School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: February 2009

by Susannah
Someone asked me recently “What exactly is empowerment?” For me the essence is about becoming the subject, rather than the object of your life. This means realising that the crown of your own authourity in your life is yours to put on. Assuming this responsibility, author-ship and authority, is a deep and intimate inner choice which is yours and yours alone to make.  No one can give this to you or take it away.  And you could wait forever for someone to put your crown on your head, or to give you permission to put it on. They can’t. It is yours.

And there are many expressions of this inner authority and presence.  In our movement work we practice aligning body, heart and mind, inhabiting the living world inside and allowing it to express itself and connect with all the life outside through dance. In voice work we practice allowing our voices to arise from the same deep inner well. This is a key part of integrating our work into daily life, as the voice, and the integrity of our words is so central to our communication with the world.

To Live the Dream you came here to live, which is the stated intent of our work, we must be able to communicate clearly with our voice from our hearts. Singing is the best practice I have found for that. The first step on our curriculum is my Ongoing Group, the Journey of Empowerment. I am excited that my Ongoing Group has found its place and the circle that is step by step gathering for this year’s group which begins in July, is already taking shape with a wonderful group of people ready to take this journey together.

I want to re-claim singing as a modern medicine for the heart, for the body and for the soul; for our individuality and for our connectedness.

So empowerment can include becoming the ‘subject,’ rather than the ‘object’ of sound and music. If you are a dancer that is an important shift. Not that I will ever, I imagine, want to let go of dancing to the feast of world sounds which are available now. It is FANTASTIC! It’s just that I want to add my voice and invite you to add yours to the smorgasbord.

As dancers and as people in the modern world we are flooded with an amazing range of ‘ready made’ music. It is easy to forget that making music is a natural human attribute, just as dancing is.  I was singing on my way to the osteopath last week. The patient the osteopath was with heard me and said; “Someone singing…. How very old fashioned!!!”  When my osteopath told me about this rather peculiar comment, we realised it was probably very true. People used to sing as they worked, as they walked, as they drove or rode. We’re still obsessed with music, but now we listen to our I-pods. I remember being a child in the days before music equipment existed in cars (or not in our cars anyway!). Long car journeys almost always became long singing sessions. What a change. We have become consumers of music, not singers of it. The world has become both noisier and quieter; less birds, less volume of morning chorus, and less human beings actually singing.

One of the most powerful and moving moments of my life so far was witnessing the participants on my last year group sing their own songs on the last module. In the gentle, warm light of the trust we had fostered together during the year, the treasure of the heart could begin to emerge.  People gave birth to new potency, creativity and presence. This was empowerment in action. It was awesome and I know that for us who were privileged to witness it, it is not something we will ever forget.

And singing together in a large group is such a power. The vibration of singing in a large group, especially in harmony, is one of the best medicines I know.  Everything is vibrating from inside. You are totally yourself, letting the pure notes pour through you, and you are totally connected and part of a great wild wide sound which is a gift for everyone who hears it. When we sing in a choir, we do not just hear with our ears. We receive, we feel in our bodies, the resonances of the notes. We vibrate like speakers. We become whole. As we sing, sway or dance close with our fellow singers the voices resonate through our whole bodies, inside and outside meeting in this vibration of co-creation. When we truly connect with our voices song can erupt from inside creating an intimate bridge between interior and exterior, heaven and earth, through the felt and expressed power of the heart.

The original vision which brought me to the dance was of a snake of people (all the peoples of the earth) singing and dancing through the rainforest.  Dancing has given the ground. And now song having been a thread in my work for many years is taking its place alongside the dance. Which is why I now teach DanSing as well as Resonance, and why awakening the voice has become a key element of our curriculum.

So, I encourage you to open your mouth and give voice and sing. Whether it’s on the way to the osteopath, in the car, with Madonna, or at a workshop. Let’s sing in the spring!

Susannah   February 2009

Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group begins in July this year.  Please click here for an application form


The next DanSing workshops are:

2 – 3rd May Cork.  Contact: Caroline + 353 86 053 1672 for more information.

10 – 13th June  Israel  Contact:  Aviya +972-9-7418203

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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.