School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: April 2010
Communities and Hearts

By Susannah

On sunny Easter Monday four of us were contemplating wrestling in the buffeting wind with a huge amount of polythene in our garden. I had images of the wind lifting us, clinging to our plastic sail, way out over the hills and out to sea. But it didn’t, because our neighbours came to help. I ran around knocking on doors and 16 people arrived and good willingly helped. Afters lots of shouting and laughing and pulling and sitting on it we managed to get our new polytunnel clothed in its skin of special polythene.

We were so heart warmed to receive this help from our neighbours and to share this community moment. The growing sense of community amongst our neighbours has emerged through us doing the Transition Together project created by Transition Town Totnes. It’s wonderful: educative, interesting, humbling, empowering and community forming. Living where we live feels different in a really good way knowing more about who we are living amongst and how we can support each other to take responsibility for a sustainable future. (For info about Transition Together go to

On a resonant note, we are half way through our first 2-year Apprenticeship Programme. What a profound teaching and experience this is of the power of community, as we see how the love and connection, the feeling of belonging and being deeply accepted as one is, alongside the shared challenge to grow into what each of us aspires to be and do is such fertile soul food.

One reason we got a polytunnel (and yes, the themes will connect again!) was witnessing the length of the winter non-growing season. We’ve had leeks in the ground all winter that are as skinny now as they were they went in. The polytunnel makes an environment that shelters the plants and helps them grow. In a way, the Apprenticeship, and all our workshops given what is possible in different time scales, are like that- sanctuaries where people can experience the warmth of community and the shelter of being seen and accepted as they are. Through this coming to rest in our ‘being’, we naturally unfurl into the fire of our desire to grow into all we can become. And, watching the Apprentices, so far, so good. I feel privileged to be part of tending this garden, and grateful that, more and more, we are tending it together.

The next Apprenticeship Programme starts in 2012. For those wanting to get on board, there are several key intensive growth opportunities which are steps along the way, amongst them Initiation, which is famous as a “washing machine workshop” because its as if our hearts get thoroughly washed, and ‘stuff’ that we may have been carrying for many years, and even generations, can be acknowledged, moved and released in the catalytic work and the good company of our fellow travelers.

Each cycle of our lives, from conception through baby hood, childhood, puberty, adolescence, adulthood, maturity, old age to death has its particular challenges, learning’s and rewards.  In Initiation we set sail on a mythical boat and visit the different islands of these different cycles, or parts of life’s journey, and on each island we dance to remember, acknowledge and bring the light of consciousness, compassion and healing to what was, what is and what may be.

In this deep journey, as with any journey of substance, the nature of the community we travel with is central. Fellow dancers become essential support for each other and it becomes tangible that our love and attention for each other is the garden in which we grow. Sharing the heart, in its full spectrum of strength and its delicacy, is soul food and creates a feeling, almost as if one had literally lived a life with these people. We look forward to welcoming you on board should you choose to join us. Here’s to the power of community and to a wonderful spring.

Love!    Susannah

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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.