School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: June 2009
The Never Ending Dance

by Ya'Acov

I love to travel and it’s a good job that I do! I’ve certainly clocked up the train hours this year visiting
Warsaw, Prague, Switzerland  twice, Belgium four times, Paris, Padova, and Manchester! And on my journeys, I have written, and listened to music, fiddled with my guitar, studied and read and from time to time, just watched the world dancing past me.

Amongst all that, I trained to teach the Pachamama Alliance Awakening the Dreamer symposium, finished writing our book with Susannah, and have nearly finished our first Movement Medicine CD. So, yes, quite a journey so far this year on and off the train!

As much as it’s a joy to visit all these places, there is no pleasure like waking up in my own bed, and looking out on our beautiful garden, and seeing a raised bed full of fresh lettuces and vegetables growing (thanks to Sunny, our amazing grace gardener). I can’t claim to have green fingers yet, but I am determined to learn. And as our summer break approaches, I look out in front of me and I see the summer solstice approaching and with it, the fourth module and ending of my current Ritual ongoing group, and of course, the very first module of our apprenticeship programme.

We have given a huge amount of time and attention to the development of the apprenticeship programme and we know, after more than 20 years of teaching, that the journey is anything but predictable. We are committed to learning together through the Movement Medicine mandala, and we feel so blessed to having such wonderful staff (Sue Kuhn, David Rose and Jo Hardy) and such a great group of apprentices to travel with.

My Ritual ongoing group ends with a burial ceremony followed by a Long Dance. Both ceremonies go through the night and I look forward to this time of year around the solstice. I love to be awake during the night, to pray for all our relations, and to greet the dawn star and the first light of a new day. In one of our recent all-nighters, I was told how important it was to ‘stop, several times a day, and make a moment for peace.’ I understood that it is important to focus on the blessings of the moment, and to visualise a world in harmony, prosperity and peace. The Long Dance, which we think will eventually come to be known as the Phoenix Dance, is growing deeper roots. Like the Tree of Life, the deeper the roots, the stronger the heart, the more we can dream. The Long Dance we just did at the For All Our Relations intensive in Switzerland was so simple and yet profound. The feeling at the end of the night was bright and strong – it’s a lovely feeling to be making our contribution to the circle of prayer and visions for our beautiful earth and all her children.

I recently had a dream about the Long Dance we will do on our apprenticeship which will be the first time we will dance for 48 hours. I saw the ceremony from above and as I climbed higher, I saw many such ceremonies, all with people from different traditions, embodying the many mandalas for peace that are in this world. Each mandala was like a piece of a jigsaw, each representing a part of the whole picture. It was beautiful and very exciting.

After the end of the Source workshop in Luzerne recently, I was having a chat on the balcony of my hotel with Kat Forrester, our brilliant organiser in Switzerland. With the mountains as a backdrop and the beautiful lake of Luzerne beneath us, we talked a little about the Long Dance. Kat was at the For All Our Relations Long Dance and is also a School of Movement Medicine apprentice and so will be participating in the 48 hour Long Dance. As we were talking, we got this very funny idea for describing the School of Movement Medicine work. It goes something like this. You start with the Dance, and you move on to the Long Dance. If you’re up for it, that is followed by the ‘Very Longer Dance,’ which naturally leads on to the Even Longer Dance. After that, there’s only one place to go – The Never Ending Dance. Yes, I think that about sums it up! Perhaps that where we’re all headed! If you’re interested in the 48 hour Long Dance, next year, it will be open to any who wish to attend. 1-5 July 2010 is the date for your diaries. Next year’s dance will be hosted by the entire apprenticeship circle. More information will be available soon.

In the meantime, I am enjoying the feeling of being gently stretched by the demands of this time – it’s such a balancing act being able to care for oneself and one’s family, and to realise that in reality, like it or not, we are all family. So therefore, caring for myself inevitably becomes caring for you, caring for nature, caring for our ancestors, and of course, caring for our descendants. And yet, as Wendell Berry rather beautifully puts it:

We cannot live harmlessly. To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of creation. When we do this knowingly, skilfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such a desecration, we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.

I feel that this sums up the challenges we are faced with. Each one of us has our personal dreams and desires. For years when I was younger, I tried to give mine up as I sought my own Carlos Castenada style odyssey. Of course, it’s easy to give something up you don’t own and my will was no replacement for the dreams I’d always carried with me. I chose the route of becoming human, what our friend Jake calls ‘the House Holders Path.’ I decided to embrace the challenges of my overdraft, fear of money, fear of not being able to create enough, support myself. I challenged the places I didn’t feel good enough to receive the blessings of life. I learnt to enjoy a good meal and I entered the relationship journey with Susannah, and blessing upon blessing, became a father. Now, as the summer approaches, I feel like it’s time to trim down again. Time to empty out our house, give away the thousands of beautiful things we never wear or use, create space and learn to live a little more simply. Maybe, I’ll even have time to get my hands in the soil.

By the time we come back from our summer rest, I intend to be living that little bit more lightly on this earth, just in time for offering our yearly odyssey through the  9 Life Cycles, Initiation. If you haven’t done this workshop yet, there are still places on the boat, scheduled to depart shortly after we begin on September 4th. If your answer is yes to any of these questions (taken from the workshop description), maybe you’ll be joining the crew for another great adventure into the unknown.

Do you want to:• Accept, digest, release, and transform your past?• Accept yourself and take responsibility for who you are now in the present?• Learn tools for co-creating a future that is in harmony with your guiding purpose?• Uncover and live from a deep well of gratitude?• Cultivate a compassionate witness? • Meet death as a teacher and friend?


So, dear dancing lunatics, the sun is up and I am off for another night of prayer. Maybe I’ll be seeing you one of these dawns and sharing a song and a dance. Wherever your star leads you, may you and all you love be healthy, wealthy and free.


With deep love and respect.


Ya’Acov. June 2009.

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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.