School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: December 2011
Tul- Karem/Shufa. Meetings and dancing Ė hopes for a better future

By Ben Yeger

In May 2011 I had the privilege to assist Susannah Darling Khan on a weekend MM workshop in Israel together with my fellow MM apprentice teacher Silvana. Alongside this workshop I organsied for Susannah to lead a couple of MM opportunities in Tul Karem and Shufa in the Palestinian occupied territories. The first was a dance with a group of Palestinian Women in Tul-Karem and the second with a group of Israeli and Palestinian representatives from the Combatants for Peace Movement of which I am the UK represenative (

Both these opportunities were made possible through the financial support of the MM sponsorship fund.

Given that I wasnít at the session with the Women in TK I want to take the time to reflect on the CfP session on Saturday the 21st of May, only 2hrs after the workshop in TA Israel. This workshop took place on the roof of one of the participantís houses and was therefore restricted by the fears of the Palestinian participants (our hosts) of normalising the occupation through joint participation of Israeli and Palestinians in activities which are not directly linked to ending the occupation and bringing about peaceÖor are they?

So hereís the rub- Why MM in the context of a movement like CfP? How does doing Movement/Dance/other creative workshops contribute to ending the occupation and bringing justice to the people on both sides of this historical conflict? It seems to me that no one way will do the job and that if the conflict is to be resolved and a real peace to be arrived at then MM and other such activities have a lot to offer on very basic human levels.

By these I mean- building deep trust, communicating in ways which reach beyond words and include the expressions of the whole body, the heart pulsating within it. Seeing the other move and be in ways that transcend culture, religion, colour, and even historical difference. Seeing the other simply do their dance without it becoming a threat to my existence. All these can and do happen in the context of MM and other creative workshop methodologies.

Seeing the other simply do their dance without it becoming a threat to my existence.

For me at the heart of the answer or I might say the argument for including MM and other such approaches in this context is the possibility of imagining change and manifesting it through the Dance/still sculpt or voice in real time, So that the imagination is leading the process, is at the forefront. If we can imagine ourselves as the free spirits we all are in essence, including our experiences of oppression, loss and trauma, and working towards changing our internal and therefore our actual narrative- essentially imagining change, then surely that is a good enough start. Itís a gateway to imagining that we have a say in how our destiny turns out, how it could be different from the present. Thatís why I believe that Israelis and Palestinians dancing and imagining together is a part of making peace. Because I saw in the eyes of participants in Shufa on both sides a softness, an imagination of a better life, of a time free of conflict, I had a sense of hope and deep engagement which so often is in question, even though we have been meeting for some time now. It allows for a depth, which will support and sustain something valuable along side direct action demonstration and other forms of non-violent peace activism. That is my hope anyway.

As I said, the end of the occupation and arriving at a just and sustainable peace in Israel/Palestine will take time and many different combined efforts from a wide variety of people. Iím grateful to have the opportunity, means and time to do what I do with those who are willing to join- and that MM is part of my journey and part of my little contribution- thanks to all those who joined in and to Susannah for having the courage to come and teach and to YaAcov for paving the way with me last year. And last but not least thank you to my fellow CfP activists on both sides who can see the benefit of joining in the midst of a very difficult and drawn out process.

Go well all and see you soon on some part of the dance floor hosting this fascinating dance called lifeÖ

Movement Medicine Sponsorship Fund Ė Love in action

If you would like to support the Fund by making a donation or offering fundraising support, please contact the trustees at, or go to Roland Wilkinsonís fundraiser page at

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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.