School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: November 2012
Empowerment, Responsibility & Living The Dream

By Ya'Acov
I love these words. They are so simple to say. They roll off the tongue with practiced ease, like a chant, an invocation, or an incantation. But what do they mean in the context of Movement Medicine, and the Movement Medicine Apprenticeship Programme?

As well as being the core intentions of the three different stages of the Movement Medicine curriculum, they encapsulate and distill so much of my own journey. They are each a chapter heading in the story we have chosen as our lens through which to see the world and our place in it. So much of our experience is dictated by our perception, and our perception is strongly shaped by the story we are telling, be it conscious or unconscious. I have been taught this numerous times in numerous situations by numerous teachers but being one of life’s stubborn creatures, I had to find it out for myself. A few weeks in the precarious safety of the Amazon Rainforest did it for me. The story we had been given had life and it was a story that wanted to be told. Hidden in the folds of the mandala I had dreamed, and moved by the command Susannah had heard in her dreaming that our work was to be called Movement Medicine, we stepped out from known and safe shores nearly six years ago.

Stories are powerhouses of creativity and inspiration. If one forgets that it’s a story that is being told, they can also be prisons. Movement Medicine is a story that invites you to take your place, dancing at the centre of your own circle as the authority in your own life. It is a story that invites you to connect your own experience of human being with the wider context of time, place and context in which you live. And it’s a story that asks of each of us the deep commitment required to wake up and engage creatively with this dream of life on earth. It’s not an easy story to live but so far, it has been a deeply satisfying and illuminating one for us. And now that there are many more Movement Medicine Teachers and Facilitators out there in the world, each sharing their insights and experience in their own way, it is starting to take on more of its own momentum.

I think of my relationship with Movement Medicine much in the same way as I think about being a parent. When a baby is born, it is totally dependant on its parents to survive. Any who have gone through what Susannah often describes as the savage commitment of the birthing process and those early months of a new life, will know that the early chapters of the life process can be a great joy as well as being pretty much all consuming. It is much the same for a human life as it seems to be for any creative project. So it was with our son, and so it has been with the birthing of Movement Medicine. In January, our ‘second child’ will be 6 years old. At the same time, our first child will set off on the next chapter of his own great adventure in life.

Empowerment, Responsibility and Living the Dream are one way of describing the developmental process that we all go through as we take charge of our own lives and recognise that we have a large degree of choice in the dance of life. The developmental journey of an individual, be it a person or a practice, is predictable and unpredictable in equal measures. Predictable in as much as everything is born, lives and dies. And unpredictable in as much as every project is a relationship between intention and what we love to call the Great Choreographer of life. All of us as individuals and all creative projects and all of us as a collective will face our own challenges as we sail through the unknown. Whether you believe in destiny or prefer the ‘shit just happens’ approach to life, the dancer in you has the capacity to move with and bring creative, embodied response to all of it. We are only stuck in as much as we accept that our current perception is the only truth there is. Once we open our bodies through movement and rhythm and therefore our hearts, the fixed point of view that we have learned to describe as reality also starts to move and our view therefore expands. That’s the core of what shamans have known and practiced for millennia. Movement Medicine is a contemporary expression of this that invites you to trust in the body’s wisdom, its direct connection with the elemental powers of life, and the power of the dancer to move with, accept and transform absolutely anything.

Empowerment, Responsibility and Living the Dream are not things that someone gives to you. They are a choice. And they are a process of self-knowledge, grounded in the alignment of body, heart and mind. This means that we need to learn how to listen to the wisdom of the body and follow it in movement. It means that we allow the heart space to feel and we learn to trust the alchemical process of feeling as an opening to connection. And it means that we have taken hold of the mind and recognised its importance in shaping our perception. We start to choose the ‘playlist’ we are listening to and therefore, we start to choose the story we are living inside. This is the work of The Journey of Empowerment and the ongoing group that has this invocation as its name is the place to begin if you want to take a deep dive into the Movement Medicine story.

The vertical alignment of body, heart and mind is the ground that enables us to begin to take responsibility for the meaning we wish to make out of our existence. Where have we come from? What matters most to us? What do we wish to be part of creating in this life? What kind of ancestors will we become for the generations that follow? The great Arc of Time that spans past, present and future is the umbrella under which the Journey of Responsibility gathers its momentum. Do we remain as victims to our individual and collective pasts? Do we continue to allow the past to create the future with no awareness that our actions in the present are the heirloom for our descendants? How can we retrieve the enormous store of life energy that is held in the undigested stories from the past? In Movement Medicine, we work with the SEER Process and this process will be taught in the workshop Re-Creation in the spring. The whole journey is ritualised through the 9 Life Cycles that we journey though in our Initiation journey (from incarnation to birth, childhood, puberty, adolescence, adulthood, maturity, old age and finally death) that happens each autumn. And the whole cast of understudies who step in to protect the essential qualities of who we are, are given their due respect and invitation to let go through the flight of the Phoenix Retreat which also happens in the spring. The ongoing group and workshops mentioned here are the prerequisites for our next Apprenticeship Programme that will begin in late August 2014. They form the foundation for the very deep commitment that is the Apprenticeship journey. If you are thinking of joining us for the next Apprenticeship journey, now is the time to begin. The Journey of Empowerment and the workshops that form the Journey of Responsibility are the prerequisites for applying for the Apprenticeship. They are the ground on which we invoke the joyful challenge of Living the Dream that is the main focus of the Apprenticeship Programme.

As our relationship with the Movement Medicine story has deepened and through that, our relationship with ourselves, each other and life, we recognise more and more how each of our personal stories is connected to the wider story of the times we are living in. In community, your challenge is mine too. Your healing is mine too. Your success and your failures matter to me. And here we are in that time that some of our ancestors called the shift of the ages, and yes, the changes are fast and at times scary and so massively unpredictable. A supportive space to enquire and a circle of dancers committed to unveiling the truth is what we have come to realise is the bedrock of our offering. However difficult the challenge, when we are connected to people who see and uphold us as we are and see and uphold the potential that is in us all, there is simply more support, and more energy to see us through the inevitable challenges on life’s road. Nowhere is this truer than in the circle of Apprentices. I find myself with less and less answers to the great mystery. I only know that life gives each of us the opportunities to find our own way to not just live the dream but to awaken in it.

I look forward to seeing many of you on the road over the winter months. My travels will take me to Munich for The Arc of Time, Hamburg for The Way of the Dancing Warrior, Zurich for The Poetry of Presence, and the Waldhaus in Switzerland for Dancing with the Heart of the World. Over the New year, we will be once again visiting our friends, the Achuar people, in the Amazon forest of Ecuador. Let’s hope the Mayans were right and that the changes we see around us are indeed the markers of a new story emerging. Why not?

I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes which becomes more and more relevant with each year that passes:

 ‘After all these years, I have begun to wonder if the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.”

Rachel Naomi Remen M.D. My Grandfather’s Blessings

Ya’Acov DK. November 2012


Application Forms for the School of Movement Medicine’s third Apprenticeship Programme beginning in August 2014 are available from the website, as are application forms for all the prerequisite workshops, Journey of Empowerment, Re-Creation, Initiation, and the Phoenix Retreat.

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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.