School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: November 2012

Gremlin Heaven
By Roland
This very useful piece of advice arrived the other day from Yasia.

‘For gremlins you need to open a portal in the sky and then you can gently, but firmly, fling them towards it... Or just summon up a fine white light and have a cigar whilst you're waiting for them to dissolve.’

I had sent an email to the first apprenticeship group which I had checked and rechecked for all possible errors and then just at the moment that I pressed the send button, I gasped out loud in horror as I realised that there was a glaring mistake in the subject line.  This led to me sending a second email with an apology for the error in the first and a request for a humane solution to the resident gremlins who have taken up residence somewhere behind my computer and whose main recreational activity is to mischievously mess around with my emails. 

Other helpful solutions I received were:

‘Garlic, fried onions and plenty of mushrooms, dash of red wonders :))’

‘Here's a recipe: hug it until it dissolves into nothingness..’

‘Ginger beer is definitely the best remedy, but it’s hard to come by in this neck of the woods, so I have placated mine with a whole box of chocolate biscuits and a hot cup of tea.  Just about anything yin will do the trick.’

Ya’Acov wrote to me about finding a place for them in Gremlin Heaven.  This seemed very good advice until another famous gremlin expert (who co-incidentally lives with me) pointed out that the conditions which constitute Gremlin Heaven were one and the same as those that I had generously provided at the back of my desk. ‘Have you had a look back there?’ she asked.   I peered cautiously over the back of my computer screen at a spaghetti mess of cabling snaking in and out of lakes of dust festooned with cobwebs. ‘Ah! I see what you mean. I’ll deal with that when I have time.’ The gremlin expert then said something that I found a little sharp so I will not repeat it here. 

It does not feel that long ago since the Apprenticeship Programme was the mearest grain of an idea and we were having discussions at Susannah and Ya’Acovs’ kitchen table about what form it would take. 

Now we are receiving enquiries from potential participants for the third Apprenticeship Programme due to start in 2014 and many of  those on the second programme will shortly be applying for the Professional Training Programme.  Three of those who were on the first Programme are fully qualified teachers and more are preparing for their qualification process which will take place at the Winter Dream Dance at the of January.  Others have taken the route to become Movement Medicine facilitors and have incorporated the Movement Medicine into their own work.  Regular Movement Medicine classes are being held in many different venues across Europe and this will continue to grow over the coming years as more apprentices go through the Professional Training programme.  A Movement Medicine Association has been set up and its provisional website can be found at

As I myself have not been though the Apprenticeship Programme I have invited some of those who were on the first programme to write about their experience.


The dance of being around

Diving as deep as the AP is like embarking on a roller coaster steering into all aspects of life and should probably come with a warning: Be aware, you may jump into doing something you’d never thought you’d do! Fear and his allies are likely to join you, as will Trust and her companions. My bet however, is that you’ll never regret it – after all it’s just another dance.

I’d never thought I’d be a teacher. Then, for some reason, rented the cheapest lot I could find, a squatter down town, and set up weekly classes… I washed floors, picked up used needles, brought moss from the mountains to the altar and asked my self: Why on earth am I doing this?

Nine months later I no longer wonder why. When movement is offered, be it to the dancer inside, to other dancers, to a place or a space, it will appear in all shapes and forms. There is no perfect site for dancing - there is only dance.

Last week it was time to move. New studio, clean floors and showers. Every Wednesday we dance the basics of being around. If ever in Oslo, you’re welcome to join!

Guro Voss Gabrielsen teaches open classes every Wednesday at Rom for Dans, Oslo, Norway - all welcome!

For more information: 

or follow us on Facebook: Movement Medicine Oslo!/profile.php?id=184311321681826&__user=100003603526498



The Apprenticeship for me was a life changing journey, an invitation to come home. Yes, I had a good life, and still there was something missing. The AP helped me to remember my deepest dreams and it gave me the courage and strength to take the steps to manifest that. Under the warm and clear guidance of Y&S & staff, I journeyed through my darkest valleys, my silent rivers and the frightening familiar unknown. I learned that in order to truly come home I needed to release many layers of that which wasn’t serving me anymore. I learned to deepen my roots, to realign my connection with heaven and earth, to feel centered, supported, and most of all to inhabit this body of mine fully. From that I learned to take my stance of power and becoming what I truly came here to do in life. With radiant peace, I now joyfully offer to the world, with my deepest gratitude, love and light, for all that I’ve been given, my simple Be-ing. Still I am grateful every day for the remembrance the AP gave of how to contribute to a better world. And it’s a work in progress...

Basira Elvira Oosterling, The Hague, The Netherlands and FB Basira Yeshe Elvira/ Movement Medicine Nederland



The first Apprenticeship program was an amazing journey. Working as a heart-filled, edge-walking staff team with Susannah and Ya’acov, David, Sue and I offered regular 1:1 mentoring to the Apprentices, both during the training modules and via Skype between modules and we continue on the current Apprenticeship.

I feel deeply honored to witness and accompany Apprentices on their journey of heart-opening, deep diving, soul journeying, stumbling dark nights, challenging moments, wild dancing and beautiful blossoming; each Apprentice maturing through the love and support of the MM community to become more deeply grounded in their unique gifts and soul path. What a privilege!

My background as a mindfulness based, body psychotherapist offering 1:1 and group training work for 20 years, alongside 5 Rhythm’s and Heartbeat training, forms the backdrop of my Conscious Dance Space work. I regularly offer classes, workshops and rituals in Totnes, Devon, and when invited, further afield. My work is influenced by Movement Medicine, Joanna Macy, an Integral understanding, and the awakening of the feminine.

I offer depth transformational journeys informed by an understanding that personal, collective and community awakening are intimately connected and essential at this time of pivotal planetary change.

Next Workshop, Reclamation



I have always loved the idea of learning through apprenticeship. It seems to me like the only way to learn something that goes beyond information and deeper than skill. The gifts that I received from travelling alongside the living, breathing, dancing duo of Y&S and company is so profound and unnameable. Each day, that I awake, if I take time to notice... there is yet another gift that awaits me. Yes, the Apprenticeship is the gift that keeps on giving ;)

In retrospect it seems like each moment of the AP was perfectly tailored and choreographed for me. Purpose built to aid and carry me across the gateway into motherhood. So exquisitely equipping me for this big change that I was able to deeply engage with all the wild uncertainty of birth and the chaotic messiness of early motherhood... and let it break me wide open. In a good way.  

Now nearly 2 years on I feel utterly blessed - not only for the countless ways that the apprenticeship touches me but for the infinite and unknowable ways that is has and will continue to bless my daughter and our family.

AND relatively quietly, somewhat in the background, my heart's Calling was also birthed. Not a bad result :)

For the past 3 years I have been working alongside Alexandra Pope to develop the Woman's Quest. Our radical new approach to women’s health, psycho-spiritual growth and leadership is based on the inner knowledge of the menstrual cycle and the developmental journey that we go on from menarche to menopause and beyond.

I am fiercely passionate about re-uniting woman with the wisdom of their bodies and the power of their menstrual cycle. At the heart of this work is the restoration of the power of the Feminine, in us as women and in the World.

On the 2nd of December I will be offering a new Women’s Quest workshop called Menstrual Movement which combines Movement Medicine and the Menstrual Cycle. This is a long held vision finally coming to be!

 Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer



Hello! My name is Eline. The Apprenticeship for me was a place for my joy to become conscious, and celebrated in all its fullness, and to realise that this is not separated from the challenges of being human. It was a place where I started to see and accept many polarities inside me, and understand life as a never ending circle that unites all these opposites, within myself, but also between people, cultures, cosmos… I am fascinated by the power of dance as a different way of knowing, which can reconnect us with all dimensions of life and creation. 

At the moment I’m still finishing my PhD on Movement Medicine. In 2013, I will start to offer workshops that are inspired by: dance, anthropology, nature, shamanism, stories, symbols, imagination and silence. Facilitation can be arranged for individuals, universities, care organisations, schools, businesses and intergenerational groups.  

Here are a few workshops titles to tease your appetite: The Red Shoes. Dancing through the Tarot. Silence as a Way of Knowing. Sea Movements. Meeting the Music. Lectures with a Twist. Dancing with Disabilities. Please keep an eye on my website for details regarding specific workshops:



'What I gained from AP is much more as I can put into words. I become more grounded, more present now and here, more happy and kind with myself, more aware of myself, others, life on Earth, about universe. Mine roots became stronger. The movement got even bigger value for me - it is therapy, relaxation, meditation, the way of telling stories,... MM became part of mine life. 
I can say that with AP program I did a few steps closer to mine essence, to the Essence of Life...'
In Feb. this year I had lecture for retired persons (55 - 80 years old) in our place. The topic was 'How to go safely in the mountains in spite of diseases?'  During preparation for the lecture I got an idea that I will use some methods of MM for introdusing the topic. I used Awakening a dancer, elements and spontaneously also Tree of life. At the beginning I said:'Because we are to much in our heads, lets go down to the feet, feel our roots and start with feet problems...' So we went through the all parts of the body and also  included mindes, soul, spirit. All the time the elements were present, very gently fire and fluidity of water, beauty of earth and respect to it... joy, playfulness of wind... People were very relax and asked many questions, which is not so typical. Often people are ashamed to ask. I was open, light, fluid too. For my lectures in the future I will use MM.


Room For The Dancer and Movement Medicine in Copenhagen

Espen has weekly drop-in classes on Wednesdays 7 pm - 9 pm in a lovely dance space close to the lakes of Copenhagen. He also has Introduction days, next ones: Nov. 18th and April 2013. He is planning to start an ongoing group from spring 2013.

Room For the Dancer is embracing the Movement Medicine classes. RFT is a concept and a space created from Espens engagement and drive to make space and place in the world, for himself and others, humans and entities.. It is a room so what lives in your self, what drives you, what embodies your soul and innermost source  ..can step into freedom, movement and rhythm with what is around you and in all your relations. It is a body spiritual practice based on awareness and care.

 - Let it be. Let it move -

Facebook group:  "Room For The Dancer"

Espen Andli; 42 yrs old. Lives and works in Copenhagen. Has private practice and is trained as body psychotherapist, MPF from Bodynamic Analysis, Physiotherapist, Somatic Experience Practisioner and Movement Medicine Apprentice teacher . Used dance as meditation and self practice for 10 years.


If you are drawn to the Apprenticeship Programme please go to this page for more information

Wishing you all gremlin free homes.









Acting in Alignment
by Susannah
Last Friday I was driving down a crowded Euston road, in good time for setting up the PA and film projector for “Dancing with the Heart of the World”. Alex (our London organiser) called me, and and her lovely voice cheerfully told me that there had been a power failure at the venue, and we might not have a studio we could work in. The power might or might not be back on tonight, or even over the weekend. “Oh wow……. the next adventure…..!”

I called Roland and we went through various scenarios. We expected it would get fixed soon. Alex and I arrive, the venue is dark, the kind caretaker greets us with a torch. We can’t go upstairs to our dance studio - no light, no heating, no power. After discussions they agree to let us work in the café, which does, for some reason, have power. So we clear away the tables, and prepare the PA and film projector. The music is on, the scene is set, people are arriving. Then there is an almighty bang, the music stops and the lights go out. The electricity has gone down here too. It’s dark except for the emergency lighting. We light candles and greet people in the dusky warm room. And begin. Speaking in diads and small groups about why we are here. Dancing to the drums of Laura and Petra and me. The atmosphere is strong, tender, calm, intimate. We make shared sculptures that give expression to the heart, and to the themes of the challenges and the hope of these times. We become a connected group fast.

And in the morning, the power is back on. Hooray! We are dancing in our studio upstairs with light, music, warmth, and gratitude. On Friday night we experienced the potency of our own human “electricity” and at the same time had a big reminder of how we take so much for granted.  Dancing over the weekend with thanks for the power of the music, powered by electricity whose energy (trace it back and you’ll see) comes ultimately from the sun, I realise that when I turn a light off because I don’t need it, I’m not just reducing my carbon footprint, I’m remembering with reverence the sacred gift of that energy. I’m remembering it as a gift from life, to be honoured.

And when I make a choice to get tea in my thermos cup rather than a take out container, to support ethical business, to buy local, fair trade and organic food, not to eat eggs in a restaurant which are not free range, to take the train rather than the plane, I’m doing the same thing. It feels good because I’m doing my best to act in alignment with my love for life. It feels good because I’m becoming more whole as I bring my purpose, my heart and my actions together.

As Julia Butterfly Hill says, it’s not about making more “to do lists”, it’s not about “shoulds” and “have to’s” and guilt. It’s simply about asking the question (this is her potent way to put it) “What would love do here?” My way to put this is: “What fits with who I really am and want to be?”

As a human being, I absolutely sympathise with the feeling of overwhelm and wishing to shut out the pain of the world and just look after myself and my nearest and dearest. As a human being, I also know that this is central to the problems we face - the idea that we can be healthy, whole and healed in an unhealthy, un-whole, un-healed world just doesn’t make sense, especially if we aspire to live the teachings of oneness and dissolving the illusion of separation.

So I thank all the members of the “Dancing with the Heart of the World” workshop in London this weekend for their courage and big hearted willingness to embrace self and world, micro and macro, and wish each one of well in our s=chosen next steps. And I thank the Pachamama Alliance for their incredible and generous work in creating the Symposium, Jonathan Hughes (of ‘Be the Change UK’ who first delivered the symposium facilitatator training to us along with Bernadette Ryder ) for being such a deep dancing techie assistant, to Diane  Sharp, also of Be the Change UK who came and supported our beginning so beautifully, to Alex and her crew for all her work to bring us together, Petra for pointing me to the videos of Julia Butterfly Hill, and the electricity for going off, and coming back on.

Wishing you every joy in your dance of finding how to care for the world inside you and you the world of which you are part. As Lynn Twist says: “you don’t have a big part to play, you don’t have a small part to play, you have your part ……. And together we are a genius”,

I wish you happy following your path of heart and connectedness,



Video links:   (re protecting Equador forest)

(Julia Butterfly Hill) (Julia Butterfly Hill)

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.

Gabrielle Roth - Obituary
As most of you will know, Gabrielle Roth died this last month. The spirit of what we learned with her continues to dance through Movement Medicine. All of us at the School of Movement Medicine send our best wishes to her husband, Robert, her son Jonathan, and all who grieve her passing.

Ya’Acov, Susannah and Roland.

We met Gabrielle Roth in 1988 and fell in love with her and her fierce articulation of how movement creates a space where we can experience the union of body and spirit. Her deep philosophy married with the passionate grace of her dance work and the simple congruency and coherence of her maps inspired us on every level. In 1989 we trained with her and became teachers of the 5 Rhythms, introducing it to many countries in Europe. Between 1996 and 2006 we ran the Moving Centre School, UK, representing Gabrielle and her work in Europe. The 5 Rhythms maps were central to our own inner work and understanding and our 18-year apprenticeship with Gabrielle was the cauldron in which our own work evolved.

Though our relationship was not without its challenges and shadows, we will always be grateful to Gabrielle, who was our central teacher for so many years. She saw the potential locked inside us and gave us the means to access it.

Ya’Acov: “I met the dance at a workshop with Gabrielle Roth in 1988. I was hiding out in the corner, wondering what on Earth had led me into a room where I was expected to spend the next three days dancing. I danced like a gnome, all hunched up and curled in on myself. I felt terribly cumbersome and self-conscious. Gabrielle, elegantly fluid and dressed in black, slowly seduced us into a way of listening to our bodies so that they could begin to find the dance inside. I was astonished how much energy there was in there when I was able to follow the invitation and place my focus on the physical sensation of the body moving and breathing. The difference between that state of listening to and following the body and the self-conscious patterns of thought that I was used to when dancing in a public space was quite shocking. My body had a dancer inside just dying to move!”

Susannah: ”Gabrielle’s words resonated all the way through me. I was thunderstruck. When Gabrielle started to speak, I started to cry. These were the words I’d been longing to hear. They were the words I would have said myself if I had known how to find them. They watered a desert inside me I hadn’t even known was there. And the dance! What bliss to be guided through so many aspects of allowing and letting go in connection with others. Gabrielle and her work held the door open for me to walk through into the rest of my life.”

From our book- 2009.


Susannah and Ya’Acov

Forthcoming Workshops
Here is the Movement Medicine programme for the rest of 2012.

This coming weekend 17th – 18th November Susannah is teaching Dancing Voices in Prague.  Contact: Raduca +420 224 827 417  There is also a Move! evening on the Friday 16th.

Ya’Acov is also teaching this weekend of the 17th – 18th and will be in Hamburg where he will be leading The Way of the Dancing Warrior.  Contact: Jens +49 40 729 100 61

On the weekend of 24 – 25 Ya’Acov will be teaching the Poetry of Presence in Zurich with a Move! evening on the Friday 23rd.  Katriona, the organiser, says the current status for this weekend is:

Weekend  Nov. 24th -25th– 3 places left
Move! Evening Nov 23rd – 13 places left
Online booking on

On the same weekend of the 24 - 25 Susannah will be teaching Love Stories in Paris.  Contact: Pierre-Henri + 33 615 325 816 for more details and to book.

On the 7 – 9th December Ya’Acov will in in Manchester teaching The Circle and the Sword.  Contact: Elaine + 44 161 881 2644

The final Movement Medicine webinar of 2012 takes place on Tuesday 11th December.  To sign up for the webinars please go to

We have just a few places left for the Dancing with the Heart of the World workshop which will take place at Waldhaus from 18th – 23rd December.  Please contact me on 00 44 1803 762255 if you wish to book.

By Elaine Swords
In the mid 90’s Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, Wandering Wolf the Spiritual Elder of the Mayan People came to Britain for the first time. Having been passionate about Mayan astrology for many years, it was a great honour to cook for him, being with him, receiving healing and wisdom teachings.

Of course 21.12.12 and the end of one of the Mayan calendars was talked about. He told us, his people had never given out all of the wisdom of the calendars, as it was only handed down to their people. No one really knows the end of the longest calendar as it is over 5,000 years old, too long to know. Some said 28.10.11, - it was certainly a good day for ceremony! Now we are weeks away from the next date.  This date has been picked up all around the world in film, book and seen as prophesy, gaining power and force over the years. ‘The end of the world” some said!

Lets face it, its doubtful! However we are living through the end of the world as we knew it. When we look around at the plight of the Bee’s and possibly our beloved Ash, the weather changes  and what’s happening with banks, pensions, rising costs, and the demise of some who were seen as ‘good’. Thankfully some of this is creating a consciousness of ‘using less’ rather then getting more.

So the 21.12.12 snow ball has rolled through many years gaining size. What ever this gate way is, it has gained momentum which can be used and enjoyed.  So when Ya’Acov suggested Dec ’12 for our next Manchester MM dance week end it fit perfectly. Lets dance says Hafiz

Every child has known God,

Not the God of names,

Not the God of don’ts,

Not the God who ever does anything weird,

But the God who knows only four words.

And keeps repeating them saying:

“Come dance with me, come dance.”

Dancing the dance towards balance, as what’s  important is our truth, that which resonated with self and beats inside. To be embodied and in movement is a potent path to this place. Raising the awareness through dance and positive change.

Ya’Acov will be in  Manchester 7th-9th December with Circle and the Sword, the dance of polarity. We will be dancing to create space for healing, bringing creation to where it is needed. To help us to re-member along with others all over the world. You are welcome to join us in our dance space, there is a place for you. Perhaps a potent preparation for the 21.12.12 gateway.

What will you be doing 21.12.12, we’ll be dancing, the room has been booked for years!

For more information on Circle and the Sword 7th-9th Dec. go to   or contact Elaine Swords on     0161 881 2644

Shame is a Beuatiful Woman
By Caroline Carey
This week I finalized the details in my new book, Reclaimed Innocence. It is a sequel to Ms'Guided Angel which is my auto-biography published in 2010. Reclaimed Innocence continues the journey of soul in a changing world of consciousness.

Amidst the dances, dreams and poetry, I have woven my own story with experiences that may touch those with similar stories to unfold and heal.

I found the completion for the book in the last workshop that I held which was in Den Haag in Holland organised by the lovely Annemeike.

When I called in the spirit of shame to work with us at the gathering of women, there during our ceremony and for the days either side, 

I saw her as a very beautiful woman who had been locked in a tower. 

I saw her suffering because we were too ashamed to even admit we felt shame!! She was outcast because we could not bare to see deeply into her as a society.

I wrote a poem about shame just after the workshop and decided to share this poem with you in the newsletter and to share a little of that particular chapter of my new book.

Reclaimed Innocence will be available in a couple of weeks on Amazon and off Kindle on my website.


A Soul Free of Shame

Shame came to me as a beautiful woman, 

No longer banished to an ugly tower,

She came to me as a beautiful woman 

Free of the shackles and chains that would bind her, 


Shame came to me as a beautiful woman 

Full of her own creative wisdom,

Free to dance and sing with her own voice.


Shame came to me as a beautiful woman,

No longer cast out as a memory of dysfunction


The spirit of shame is a beautiful woman. 


The soul is free of shame, but the ego carries shame - the soul and ego need to fall in love - one cannot be in the world without the other. So we allow the soul to fall in love with our shame.

Shame is generally felt as unworthiness, caused by how we perceive others to see us or think about us.

Guilt is generally connected to something we have done that has caused problems regarding what others think or feel and what we think or feel ourselves.

If we are ashamed of others and their actions it is usually because it reflects something we feel within ourselves.  The soul will accept any amount of shame within the ego and the ego must also allow the soul to receive and gently transform the ego to accept itself.

It may be that we do not experience huge feelings of shame or be aware of them, but we may be acting out patterns and habits of behaviour that is still related to the original shame and its experience.

These things can relate to eating habits, sexuality, to hiding emotions or fear of losing control. We may remain very shy and avoid any kind of embarrassing situations. It may be that our concerns about how other people perceive us or think about us, are way out of proportion, so we live our lives in fear of that and try to adjust ourselves to fit in with their perceived expectations. We may be living a very mundane existence without any creativity because that is a safer option.

In the women's 'SHE is a Soul Free of Shame' workshop that I hold, we look deeply into the one who experiences shame and we begin to find an understanding of what it means to accept it, to the find ways to change the habits we have because of it.

We might look at specific incidences that have happened in our lives and begin to explore the feelings and thoughts that were there at the time. We may look at various impulses we had and what our connection to others was like then. We always look at where about's in the body we feel the emotions and if there is any discomfort connected to this area. When we look visually into it, are we aware of any colours, shapes or do feel particular textures?

What happens to our body in its physicality, does it get hot or cold? What expression does our face pull? How do we move? And in what ways does it influence us today? Do we like its influence or not? Does it need to change? Do we benefit from it in any way or not?

Because shame is such a vast subject we have to trust the process itself to unfold what is needed for each person.


Shame that manifests itself in the roots of destruction, the part of us that believes we are worthless and have no value, is the very thing that so many of us would bury as deeply as possible. Some would bury it with alcohol, food and drugs. Some with a superficial appearance of everything being ok. Much narcism is born under the guise of shame and for some they will live a life of depression and begrudge others around them.

Those who suffer shame often feel they need acceptance and love, they need people who value them, one person will never be enough. Yet the only one who can truly help us overcome this debilitating experience is ourselves.


I awoke one morning from a dream, everything seemed wrong and a voice in my head would not still itself. I reach for my note pad and scribble down words that simply flow out of me, looking for release, for freedom, so as not to be caged inside me anymore. I know it is the voice of a lack in self-esteem and I know that to know my self-esteem, I must know its shadow too.

Shame is believed to be the most disturbing experience individuals ever have about themselves; no other emotion feels more deeply disturbing because in that moment of shame they feel so deeply wounded within. People who experience traumatic events are prone to shame. It is associated with a desire to hide or to disappear. Even in extreme cases to die and not be here at all. A baby has the ability to feel shame very early on in its life. It can be caused simply by not receiving attention when he or she expected to. So shame is sometimes linked to disappointment. When a baby or small child does not receive that attention expected, the muscles in the back of the neck weaken and the head drops forward, as eyes look down to the ground. The emotion of shame has planted its seed.

Many people will close their eyes when speaking to others, look away or look to the floor. This can become a life long habit if not addressed. It is a really vast subject, especially as shame creates so much pain in our lives.

I'm not talking about some one necessarily 'doing' something  considered to be wrong and feeling shame because of that. This is more about the feelings from childhood that haunt us and the thoughts that go with that. We can too easily believe that we are somehow not good enough, that we are wrong, defective or not strong enough.

Its quite normal to feel shame at some point in our lives and sometimes we barely recognise it in its many different forms. We can feel different intensities, sometimes experiencing fleeting shame for some minor incident, or we can feel chronic shame. The most intense being humiliation. Humiliation is hugely painful and yet children are often humiliated by their peers, their teachers and even some parents. The scars of humiliation run very deep and in order to alleviate them, those deep core issues need to be addressed and self esteem reclaimed in what ever way possible. Firstly by acknowledgment and feeling into the body what energy is there. Energy in motion: E;motion.

We do not always know our own shame, but some of the ways we can know we feel shame are through our shyness, discouragement, embarrassment, self-consciousness and/or inferiority. Shame is often triggered by expectations or hopes, being frustrated or blocked, disappointed or perceived failure and rejection or lack of interest from another. These may be the triggers but not the full story of why we feel it. We need to master our shame and not allow it to have that debilitating grip on our lives. It means being a witness to it; sitting in the eye of the storm and not being blown about in the hurricane.

I realised that shame had prevented me from speaking out when I needed too. I fear of feeling shame can also stop us in our tracks and mean that we lose out on many opportunities. The fear of feeling my own shame in front of groups of people would silence me time and time again. But the only way to over come this was to speak out and be heard. If shame arose I would need to feel its effects and let it move me.

Innocence can be reclaimed through this process especially as we begin to acknowledge those places that we feel deep shame. So often we try to ignore shame, put it aside and ride above its painful wave. Yet it sits deep within us lurking in those hidden places.

So I knew I carried shame, of course I did; how could I have possibly escaped it with all that had happened to me in my past? When it began to find its way rather craftily into my places of work and connection to others, it took an immense journey to find its roots and begin to step out of its clutches. I knew the stories and why it had occurred, but I needed to change the physical patterns and habits that I held in my body and let it loosen its grip.

I soon recognised the part of me that had to hide. So the best way forward was to make myself be seen. Ouch!

Time after time I would promote myself and keep stepping out into the world to do my best to overcome what I felt. Always however paying attention to the little voice that said, 'I really do not want to be seen right now!' I could have ignored that voice but then it would have stayed underground and the healing would not manifest. It could have turned into a desperate monster or it could have turned in on me, needing to resort to numbing effects of medication or simply numbing myself to life and its experiences. I may never have been able to fall in love ever again!

I would also notice how others may have preferred me to hide away in my shame body, because it made them feel more comfortable and meant they did not need to face their own shame, they would begin to prefer less contact with me.


I recognise old patterns of shame emerging, I knew they were bound to appear now and again, they had a strong hold on me for many years and occasionally they would stick their head out from over my shoulder, reaching forwards to whisper in my ear. I hear that old familiar voice begging me to save its life;

 What about me, what about me, your old friend called shame' you know me well, the one who has protected you all your life, the one who has helped you shut down so you did not need to hear those nasty words, those painful truths and even those lies, remember me

Sometimes it sits on a fence looking at me like vultures awaiting the kill, patiently knowing it is coming, ripe and raw, plundered from the kill of its innocence. So I study, I search, I take note of the stories that unfold around me. Knowing that somehow as I work deeper and deeper these stories have to change.


In the pain of my own body I feel your eyes

Encouraging me to open more and share those dark secrets from


Searching for the unlimited stories that have lurked in the corners

Time forgotten on all sides

Ready to emerge to envelop me with shadows of dances not yet danced

And my feet move down into the ground

Spreading my roots into the earth

Saying hold me connect me support me

Here I go once more releasing the unnecessary burdens seeking fire to burn and rid me of the past and its melancholy

Surrendering to the fluidity of mighty rivers to wash away the pressure of having to live my life

To give it up is a timely and appropriate feeling

To live no more in dread of what may or may not come

My hurt, not yours, watch me yes

But do not rob me of my own power to heal myself

It is mine and given freely for me to use as I desire

Do not make yourself the rescuer do not make your self the healer

For that is youre healing to let go of

This dance is my doing and mine alone

Simply see me and hold me in your gaze, see the darkness of me as well as my beauty

For here it unfolds onto the picture called my life

The painting rich of many colours and textures

I am maiden mother warrior and crone, the wise woman in each

I am all these things and will be all for you

Whenever you need the dance, the eyes of connection

The witness of our truth, I see you


From Ms’Guided Angel 2010


Caroline Carey


First published in the UK in November 2012 by MyVoice Publishing

Copyright: © Caroline Carey

What does teaching Movement Medicine mean?
By Emma Pounch
As I sit here and look at this question all sorts of stories and memories come to mind and I’m smiling, thinking about the battles I’ve had with this question, with more to come I’m sure. For a time it only meant holding a space for dancers to move to music, a space for them to move their bodies, right? I’ve even dreamed once of Ya’Acov asking me to write an essay on what MM means in the corporate world!

In my world I hold a space for adults with special needs to be in their bodies. I begin on Monday morning with a lady who is deaf and dumb. There is no sound in her world so there will be no fancy tracks to impress, no smooth tractor cross overs, not that I’ve mastered tractor yet anyway!  Our movement is simple, she mirrors my movements perfectly, let me tell you it is simple, there are no skips or leaps, no turns or twirls, she moves how her body can manage today. The beauty of our session is in the holding, it is in what we share together and that is realised by me being in my body. Through MM work I have learned how to stay in my body how to hold that space for another. I can hold eye contact with her, there will never be any words, I will never know what she is thinking or feeling but my body can know something of how this movement medicine is for her. Sometimes we share a smile and that is a good day.

Later in the day I will spend an hour with another non-verbal gentleman. The work is slow and there are many times that I ask is this the right thing to do? But I know that when I lie on the floor for myself and relax it feels good, when I check into the sides of my body it feels good. So when we as teachers invite another to check in however simple, however small well that’s got to be good, right? This gentleman will stop for eye contact and reach his hand out and I will hold it. I am learning again and again, presence and contact equal medicine.

Today I write for a very special man that I worked with every week for three years. He had been in institutional care almost all his life and as a result his body and soul bore many scars. He died yesterday suddenly, he taught me so much about survival, endurance and innocence, he will be terribly missed. The last time we worked together we were practicing some simple stretches and breathing. He was agitated and tired, it’s always hard to know when to push on through resistance and when to let it be. I began by trying to push a little, move a little. My heart sank as I knew he was just going through the motions, Oh no I thought this is movement by rote! I stopped and we just sat there, resting being present, just sitting there. Part of my mind still screamed this isn’t teaching! The other body knowing was saying let it be, sit and be present, hold this space of non movement. That was two weeks ago, my dear friend and teacher is gone now. His loves were Elvis and Johnny Cash I hope he’s  singing away and rockin’ out. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I listened to the wisdom of my body and rested there for one last time with him.

So I find my teaching path has begun in this way, this is what I need to learn right now, holding and presence and I know that this will change as I change.

There is a richness and depth to Movement medicine that continues to sneak up and surprise me. I know that when there are times that movement is not possible or when I feel frozen  I can call upon the elements, call upon spirit and the animals to unlock my body and open it to movement and expansion once more. And at these times I know that I have a vast library of resources in my body and heart, stored, squirreled away in my cells waiting to be called upon. That’s when I know the reason I embarked on this extraordinary journey into the body of muscle and bone, into the body of  heart and soul.

Apprenticeship I
By Annemeike van Bellen
More than 4 years ago I was sitting in front of my desk, with the application right before me: the first apprenticeship of the School of Movement Medicine is offered. And I want to be on it!

This brings up memories. A lot of them, and today I decided to dive into them. Where was I, what was it that pulled me at this next step, and who am I now? Somewhere down in 1994 and 1995 I encountered the 5 rhythms. Dancing was one of the things I really liked to do. It has always held this whisper of freedom, of bliss for me. Soon, I met Susannah, who was teaching once or twice every year in the Netherlands. At that time, I started to feel at home with my dancing friends. It didn’t really matter what we were dancing as long as I felt save and with good company.

I was a single mother, and I experienced some major scars from my childhood. On the other hand, I felt very blessed: I met beautiful people who showed me ways to heal. For my biggest challenge was to really inhabit my body, to dare to show up for what I wanted, or to say “no” to what was not welcome. Having felt unsave for the bigger half of my childhood I had cultivated some skills that served me well. I could sense or “see” things from afar, and I was and am a good dreamer. Now it was time to come home.

I can still remember clearly, right before a workshop with Susannah in Belgium, I saw this man in my dream: bold, with one long braid from the back of his skull. You guess: this was Ya’Acov! I had never met nor seen him, and I was totally surprised when he entered the venue on the last day of Susannah’s workshop. I recognised him, and I asked him to be my teacher. From 1997 I danced with Ya’Acov, and I had one wish: to be an apprentice of this work, as it nourished my soul, and was slowly taking away the pains I suffered. I had set foot on a healing path that helped me inhabit my body and live a life more consciously and colourful.

So this happened, and I filled in the applicationform just over 4 years ago, really questioning what it was that I desired. This is what I wrote:

The main reason (to do the apprenticeship) is that I simply Love this work. It helps me to become more Me: to Heal, Grow up, Take responsibility and Create my Sacred Dream.

It opens my Heart and allows me to Give more. It makes me feel Connected to All That Is, and enjoy more fully the Beauty of Everything.

And looking back I can verify. The apprenticeship helped me to create more Balance in my life, and to find inner Peace with who I am. I feel more grounded and able to hold more, to care for myself and others, and to set boundaries if needed. And I found my love for Music, even started to sing. And lots of other things, that I never had imagined. Above all, I found this deep belonging. I feel I have come home to a family, to a community that I love and that feels deeply nourishing to me.

It has been a very guided and safe and well modelled two years, with lots of support during and in between modules. I am grateful to Y & S for all the work that they have been doing to be able to offer this to us all. And also a deep bow to the staff, to the pathfinders and my companion-travellers on this road. This is more than I’d ever expected from a course, a study or even a life-path. It is my life!

I am now currently teaching Movement Medicine in the Netherlands, and also from this place I like to give a heartfelt Thank-You to Roland. I really like to organise for others, and his example is and has been very nourishing to me too. From this place I like to invite you all for a dance in Holland. Upcoming event in November is “Reflection – Insight Council of the Elders” with Mark Boylan, and in February “Magic of the Mandorla” with Caroline Carey. And of course: feel welcome to dance with me, or any of us Dutchies here around. For more information email or find me on Facebook: Annemeike van Bellen.


Feelings in motion, heart in action, life in connection
By Petra Bongartz
“What is split off, not felt, remains the same. When it is felt, it changes... A few moment of feeling it in your body allows it to change. If there is in you something bad, or sick or unsound, let it inwardly be, and breathe. That’s the only way it can evolve and change into the form it needs.”(Eugene Gendlin)

I have just returned from assisting on the weekend workshop Dancing with the Heart of the World with Susannah in London. This is a beautiful and intense journey with the Pachamama Symposium at its heart, dancing our feelings and creative responses to the interwoven threads of environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfilment, both in terms of the challenges humanity is currently facing and in terms of all the emerging possibilities and reasons for hope.

We had an interesting start on Friday night as there had been a powercut in the area in the afternoon which meant we couldn't use the room we were meant to be in- there was no electricity, so no lights and also no possibility of playing music or showing the Pachamama Symposium film. So for a while, we were wondering whether we would have to cancel the weekend. But, with the help of the very generous and flexible staff at Toynbee Hall, as well as our own capacity to stay calm and think on our feet (or perhaps through our feet, as we so often practice in the dance), we managed to transform the cafe space at the venue into our dance space, with emergency lights, candles and drumming instead of electronic music.

And it worked a treat and felt very appropriate for this particular workshop. It made us all aware how much we take electricity for granted and how with what is happening in the world right now, this kind of situation is not only a reality for many people already but may well be a sign of things to come. And it also beautifully illustrated the opportunities and magic that come with such crises.  It really brought everyone even closer together- both the crew and the participants- and it was beautiful to see how deep we travelled without all the extras we take for granted, simply coming back to what all this is really about anyway: connection with our bodies, connection with each other, simply being together and giving attention to each other, listening to the music in our hearts and allowing our dance to follow.

Luckily the electricity was back on Saturday and Sunday. And so we could show the inspiring and moving Pachamama symposium film and continue as planned: embodying our responses to the environmental, social and spiritual challenges of our times, letting our emotions move as well as awakening our hope and seeing the many possibilities for positive change, including our own unique part in it.

Something that Ya’Acov said at the last Apprenticeship module was very present with me throughout the weekend: “Every single human emotion, whether shadow or light is a gateway to the heart and to love, if we are present with it and allow it to move through us and move with it.” This was what I keep witnessing in myself and in others every time I do the symposium. Yes, there is a lot of grief, sadness, anger, despair and many more emotions that our culture deems negative that arise in me when I witness the destructive, cruel, careless and disconnected ways in which we humans are behaving. But when I allow them to be, when I give them expression through my tears, my sobs, my shaking, my dance, I find the love and care for life in all its myriad forms that lies behind them. I feel the aliveness of my own heart and how it vibrates with the resonance of all it is connected to. I feel the depth of my love and passion for life.

And this weekend, I had such a sense of how my own experience of hope and my contribution is linked with my experience of being in this Movement Medicine community, in the circle of Apprentices, connected to the many inspiring groups I have been part of during workshops and the Long Dance.

The integration of Movement Medicine and the Pachamama Symposium has special significance for me as the first MM workshop I ever took part in also included the Pachamama Symposium. And this combination is what got me ‘hooked’. I felt like I had finally found my home, after years of keeping locked up my feelings about the state of the world as well as my passion for change, after years of feeling helpless and feeling ‘I am alone with this’, I saw that there are others who care in this way. And through the practice and the experience of being in this community, bit by bit, the layers of protection around my heart, the layers of doubt about expressing myself, the many versions of the story of ‘I’m not good enough’ have given way to the fire of my passion and love finding their expression and purpose in the world.

This weekend, I felt the interconnection of all our individual journeys, dreams and commitments (in their many beautiful colourful variations) to play our role in this life, on this Earth, for this Earth and for life. I felt the force of this gathering of energies behind a common dream of a different world.  And dancing with, from and in this space in my heart, I felt truly alive, with all the sorrow, grief and anger, as well as the gratitude and joy of it. I felt alive because this awakening, and finding ways of co-creating a response, sharing hope and telling and embodying new stories and ways of being makes me feel that I am dancing right at the heart of my purpose, dancing from my/our birthright and my/our deepest longing. I feel so much love for our shared journey, for this deepening and expanding of connection with and between our hearts, and the possibilities that blossom from the fertile soil of our MM garden.

I feel I needed to give expression to and share these feelings of passion, love and hope with you, because YOU, whether I know you or not and whether you know it or not, are such an important part of it all. Thank you for your love, commitment and courage, I am happy to have you by my side.


Pachamama Symposium DVD and Training
We’re delighted that several Movement Medicine apprentices and apprenticeship graduates will be training this coming weekend at Earth Spirit near Glastonbury to run the Pachamama Symposium (Be the Change- Awakening the Dreamer).

The symposium has been a huge inspiration for us, and we’d encourage everyone to attend one somewhere. You can now get the DVD of the symposium from the Movement Medicine Shop.

If you’d like to join the training, here is the information, we are told there are still a few places available.


Susannah Darling Khan

If you go out, we shoot you!
By Véronique Champalou
If you go out, we shoot you! - not with an arrow or a gun but with a bazooka, so all my bodies will explode even my soul will not survive - that was the message I have been facing on during the last module of the Apprenticeship program. Those words, I realised I was repeated in loop consciously or unconsciously, were acted as a barricade each time I wanted to manifest my dreams. At the end, I did not have any desire, especially for a job.

If you go out, we shoot you! - not with an arrow or a gun but with a bazooka, so all my bodies will explode even my soul will not survive - that was the message I have been facing on during the last module of the Apprenticeship program. Those words, I realised I was repeated in loop consciously or unconsciously, were acted as a barricade each time I wanted to manifest my dreams. At the end, I did not have any desire, especially for a job.

            When I came back home, the week-end after there was a 7 km run in the town where I live. At the age of 48, I never ran before, was not interested at, or I thought I was not. But the last few months, as I began the Apprenticeship program and moved recently to the edge of the black forest, I started to train. First with a lot of fear, then I liked it. But the night before the run, I woke up in the middle of the night with a pain like contractions right in the middle of the heart. I started to panic for having a heart attack. Finally I calmed down but thought if this pain in my heart goes on before the effort, I’m not going to run. After having an omelette at four o’clock in the morning, I felt back asleep. When the clock woke me up, I was absolutely not in a mood to run, but no more pain in my heart. I got up, took a bath and finally decided to register. Then I will see. I got the number 529 and a T-Shirt, went back home, had almost three hours before the Start. I had time to drink tee, to feel fear, and finally to put on my yellow T-shirt size S but on me looked like XL, with the number 529. As I walked to the starting point, the Allee was full of professional runners with brown skin from the sun, legs muscled from running. They were training, all looked quiet stressed looking at their watch every minute, even less. Why don’t they relax, I was asking myself? Anyway, arriving at the starting point, I did not know where to stand amongst those hundreds of runners waiting for the start, fully tensed. As I was strengthening my arms above my head more to woke up than to warm up, a cameraman stopped. Straight away, he filmed me. I did not know how to stand and also why he was shooting me as I was not professional at all. Then I remembered the message: If you go out, we shoot you! I laughed, the cameraman also. I relaxed.

            Somebody talked in the microphone, the level of stress raised up, a wave of applause rings. Start! They all started fast, I did not. Soon, nobody doubled me. But I could hear the sound of the sticks of the walkers behind me. I followed my own rhythm. All along the way, cameramen and camerawomen who were shooting, others who were there to encourage. Each time I remembered the message: If you go out, we shoot you! I had a smile, relaxed, and went on.

            Most of the runners were back to the starting point for a long time when I finally arrived under the applaused, especially when the man at the desk named me loud in this place where nobody knows me. That was it.

            I can go out, be shot and I’m still alive, full of live!

From seed to tree: the long-term nature of cultivating dreams and making books
By Christian de Sousa
About 15 years ago I had the experience of a dream-seed planting itself inside my heart. I can remember the exact moment when it happened, although at the time I had no idea that I was unwittingly letting myself in for what would become one of the most challenging processes of my life.

I was young and living in London, studying photography and aspiring to become a photojournalist. I was full of worthy ambitions to document the state of the world, the human condition and other somewhat grandiose notions which I felt passionately about. One of my teachers introduced me to a book called 'The Americans' by a photographer called Robert Frank, a black&white portrait of 1950s America which is considered a seminal work in the history of photography. The book blew me away with its evocative and emotional, almost visceral portrayal of American people and society in the post-war years.

As I turned the pages of this book for the first time, I experienced one of those lucid, ecstatic moments that we call inspiration, and the dream landed. I knew I wanted to make a book, a photobook like 'The Americans' about the way human beings live in modern times and how, as I saw it, the state of our souls is connected to the state of the world. My version would be about the end of the twentieth century (as it was then) and the increasingly global urban Western society. I can do that! I thought, it will probably take me about a year - like Robert Frank (who travelled across America for a year to take the photographs that became his book) - and I can find a publisher when I've finished college.

I lived to regret and want to disown this moment of inspiration many times over, as I was to spend the next 15 years on a roller-coaster ride of journeys, challenges, obstacles and breakthrough discoveries that stretched me beyond anything I could have imagined as a fresh-faced student. I spent hours and days and weeks and months and years pacing the streets of London and other cities with my camera, looking for images that would tell the stories of our world, of how we live - and of my own personal story within all that. I met all sorts of fascinating characters and explored diverse worlds from global finance, CCTV surveillance and techno nightclubs to Alpine farming, permaculture and Zen meditation.

Many times I gave up or let go and tried to forget about 'my book'. It was too much, too big, too absurdly impossible a project. But the dream wouldn't let me go. It remained, insistently alive in one of the central chambers of my heart, and there was nothing I could do but keep feeding it with photographic adventures, ideas and dream journeys.

A year into the project (in 1998) I discovered the 5Rhythms and the liberation of discovering I was a dancer affected and changed me in profound ways. I found that in the dance I could go far deeper into the soulful nature of reality and my existence than I could through using my head. And one thing I realised was that my book needed to be not just about the condition of our intense world and our often damaged collective psyche, but also how human beings find creative ways to live consciously and soulfully within and alongside all this. I discovered electronic music as a response to the concrete landscapes of the city and I experienced ecstatic dance as both resistance to, and transcendence of, the oppressions of the capitalist system that serves its sweet-and-sour menu of freedom and destruction.

So I danced and I photographed, and I danced and I wrote, and gradually the book took shape, evolved, and just like the dance, kept changing pretty much any time I thought I had it worked out. Together, the dance and the book carried me deep into the nature of reality and the roots of my story, bringing healing to core wounds and catalysing the reclamation of my origins. The deeper I went into this the more I felt that healing on a global level needs human beings to understand and heal our wounds and reconnect with our roots, from our geographical and ancestral roots, to the roots of our living interconnection with the web of nature.

Soon after discovering the deep dance in the form of the 5Rhythms, I had started working with Ya'Acov and Susannah, first as a dancer, then over the next decade as organiser, assistant and apprentice, finally having the privilege of becoming one of the first three 'pathfinder' trained teachers of Movement Medicine last year. Throughout this time, I've been beavering away on my book, occasionally attempting to explain my absurdly ambitious vision to them and being grateful for the supportive energy that always came back - whether or not, in the middle of my epic artistic processes and neuroses, I was making any sense. For a year-long ongoing group called The Zero Zone, I danced with my camera to create images of and from inside the dance. This project became a chapter in the book called 'The Medicine Circle', about Movement Medicine and the experience of dancing in a community of dancers. In the middle of the image sequence is a picture of an acorn, taken as I walked off the dancefloor and into the trees near Croydon Hall one autumn day.

Last month, 10 years to the month after taking that photograph, and 15 years to the week since the original dream seed landed, I launched my book 'Postcards from Babylon - a rough guide to liberation' in London - down the road from where I first saw 'The Americans'. And here I am sending out dream-seeds to you dancing beings all over the world… I love the way life goes in cycles.

You can see and buy "Postcards from Babylon - a rough guide to liberation" at

- and it will also be available from the Movement Medicine shop at some workshops.

Here's what Ya'Acov and Susannah have to say about it:

"Christian's 'Postcards From Babylon' is less of a book and more of a journey. It charts his own explorations through many years into just what is going on in these times of great change. Stunning imagery and sharp and concise text rattle the cage of our status quo thinking and open us up to the questions that make life worth living. How do we escape from the consumerist Babylonesque nightmare, bringing with us the gritty edge of urban creations and dance our way into a down-to-earth, out-of-our-minds, into-our-hearts embodied dream that will sustain us and the generations to come. Christian turns things inside out and invites us to do the same and find our own answers to the maze of human being in the 21st century. We can't recommend this brilliant invocation of possibility enough!"

Christian de Sousa is a fully qualified Movement Medicine teacher, offering MM both 'pure' and in combination with 5Rhythms and elements of shamanic and Taoist practice. He teaches ongoingly in London and Paris and has been a visiting teacher in Berlin and Switzerland, with Italy and South Africa possible destinations next year. Visit or email for more info. Christian is quietly ecstatic to have just moved to the Devon hills with his partner Chloe and their daughter.


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.


To Life - A Poem
By Irena Šimnovec

You push me out of my cave

And I resist you

Less and less.

When I surrender to you in dance

My dear unpredictable lover

Our tails play

In the dust.


When I fly wide and high

In the blue sky

You whisper

The songs of winds in my ear.


When I wash my hair

In deep cold waters

You make

Waterfalls for me.


In the evening we sit

Besides the fire

Drinking wine

And singing vagabond songs.


Finally I fall asleep

With my head in your lap

Dreaming my life.


I love you

My wild tender

Mysterious lover.

She is a Soul Free of Shame
By Annemeike van Bellen
One of the amazing SHE-workshops by Caroline Carey, and I am the lucky one to organise these in the Netherlands. This time we had found a beautiful old chapel to dance in, once a nunnery, in an enclosed garden in the centre of Den Haag. 15 women dancing, forming a strong circle together to travel deep into our personal history, to reclaim and heal and restore the free-flow of our creative nature.

I like these weekends, the warm and soft invitations to look within, to find movement for what is there and express it. In movement, poetry, art or song. And yet, I felt quite safe. What is shame for me? Certainly not something that is bothering me much, nowadays. I am not uncomfortable with how I look, or act a lot. So I thought. And I felt very supported by a beautiful team of helpers, ladies looking after the music, the venue and the food. I felt blessed to dive deep into the dance, to participate as much as any of us.

On the dancefloor I met old friends, with whom I’d been dancing for many years, and new friends. I was struck by the quality of these meetings, of the heart-connection that simply was there. And through this I became aware of a deep sadness. Somewere inside, I carried this old stone made of grief. Shame, not recognised as such. Old feelings of being humiliated in al sorts of situations being a young girl. “Simple” yet profound stories of hurt showed themselves to me, moved through me while dancing, and found words to be shared in my little pod with two other women. And I found this little girl inside, not understanding what she has done wrong, yet severely punished. So it felt.

And even though I don’t experience shame today, it emerged how I was hiding this thread of pain, even wishing sometimes I’d never been born, in a large part of my patterns. Most of all in the ways I dare to show myself. Yes, I feel emotions, and I can communicate them. Yes, you can feel me, I am an open book. And, to my surprise, I felt immensely alone in them. It was almost impossible for me to connect from this place of deep vulnerability. Some part of me has been in a prison, for many years. Some part finds it hard to say “yes” to life, or to say “no” to unwanted situations. To really value myself, and to trust I have the birthright to be who I am, no matter what.

On Saturday-night, we had a Ceremony. Each of us danced, sang or perfomed in her self-chosen way what has come up for her. I felt nervous. And I felt very held. Save, held by the music, Caroline’s presence, the women around me, and my two helpers from my pod. And more help was there: The elements were with me, and my ancestors that love me and support me. I felt the interconnection with the Medicine, the Mandala, many of my friends and compagnions on this road. When it was my turn to present what I wanted to present, I suddenly felt myself right in the middle of my circle, and Lifeforce ran through me, strong, warm and clear. Words came out, a deep truth, mixed with my breath and the fire from my heart helped to reclaim my original essence. Movement and song followed, to heal this story. From the roots and into every aspect I felt myself vibrate with new life, freeflowing creativity.

And now, a week later, I am still in awe of what has happened. And yes, I do feel vulnerable. Like a newly born, or rather reborn woman. And it feels good. I do feel very strong at the same time. Ready to birth more of my beauty, to offer more of what I have in store. I feel creative above all, and I like that a lot. Well, this writing (in English!) might be a good start ;))

One of the things that I have to offer is a continuation of these wonderful weekends. I am very happy that Caroline will be back in Holland for her workshop “Magic of the Mandorla”, 16/17 febr. 2013 in Amsterdam. This is another theme that I am very much looking forward too. Information is found on her website:

And coming soon, in the weekend of 24/25 nov. 2012, is the workshop “Reflection, Insight-council of the Elders” with Mark Boylan in Utrecht. Only 3 places still available!

Also, you can dance with me in my classes in Den Haag and Hippolytushoef in the Netherlands.

If this speaks to you, you can contact me by email: for more information.

With love,




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.