School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: June 2009

Mystery Tour
by Roland

I was lying in bed early in the morning having been woken by the song of a very tuneful but rather loud thrush.  As I turned over to go back to sleep I found myself musing on what a friend – well Ya’Acov actually – had written to me the day before.  He had described a dream in which he had arrived in a new port and received a school report on his progress as a human being.

I drifted back into a half sleep with my eyes gently closed.  The call of the thrush gradually softened and was replaced by the squalling of seagulls.   I started to think about an advertisement that I had read in a magazine advertising a mystery 10 day cruise.  Each day you would wake up in a different port and you would be left to explore by yourself or you could go on the guided tour.


“Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour!” I shouted.  “Step right this way! The ship sails in 15 minutes.  Show your tickets here.”


A queue of people formed and one by one they handed me their tickets and I ticked their names off on the passenger list.  Then they walked up the gangway onto the magnificent ship.  There they stood on the deck leaning over the balustrade.  Some of them waved to friends who were standing on the dock and had come to see them off.  Others gazed expectantly towards the Eastern horizon out at sea where the sun had just risen.  A brass band started to play – Bumpety Bumpety Bumpety Bum.  The tune was familiar but I couldn’t quite place it.  The passengers started to dance. 


The last passengers had embarked.  Some sailors removed the gangway.  Then the captains – yes there were two - a man and a woman – appeared from a cabin followed by two officers.  The anchor was raised, flags hoisted, whistles blown, the last luggage was lowered by crane into the hold and the ship set sail.  Both captains laid a hand on the large ship’s wheel as they carefully inched the large vessel out of the harbour.


The sound of the music faded as the ship made out to sea and the small harbour became very lonely and quiet.  I looked down at the tickets I had collected which I was still grasping in my hand.  “The Magical Mystery Tour on the Good Ship Initiation.  Captains Yak and Susannah Sparrow will take you away on a 10 day cruise of adventure and exploration.”


In fact if you do want to join the cruise it’s not too late.  The Initiation tour doesn’t begin until Sept 4th and we still have some tickets available.  Contact me at if you have any questions or would like an application form. Oh and the destinations are not so secret they will be taking you to the Life Cycle Islands.


I am off myself fairly soon and will be walking for 17 days from near Darlington to Glasgow.  Fear not – the office will not be left unmanned as Susanne will be here to deal with your enquiries and bookings.


There are still a few places left on Susannah’s Ongoing Group the The Journey of Empowerment.  The first module starts on July 11th.   Please email me at if you would like an application form. Or download one from  This workshop is now nearly full so please contact me soon if you would like a place.


Susannah will be teaching in Salzburg for the first time on June 5th – 7th.  This is a Move weekend and if you wish to book or find out more then get in touch with Andrea  +43 664 380 8073

There are also places available on the Susannah’s Fusion weekend in The Netherlands on 20 – 21 June.  The organiser for this event is Frank and you can get hold of him at  +31 71 889325300


Wishing you a great summer.








You know something!

By Susannah

At the most recent Pacha Mama day I ran with Chris Salisbury, something happened which felt like a simple and potent mirror of the challenge and possibility of this moment in time.  Somewhere In the middle of a deep and emotional process, someone said: “I smell burning”. “Its OK” I said, “I think it’s a kamikaze fly”. Then I smelt it too, and it didn’t smell like roast fly. So I checked, and found that the collage of the ‘Tree of Life’ which was on the alter had fallen onto the candle in front of it.

I picked it up, expecting to have a blaze on my hands, but found that one root of the tree was smouldering, and I just needed to put it out. And all was well. That is all it took. Someone who trusted her senses, spoke up, and then someone to take action.  And what would the difference have been if she had or hadn’t spoken up at that moment? Potentially quite large!  You can see the burn mark just below and to the right of the root chakra.

This is one of the things that I have learnt (and am still learning) as a human being: the power in stating the obvious. Acknowledging what is brings it to consciousness, and then the action that is appropriate can naturally flow forth. This flow of consciousness, from sensing, to voicing, to action, is one of the aspects of empowerment that we focus on in the ‘Journey of Empowerment.’ In a group or community context, on whatever scale, we never know who has the key to the next step, who has seen the hidden pattern, smelt the danger smell, seen the way through, noticed the opportunity. Practising listening for the wisdom, whether it comes from inside us or from someone else, is a survival skill at this time on earth. Each of us is needed!

Recently, whilst teaching “Dancing Yin and Yang” in Warsaw,  I threw a little voice work into the mix, which the group took to with alacrity, and we learnt a joyous African song. At one point, as I was demonstrating something, my voice came out with a beauty and clarity that surprsied me. Afterwards, thinking about it, I realised that it was the group’s quality of loving listening that had midwifed that voice out of me. It reminded me of Chloe Goodchild talking about “listening out the voice”.  To come to our senses, to come to our strength, to come to our potential we need each other, we need to be received, we are the garden in which each other grows. This is the beauty of a good “sanga” a good community, a good family, a good group. It becomes attentive to that in each of us which is growing towards the light, and in that way, supports it. I am so happy with the group that is gathering for the next ‘Journey of Empowerment; and with the group that has gathered for our first Apprenticeship programme, each of which begin in July. I’m looking forward to mutual flourishing!

At the end of the Warsaw group, sitting there quietly together as we said out thank-yous, someone said: “I would love to sing that song again”. With one accord we leapt to our feet, and the song took off. We ended in beautiful collective joy. The woman thought she was asking for herself, but she gave a gift to the whole group. I wonder what key you are holding.

Someone who is saying a lot that I need to hear at the moment is Paul Hawken. Especially his words about pessimism and optimism. Read this!


Love and en-couragement to the heart, soul, body, mind and VOICE of each of us, dance in joy!  And if you in the UK do vote on Thursday. Proportional representation for the European parliament means your vote really counts.



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.

To those "Litlle Things"

This month's winner of £100 School of Movement Medicine workshop voucher

by Francesco Ceccherini

It's Monday. I'm back from an intense 4 days of dancing : 1 day "Ascension" in Bern and 3 days "Source" in Luzern.

Didn't sleep well last night. Back home, my body was in my bedroom but my soul and spirit weren't. Still travelling somewhere up. Above. Difficult to be one again. A whole holistic person.

I remember waking up several times during the night thinking : "will it ever be enough ?". And my answer was : "well, no, it will probably never be enough". Because we've destroyed so much, because we've lost so much. There is a high emergency period before we crash. And lots has to be done. My dark question came with a strange feeling of guilt. Hopefully soon replaced by a desire of acknowledgment and deep gratitude towards all those "little things" which were already done. By myself. By so many others too. Those "little things" which count. I felt an immense gratitude for all of us, small human beings who create those "little things" permitting some changes in the world.


What a journey! ! I feel like a little ant among millions of other ants. Doing my job, what I can and being confronted to my limits. Long ago, I had to start by taking care of myself, of my wounds. Nothing selfish. No. Before taking care of other persons or of mother Earth, I had to cure myself. And let me tell you that it was a big job !!! Then, naturally, all those other "little things" came : I put my money and bank account in an Alternative Bank, I stopped buying things from those dirty multinationals, I gave my body organic food and doing so helped plants, animals and human beings to live in a safer and healthier way, I recycle, I buy 2nd hand clothes, I use 100% natural products to wash my body and hair, and brush my teeth, etc... etc... You know what I am talking about.


And I started smiling more often.


Then, and then only, I could start to dance my life, dance the Universe, feel the invisible force of the 4 directions, of the 4 elements, of my ancestors and so on. More dancing, more celebrations, more smiles, more anything : you name it ! But it's not enought, is it ?


When I danced my body off during those 4 days, shaking it or gently rocking it, sweating all over the floor, I felt those energies coming towards me and embracing me. I felt part of them. Like they were my new family. We were just one. And when I shared this yin hug or this yang hug (mmmhh... those HUGS, so powerful especially when you are a single !) I felt all of this protective energy between our 2 tender bodies. The same happened when I dived my eyes into somebody's else's eyes. Pure love.


I aknowledge and respect this beautiful growing journey. Starting from a central point in the middle of myself, then opening into a horizontal dimension, expanding, to finally climb into a vertical dimension, rising it up. What an amazing process lots of us went through !


Is it enough ? No, it's surely isn't !


But I am writing this because I want, no I NEED, to give space to what has already been done, space to those "little things" I did, we all did. Us. Probably millions of human beings already. On our aunt level. Just tiny "little things". Gratitude.


At one moment, Ya'Acov said that people who are into a spiritual practice know that things are to be thought and created not just at a "personal" level (I do not remember his exact words). Then I thought : "Am I able to go up climbing ?". I have no answer right now, I just know that I will continue my little practical acts and dance dance dance and dance. Rise my arms up to the Sky and down into Earth. Jump North, East, West and South. Cry and laugh. Close my eyes and dream. Open my eyes and watch my sisters and brothers move. Trust. Be confident. Hear the drum and feel the intense energy of the altar flying to me. And dream. Dream. And dream more. Dream that our drops of sweat melt with our tears on the dancing floor. Then those human created little lakes, with the help of the heat, would evaporate and join the waters of the rivers, lakes and oceans, up into the clouds. And when it would start to rain, those sacred drops of holy mixed water (better than the one of Bernadette Soubirou in Lourdes !) would cure the wounds of our planet Earth. And maybe this would help. At least a little.


I have no bigger dream for now. Sorry ! Maybe I'm lazy. I know it's not enough. No stress though. One day after the other. One step. And tomorrow another step. One breathing followed by another one. Respecting my rhythm.


Trying to answer the question of Ya'Acov : "what my Source, my original sexual energy could create ?", one hand on my heart and my eyes closed, I just felt a huge blank into myself. What could I create ??? Nothing came. Then Ya'Acov added : "And don't ask yourself if it is possible or not, just let the power of your imagination fly and guide you...". Oh yeah ! Images came. Immediately. Yes, of course, I would go and make love to Earth, Wind, Fire (no not the group !) and Water. Together we would create thousands and thousands of little blue-eyes-brown-hair spirits, very mischievous invisible little creatures of the Universe who would travel around the globe and give people hope and confort when they were scared, suffered or wanted to abandon their fights, helping here and there with their special honey magical potion.


Aren't we all making love to the 4 elements, creating those cute but so powerful invisible little spirits ready to start their own journey, when we all dance together, when we celebrate this so blessed practice ???


This text is to say THANKS AND GRATITUDES to all of us, little human beings who do those "little things" we can. Sure it's not enough. It will probably never be enough. But we are not all able to go beyond a certain point. Sometimes it's just too hard. Not made for everybody.

MILLION OF THANKS AND GRATITUDES to people like Ya'Acov, Susannah and Others who are blessed with this possibility in their actual incarnation, who have the strength. They open up our bodies, hearts, souls and spirits. Let them be our GUIDES !


Francesco Ceccherini


PS : this text was written in "Les Bains des Pâquis" a beautiful spot by the lake in Geneva. And one more "little thing" to end : 5 little swans were born 1 or 2 days ago, they are just out of their eggs, so cute, but so cute, I didn't know those little swans could be so cute that you just want to hold them and kiss them and caress them and... stop. They have a mother and father swan who take care of them and as they are right on the rocky beach where everydody passes by, they are seen by... everydody. And everybody just :  1. stops, 2. looks and 3. SMILE (some saying : 4. hooooo !). And when I say everybody it's really everybody : old and young, men and women,  tattoo people and diamond people , bank employees and prostitutes, just EVERYBODY. Isn't there hope for our planet ????


The Goddess of Small Things
By Ali Young

This May I  attended the second “Be the Change” symposium, run by Sussannah and Chris Salisbury of WildWise. The  work  originated with the Achua shamans in the jungles of
Peru and Equador.  A people who still live within the Dreamtime they were disturbed by visions of impending  destruction which they said would be wrought by what they call “The Dream of the North”.  Sending out a call for help,  they were responded to by, amongst others, Barry and Lynne Twist, with whom they formed the Pachamama Alliance.

We had come together for the day to stare down the beast.  That’s no way to speak about the facilitators I hear you cry.  No, no,  I meant the beast we see in the mirror each day, which is the face of Western consumption.  Yes, dear reader I meant ourselves. Not them.  Us!

Myself and my companions had come to look at our own hearts and to listen, ears straining to the wind, to hear to whose tune they dance.  Was it a tune of our own composition?  Did it bring joy and nurture to our world?  Or were we somehow like the character in the fairy tale in shoes we cannot take off our feet, as we dance crazily over the edges of greed, trance and stupidity?  I guess the answer for many of us is that most days we see what Bruce Coburn poetically refers to as the angel-beast.  And before you lose track altogether....we had come together  to look at how we might contribute to the creation of an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling human presence on our home,(it’s the only one we’re gonna get} Planet Earth.

A well-crafted mixture of information presented via DVD and group process exercises, it is shared in a compellingly engaging format, which is deeply moving, funny, beautiful and fresh enough to retain the capacity to shock.  It is divided into four sections.  “Where are we now?”, “How did we get here?”, “What’s possible for the future?” and something like “What can I do?”. These sections are interspersed with small and larger exercises in groups, which included art, movement,  poetry  and old-fashioned talking to each other. Susannah very skillfully set up an emotionally contained environment in which I for one felt free to weep through the whole of the first section.  Tissues were freely available and lets face it, what’s happening on our home is a tragedy.  For example, did you know that scientists publishing a report called Extinction Risk from Climate Change, are predicting the loss of 37% of all species in 20% of the world’s land masses.  That’s over a million species.  That’s a worst-case scenario which would unfold from continuing levels of “response”.  They regard 18% as inevitable now.

On the social justice front these are some of the statistics which apply if we shrunk our planet to 100 inhabitants(which it may be anyhow, if we don’t get down to work).  50 would suffer from malnutrition; 6 would possess 59% of the world’s wealth and would be from the US and 80 would live in sub-standard housing.  Basically,if you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head you are richer than 75% of the world’s population.  If you have money in the bank, in your wallet and spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. Perhaps the deep spiritual malaise we see in our addictions, increasing mental health problems, and violence is also woven together with the knowledge that we live in a deeply unfair world, teetering on the brink. None of this is comfortable to sit with.  However, I encourage you to take heart and a big deep breath.  Having been taken through a whistle-stop tour of the mistaken world-views which have led us here, we begin looking at the enormous ground swell of change which is happening  just “off the radar”, represented in the thousands of groups working for change, everywhere.  This isn’t being reported in the mainstream media but it is happening.  My favourite was Jesus People against Pollution, because it made me smile, challenged my prejudice and is a reminder that whether we like it or not we’re all in this together.  Like the Chinese I Ching says, the greatest crisis is also the greatest opportunity, for respect, creativity, compassion and transformation, which our species has ever seen.  The Power of One reminds of all the individuals in history who have refused to accept the status quo and become remarkable change agents, leading  great tidal waves of social change.  We can all contribute.


Given that one of our last exercises of the day was to talk about what we already do, which I found embarrassingly like boasting, I’m going to do some more of it. I travelled home by a combination of scrounged transport, which has been a way of life for me for decades and public transport. My first challenge came at the railway station in Exeter.  I hadn’t eaten since around 12.30 and I was  hungry.  I bought both coffee and a sandwich encased in plastic but then and there I vowed to begin to carry a flask around with me if I know I might need a hot drink.  Tackling the plastic cup addiction starts here.  Two days later I went out for the day and did just that.  It felt good. Later that same day I stood my ground with my 9 year old and refused to buy her a Snack Attack(aptly named) for her packed lunch. A fiesty exchange took place which honestly, I would normally avoid after a long day. Plastic or future? It’s called informed choice and she has a right to it, even if the information isn’t to her liking.   The future won. I’m noticing as I write, a concern that some of the readers will be feeling disgust that I didn’t take this action years ago, and feel that public acknowledgement of shame may well be an important part of our change process.


 I dreamt last night, that many of us,  journeyed behind the veil to be reminded by the ancestors that a better future already exists and that what we have to do is travel into the dream and bring it back. Interestingly, part of the mission of the Achua is to awaken the Dreamers of the North in order that we might assist in changing the dream.  I’d like to end by telling you a “little” story from last summer.

For the last few years the supermarket giant Asda has been applying and re-applying for planning permission to build a 400,000 square foot complex right next to one of our local areas of outstanding Natural Beauty, Exmouth Estuary.  The Creative Visioning Group which is part of Transition Town activities in Exmouth decided to tackle the task of protecting the Spirit of the Estuary. Although 10,000 people in a town of 30,000 had  objected to the plans, this particular pod comprised about 15 of us. In the month running up to the ultimate protest before the planning meeting, 3 adults and 3 children,spent alot of time on the Estuary collecting, of her body, so we could represent what we came to call the Estuary family.  We walked the area which Asda wanted to build on time and again, in protective circles we called Walks of Intention, scattering rowan berries and comfrey as we walked.  We drummed and spoke to the Estuary, who was, we discovered,  fairly mouthy, although the ancestors told us it wasn’t the outcome we were to focus upon, so much as our own actions. A  circle in Switzerland also drummed for her every week.

On the day of the protest I felt dis-spirited and ill. People told us we were wasting our time. It was said pockets had already been lined.  We felt foolish!


 A month later local newspapers reported that plans which had seemed absolutely set to go through were now “Dead in the Water”. Admittedly, the recession was the stated reason behind the change in the decision making process, but I like to think that justice wears many faces and I for one will never ever believe that anything is hopeless again.   Relying upon the power, love and support which resides in the unseen realms of the Ancestors not only works, it is imperative, in order to plug into the grid which supports all life, rather than simply the petty concerns of the ego.   I heartily recommend the collective inspiration represented by the Be the Change symposium, for whilst we can all take responsibility for the “small things”, we also need each other for the journey ahead.

Ali Young

Ya’Acov’s integration of the Pacha Mama work iscalled E-Motion: Dancing with the Heart of the World and he will be teaching it in Sheffield  October 2- 4.   Contact Kerri on Kerry +44 114 258 7861

My biggest Fear … Never to Dance Again

By Gert Daniels

I was locked up in a psychiatric institution for half a year, my darkest nightmare...

And at the same time i was locked up in a wheelchair for 2 months…

I broke my foot (caused by to much medication) and had a plaster cast round my leg…

My greatest fear : not to be able to dance anymore…

3 years later (May 2009) i found myself sitting in this circle of men at the end of the tribal gathering for men with Ya’Acov in Orval, Belgium. I was given (as everybody else) one minute to say what our heart was feeling after completing these 5 magical days. How, for God’s sake, do you compress a life-time story in just one minute??? I was feeling very anxious, like my fellow brothers, everybody was a bit nervous to speak. During the workshop we had lot’s of ‘one minutes’ in which we could say whatever came up, or just a single word of how we felt, or just keep our silence… it was all ok. And i liked it very much those short minutes. Very compact, no bla-bla-bla...  But now it was different : it was my LAST ‘one minute’. And moreover, it was possible that most of these man i would never see again. Will i let this ‘one minute’ pass me by or will i grab the opportunity and let my heart say the right words at the right time? There were a million things on my mind, i  had so much to say to my friends in the circle… It would never fit in this ‘one minute’…

So I gave my heart the freedom to speak out these words: ‘Dear brothers, I didn’t miss the women on the dance floor!’ (everybody laughed…) ‘Moreover, I really enjoyed dancing with you all fantastic guys. This is one of the highlights of my life. And at the same time I also was remembering the worst nightmare off my life. 3 years ago, I was locked up in a psychiatric institution (the time before I had some attacks of psychosis for mostly one week, and it got worse and worse) which was just horrible. And at the same time I broke my foot and had to spend 2 months in a wheelchair. So I found myself locked up double. I was afraid I would never dance again and I was afraid I would never be mentally healthy again… At that time, I couldn’t dream of better times coming ahead, and most certainly not sitting here now with you, brothers. So I am very grateful. And I am proud.’ And I looked my brothers in the eyes and some tears tumbled down on my cheeks, I was very touched and emotional. Then I spoke a last sentence : ‘I am Gert, I am a hunter, and I am Wild at Heart!’ …

It was definitely the most beautiful and powerful experience of my life…

The dance (5 rhythms and movement medicine) did help me a lot to heal!!! While I stayed in this psychic institution I got permission (after months of solitude) to spend a weekend with my mothers. Although I was not allowed to go out or dance, I went to a 5 rhythms party on Saturday evening and was thrilled to meet all my friends (my dancing family) again. I also would be able to test if my foot was fully  cured . It was one of the most joyous moments of my life… I was so happy to dance again… And after some months I wanted to participate again in 5 rhythms or movement medicine workshops… Each time it gave me strength, joy, power, self-confidence and love of my friends in the dance… And soon I was totally healthy again, and even more : a stronger man than ever…

But this Wild at Heart  workshop with Ya’Acov  in the beautiful environment in Orval, was the cherry on the cake of my recovery… Every man should at least ones in his lifetime have this profound experience (thank you André and Wouter to recommend this workshop to me)… I really admire the way Ya’Acov teaches… his wise words, his serenity, his tender-power… and I hope he will create soon his follow up workshop as promised : Wild at Heart, part 2…

And to all my brothers of Wild at Heart : you are really great!!!!!!!!!!!!!


With Love,

Gert Daniels

Leuven, Belgium




Ritual – an elemental journey
By Jasper Drent

Being part of the Ritual Circle is a wonderful experience. I like the cyclical nature of it. We keep coming back to the land upon which we work, dance and play keeps and witness it’s changes. From the falling autumn leaves and rains, to the winter cold with a tinge of snow upon the highest hills, into the clearest blue skies of spring with the leaves almost bursting.

Just as the landscape is the same, yet different; so is the circle and it’s individual members. I keep discovering new nuances and colours. I am happy to say that I also keep discovering these nuances and colours in myself and my connections to the wider world.


I have always loved nature but now I sense the life and the beauty of Earth, Fire, Water and Air and the mysterious Source out of which they spring much deeper. I realise that I  am also built out of these elements: this gives a tremendous sense of support and connection. I do not have to go anywhere or achieve anything: “it” is already there. Unfortunately I sometimes forget and perceive myself as a separated entity again but somewhere I know I am connected and not alone in a cold universe. Simple things lead me back to this sense of connection. Seeing the life of spring unfold in all its majesty, lighting a fire and experiencing it’s warmth and light. Or even simpler, looking at the amazing clarity and purity of the flame of a candle.


In hard times it is so healing to conciously make this connection with the elements, with life. Like when I was with my parents and could feel the energyfield they were in and how it tried to suck me in. I felt myself resonating with their worrying mode:  life is a cesspool of sorrow and not to be trusted! When we were having a walk I went to the water and made contact with it. I washed my hands and face. I felt the sun drying and warming me, the wind blowing gently and giving me space. The rocks beneath my feet, holding me. I felt this family energypattern dissolving and I felt space and an open heart, clarity and freedom. What a gift! I realized the abundance of life, the generosity. And somehow my parents started noticing the beautiful trees and even started communicating with the sheep we encountered: Mweeehhh, mweeehh, we had some childplay laughs! Quite a transformation.


I have come to know the elements on a deeper and more intimate level in the workshop and at home during rituals. E.g. lighting fires and really experiencing contact with the living fire. This deeper understanding also resonates in my daily life. I greet and welcome the elements in my Movement Medicine practice but also am much more aware of them on a daily basis. When I take a shower, cook my food: the elements, their beauty and life is always there. OK, I am not able to be always aware of that and enjoy - as I get lost in my little and big drama’s from time to time - but I know it is so.


I regularly feel grateful for this which brings me to another thing I learned in Ritual: gratitude. I remember vividly how I first heard about the 21 gratitudes during Initiation a couple of years ago. I started working with it, dropped it, picked it up again but never felt anything deep or true in it. I remembered that depth and feeling it as true, wasn’t a prerequisite working with it so I kept experimenting with it. Somewhere in the last months came a shift. Now it feels so good and beautiful to thank the elements, creation and spirit for all the riches in my life. Sometimes I am deeply immersed in this process and it touches me to the core, it feels so true and intimate and my way to say: Thank You. Sometimes I can even wholeheartedly say thank you to my pain.


Another discovery this year was reconnecting with my mind. After years of advaita vedanta I had more or less discarded my mind. At least not valuing it very much in the field of spiritual growth. Advaita Vedanta and many other schools stress that what we are is not the mind, that our true nature is beyond al forms, we can relax in the Absolute out of which all forms and shapes come and into which they disappear. At least that was what I made of it. Now this might be true - for me it feels true on some level - but there is more to it. And this more being the unique shape and form Light or Source takes on in me and all other creatures. This means that it does matter! It does matter how I live my life, relate with my body, heart and mind. It also gives me a more active role in shaping my life, formulating my dreams. It gives a sense of empowerment without losing connection to the wider picture. For me apart from the gratitudes, the SEER process is very helpfull in this respect. In this process you look from the centre of your circle to where life energy has get lost and move with specific events or feelings through the elements. This gives me a powerful tool with which I can gradually transform my thinking. And most important the resultating new thinking consists of incantations which are not dull, dry, and isolated thoughts but they are what I call  “alive thinking” and in connection with my heart, feelings and body. And this feels new and good!


I am looking forward to our last cycle together in this Ritual Circe. Feeling gratefull for all the beauty, depth and honesty we make space for together. Thank you Ya’Acov and staff (Cathy and Jo) and all the beautiful people who make our circle whole.


With love and gratitude,


Jasper Drent




Letter to Ritual Group

By Vanessa

Dear All of You,

Today I felt you all so nearby. It inspired me to try and put into words what Ritual has brought me. Here is what I would write about it today. It is true all other days, but I am aware of the elements I leave out. I try to describe the overall tendency. Thank you for reading this, it touches me deeply to be allowed to share on this level.

Most importantly, the sense of sacredness of Live has become ubiquitous. My gratitude  has multiplied and a bubbling joy to be on/in a unique journey has became prevaling. 


How did this happen?


It started by learning to ground myself. I mean to fully surrender into the loving support of our Earth underneath our feet. Slowly slowly I softend untill I could even roll and squirm comfortably on the floor, which had become the belly of my Mother. Lying there in full contact with Her, I experienced myself somewhat like a rechargable battery. All her love pouring in, like a strong flow of essential energy that comes from Her vitality, a ongoing gift for me, for us.

When I had found my feet and the soft ground beneath them, I did not want to loose it, ever again! So I practice; every morning when I step out of bed, I consiously plant my feet on the ground and make contact, and give thanks. Throughout the day (especially at work) I check to see if my head isn’t dictating my pace, since being in touch with the energy of Earth had also shown me that I would stay a lot more vital if I could follow Her rhythm, which was slow and juicy. Free your feet and the rest will follow!!


So, being grounded I was faced with challenges, conflict, opposition and I learned to grow even deeper roots. And with that dedication of taking root, connecting with Earth, I noticed that I became more fully present. I was standing in the centre of my own circle, and therefore I could hold my space. And as a result I withstood the storms of anger and fear, from within as much as what seemed to be thrown at me from outside. I became more flexible, swaying with the winds of sometime intense emotions and not losing my balance! But also, the feelings I had seemed to become more subbtle.

An Incantation; “Here I am in the centre of my own circle”, has given me the freedom to BE here on Earth. As I see it now, there is this place for us, like a little landing platform. And as soon as we dare to connect, to surrender, to allow ourselves to be supported, we slowly come down and take our place. Which was reserved for us, for you all this time.To me, the whole of Creation seems to be waiting for us to come down and say Yes to being an earthling, to be mortal, to dare to love and die.


This commitment of becoming fully embodied (read in-carnated) is an act of love that came from my gratitude. Feeling the embrace of Life I could only respond by offering myself to this, Source of All. To work on becoming transparent, so Life and Love can flow through unhindered.


And then one day, I was given the ‘wider picture’.It is not about me! And at the same time everything I do is significant...A beautiful paradox, that the mind cannot grasp, but one my essence has always understood.


 So now, months after Ritual started I am a lot more at home on this Earth and I am really at home in my body. This process, which actually started with the first workshop I did with Ya’Acov (and which also left me being vegetarian beyond choice), has had many winding and twisting bends.


Dancing with the element of Fire for example, has brought me a new connection with my inner flame. My passion,and sexuality, my ‘flavour’ of feminity, my unique way of being a woman. I got in touch with my strenght and courage and the simple joy of having muscles. One result of this, is that I have started Archery, which brought an other unexpected experience of becoming one with who I am. Pulling the bow for the first time, I felt it in the deepest corners of my cells; Yes, this is me. An important piece of the puzzle falling into place. Another homecoming. Starting a new ‘hobby’ at nearly forty seems to have a very inspiring effect on my mind. I keep seeing new possibilities, new adventures, new experiences to look out for. In fact it feels as if I have a new brain, since it thinks differently and therefore also thinks of different things. And walking across the glowing ambers that special winternight, is embedded in another profound story that will stay with me all this lifetime.


Water has enhanced this process too. As a result of the SEER proces, my dreams have become even clearer, with a new kind of ‘lighting’ (like in a movie). I feel calm and at peace, also because I know that whatever happens, I can move it and clear it up with this process. It is allowing me to be more courageous.  And therefore I dare to be more open and speak more and more from my heart.


It is not so scary now, because it is true and I allow myself, from the centre of my landing platform to speak what ever I feel needs to be said. And always from a loving place, a good indicator my heart is speaking and not something else...


If I might get hurt, through being the open, soft and vulnerable being I am as well, I know there is my Mother beneath me, my divine Father above. My animal spirits to support me, the elements all around me. I can dance with whatever needs to shift and I have tools to release that compassionately.

I have moved to a more relaxed, open, compassionate, loving and dedicated being. 


I give thanks, to my companions and my teachers, seen and unseen.

I give thanks to our Creator, to Source of All.

To the Love that makes all of this happen.


Thank you. 


With living love,




by Almut

After two weeks of non-stop work I felt really mentally and physically exhausted today. I spent the day with myself and did Ya'Acov’s dance meditation and SEER process. What a bliss! And how wonderful to have a tool now I can apply when ever I need it. I feel much better now- I have arrived in my body again.

I sat down and started thinking about how my life has changed since I am taking part in the Ritual group. I am still waiting for the "buff bam bang experience"... I am still behaving a little bit like a tree standing there in winter and saying:” I want to blossom”. As you might have guessed the "buff bam bang" hasn't happened, but looking backwards now to last summer before we started with Ritual a few things have changed for me.


I feel that the seeds are starting to sprout. I feel much more loved and accepted. I had always this feeling in me of not being loveable enough. My head thought differently, but my heart was still feeling the unloved bits. And that has changed. I can see and feel now that I am worth it to be loved and that rejection from other people has most of the time nothing to do with me. The most important bit is that I love myself now. There is a lot of healing of old wounds happening at the moment. In the past few months I have been confronted with people I haven’t heard from for years. Some made me cry, some made me laugh, but all those situations helped me to heal my wounds. I can accept rejections now and can let go from a loving space.


This is actually new for me. I used to react with anger, hate and bitterness when someone criticized me or rejected me. But I can let go now with love and respect.


In general I am getting an ever growing feeling of satisfaction, happiness and wholeness in me. I feel at home in my body. When I dance I can fall much easier now into my body. Thanks to the 21 gratitudes I am becoming more grateful for everything I have in my life and know more what I want and what I don't want and can set my boundaries accordingly. I trust more and more in a higher power and see more that we are all one and that we are all here on mother earth for the same reason. That makes it so much easier sometimes to deal with certain people. I am accepting that I will die and that it can happen any second. That has given me an urge to do the things I've been having on my mind for years. And the urge of not doing certain things because I don't want to waste my time. I am having more quality time with my self now.



by Martin

My name is Martijn  from Holland.

I was quiet a active practitioner in the dance last years at the moment it is less.

But never the less my hart is still with this work .

Throuh this letter I want to announce that a beautifull opportunity is rising. To creata a new Dance place and place for healingwork. The place is situated on Bali.Yes really BALI

A good friend off mine who lives there and "own" the place wants to 

partly give it over to me and to people who wants to keep it flowing the way

it is and of course with new initiatives. How unbelievable great.


I was in Bali several times it's a amazing beautiful Island,

where the the gods really touch there feet the grounds in "ordinary" daily live.

The culture is enormously rich indance ,art, theatre, rituals , 

the people are amazing incredible loving, and the nature is really breathtaking fabulous.


The place is situated in North part of Bali close to Singaradja at the beach side, where very close by the dolphins are swimming.

At the moment it is already a centre where several projects are running.(see at the website)


My question is now who is interested to participate and want to join the adventure.

It's just a throw of a stone in a pond, I don't know what it will bring.

I just want to go for it and feel very enthusiastic.


Look at :  for an inside in the place and the people.


If you want more info you can always mail me on martijnplooij(at)planet(dot)nl  and  info(at)beinghere(dot)nl


I'm going in september and oktober to look and find out all the ins and outs.



Warm greetings, Martijn.

What’s happening on the Research Front?

By Eline Kieft

You may recall earlier bits and pieces about my research in this Newsletter, but there is a short outline at the bottom of this article, for those of you who are new or haven’t read any earlier updates…

A big change in the research outline, is that from focussing on both 5Rhythms and Movement Medicine, that focus has now narrowed down to Movement Medicine only. This will do greater justice to the approach and its’ maps. This does not mean that the people who have contributed their experience on 5Rhythms will have ‘wasted’ their time, because their input will still inform the research in many ways.


Apart from the interviews, I have been looking into Newsletter contributions from 2005-2008, which form a very important part of the information. I will soon take a closer look at some diaries that people sent me, and then I’ll start the fascinating process of weaving


My supervisor recently suggested that I start writing drafts of chapters for the thesis, to get a feel of what information is there and what is still missing. This means that at the moment I have a break from data gathering, and spend most of my time behind my computer.


Several main themes are arising, and I have the feeling that I could write at least 4 or 5 different theses from the rich data that you all have helped to create. It is a challenge to decide on the structure of the thesis, and what should be in there or not. I would love to hear your ideas… In your opinion, what should not or cannot be left out in a description of Movement Medicine? What are crucial aspects of your experience? And what do you consider aspects of the emergent ‘culture’ of Movement Medicine? People often speak of ‘belonging to a tribe’; and the importance of having a framework for the creation of meaning in their daily lives. How central is Ritual to the whole experience? Or is Dance the transformer? Or is it the rich combination of all the different strands that Ya'Acov and Susannah bring to this work? Do you feel it’s a part of nature based spiritualities, or is it a culture and practice on its own? Is it individual or collective? Answers to these questions will really shape the structure of the thesis. Right now, I feel I would like to do justice to all aspects of the Movement Medicine approach as an emergent culture. I would love your help!


Please be in touch!


All my love,




Research Background Outline

Currently I’m doing an exciting 4-year research project into Movement Medicine, through Roehampton University in London. It’s all about people’s personal experiences with Movement Medicine and keywords are for example personal growth & transformation, healing, body/mind/spirit, movement as a way of knowing, expanded consciousness, and creation of meaning in daily life. I’m nearing the end of my second year, so that means I’m nearly halfway through!


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.