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Issue: May Newsletter
Seeds Planted During the Arc of Time in a Learning Village in Zimbabwe

By Maaianne Knuth
I write this piece from Kufunda Village in Zimbabwe. Kufunda is a learning village dedicated to finding our way into what it takes to create healthy vibrant community, and to share that with others in Zimbabwe and beyond. I am also an Apprentice Movement Medicine teacher. I had invited Susannah Darling Khan to come to Zimbabwe to offer a Movement Medicine Workshop.

I specifically asked for the Arc of Time because of the times we are living through in Zimbabwe today. As you may know it is a challenging moment politically and has been for a very long time. It is a time in which people struggle to dream, and to believe in real shift and change. As I understood the Arc of Time, it would support us to connect with the resources from the past, and to be inspired by the possibilities of the future.

And so it was that in March Susannah arrived to offer the Arc of Time to a group of 30 dancers in Kufunda Village. It was an epic dance journey. In the Arc of Time we dance ourselves fully into the present so that our journey back to dance with our ancestors can be as embodied and present as possible, as well as the dance into the future to greet the future generations of a world in which we have been successful in bringing healing and wholeness.

The dance was very strong for all involved. Village members and participants from the city. It was uncanny to have a sense of having journeyed to the same future. Many strong themes were shared across the various dance journeys. Elephant guides and tree planting among them.

For me personally the big seed was a strong sense of the need for us here today to not only focus on surviving, but to really call in and reach towards a healthy sense of thriving. Despite all the challenges of life here – we can make a choice to not simply focus on the practical essentials. We can make a choice to create as much beauty and grace in what we do. It came through very strongly from my journey, that this will lead the way to the future: each person allowing the beauty of their soul to manifest in the creation of places and spaces of beauty around them. For Kufunda this felt like an invitation into a next level of living our purpose, reaching up into the heavens with our gifts and offerings.

Village Dance
All ages meeting in a creative expression of movement and play

The Arc of Time was followed during the week by a village dance, where we gathered as a village with all the generations. Susannah guided us into a dance of joy and community – in which we played with shifting leadership and followership, in which we danced with saying yes to each other.

After Susannah left we had a Kufunda planning review session that had been scheduled long before the Arc of Time days. It was the most exquisite sharing and exploration. We began with a small dance followed by each Arc of Time participant sharing anything from their experience that would be valuable to bring to the whole village; seeds and gifts to carry forward. Those who had participated in the Village dance could add from that experience. It was a beautiful and profound sharing. Even one who hadn’t been in either, spoke warmly of his sense of the importance of all of us dancing, and asked us to keep dancing until all were all ready to join. He said, “you are not just dancing for yourself. You are dancing for us all."

The strength of the embodied learning came through in the themes people shared:

  • A desire to live as a village the impulse that we had experienced in the 'Yes dance': “To really say Yes to each other. To really say YES!”
  • The theme of beautifying the village and being more intentional in taking care of the land came through very strongly
  • The joy and appreciation of coming together as the whole village in a different kind of dance that transcended the generations and led to an embodied experience of joyful co-creation had really inspired people – and people all wanted to make more space for that

We went into our actual planning review, with the focus of bringing tangible aspects from the Arc of Time that need to be integrated into the existing plans.

Things included were to host a village dance once a month – possibly even inviting the surrounding community to join us(!); several village beautifying projects; integrating Movement Medicine more into some of our existing offerings (like the Art of Hosting); doing a clean up with all the children and the village; joining in to support the creation of the children’s new garden; and much more.

That review is now over a month away. And so much has materialized from it. It is of course not all just because of the Arc of Time, but I strongly feel that it opened the windows to our soul as Kufunda; that it brought in something fresh, that enabled us to shift into our next level of expression as an intergenerational African village.

A big part of it has been a clearing in order to bring in the new. Old stuff that no longer served has been removed, sifted through, thrown out. We have undertaken a collective series of rubbish collection moments during our weekly community work, and taken steps to improve our recycling system, to not let litter be an accepted part of the surroundings. We held a village dreaming session in April during the school holidays, primarily for the school, but much was dreamed for the whole village – how to beautify and lift its physical space further.

And so alongside the clearing and cleaning, so many things have flourished with astonishing swiftness from what had been seeded: A new garden was created by the children of the village, as an entry way to Kufunda and to their school. It is a creation of much beauty and supported by friends from across the world; we have a nursery with 150 rose cuttings growing, awaiting their planting across the village; we have almost completed an outdoor classroom for the children in a magical space in our forest for the children; we have taken the first steps to create a Kufunda Village shop and hopefully even a café, where can serve healthy treats. And more!

Many of the practical manifestations related to our primary school were held and inspired by Movement Medicine friend Benjamin Clarke, who was here during this time to work with our Waldorf primary school. The garden and the outdoor classroom would surely not have manifested with the speed that they did without his stewardship. Thank you Mr Ben ;-)

The gift of visitors is that they see shifts in a way that those who remain in a place cannot. When Susannah returns (hopefully in 2019!) and Ben also, I know they will find many changes seeded by our time together. They are already so strong, and are so clearly apparent in the space. I can only imagine how much more is coming through as we continue with the support of the ancestors, and the inspiration of the future generations as our guides.

With much love, deep appreciation and so much joy,

Maaianne Knuth, Apprentice Movement Medicine Teacher

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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.