School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
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




The Borrowers
By Susannah

Looking up at the stars last night and the awesome Milky Way, we were pondering the mind-boggling mystery of it all. Here we are spinning merrily around our sun which is a small star in the outskirts of the vast Milky Way which is itself just one of many galaxies in the observable universe. This has been a theme of this summer. Here we are, tending our gardens; both our own literal garden and the garden of Movement Medicine, doing our best to make our contribution to this human condition at this time of challenge and possibility, AND recognising we are so small in it all.

One of my top moments this summer was completely cracking up when, on one of our walks, I saw, due to a peculiar perspective, Ya’Acov and a friend standing side by side and appearing as miniature men, like Borrowers (The Borrowers are tiny people from a children’s story by Mary Norton, who live hidden in the attics and walls of our houses and borrow stuff). Then I went down the slope and they watching from above reported the same phenomenon - I went miniature too. Its all about perspective.   I nearly burst my sides laughing, and so did they.  A great reminder for all the times I take myself and my difficulties or my grandiosities a little too seriously.

During one meditation in the spring of the year I asked for guidance. What I was told, to my surprise, over and over, by grandmother after indigenous grandmother, was “tend your garden and tell the people to tend their gardens. Its time to return to the gardens.”  Well, we started with the poly-tunnel, and more raised beds in the rest of the garden, and slowly, side by side with Sunny who looks after our garden when we are away, we are learning how to tend our garden. And (thanks to raised beds, copper tape and last winter’s coldness dealing with the slug problem) we have eaten lettuces, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers (we’ve been giving away these by the dozen), spinach,  greens, and potatoes all summer and it’s been profound. Receiving this amazing bounty from the earth, saying thank you every time I go and pick food for our supper (we’ve had a lot of ratatouille!), eating food that was growing 15 minutes before, no packaging, no plastic, direct simple communion.  Seeing our seeds coming up and flourishing, and new joy, getting into the subtleties of making (lots of!) compost.

Another beautiful thing this summer has been doing Movement Medicine together at home, dancing to our own CD, and  “test driving” my new one “Elemental” (a new CD of guided Movement Medicine Meditations- out in the MM Shop soon!) and simply loving doing our own practice. Almost obviously, as one teaches what one needs to learn, this practice is tailor made for us, but it really does rock my boat. YEAH!

So, here I am, just about to embark on the voyage of discovery of Initiation, with a fine company of souls, reminded of my smallness, of the joy of the garden the generosity of the earth, and of the difference it makes when I dare to turn my vision into action.  Asking for the courage and humility, humour and commitment to keep doing that, and above all, thankful to life, to the circle of friendship as we accompany each other, to family, and above all to Ya’Acov, and the joy of our co-creation together, whether it is a book, a CD or a compost heap!

Wishing you joy in the next steps of your path, and deep enjoyment of autumn’s mists, and sun and leaves, and looking forward to dancing with you soon!

Susannah DK


We have just completed a wonderful voyage on the good ship Initiation (what a wonderful group) and one of the participants brought me a hanging with this on it, how very perfect:

“We cannot do great things in this world. We can only to do small things with great love” Mother Theresa.

THANK YOU Manuela, Mother Theresa, and all those acting from love: small and great, YEAH!!!




Ready to Rock and Roll
By Ya'Acov

So far, this was the sweetest, the simplest summer of them all for me. Having done a detox and cleanse mid way through our summer term which included a 12-day fast, I was delighted that when we stopped work, I was relaxed and full of energy. In the past, stopping has usually resulted in a few days of deep tiredness, a cold sometimes, an argument or two as we found our ground again. I’m sure you know the kind of thing.

I remember one summer that we went straight from our last workshop of the summer into a three-day party, followed by a half day of shopping at IKEA – an absolute recipe for disaster! I think it took us a week to recover from the party and the rest of the summer to recover from IKEA. As for this summer, I so enjoyed being at home with Susannah, with Reuben and his girlfriend, and with Tali our dog.

Simple blessings, the garden, the land where we live, dreams of what may come as we played the future game from time to time. Time to revel in the enjoyment and digestion of what has been. Arriving here. In movement, loving to dance and the practice of Movement Medicine, at home in our own mesa.

Arriving deeper in this quiet sense of self, witnessing the dramas, the ups and downs and ins and outs of the being called Ya’Acov. Time to go deeper into relationship with Susannah, with Reuben as he grows up and continues his own journey. And yes, the garden, the joy of too much food and handing it round the square where we live and fresh salads unwrapped! And relationships with family and friends and with spirit all having the space to breathe a little deeper. Here. Now. With the gift of this life streaming through and the heart touched by the wonders and tragedies of this world. There were many delightful moments of understanding and many others of simply being. Seeing, witnessing, feeling touched by and laughing at the tribe of understudies that try their best to create and recreate the dissatisfaction that is their mantra. For most of the time this summer, they had little to get hold of and the silence and peace that sings in their surrender echoes in the four chambers of the heart.

But not every day is a good one as well we all know! And sometimes, they fight back, believing in their positions, their stances and stories and the furore of the past takes over for a while. Thank goodness for the dance, the deepest meditation, the deepest ceremony, the deepest prayer that I have ever known.

I watched meteor storms and wood smoke from the fire as we sat through the night with our friends from Mexico who came to visit us from the distant mountains of their homes. They left the sweet smell of copal and an array of intricate colour in their wake. We watched and experienced in amazement as the old shaman removed ‘negative energy’ as physical matter from each of our bodies, one by one. I had never felt such space inside my belly after that! And running through this whole time, like the pulse in my blood, the spirit of the deer named Ré Ir Ré, like the wash and splash of the sea and the river forever moving.

This summer, as I had been instructed in my drum initiation time in the Arctic Circle with my friend Bikko Matthis, I hunted, shot, skinned, butchered and ate a deer. I put meat on our table, and we said thank you and life turned a corner.

Recognising and feeling the violence of killing such a beautiful being was devastating, as perhaps it should be. Recognising death in my finger as it pulled the trigger, holding the hot liver of my prey in my hands, holding what remained of a heart, hot, in pieces, I saw my own death. I felt it, smelt it, recognised it. My heart will one day stop. My liver, my lungs, so full of life now, will one day pass back to the earth from which they come. I became part of the cycle in a much more visceral way. When I wear leather shoes or if ever I eat meat or fish again, I will recognise so much more about the choice I am making. I saw my end, or at least the end of this physical form, and then, my, did I pray! I prayed like mad for time, time to live and taste and experience, time to be with Susannah, to watch Reuben’s journey unfold, to live a long and healthy life. I recognised how attached I am to this life, how much I love it, don’t want it to fade with the seasons and die. Time to live, time to dance, time to create, time to write, time to play, time to watch the sunset again and again out at sea. Time to love and to learn every day that this great mystery grants me the breath to breathe, the body to feel and to dance, the heart to love and to know this simple and extraordinary gift of life.

I’m growing older. I wear glasses sometimes at the computer, and even though I managed a little kite-surfing, I notice that the knocks I took take longer to heal. The one I am loves this life, yes, is attached, thoroughly to this life, to my family, friends, home, and land. And yet, the one I am knows the reality of death, the reality of change and the seasons, and the reality that this form, like all others, will pass away. And perhaps the acknowledgement of this is one of the many gifts that Ré Ir Ré has brought to me. Of course, a drum will come from his skin, rattles from his feet and perhaps his song will live much longer than I.

Today we began the Initiation journey. Appropriately, it honours death as one of the great teachers in life. And as the new term begins and my thoughts also turn to the last module of Ritual which includes the ‘burial of the warrior’ ceremony, and as the leaves begin their riotous dance from summer green to flaming red and earthy brown, I send out my love to all our friends and family on this magical mystery tour. To the vegans and the meat-eaters and all the rights and wrongs therein, to the Dancers in all forms, to the artists and the teachers, to the workers and the players, to the lost and the found and the broken and the sound, I hope and pray that life continues to remind us how precious this life is and how precious the dreams that we carry within us are. Each of us is a ray of the golden sun, a note in nature’s song, each a moonbeam and light dancing on the water, each living heart a piece of this magnificent mosaic of life on earth.

Finally, Susannah gave me a flute for my birthday. It was a black with beautiful turquoise stones. At the Long Dance, our good buddy Liam’s flute got broken. I knew immediately that I would have to give him mine. Shit! Those moments when we know what we know but we don’t want to know! During the summer, the flute called again and I answered and our friend Nigel fashioned a beautiful instrument from a local fallen yew tree several hundred years old. If you hear it calling you as it called me, back to the roots of who we are and what we are here for, then I’ll be seeing you somewhere in this great dance. Maybe we’ll Mend the Circle together in Sheffield or in Israel, or dig a grave in Devon on Ritual or just meet up in some wild dream where we drop everything, catch a falling leaf and remember. Go well. See you there.

Ya’Acov. September 2010.

Mending the Circle Sheffield

By Kerry Cripps

‘In today’s world, many of us end up feeling ‘out of shape.’ We live in boxes, watch the box, and box each other in with narrow ideas and perceptions. We have forgotten that we are all an integral part of the circle of life, and that from the point of view of the circle, we are all equidistant from the centre’.

This is Ya’Acov’s introduction to the Mending the Circle workshop in Sheffield at the end of this month. It addresses one of my recurring questions: how is it possible to experience interconnection so clearly some days, on some dance floors, with some companions and yet lose it completely on days like this one? On one such day Ya’Acov asked me to write something about the Mending the Circle workshop for the newsletter and, as I am the workshop organiser that seemed like a reasonable request, yet faced with the blank page I too felt blank and inadequate to the task. My awareness that it is, in part, also a shamanic task - I am a Movement Medicine apprentice as well as an organiser and my current self chosen challenge is to increase my capacity to be of service – was of no help at all! I am out of shape as a writer and I felt well and truly boxed in! 

After a day or two and with some help from my friends (I am a slow learner sometimes!) I remembered one of the basic practises of Movement Medicine about acceptance and intention, and finally managed to let go of my narrow idea of what a ‘good article’ might be, accept where I am and set an intention to write from there. And so here I am reconnecting, remembering and writing.

And all that there is to do from here is to remind you that there is an opportunity for you to reconnect, remember and dance in the Movement Medicine circle in Sheffield on 24th – 26th September.

I look forward to welcoming some of you there,

With Love and gratitude

Kerri Cripps

PS Practical details about the workshop here: Sheffield Sept 10>

News from the Shop

We have some great new albums in stock. I've just added Gambler's Ballet (a wild ride through joyful, modern, upbeat Irish music) and Kila and Oki (an extra-ordinary world music collaboration between Oki, an indigenous Ainu from an Island off Japan, and Kila from Eire. Spacious, stunning, strangely African, the pleasure they are audibly taking in each others musical company is infectious.).

These are 2 very different albums from an amazing Irish band: Kila. We also have Kila's Soisin (Irish lilting music that lifts the heart, moves the body and touches the poignant sad tender joy cusp we love so well). 

People are raving about the
 purifying Blue Eagle smudge essence, and we have some still in stock!  Also if you haven't yet heard Japa Man by Benjahmin (deep reggae meets deep devotion).do so now!

I look forward to hearing from you!

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.