School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: September 2010
Riddle of the Carving

by Roland

I pressed the ‘send to all recipients’ button for our last newsletter.  For a moment I watched to make sure that the computer was doing as I intended, then I got up to have a ‘good job well done’ stretch.  As I turned, my attention was caught by a carving that I have had hanging behind my chair in the School of Movement medicine office for many years.  How was it possible that I could have just written extensively in the newsletter about walking from the EarthSpirit centre to Glastonbury without thinking about this carving which is right behind my back?

The carving was made in the 1980s by a friend of mine called Nigel Watson.  When I used to visit him at his workshop I would often find him working on this piece.  His progress was extremely slow and often I would return after an absence of about two weeks to find him still working on the same patch of leaves that he had been carving on my previous visit.   One day when I called in, he was working on the staff that the walker is holding in his left hand and he was very pleased as he had found a way to make a visual trick so that St. Michael’s Tower could either be the top of the staff protruding from his hand or be the real tower on the top of Glastonbury Tor.   For many years he wouldn’t sell the piece but one winter when he was desperate for money he offered it to me at a price that did not properly reflect the hours of work he had put into it but was one I could afford and so a deal was made and the carving became mine.


In fact I never really thought of it as mine but more that I was the person who was now looking after the carving.  I even arranged so that when I die that Nigel’s children will inherit it.  This relationship somehow established a distance between me and the carving.  When I would look at it I always imagined the figure in the carving to be my friend.  I rationalised that the symbolism of the large water gourd on his back, the flute and pipe in his pocket, and the absence of laces in his boot had some personal meaning for him and had little do with me. 

Now though, it was clear, I had to make a reassessment. What does this carving mean to me?  I looked at it for a long time but no answers came.  The weeks have gone by, September has arrived and again I am looking at the carving.

As my chosen role in the School of Movement Medicine is to bring into reality the visions that Susannah and Ya’Acov have, I tend to see myself as a practical down to earth logical kind of guy (I love playing Bridge and used to be a keen chess player) and so I sometimes forget to pay attention to the magic threads in my own life.  Then, by chance, another friend of mine has, very recently, sent me some writing by Carl Jung and while scanning through the document I chanced upon these words “One cannot understand magic. One can only understand what accords with reason. Magic accords with unreason, which one cannot understand.”  These words made me that the riddle of this carving certainly would not be solved by staring at it with my left-hand logical brain.  This realisation made me  resolve to final ‘missing stretch’ (fromGlasgow to Oban) of my journey between The Lizard in Cornwall and to where my father’s ashes are scattered on Iona off the West Coast of Scotland. Several times I have been asked why I am making this journey and I have never been able to give a satisfactory reply.  If there is one lesson that I have learned from Susannah and Ya’Acov it is that once you have one those golden threads in your grasp then you must follow it.

I often receive phone-calls from people who feel very drawn to doing a particular workshop but will then tell me of a wide variety of very real reasons why they can’t do it.  I do my best to listen carefully and to help them assess how real these practical obstacles are.  Sometimes they are insurmountable but often the reasons are less clear cut – “Who will look after my children?”  “I have a lot of work to do” “I’ve just got a new contract”  “I’ve just discovered that my car needs a major repair”  Of course I cannot decide for anyone what the right decision might be for them, but I always remind them to think of the original motivation that attracted them to doing the workshop.  It is as if once we have one of those golden threads to follow, we immediately set up obstacles to stop us pursuing our quest.  We receive lots of feedback about the courses we offer.  Most of this is very positive and some of it is critical.  But we have never received feedback which says ‘I shouldn’t have done this course.  It was the wrong decision for me.’

Workshops Coming Up:

We have just a few places left for the Burial Ceremony and Long Dance ceremony at the end of September.  This forms part of Ya’Acov’s Rituals.  I’ve done this ceremony twice – both times were very different and I highly recommend it.  Dates at 28th Sept - 5th of October.  Send me an email at or phone on  00 44 (0)1803 762255.

Ya’Acov is in Birmingham on the 20th and 21st of September.  On the 20th he is giving a talk at 145 Alcester Rd.  Doors open at 7.00 and the talk starts at 7.15 prompt.  For directions and more details follow the link.  Or contact TreeofLife  0121 449 4086  

On the 21st Sept he will be teaching a Move! evening at Queen Alexandra College, 49 Court Oak Rd, Harborne, Birmingham  B17 9TG 7 -10.  The cost is £12.  Contact the TreeofLife people. Details as above.

The following weekend Ya’Acov will be in Sheffield teaching Mending the Circle, which is new workshop.  There is an article by Kerri about this worrkshop in this newsletter.  There are still place available and to book please contact Kerry +44 114 258 7861

Susannah is teaching the 2nd Module of her Journey of Empowerment Group in Switzerland in September and then she will be going to Salzburg, Austria for the weekend of 2 -3 Oct and will be teaching E-Motion Wild Life workshop and a Move! evening on the 1st.  Contact details:  Andrea  +43 664 380 8073

The following week she will teach Move! in Malmo, Sweden on 7th October – contact Christina +46 705 18 28 75 and the she will be teaching Sacred Space in Stockholm on the 8th – 10.  Contact:   John +46 8 663 41 50  On the Saturday night in Stockholm she and the participants of Sacred Space will be hosting another Party and Pray evening, marrying the vibes of celebration and devotion.

She will then be in London to teach a Move! evening in London on Monday 11th Oct.  Venue: St Peters Church, 310 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall London UK SE11 5HY. Closest tube: Vauxhall tube station, Victoria line and National Rail link.  Contact: Alex 07868842219

We now have information and application forms for the following courses Space Between Us (for couples) Feb 2011, Journey of Empowerment 2011, Rituals 2011, The Phoenix Retreat 2011 and The Apprenticeship Programme which will begin in March 2012

Happy questing




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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.