School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: October 2009
Further Steps on Our Journey

A.K.A Ways to Move beyond Pale Imitation

by Ali Young

I donít know about any of the rest of you but my feet havenít touched the ground since I finished the second module of the Journey of Empowerment. Hang on a minute, let me re-phrase that, lest my esteemed teacher feel she has been wasting her time altogether.

You see how the mind/body/spirit split is so utterly encoded in even our everyday metaphors. What I meant to say was, I been so busy Being, I havenít had time to return to my usual cognitive means of putting my own personal brakes on and analysing the life out of the experience Iíve just had. Maybe my mind, my body and my heart have indeed become more integrated and Iíve only just noticed. I thought Iíd just been incredibly busy.


As some of you are aware I have just become a PhD student for the next three years, researching embodiment, spiritual beliefs and sustainability. Although I began my field research back in July on the first module of The Journey of Empowerment and have been merrily interviewing some of you ever since, I only became an ďofficialĒ student on Monday of this week. Right now I feel as though Iíve taken up an extreme sport. How to scale the sheer cliff face of rock logic, whilst maintaining both the experience and wisdom of embodiment intact, is the challenge I seem to have been issued. Iíll be calling on fellow dancers to throw me long ropes from time to time I expect.


Indeed engaging with the task of embodying our authenticity is why we all gathered in Somerset this September and Iíve spent a fair amount of time since then contemplating the cultural wounding which treats the body, not as a home(never mind a temple) but as the site for the cultural training in self-hatred, so many of us seem to have inherited. Part of our work together involved watching video footage of all 40 or so participants moving . And in truth Indeed to share both the shock and OUTRAGE I felt witnessing woman after woman, in feedback to themselves, expressing the lack of love for our bodies which is so endemic in our culture. What is going on when beauty has become so blind to itself?


Meantime, on the other side of the world in Guinea, military fascists were raping and killing pro-democracy supporters who wanted the right to vote in an election theyíd been promised. And as unpalatable and difficult as itcan be for us to confront, we no longer live in a time when these experiences can be separated. This is precisely why we need to engage in the warriorís task of cleansing the cultural toxins from our psyches, bodies and hearts, so that we can be part of the ďsolutionĒ to the current global crisis which is upon us. Simply put, if I do not love and respect myself, I will have little to offer the world which is sustainable. Indeed, the communication which came most powerfully to me from the ancestors, during our secondweek together was just that, that the only true form of sustainability is a LOVING ATTITUDE. Love like charity, it seems to me, has to begin at home. And bugger that it is, resident in a culture which either drives us from our bodiesvery early on in life, or makes it hard for us to even arrive, we have to call ourselves, all of ourselves, back home, into our bodies, in order to retrieve that which we have forgotten along the way.


I have long believed that all souls arrive in the classroom of Planet Earth with gifts to share and missions to accomplish and yet looking around it can be hard to comprehend exactly where perfection lies, in the use of rape as a weapon of war, or apparent corporate indifference to the destruction of our environment.


Iíve been going through this very strange experience this year though. Iíve started to feel my heart. To my absolute astonishment, dancing in Awakening in April this year I had the most visceral experience of my heart I am aware of ever having had in this lifetime. In truth, my loving heart has felt so frustrated in the experience of being received; I replaced love with rage, somewhere along the road, thinking I could change the things I donít like with the passion of will. What I felt (and Iím almost crying as I write this) in April, was just how bruised my heart is. I love this Planet with such a ferocity, it hurts. And somehow, feeling the pain of my love has changed something on a very profound level. Maybe I can risk, just loving. Maybe I can share tenderness instead of anger. Maybe that will be far more effective. Thatís heart, mind, body, alignment for you. A mind with lots of enthusiasm and lots of good ideas, is less effective in a body with either an over-heated or a frozen heart and we also need to be able to stand upright in our full embodied dignity in order to choose whether we answer Yes or No to some of the vital questions which will arise in our life. What have I come here to contribute as this time of the Great Turning? How can I be most Effective in offering it?


Like many others on Module 2 of JOE, I joined with my companions to be one of The Six Billion Reasons for politicians to commit themselves to effective, fair and just change in our response to current environmental challenges. We asked them, in song, Not to Give Up, indeed to take courage from our heartfelt communication that we Care. We all need courage to overcome our fears and passivity, our grief and our despair. We can find it in community which is dedicated to the embodiment of authentic and soulful contribution. We can find it in the voices of the trees, when we switch off the cultural babble long enough to hear them calling upon us. We can sour upon its wings and fly forwards upon the chambers of our hearts. The sound of heartbreak can be every bit as beautiful as the symphonies of angels, if we can only learn to recognise the oceans of courage involved in allowing the heart to do itís job. The occupation of love.


Ali Young

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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.