School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: October 2009
Dancing with the Heart of the World

This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher

By Vicky Gaughan

On Friday night after the first leg of the journey my working class warrior left feeling like this is a load of bollocks! I just didn’t know why I was there amongst so many people who appeared different to me. Thankfully there is more to me than this.

I’ve done countless dance workshops including some deep & powerfully life changing ones with Ya’Acov & Susannah, so I signed up for DHW on the strength of previous experiences. And in all honesty without really reading the intention for this one, I popped the date in my diary and forgot about it. Eventually I started to engage with the words on the leaflet, the information on the website and the talk that was going around the dance community but because I have a full on life it wasn’t until the morning of the workshop that I started to feel it, a feeling of trepidation more than usual. I posted my feeling on facebook - “this is really big”.


I gave Ya’Acov a joyful welcome back to Sheffield and was thrilled that we were dancing in my hometown (I grew up in the Steel City). It might have something to do with the deep ethics of MM & how this resonates with mine. It might have to do with the attention to detail Ya’Acov gives to THE BODY and how much time I focus on body as I’m immersed in this subject in my work. It may have to do with sensing how committed the teacher is to following his own path and examining, meticulously his own attitudes to the many realms of being human and it may have something to do with feeling like somehow I lack something in my life – who knows? But something led me in the direction of this work in the first place.


After seeing the first instalment of the “Be The Change” film, & the heart sharing, we were asked to stand alone. I found myself in a desolate place and a feeling began to arise in me “this is not good”. I had a sense of deep abandonment as if I’d been born and then left, defenceless and I looked toward Ya’Acov and thought, “this isn’t right”. I felt traumatised and in that moment decided, this workshop is crap! it’s all bollocks! And I left on Friday night thinking I can’t go back, this has nothing to do with me!


On Saturday morning the thing that got me back to the dance after identifying the familiar feeling I often experience in workshops; that I’m different to everybody else that goes dancing and that I don’t fit in, is that this feeling usually passes, so it was with that in mind that I decided to go again and also because I trust Ya’Acov’s integrity.


I drew on all my previous self- discovery & knowledge and rearmed I went back to learn more from the symposium. It was through this roller coaster second day that I recognised that the powerful feelings welling up inside me were not to do with anybody personally but to do with my own internalised oppression and as my powerlessness struck me I projected my outrage onto my teacher, (you are crap, you are bollocks).


Thankfully through my dance practice I’ve learned one lesson that I can rely on – my feet, the ground, the here and now and I kept on moving. I moved through gigantic, sometimes overwhelming waves of fear, grief and isolation, but I kept it real and led myself back over and over again to where it was nourishing and the reason why I was putting myself through this gut wrenching work: Jack, my grandson.


The motivation for staying awake in this workshop & facing the nightmare is my devotion to the angel in my life - Jack. As Desmond Tutu reminded me when I was feeling helpless; every single one of us can do something to change the world, so I stuck with the workshop. I returned again on the third day sensing that this was going to be a more hopeful day and from the sickening declaration that we are heading for disaster I got to a more empowered place. I can make a difference to my world if I can really take in the knowledge that WE are ALL interconnected - if I spit on the earth I spit on myself. And if I can remember the resounding voice of Julia Butterfly Hill saying “when you say you are going to throw things away, where’s away?” My world is not disposable & my grandson and my descendants deserve to inherit a healthy planet.

 Also during my time dancing with the heart of the world I reaffirmed that my work is meaningful too and that the countless brave people who I have taught (massage) have gone on to touch others in a loving way, which is so essential when all to often destructive actions are taken at the hands of human beings.

There were many brave people on the dance floor this weekend and I’m grateful to all of them but I’m especially grateful to you two brave souls at MM, thank you so much for helping me stay awake. And the only bollocks I’d like to see are the ones that are shown as each of us takes the step toward a better world. Have you got the balls? I pray I have!


Vicky Gaughan October 2009

Pachamama "Be The Change" symposium, with Chris Salisbury and Susannah Darling Khan, Totnes,  Sunday, 23 November, £20 to cover costs, all profits to "Be The Change."
Times: 10-18.00. Bring food to share for lunch. Book with Roland

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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.