School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: Movement Medicine Newsletter July 19
At Close Quaters with the Earth

By Sophie Rieu
I recently spent the night in a grave of my own making as part of the Power Stories, Burial Ritual elective, masterfully led by Ya’Acov Darling Khan and his great team of assistants. I thought I’d share this poem which came to me in parts one beautiful night in May, near Orval, Belgium, “at close quarters with the Earth”. This was easily one of the most unforgettable, empowering and powerful experiences of my life.

The Earth is a Healer

Tears are oozing from the Earth at night

Little droplets, pearls or diamonds

Perched on tiny stems or are they roots

Protruding off the clay walls of my tomb

Or is it my womb?

And I cry too

My heart reveals

Echoing beats and nervous vibrations

As if enflamed by desires too restricted

By my shallow breathing


The subtle declensions of living and dying side by side,

My belly’s spasms and my gut speaks in tongues

Who knows what is actually happening?

Then my spleen, stomach and left hip enter the dance


The Earth is a healer


Is she showing me her pain?

That is mine too

Her breath my breath as we both listen and express

expand and contract

inhale and exhale

The dance of the serpent

The curling and uncurling


Shallow breathing gets deeper

Held in the cusp of Earth’s hands

This sensuous intimacy creates a new universe

At close quarters with my home planet


Every time I close my eyes

Colours, flowers, animals pop up to play

Daisies, buttercups, in clusters of white and yellow

Plenty of greens too, trees

One, a cedar I think, with a majestic trunk and an opening at its base

It looks like a house

Some birds, puffins, gannets

No eagles this time

A painting of green on red, with auburn curves


I open my eyes and see

An onyx-like luminous insect that retrieves and stretches its legs

When my finger brushes past

Funny-looking kindness and a smile

To recognise

Another shimmering ally for the night


I and the Earth are the story now

I do not have to believe

I am real; really here


The Earth and I are interwoven

How else could we be?


I am listening

Falling in love

This vertiginous love


I surrender to my soul stream


Such precious closeness with this living, and dying, fabric


My being, never felt so beautifully, so simply held by the Earth


Such a tender core, such a delicate ore


From the exquisite stillness of whispering waters emerges

The slow softness of a primal embryonic force


The soul, the oneness is all that matters now

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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.