School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: April 2009
The Greatest Challange

By Ya'Acov
Are you concerned by the challenges our world is facing? I certainly am. I feel an urgency to find creative responses to what some people are calling the Greatest Challenge in the History of Humanity? How about you? The workshop For All Our Relations in Switzerland in May could be your next step. Ya’Acov explains why.

It began as a dream on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon in 2006. It was one of those days for lighting the fire, curling up and dreaming deep dreams. I just couldn’t relax though. I felt disturbed and uncomfortable, a state I have recently heard poignantly described as ‘blessed unrest.’ It was as if something unseen and unheard was trying to get my attention. I took out my drum, called all the help I could and settled in to listen.

What was born out of that afternoon was a new workshop called For All Our Relations. The basic idea was that ecstatic dance and shamanic states are all very well, but if they don’t help us to wake up and change the dream we are living in, individually and collectively, then they are at best, good entertainment, and at worst, a waste of time. What I was told was needed was a way for us all to experience more directly the love we have for life here on earth. Why? Because what we love, we tend to look after.

And why is that particularly important now? Read this quote from the UK Be the Change website:

“According to a majority of the world's experts, there is now overwhelming evidence that our modern society is headed for a catastrophe. Leading scientists are telling us that the impact of our industrial system, and the sudden expansion of humanity's ability to harvest the common bounty of our planet for short-term gain, may actually be upsetting the balance of our highly complex and fragile web of life.

When I began to teach my ongoing Ritual group, I did so with some trepidation. Shamanism has always been a practical and empowering way for human beings to connect with the reality of this world and our place within it, as well as reaching beyond the seen into the spirit world behind physical existence. The thought that we may end up providing entertainment for shamanic space cadets to enter into a more unreal relationship with being here horrified me. Shamanism around the world has always, since the beginning of time, helped us to directly experience our connection to the natural world and to the deepest nature within us. In that place, we are embodied spirit and we are in touch with the embodied spirit in all life. I have been very happy with the response of the people who have taken the Ritual journey and that has given me the confidence to bring the Long Dance ceremony, which is at the heart of the For All Our Relations workshop, to a wider audience.

The Long Dance itself is such a potent ceremony and I feel that to have the time to prepare deeply in a held and beautiful environment such as Waldhaus, will serve to bring more potency and power to the ceremony itself. The intention of the dance is to dispel some of the fog of our daily affairs and step into the deeper trance of the dance where we can weave dreams worth dreaming for our selves, our loved ones, our ancestors, our community and our world. It’s amazing to dance through the night with such support and such purpose. In the times I have already done this ceremony, it has been a deeply moving, transformative, and empowering event.

Up to now, I have tried introducing into the workshop the idea that the ceremony should have a concrete effect way beyond the physical boundaries of the ceremony itself. Participants have been invited to raise sponsorship money for participating in the 8-hour ceremony from friends and family to support small projects on a local, national, and international scale. This has met with a mixed response and though we have raised about £25000 so far, some people have found it hard to understand the reason for this or to ask their friends for money. This idea came from the knowledge that it is a traditional part of ceremonies such as the Long Dance to include an element of give-away and I thought that this would be one way of introducing that concept into the work. After all, All Our Relations means what it says. If raising money doesn’t seem right to you, there are many other ways to make that connection concrete such as planting trees or other kinds of give-aways that feel more appropriate to you.

I have noticed over the years that workshops, just like every other dream, take time to come into form and to find their place. This one is no different. And now, the next piece of this work has landed in the form of an extraordinary community of people around the world who have taken on the challenge to literally Change the Dream of the North. We have just completed a facilitator training with Bernadette Ryder to lead the one day symposium created by the Pachamama Alliance called Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream. The intention of the symposium is to “Bring Forth An Environmentally Sustainable, Spiritually Fulfiling and Socially Just Human Presence on this Planet as the Guiding Principle of our Times.” Here is a quote about the origins of the work from the Pachamama website:

“The Pachamama Alliance…..was born out of a relationship developed between a group of people from the modern world and the leaders of remote indigenous groups in the Amazon region of Ecuador. This relationship was actually initiated by the indigenous elders and shamans themselves who, out of their deep concern for the growing threat to their ancient way of life, and their recognition that the roots of this threat lay far beyond their rainforest home, actively sought the partnership of committed individuals living in the modern world.”

I intend to integrate some of the work I have learnt from this training into For All Our Relations. It is the missing link that I have been looking for.

For All Our Relations will take place over 6 days May 11th – 17th, at the Waldhaus Centre in Switzerland. I truly hope to see you there. We still have work scholarship places available for this workshop so get in touch with Roland fast if you want one.

I know these are difficult and challenging times. They are also extraordinary times to live and love in. We have the opportunity to live the most meaningful lives and as Lynne Twist, one of the founders of the Pachamama Alliance says, we can… “be the generation that makes the future of life possible.”  If you’re feeling frozen by the fear engendered by the economic downturn across our world, check out this 3 minute video, also by Lynne Twist. See you in Switzerland.

Ya’Acov. March 2009of mass distraction.

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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.