Global Campaign for Climate Action and the School of Movement Medicine.

We are now ready to take our mosaic-building technology to new levels with two projects that are already getting underway:

-        The One World Mosaic presents our planet in an inspiring new way: sparkling and glowing with thousands of images and messages, sent in by people from around the world. All these different people - from parents to presidents - are expressing their longing to protect life on Earth, sharing with their fellow human beings what stirs them most deeply to act for positive change.

Click on the link below and you wiil be able to read Anuradha and Peters' review of the exciting progress of the One World Mosaic.

 Link to further article

Confessions of a hemp drinker
By Susannah

Recipes for people and planet.


I’m often asked for the recipes I’ve gathered over the years for delicious healthy food that is good for your health, vitality and well being, and the planet’s too. So here are some of Ya’Acov’s and my favourite recipe and lifestyle choices for the well being of the “earth of our bodies and the body of the earth.” Some of them may seem weird, but they work!

Oil Pulling. If you’re ever around us in the early morning this is what we are doing when we have our mouths full of something and can only can make strange noises our the sides of our mouth if we need to communicate. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic method for supporting health (especially oral health) that we’ve both being doing for a few years to great effect. You take a teaspoon or two of organic cold pressed 9not toasted!) sesame or sunflower oil in your mouth in the morning and swish it around your mouth and pull it through the gaps between your teeth. You do this for vigorously a few (3-5) minutes (we often do it when we are in the shower) and the oil mixture becomes opaque. You spit it all out and brush your teeth. Apparently the stuff you spit out is full of nasties which jump or dissolve into the oil. It gives your facial muscles a good work out, and is wonderful for your gums. Our dentist has been so impressed by the change in our oral health that he now recommends oil pulling to others. Lots of info available re this on the internet.

Plastics. I love my funky blue stainless steel water bottle! And I’m so glad for my own health’s sake not to be drinking plastic molecules. You can get a funky stainless steel (not aluminium!) one and that’s it for life. Extra bonus, its really pretty, and I can carry it in my computer bag without worrying that its going to spill. If you want to do this make sure you get one with a screw on not flip top. Other stuff about plastics. Our local authority collects plastic bottles from the house. It would be easy to think that you cannot recycle any other plastics but you can! At our local re-cycling centre there are facilities to recycle all plastics (except plastic bags). It seems crazy that the facility is there but almost no one knows about it. We learnt about it through Transition Town and now we share a plastics bin (it has a big red-ribbon on it so we can easily distinguish it from the other bins) with our neighbours, and take it in turns to take it to re-cycling, and it feels really good. Ask your local authority, maybe they do (or will if enough people ask) the same. And there is a Dutch group of young people issuing a great “buy no plastic for a week challenge” 11-17 June. http://www.zeroplasticweek.org/

Hemp Milk At the Eden Project there are some swathes of a plant which looks just like marijuana. It is in fact hemp, a related plant, protected (unlike most of the Eden Project’s crops) with a high fence and signs which say, “This looks just like marijuana, but its not! It will not get you high! Please let it grow!” We’ve recently discovered the glories of hemp milk, and though it’s not psychotropic, it certainly feels and tastes really, really good, as well as being very good for you (perfect balance of ETAs and great balance of amino acids).

We love this milk. It’s super healthy, delicious and creamy. We much prefer it to soya and rice milk. The hemp we get is grown in this country. You soak half a mug of hemp seeds overnight (or up to 24 hours) in water. In the morning, rinse well, and put in a good blender (you need a goblet powerful one like a “vita mix”) with a litre of filtered water. Whizz for about a minute. Pour through a clean tea towel in a sieve. These proportions make a rich creamy milk; you can vary the proportions if you want it thinner or thicker. The remains make a good body scrub, or great for the compost. Add a tiny bit of sea salt, some vanilla essence and a little agave to flavour the milk. If you mix it in the blender it forms a satisfying froth! Voila! We love it blended with frozen berries for a creamy sorbet, in tea, on cereal etc. Meat and milk production is costly in terms of greenhouse gases as well as animal welfare concerns and soya growing is often implicated in de-forestation. Rice milk does not satisfy us. Hemp milk’s the best thing we have found to satisfy the ‘milk’ longing, good for body and earth. And if you don’t want to deal with sieves, tea towels and liquidizers, you can buy it from most good whole or health food shops.

Use Ecosia as your search engine. It’s a green search engine supporting the WWF’s work in the Amazon. Every time you use it, money is donated. http://ecosia.org/about.php

More recipes and ideas next time, and please send in yours!

With love for the body (ours, yours, everyone’s and the earth’s).

Susannah and Ya’Acov

 

 

Movement Medicine Shop
You can now buy MP3 albums from the Musical Mosaic (as well as singles) with music from Jamie Catto (of Faithless), Morgan Doctor, (the last track from the last webinar is on Musical Mosaic Album 2) Matthew Barley, Volker Kaczinski and many more! More wonderful and unusual tracks coming soon. Enjoy! Also we are getting great feedback from people about the CD Deep Flight and about the German edition of Movement Medicine.

Any feedback about the music or website welcome!

http://www.movementmedicineshop.com  To find the albums to download, go to Musical Mosaic, and then go to Musical Mosaic albums, and there you are!

Earth Fire Water Air
By Andrew Marstrand

EARTH

Earth's body against my body
Sees through my body
The Earth takes me
With its earth
Its trees
Its sunlight
This is the true coming
All the others foreshadowed
And at night
In the Earth's shadow
I breathe in all that ever happened
I breathe in the story of myself
I breathe in all the old stories
I breathe out
Never ending
Like the rotation of the Earth
Yes that ends says the astronomer
No says the frog in the pond
As he leaps into nothing

FIRE

The fire says it's fine to be a hunter
The fire says it's fine to be human
The fire says what was fear
Is now fire
The fire says the fire's your body
Dance of the body
Melting into fire
Time swallowed by the fire
Words swallowed by the fire
And born as music
The dead being born, babies born
With the memory of death
Which is sweet, which is pure
Which is all I ever wanted
Fire that came from nowhere
And will go back to nowhere
All of everything
Eaten by the fire
It already was


WATER

Water flowing over my body
Under my ground
Over my buildings
Under my insects
Water never new
Always ocean or sky
Water always new
In its lines
Which aren't lines
A hole in its mathematics
Undoes whatever exists
Dissolving into the laughter
Of a bird at the end of a twig
Who knows nothing
And will die laughing
Like a stream
Unfolding in a creek
The ever-changing
Ever-unchanging self
As far as the mind can see
Water is laughing
What else is there to do
All is repeating recombining
Like molecules
In the tiniest place of water
And now it resets to zero
Before water was thought of 
Zero disappears
And all is falling
Out of mind into now
Where the first and last thing to do
Is nothing


AIR

 

 

 

 

By Andrew Marstrand

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. schoolofmovementmedicine.com