School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: April 2007
Wild at Heart

by Ya'Acov
This article first appeared in our February 2005 newsletter. It is time for its re-appearance.  Also a piece by Edo Kesteloot


Monday morning and time to send out the revaille wake-up call. Sending out a all to you guys out there, the rare and special birds called men on this dancing path. Good morning to you gentlemen! Here is your very own gilt-edged and personal invitation, your very own declaration of intent.

I am inviting you to join those other brave souls and my self who have already committed ourselves to be at this Tribal Gathering for men near to the summer solstice in The Ardennes in Belgium.


I was sitting in my office at the4 end of last week, dying to be out by the river and smelling the wild garlic in the woods. My eye fell upon a rather innocent looking piece of dark wood on my office desk. Aah, the memories, the memories. At the last menís workshop I did, one of the guys built a wooden cage that looked like someone had broken out of it. By the end of our time together, we certainly had! WE WERE MORE THAN 50 GUYS dancing together in that studio in the South of Germany. We had come together from all around Europe and even one guy had joined us from Canada. It was a very special time. It even contained a few pearl moments (ask me and Iíll tell you exactly what a pearl moment is).  So, I picked up my little wooden relic and marched out into the spring sunshine and took my dog to the river. Time for a little calling out!


This yearís gathering for men is taking place at Bois le Comte in the beautiful Ardennes in Belgium. Itís not difficult to get to. We will celebrate the summer solstice in the dance, in the sweat lodge, in ceremony. The solstice is a good time to gather and dance together. Our circle is growing stronger each week. There is still a place for you though. Itís quite a step to occupy your place in this circle. Itís a challenging place to be. Be you straight, gay, feminist, macho, jack-the Ėlad, playful and tricky, revolutionary peace-monger, zen go-getter, rich or poor, high status or low, confident or vulnerable, scared to take the step or just donít know what, why or where, Iím calling you now to join this circle.


There is a healing that happens in these circles of dancing men that only happens without the presence of women. Something wakes up here that reaches into the very fabric of how we live, how we dream our existence. For me, who was once proud to be identified as an emasculated feminist man, this re-discovery and re-owning of my own sense of being a man has been a powerful journey. It has affected my life as a husband, as a father, as a man in a position of power, and as a teacher. Weíre all born with a sword, man and woman. How we use it is the question. For many years, my own sword was pointed towards my own heart, controlling, repressing, an angry guard at the gateway of my own freedom. His mantra: ďLet nothing out, let nothing inĒ worked well as a survival mechanism but it wasnít much fun and the dance was soon knocking at that door urging me to open it and find out just what was going on with all that fire-power.


Each of us has an original voice, an original dance, an original dream. Our work together will be to find our own ground, our own edge, the power to be vulnerable and let go and reveal these original faces. A circle of men will give us a missing piece of the puzzle. In a circle like this, we are brothers, calling on the spirit of the shape-shifter so that we can be free to find the power of our own embodied hearts. We take and hold many different shapes for each other on the journey to freedom. Frightened boys are welcomed and initiated into manhood. Why? So that we have the power to be who we are and give what we can give, a well-tried and tested route to a contented smile on the deathbed.


So, there I was with my piece of cage by the River Dart, sending out dreams down the waterways, calling the soul of this circle into being. Did you hear me calling you? Maybe you did, and maybe you didnít. So I thought Iíd try the electronic route to communication as well in the spirit of trusting in Allah AND tying up my camel.


Dear Dancer with balls, you are invited to Wild at Heart. Get it?


YaíAcov. April 2007
In the spring of 2005, I realised that it would be good for me to do some work in men's groups. Thus far I had always avoided men, I did not particularly like their companionship. They seemed to live in a different world and acted in ways completely alien to me. So when I got the information about Wild at Heart scheduled in June 2005, I first became interested, and soon after decided to participate.

And I am glad I did. From the preparation till the homecoming it was a good experience to me. I liked the travelling in group from Brussels to Orval and back, feeling in good company throughout. In the group, and the pod, I discovered men more akin to me than I expected. It was a nurturing experience to realise that I was not so alone as a man in this world. 

During the dancing parts, it was a relief to me that there were no women in the room. I only realised then how distracted I got by their presence (being single at the time). In this workshop I could focus much more on the dance, and on being myself while dancing, alone or with a partner.

It was my first workshop with Ya'Acov, and I discovered a beautiful man, strong and gentle, and with a style completely different from mine. But I was able to surrender to that different style, to try out what he suggested, to participate in rituals that were at first strange to me, and some I found very powerful. 

Through this workshop I got really interested in diving into the 5 rhythms much more deeply, to find out what it means to me, and what I can learn from it. At the end of it, I decided to participate in Initiation later that year, arranging to stay there with one of the men, and finally travelling there with another man from the group. And much to my surprise, during Initiation I met the woman with whom I am now sharing my life.

So I can safely say that my participation in Wild at Heart has had a big influence on my life, and I am very grateful for that.
There is also an article about Wild at Heart by Smith Hanes in this edition and here is a link to an article by Christian de Sousa called Brother where art thou? I'm Wild at Heart. I'm here.


Wild at Heart will take place 28 June - 2 July at Bois le Comte, Belgium. For downlaodable pdf with full details click on workshop title



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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.