School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: November 2012
Using Movement Medicine as a Facilitator, or how I ended up doing supervision in the sea.

By Margaret Davies
It is the end of a warm summer afternoon; the sun slants down to the beach from the red cliff tops, pink and golden. The sands are slowly emptying of families and early evening dog walkers. My supervisee, an experienced social worker, stands knee deep in the North Sea. She thanks the abundant waters, floats carefully chosen flowers in honour of the sea and asks for blessings for her next career move.

 I have drummed and we have spoken our 21 Gratitudes for the work we have done together over the last 7 years. My heart sings that this is my work, my real everyday job work, made more graceful and potent by my Movement Medicine practice, apprenticeship and professional training.

I am an Apprentice Movement Medicine Facilitator; and I am a practicing social work manager; and I am integrating the 2.

A group of Apprentices from AP1 have been enquiring with Susannah and Ya’Acov, their peers and mentors about what it means to be a Movement Medicine Facilitator, as distinct from a Movement Medicine Teacher. We are exploring how we integrate our MM practice with our holding of space for others, in different contexts: supervision, team leadership, therapy, body work, academic teaching and research, art based community development, peace work, community mediation, ceremony and so on and so on. MM Apprentices really are a talented lot!

We have arrived at the concept that a MM Facilitator consciously integrates MM methodology into the process of holding space for others in a particular professional modality in which they are already skilled and experienced. They give sustained and supervised attention to this integration. Another phrase which is used is that the Facilitator ‘leans into the Mandala and the MM Mesa’ when working with others, and reflects on the experience to amplify the learning and clarify the process.

Getting hold of this concept was like stepping through an inviting doorway into a sunny garden for me. I have always wished to integrate my learning and growth from Dance workshops into my everyday life. I have over many years of 5R and then MM been able to refer back to my dancing experiences to make sense of and support my work. Now I have a clear way of making this more conscious, more deliberate, more effective, and more sustaining

So how do I ‘consciously integrate MM methodology’ into my work? It starts, of course, with dropping inside and connecting with my embodied self; becoming mindful and more fully present. I then follow my impulse into one of the many, many MM (micro) practices I could use to focus, feel supported, engage with the elements, become fully present and stand in the centre of my own circle. So that might be, for example, before a supervision session, on a walk to the shop for milk for the office, I practice the supported walk, feel my weight drop down, have a sensation of support on my lower back, I remember the delicious exercise of walking up and down the dance space with a partner supporting my back. My spine spontaneously lengthens and my head raises, I look up and see the trees and the sky. Ahhhh, nature! I notice people, gardens and traffic, and in this awakened, grounded state, joy naturally arises in me for the amazing, complex wonderfulness of human beings and the planet we live on. I feel connected to the MM Mesa, to my circles of dancers, and to the web of life.

I have a picture of the Mandala, made in pebbles on a beach, set as my office computer desktop background. Before a supervision session, I might look at it with more care, and meditate on the significance of the different stations to my supervisee, their condition and issues; and on my supervision skills, how will I be a Yin supervisor, how to be Yang without being oppressive? I ponder a few significances, then let them go and trust the Divine mystery and the flow to lead me to the right use of the Mandala in the coming session.

The results for me are very noticeable, and consistent. I remain much more centred; I keep my equanimity, and a sense of spaciousness arises. I can really feel that I am holding the space for this person to unfold. My interventions are briefer and more precise.  I sometimes suggest we move and stretch if we have been focussing intensely for a while. More creativity and trust arises in the field between us, which is how I ended up in the sea for a final supervision session.

This then gets taken to MM peer support discussions, into mentoring or supervision, and I reflect on and write about my experiences and what I have discovered.

My exploration of the Facilitator’s path has been exciting and satisfying. The next Movement Medicine professional training will have a clear focus on Facilitation as an option alongside training to teach movement classes. I know many of us are already working with people, other beings and the environment, holding the space for natural healthy growth to occur, and I hope sharing my experiences here will encourage and excite some of you to bring more of your MM skills into this work.

With enormous gratitude for our teachers, our own willingness and all the conditions that have led to the evolution of this work.


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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.