School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: July2010
Under this Sky, there is Truly Nothing New

By Ya'Acov

Iím on the edge here, well, more on the brink as my fingers move slowly on the keyboard, itching to stretch out and away from all things keyboard, awaiting that special moment that comes but once a year when they reach for the off button and with due ceremonial accord, press it until the screen goes blank and we disappear into the realms of the delightfully ordinary for a few weeks

Itís a good job really since our polytunnel is going crazy, producing hordes of super fresh cucumbers and legions of tomatoes from many a different variety. This year, our garden needs us to get tending, picking, and chewing.


We are fresh back from the third module of our Apprenticeship Programme in Somerset and weíve given ourselves two days to complete all our administration work before our summer break. The last six weeks have been an epic time in my life. Workshops in Luzern, Dublin, South Africa, the Netherlands and Israel were swiftly followed by a Vision Quest week here on Dartmoor and then time with our apprentices. In the middle of that time, I did a 12 day fast and colon cleanse followed by a month-long internal cleanse. After all, why not? In for a penny, in for a pound as they say! It didnít stop there either as on July 2nd, 100 intrepid guests converged on the Earth Spirit Centre where we were working, popped up their tents and then popped into a large white marquee to dance for 48 hours with 170 others who had come to join them for this yearís Summer Long Dance. What a sight it was as they were led ceremonially by Roland over the hill between the Earth Spirit Centre and the land on which we were dancing. For the Long Dance, everyone dresses in white to honour our interconnectedness and the intention of our collective give-away and prayers.


I wrote these words recently for a song Iím working on.


We are elemental beings of this Earth

Can you remember what this life is worth

When death comes and smiles into your eyes

Will you sing your song and tell him life never dies

This is my spirit song and I sing it to you

Under this sky there is truly nothing new


Iím sharing this with you because they speak to me of the essence of our Long Dance ceremony. The opportunity to give something away without our cultural norm of asking Ďwhat will I get out of it?í is a big cornerstone in the foundations of our work. Not to be holy, not to be a saint, not to think ourselves as special in any way, but simply to dance together and pray together and offer our life energy back to life with a smile, a tear, and a good old-fashioned wiggle Ė Iíll sing and dance to that til the day I die. Funny thing is, as it seems it usually is in the big paradox we inhabit, there ainít nothing more fulfilling on earth than giving what we came here to give!


And what an ending to the seasonís work it was. The Long Dance was many things. For me personally, it was the culmination of years and years of dreaming the rebirth of this kind of summer gathering; a place where people could gather, dance their socks off and pray as if there was no tomorrow in gratitude for the opportunity to live here in a body on this earth. A place where healing happens with great music and generally excellent support. A place where dreams are strengthened, ancestors are honoured, great lessons are learned and community is remembered. A place where we get back to something basic, deprived of world cup distractions and comfort food Ė a place where we meet our edges and some of them, if we are willing to engage with them, get polished. A ceremony where there is space for people to come forward and make their offerings and be witnessed as they do so without judgement or criticism. We are developing as a community and naturally along the way, a few rough edges become visible. Thank goodness and the GC (Great Chorographer) that we have the dance and a sense of humour and a very sunny song about Movement Medicine that David Matthews sang for us on the last morning to help us not to take ourselves too seriously!


On top of all that, the ceremony also raised more than £30,000 (over $45000) for a variety of different projects including more than £8000 for Survival International. As you can imagine, to create a gathering like this, as well as to participate in it, takes a great deal. I want to thank all who participated, all our apprentices who worked so hard throughout the ceremony, our excellent Staff team and Pathfinders, Mark Boylan for his organisational brilliance, the great team of musicians, Emily and James and their family whose land we danced on, and particularly Roland for his months and months of dedicated work and effort to make this dream a reality for so many. And if it wasnít for having Susannah by my side, keeping me in order, singing her beautiful songs, being the Movement Medicine Woman she is, then I may have checked out of this gig a long time ago.


After the ceremony was over, one of the things that I was left with most strongly on a personal level is something to do with grace of timing. I have held this vision for many years. If it had happened any sooner, if I hadnít been a little cleansed by the disappointments and frustrations of life when dreams seem to meander along in their own time no matter how much will I tried to exert, I know for a fact that I would have truly messed the thing up big time. Gabrielle used to tell us, and to be honest, sometimes it drove me mad, that once all the ingredients are in the wine bottle and the cork is in place, the wine needs time to rest in the dark and mature. From where I am now, what goes on in the mysterious darkness where nothing appears to be happening, is the carving and the becoming of the soul and a truly traditional apprenticeship. I am beyond gratitude for the time life forced me to spend in the bottle and I pray for all of us that we each have the time to mature in our won way, at the right time and in accordance with the highest good for all.


And so, our summer is tapping on the window and beckoning me with the sweet smell of jasmine and I must follow in the footsteps of all things. I wish you well and that all you dream may come to pass in a good way for us all. As any musician will tell us, timing is everything.


When we return after our break, we will be straight into our 10-day Initiation which is followed  by the third module of  Ritual which includes the Burial of the Warrior Ceremony and a mini Long Dance.


With love and respect all ways always.


YaíAcov DK.

July 2010



ďA good relationship to death brings us a calm urgency and an ever-deepening appreciation of the breath we breathe, the lives we are living, and the people we are living them with. Like any other relationship, our full attention is required. Unlike any other relationship, this is not one we can walk away from. Death is coming whether we are ready or not.Ē


P.S. Look out for the Long Dance film which will be being cut over the summer and the Long Dance CD (all profits in aid of Survival International) which will be out for Winter Solstice celebrations we hope.



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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.