School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: February 2011

By Roland

Before teaming up with Susannah and Ya’Acov, I used to run a business in Totnes teaching English to foreigners.  I have to confess that my own ability to speak foreign languages is very poor but I have a fascination with the English language.  In particular I like its eclectic nature.  If we like a word we steal it.

There is no official English organisation that oversees the language to keep its purity as there is in France where the L'Académie Française fights to keep out interloping words like ‘computer’ or ‘weekend’.  English welcomes all words and lets the principle of the survival of the fittest decide which will stay and which will wither and die.  

Of all the words that have made their ways into English dictionaries perhaps the most fascinating are those of Germanic origin such as ‘schadenfreude’ and my favourite ‘zeitgeist’.

The dictionary definition of zeitgeist is ‘spirit of the times’.  But this doesn’t really do justice to the word.   For the German philosopher Hegel, who popularised this word, this spirit was an actual spirit creation born out from the fight of the diametrically opposing ideas of the previous era. For Hegel, "world history is thus the unfolding of Spirit in time, as nature is the unfolding of the Idea in space.”  For more on this mind-boggling truly fascinating statement I direct you to read Hegel.

As I write this article a struggle is going on in Egypt between the supporters of President Mubarak and those who wish to overthrow his corrupt regime of near dictatorship.  This, in turn, is part of a wider call for self determination and a change to more democratic government across North Africa and the near East.  Just as we can mark the time before the Berlin wall fell and the time after as being very different so I think we will soon find ourselves within a different period of history.  We are witnessing the birth of a new Zeitgiest.

A few years ago Susannah and Ya’Acov taught a workshop calledWay of the Dancing Warrioron about 4 or 5 different occasions.  However although we really liked the title we worried about it.  Did this make Movement Medicine sound like a martial art?  Then once somebody complained that title was a bit a bit too macho and we decided to drop the title. Somehow the name just wasn’t quite right for the time.

However, this Autumn both Susannah and Ya’Acov independently decided that it was time to reintroduce the title Way of the Dancing Warrior’In fact, although we could remember the reasons why we dropped it, we were somewhat amazed that we had, as the title is so good and describes the work that takes place perfectly.

The word warrior can have an implication of unbridled aggression and of the assault of male power.  But as Susannah has written in one of her articles in this newsletter “The warrior we mean is the warrior of the heart who has the courage to love and the courage to create, and the strength to embody.” 

Perhaps it is fanciful but I see the re-adoption of the ‘Way of the Dancing Warrior’ title as also being a reflection of a change into a new distinct historical period where the energy of the warrior is dedicated as the courage to be who we are and give what we've got.  We are also wondering if the title might bring forth some more men! We know you're out there!!!

We are offering this workshop in a number of formats. Both Susannah and Ya’Acov will be teaching Way of the Dancing Warrior as a residential workshop.  Susannah’s workshop is first and will take place at Orval in Belgium from March 30th - April 3rd.  For details and to book please contact Roland on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255  

Ya’Acov’sWay of the Dancing Warrior’ will be in Norway on 3rd – 8th May.  For more details contact Marit on 00 47 (0) 45604535

He will also be teaching it as a weekend workshop in Brighton May 13th – 15th – contact Caroline on 00 44 (0)1273 245 416.

The Phoenix Retreat has been full for some time now.  We do though strongly recommend the SEER process for those of you who are drawn to doing this kind of work involving the cleaning up of one;s personal history and the retrieval of Energy. The SEER Process is a fantastically useful tool and very effective. It reaches the parts that other processes don't seem to reach! Ya’Acov is teaching the SEER Process in Switzerland at the Waldhaus centre March 15h – 20th and there are still place available.   For details and to book please contact Roland on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255

Susannah Journey of Empowerment group is also nearly full so please get your application is now if you would like to join this group. For details and to book please contact Roland on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255

Also coming soon.

Feb 11th – 13th Ya’acov will be teaching For All our Relations in Prague.  Contact Raduca on 00 42 (0) 224 827 417

Feb 11th – 13th  Susannah will be teaching E-Motion: Wild Life in Olten, Switzlerand (workshop given in English with  German translation).  Contact Katriona 00 41 (0) 33 676 2708

Their paths will then meet again in Paris on 14th February (very appropriately Valentine’s day) and will be giving a talk followed by a Move! evening.  Contact Pierre-Henri 00 33 (0) 615 325 816

Susannah will also be offering a Move! evening in London on the following day the 15th.  This will take place in the Main Hall, Hampstead Town Hall Centre, 213 Haverstock Hill London NW3 4QP from 7-10pm.  Cost: £15 payable in cash on door (or if you bring a friend who hasn’t danced before you can both dance for £10 each ) For more details contact Alex;  00 44 (0) 7668 842219

At the end of the month Ya’Acov is travelling to South Africa and will be teaching For All Our Relations in Cape Town on 25th – 27th Feb.  Contact Jane 00 27 (0) 766963527 He will be giving a talk and teaching in Johannesburg too.

And in late February Susannah will be in Munich teaching DanSing 26th – 27th  With a Move! Evening on the 25th . This workshop is given in English with translation into German. Contact Claudia 00 49 (0)89 292644

When Ya’Acov returns to Europe he will be teaching Darkness to Light in Warsaw, Poland 4th – 6th March.  Contact: Olga 00 48 (0) 509 774 884

Further Movement Medicine events in March:

18 – 20 March   Holland   Susannah Rock My Soul   Frank +31 71 8893253

25 – 27 March   Manchester   Ya'Acov The Poetry of Presence   Elaine +44 161 881 2644

28 March   Birmingham   Ya'Acov Talk   TreeofLife 44 121 449 4086

29 March   Birmingham   Ya'Acov Move!   TreeofLife +44 121 449 4086

Wishing you very well in the Zeit Geist!



Once Upon a time

By Susannah

Once upon a time, Luc showed me a picture of this little rural barn buried in trees and brambles. “This is it! Our dream! We found it!” he said, his voice shaking with emotion. Not so long after that, through his and many people’s generous, passionate and committed efforts, “it” had turned into a majestic centre and I was blessed to run the first group in the dance temple, a Sanctuary workshop which was a turning point in the lives of many of the women who attended it (I am told!). Bois le Comte (as this temple in the forests of the Ardennes is called) has continued to evolve and become more cosy, elegant and grounded a place to do transformative work.

Now, many years on, YOU are invited to come and partake of a new adventure, a dancing chance to look at your life through the eyes of the dancing warrior, and see what YOU want to vision for your life, what dreams and creations you dare to breath life into. Dancing to shake up our preconceptions and open our minds, hearts and bodies to true our dreaming and deep calling. You are invited!

The Way of the Dancing Warrioris fast becoming one of our key central workshops. It gives you the chance to experience deep Movement Medicine practice and learn empowering dancing life tools. This is a special opportunity to do it as in an intensive in a residential setting. I love the ‘oasis’ feeling of being at Bois le Comte, and it feels like exactly the right place to do this work.

For us the power of the dancing warrior is about taking the choice to stand at the centre of your circle, assuming the authority for your life and, at the same time, being able to dance with what life brings, becoming strong, flexible, centred and awake. This workshop offers you tools to learn how to develop your own inner medicine wheel through conscious dance practice and at the same time is a chance to simply to the great joy of being yourself, alive in your body and deeply partaking of the spirit of life.

NB The “warrior” in the workshop title does not mean that we will practice being hard or tough or macho. The warrior we mean is the warrior of the heart who has the courage to love and the courage to create, and the strength to embody, step by step, who you really are, and to assume the power of and for your life.

Where ever you are in the dance of your own life, you are welcome,

I look forward to dancing with you at Orval, (or somewhere!) in 2011, and wish you very well.  For details and to book please contact Roland on 00 44 (0) 1803 762255

With love and laughter,

Susannah Darling Khan





Indolence, Discipline & the Dancing Warrior

By Ya'Acov

We were recently in India studying to become Laughter Professors (I kid you not) with Dr.Madan Kataria, the Founder of the International School of Laughter Yoga. Having heard about Laughter Yoga for years, we finally took the plunge after a delightful evening workshop in Totnes where we laughed so hard, I actually managed to pull a muscle in my back. Going to India to laugh seemed so leftfield and preposterous that we just had to follow the golden thread. We both had the sense that we were going to India for an as yet hidden purpose.

In the weeks before we left, I had already started to dream about an old guy from the Tibetan Bon tradition who was singing to me from his homestead somewhere in the Himalayas. I wondered if I was going to meet him. Even more than that, everyone we told about our upcoming journey burst into laughter when we told them about the purpose of our visit – the medicine was working already it seemed.

After such a busy year, we also needed a little down time so we booked into an ayurvedic treatment centre for some good food, yoga and massage. What a beautiful place it turned out to be. In effect, it was a spiritual community posing as an ayurvedic spa. It used to be a farm and was bought by a high-flying Indian business man who had discovered that there is more to life than making as much money as possible. He transformed the farm into a beautiful centre, capable of producing most of its own organic food. All the farm workers were employed and in the seven years it has been in existence, it has become a place of deep tranquillity that contributes in many ways to the communities close by through water-harvesting projects, and other community based initiatives.

Amazingly, the manager of the centre had looked at our website before we got there and had decided that because of the work we do, he would give us a discount! He also asked us if we would offer a Movement Medicine session to the staff. We were delighted to be able to be able to give something back for the great care they took of us and so we ran an hour-long session for the staff team. Almost everyone turned up from the cooks and gardeners to the admin team, yoga instructors, doctors and therapists, and how they danced. It was fantastic for us to experience Movement Medicine in another culture and we were so inspired by the feeling of what Movement Medicine may be able to contribute as it grows. As a result of the session, we were invited to the community’s daily meditation and chanting session. We were led into a large room with a huge picture of their guru on one wall, and offered cushions. They began to chant, all of them in harmony. The power of their practice was astonishing. So clear, full of devotion, a harmony of purpose to awaken and a light-handed discipline which touched me to my very core. Here was the heart of their work, their practice, their offering. As they chanted, I fell deeper and deeper into a golden silence and watched in amazement as I saw a beautiful fire take shape in the centre of the room, burning brightly with shapes and symbols, a forceful manifestation of the fire of their practice. It was humbling, inspiring and I have to say, a bit of a wake-up call. Even though I am relatively disciplined, taking time most days to practice, I felt the power of their collective purpose which wasn’t just manifest in prayer but also in their everyday actions. And after all, isn’t the purpose of practice the actualisation and transfer of the states of consciousness we achieve in our practice into the everyday moments and actions of our lives? In comparison, I became aware of the indolence of my own level of practice and consequently have felt inspired to step my own discipline up a level. Good outcome!

In Movement Medicine, we talk about the dance of polarity that sits around the centre of our mandala. Key to this is the relationship between acceptance and intention. In my own life, I have noticed how there is a constant dance and movement between a more yin and surrendered approach and a more yang and active approach to my life. Many of us come to spiritual practice with negative associations with the concept of discipline. That’s not surprising when we recognise that in our culture, discipline is often associated with punishment or penance. We need a deep sense of acceptance for who and where we are and not to continue to beat our own backs with the rod of negativity that so many of us have experienced in our educations. However, too much acceptance and we will become complacent and lose our edge. Too much disciplined intent and we will become brittle parodies of our selves.

It all depends where the edge arises for us. If we are being driven by feelings of not being good enough as we are or the feeling that we need to prove ourselves, we will without doubt end up in the spiral of suffering and disappointment which characterises so many of our failed good intentions. However for me, to be disciplined means to be inspired, truly so, to follow the golden thread of the soul’s maturation journey. It means to know that there is a being inside who needs the attention of an artist in order to find its most natural shape and expression in the world. To me, the point of our practice is to create an oasis in which we remember who we are, where we are from, what we are connected to, what matters most to us and where we are going. And this remembrance becomes useful when it becomes the resource and the reference point from which all that we are and all that we do in the world flows. In Movement Medicine, this all arises in the magical space that the mandala holds. I keep on finding myself somewhat astounded at its potency.

As I look within and around me and see the shadow side of the luxuries of modern life, I see how it’s so very easy to give in to our indolence and to accept a second-rate version of our capacity and potential to be who are and give what we’ve got in this world. I was just walking down the platform to get on the Eurostar carrying my luggage when I noticed a young man up ahead of me. Without thinking about it, my mind was already categorising him in his pencil tight black trousers and dark glasses and within a couple of seconds, that part of me had dismissed him. Not only that, another part of me was determined to get on the train before him and was determinedly racing him up the platform. Depending on perspective, that’s either hilarious or very sad. In a workshop space, there is a collective intention to bring the shadow into the light. And the structure of mandala holds this intention, just like any other practice has its forms. The trick is to bring this intention out of the workshop, into our home life and out into the world. These are the moments where integration either happens or it doesn’t.

In that moment on walking along the platform at St.Pancras International, I was so grateful that something else was present too, the part of me that gets fed by practice, who was paying attention and who noticed. I stopped, took a breath, laughed at myself, released the understudy who is so insecure in his own originality that he has to dismiss anyone else’s in theirs, and remembered myself as a teenager wearing pencil tight trousers trying to be so very cool. Those trousers were so tight that it took my digestion years to recover. I sent my teenage self some love and finally, had a very sweet moment with the young man, as he boarded the train ahead of me. This all happened in matter of seconds and in itself, it’s nothing to write home about. But when I consider that our reality is made up by the thousands of choices we make every day about what we choose to give our attention to, then this little cameo becomes a perfect example of the benefits of practice; to judge or to love, to accept or to deny, to open our eyes and see or to keep them closed and look from a safe distance? Practice gives us access to a minimal moment of choice. It sharpens our awareness and just like any other muscle, awareness gets stronger through use.

I have recently become re-acquainted with the maps connected to the workshop we call the Way of the Dancing Warrior. That workshop takes us on a journey that re-acquaints us with this wonderful archetypal companion. Who is the Dancing Warrior? They are that part of us who has surrendered to our own highest purpose. They are deeply connected to their roots and the power of the unconscious and the unknown. They have recognised the disempowered places within themselves that identify with being the victim of life’s happenings. They have landed in the shining intensity of the present moment and in a simple way, understood the capacity we all have to survive. And they have taken their stories and the stories of the time and weaved together something new – they have discovered the artist inside them for whom the whole of life is the greatest canvas there is on which to co-create. They have committed themselves to the journey. The choice has been made and they know beyond doubt that whatever the Great Choreographer puts before them, they will dance with it and through their dance, offer it back, illuminated and transformed into something with heart, dignity and strength.

So, on the eve of the ancient festival of Imbolc, as we enter the beginning of a new season of growth, and the buds begin to freshen with rising sap, maybe it’s time to sharpen the blade of our intention as individuals and collectively. A workshop, at its best, is a place to do just that. And personal practice is the place where we make it our own.

For myself, I feel ready for the next step. We just completed our first apprenticeship programme and we are now in the process of reading applications for the second as well as preparing for our first teacher training later this year. Together with Roland and Susanne and our organisers, we have assembled another fine array of dancing possibilities for the year ahead. If you’re ready for another step of the Movement Medicine variety, then maybe we’ll meet somewhere on the journey. And if you want to meet the Dancing Warrior and access their tremendous capacity for life, there are several opportunities coming up. Finally, don’t forget the Summer Long Dance, an event that’s all about gratitude for life. A little thank you goes a long way. A big thank you may just take you all the way!

To end, I return to the extraordinary land of India that seems to have worked its way into my bones. I wonder if I’ll find that man in the Himalayas. One thing I know for sure. If I do, he’ll be laughing. They say that the whole of existence is just the out breath of the Great Mystery and when she breathes in again, we and all of it will simply return to the great emptiness for a few billion years. Until then, let’s dance whilst we can.

With the greatest respect for this growing community of movement medicine practitioners,

Ya’Acov Darling Khan

February 2011

p.s. Susannah’s new Elemental CD is now available to support you in your personal practice and we have two more CD’s planned for this year. The Long Dance CD, 21 Gratitudes, is almost ready, and we’ll begin work on Morning Prayers in March.

p.p.s. We’re also looking into running a series of webinars later this year. Watch this space.



Loft Clearance

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

By Hannah Mackay

I’m getting myself down out of the loft.

Brushing away the dust

Wondering if I need a new cover.

I’ve stored a lot of me

Away for safe-keeping

Unable to decide at the time

If I’d need me again.

I’m getting myself down out of the loft.

I might be useful

I could pass myself on to a friend

Or use bits of me to make something new.


I’m getting myself down out of the loft.

No point leaving me up there

Til I die

Giving my executors the trouble

Of wondering what to do with me;

Whether I could go to charity;

Or be revived, re-upholstered

Given a new lease of life.


I’m getting myself down out of the loft.

But I don’t want me filling up the house,

Creating clutter.

I need to decide if I still like me.

Find a place where I’ll fit

And enhance the general ambience.


Otherwise I’ll send myself to be recycled

To be stripped back to my constituent parts

Melted down

Burned up

And used again.


Hannah Mackay, Feb 2011

The Chest of Drawers

By Silvana Rigobon

If Movement Medicine were a fairy tale, it would go like this:

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, The Chest of Drawers was found on a hill. There it stood, mysterious and shut, with a mandala painted on top of it. No key was to be found for its three drawers.

The Seven Wise ones were called. They gathered around The Chest of Drawers. They sat there till the Moon was high, behind the Big Trees.
Only then did the Wiser One speak. She spoke to the Moon, to the Trees, to the Wind.

“Each drawer is a Journey. Only those who dare to dance, only those who dare to dream, will find the key.”

The Wind blew the Words. The Words reached the Moon in the sky, flew with the Waters of the river, got down to the Roots of the Big Trees.
Only then did the People go to sleep. They slept. And in their dream, they danced.

And they woke up.

The first dreamer went uphill to The Chest of Drawers. She danced in front of it. She danced and danced and danced, till she dropped on her knees. The first drawer opened. And she heard her own voice singing: “You have a Body, a Heart and a Mind. Be your Body, Be your Heart, Be your Mind. This is YOUR Journey of Empowerment.”

The woman felt her voice finding a space and rest into her Heart, rooting itself into the Earth. She knelt in gratitude, then walked downhill, to dance her life and make space for her dreams.

The second dreamer danced in front of The Chest of Drawers, and when he dropped in front of it, the second drawer opened. He felt his own Heart expanding into His Past. And he honoured it. And then his Present knelt in front of him, and he thanked it, and his Future spread out, in the shape of the Tree of Gratitude, that offers its leaves to the Sun. He walked downhill, to dance his life and make space for his dreams.

The third dreamer was the Wiser One herself. She danced. She danced for HumaniTree, she danced for CommuniTree. Her gift was her Soul. Her gift was her Heart. She bowed in front of The Chest of Drawers, and the third drawer opened. Her Dream was her Life, her Life was her Dream. She knelt in gratitude and looked around.

Everybody around her was dancing for HumaniTree, everybody was dancing for CommuniTree. They danced, and danced, and danced. And then walked downhill, to dance into their life and make space to share their dreams.

Movement Medicine is The Chest of Drawers. Its wood comes from the Tree of Life. Everybody has got access to their three drawers. Just dare to dance. Just dare to dream.

Love and Laughter
By Susannah

Last November Ya’Acov told me he had booked us into a Laughter Yoga evening workshop in Totnes. “Sounds great!” I said, thinking that at the very least, it would be a laugh. The date rolled around and we set off up to a little flat near Totnes Castle, a bit nervous that it would be horribly squeamish. We met the little group; the organiser, a friend of his, the teacher (Simone from Australia) and us.

We set off on the sweet, funny, clear, simple journey Simone took us on, and very soon we were laughing so hard we were hurting. When we got to the laughter meditation bit, I kept coming to that beautiful poignant bridge between laughter and tears. Waves of tears kept almost engulfing me, then the next gale of laughter would lift them and toss them laughing into the winds. Every now and then I became aware of feeling worried “they are all laughing, have I missed the joke?” and each time I realised that there was no joke, nothing to get, nothing not to get, and I could let go again and just laugh, cry and laugh again.  In this place I felt so much love and intimacy with everyone there. When we finally came to rest Simone guided us into a deep stillness. I felt very blessed, alive and quiet.

Afterwards, Simone told us about the guy who had created Laughter Yoga (Dr Kataria) and about the next teacher training he was doing in India. She also said it was his vision to bring about world peace through laughter. I understood! Extraordinarily (for us) we were free on those dates. We got home, checked him out on U-tube, fell in love with him cracking up about himself being the founder of “The International School of Laughter Yoga” and decided to go.  It was too whimsically weird and wonderful a thing to pass up, even though we are very committed to not flying unless we feel we have to. So, we ummed and ahhed and then decided to go and to plant many more trees through ……….

And then we got there. After our beautiful days at the Ayurvedic spa (See Y’s piece) we visited with Shiuli’s grandmother and great aunts and some of her extended family. What a delight. I felt so at home, as if I was with my own grandmother and family. Then there was a moment that took my breath away. It was when we were saying our farewells. One of those leaving with us was a grandson who was just about to return to University. As he said his goodbyes to his grandmother and great aunts he got right down and kissed their feet and they blessed him. Even now it brings me tears. Amidst shared laughter and tears I did the same and I was blessed too. I know Indian society is in many ways not a model to which I would aspire, and that this authority given to the elders is not always used benevolently, but nevertheless it touched something very deeply in me. And it was also shocking, in a good way, to see something that is so natural and normal for a young, educated, worldly young man, and which is SO different from what we know here in the west.

Then tears dried and connections made, we went on to the School of Ancient Wisdom where the Laughter Yoga training was to be held. After a beautiful fire ceremony that first night for our own School’s birthday (so many schools!) which was attended by most of the group, we entered Dr Kataria’s programme. We had a wonderful laugh, learnt a huge amount about training and being trained (as well as about Laughter Yoga) were very impressed by Dr Kataria’s approach to things and his overall playful, serious and creative take on life, which includes his already well enroute vision of free Laughter Yoga clubs in which people can laugh together in all the cities of the world (as well as world peace of course!). We were also touched by being part of what became a deeply heartful process with a truly international group of people.

We will see how Laughter Yoga integrates itself as one more strand of the interwoven fabric of our offerings (some of you will already have experienced a little of it with us!) and also, as soon as we can we will be offering a Laughter Yoga leader training following Dr K’s guidelines. Watch this Space.

Meanwhile, we are finding that making the choice to laugh, mostly at ourselves, or at nothing at all, is aerating our lives, our thinking and our feeling, and we are very grateful. One of the many things I loved about what Dr Kataria said, was the important thing is not laughter, but play and the creativity which accompanies it.

I hope this finds you in a place of joy and heart, and I hope to meet you soon and share this wonderful dance we call life,  in one way or another,




Shalom (Shal_Home, Sweet Home…): dancing in the West Bank
By Silvana Rigobon

“You feel at home in your circle, and you are free to move as you wish to”: I listen to Ya’Acov words and I feel a shiver through my backbone. I’ve heard these words so many times, in various Movement Medicine workshops. But today it is different: we are in the West Bank, in a small village called Shufa.

Saturday December 11th 2010: this is a day to remember. Ya’Acov is facilitating the first MM workshop in the occupied territories. One of my dreams is coming true: dancing with Israelies AND Palestinians, together.

This is actually the manifestation of a collective dream: Dare to dream, Dare to dance… Ben and Idan are the main dreamers behind it all. They both are involved in the NGO Combatants for Peace (, the movement that was started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have decided to put down their guns, and to fight for peace, promoting dialogue and reconciliation as the only way forward.

“Relaxing where you are”. We are in Shufa castle, in this little Palestinian village, on top of a high hill,  that has a rich history.  Its name actually means “from here one can watch all the others”.

Ya’Acov can’t use his computer for the music: the initial technical problem turns out to be an excellent opportunity as he starts drumming, inviting the participants to get in touch with their deep, creative Source.

There are three of us assisting, and each of us finds his/her own way of being in service: Sabine joins with the drumming; Ben gets deep into the dance, to keep the energies flowing, and at the same time translates into Hebrew. I switch on my Iphone, and start dancing and recording the event, aware of its uniqueness.

At the beginning I have some sort of resistance: am I doing the right thing? Am I invading the privacy of the other dancers? But I dance into it, and I just follow my heart: deep down I feel it is the right thing to do. This is a moment that deserves to be shared with other people..

“Your feet feel more in touch with the ground. Beautiful deep roots. Lot of space for breath.” Shivers, again. Home, freedom, roots, lots of space for breath: I dance into Ya’Acov words.

I ask Idan, one of the organizers of the event, if it is appropriate to take off my shoes (not sure if a Palestinian woman would do it) but he reassures me. I dance barefeet, and I feel the energy of the Big Mama grounding me, nourishing my heart.


In the dance I realize how many things I take for granted, in my life: freedom, first of all. But also having a home, growing my roots, having all the space I need for breath. I dance and I keep on recording with my mobile. And I wonder what my fellow dancers feel, deep down, while they hear these same words.

Ben is deep in the dance, and so is Idan and all the others (five Israelis, two men and three  women, and eight Palestinian men, all members of CfP). Ben keeps on with the translation in Hebrew, Nur translates for the Palestinians. Ya’Acov and Sabine keep on drumming, following the pulse of Mother Earth’s heart.

“Relaxing, where you are. The hands are completely free … Maybe your hands can fly… Now it becomes easy again, like a child, playful..”  Would the children of Shufa have enough land to fly a kyte in the sky?

I keep on recording, so I have to dance with my eyes open. Many of the dancers around me are smiling, deep in their movements…

“Now connect, hips and hands ... feel the connection inside the body, hands elbows, shoulders”. I think about my Grandmother and I remeber the story about the German soldier that during the war used to call her Mamma, after she hid him in the cellar, to help him. This memory moves me to tears. Here we are, in Holy Land. We are all one. Palestinians, Israeli, Italians, Germans, British. Citizens of the world. We are all one. Connecting through the universal language of the dance. Each of us a tree, our roots interwoven. Dancing as a CommuniTree. With our guides, our allies, and our ancestors with us: there is a crowd, behind us, in this room, supporting this dance, today.


“This circle is your land and in this circle you are free to move, as you want to. Don’t worry about any one else’s dance. In this circle my heart is free.” On the way to the workshop, in Idan’s car, we had to go through the checkpoints, patrolled by soldiers with guns. More shivers down my spine…

 "Just feel this feeling of freedom, in the body. Imagine that the ground was full of energy. And as you are moving your body fills up with this good energy. Imagine that your hands could take really good energy from the stars, from the moon. You feel at home in your circle, and you are free to move as you wish to.”

Freedom of movement, free in your home, free in your own land…

“Keep moving very soft and deep. Keep moving and just very gently open your eyes.”

One hour is gone. It is time for the participants to give their feedbacks. The words they share are really touching. They talk about the freedom and the peace that they experienced inside, in the dance. The words of Adib, in particolar, go straingt to my heart. He is Palestinian. He thanks Ya’Acov for such a special day, and as a sign of gratitude he offers him a beautiful pen, with his name embroidered by his brother, by hand. It is a really precious gift: his brother has been in prison for years.

Later on, in the car, Idan tells me the maning of the name Abid: “generous”.

It’s time to say goodbye, and we all go our separate ways. I spend the Sunday with Sabine in Jerusalem, and in the Holy Sepulchre a monk offers me a candle with the Sacred Flame. I am surprised and excited: I will take it home with me, and I will keep it alive.

On Monday, on the way to the airport, in front of our taxi there is a bus with the ad for the play “The Spirit of the Dance”. I think it is an appropriate image, to put the word “end” to such an inspiring week.

But to my surprise, when I am queuing up at the passport control line, I bump into Ya’Acov. He was meant to fly back to the UK the day before, but his flight was delayed for one day: apparently on the way to Tel Aviv it got struck by a thunder! I smile, thinking about something that I heard from a shaman, a few years ago: there is always a reason when people get delayed in an airport, on a train etc. It has got to do with the light they are asked to share with other people, to keep the frequency high, or to higher it. In this case, it makes sense…             After the queue we have just enough time for me to pass Ya’Acov the videos from my Iphone to his computer. Mission accomplished!

We hug each other, and now it is really time to go.

On my flight Tel Aviv-Verona via Munich, December 13th 2010:

1. Thank you to Ya’Acov, Sabine, Ben, Aviya, Idan and to all the dancers at the workshop in the kibbutz and in the West Bank: we are honoring an appointment we gave each other in other lives. 

2. Thank you to Aviya and to the great bunch of Israeli people that participated in the workshop Mending the Circle. Hope to come back and dance with you all, again and again.

3. Thank you to the healing that happened in the two circles, at the kibbutz and in Shufa. And to the healing in the Bigger Circle..

4. Thank you to the enthusiasm that I read in Idan’s and Ben’s eyes.

5. Thank you to Ben and to his family: fantastic hosts at the kibbutz.

6. Thank you to Sabine, for her courage and her wisdom, and for being here with me.

7. Thank you to life here in Israel, in the kibbutz, in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem: it inspires me to visualize a present of peace, made of small things, of simplicity, beauty and committment.

8. Thank you to the beach that Ben took us to («Water wash through us and purify»): deep healing going on..

9. Thank you to the rain today, in Jerusalem: “Water wash through us and purify”…

10. Thank you to the amazing weather in these days, and to an incredibile sky filled with electricity and possibilities.

11. Thank you to my Ancestors, for being with me all the time, here in Israel.

12. Thank you to the amazing healing energies that I met in Israel, this week.

13. Thank you for all the finetuning that happened in these days, at all levels (body, heart and mind; for me as a woman, as a human being, as a citizen of the world)

14. Thank you to the power of intention and of the prayers, and to the strenght and power of the gratitudes.

15. Thank you to the Spirit of the Dance, for guiding us all, in this inspiring trip, and for winking at me, from the bus in front of the taxi.

16. Thank you to the amazing eucalyptus that have accompanied me in this trip. Holy Roots in Holy Land, from heart to heart.

17. Thank you to the power of Ho’oponopono and forgiveness, that has helped and inspired me in these days.

18. Thank you to my interior dancer, that follows the beat of Big Mama’s heart.

19. Thank you to Combatants for Peace for the amazing work they are doing.

20. Thank you to Movement Medicine, that is my future, and my present too.

21. Thank you to Ya’Acov and Susannah, for daring to drum, and for embodying daily the Dare to dream/Dare to dance mandala.

The video of the Shufa workshop can be watched at this link:

Ben’s account of the week was published in the January issue of the MM newsletter.

Another account of the workshop in Shufa, with pictures of the event, can be read (in Hebrew..) on the Combatants for Peace blog:



Susannah's long awaited CD "Elemental" is now ready to order from the shop. The CD has 8 guided Movement Medicine meditations for home practice, including "Awakening the Dancer" dancing with the Elements and the Star Meditation (at the centre of your circle with the 3 axis and the 9 gateways). Enjoy!

Also the 120ml Invocation liquid smudge  is back in stock.

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.