School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: October 2013 Newsletter
The Power of Community

By Susannah
Recently I read these words by Malidoma Patrice Soma. He writes: “My sense is that the West’s need for healing is rooted in crises of personal identity and purpose. Whether they are raised in indigenous or modern culture, there are two things that people crave: the full realisation of their innate gifts, and to have those gifts approved, acknowledged, and confirmed.

There are countless people in the West whose efforts are sadly wasted because they have no means of expressing their unique genius. In the psyches of such people there is an inner power and authority which fails to shine because the world around them is blind to it. … Our confirmation or acknowledgement of ourselves is not enough…. We need the redemptive social response…”

From ‘The Healing Wisdom of Africa’ by Malidoma Patrice Soma

When I read this, I felt a powerful double response. One was a great big thud of recognition of the truth of these words, both for myself and for what I see in many of the people we work with, and the other was an awkward, almost embarrassed, reaction to the implied need for others to see us.

I’d just finished teaching the last module of the ‘Journey of Empowerment’ (known as J.O.E.) at Rill.  And this J.O.E. showed a glorious flowering of individual and collective talent, creativity, potency and beauty, just as all the other J.O.E. journeys have done. We show up wiling to be seen and to see, with love and with truth. We show up with a welcome for each of us both in being as we are, and in our becoming what we can be. It’s a rigorous journey and at the same time, a very tender, gentle one. And the results are audible, visible, clear to apprehend. Once again its been a stunning journey to see and hear what we ‘ordinary’ humans are capable of once we release ourselves from the shackles of shame and start to believe, feel and sense that we are welcome, that we have something of value to share, and that we are accepted and loved as we are. The glory we heard and saw in each other was pure joy and medicine to witness and to be part of. Thank you to each one of these journeyers for the heartful courage that it took to take all those steps, individually and together.

I recognise that one of the most fundamental factors that contributes to this growth, which we see in J.O.E. and on the Apprenticeship, is community. However brilliant Movement Medicine teachings or teachers might be, it’s only with the soil of healthy community that our humanity can fully grow its roots and blossom forth. There seems to be a fortunate alchemy at work. The kind of people who come to do Movement Medicine mixed with the work itself and the space we hold seems to create a space where the kind of community can evolve in which each one can flourish and offer their gifts to the whole. The belief that everyone is of value, that everyone has their own unique medicine, is one of the foundational orientations of Movement Medicine. And it is our experience over and over that, given good enough circumstances, it is simply our nature to naturally want to grow into being and offering that personal medicine.

So this was my joyful “YES!” of recognition to Malidoma’s words. We are the most social of animals. We don’t grow into full person hood without interaction with others. The need to be accepted and for our gifts to be welcomed and perceived by others is part of our “social animal” nature. We are primed to be inter-dependent, communicative, co-creative. And to naturally be life long learners, to speak, to sing, to dance, and to develop who we are and what we have to give.

In the awkward part of my response to Malidoma’s words I see reflected the individualism of our culture, and the “should” of independence which also gets reflected in some spiritual teachings. I recognise the idea that the need to be seen is an ego driven thing, rather than a natural part of our human nature. Interesting, I feel an update coming on! Without denigrating our individual freedom, responsibility and power of choice, how would it be to accept tenderly our need for each other and to be seen and received by each other? I feel myself balking at the word “need.” But I think that is actually internalised programming from the ‘new age’ which often echoes the individualism of the culture is purports to be different from.  I do need love. I do need to feel accepted and to feel that my offering is received and valued. Yes.

Wow. I’m surprised how strong this little inner dialogue is for me. I guess it’s connected to our western socio-historical fear that keeps us veering away from feeling ourselves as intrinsic, deeply inter-dependent parts of the web of life, to be able to feel ourselves as related, and to honour our real need for community, love, acceptance and honouring. When I and we don’t allow this, no wonder we strive for the power to be unassailable and un-needing of connection in our separate fortresses. Which, of course, is a dangerous illusion which is driving us towards an insane and ultimately self destructive  “eating up” of the world which sustains us and which we are part of.

So, this article is written in honour of community: our real need for each other, for human connection and inter-connection, our need to see and be seen, to welcome and be welcomed, in our originality, our suffering, and our beauty and in our simple humanity. I celebrate our inter-dependence with the whole community of life on earth, and our real need to feel our connectedness and our interdependence, to welcome and be welcomed by the natural world.  Thank you for reading. I’m going out to bow to a tree and send some kisses on the wind to all my relations. Please include yourself if you want to!

Do take a look at our calendar. I’m going to be in Luzern, Paris, Munich and London this November, let’s rock and roll!

Wishing you good connections, every smile makes a difference!

And thank you to Marold Emmelkamp who gave us the Malidoma books at the end of assisting on the last AP, 


Susannah DK


Susannah’s Autumn Term Calendar



1-3            Arc of Time in Luzern. Contact Kristin +41 788 013210

5                Bringing the Dance Back Home: Webinar online wherever you

8-10           Source in Paris. Contact Pierre Henri:  + 33 615 325 816

15-17         The Circle and the Sword in Munchen. Contact Claudia on +49 89   292644

22-24          Love Stories in London, Contact Alex + 44 7868842219



2-11            Professional Training Module 1 at Rill with Ya’Acov

17               Bringing the Dance Back Home: Webinar online wherever you are

18-22          Returning Home: Switzerland with Ya’Acov. Contact Roland





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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.