School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
Issue: May Newsletter

Personal Resources and Upcoming Movement Medicine Workshops
By Hanna
Welcome to yet another Movement Medicine newsletter with plentiful as well as beautiful contributions to inspire and to engage with, and with more stories and ripples of Movement Medicine journeying and weaving through some communities in Africa and Israel. Stories of vulnerable, joyful and celebrative dances shared and valuable connections made.

And I am grateful that I too was offered the opportunity to bring my dance and my part into this weaving of dreams, connections and stories, while assisting during Susannah's workshop in Cape Town, The Power of the Heart. A dearly treasured experience.

Now we have almost reached the middle of this year as the seasons have changed yet again. And as I reflect I am acknowledging of and grateful for the experience of growth, expansion, grounding and uncovering that this year has already brought for me.

In order to remain centred, present and connected while walking through and in these times of challenge, shift, transformation and healing, some gems have been really helpful for me: It is for example the heartfelt and nurturing connections to close friends and the sense of being fully seen and recognized. It is also the firm connection with and nurturing of my own centre-line, running up and down along my spine and beyond, connecting me to Earth and to Source on both 'ends'. It is the moving and being present with this deep, calm space of my own heart and soul – that which just is, inside. It is dance and/or the 'hanging out' in my body consciously.
And of course, what also keeps me 'sane', grounded and centred is the frequent connection and time spent in nature! This is the place where I am always welcome, always seen and always reminded of who I am, with no exception. And to these almost daily nature-hang-outs I have also added a prayer-song (of healing, of peace, of light, of support ...) that has come to me over the last few weeks and that I have been singing by the sea almost every day.

What ever personal season you are experiencing in your life, or which ever personal shifts and challenges or new openings and transformations are moving through your experience at the moment, take good care of yourself, of your body and your heart. The gentle nurturing and caring for the self I find an empowering 'thing' to have access to, especially if much is moving about … and maybe one of the following dance workshops is exactly what your system and your body is calling for, have a look:

May 10–14: Sanctuary with Susannah. Frankfurt, Germany. (A women's residential intensive). With Move! Evening on May 14.
A beautiful opportunity for women to reconnect with themselves and their own way of being a woman, in the
safe company of other women, through the powerful medium of Movement Medicine and through voice and ceremony.
Contact Katrin Kohlbecher: +49-163-3152714;
katrin@movement-medicine-frankfurt.de

May 12–14: Dance Medicine with Christian de Sousa. London, UK.
Dance has always been an integral part of human history and expression and a tool for connection with self, with others and with spirit. This weekend will open some doors to the foundations of Movement Medicine in dance and in community, held in a safe space of presence and compassion.
Contact
Margarita Videnskyte: 07745595361; margarita@dancingtao.net

May 15–21: Phoenix Retreat with Ya'Acov. Rill Estate, Devon, UK.
This intensive opens a space for a new and raw connection with essential parts of yourself, some of which so far may have been hidden behind 'understudies' – voices and parts that take over certain areas in our psyche, being, action and life. This workshop is also one of the stepping stones towards and apprenticeship with Movement Medicine.
Contact Roland: Roland Wilkinson +44 1803 762255; Roland@RWEvents.co.uk

May 19–21: Out of Ashes with Rosie Perks. Cork, Ireland.
How much we love becomes visible when we grieve what we have lost. This link between the grief of loss and the power of love are part of this
safe exploration of Movement Medicine, where participants are invited to journey with their very personal relationship to loss and grief and the love it emerges from.
Contact Eliixxchel: 086 3350801; elixxchel@gmail.com

June 7: Vulnerability and Power in the Shaman’s World – talk, shamanic journey and launch of Ya’Acov’s new book.
This event includes a reading from Ya'Acov's new book, a talk, a music led shamanic journey, and a book-signing.
Contact: 020 7287 6711; info@alternatives.org.uk

June 14–18: The Shaman's Door with Ya'Acov. Warsaw, Poland.
This weekend has the participant discover more of who they are and what the personal medicines are from the past. It invites to connect with that unique individual soul-energy that we carry, and engages the dancer with what is really and truly close to the heart and therefore a part of a future vision to go for.
Contact Olga Mieszczanek: +48 509 774 884; MovementMedicinePoland@gmail.com

June 20: Bringing the Dance Back Home. Webinar, online.
This webinar offers you the music, space and guidance to discover and strengthen your personal dance practice at home (or wherever you are). Experience a led Movement Medicine session in your own living room, invite friends to join in, and feel connected as the wider Movement Medicine community is joining in.
Its £35 for 10 webinars, plus the online access to all the past webinars.
Contact Roland: +44 1803 762255;
roland@rwevents.co.uk

June 24–25: Resource with David Mooney. Antwerp, Belgium.
With
Awakening the Dancer on June 23.
However fast the word or the outside may be changing and moving, there is this great Resource we hold inside, which can keep us connected to our inner wisdom, intuition and to the deep knowledge of our heart and soul. This weekend is an invitation for the dancers to strengthen and widen this inner ground of centre and stability.
Contact
Luc: + 32 613 299 20; info@owc.be

June 3–6 July: The Summer Long Dance. Somerset, UK.
This
large and annual community gathering of the School of Movement Medicine is the offering of a rich and long lasting ceremony to honour and praise life on earth and all our relations in this. It is a powerful healing and trans-formative experience in which the interconnectedness of all life and all beings, including all the dancers is felt, expressed and celebrated.
Contact Roland: roland@rwevents.co.uk

Itís Been a Long Time Coming ...
By Ya'Acov
Israel and Palestine
Iíve been working in Israel and Palestine the last week for the first time after a break of four or five years. Itís been a very moving time, working with a group of men from the Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem and then with a group in the North of Israel. On a personal level, I have never found this an easy place to visit but I am told by my guiding spirits that I must keep coming here to make these offerings.

This time, I understood so much more about the pain of my (Jewish) people. After more than two thousand years of oppression, that ‘never again’ attitude is easy to understand. I saw in the mirror of the many brave souls I met the passive aggressive ‘fuck you! Don’t tell me what to do!’ stance that I know so well in myself from so many conflicts that I have been involved in. I saw how important it is to own the rage and the grief of what has happened so that we don’t go on re-creating it again and again in the present. And I saw in so many instances how when we identify with the victim inside ourselves, we miss how much power we have, and are not aware of the effect our un-owned aggression is having on the people around us. As in the micro, so in the macro.

And yet despite all this, the soul runs deep for all the peoples of this land. When the spirit of the dance lands here, it is so colourful, so connected, so powerful and so full of beauty. And in the taxi on the way to the airport this morning, my favourite Hebrew song came on the radio. It’s a song I only play in holy moments and hearing it made my heart burst. My taxi driver, a big and burly Israeli who has lived here his whole life, was so sweet with me. I told him that I had just been called to return and go on making my offering in these lands. He smiled and offered me a tissue. And so it is. It seems that despite my discomforts with the politics of the land, these too are my people and therefore, I make this commitment to return as often as I can and offer whatever I can in these troubled and oh so deep lands.

I want to honour Samar Q’udha and Ben Yeger for all the hard and dedicated work they have been doing in my absence to keep Movement Medicine rooted here. And I also want to thank Aviya Reches for all her years of work to bring our work here in the first place. Finally, a deep thank you to our new organisers, Michal and Liat from Simply Peace (and thank you Ben for finding them). It is a pleasure to work with people who dare to dream as large as I do.

Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart 
It’s been a long time coming but within the next few days, I should have my new book physically in my hands. Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart – the Real-Life Initiation of an Everyday Shaman is coming to earth after a long gestation. It was nearly four years ago, at the end of an Initiation workshop (if you don’t know the Initiation journey, check it out) when we were doing a final round in which all the participants were naming their commitments for the journey ahead, that I made my own commitment public to write this book. It’s been one hell of a journey so far and it looks like continuing for some time.

I’d been carrying this book for several years without making any outward progress but I finally had put a month aside to start it, beginning the week after that Initiation. Every day for a month, I went down to our little lake house and tried to get going. The book was originally called Shaman’s Song.

My intention was to tell the story of my initiation into being a shaman and to share that as honestly and openly as I could. I wrote down all the major events on that initiatory journey on little pieces of paper that I tore from a notebook. Each piece had a story on it and I sat amongst them looking for the pattern that would form the structure of the book. I lit the fire, drummed, prayed and waited. Nothing happened. The blank screen on my computer seemed to be staring at me, daring me to make a start. So I did.

I struggled with every word. Nothing flowed. I realised after a few days that I was suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. I felt under pressure. I only had a month and I’d now made a public commitment and the days seemed to be shorter and shorter as the autumn closed in. I wondered what might be in my way so I did what’s a called a ‘conflicting commitments’ 1 exercise to find out. I was astonished by what the process illuminated. Apparently, some part of me was rather afraid of how my book may be received, what meaning people would make of it and what pressure I might put on myself to live up to some external expectation of what being a shaman means. So, I put on some music, danced myself silly and released myself from the unconscious drivers that were in the way of me beginning. In the dance, I also realised that I needed to sharpen my intention and as much as possible, write my book in ceremony. What does that mean? It means that I understood that at the beginning of each writing session, I should drum, re-state my intention, ask for all the help available to me, and then let go and let the book come through. Well that shouldn’t be too hard I thought. Wrong!

Still I struggled. I was trying really hard to find the structure, the skeleton I could then dress with the juicy content of my story. I had my little story papers set out on the floor all around me. I tried fitting them into a tree of life structure with root stories, heart stories and stories to inspire for the branches. I tried a 9 Gateways to Initiation structure and a 5 Dimensions of shamanism structure (which by the way, is a book that Susannah and I have decided to write at some point soon). I tried a four elements structure and although I couldn’t see it then, this is the one that eventually landed. But in the cool air of a damp autumn in the valley of our land, nothing seemed to sing ‘YES!’ In the end, I realised that the method Susannah and I had used to write our first book just wasn’t going to work with this one. So, with Susannah's love and support behind me, I did a ritual in order to see if I could contact the ‘spirit’ 2 of the book, the dream of it, and ask that dream to lead me so that I could ‘hollow bone’3 it into existence.

I lit the fire, drummed and danced. I called to the spirit of this book and introduced myself. I spoke my intention to bring through a book that explained shamanism not as a weekend workshop pastime in which we all wave our feathers, have visions and then go back to ‘real life’ on Monday morning but as an everyday way of life grounded in the direct experience of our ongoing connection to and responsibility for the web of life on which we depend.

I went very deep in that ritual and for the first time, I ‘saw’ the finished project going out into the world and doing its work. I felt the spirit of this book and I understood that for this project, the only structure that I was going to receive was the structure of making myself available to this dream every time I sat down to write and letting it unfold.

I started to write and by the end of the month, I had an introduction, a prologue and the first four chapters. I sent them off to Michelle, the wonderful commissioning editor at Hay House who had been so supportive of our first book. Even though she’d told me that it was unlikely that they would be able to publish this one, she said that she was happy to read what I had done and give me feedback. In November 2013, I got this feedback from her:

If you are wanting to put it out to your friends and students I think it will work well in the style indicated by the first chapter - but if you are wanting to aim for a broader audience and have it become a work that has insight into the nature of the shamanic experience I think you may need to pause and try a different approach.
Right now it reads strongly to me as you wanting to tell your story and has a cathartic element; that I think is a really important as a process for a writer - but it can be challenging for the reader.

She went on to say that she thought I ought to start again and let the stories speak for themselves, something that Susannah had already been urging me to do. So, I deleted my month’s work and started again. I clearly hadn’t been listening hard enough!

I was now back working with a full schedule and I had already discovered that writing and teaching require a very different mind-set and are not easy to mix. So I let go, got back to work and blocked out some space in my diary to begin again.

It took me two years to reach the same point again during which time, the last chapters of my book to be took place in real time in my day to day existence. I started to understand that this really was an unfolding. Our dear friend, Eva Chapman, had told me on several occasions that writing for her has the effect of a deeper digesting of the things we write about. She told me that she had had to relive and re-examine the events that she so beautifully describes in her powerful book Sasha and Olga. I was beginning to experience this myself. Towards the end of 2015, I was ready to send what I had written to Michelle at Hay House again. A couple of months later, I heard back from her. Her email began with the words:

“People thought your material was beautifully written and would love to see an overall structure to see how the book will develop. Would you be able to put together a chapter breakdown for me please?”

And then a month later: “Everyone here really keen to go ahead.”

I was ecstatic. And after the US office approved the go-ahead, I now had a deadline to write to. Our summer break in 2016 would have to be a writing retreat. I planned out my schedule. Working three hours a day on the book and three hours a day on our land became my dance for the summer of 2016. I started every session as I had been instructed to do by drumming, praying and doing my best to get out of the way and let the story come through. Like Eva, I soon realised that writing my story was going to be a recapitulation on a whole other level than my first recapitulation more than 20 years before. With each experience that I wrote about, I found myself re-living it and recognising the ways in which that story had become an integrated part of who I am. I shared my struggles and my insights as honestly and directly as I could and the writing flowed strongly. For the first time since I was a child at junior school who used to skip his maths class in order to finish the story I was writing, I was enjoying my writing. It was such a good time. As I was doing my project, Susannah was in the studio working on her Torch Songs album which came out just before Christmas. We worked, met for lunch to check in, and then met for the evening to share our creations from the day. Such a wonderful feeling to be creating alongside each other and I pray, an insight into what life may be like when we are travelling less in years to come.

And now here I am, on the verge of being able to share my story with you. I’ve told it just as it happened and with the strong intention that my story will help you to know yours more. And so it is. Spring time, and birthing time for me. Time to stand up inside a whole new level of who I am and make my offering. My life is so rich and extraordinary and I am so in love with life itself in all its complexity, simplicity and mystery and it seems that this is my time to step out a little more and give whatever is mine to give.

I wish you all a wonderful spring. For more details of the whole new level of offerings emerging from the Darling Khan stable, please visit our new web portal: www.darlingkhan.com (this website is due to go live on about May 15th) where you will also find access to my book’s launch page and some very exciting offers (including a money off voucher on our first online course in Everyday Shamanism starting in the autumn). I hope the spring is springing (and the autumn flourishing for our Southern Hemisphere friends) in you too and that you and your family are well.

With 21 Gratitudes and my deepest respect for the one you are.

YDK. May 2017.

 

Upcoming Workshops with Ya'Acov:

May 15–21: Phoenix Retreat with Ya'Acov. Rill Estate, Devon, UK.
This intensive opens a space for a new and raw connection with essential parts of yourself, some of which so far may have been hidden behind 'understudies' – voices and parts that take over certain areas in our psyche, being, action and life. This workshop is also one of the stepping stones towards and apprenticeship with Movement Medicine.
Contact Roland: Roland Wilkinson +44 1803 762255; Roland@RWEvents.co.uk

June 7: Vulnerability and Power in the Shaman’s World
– talk, shamanic journey and launch of Ya’Acov’s new book.

This event includes a reading from Ya'Acov's new book, a talk, a music led shamanic journey, and a book-signing.
Contact: 020 7287 6711; info@alternatives.org.uk

June 14–18: The Shaman's Door with Ya'Acov. Warsaw, Poland.
In this weekend the participant and dancer can discover more of who they are today and what the personal medicines are and hold from the past. It invites to connect with that unique individual soul-energy that we carry, and engages the dancer with what is really and truly close to the heart and therefore a part of a future vision to go for.
Contact Olga Mieszczanek: +48 509 774 884; MovementMedicinePoland@gmail.com

June 3–6 July: The Summer Long Dance. Somerset, UK.
This
large and annual community gathering of the community of the School of Movement Medicine is the offering of a rich and long lasting ceremony to honour and praise life on earth and all our relations in this. It is a powerful healing and trans-formative experience in which the interconnectedness of all life and all beings, including all the dancers is felt, expressed and celebrated.
Contact Roland: Roland@RWEvents.co.uk


1 A conflicting commitments exercise is designed to show us what may be in the way of us following through on changes we have every intention of following through on. We teach it as part of the Phoenix Process and as part of our Apprenticeship Programme.

2 In many shamanic traditions, the dream of something that is to manifest in the physical world first appears as a spirit in our dreams or altered states.

3 Hollow bone is a shamanic term for channelling information or healing. The shaman has to get out of the way and allow the information to come through.

Music Medicine News and Celebrations
By Susannah
This is a short article to share some news and information with you regarding Ya'Acov's book and our Music Medicine shop and what is on offer. We are proud of our fine selection of music and books, featuring various wonderful artists and sharing their gifts and talents more widely.

I am so excited about the coming out of Ya’Acov’s new book; Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart. It’s a deep, transparent, honest and luminous account of Ya'Acov's journey as a human being and as a shaman. To tell this kind of story in a way that honours the magic AND stays grounded and real is not an easy thing to do, and he's done it. I guess it'll be one of those books that you can't put down and don't ever want to end. I’m one proud wife.

I sense that this book is not only going to touch many people deeply, but also contribute to the ongoing conversation around the role of shamanism in the modern world.

Right now Ya’Acov is recording it as an audio book, which I’m really happy about. Whenever he has read sections of the book to our friends, or me, as he’s been going through the process of writing, we’ve curled up like children around the fire to be carried into the mystery and the heart of these deep and real stories. So, this is magic to come!

It’d be most helpful for us and Movement Medicine if you could order your copy not from us, but pre-order it from Amazon in order to help it enter mainstream consciousness by getting it in the charts. Our purpose in this is to have maximum positive impact for the good of the whole and we’re wanting to do our bit to take out the sham from shamanism. Keep it real! Keep your eyes out here for the launch page that will be available soon which will offer exclusive content from Ya’Acov (a three part mini-course on shamanic drumming, discounts on our upcoming online course starting in the early Autumn, discounts on our upcoming journey to the Amazon rainforest worth $500 and much more).

In the meantime, we have another new book to proudly celebrate: Wild Power. Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Wurlitzer have written a powerfully helpful and wise book about the dynamic cyclical energetics of women’s menstrual cycles. We totally recommend it, and it’s in the shop now. Sjanie is a Movement Medicine teacher (from the first Apprenticeship). Congratulations Sjanie and Alexandra.

Lua Maria’s Wild White Horses is back in stock, and Ayla’s exquisite Dive into Water is out. They are both available as MP3s and as CDs.

And we want to celebrate that the Music Medicine shop raised £573.69 last year for the Pachamama Alliance from our online sales. A big thank-you to all the shoppers, and to all the artists who have generously donated their music to the Music For Life collection.

Latest news and information available on our new Music Medicine FB page. We’d be really grateful if you could click like on it and help us get our music and message out to a wider range of people, THANK YOU!

And we’ve re-done our Music for Life MP3 albums to make them more user friendly and added a few new tracks. You can now buy an album of funky, upbeat dance music (Music for Life Album 1) an album of beautiful songs (Music for Life Album 2) and an album of deep stillness music (Music for Life Album 3) all of which are sold 100% in aid of the Pachamama Alliance. 

If you have already bought Music for Life albums, please note that some of the some tracks you've already bought may be in the new album. So check carefully! You can also buy all the tracks as single MP3s. Thank you and enjoy!

Wishing you all a great next month in these wild and whacky times, times to be awake, aware and switched on to the joy stream and the love stream!

Love,

Susannah Darling Khan

My 2017 Movement Medicine Journey in Africa: Episode 2 Ė Thoughts, Reflections and Feelings
By Susannah
The last South African leg of my African journey has left me touched, disturbed, grateful and thoughtful. South Africa and Mandelaís 'rainbow nation' is in a hot and troubled place right now. The systems of government are struggling and corruption is acknowledged to be widespread. Violent student protests have closed universities. The country is not happy.

I want to try and talk about my personal journey to do with diversity, colour of skin, race and history and all that awkward and often very painful stuff. I’ve learnt that my feeling of clumsiness is 'part for the course' and doesn’t mean that I’m wrong to try and articulate my thoughts and feelings. And that doesn’t mean I’m not risking offending people and 'putting my foot in it' over and over again. My apologies if I do so, it’s not my intention. As a white woman working in Africa it feels important to me to acknowledge the wider context and to include my own story; my pain, my longing, gratitude, love and hope.

On one level, this theme of 'race' is about belonging. I heard this question from the mouths of many white people in Africa this time: “Do I have the right to be here, to live here, to work here?” I felt a version of this in myself: “Do I have anything of value to offer here or is it more post-colonial imperialism to imagine that I have anything that is needed here?” Even keeping my precious childhood vow of 46 years ago to “only return to Kenya when I had something meaningful to share” came under question and I’m not certain of the answer.

Why do I have such a longing that our workshops here are diverse? Why was it so important and wonderful for me personally that most of these workshops were at least somewhat mixed? What is my need here? Do I want black people to show up to prove that I am doing something worthwhile in my life? To make me feel better? To assuage my guilt? To make me feel that I am allowed back to Africa? Why would I imagine that I have anything that can be of value that is not already available in one form or another in the black community?

As you may have read in my previous article, Back to Africa: Part 1, I felt a deep homecoming in Kenya, especially with the Swahili speakers. The rhythms and melodies of that language, the style of laughter of the people and the quality of shared heart that I experienced there assuaged a very particular loneliness that I think I have carried unconsciously for decades.

My family lived in Kenya when I was as a child (only for three years, from me being 4-7 years old). And then our parents brought us home to England. They felt that, as English people, England was the place of our roots and that post-colonial Kenya should properly be left to the Kenyans. They had gone to Africa with a sincere (but, they later felt, naive) wish to “help”. When my father’s job contract as an architect for Nairobi city council, came up for renewal, they took a weekend apart to both feel into their individual sense of whether to stay, or go back to England. They were surprised to discover that they felt the same, and had both come to feel that their wish to help was part of the ex-pat post colonial mindset. They wanted their children to grow up knowing who we were, with one root in one place and not to become accustomed to the luxurious ex-pat lifestyle of privilege. I respect these reasons now, but at the time I was desolated. However, Africa had already got me. I’m sure that is where I contracted 'dance fever' which, as you know, I’ve never recovered from. I became what I call a 'bridge' child, at home in many places, but never entirely fitting in any one.

What I recognised in this journey is that my own soul feels connected to Africa and my own soul feels at peace and at home in racially mixed groups. That was true in my kindergarten (Parklands) and primary school (Hospital Hill) in Nairobi. That was as true in London, where as a student in the 1980’s I studied West African dance with Orchestra Jazzirra in Stoke Newington, or on this journey now. And I am, of course, white. Driving past a settlement in South Africa to be told “this was where, in the Apartheid era, it was designated that ‘coloureds’ had to live” felt like I was hearing something from a bizarre, surreal sci-fiction fantasy. Who would have made up that categorisation? What were they on? And yet I know what they were on. The idea of race has a horrid, long backdrop in the European history of ideas.

And my people, my country (Britain) and my continent (Europe) were the ones who inflicted this differential categorisation, the slave trade and often genocide on the world and on our brothers and sisters of different colours everywhere. I feel the deep sorrow. The hideous cruelty of our forefathers in Africa, in America, all over the world; this cannot be ignored.

Elephants, trees and the hearts of people have been key themes of this journey. I was given the book “Elephants of Knysna” (thank you Petra Bongartz and Jenny Gardy-Levine) about the extraordinary survival of a very few wild elephants in the forests of the most southern part of Africa. In this book the author recounts the cruel and indifferent mass slaughter and destruction that the white settlers brought to the indigenous San people and their precious culture, to the forests, the elephants, and other wildlife alike. I feel the grief and horror.

I am recognising a parallel context from our part of the world. In our English landscape, though the genocide was not the same, bio-diversity was also destroyed and people were dispossessed of their historical relationship and belonging to and with the land. When I walk from where we live onto wild Dartmoor, I’m also walking in a post-destruction landscape. Dartmoor was once a huge oak forest teaming with life and bio-diversity. 'Dart' means 'oak' in Celtic. This great oak forest was largely chopped down in the 17th century to make the ships that conquered the world; 3000 oak trees per ship. The modern day Dartmoor though starkly beautiful is mainly bare. It is inhabited by sheep and ponies and a few birds but carries only a remnant of the bio-diverse richness that thrived here pre de-forestation. In the few valleys which are still forested with the original indigenous oak, the bio-diversity is some of the richest in England.

On the same theme, most of our English farming ancestors were wrenched from living on what had been common land in the clearances and enclosures. Others were the 'wrenchers'. Later, industrialisation turned most of our forefathers into machine working units in a labour force designed to create wealth for the few. Pretty well all of us have been dis-inherited from our ongoing relationship with land, community, working by hand and delivered into cities, consumerism and individualism.

Another aspect of this pain in our own European ancestry is the several hundred years of the ‘witch burnings’. Tens, some say hundreds of thousands of women and many men were tortured and killed; often burnt alive for being 'witches'. This long running horror was initiated by the inquisition of the Catholic Church and made it dangerous for any woman to be seen as a healer or herbalist, to be strong, outspoken, sexy, eccentric or different. Through the witch burnings much of European indigenous wisdom and shamanic heritage was exterminated or at least went deep underground. One can understand this as the European 'dark ages' from which we emerged into the 'enlightenment' and scientific revolution. Or we can see that this time was another significant step towards the separation consciousness (separation from real connection to the land, to the local ecosystem, to the heart) of the European psyche, that has led to the ruthless domination over and destruction of other peoples and lands. My sense through my work with my own healing is that the horror ground of the burning times has much to do with the fear I have had as a woman, to stand and be seen in my own power and connection.

In recent healing work between Ya’Acov and myself, we have also discovered the deep pain from the men’s wounding from those times; how devastating it was for those men to not be able to protect the women (their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters) they loved and how this in turn broke their spirits.

In 2016, after experiencing strong visions of this time in European history, Native American Dine Medicine Woman, Pat McCabe, who we recently met and discovered many mutual understandings with, brought potent healing ceremony to Europe. I believe she has come to the place of feeling that the healing of the world pain is not possible until the roots of this particular European horror story are brought to healing light. Thank you Pat.

At the same time, as Yuval Noah Harari (the author of the book ‘Sapiens’) reminds us, it wasn’t an idyll back before all that. Strong communities were often oppressive, conformist and anti-individualist. It was dangerous to be different and to risk being ostracized or targeted. To discover more harmony and freedom we’d probably need to go back to the pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer days when our population density was low enough to 'live in the wilds' in what Marshall Sahlins called 'original affluence'. When a band’s survival depends on being a small, mobile group of people, as it does for gatherer-hunters, there is much less possibility for the accumulation of wealth and possessions, and societies stay much more egalitarian. This much I remember from my Anthropology degree, and, as far as I know, that has not been found to be untrue. Even then I’m sure we were not free of our human weaknesses, but it must have made a difference not to have the huge differentials of wealth and power. Once we made the transition to agriculture about 10,000 years (which is very recent in terms of the long history of our species) we were ensnared in backbreaking labour, frequently at risk of famine, plague and war and the history of massive differentials of wealth, power and ownership of land began.

It’s a complex context. What I am wanting to acknowledge is that, although as a white person in Africa I am from the colonising 'race' I am also from a people who has been colonised and whose ancestors were dis-inherited of their own sense of place and belonging, way, way back. I do not want to make excuses. But it seems important to acknowledge the brutalisation, loss and separation which may be part of what lead to the callous, destructive and inhumane behaviour exhibited by our people.

Malidoma Some, a shaman from the Dagara people of Burkina Faso, says that in trying to understand the white colonists his people perceived that the only explanation for their violent and disrespectful behavior must be that they were people who had a damaged relationship with their/our own ancestors. I think they were right.

In the last Professional Training we found ourselves speaking about our bodies as colonised bodies; colonised by 'outside in' ways of living. My thanks to Carmella B’Hahn for this way of naming of it. These ways of living have become normalised so that we do not even recognise we are missing something. They include a focus on how our bodies should look rather than how we actually feel from the inside. And they include trans-generational trauma and our necessary survival strategies to cope with it, often making us numb to the actual sensation of life being lived. As I go on learning and exploring my own psyche and the history of my own family and people, I am struck again and again by the horror and traumatic impact of the first and second world wars. This 'numb out' makes us insensitive to our own and others’ emotional experience, greedy for risk free sensation (i.e. great consumers) and holds us back from deeply experiencing life in all its wonder and preciousness.

Africa was colonised by the Europeans. And before that, I think that Europe was colonised too, by the Europeans, or maybe more accurately, by what the Achuar of the Amazon call 'the dream of the modern world'. As I know in myself and as I see in the world, this dream has seductive power. It’s a fear-based assumption of separateness, which leads us to want to control, rather than participate, in the web of life. And, looking at history, there is reason to fear the power of this dream. Making a choice to act from love rather than exert 'power over' takes a huge inner strength.

In this context, I see Movement Medicine as a way that Ya’Acov and I are attempting to meet this historical picture in a healing way for all our relations. It is one way to re-sensitize and re-inhabit our bodies, to reclaim the feeling, the sensation, the aliveness of body, heart, mind as a unity of being: an embodied soul living as part of the inter-connected web of life, as part of the community of life on the living earth.

We are all in this together. In some ways, maybe all of us have lost our own indigenous nature and we now have an opportunity to try and re-claim it in a way that is appropriate for us and for life now. I am not trying to avoid the reality of real differences of privilege and power on many levels both personally and collectively, but to inquire into the inner suffering which may have been part of the European 'hunger' too. Domingo Peas, one of our friends and inspirational leaders of the Achuar (of the Ecuadorian Amazon) says; “In order to find our way as a species, we need to integrate the best of indigenous wisdom with the best of modern knowledge.”

I returned to Africa in two senses. Firstly, I was returning to a place in which, as a child, I had experienced an essential encoding of wild life, of people and of dance. Secondly, I returned as a human being going back to the place of our deep ancestry. As Homo Sapiens, we all come originally from Africa, from what has been called the African Eve and the African Adam. In the Arc of Time workshop in Switzerland, which was the last workshop I did before my journey to Africa, we were on the Joanna Macy-inspired deep time journey back to our common African ancestor at the juncture between apes and Homo Sapiens, between forest and savannah. As we travelled back in our 'journey of the embodied imagination' I was suddenly aware that I was travelling in that time machine to the Rift Valley, where I would soon be going physically, and that the next time I led this Arc Of Time workshop journey would be in Zimbabwe. That was strong to realise and profound to experience.

So, what did I experience? What can Movement Medicine bring to this continent and its peoples?

The workshops in Kenya and in Zimbabwe and in Jo'burg were all substantially mixed. In our work in previous years in South Africa it’s been a very strange thing for us to find ourselves working in Africa with groups that are almost all (and thankfully not completely) missing people of colour. We’ve recognised how hard it is for people of colour to come onto dance floors which are almost all white, and have been finding different ways to open that up and make our work accessible. Thank you to all the people involved. So, though these groups this year were not anywhere near being proportionate to the actual demographic mix of their countries, it was a profound relief for me to find myself, in Africa, on dance floors which were substantially mixed. I want to acknowledge that it seems so weird to talk about it like this. Part of me wants to say: “surely it doesn’t matter!” I feel almost tarred with a racist brush to mention someone’s colour as if it matters. You are you, a unique and beautiful soul in a human body, whatever the colour of your skin. But I know that it does matter, in this world, and it does matter to me that our dance floors are mixed, and if you are a black person coming to Movement Medicine, I imagine it matters if you are the only black person in a sea of white, or whether you are part of a diverse multiplicity, which is always how we have dreamt it. So these workshops were significant steps for me and for Movement Medicine and I bring back that energy to our work here in Europe. I acknowledge that there is a long way to go and thank everyone involved in helping MM break out of the white ghetto.

So, let’s get back to the Africa story. With the trust that had been built through long association and friendship, people from different communities felt able to risk stepping onto the dance floor together. And we travelled deep, really deep. We developed trust, slowly at first and then faster. It was such an honour for me to witness and support the mutual allowing to see and be seen in the vulnerable, tender places of each other’s hearts. Being able to welcome and honour each other and to see how we all ‘need’ that was a gift. Through this we were able to nourish a deeper possibility of working together and for bringing together the best of our different cultures. We found joy in each other and in seeing and welcoming each other. I was told that this level of mutual disclosure and sharing was un-precedented in their experience and was as special to those experiencing it as it felt to me as a witness.

I want to thank the organisers and 'bridge-makers' whose long-term friendships made this possible: Sveva Gallmann, Maaianne Knuth, Sian Palmer, Bunie Matlanyane Sexwale and Lesley Palmer.

In both Kenya and Zimbabwe after the workshop itself I was able to offer something more for the local community. In Kenya it was a resilience supporting structure for the staff of the conservancy, and in Zimbabwe I offered a 'Village Dance' for all of Kufunda (the learning village) from babes in arms to youth, mature people and elders.

These were beautiful steps for me. In this 'Village Dance' I found myself in a small minority as a white person. It felt so familiar, easy and as if I’d been unconsciously longing for it for a long time. Last weekend after I got back to the UK, I visited my father and we looked at his old slides of our life in Kenya in the 1960s. I saw that inmy kindergarten and primary school I was one of a very few white children. I hadn’t even remembered that, I think because it was just normal. But it made sense of how 'at home' I suddenly felt in the Village Dance at Kufunda.

I feel honoured by the trust placed in me by people of such different stories. And I’m grateful for all the life and teaching experiences, which meant I was able to relate. It was also so important that I’d done the volunteering I had in schools which meant I wasn’t fazed by lots of children as part of the dance group. I felt that the whole journey of my life contributed to the 2 hours of the 'Village Dance' in Kufunda: nothing wasted!

We practiced various aspects of Movement Medicine: Tree of Life, Leading and Following, Unity and Freedom and the 'Yes! Dance'. These practices gave a way to explore systemic intelligence and self-organising capacity through dancing, as well as to celebrate life together. Working with that group of people who are still pretty rooted in rural village life, but at the same time are people who have chosen an innovative, learning focus for life, was heaven on earth for me. They had the embodied awareness, sensitivity and joy of their dancing Shona people AND the interest in social development of their intentional learning community, to be awake to the social organisational links and skills we were practising. I saw many light bulbs lighting up. From what I’ve heard, seeds of ideas that formed that weekend and in that village dance are being planted and hopefully will go on to bear fruit, with the good care of Maaianne and that whole community. See her article in this newsletter.

At Kufunda, apart from everything else, I was able to offer an honouring of the cultural gifts of laughter and dance. I didn’t have to teach or remind the people there how to do either of those things, but I could offer a methodology to bring together more traditional and more innovative forms and could offer them a western world reflection of the value of these traditional skills.

At the conservancy it was not about the dance, but about a particular ‘talking stick’ circle structure to support their team resilience in the hard times of drought and conflict they are going through. If you are interested, see the video 'As I understand it now'. Since we were there the crisis has got much, much worse. Look up Kuki Gallmann, or the Gallmann Conservancy on FB if you are interested. Your support can make a real difference right now. Thank you!

What I received in Africa was the companionship of people who I can laugh with in a particular way, dance with, share with in a way that is special and deeply soul-nourishing to me. Some part of me feels much less alone after this journey. I am very grateful. And this is only the tiniest beginning next step. We will see where it goes.

On the plane on the way from Harare to Jo’Burg, I found myself sitting next to two Zimbabwean gentlemen. I overheard them talking about their desire to pass on a better world to the next generation, and my ears pricked up. We ended up having an extraordinary conversation. They had both lived in the US for some years as part of the Zimbabwean Diaspora, and had decided to come home to serve their country in a time of great need and chaos. They are working politically to register young voters and to fight for political accountability. We spoke about the political corruption that I had been made aware of in Kenya, and then again in Zimbabwe. As a British woman, I apologised for the horror of colonialism and the mess it has left them with, and how much the breakage of traditional systems of accountability and governance and the trauma in the national psyche must still be impacting the way politics is being enacted. Noah looked me in the eye and thanked me for my apology. And then he said: “However, we cannot go on blaming you guys. Now we have to take responsibility for our own mess. This is us now. And it’s up to us. We need every Zimbabwean, whether black or white, and we need all of us to work together to make an accountable system of politics where the young people have a chance to lead the way”. These felt like courageous, groundbreaking and even surprising words. Words that, in the context of Zimbabwe, only a black Zimbabwean could say.

My experiences have helped me to recognise the power of trans-racial connection that is possible, if we gently and sustainedly build communication and personal disclosure.

There is one particular possibility I want to tell you about. At the Jo’Burg workshop Ceremony in the City the people who came were all ready, willing and able to rise to this challenge. Sian Palmer and Bunie Matlanyane Sexwale have an ongoing friendship that opened the door for some stunning young dancers from the townships to arrive on the dance floor as part of the group. Bunie is an elder of considerable gravitas, and her assurance of “though this is going to be full of whities, it will be OK” was enough to enable the youngsters to feel that they could risk taking this step.

Afterwards, Bunie and I spoke. She told me that for Black South Africans to access this kind of work they have to enter a (chiefly) white world, i.e. this kind of work is simply not available currently in the black world. As I honoured her and her colleagues for their courage to journey onto this dance floor, and we all thanked Ryan and Sian for making it possible, I found myself thinking about the sponsorship fund. I spoke to one of the young dancers who lives in the township called Sharpeville. We both acknowledged that there are hundreds of thousands of people in her township that would never make it into the 'white world of the workshop' (Bunie’s words) as she had. But, if she could train in this work, SHE could bring it home to them.

I mentioned the existence of the Sponsorship Fund to her, and asked that if she ever thought about wanting to train, please not to assume that it was out of the question. That we have the sponsorship fund and that it is set up for precisely this reason. She burst into tears telling me that this was the answer to the quest she set out on in this ceremony. It is likely that you will hear lots more about this young woman and her comrades. If Movement Medicine is to have a chance to offer its healing in those communities, it is people like her who will bring it. I didn’t know whether it is needed or appropriate there, but when I meet people like Bunie and her friends, and I hear and see their response to this work, I have to bow to reality as I witness it. It is up to them, of course, if they chose to embark on this path.

If they do, will you join us in supporting this step?

The School of Movement Medicine offers a free scholarship place on our Apprenticeship and training. The Sponsorship fund pays the costs to get someone there. This is carefully worked out so that there is no financial gain for the School from the Sponsorship Fund.

I want to thank my parents for giving me this gift of belonging and not belonging in England and in Africa. It is a gift that gives me an unusual something that I can bring; a combination of being of there and not of there. I am thoroughly English and at the same time I have a vibrational link and an ease with being in Africa through my time there as a child. THANK YOU Mum and Dad!

And thanks so much to everyone who has enabled this journey, who has joined me on the dance floor, who has opened your heart, your hand, and laughed with me. From taxi drivers to waiters, from political people on planes, safari guides, guards, gardeners, cooks and mechanics, I have felt so welcome and happy in your company.

Thank you dear organisers: Sveva Gallmann, Maaianne Knuth and Kufunda, Ryan Klette and Samantha Brauer.

Thank you dear assistants: Petra Bongartz (twice!) Eliza Kenyon, Benjamin Tree, Maaianne Knuth, Sian Palmer, Samantha Brauer, Jenny Gardy-Levin and Hanna Richter.

Thank you to all the many and varied people within and beyond Movement Medicine, in the UK and in Africa and America who have assisted me with growing my awareness of these subjects and helped me to dare to write about this. Thank you to everyone who has read this article and given me feedback and helped me articulate what I’m trying to say about these deeply sensitive subjects.

Thank you dear dancers!

Thank you Celia Bray for the photo taken at the Gallmann Conservancy.

Thank you dear Africa!

And thank you life that I could experience all of this and come home to my beloved Ya’Acov. Thank you Ya’Acov for being so alongside me on this journey and for the work we do together with the pain of the past. To be able to come home to the land of our dreams and to each other is an incredible blessing. I love our original dream of 30 years ago, and how it is still emerging.

One more episode to come about my time near Plett and the work in Cape Town and what has been happening since I left in Laikipia in Kenya. All being well, it’ll be in next month’s newsletter.

News about the unfolding situation in Laikipia is on Kuki Gallmann’s FB page. If you want to support the phoenix rising of this incredible place in this deeply challenging time go to: Gallmann Conservancy’s charity site and website if you are interested. Your support can make a real difference right now.

THANK YOU!

Susannah Darling Khan


Upcoming Workshops with Susannah:

May 10–14: Sanctuary with Susannah. Frankfurt, Germany.
A women's residential intensive with Move! Evening on May 14.
This is a beautiful opportunity for women to reconnect with themselves and their personal ways of being a woman, in the safe company of other women, through the powerful medium of Movement Medicine and through voice and ceremony.
Contact Katrin Kohlbecher: +49-163-3152714;
katrin@movement-medicine-frankfurt.de

June 3–6 July: The Summer Long Dance. Somerset, UK.
This
large and annual community gathering of the School of Movement Medicine is the offering of a rich and long lasting ceremony to honour and praise life on earth and all our relations in this. It is a powerful healing and trans-formative experience in which the interconnectedness of all life and all beings, including all the dancers is felt, expressed and celebrated.
Contact Roland: Roland@RWEvents.co.uk

On Reading Susannahís Piece Journey in Africa: Episode 2
By Deveshni Nadu
When you posted this piece, it popped up on my feed and I froze! I was terrified to read it! My thoughts were: here we go again Ė another white person's rhetoric on their visit and impact on Africa! Today, the article popped up again ... I breathe in deeply and cautiously started reading Ö thinking any triggers and I'm out of here!

I want to say THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU for seeing, for feeling, for being true, for being real … you have no idea how much of emotion moves through my body by ready your words!

The issue of diversity in our lives and in our dance spaces here, has often left me frustrated and angry. Dance heals. We all know that and yet this medicine in the form of Movement Medicine was just not available to all. So much gratitude for you and all who have been inspirational in truly doing the work to integrate Movement Medicine into African hearts and soil. My heart sings for Bunie, may she be blessed to take this magical muti into the hearts of our communities.

And I agree with Malidoma Some, I have often felt that too. I've spent so much of time researching our time lines to try to pick up exactly when the disconnection happened so that I could understand that pain, so that I could open my heart even though it is so hard for them to do that for themselves. Needless to say there are so many times in our history and a few stand out. We are all in this together. I wish I could be like the Zimbabwean man you spoke to on the plane. I'm not there yet. We have a unified voice against corruption and our President but there are many deeper issues that have not been dealt with. May we all find our way to Ubuntu ... so much xx

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

Arcs of Time, Space and Connection
By Ben Clark
It was for me a very special experience to be assisting on the Arc of Time workshop at Kufunda Learning Village in Zimbabwe in March 2017. I had already been there for ten days before the workshop as I was teaching at the Kufunda village Waldorf-inspired school.

This was my first time as an assistant and I was very aware that assisting at Kufunda was a particularly unique setting: close to the earth, surrounded by huge, powerful, rocks – the sacred resting place of the human ancestors of this place, and in the midst of a thriving intentional community.

As an assistant I felt that I was a world bridger; taking part in the collective process as well as holding space and being aware of the needs of the group, the space, and Susannah our teacher.

When we journeyed to the past I felt a sense of stillness, presence and fullness in my body, as well as a sense of holding a gateway between past and present. In my heart I touched the grief of thousands of years of trauma and also the relief of the time where we lived in a more simple and earth-connected way.

As I witnessed the group walking backwards in a circle at different speeds, but with the mindfulness not to bump into each other, it was like a huge cauldron being stirred with a large spoon, mixing in ingredients for a potent and transformative potion for the world. The candle in the middle of the circle struggled to stay alight and went out once and nearly a second time. For me this reflected the feelings I was experiencing of how close we have possibly been, and possibly are, to extinction in our journey as a species.

The workshop touched something deep inside of me around race, community and belonging, as well as our past and our possible futures. For a long time I’ve been erring more on the side of the possibility that we will not make it through this time of transition and that the main work now is preparing to die well individually and collectively. However during and after the workshop, especially when witnessing people fly into the future, a sense of hope and potential was restored in me and more power given to my heart-soul to play my part in the possibility of not just our survival but a thriving life for us and the generations to come.

I had the sense that a big piece of work was done; certainly in my own psyche, and from what we heard from participating dancers, for them too, and perhaps even in the wider world. For me there was particular potency in journeying with this deep-time work in the land of Africa where it is said our species began, bringing healing to our past and planting seeds of possibility for our future.

Interview with Rosie Perks

This is the second of a series of interviews with the faculty teachers of the School of Movement Medicine, who play an important part in the School through their teaching and coaching and their support. Enjoy, as you are finding out just a little more about them and their relationship to dance, embodiment and Movement Medicine. Questions by Hanna and Patricia.

What has been your personal path in relation to embodiment, dance and movement; and how did Movement Medicine come into your life?

For me I have always loved to dance so it has always been an important part of my life – one of my earliest memories is of seeing ‘Pans People’ on Top of the Pops (a late 1960s early 1970s dance group that would dance to Pop songs on this music show – not at all PC!). I was utterly inspired by them and would dance in front of the television with them.

MM came into my life through working and living alongside and dancing with Susannah and Ya’Acov. I was their designer and had danced 5 Rhythms with them for many years before they set up the School, so I was alongside them as they developed MM – I remember the call at 5am launching the website when the School was born! I first danced 5 Rhythms with them in 1990, I was 22 and my Mum took me to a weekend for women with Susannah in Dartington – funny that is where my local teaching is now based. Mum was their friend, close ally and main organiser until she had a massive stroke in 1994. My journey with MM is intricately linked with my Mum, I often feel like the dream I am living is intergenerational, hers, mine, possibly my daughter’s too as she develops into an amazing young contemporary dancer and talks about it like a complete hippie! I started to write about my journey with MM and my Mum a while ago, one day I will finish that story and publish it here.

What would you say, is the unique and personal flavour that you bring into your offerings of MM, from/ of your own passion and your journey?
And, vice versa, which flavours of that MM have most strongly started weaving into your own work, living and being?

I’m not sure I can answer these questions separately, my experience is that of a constant feedback loop, I learn from MM and discover more of who I am, as I bring more of who I am I feel more strongly the flavours of MM in my life and work. So what I could identify as unique to me I also find reflected in the flavours of MM that weave into my life and work. I guess this reflects the nature of the mesa that S&Y talk about, it supports us as we support it – like breathing in and out.

I walk a path in my life and in my teaching between the innately every day and the gossamer threads of the unknown. The more I accept the ‘medicine’ element of who I am and the more I bring that to MM, as a teacher and dancer, the more I understand the mesa and its teachings. For me stepping into that medicine woman place has been hard to do, I’ve had such a strong fear of and resistance to it, maybe it’s the history and risk we feel as women stepping forward into these places of earth medicine, maybe its the general desecration throughout history of more shamanic ways experienced by both men and women, maybe it’s that I grew up in an environment with rather liberal hippy parents and spent a lot of my childhood desperately trying to look and feel ‘normal’! Probably all of these and more.

On our apprenticeship many people were getting drums, although drums have always reached right to the core of my bones and I feel the breath of my heart in the beat of a drum, I didn't feel to get one – to be honest I was pretty resistant and judgemental – not for the first, and probably not for the last time! However, towards the end of our apprenticeship I found myself on Dartmoor by the river with my beloved dog feeling the need for a drum, it was such a strong pull. So I secretly got a drum and began to play it, mostly out in nature, it felt so deeply personal and it took a while before I tentatively brought my drumming self out into the MM world. Gradually I have come to understand this part of me more and value it as a vital part of what I bring as a teacher, through this I have also discovered my voice – using drum and voice and inviting others into their voice too is something I use more and more in my teaching and it nearly always brings something so vital and unexpected into the room. I spent many years living in the story I had somehow swallowed that I couldn't sing and was not musical. It is only very recently that I have remembered that I spent my days as a young child walking around making up songs endlessly singing away to myself – how did I so easily forget that part of me?

When I teach and am on track I feel like I am ‘plugged in’, reaching out into the realms of spirit and down into the depths of the earth, remembering the beat of the heart of who I am. I have a visceral experience of the interconnection of life and feel the threads between dancers in the room. I feel immense gratitude for nearly 20 years of dancing the 5 Rhythms, the heartbeat journeys, the endless up and down the room through flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and into stillness where I learnt the extensive language of my body, where I inhaled the incredible skill of Susannah and Ya’Acov in teaching people to inhabit their bodies and move their hearts. I sense the support of this in my teaching now and the amazing resource of understanding how to get the body moving and the myriad possibilities of movement there are. For me working with the heart in movement feels like home and I am so glad to be using the heart maps more – I am happy to be offering more and more my workshop on dancing with grief, Out of Ashes that embraces the wisdom of the moving heart and my desire to help it breathe.

What is your own personal 'definition' of Movement Medicine? How would you describe this practice to a complete outsider?

Ah, now that varies from day to day and who I am speaking to! But it goes something like this: MM is an opportunity to dance, receive yourself as you are and be awake to your own evolution. Always with awareness that your evolution is innately linked with that of your fellow beings and all of life on earth.

On the MM dance floor you will be encouraged to listen to, trust and follow the impulses of your body in movement, connecting the landscape inside you to the space around you and between you and others. MM practice brings alignment to body, heart and mind. We dance with the elements, fire, earth, air and water as a vital resource for life, and recognise the interconnectedness of life, spirit and the great unknown that we all feel but (thankfully) can't quite pin down.

What role would you say Movement Medicine may play in our global community, and in the whole bigger picture of today's world and shifts?

Ah this is a question I often ask myself – how is this of use on a world scale? The world looks like it could do with a bit of help right now, or at least the human race does! Sometimes this feels a little overwhelming and working with groups of mainly middle class white people I can judge as rather self indulgent. Yet, what I see is people understanding and accepting themselves more, stretching their edges, including and seeing each other more and I think that does have an effect. It means when we go out into the world we see and treat others better, we are better resourced to offer support where it might be needed – or at least that has been my experience. One of the things I think MM gives us that is really helpful in the world right now is an embodied experience of interconnection so it lands in our cells and therefore is no longer just a concept but a lived experience. Once we have that experience it is harder to dismiss the issues of the world as something separate from us.

Is there any current project you are busy with, and would you like to share about it?

Yes! The current project that I am passionate about is creating spaces for dancing with grief. I wrote in a newsletter some time ago about part of my long journey with grief and the massive challenge of this and the vast riches also in it. Now I am teaching from my digested experience of this, maybe not totally and utterly digested, I think there are some things we spend our whole lives digesting and learning from.

I feel the value of my experience not just for myself but also as a tool for supporting others to navigate and grow in this rich landscape. I have complete trust in this place and feel no fear of it, I know and have lived with many of its faces and I know that behind them lies deep deep love that is a vital resource for life. The more I work with this medicine the more respect I have for it and the purity of its offer to us. I believe that in our culture we have chosen to largely cut off from our grief and I feel horrified when I hear the pressure people feel under to keep their grief hidden, even from themselves.

Someone was talking recently about the wars we went through last century in Europe (and beyond) and the massive extent of the horror, they said that they felt this hugely impounded our cutting off from our grief and the rituals we had for it – it was just too much – now we still live in the cut off. This made sense to me. Just before the first Out of Ashes workshop I taught something happened with my Dad that meant I was really with the impact from the loss of my Grandfather in the Second World War (my Dad grew up without a father, or any strong male figure in his life) so the resonance with the impact of the wars we have been through and this workshop speaks to me.

I am being invited to teach Out of Ashes in more and more places throughout Europe and for this reason I am so glad for that. I know more and more people are working with grief these days and I am glad to be a part of that movement. Connected to this I am about to do the last module of my Processwork Facilitation for Leaders year programme in facilitating relationship, community and conflict resolution, part of their Worldwork programme. This training has been amazing and I have learnt so much about relationship, conflict and the world. With this I am even more aware of the relationship between conflict and grief, Ben Yeger and I are doing some work together with this and I am interested to explore and deepen this work.

What is the most precious gift you discovered through MM?

I have received numerous precious gifts – not all of them were recognisable as gifts to me when I first received them! I am deeply grateful for them all.


Next Out of Ashes workshop with Rosie Perks:

May 19–21: Out of Ashes. Cork, Ireland.
How much we love becomes visible when we grieve what we have lost. This link between the grief of loss and the power of love are part of this safe exploration of Movement Medicine, where participants are invited to journey with their very personal relationship to loss and grief and the love it emerges from.
Contact
Eliixxchel: 086 3350801; elixxchel@gmail.com

Now is the Time to Leap
By Caroline Carey
Dear Movement Medicine dancers, friends and colleagues, I want to share with you a part of my journey that is moving on, in its ever-expanding growth. As we dance consciously, it is inevitable that we change as we step more and more fully into our own purpose. I have a deep desire always to step into mine and support others to find theirs.

Everyone’s path with this is unique. Where mine has led me to is this moment of letting go and growing my own individual work. This is the path of my soul retrieval. May we all find our way to embody our souls return at its fullest.

My dark angel sits in the children’s grove,

my heartbeats and the waters of the river flow from my eyes,

my promise to her is to take her essence fully into the world,

my claws and my new found wings,

jumping off their pedestal into the dark night,

now is the time to leap!

This is part of a poem I wrote some moons ago, recognizing a level of work that was flowing through me, and it connects me strongly to this time, a time where it has come for me to engage more fully in my own body of work and to begin whole-heartedly offering what I love to do the most, which is still (as is Movement Medicine, of course) the dance, creativity and healing, all strongly rooted in the shamanic world. I am now ready to step away from my position as one of the MM school faculty and become the holder of my own body of work. My offering of the Mandorla process, the Hollow Bone path and the Oracle modules all complement and create ‘Middle Earth Medicine Ways’ with its workshops, intensives, online courses and eventually its own apprenticeship. As I am sure you can see there is a lot to give focus to as it begins to weave its own program of medicine and offerings. I must give my fullest attention to its growth. It feels like a new baby at the moment and I am treating it with the gentleness and encouragement that it deserves, with its own particular soul’s journey.

I believe that much has grown with me through my life-time of shamanic experiences and trainings, my journey with my particular wounds, my growth as a 5 Rhythms teacher and of course in my deep devotion to Movement Medicine. I have loved working with and alongside Ya’Acov and Susannah, who have been wonderful teachers for me, and with Roland who has always given me a huge amount of encouragement and some of the more tricky (for me) tools of how to be a good administrator and organizer. We are all on the path of learning how to be dancing warriors and of healing our culture’s wounds and I feel deep gratitude for all that I have received on this path.

So as I step away from faculty, I take an enormous amount of precious experience, tools, understanding and deep medicine into this next part of my journey.

I still feel very much part of our community. I feel love for my friends, my peers and all whom I have danced with along the way. Thank you all so much, for witnessing me and walking by my side. I really hope to see you on a dance floor somewhere, some time. I welcome you to write if you wish to and stay in touch, have the occasional conversation, give a wave or just a smile from the other side of the dance floor. You are in my heart wherever we are in life. And whatever the relationship has been between us, it is a privilege to know you.

I will complete this process by offering the Journey of Empowerment for the School in Switzerland and I offer The Oracle of Medicine in Prague as a school workshop in August. Both can be seen on my own website and the website of the school.

With love and gratitude for my long history with Susannah, Ya'Acov and the School of Movement Medicine.

Caroline Carey

info@carolinecarey.com

www.middleearthmedicine.com

Valete Caroline
By Susannah and Ya'Acov
As you will read in her own article in this newsletter, Caroline Carey is leaving her position of being faculty for the School of Movement Medicine to continue following the evolution of her own path and work. She will, naturally, continue to be part of the Movement Medicine community as a Movement Medicine teacher and dancer.

We met Caroline many years ago when were in the 5 Rhythms world. Since then we’ve had a rich journey together. Caroline organised for us and hosted us in her home in Ireland. Caroline and I (Susannah) went riding together, sharing women’s stories and our love for the equine heart. She went on to train with Gabrielle Roth, and taught a 5 Rhythms class in Cork, showing up week after week with a 2-hour car journey each way. We mention this to honour Caroline’s fierce commitment to whatever she sets out to do, and the strength of her dedication to those who dance with her and to making her offering.

When we shifted into Movement Medicine, Caroline became one of the three pathfinders, who, along with Mark Boylan and Christian de Sousa, helped us to figure out lots to do with the Movement Medicine path. As Faculty of the School she has brought her own unique vibration of Movement Medicine to many places and people. Caroline has worked as a coach and mentor for the School of Movement Medicine, bringing her supportive sensitivity and wisdom to this work, and we’re sure the people with whom she worked will carry her wisdom with them always.

We have many wonderful memories of our journey as Caroline’s teachers. I (Susannah) remember a time very early on when we danced together to the Joan Osborne song “What if God was One of Us?” in the cavernous old drama studio at KEVICS. Whirling round and around each other, the background became a blur as we dropped into a deep soul meeting and seeing of each other. That was a special moment. I (Ya’Acov) remember walking with Caroline through the streets of Dublin many years ago talking about her having an important role to play in our School. We are happy that this became so. Last year, during the last ceremony of the Phoenix Retreat, one of the participants needed a bit of support, and as I (Susannah) attended to her, Caroline came to support, and I was able to witness the warmth, skill and finesse of her medicine close up; so beautiful.

Thank you Caroline, for the whole journey and for all the roles you have played in helping establish the vibration of Movement Medicine in the world. The aim of Movement Medicine is supporting each of us to grow into the embodiment of our own soul. We have seen and felt the shift in you and this change feels natural and right to us as you follow your destiny, your growth and your soul’s path.

We wish you all blessings and success in this new era of your work and we are sure that it will be a source of inspiration for many.

With love,

Susannah and Ya’Acov

Celebrating a New Beginning and the End of an Era
By Susannah
I want to share some celebrations with you. David Rose and I have just completed the first side-by-side electives at Rill. These are part of the new format of a more flexible and personalised Apprenticeship Programme. The electives are open to anyone who is an Apprentice or who has completed an Apprenticeship in the past. They are designed as part of a rolling programme of deep work that is open to those who have committed to this level of work with Movement Medicine and us.

A couple of years ago we realised that the facilities at Rill lend themselves to the possibility of smaller courses going on side by side. This was a “Halleluiah!” moment as it opened up the possibility of smaller courses with individual and small group work. And it was somehow obvious that David Rose and I should offer the first ones alongside one another. Along with Sue Kuhn and Jo Hardy, David has been an elder for the School of Movement Medicine since our launch in 2007, bringing his gravitas and professional excellence to help us establish the vibration of the School.

David Rose was offering his Soul Medicine work using movement and ceremonial theatre. This is deep individual work within a group field and a field of ceremonial awareness. It has resonances with constellations work, is very much in keeping with the ethos of Movement Medicine and at the same time is very much David’s unique creation and medicine. In particular, he interweaves the personal threads of the work within an awareness of the bigger, wider context. Only an elder of decades of such work could bring this in the way he does. He was ably assisted by Rosie Perks (faculty member of the School) who worked alongside him, bringing her own experience of working with individual and collective process in her Totnes based ongoing groups and workshops for the School.

I was offering “Kindness in the Mirror” my video feedback work which was honed through the years of all those amazing ongoing groups: Fundamentals, Journey of Empowerment and all their other names which I can’t even remember right now. In this work each person is videoed dancing, and then, with my help, works with what they see, and how they see it. Ultimately we look to find love and truth in the seeing. As you can imagine, for many people this brings a deep meeting with their own self-judgement and inner criticism. So it becomes a multi-layered process, not just of witnessing ourselves dancing, but becoming the witness of how we treat ourselves, how we think of ourselves, how we love and uphold or destruct and belittle ourselves. I love this work. It gives me a chance to bring together my medicine woman and my therapist and to see and work with each individual in the field of love and honesty that becomes deeper and deeper as we do this work.

A strange and wonderful thing happens when we connect this feedback loop. We dance and we are videoed. We know how that feels in our bodies. The next day we watch ourselves on the big screen. The inner information of how it felt comes together with the outer information of how it looks, and this novel combination of information often illuminates unexpected self-knowledge. This awareness enables us to learn and accept more of who we are and to naturally give ourselves the next step of permission to let our souls shine.

The first time I ever did this was on a Gestalt weekend with Ursula Fawcett and Charles Sherno. I saw my beauty, grace, freedom and deep shyness and felt so much love for myself. I will always be grateful for the way Charles sat with me, so kindly connected, in that process. The next time I experienced this was on a training in the States with Gabrielle Roth. Lori Salzmann sat with me in that video feedback. I had felt that I was letting so much raw power out in my dance, but what I saw was how much I was holding it in and back. That really made a difference. Thank you Lori!

It becomes obvious again and again to me that once we dare to stand in the truth the love comes naturally. And once we stand in the love the truth becomes possible and wants to come through. They birth each other. And, when our fears and wounds, together with our beauty and strength, are out in the light, simply acknowledged, we become more loved- not less. More beautiful- not less, more fully ourselves- not less. We bring ourselves in our full humanity to each other, and to the great mystery/god/spirit and we find we are received. For me, this is holy communion.

In the old days of my ongoing groups, on the middle module we would do this video work and we would do this process with 40 individuals. It was deep and wonderful and, as those of you who were there can attest, I imagine, also gruelling and LONG. So, for these video electives I was very clear that I would only work with a much smaller group. And it was wonderful. We were able to do 2 feedback processes for everyone and the evolution from the first to the second was clear to see. We have made this shift, bringing some of the work including the video feedback that I was doing in the Journey of Empowerment into the Apprenticeship as we have recognised that it is Apprenticeship level work. I thank Anna Sierpowska and Joanne Breton, who assisted, for the depth and generosity of their assisting and their kindness to me and to everyone.

And then we had the novel and beautiful feeling of two groups working alongside each other, doing similar and different work. We were two groups and also one. We started and ended together, and danced together every morning and one evening with the whole group together, which allowed a wonderful cross-fertilisation and mutual witnessing to occur. One evening most of us went out to Schumacher to hear Pat McCabe of Dine Nation (Dinetah) and Tiokasin of Lakota Nation speak. Thank you Pat and Tiokasin for that deep inspiration.

And we ended as one group on Sunday morning, to gather the medicine, to honour and thank each other, to bless our own and each other’s ongoing journeys and, as representatives of the whole, to thank and honour David Rose as he completed his era as part of the School of Movement Medicine. David has decided that it’s time for him to focus on his own work professionally, and to let our friendship rather than our colleague-ship take centre stage again in the space between us.

We met David in 1987, a year after Ya’Acov and I met and became partners. Since then we all did our training together with Gabrielle Roth which began in 1989. David has been there for so many momentous moments in our life. He was there for our first 5 Rhythms workshop at Bodywise in Bethnal Green, held the chupah at our wedding, was there with Julie his wife for the birth of our son, and was, along with Sue Kuhn and Jo Hardy, an immense stabiliser and wisdom bringer at the tumultuous time of the birth of our School of Movement Medicine in 2007. And now he is the first of the elders and pathfinders to let go of this role in the School.

We want to honour all the extra-ordinary work David has done with individual Apprentices and Professional trainees. We know that when someone comes to graduation having been working with David, they have been prepared, challenged and supported with great care, respect and professionalism.

Ya’Acov and I thank you David for all your support, your professionalism, your good heart, all the great fun and laughter we have shared, your wisdom, sitting at our side during ceremony after ceremony, especially the Long Dance, your one-to-one work with our apprentices, all of these things have been of such value to them and to us. We are grateful, honour you for the choice to let go and look forward to the next era of our journey,

Wishing everyone who was at these electives the best possible integrations and continuations.

With love, Susannah

Here you find more informatino on the MM Apprenticeship Programme

And if you wish, watch this video, linking in with the theme of this article.

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. schoolofmovementmedicine.com