School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: December Newsletter
Skeleton Dance

By Kristin Glenewinkel
Since I can remember I was feeling a restlessness inside me and an urge to find a refuge deeper within. As a child I had a notion that there is peace within my bones. Images of a Buddha sitting in meditation fascinated me. The old thanka showing the Buddha in my fathers room seemed to whisper to me: “Be still, listen within – your bones will sing to you.”

I felt attracted to Buddhism and the promise of inner peace early on. I began to sit in meditation retreats when I was twenty years old, and in an interview my teacher said: “You must have suffered, otherwise you would not sit here and try this. “To be honest, I didn’t feel the pain back then. I was drawn by the promise of an inner life. The idea that I could root myself within and find refuge was enough to keep me going. I sat down and tried to be still. I was disciplined, had my Yoga practice and took two journeys through India and often practised meditation. I felt inadequate and too restless to really sit and that’s one reason why I started dancing. Dancing included my restlessness and the many stories that were moving through my mind and my heart.

I kept experimenting and a few years down the path I was inspired by the teachings in Buddhism which go far beyond meditation: The Eightfold Path called me to work at a meditation centre and support others on their way into silence and self inquiry. While living in a retreat center I became more aware that my journey included emotion, and dance helped me with processing my feelings. I could learn to move with my emotions, dance them, and sometimes release them fully. After those dances I could sit quietly and feel my breath. Not much thought and the body was still. My heart was free; for a few moments.

Raising a child is both, a distraction and a teacher on the way to enlightenment. I was lucky enough to become a mother and get introduced to a new layer of awakening: the Here and Now of a little being that has needs all day and night long. I learnt about generosity and what it means to become selfless. I learnt how to not loose myself while serving another being.

In these times I was able to lean back into my meditation practice and draw on the experience of emptiness. The first weeks of being mother felt deeply fulfilling. I felt like an apple tree and part of creation. No need to do anything, just listen. Once my son became a toddler things became more busy and more contrast appeared in my life again. I started dancing more as there was much change that needed to be processed.

After having lived in this meditation centre for seven years, I left to live in a city with my partner and son and it felt like coming back to the market place. I was so happy that there was dance going on in the city, and I had finally found the modality that suited me and met my purpose: I trained with the school of Movement Medicine and, after many years of studying, became a Movement Medicine teacher. After that special time and all these years up on the mountain, I had now dedicated my energy to being a mum and organizing and teaching dance events for ten years.

Looking back, I understand that the meditation practice was the foundation for me to be able to hold space. Becoming a hollow bone. Becoming congruent with my skeleton so that I can disappear. This is an ongoing practice, like cleaning the tissues from all that is not mine, unclogging the blood vessels, breathing through blockages.

This fall I made time to go back to the meditation centre. When I arrived back on that mountain, I was grateful to come home and sit still. It felt ecstatic. During the first day of the retreat, tears were running down my cheeks. A great synchronization was happening within me, something was coming full circle: The years of dance and personal process could meet with the spirit of the retreat and these many days spent in silence there. It felt full and empty at the same time. Nothing was lost, I was breathing and aware of breath. Skeleton moving, my feet touching the grass.

There was a moment of awakening. There was the humbleness towards the attempts to wake up and all the practices that human beings developed for this. How long it takes to become aware ... and yet there is always more to discover and to wake up to. I had a wonderful retreat with smiling and silent dances. I felt at home with the trees, birds and the stream behind the house.

Shortly after the retreat and visit in the mountains Christian de Sousa (a fellow Movement Medicine teacher) came to Zurich to offer a workshop: The Way of the Dancer. In subtle ways he shared about his back ground in Taoism and while he was teaching the basic tools of Movement Medicine, he kept on weaving his own practice and some principles of the Tao into the dance. There was a new sense of relaxation and direct experience in the space. A simple and strong invite to create art through movement. I experienced moments of ecstatic lightness and also phases of deep silence, which I had not received on a dance floor ever before. The ceremony we danced at the end of the course was a celebration of love in dignity and held in poetic and simple Zen style.

A day after the workshop I had a session with my cranio sacral therapist. I often feel as if she is helping me to meditate by adjusting the rhythm and the fine pulsating of the cerebrospinal fluid. My nervous system can calm down. This time I had an experience of emptiness. I literally felt all my bones arranged on the table. There was no one there. Just awareness of space. I felt how skeleton got up from the table, how it went home and did some office work. I felt how skeleton went to bed. The next morning I felt skeleton rising out of bed with the echo of ten thousand dances inside. It was very joyful.

In my life-journey so far, and in this weaving together of various practices, there is this alchemy which meets my needs, my nature and which helps me to just be. Sometimes it is dancing, breathing and the awareness of breath, sometimes it is stillness and being, sometimes both at the same time. This is what I love to pass on. I wish to open spaces where we can find the inner body, our bones and tissues and mend the circle, bring together spirit with flesh and blood, tears and smiles.

Gratitudes for the subtle medicine Christian brought to Switzerland, gratitude to his weaving and path-finding in teaching Movement Medicine and bringing in his creation of dancing Tao. It was a new door opening for me that weekend, another puzzle piece was added, and there was much to learn. Another layer of hollow bone.

As a Movement Medicine teacher I feel inspired to go on and integrate the different pathways I took and the different methods that I practice and which inspire my life.

It is wonderful that Movement Medicine is a body of work that welcomes and embraces many techniques and many ideas and welcomes you with your path, with your unique medicine. With Susannah and Ya’Acov Darling Khan I have experienced this over the years many times: the honoring of my path, their helping me to see what I had already practised and their encouragement to bring those parts into my offering. Deep gratitudes to both of them for their love and generosity.

There is a new chapter opening. Christian and I will hold space together in 2020 with an Ongoing Group called “Medicine Journey“. This will happen in Switzerland over three modules in April, July and November 2020. All infos about this, you find here.

For Questions and Application for the Medicine journey please contact Kristin:

More about Christian De Sousa and the dancing Tao, you will find here

Please feel free to be in touch and to come and dance in Basel or elsewhere.

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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.