School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: June 2012
The Dancing Warrior & The Summer Long Dance

By Ya'Acov

Calling all Dancing Warriors. Itís Summer Long Dance time again. And what better place to shiver your timbers and dance your prayers and dream your dreams for this great adventure called life on earth. This year, more than most, I seem to be spending quite a lot of my time teaching the Dancing Warrior map in weekends and intensives as I travel my way through a busy calendar. And each time I work with it, I understand more why it is so central to Movement Medicine practice.

I stumbled across this map many moons ago in one of those teaching dreams that I have learned to trust over the years. In the dream, I saw how strongly and for how long we have been playing out a shadow dance with power. The steps I was shown fascinated me. It was like witnessing a slow motion movie of human evolution. As I watched, I saw how unconscious we are most of the time as we busily rush through the dramas of our lives. I witnessed the seemingly endless cycle of the victim/persecutor dynamic being played out over eons as individuals, families and even nations passed on the inheritance of unhealed experiences for their descendants to play out. I saw how we have come to the understanding that power corrupts. I watched generation upon generation inheriting a worldview that serves so very few and whose natural outcome seems to be suffering. But then I watched as a transformation took place. In the dream, it took around 100 years as our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world evolved. Our focus shifted from dissatisfaction to gratitude. We noticed more and more how all things are connected and we recognised that our lives are a gift and that co-creation is our natural state. I saw a life in which all individuals, through being supported to be themselves, recognised their place in the great web of life and their ability to create with it. I saw an understanding that life is art and that every situation is an opportunity to create. And I saw the qualities of an archetypal force that was described to me as the Dancing Warrior, a truly empowered human being, engaged in body, heart and mind and totally committed to being who they are and making their contribution in all situations.

I struggled at first to understand how to work with the potency of this map, but as we followed our own evolution and the natural evolution of our work into Movement Medicine, it all started to make more and more sense. The Dancing Warrior deals with some tricky, sticky territory. It is a direct invitation to enquire into our relationship with power. And as we all know, power and the human psyche have a long and complicated past, and a turbulent and disturbing present. And of course, the fact that this material was appearing in my dreams was no random occurrence. I have had my own struggles with power too. As I began my own healing journey, I was determined not to repeat the mistakes of a patriarchal system that was out of control. And as I was taught at the time, power was to blame for our problems and particularly male power so the answer was obviously to join the ranks of good feminist men and get in touch with my real feelings. I thought I was doing very well until I met the dance. And then my emotions erupted like a fiery joy filled volcano as I realised that life as a castrato was simply not going to be the answer. The dance gave me my balls back but the challenge of not repeating the mistakes of generations past remained. How to be fully empowered and alive and well in the joyful dance of existence without becoming intoxicated by newly empowered sense of self and my capacity to create? I looked around for good examples of humans who have embraced the strength of who they are without at some point falling into the fantasy that their way is the best way or the only way. I looked for leaders who had embraced power and not been corrupted by it. I wasn’t looking for a saint or an angel. Just a good mirror of a human being who had got out of the way, humbled themselves and given everything. I looked but was sobered by the reality of how few have taken on this challenge successfully. What I found was lots of mirrors of ‘how not to do it.’ This was very a sobering time. Great and amazing beings and teachers all plagued by distortions of power. And me too, deeply involved in the story in my won way, with my own history to clean up. It’s more than a personal thing. And by that I mean that it’s no one’s fault. It’s a collective dance and it’s not down to one individual to change it. It’s down to us all to create a new relationship to power which doesn’t deny it but recognises the need to dedicate the strength we all have to the highest purpose according to our own heart’s truth. If I don’t wish to continue the old story, I have to know it, dance it, and release myself from it. My apprenticeship in the Amazon gave me the time and space to look into the dark mirror and purge as much as I could from my personal and ancestral stories with power. It was a truly uncomfortable time as I was presented with many truths I’d rather not have known about myself! But ultimately, it was just the medicine I needed as we were stepping into a new chapter in our lives. Without this medicine time, I would not have been prepared.

It was scary to recognise the territory we were in. Here we were, the mama and papa of a body of work that has come through us over the past 30 years, in positions of responsibility and power. How were we going to manage this dance? Well, we’re on the journey and I dare say we’ve made mistakes along the way and will no doubt make more. But the answer we have come to so far can be summed up in one word: dedication. As Merrilyn Tunneshende, a teacher I travelled with for a few years was fond of saying, everyone of us is born with a sword. So the question is not whether we have one, it’s what are we going to do with it and the answer to that is rooted in what we choose to dedicate it to. The sword is a symbol of power. And by power, I mean our capacity to choose, to create with life, to embody the force that is the Dancing Warrior. Power without heart is a dangerous thing. Power divorced from the heart and the wisdom of the body is doubly so. Knowing what we choose to dedicate our lives to is an enormous strength in challenging times and I don’t know if you noticed, but I am certainly noticing how much fear there is in the air with the amount of unknowns we are living with.

We know that our current lifestyle is unsustainable. We know that the financial system is a touch on the wobbly side. We sense that change is coming. We are in the process of change and humans are notoriously attached to what is known. When fear is strong, many cling to old ways. But to be overwhelmed by fear is to miss the great opportunity of the times. We only know two things for certain. We were born and we will die. Beyond that, it’s all a mystery, a great mystery. And now more than ever is the time to know what it is you are choosing to dedicate your sword to. Now more than ever, is the time to dance yourself as deep as you can go, to dance beyond the restrictions of old stories and to call out to the spirit of the dance to dance through you, whirling you through the eye of the needle, shedding skins along the way and washing you up on the wide open shores of possibility. And what force inside you can do this? What part of you has the strength, the focus, the power to overcome the fear that freezes instinct and cuts off creativity? That’s what I love about this Dancing Warrior archetype. It goes beyond caring what others will think. It goes beyond any certainty other than the certainty in your own heart that something makes sense and therefore you must do it. It goes beyond fears of failure and yet is absolutely not afraid to celebrate success. Even though loss is inevitable, this wisdom inside us is not afraid to love. And this place within us knows that in order to find peace, one has to have the strength to listen to and follow one’s own heart and that sometimes, this means swimming against the dominant current of our times.

The awareness of the Dancing Warrior recognises itself as a temporary structure, a part of the story of life that has spent the past 13.7 billion years in evolution. Who knows where this chapter in the story of life on earth will lead us? We can only know our own hearts and act accordingly.

I was talking recently in ceremony to the Great Mama, (as you do) about my dreams and hopes for these times. I wanted to know how the Earth is doing. I’d been in deep conversations during the week about the situation in Japan with the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor. There are radically different opinions as to how dangerous the situation is or isn’t. So, I decided to ask the Great Mama about it. Her reply broke my heart. She told me that we humans were putting her in a very difficult situation. She told me how much she loves ALL her children but that we humans were making her have to think about choosing between the well-being of some of her children above others, not to mention her own survival. Ouch! My heart broke again as I took in her words. What are we doing? One thing I am certain of is that the intelligent life force that is planet earth knows how to look after herself and she will do whatever she needs to in order to restore balance and maintain the conditions for life to exist, even if it’s at our expense. And another thing I know for certain is as a human race, we are capable of such apparently opposite extremes of behaviour. We can be so selfish, arrogant, and full of the sense of our own importance. We forget that we are part of life and that we are dependant on the health of the environment for our own.

As any of you who work with us will know, we are super-passionate about integrating the freedom and creative capacity we find on the dance floor into all areas of life. We are passionate about each individual’s potential to make a difference through being themselves and giving what they’ve got. And we recognise the power that each one of us has to make a difference in this life. And it’s because of this that each year, we run the Summer Long Dance. Dancing for 48 hours in ceremony is an act of power. The choice to show up with whatever is true, and dance through it to the place where our dance becomes a prayer, a part of the weaving of the human dream, a heartfelt reaching out to life for sustenance, a giving back, a thank you, a remembrance of what matters and most of all, a dedication or a re-dedication of our lives to what matters most to us. Please take a moment and look inside your heart and ask yourself, is there a place in this year’s ceremony with my name on it? If so, we’d be very happy to welcome you. Let’s dance. Let’s dream. For All Our Relations.

Ya’Acov. June 2012.

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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.