School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: May 2011
The Woman Who Stares at Sheep and Other True Stories from the Dartmoor


Once upon a time there was a lady in her middle age who travelled to Dartmoor for a Vision Quest under the guidance of shaman, Ya’Acov, together with a lovely crew of other travellers seeking for the dream they came here to live.


Claudia was her name and although she loved and felt a strong connection to nature, she was not used to any big outdoor-adventures. So she had spent her two-days-vision-quest-retreat in a bit ambivalent style: Yes, she had had a very interesting conversation with a sheep, had seen beautiful flowers, had offered her shit as a feast for the flies, had enjoyed the company and ongoing talk of the brook nearby – but due to hungry mosquitoes and tics, headache from empty stomach, heat in the sunshine, shivering in the shade and unexpected chilly nights, she felt, that this vision quest had turned out more into an ordinary camping experience and she found that camping was certainly not hers.

She had written a bit, walked a bit, sung a bit, but she felt not for dancing or praying –as the shaman had recommended – she just felt tired and a bit sad, because she knew she was wasting a precious opportunity. She had the feeling that for her the whole vision-quest-thing had just been a process of finding comfort in discomfort. So while she was packing her luggage for returning to the meeting-point on one hand she was glad it was over, on the other she thought one or two more days out would be good, because now as she got more relaxed with the ‘camping-aspect’ maybe then the hole thing could finally turn out into the “real” vision quest?!?

Claudia had already packed her tent and backpack, had been sitting at a place nearby her circle, thinking about this and that. It was time to leave now, a bit earlier, because she intended to divide up her heavy luggage and to bring it down to the meeting place in two goes.

When she moved out of the shade of a huge maple she noticed some glittering not far away from her. She curiously approached a heap of stones and found out glittering came from a very big stone. She lifted it – it was really big and heavy, at least 2 kilograms – and she couldn’t almost trust her eyes: This ‘stone’ was a pure lump of crystal rock!

It was built by many, many crystals, most of them opaque-white, all of them baked together to form this amazing treasure-rock. Her first thought was: “Wow I’ll take that home”, second: “Am I allowed to?” as Ya’Akov had told them, to leave their place exactly as it had been before. And anyway, would she be able to carry even more weight on the way back to the coach?! But if she couldn’t bring it home, nobody would believe how beautiful was her find. She took the rock to her backpack and decided to ask Ya'Akov about; then started to bring the first part of her luggage down.

The shaman sat by the fire singing and praying. And she felt it was not a good moment to disturb him now, so maybe better instead to ask the crystal itself.

When she came back to the place and asked Crystal Rock what to do and whether it wanted to come with her, the answer was short and crystal-clear: No, this Rock belongs to here!

It was almost a relief to ‘hear’ that – so no more weight to carry. But at the same time it felt not so easy to leave it, because this was a real treasure. And suddenly her parents and grandparents came to Claudia’s mind, the family which once due to 2nd World War had to leave behind them all what was meaningful and precious to them. For a moment she could feel all that grief and pain of her ancestors: Being driven away from their beloved native country, being robbed by all their possessions, forced to leave and suddenly being homeless refugees.

Thoughtfully she held the rock. Although the big peaks of the crystal were gone, the little ones where still left and it was obvious to her, that under that a bit imperfect surface there was an absolutely perfect, unbroken crystal hidden within. And as she held this rock near by her heart and closed her eyes, Claudia could see: It had a chamber like a heart. And the crystal inside was strong and powerful and she immediately knew this could be a mirror and that she can always recall this image and it will remind her to her own essence and strength. She felt so blessed.

‘Listening’ to the powers of this precious rock she could hear an invitation to lick and taste it. And as she did, she tasted what she hardly can describe: It was like feeling compressed ages and ages - timelessness on her tongue. A holy moment.

It was time to leave then and Claudia had to bring precious Crystal back to his place. She is not sure she brought it exactly to the same place, but to a good place. And when she laid it back with all her grateful thanks, there was another moment of bliss: As she realised that she was giving back Crystal Rock with the heartfelt intention to be found in the future - for other generations to come - by someone else who needed a medicine.

Having travelled through past and future, touched by eternity, and a bit more familiar with the nature of nature, she went back to the fireplace to the circle. Good company and a feast, a comfortable bed - 21 Gratitudes for all the comforts of her life!

Dancing with the group the other morning she discovered: Crystal Rock had given her a magic ability – she can see the Crystal Essence in the heart of everybody dancing with her. She felt and still feels so immensely blessed by that, but she knows quite well, that this is not a special gift, given to her – everybody can do: yes, we all can! But this is another story to be told someday…

CCR, Vision Quest 2010

There are still places available on this years Vision Quest 19 - 26th June.  Contact Roland on 00 44 1803 762255 for more details and a booking form

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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.