School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
Issue: October 2010

Lui and Louis
By Roland

“The man in this photo is much younger than you.” So said the hotel desk clerk as he looked up at me after examining my driving licence.  He laid a particular sneering emphasis on the word ‘much’ which I took somewhat personally. 

This situation had arisen following a problem with one of my credit cards. Now, wishing to extract myself as fast as possible, I gave up the struggle to pay by card and handed over instead some of my precious cash, retrieved my driving licence, hoisted my rucksack onto my back and stepped out into the open air. 

I tried to let the desk clerk’s words go by inhaling and exhaling deeply but they stuck with me like insects on sticky flypaper.  Perhaps it was true and I had aged considerably over the last few years.  Thoughts of death had been with me a lot recently.  Both a good friend and a relative have been pronounced as being near to death.  Also just before I left to come to Scotland I visited the site where those on Ya’Acov’s Ritual Burial Ceremony had dug their graves.  I had joked with some participants about how comfortable and cosy their graves looked.  I smiled wryly as I remembered some of the things we said.  Jokes and digging graves make good dance partners it seems.  

I did the burial ceremony several years ago and learned an important lesson about the acceptance of death.  What I now realised was that I had never really examined properly or faced that other life cycle often linked with death – old age.

These thoughts made me feel lonely.  A feeling that was magnified by the overcast sky, the deserted moorland and the mist that was shrouding the mountain I was approaching. Even an attempt to sing my Scottish medley where I join all the ten lines of lyrics of Scottish songs that I know together into one song with an approximation of the tunes of all of them, failed to rouse my spirits. 

I trudged on in silence and when, after 2 hours, I reached the first steep slopes of the mountain, I stopped to rest.  The mountain I was about to climb was called Ben Lui. It occurred to me that the name of this mountain which I had chosen to include on my route from Glasgow to Oban (the final stretch of the walk I was making in memory of my father), was very apt.  My grandfather, my father’s father, was called Louis, which was pronounced in the French way rather than the anglicised ‘Lewis’(Louis is the man in the photo on the left. He is with his friend John Cowper Powys).  I never knew my grandfather well but when I was 9 years old and he was 84, he came to live in our small house in order to die.  He was a troublesome, smelly, demanding and totally disruptive presence in our already crowded and chaotic household.  

One time he nearly killed a favourite cat of mine by sitting on it.  The cat squealed loudly as my grandfather’s bulk descended on it but not loudly enough for my grandfather to notice.  I was the only other person in the room at the time and now began a strange conversation in which he talked to me about Shakespeare while I tried to explain to him that what he thought was a comfortable cushion was in fact a cat being crushed to death under his bottom.  Eventually he raised himself just enough for me to retrieve the cat through the bars at the back of the chair.   While I stood nursing the cat I muttered a prayer to any power that might be listening to a small boy to bring about my grandfathers death quickly and allow our household to return to normal.  Louis didn’t hear a word but relowered his bottom and proceeded to elicit my opinion of the French poet Baudelaire and the influence he had on early 20th century western poetry.

A short while later when he did die, I was away from home on a walking holiday with one of my older sisters.   I did not hear the news with any sense of joy but instead felt very uneasy - I was surely responsible for his death as I had wished him dead.   When we learned there was a possibility that he had committed suicide as he had died with a bottle of pills by his bedside and a note which said that no-one else and, in particular, my father knew of the existence of these pills, my conviction of my guilt became certain.  It was only many years later that I learned that during the last few months of his life he always went to bed with the same bottle of pills and same note beside his bed and had been considering suicide well before he moved in with us, that I realised I was not responsible for his death after all.

It was while I was sitting having these memories of my grandfather that I was passed by an old man on his way up the mountain.  We exchanged a few words about the weather and he went on his way.  A few minutes later I caught up with him and asked him if he knew the best route to the top.  We end up walking together and we talked about his life, Scottish mountains and his wife who had recently died.  Eventually we reached one of the shoulders of the mountain that led to the summit.  The mist was now very thick and the wind was blowing very strongly.  “I think this must be gale force,” the old man said to me.  We stopped so he could put up the hood of his coat.  Then he said, “I’m sorry but I don’t think I should go any further.  This looks a bit dangerous to me.  But I’m concerned about you – will you be OK on your own?”  I assured him I would be fine and that he should look after himself.  We shook hands – my bare hand in his green woollen mittened hand. I glanced away a moment and then back to where he had been standing but he was gone.  The mist had swallowed him up.

I started up the shoulder of the mountain.  I could hardly see beyond a few feet ahead of me and the wind was continually growing in strength.  Often I was forced to crawl on all fours.  I was absolutely terrified, but I felt I could not go back – I had committed myself to this route.  I found myself wondering about the mythological qualities of being guided up a mountain by an old man who then deserts me just at the most dangerous place.  It even occurred to me that I might have died and that he had led me to some kind of in-between world.  Then a fearsome gust of wind knocked me off my feet and I found myself shouting “Oh God! If you think I’m going to do what I always do when I am scared and that I will say sorry for all the bad things I’ve done and beg your forgiveness in exchange for being a good boy you are wrong!  Let the wind blow me off the mountain if you want, but I am not going to make any silly compromising deals.” 

Very soon after this the wind dropped and I came to some rocks where two figures were sheltering.  They too had a strangely mythological look about them as their balaclavas made them look like Templar Knights which was strangely appropriate as the Templar Knights were established to protect pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem and I was on a kind of pilgrimage.   I found out from them that we were just below the summit of the mountain.  “What is the wind like up there?” I asked, convinced that it must be worse than what I had already endured but they didn’t seem to understand what I was on about.  In fact the wind on the summit was negligible.

I had got far too shaken to feel any immediate exaltation at climbing the mountain but as I made my way down on the far side I reflected that I had gained a better perspective on the prospect of growing old.  I remembered that my grandfather had in fact led a very good and fulfilling life nearly to the time of his death.  He had followed the doctrine of his friend the notorious magician Aleister Crowley ‘Do what thou Wilt be the whole of the Law.’ He was a sexual libertine, a wine connoisseur, and published author who had the sense to avoid fighting in the first world war by moving to America.  In fact, the more I thought about his achievements the prouder I felt of him.  There was not much I could do about growing older but I could take a leaf out of his book and live my life to the full for as long as I could.  But I did also resolved to have more consideration for others than he had done and definitely not to squash any cats.

For those who wish to explore their relationship with death or old age without endangering their lives up the top of a mountain, I would strongly recommend The Burial Ceremony which forms part of Ya’Acov’s Rituals workshops.    The other two workshops which form the Rituals work are the Vision Quest and S.E.E.R process.

More about these and all our other workshops in the 'Forthcoming Workshops' article  in this newsletter.

Wishing you all well on your life journeys

 

Roland

 

Forthcoming Workshops
Please find below a list of the forthcoming workshops in November and December, followed by a list of the intensive workshops we are now taking bookings for.  N.B.  The Returning Home workshop is now full but it is possible to join the waiting list.

Forthcoming Workshops in November & December

November

5 - 7   Jersey   Ya'Acov Move!   Maria +44 7797 832 400
barnytrouble@hotmail.com

12 - 14   Padua, Italy   Ya'Acov The Way of the Dancing Warrior   Maria-Grazia +39 347-2446411
mariagraziabambini@libero.it

 12 - 14   Hamburg, Germany  - Susannah  
DanSing   Edgar +49 40 1888 65 95
edgar@edgarspieker.de

19 - 21   Antwerp, Belgium   Ya'Acov  Source   Luc +32 61 32 99 20
luc@owc.be

19   Paris - Susannah Move!   Pierre-Henri +33 615 325 816
pierre-henri@gracefully.fr

 20 - 21   Paris  - Susannah E-Motion: Wild Life   Pierre-Henri +33 615 325 816
pierre-henri@gracefully.fr

 27 - 28   London - Susannah    The Way of the Dancing Warrior   Alex +44 7868842219
alexhanly@hotmail.com

December

 6   London   Ya'Acov  Move!   Alex +44 7868842219
alexhanly@hotmail.com

 8   Paris - Susannah    Move!   Pierre-Henri +33 615 325 816
pierre-henri@gracefully.fr

 10 - 11   Zurich, Switzerland - Susannah    Sacred Space   Katriona +41 33 676 2708
kat@kf-events.ch   www.kf-events.ch

 8 - 11   Israel   Ya'Acov  Mending the Circle   Aviya +972-9-7418203
aviyareches@gmail.com



Here is a list of the intensive workshops we  are taking bookings for at the moment

Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group.   3 modules with Susannah starting May 2011 and which will take place at the Rill Centre in South Devon.  Applications forms can be found at http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/app-forms/Journey%20of%20Empowerment%20Enrolment2011.doc

This group is an essential pre-requisite for the Apprenticeship Programme and early booking is advised as there are limited places and it is booking very fast.

Rituals.  These intensive residential workshops S.E.E.R. Process, Vision Quest, Burial and Long Dance Ceremony with Ya'Acov can be booked individually but they are designed to be done together. You can download an application form for the Rituals.  workshops at http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/app-forms/Rituals2011%20-%20booking%20form.doc

The Apprenticeship Programme.  This programme starts in 2012.  Applications forms can be found at http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/app-forms/Apprenticeship-booking-form.doc

The Space Between Us.  Feb 2011.  A workshop for couples taking place at Waldhaus, Switzerland. Application forms can be found at http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/app-forms/Space%20Between%20Us%202011%20-%20Application%20form.doc

The Phoenix Retreat.  7 -14th April 2011 at Earth Spirit Centre in Somerset.  Application forms can be found at http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/app-forms/Phoenix%20Retreat%202011%20Application%20Form.doc This workshop is an essential pre-requisite for the Apprenticeship Programme and early booking is advised as there are limited places and it is book very fast.

All these application forms should be returned by email to roland@rwevents.co.uk

I hope and trust you will find somethings here to support you on your journey.

Please be in touch if you have any questions.

All the best

Roland



Small Acts of Kindness
By Susannah

A few weeks ago we celebrated Ya’Acov’s mother’s 70th birthday. It was a beautiful celebration of a wonderful woman. When Ya’Acov and I were first together it was not so easy. Ya’Acov is from a Jewish family who took their duty to keep the tribe intact seriously. I am from a Christian background and did not fit the bill! It was hard for everyone.

But Ya'Acov’s and my love and sense of destiny were irrefutable. Those early times were a little uncomfortable for Ya’Acov and with his family. Over the years the difficulties have melted away and we have become friends as well as family. Reuben has grown up with his cousins. I am as grateful for my dear mother in law as I could be. Last autumn at our wedding anniversary ceremony Ya’Acov’s mother gave her blessing to our marriage and something fell into place. And to be able to celebrate her birthday with her family, friends and colleagues was very beautiful. Ya’Acov wrote a song for his Mum which we sang with all the grandchildren, the chorus “Grandma, we love you!” sung with dramatic musical flourish by the youngest. Very sweet and strong.

At the party Ya’Acov was told this story by an old man who he had not seen for decades. The old man said that for most of his life he had been a grumpy, bad tempered man who thought the worst of everyone and whose bad expectations of life were normally proved right. Nevertheless, he married and had children. Then, in his 60s, his wife got terminal cancer. In her last weeks, in hospital, he would visit every day, and every day he would go and buy flowers from a little florist next to the hospital. Every day the man in the shop would greet him kindly. After his wife finally died, and he was saying farewell to the hospital, he decided to go back into the shop to thank the man for his kindness. The man in the shop was surprised and moved himself, to be so thanked, and they had a sweet, poignant moment of meeting as two human beings. After this, the man decided to experiment with “being nice to people” talking with people at the bus stop, smiling at people in the queue at Sainsbury’s. And to his great surprise, by and large people responded with kindness, warmth, and humour. The world looked different. The world WAS different. The man told this story with humour and innocence, as if he was still surprised by his own power and shocked that he had lived his life for so long under the spell of self-fulfilling gloominess.

Two things come up for me in response to this story. One of them is about the resonance of apparently small acts. The florist’s kindness was part of a chain of events which has not yet finished, and had a level of effect far beyond those moments. The other is this. I see how easily we tend to think of ourselves and the world as a ‘thing.’ “It is like that”, “I am like this.” “I’m a grumpy old man”, “The world is unfriendly and uncaring”, “I have something to offer the world, a smile, a kind world” “The world receives me with warmth and welcome”. Perhaps life isn’t an object, but a process. Maybe I’m not a fixed thing but a dynamic of constancy and change, moment-to-moment choice and pattern. Maybe people and (myself included!) don’t respond to what or who I am, but to how I am. And certainly my perception of the world (and myself) is dependent on which spectacles I am wearing.

During the Salzburg Wild Life workshop I stayed with friends. She is a yoga teacher, he an artist. He showed me his work: abstract paintings painted on the back of glass. The effect is mesmerising. I saw one painting as the surface of a strange planet. Then, suddenly, it changed, I saw a three dimensional forest of weird bamboo. Nothing had changed on the outside. Only how my brain was interpreting the information. I experimented with distance and found I could get both “pictures”, not at will, but I could find both ways of seeing. Of course I’ve known about this phenomena, and seen it in pictures of the woman/vase, but this was so vivid, so apparently absolute, and the change so fast and clear, it was a beautiful, fascinating wake up call to remember again the power of the mind. This is one of the things I love about Movement Medicine. There is such pleasure and sensual depth in the sensation of movement in the body. There is such a power to be released to learn (and I feel we are only just beginning) to use the depth of the mind and what is possible for us as human beings.

I will end for now with 2 Images: The oldest member of our current ‘Journey of Empowerment’ group gazing at herself dancing on video, tears of love and joy streaming down her face, (and ours too!) as she recognised the little girl who loved to dance, still dancing free in this 73 year old body. What a privilege to witness her falling in love with herself. The other: At the Move! evening last week at St Peter’s in London, the participants became dancers in a field of freedom, connectedness and co-creativity as an unusual magic descended on us, and a level of simultaneous individual freedom and deep belonging grew which was intimate and beautiful and left me, for one, moved and grateful and hopeful for our species.

Wishing you a happy Autumn of being and becoming.

Susannah. October 2010.

 

Tell Me Who You Are

By Ya'Acov

There are so many threads from the past that conspire to wrap themselves like the cold light of what folk like to call ‘the real world’ around the budding channels of our freedom and squeeze the life out of them. So many ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ and fears and tensions that we hold that stop us simply being who we are. As Susannah so beautifully puts it in the 12 minute video of the Long Dance ceremony that’s gone up on You Tube recently: ‘there’s such a feeling that you could really be yourself here, that you could be real here. And you wouldn’t be rejected and you wouldn’t be laughed at…….nobody would demand that you should be different than you are….and so the heart blossoms…’

Yes it does, the heart blossoms and people start to shine with an inner light when the truth of who they are comes through. I am stupidly blessed to be able to witness this so much of the time. I’ve made it my business to go around the place setting up spaces where people can remember and rediscover and embody who they are. Why? I have a preference for the truth. And I have a preference for the shine of the soul becoming visible in the eyes, in the dance. It lights up the moment and it lights up the road ahead. It illuminates some of the insanity of the world we live in, such as our disconnection from nature and the natural rhythms and cycles of the changing of the seasons. And sometimes when we fall into the truth of who we are and what life is, we recognise how often we abandon this truth in order to fit in. Ah yes, tribalism again and that very human need to belong.

Dancing, seeing someone in the naked beauty of their soul, witnessing a deep prayer or memory arising, watching as the dam walls of a toxic past burst and the tears wash the heart and bring forth the sweet waters of forgiveness; these are moments, pearl moments we call them, that remind us who we are and what we are here for. It’s not very mysterious really. Be who you are and give everything you’ve got – that’s what the whole School of Movement Medicine curriculum is based on. That, and learning the tools we need to strengthen our ability to stay in this truth, to live from this truth despite the harsh gaze and expectations of the world.

I’m not speaking from the highlands of ‘aha! I’ve got this down and I just thought I’d share a few morsels of wisdom……’ I am seeing in my own life the times and the places and the situations in which I adopt a mask in order to fit in or not disturb. Neither am I saying this is wrong. Wearing a mask in order to play a role in the theatre of life is not such a bad thing. As Ram Dass says, we may as well make it our style. The problem comes when we forget we’re wearing the mask or when we identify or more importantly, try to define who we are through the role.

So much of my early spiritual seeking was aimed at becoming something. As my 40’s race by, there is an awareness that who I am has always been present, a constant companion, a witness to the dramas of life. There is so much more space and time when I sit back in this awareness, so much less struggle. And the need to prove myself through my actions and deeds seems more like the weather. It comes and goes. What is constant is this love of truth, love of life, love of diversity. I am no less passionate than I was 10 years ago. It’s just that that very same passion seems to come from a different place – maybe just somewhere older.

I’ve travelled to many places in search of this simple remembering. Our friends in the Amazon showed us a primal force, a force that awakens and shakes the foundations, a life force uninterrupted by missionaries or economics. The force of the Great Mother herself, undulating and evolving, balancing and turning with the great wheel of time. A force so totally and magnificently itself and we were told again and again – ‘this is who you are.’ What a gift to remember myself as earth and water and fire and wind. And in the Arctic, I met another energy, compact and distilled by the very same forces that had tried to destroy it. There, in the working hands of an old friend, I met the drum. And the drum sang the same song as those leafy rattles in the Amazon – we belong to this earth, we are inextricably and eternally linked to her wellbeing and the wellbeing of all of life here. And on all my travels, I saw how very down to earth the people are who live from these truths. And I was shown how very down to earth the practice of shamanism is. And in being more open about the shamanic aspects of Movement Medicine, especially through the modules of Ritual and through the Long Dance (the date for next year’s Long Dance is July 8-12, 2011 by the way), I have attempted to convey this simplicity and this practicality.

The Great Choreographer is always asking us who we are. We dance to connect to the environment within us. We learn how to bring what we find into form and into the dance and into communication with life all around us. We learn how to listen and how to give our attention from the great intelligence of life moving within us. We learn that we are a circle and that we are connected to the circle. We learn that the circle includes the physical world and the non-physical world of our ancestors and of the spirit of the dance. And we remember that the same life force that lives this body is the same life force that moves through all life and from time to time, we get to rest in the Great Mystery of it all.

And then we go home. And there, the dance continues. How does the freedom of the dance relate to family life, to the work environment, to the social circles we frequent. What would ‘they’ say if we told them that we’d spent the week remembering that we’re like a tree or digging our own graves, or dancing all night in a yurt? Maybe they’d think we’re mad and maybe they’d invite us to come back to the desert of reality. Or maybe they’d start shining too for a moment, and maybe the whole theatre show would suddenly become apparent and they’d remember some forgotten childhood dreams of magic and mystery. That’s why community is important. We need mirrors whilst we’re remembering. And then we need them to keep us real. We need support to swim upriver against the flow sometimes. We need the strength of community when we’re following instinct like a salmon using everything it’s got to follow their gut instinct to pass life on. In the end, we have a choice to make. We can be who we are and give what we’ve got and enjoy the roles we play as much as we can, or……………..we can try to forget, go back to sleep and chase someone else’s dream.

There is a unique vibration that emanates from each one of us and this vibration both is a gift and has a gift to give in this world. Finding this gift is soul work. Letting this gift find its form is the work of embodiment. That’s the core of our work. Know who you are. Be who you are. Give what you’ve got. It’s simple.

I want to leave you with the title of a book a mentor told me about a while ago. I never read it maybe because the title says it all. It’s called What You Think of Me is None of My Business (Terry Cole-Whittaker). I know it’s not the whole truth but it’s a refreshing addition to the ever-changing, ever-evolving and paradoxically eternally constant dancer that is this mystery called the truth. I look forward to seeing, hearing and sharing the truth of who we are next time we meet.

Ya’Acov’s next Rituals journey begins in March 2011 in Switzerland. The journey is made up of three modules, The S.E.E.R Process in March in Switzerland, the Vision Quest in June in Devon, UK, and The Burial & Long Dance in September at Orval in Belgium. It is possible to take any one module or take two or all three together.

Ya’Acov. October 2010.

 

 

Groovy Grave Digging and other Deadly Virtues !
By Ali Young

A few weeks ago I took my 11 year old daughter shopping with me with the intention of going to try on a dress I had fallen in love with. It had the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration splashed over a tutu and a bodice. Skeletons partying till they dropped. I loved it. I wanted it.

Sadly at 46 I no longer fit into a size 8, which was all that was left, but my 11 year was also instantly besotted and as it actually fitted her, I wrestled my envy to the ground and bought it for her instead. At least that way I get to enjoy it as an art work. A few weeks later we went to a party, around enlightened, alternative sort of folk. The first comment which greeted her about her newly acquired dress was, “Wow, that’s a scary dress!” Much the same as the standard response to telling folk you are about to dig your grave and get in it for the night. Having done this ceremony twice and made a point of making sure I told as many people as possible, I only met one person who was incidentally, also a plant shaman, who was enthusiastic about the prospect. Having had cancer, more than once, I also know quite a bit about people’s responses to the prospect of being terminal. Funny that, the effect Death has on us Western people. So, fellow warriors just give yourselves a massive pat on the back for the enormous transformative gift you have just offered the collective. The morphogenetic field just got BRAVER. Well done guys and gals.

For anybody who isn’t entirely sure what I’m whittering on about I just got home on Tuesday from the week long Burial ceremony which Ya’acov, David and Sian have been holding at Rill Farm in Devon. Although I wasn’t that afraid, as I gathered many of my companions were, it was nonetheless a strong, intense ceremony.

The first time I had participated in the exercise of spending a night within(and under) the Earth, it was presented to me as an opportunity to be in conversation with the Big Mama and to really let ourselves be know by her. As a child of around 7, my own mother was treated for a supposed psychotic breakdown, because after years of refusing her gift of being able to hear the dead’s insistence upon asking her to take messages to the living, she began to have communications from nature, which were so powerful that they blew her rational Western conditioned state out of the water. After almost killing a Stag with her little Volkswagen beetle, one day, on her rounds as a district nurse in the Highlands, now trees too began demanding her time and attention. It was all too much for my Dad, an avowed atheist, who called the Doctor, to have her medicated.

I took to the woods, where deprived of my mother, the trees decided that I would do instead. I consider myself hugely blessed that I have never become disconnected from the big Mother in the way so many of us have and that I have heard her call since that time, to take her messages to those with ears to hear. That she is alive, and that we are all her children.

As a result of that and my cancer, I don’t have a lot of conscious fear of death. Pain, yes. Loss, yes. But death itself, that sliding between the veils, into the next big adventure, or maybe, to blessed peace, no. It’s life rather than death, which presents me with my challenges. Really choosing to be here, on the plane of so much of the suffering which accompanies the glorious beauty and engaging, fully. And over the years,I guess as many of us do, I’ve distracted myself, with drugs and alcohol, with complaining and resentment about all the bloody work there is to do to promote healing. As if it needs me as a publicity agent anyway! I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding my own pain by engaging in the compulsive need to fix those around me. Aarrgghh! Though thankfully, that phase is well on it’s way out. Phew!

One of the last roots has been kicking an addiction to painkillers which I initially began using to treat savage migraine headaches. Kicking codeine has been a lengthy journey for me, but until last week I hadn’t managed to rid myself of my methadone like replacement of a lesser pain killer. Shame, yes, I hear you knocking, but c’est la vie. All shadows must come into the light sometime.

I’d tagged that one as a process for the Phoenix next year, but having taken to my bed with migraine’s on two modules since July 2009, it was obvious unwillingly to wait any longer. Asked to consider the effect of my life on other people, whilst buried underground, I was instantly transported back to the time of my birth, when interestingly enough I was also drugged and pulled out into life by forceps. Giving myself permission to simply stay with the fuzz and the disengagement of my entry into life, I felt initially as though i would never emerge from the fog. Talk about staying with your body. Around 3 or 4 hours later I suddenly, spontaneously, felt awake. The ceremony continued, but in many ways that was the jewel for me. The following day I was struck by a 3 day migraine. I allowed myself to stay in bed for over 24 hours, without taking any pain relief, which for me, in my ‘busy’, no time for weakness life, is nothing short of a miracle. I joined the long dance for only a few short hours, before the pain returned and went back to bed. And so it continued for the next couple of days. Fading in and out of great physical pain, but actually allowing myself to feel it. Ouch! And at the end I feel like I can actually hear my body, in my pain and suffering, as well as my great commitment to doing what needs to be done for the world and her children every day. I feel like I am at the beginning of learning how to listen in a whole new way. I have emerged from the bowels of the earth, anew. Is it worth facing death, pain, suffering? Too bloody right! “

May all beings be balanced between the dark and light. Rooted upon the Earth, we children of the Stars. From far below to the great beyond, our hearts, begin to glow!”

Love and Blessings, Ali(Young)......October 2010

Why I write
By Caroline Carey

Part of my work is to write. I've been doing it since I was very small. One of the first Christmas presents I ever asked for was a very large poetry book. I learned as many of the poems as I could, off by heart and then began to write my own, I was five years old. My mother had insisted I learned to read and write from the age of three! So I have kept many journals of poetry and experiences and now this year my first book 'Ms'Guided Angel' was published.

I always wrote for myself and my own journey and now I am able to offer that also for others. I am writing my second book, slowly but surely. During every workshop I attend I fill my journal with insights and teachings from my heart and my interactions with others, I write my dreams, my shamanic journeys and I write about the challenges that arise within my relationship with my wonderful man. We leave no stone unturned but communicate and dance with every challenge that is presented to us, finding the deep love that emerges when we find our truth of the situation.

I was at a workshop recently, on the land in Sussex. Men where in one area and women in another. We heard the men starting to make sounds, deep masculine sounding, lying down my belly was close to the ground, I felt the sound rise through my body like a drum from beneath the earth. It was the most amazing sound I had ever heard, an absolute blessing. And then some of the women began to giggle and laugh at them. I felt fury with them, I cried deeply, how as women can we laugh at the incredible beautiful masculine energy that is around us. Where did we lose our respect for them and how can we regain that?

As men and women I feel we need to honor and respect each other so much more than we already do. This is part of my journey in relationship, to allow my man to support me, to respect him and trust him. 

In sharing my own journey, I hope to help others within or outside relationships, from abused backgrounds or challenging life situations that then affect their love lives. To empower themselves, healing the past and finding their voices. In this way I believe we can help the separation between men and women, to help us to understand each other a little more deeply and heal the betrayals between us both. I see this as a way to help mankind connect more compassionatly with the feminine thus with the earth, with the mother. Included in that I feel the need to address the disfunction between women, how we are with each other, the shadows that lurk within our friendships and how we feel towards other women. The betrayals that occur within sisterhood, the mothers that do not protect and what we have become incapable of teaching to our daughters and our sons.

The masculine and feminine are being brought back into balance both in our own hearts and in the wider picture.  I have three sons and three daughters, a grandson and a grandaughter, I want them to have a great future, to live on a planet that is cared for, I want this for all our children, to have a better understanding that we cannot keep using the earth, the feminine, as a resource, that we must give something back and protect and honor her. So that then the feminine can find more respect for the masculine and trust his support and his intentions for her.

I write about abuse, from my own experience and how I have supported and healed my own journey. I continue to write from my experience in relationship and what I see in others, to hopefully inspire others to take the courage to transorm their relationships and see each other in a new light. I hope to create a film based on my findings.

I live in hope that my own children carry on sharing from their hearts and offering their gifts into the world from their own creativity. I pray we can change attitudes to how we live on the earth and how we respect her beauty and what she offers to us.  The masculine, honoring the feminine and she in return finding more respect for him. Beginning with peoples hearts and minds, in the home, amongst the families. Change between parents towards each other and to the children. In an effort to prevent the abuse that occurs, that then leads to young drug addicts and alcoholics, that leads to those children abusing their own. Teachers in schools having a better understanding about the human heart, about how to encourage self esteem in young people and a level of awareness about what is right in the world. My aim is to reach into homes, into schools, and any rehabilitation programs to help people to see where these difficulties first arose, that it may end and not be passed on to future generations.

My book is available off Amazon or from my website www.alchemyinmovement.com it is my own story and was hard to speak about and yet very freeing to do so. It is selling well and I have received lovely feedback and reviews on it. A lovely one from Ya'Acov which I am including below.

Sending my love to you all and I hope to dance with you soon.

Caroline x

 

Caroline's story is a bold speaking out on subjects that were until recently considered to be unspeakable. In this time when so much child abuse is coming to light, stories which give hope, which reveal that healing is not only possible but inevitable with support, kindness, determination and courage, are a gift to us all. When the silenced find their voice and the disempowered find their strength, the light of hope burns a little brighter for everyone. Caroline's story is the story of a wild and free spirit finding her way to be on earth and make their offering through the dance. It's a story about the healing power of the dance which we all have within us. She is a fine teacher and to be a witness to her story over the years has touched me deeply. Maybe it will do the same for you.

Ya'Acov Darling Khan
Co-Founder of Movement Medicine

Caroline Carey

www.alchemyinmovement.com

Ms'Guided Angel   available now

info@carolinecarey.com +44 (0)770 251 3679

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

By V.K.V.

It is nearly a week since I returned to London from my Initiation. The week has been emotionally very full. While I get the sense that some fellow initiates are riding the wave of love inwardly and outwardly, I have found myself feeling much sadness, fear and anger. I’ve had to be really aware with eyes wide open of how I’ve been interacting with others, while these emotions move about in my body and my mind.

Of course, I know that they – the wave of love and the sadness, fear, and anger - are not mutually exclusive; underneath the sadness, fear, and anger is love.  And that is why I am writing now – to tell a love story.

As part of Initiation, we developed incantations – a physical embodiment of a belief. One of my incantations is ‘I am love.’ One of the three intentions I brought to the workshop was to forgive myself and my parents in order to start letting our mutual love manifest more brightly and boldly in our relationships. We initiates were tasked on the final morning of the workshop with committing to an action that would bring the incantation into practice upon our return home. I declared that I would ring my parents and connect with them from a place of love.

Settled back into my flat Sunday evening, I made the call. Like this past week, however, the conversation was not straight-forward or ‘blissed out’.  Rather, we began with our usual patterns. I felt much frustration, for example, as I spoke to my mom. At one stage our conversation went as follows:

Mom:                                      ‘How was the retreat? What did you do?’

Me:                                          ‘Oh, it is a lot to explain now.  I’ll explain another time.’

Mom:  ‘Okay, well you are tired, goodbye then, we’ll talk during the week…’

Me (in an agitated voice):    ‘Mom. Hang on. I rang to talk with you. I wouldn’t have rang if I didn’t want to talk. Just probably better to explain the retreat another time. Why do you do always do this?”

Mom: ‘Well, you do sound weak…’

Me(in a more agitated bordering on angry voice):

‘Oh my god! Weak? I’m not weak…’ [Pause. Deep breath. Remember – I am love. ] ‘Mom. I’m good. I’m not weak. Thank you for your concern, though. How is your sister doing?’

And so with that, the conversation continued and the energy shifted. We started talking about family in India and eventually I found myself describing the workshop. My explanation included a description of how I danced for my mom’s spirit. When we finished talking about the workshop, my mom said ‘Wow. That’s a lot to take in. I think I understand some of what you’ve been saying. It sounds really interesting.’

The conversation shifted into a three-way lively discussion among mom, dad, and daughter about the definition of ‘yoga’ and the how movement medicine is a form of yoga.   Soon, we were ready to say goodbye, but before doing so I made a request of each of my parents. One of the tasks given to me by my tribe during the Initiation was to hear my parents’ stories. Thus, I said to each: ‘I invite you to tell me your story.’  My mom said maybe. My dad said ‘Oh okay, but there are lots of stories. Tell me what you want to hear and I’ll do what I can.’ My reply: ‘Oh, no dad, it isn’t like that. This is not about what I want to hear from you. This is about what you want to have heard. This is about you telling your story or stories, however you want to tell it/them.’

‘Dad’ I said ‘I want to give witness to your life.’

With that statement, we allowed the silence to speak.

 When it felt like the silence had spoken, I asked: ‘Dad, do you accept my invitation?’

 ‘Yes, yes. Definitely. We will do that.’

After I hung up with my parents, tears running down my cheeks, I rang one of my best friends. She had picked me up from Totnes and knew about the workshop in detail. I needed to share what had just happened: I had experienced what it can be like to connect with my parents from a place of pure love and to have the privilege to ask to be their witness.

 A love story -  the result of turning incantation into action.

 

VKV, 18 September 2010

‘Here I am. Here you are. Here we are. Listen.’

 

 

 

 

Long Dance Film

The film made of the 2010 Summer Long Dance made by Ben Cole is now available on YouTube

There are two versions of a film of the 2010 Summer Long Dance

 

There is also a short version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6vp1LHgY70

We do hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did.

Many thanks Ben for your good work.

The next Long Dance will take place July 8 -12th.  Full details will be available soon.

A Mass on Party
By Alex Hanly

About 4 months ago I had this beautiful vision and idea. That we could orchestrate a mass on international dance, where all the Movement medicine community and further a field could come to unity through the dance and celebrate our interconnectivity.

After realising this idea I emailed Susannah, Ya’Acov and the magical Roland to share it. Saying with all my enthusiasm “we have to do this!” there response was a profound, beautiful and utterly simple YES! So here we are putting this vision into motion.  And we want you to join us on the journey.  To create an international dance were thousands of people can come to unity through the dance. A MASS ON PARTY! 

Let me explain this vision a little clearer.

Imagine: Multiple dancing communities gathering in many locations around the globe all at the same time to dance together.

Intention: To dance together to acknowledge our power as a hurd! As a shoal! As a flock of individual yet deeply interconnected beings.

To dance together for love, to move together for peace, to pray together for acceptance, to dream together for transformation.

To dance together in gratitude for this life that we share together, right now and right here!

Where: Not just anywhere! In public places all over our countries. For example I am the events organiser here in London and a few places I would love this to happen would be; kingscross station, or in canary wharf, or Southbank! Somewhere large, busy and public, somewhere unexpected.  So that passers by are left a little confused yet smiling as to why 100 people randomly started dancing together when they where on the way to catch their train. Maybe we can even entice passers by to join in. the where will be left in the hands of the organisers and communities of dancers in the different locations.

When: We are yet to pick a date yet, but maybe the Summer solstice (longest day of the year) would be a good one. We will pick maybe 1 hour where it seems the most appropriate for all the locations internationally to convene. So early morning somewhere and mid afternoon somewhere else and so on. If you have a good idea for a day that you think would be brilliant then please let us know.

What: Susannah and I discussed this aspect of the idea for some time. What will we dance? We concluded that to acknowledge both our individuality and our interconnection we needed to do 2 things. 1 we would need to move like we’ve never moved before. Dancing in whatever shape and form we like YAY! And 2 we can transform this free form movement into a united movement called the Hustle.

We are going to begin teaching the Hustle for a few moments at our London workshop November 27-28th The Way Of The Dancing Warrior.  If you are interested in booking contact me alexhanly@hotmail.com  07868 842219.

And we will be filming the Hustle and putting it up on line so that all can learn it at home at your own pace. It is a simple, repetitive and potent movement that acknowledges the four directions. The Hustle does not require a degree in contemporary Jazz so if you fear the word “choreography” like a plague you have nothing to worry about. It is fun and accessible to ALL!

Thank you for reading this and let me know if you have any ideas towards the Mass on Party! We are open to all inspiration. Keep an eye out for more news and our youtube video of the Hustle. So you can learn it at home.

Love and light

Alex, Susannah, Ya’Acov and Roland.  alexhanly@hotmail.com

The Story of the Handless Maiden
By Eline Kieft

A very strong experience during two workshops that I did much earlier this year, which I’m now ready to share … Source (9-11 April) and Awakening (13-17 April) added new gemstones on my necklace, helped me to reclaim lost soul parts, to work with understudies, and was, in short, a deepening of an ever ongoing process.

Soon, during The First Dance on Saturday (Source), I became aware of a tense blockage in my wrists, and realised that up until then I’d never fully stretched my wrists, fingers or hands, but always kept them slightly flexed or bent. I remembered the video feedback with Susannah in January this year, in which I observed a ‘holding back’, or caution and restriction in my (beloved student Eline’s) movements, and a self consciousness about moving ‘big’ (‘if only my legs were a bit shorter, I wouldn’t take up half the room when I stick them out’). At the time I related this mainly to my fear of invading (or ‘colonising’) other people’s space by taking too much space, and also a reluctance to include ‘the ballerina’. This morning however, I played with stretching and flexing, and streamlining the energy through my wrists into my hands, filling my hands, consciously, and noticed the different feelings ((un)familiar, (un)comfortable) those movements brought up. I also noticed I crossed my arms a lot in front of my torso, as if to protect myself.

Dancing with and through the elements shortly after that, I suddenly found myself in the story of ‘the Handless Maiden’  (Pinkola Estés, 2008 [1992]: 387-455) or ‘The Girl without Hands’ (Grimm & Grimm, 2008 [1944]: 133-8). My hands severed at the wrists, leaving my arms ending in stumps. These cut off hands became a symbol for the two soul parts that were sent away to soul school long ago, although they are recently slowly coming closer: the wild woman and the intuitive dreamer, both in their own ways so deeply connected to Life and Spirit. Cutting them off, I made, in Pinkola Estés’s words, “a bargain without knowing” (Pinkola Estés, 2008 [1992]: 394). I surrendered my wilder nature “for a promise of something that seems rich but turns out to be hollow instead” (ibid.: 395). While still slumbering as a 2,5 year old, I believed that denying my intuitive, dreamer/seer nature (qualities my mother wasn’t quite able to appreciate and reproached me for), would assure me of my mothers’ love, understanding and acceptance. Later, as a 17 year old, cutting myself off from dancing, which had always been the source of life running through me passionately, wildly, creatively, I became a caricature of the good student, the good daughter and the good wife. A rigid “Miss Perfect” character was born, in order to be accepted in a non-dance world, to prove my worth, to not fail ‘again’.

Earth made me realise how much we need hands to create, to nurture, to caress, to plant and harvest, to cook, to manifest, to express. Without them, I felt cut off from my birth right of femininity, from certain soul parts, and it also literally reflected not having a grip on my own life; always trying to ‘please’ others, in order not to disappoint them, resulting in often force-feeding and chameleoning myself to fit other people’s expectations. With Fire, anger and rage sought their way out: What mother denies the soulful gifts of her child – even if it is unconscious, crushing innocence and creating such dismemberment of the unique spirit/soul that she carries? And at the general repression of the non-rational in our culture and times. Fire also glowed as a fierce, warm pride in my heart, to have managed relatively so well in life without my hands… Supported by Water, soft tear drops falling silently on my stumps made my hands grow back, tenderly made from young springy willow shoots, finally caressing Air in gratitude.

Dancing with Yin and Yang, this journey continued. Stepping into my past childhood experiences, I became aware of the box around me, with its’ weight on my head, suppressing me, and my wrists held in a vice-like grip, something I felt is tied in with the Calvinist/Protestant ethos: ‘Yin’ was told off for being lazy, dreamy, or useless, while ‘yang’ energy was also reigned in: ‘don’t stick your head over the parapet’, ‘acting normal is abnormal enough, so don’t get any idea’s’. In the dance, I could release the shackles, lift the weight and push down the sides of the cardboard box, freeing myself from these limitations that I’d started to buy into [thank you Dance, you wonderful Friend!].

The next morning, in bed, I dreamt that I dug my moms grave, although she wasn’t dead. I decorated it with fresh, yellow daffodils, which contrasted strongly against the bare brown earth. In the dreaming the healing continued, something was put to rest. That morning, during The First Dance Joy, and Gratitude, and also disbelief:

I’VE GOT MY HANDS BACK!!! I’VE GOT MY HANDS BACK!!!

And the no-longer-handless-and-boxed-in-Maiden received a hand massage, thank you Alex!

On Awakening my dances oscillated between the two poles of jubilation for having my hands back and sadness for not having had them for so long. This process feels related to the permission to standing up tall, with joy instead of shame, and filling myself fully. This also meant moving as ‘big’ as I felt like in each moment, dancing like a ‘stick-out-my-legs-insect’, although all the time I was still so aware of the many, many critical voices in my head why not to take my full space. These could be (not so in order of appearance): “you’re  being a show off, too arrogant and boastful, too sexy and seductive, too ballet-like, too spiritual, too pretentious, too powerful, too unfeminine,” etc. And every time I heard a voice like that, I said: “Thank you, I hear you, and I choose differently now,” and continued doing my thing. Chin up. Eyes open. Fully stretched limbs (how scary! and; what a relief!). Expressing myself without shrinking, apologising, or diminishing myself; consciously inhabiting all planes of my being, physically, emotionally, mindfully as well as energetically and soulfully. A full YES! instead of a whimpering ‘sorry’…

My elemental incantations all underline this permission that I really can and may take my place, like the ocean who would never think it would be too big. And I commit to increasingly occupying all of my being and leave no space, no room uninhibited, musty, dusty, or dark. This also means ‘my other leg’, the rooms signed with ‘shouldn’ts’ or ‘don’t enters’, and also the forgotten rooms of which I am currently still unaware; I acknowledge and welcome them in my house.

So the necklace of acceptance and permission is growing. Becoming all I can be, so I can give all I can give. A bit more… and a bit more… every day. Sometimes I forget… but then I re-member: my hands are back! No need to apologise for Being! I would like to conclude with a quote from Pinkola Estés:

“When a woman surrenders her instincts that tell her the right time to say yes and when to say no, when she gives up her insight, intuition, and other wildish traits, then she finds herself in situations that promised gold but ultimately give grief” (Pinkola Estés, 2008 [1992]: 397) (p. 397).

And how often this happens unconsciously, and how long it takes to become aware of it, and then the courage and ‘work’ it takes to come back to instinct… Thrice hurray for the Dance!!!


Grimm, J., & Grimm, W. (2008 [1944]). Complete Fairy Tales. London and New York: Routledge.

Pinkola Estés, C. (2008 [1992]). Women Who Run With The Wolves. Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman. London: Rider.

 

 

 

Letter from Survival International

Dear Susannah, Ya'Acov and all the Dancers,

We are so grateful for your incredible fundraising efforts for Survival at the Summer Long Dance.
What a wonderfully inspired way to raise money for tribes!


Your funds will go a long way in helping tribes around the world to protect them from loggers, miners, oil companies,
and so on, that threaten to destroy their lives and lands.

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be involved.

Kind Regards,

Rebecca Spooner.
Survival International

The total of all the sponsorship money raised by participants on the Summer Long Dance was £30,250  for over 50 different charities and projects.  We believe that that the total raised for Survival was in fact just over £8000.  As some people did not let Survival know that the money they were donating was in connection with the Long Dance, these amounts were not included in the certificate that Survival sent to us.

Next year's Summer Long Dance will happen July 8-12, 2011. Hope to see you there!

There are two versions of a film of the 2010 Summer Long Dance

A full length version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdoC5lIOdxE

There is also a short version at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6vp1LHgY70


Ya'Acov & Susannah

The Angel in the Forest
By Julian Marshall

Dear Movement Medicine friends,

I am a musician who has worked with Susannah and Ya’Acov over many years, so you may know me! In the last few years my musical journey has come to focus on setting the poetry of Gertrud Kolmar to music. Gertrud Kolmar was a Jewish poet who died in the holocaust and whose poetry bears witness in away which moves me very deeply.

Last year “Out of the Darkness” came out, and now “Angel in the Forest” is about to premiere. I invite you to come!

The Angel in the Forest, is to me, before a piece of music, an act of service. What is it serving? the remarkable poetic gifts of Gertrud Kolmar. But these gifts speak of something extraordinary - an almost unbearable sensitivity to the spirit of LIFE in the most dire of circumstances.... her ability to bear witness, as a German Jewish woman in 1937 Berlin, to so much in her inner and outer world and to articulate her experience so exquisitely.

My intention is that the experience of the music meeting these words create an experience of inspiration for all of us.... It is through the broken heart, it seems, where the real treasures lie in wait....

I am very pleased to announce and invite you to the premiere of The Angel in the Forest - the follow piece to last years Out of the Darkness. The concert is on Friday 19th November in St Mary's Church, High Street, Totnes, UK.

7.30 start. Tickets can be bought in person from Harberton Arts Workshop, 27 Hight St, Totnes or reserved though our administrator Katie Whitehouse (katie@vitaltouch.com). Ticket prices are £15 and £10 (concessions).

Performers: James Gilchrist (tenor) and Lucy Railton (cello).

Programme will include: Bach Suite for solo cello (No. 3) and The Angel in the Forest.

The Angel in the Forest is the second work in the ‘Welten’ series - which is a long-term composition project that I embarked upon in November 2007 involving the setting all seventeen poems in Gertrud Kolmar’s remarkable ‘Welten’ cycle. Kolmar is a most highly regarded, yet still little known, German Jewish poet who perished in Auschwitz in 1943. I'm calling this whole thing The Welten Project.

Out of the Darkness  was premiered in Winchester Cathedral in March 2009 and has, to date, been performed eight times – including a memorable performance in Weimar, Germany, last March, in the stunning wooden church where Goethe was married.

Contrasting with the soprano solo and choral forces used in Out of the Darkness, the idea to set The Angel in the Forest for just tenor voice and cello + a ton of pre-recorded music appealed to me right from the start. There is something magical for me in the idea of ‘the two morphing into the many’ and it all being played by the same two players! Indeed, everything you will hear is performed by James and Lucy - voice and ‘cello – including Lucy’s ‘cello 'percussion' in two of the six movements.... plus all in 8 speaker surround sound!

Although there is a very clear feminine voice running through much of the ‘Welten’ cycle, there are certainly a few of the poems that lend themselves very well to being sung by a man. Ever since I heard James Gilchrist singing Die Schone Mullerin at Dartington some three years ago,  it has been a dream of mine to write a piece for him. The Angel in the Forest is, to me, one of the most stunning poems in a stunning cycle. Writing the piece for James’ most exquisite voice is simply a dream come true… Indeed, writing this piece for two such remarkable performers is an incredible honour – about as good as it gets for me as a composer. I am deeply indebted to them both for their unstinting support, enthusiasm and generosity throughout the creation of the whole thing.

 

The Welten Project

The audience that I have always imagined for ‘Welten’ is, in truth, much more of an 'art house' cinema audience than a strictly musical one. With this in mind, I am currently engaged in conversations with a variety of creative colleagues – animators, film makers and dancers – with the idea of all or some the pieces in the project becoming multi-media pieces.

I have always felt that ‘Welten’ to be a kind of ‘doorway’ through which people feel invited to step through; an opportunity to somehow light a candle in the darkness – through and amongst the mists of denial which so clearly pervades our humanity. I am thrilled at the prospect of sharing this with other colleagues representing other art forms and, all being well, offering this work both as a series of performances and related educational activity.

I do hope you will come and join us on November 19th.

Julian Marshall



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. schoolofmovementmedicine.com