School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: February Newsletter
Dancing my Aliveness

By Carolyn Wood
Without dancing I don't know where I would be now. Dancing enables me to express stories that are trapped inside of me that I have found almost impossible to express verbally. Through dance, I can literally reach inside myself to such a deep level and connect to what is true, to a vast array of my emotions, experiences, beliefs and then from that place, I can bring these out expressing them through various shapes, movements and levels of intensity.

I love to dance on my own, but dancing with others can be enlivening and inspiring. I can connect to others quicker and deeper through dance than through a verbal conversation, dance is a physical conversation. Many, many times over the years, I have had such deep dancing conversations – some full of laughter and playfulness, some tender and cautious, and others full of deep sadness and tears – but all physically expressed, showing up as beautiful shape-shifting stories.

There are no steps to follow in Movement Medicine, it is all about finding your own dance, taking a risk and showing yourself as you are. When I was six years old, I was told by a ballet teacher that I was clumsy, on that day I gave up dancing and didn’t tell anyone why. When I found rave music in my teens it reignited my love of dance. There was a period of a couple of years in my early twenties where I used to lose myself in the dance, dancing all night, but unfortunately, along with that, I lost my SELF, weekends gone in a haze of Cocaine, Ecstasy and alcohol.

As much as l loved dancing this became secondary to the drugs, my mental and emotional health was really suffering, I was contemplating suicide regularly. I used to lie awake for hours long after everyone else had passed out from another all-nighter. I used to watch my own brain go into overdrive, re-living moments through my life, wondering the point of my existence; my mind was exhausted, my heart wrung out, my body starving, and still I could not sleep. It was a private living hell, yet I repeated it again and again and again.

Thankfully I held on to life, I believe my connection to something greater than me was what saved me from my ‘self’, for as long back as I can remember I had faith, but I actively turned against my faith during my teenage years, when I saw hypocrisy in parts of the Church of England boarding school system. This struggle of faith and separation from SELF had started back when I entered this system at the age of eight. What I didn’t realise is that my faith was innate, it didn’t have to belong in a church system or any system, it was, and is, part of who I am, it is MY truth.

Now I understand on a deeper level that it was my faith that reminded me who I am and gave me the nudge to finally put to bed my destructive lifestyle. A couple of years later I had a beautiful boy, Sol, he was a gift, a permanent reminder to keep my feet firmly on the ground! But along with that, I gave up dancing, again.

It was only when I was 31 years old I found 5 Rhythms then Movement Medicine, it was a revelation to find other people who wanted to dance sober. This was the start of a homecoming to my body, heart, mind and soul; dancing my way back to ME.

I have not lost the raver within me, she is very present still, anybody who has met me on the dance floor will vouch for that! But what this raver has learnt, is to connect to the space between the beats, to respect and dance with the feminine within me, and to listen to what my body is telling me; there is always space to rest in the dance.

Over the past ten years I have gone deeper and deeper into Movement Medicine, I became an Apprentice and now I am a Movement Medicine Teacher & Facilitator in Training. I am really excited to announce that in this New Year I am beginning to offer classes, workshops and individual sessions in Movement Medicine and offer back what I myself have received and continue to receive, supporting others to connect to the dance that is inside all of us.

With love & gratitude,


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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.