School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: January 2011
You Danced Where?

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

By Rhian Davies

I danced in moccasins on sandy terracotta earth. I stamped on tiled floors while silver filled veils swirled around my shiny hair. I twirled beneath cloaks abundant with energy so golden it seemed to caress me. I danced into the ventricles of my heart and out through my finger tips. I swayed into a tee-pee and I leapt into the rain-forest. I hopped into a dream. I danced way out of my body and I danced way back in. Deeply.

I had never danced Movement Medicine before. During one of the sitting interludes at Yacov’s spell-binding ‘Source’ workshop in the spring of this year a clear skinned man explained that these were inner journeys. I was already confused enough about my spiritual path and although I was amazed I had no idea how this would relate. I shared this with another inspiring woman I met. Her response was that the Buddha had once said to his disciples that if they met him on the (spiritual) path that they should kill him. I have no idea of the exact reference and thee sense of this was lost to me to begin with.

Dressed in a soft grey animal print vest, the soft haired woman opened her palms and explained that you can choose to follow a spiritual teacher or group but in the end it’s always a unique and deeply personal path. So following teachings or a rule book isn’t going to work ultimately. It seems that if you want to go on you have to kill your “Buddha” or your teacher, metaphorically in order to find your own way, your own truth

No one told me that spiritual life or soul searching would involve murder! I had been trying to escape pain by embarking on a spiritual path, not look for it. I suppose my spiritual journeying formally began when I took initiation with an orange robed Yoginii (female yoga practitioner), on a mountain top in the Lake District, about 10 years ago. Getting drunk to have fun and ‘pub culture’ as a way to be happy hadn’t made sense any more and a spiritual group from India, that didn’t advocate drinking, seemed to fit.

I have no idea exactly what was said on that beautiful windswept mountain-top. My memory is that I was so awestruck that I agreed to give my life to the Indian man whose eyes shone with love in the photos, that had terrified me into thinking I was joining a cult. This strangely beautiful Indian man[1], who had died a few years earlier and who I had never met, represented the essence of the beauty of the universe for me and I was happy to give myself to finding that. Whatever it’s called; he, she, that, God or simply life, the universe as represented by this intimate stranger will always and forever be close to my heart.

As we came down the side of the slope after my initiation, we clutched at tough bundles of grass to steady ourselves. I felt relieved. My path lay before me. In my mind’s eye I saw a dusty track ahead of me. It extended quite far into the distance but the horizon was illuminated by a bright sunrise. To my side, a strong wooden sign-post was planted solidly in the earth. The sign said ‘God or Bliss’ and the direction was clear.

Two years later and after many falls and bruises on my path I was convinced that this idea of spiritual path was actually more like a flower opening. As I struggled with my pain at the lies with which I had been living my life, I would fall to my knees and sob. Often, as I cried, I would give up, let go of this crazy spiritual thing that had promised so much, as if I was banishing it far into the clouds. As I cried, I suppose I surrendered. Almost as if I was enticing these same clouds to rain nourishing water onto my spiritual flower.  A new petal would then open in my life and more beauty was revealed and so I moved on. I danced, I changed, I grew.

In the beginning, I think that on some level, I thought I was going to heaven. Meditating and yoga seemed to be about moving away from the body and crude earthly things. My initiation onto the dancing path came a little later. My first yoga teacher, a tie-dye clothed hippy with marijuana soft eyes who had recently returned from Africa, led me to the dance floor. If alcohol and the pub had sometimes been an escape and a loss of awareness, then I had found a new way. As with yoga and meditation, I could close my eyes when I danced and dance into a celestial fog. Reality would blur as would problems and pain.

Over months and years, my tender spiritual flower continued to open and reveal brighter, more vivid coloured petals. I was shocked to discover that real personal and spiritual growth was not about moving away from myself, towards an effulgence in the skies. I danced on through life and I slowly came to see that spiritual growth was maybe simply about becoming more myself. As the music of my life continued to play I danced into Movement Medicine. It was profoundly beautiful to discover on Yacov’s workshop that the body and earthly energies could give rise to the most vivid visions of my life. I passionately want to share them all here, to convey the vitality and the brilliant sparks. A wise friend said to me

“Rhian, visions are like dreams. Deeply personal and potentially sacred...”

“and beautiful things can bring joy when they are shared,” I answered firmly.

“Yes, but truth needs to be honoured and truth can be very personal,” he replied gently. 

I argued,

“Does sacred have to mean secret then? Don’t you think there has been enough torment and destruction caused by the secrets and lies of so called religions??”

He looked at me for a long time,

“Honey, that’s a different issue completely. Just think about it,” he replied,

“but they were so beautiful,” I answered tenderly,

“Just think about it,” he said softly.


I could do my best to share with you here the shining beauty of my ‘inner journeys’ and I’d like to think you’d understand. I would hope that my inner journeys would also touch your heart, that you too would feel a surge of vitality in your soul, but people are different. Maybe what’s beautiful for me wouldn’t be quite the same for you.

The question remains open so I will cast a look around a warm forest bright with luscious greens. My eyes will linger fondly on the glimmering surges of the swelling river. I will step now into my hollowed out canoe. As my tall Indian guide pushes us firmly away from the shore, I will worry. Unable to settle, my muscles will squirm, my knees and elbows will make corners. My form will writhe to create uneasy physical zig-zags. Twisting, my body will wriggle, and jerk on the ancient wooden floor of the boat. Finally, I will allow my lungs to fill with rich, crisp air and the stability of my bones will call forth my muscles to surrender to the all-soothing wooden vessel and the all-knowing direction of my proud Indian rower and his utter respect, his honour for the flow of the river.

with love and warm wishes


[1] Shrii Shrii Anandamurti-ji

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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.