School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: May 2009
Into the fire

by Tanya Sheikh
The weeks preceding ritual’s “fire module” were filled with resistance. Fatigue, migraines, symptoms that have become so achingly familiar. Telltale signs that a war is raging within. Breathing. Asking Source for guidance and being shown that a Change is coming. A first in many that would signify a turning point in my life, from that of struggle and survival,  constantly gulping down air in what seemed to be a place of stifling darkness, to that where there would be infinitely more space for authentic movement.

For arms to spread wide, not only in the dance but also in life. Freedom. Lightness of being. A new  dawn. A new day. But- ah yes, the ‘but’ that seems so often to be part of the human condition- a part of me was petrified of that change. Fearing that which is unknown. Fearing the light as the darkness was familiar in its suffocation. Preferring the familiarity of the struggle to the possibility of being able to create the life that I dream of.


Marianne Williamson’s words, quoted by Nelson Mandala in his now famous speech echo in my head as I board the train to Orval: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Delays occurred throughout the journey, causing me to miss connecting trains, mirroring perfectly the chaos within.


The first days of the workshop. Resistance surfacing in all the different shapes and forms that my ego mind could conjure up. “Movement medicine is not my thing,” “strange music, I can’t dance to this,” “I need a woman teacher,” and so on and so forth. The ego mind seems to be simultaneously inventive and repetitive. But, as is thankfully the nature of this work, it started to weave  its’ magic, touching and releasing those frozen bits within- despite my apparently very best intentions not to allow them to defrost.


Fire. The Fire within. Ya’acov in his typical mysterious shamanic way, guided us into our hips. Being held by Mother Earth, hips explored a tender, curious, dance. And there it was…a tiny red hot lick of flame, deep between  my legs. Allowing it to grow, fanning that flame so that I could feel its’ breath, its’ tender caress. Allowing my cells, my muscles, bones and tissue, to taste it and smell it, to wrap themselves around it in an ever deepening intimacy. This invitation allowing it to grow so that it crept up, consuming my body in an ever deepening spiral until all I could feel was that heat within. Hips thrusting, side to side, front to back, rotating in circles, small, bigger, slow, faster, my breath coming in pants and moans. Innocence.


After inviting that inner connection to our fire, Ya’acov  led us to creating a relationship between the inner and the outer. The fire within to Grandfather Fire outside of us. In other words: a firewalk. Fear consumed me to the extent that I was unaware of it. Thankfully, dear friend migraine opened the doors of awareness and consciousness. Standing at the fire side, the coals and the flames spread out like a sparkling, alive, universe, visions of my inner flame entangled in loving embrace with this outer flame reached out to me, whispering, then urging me to come closer. There was nothing to fear. Seeing my fellow ritual travelers boldly, fiercely and gently walk across those glistening, burning coals allowed the decision to be made within to trust and surrender. My feet reached out and…ah, what tender bliss, what a delicious surprise. Those hot, blazing coals under my feet were cool and soft, tender and sweet. They caressed my feet with aching intimacy.


Standing again at the side, wondering if I should meet this unexpected lover again, I realized that walking upon this fire was not what my heart desired. I wanted, no needed, to lie in its’ embrace. To dig my fingers into its warm folds and cover my body with its scent. But my ego mind was nowhere near ready for such a bold undertaking so I stood aside silently, whispering to the flames: another time my love, another time…


In the dining hall that evening, being witness to all those shining eyes, realizing that they were but mirrors to the sparkle in mine, I felt a deep release within. The shackles of FEAR had been collectively broken. The “I can’t” replaced with “I can!” The many books on the power of intention, replaced in that moment by living embodiment.


            Thank-you Ya’acov , fellow ritual travelers, Source of All That Is, and Spirits that held and hold us in this journey.


Tanya Sheikh

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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.