School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: October 2009
The Road is Open

by Susannah

When I was a little girl, I made a book. Decorated in childish felt pen squiggles and of plants and animals, it had just one line: “I can’t believe how beautiful nature is.” I remember being in the garden where we lived in Kenya, and realising that god was everywhere, sparkling in everything, the bougainvillea trees, the grass, the snakes, the air. I was full of wonder, and at the same time grew increasingly appalled with us humans as I saw what we do.

I remember a fleeting, piercing moment of eye ball to eye ball meeting with a legless beggar, our heights thus the same, as I held my mother’s hand and we walked to the Nairobi market, my mind whirling into a thousand anguished “why???”s. I remember falling to the ground and howling when, one school lunch time back in England, I was listening to ‘Woman’s Hour’ by myself and heard about experiments when shampoo was tested by being dripped into rabbit’s eyes. I remember reading about the destruction of the rain forests, and animal extinction. I remember realising that we were living beyond the means of our planet to support us, and concluding that humans are, in effect, a parasite grown out of control, in the process of killing our own host. And so I remember, as a young teenager, praying that a virus would wipe out Homo sapiens, and imagining nature wiping her brow and saying “phew! That was an intense mistake! Thank god that is over!”

And that was all several decades ago. Since then, of course, human guzzling of the earth has continued apace. And of course, as a relatively normal member of a western nation, I’ve done my share of it. Even if I’ve composted, re-cycled, bought fair-trade and organic and all that I’ve been consuming far more than is my sustainable portion.

For the 20 years in which I’ve been working as a Movement practioner, I’ve been developing a practice which helps human beings connect with themselves, each other, the world, and the spirit. I love it, and yet, for the last years something in me has been disquieted. I’ve felt called to make some sort of contribution to the global human body politic as well as the individual personal human bodywork we offer. I just haven’t known HOW. I’ve wondered about becoming a politician (quickly decided against that one, can you imagine it?), learnt about Applied Systems Theory with Jake Chapman, studied Family Constellations (fantastic and insights from both being integrated into Movement Medicine), but not yet “it”. I’ve prayed and prayed to be more useful as a tool to serve life.

And then Bernadette Ryder introduced us to the work of the PachaMama alliance. They have created a symposium called “Awakening the Dreamer” (in the UK it is called “Be the Change”) which is a deeply intelligent, creative and empowering approach to how we can meet the state of play on planet earth. We trained to lead the symposium and it now informs all our work. See the PachaMama pages of our website. This work feels like the other “wing” I have been waiting for.

And then, in May this year, I realised that my deep despair about the human condition was smack bang in the way, obstructing the birth canal for the offering I was longing to make. I had to let it go. And that was scary. I don’t think I have ever felt such fear in renunciation of a belief. As I let that wave of energy pass into consciousness and let it go back to the cosmic compost heap, I realised how bitter, how terrifying, how bleak that view of myself and humanity was. I am so grateful for all the support I received during that healing from both the human and the spirit world. It has made a difference. At my birthday in July, I had the distinct sense that the “road is open.”

So now I am holding a much more vivid and exciting sense of the possibility of human (my own included) evolution into a state where we act from knowing that we are all linked, in which we evaluate how our actions work for the whole, not just for ourselves and our “tribe.” And I know, as Joanna Macey reminded us so beautifully the other night in Totnes, that it is uncertain whether we will make it.

Ken Wilber says (as Luc de Cuyper reminded me) quantum evolutionary leaps happen under evolutionary pressure. That is the good news; we’re creating the evolutionary pressure all right. The difficult bit is that the time lag built into climate change inputs and outputs means that the feedback loop is slow enough that by the time the effects are right in our (western) faces, affecting our very survival, it will be too late. And as the scientist in the garden shed in the movie the “Age of Stupid” says, we’re just not adapted to respond to long-term threats. So we better evolve fast!

Then, in June, I heard Ed Milliband speaking (he is the head of the UKJ department for Energy and Climate Change). He said something that deeply affected me and I remember as this: “We, the politicians, know what’s going on. We’ve seen the science. We’ve got the picture. We know what is needed. But what that calls for is radical, bold policies and agreements, which entail a level of global co-operation, which has not existed before. And we don’t have the courage (yet) to go for them, because we don’t yet feel that you, the public, have woken up to the urgency and scale of the task re climate change. Please, please, make a much bigger noise! We need to feel you at our backs, willing us on, mandating us to do what we know is necessary.”

Please forgive me Mr Milliband, if I have misquoted you. This is my translation of the spirit of what I understood you to mean.

Ed Milliband’s plea was under-pinned by Jake Chapman’s words about a people having the government it deserves i.e.” don’t be passive and just blame the government, hold them accountable!” and mixed in a potent cocktail on a sleepless night in June with Van Jones’ words from the PachaMama symposium: “A standing ovation starts with one fool standing up.” I took this personally. And then I had an idea about how to respond to Ed’s request.

Having stood up in the last circle of our Apprentices gathering and announced it (it was then called “A Standing Ovation for Life on Earth”) I went through several weeks of fears about not knowing how to do it, and fearing looking like one fool standing up with an idea she failed to materialise. (Not only looking like a fool but a fool who has recently co-written a book whose subtitle is “how to fulfil your dreams”!!).

Then I was browsing through a little booklet my father wrote about his life, in which he tells a story about how Gandhi’s words about “action without attachment to result” freed him to follow the promptings of his heart. They freed me too.

“6 Billion Reasons” was born. After many conversations with Ya’Acov, a phone call with Nick Hart-Williams started a cascade of encounters, which quickly led to our collaboration with Peter Armstrong and Anuradha Vittachi of ‘One World’ and ‘One Climate.’ They have the team, the technological creative know-how and the ethical passion to co-create a portal for the people of the world to move, empower and mandate our leaders to take extra-ordinary action for these extra-ordinary times.

Due to their Olympian efforts the proto type website is ready for you to use, go to: Ya’Acov and I are very happy and grateful to be working with such amazing people to manifest this vision of possibility. See the article titled 6 Billion Reasons in this newsletter for more details.

We regard YOU, the creative engaged human being who is reading this newsletter as potentially a prime collaborator in getting this global happening happening. Please “get excited and make something” (I love that slogan, as seen on a tee-shirt at the ‘Big Chill’ this summer) that will illustrate the potential creative power to communicate that this tool provides. Please use it and tell your networks about it.

As I have realised, it’s not enough to catch the train instead of flying. That is a good start, but I ALSO need to communicate, to let our leaders know. In order to turn the corner we need to take action on all levels; from the personal, individual level of making responsible “votes” with our wallets, to political action to make laws that incentivise right action on a global scale. And our leaders need us to make a big noise right now in the lead up to Copenhagen to support them to do that.

Every now and again I check myself. Am I having a millenialist seizure? Then I check the objective facts, and by every discernment I can see, I am not, we DO live in extra-ordinary times. And every one of us can make a difference. Indeed the editorial of the New Scientist (a magazine not famed for hysterical outbursts) last week was asking the same question and giving the same answer.

So here we are. Movement Medicine is joining up with other movements to make a difference to the direction we are heading on in our beloved, beautiful and endangered biosphere. We know how this work has helped us plug in to our dreams, and helped us find the courage and inner alignment to begin to bring them into manifestation. During the recent exquisite healing module with my ongoing group “The Journey of Empowerment” I realised that really movement medicine is a way to support the incarnation of the soul.

And simultaneously, as I keep allowing more and more of myself to arrive “on deck” I feel how grateful I am to all the benevolent company we are connected with, how we “arrive each other” and how much we need the light of each other’s love and attention to grow. And I realise how the very being I am becoming is only possible because of how Ya’Acov has loved me and how we’ve loved and fought and created and travelled together for all these years. We inter-be. And I am so happy and grateful that we have our 20th wedding anniversary celebration coming up and (at last!) a real honeymoon.

I will hopefully be at Copenhagen in December, providing a dance forum for people to meet and refresh body and spirit in an “out of words” space. Meanwhile Ya’Acov will be holding Alchemy of Stillness, a component of which will be holding a prayer shield to protect and empower the best possible outcomes for the Copenhagen summit. Do come and join us in one-way or another soon!

With my love, respect and thank-you for your colleague-ship in this “time of joining”


Susannah Darling Khan

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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.