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

YAY for Gratitude! Plus Upcoming Workshops
By Hanna Maria
I am grateful for gratitude and what it brings into our lives and hearts! And this newsletter feels to me like it carries a lot of juicy gratitude – for students, for funding, for teachers, for beauty on earth, for inner silence and hollow bones, for good news, for connections, for giving gifts, ... Susannah and Ya’Acov’s new online teaching adventure is also called 21 gratitudes; love it. Gratitude brings joy, lightness, spaciousness, expansion and possibility. Let's celebrate Gratitude :-)

Here are some of the things that make my heart overflow with gratitude:

There definitely is immense gratitude inside me for the creation of Movement Medicine, as I count this amongst the best things that ‘happened to me’ in this life so far. It rocks! It simply is a very awesome practice on any and all levels! To me, it just ‘makes sense’, very deeply and widely, again and again, however I look at it. It’s an amazing tapestry of awesomeness – with invitations to celebrate, to heal, to remember, to let go, to embody, to pray, to expand, to play, to purify, to express, to connect deeply, to live and to die...
I have deep love and gratitude for this practice.

Then there is gratitude for community, for my partner, for healing, for my courage, for the beauty of creation, for the elements, for great friends, for the ocean right outside my home, for music, for my body, for my path, for my heart, for guidance and support, for ceremony, for the shifting of consciousness in the world, for the trees, rivers, clouds, flowers, ... gratitude for the seasons and cycles, for valuable life lessons, for more presence in my life, for the dance, for wonderful people across the globe adding their piece of love and care to our collective, ... for all that I am blessed with.

And much gratitude that tomorrow I will be leaving the city I live in (Cape Town), to be offline and in nature for two weeks (!); barefoot, on the earth, with community, dance, fires, drums, ... away from the challenging buzz of the city, away from cars and shops, noise and computers. So looking forward to this!

With gratitude for the Movement Medicine community and for you reading this, as a part of that community, I am wishing all of you a wonder-full and blessed time of solstice, celebration and transitioning into another year.

For some embodied Movement Medicine Goodness, check out the upcoming workshops:

31 Dec–1 Jan: New Year Ceremony with Catherine Write. Edinburgh, Scotland.
This two-day new year dance workshop opens the space to honour life and self, to reflect on the past year, to shed skins, and to set intention for another year’s cycle ahead. Through deep dances, deep ceremony and deep dreaming we make the transition from one year to the other, supported by each other, our sharings and a safely held space.
Contact Catherine Wright: +44 (0) 131 557 4278; catherine.wright@phonecoop.coop

1719 January: The Power of Choice with David Mooney. Graz, Austria.
During this weekend, through intensive inquiry and Movement Medicine practice, we will learn how to be much more empowered and conscious in the way we make choices in life. We can be either be making very unaware choices through being caught up in our own stories of the past, or we can learn how to connect with the creative dancer inside us who is able to weave a new and healthy story at any given moment, reminding us of what is really true for us. We will transform stale and repetitive self-limiting stories into alive believes that fit our true nature and thus enable us to make healthy and empowered choices in the now.
Eva Bruner:
eva.jagati@gmail.com

24–26 January: The Arc of Time with Ya’Acov Darling Khan. San Anselmo, San Francisco Bay, USA
In this weekend workshop, we are traveling the arc of time – past, present and future – with body, dance and movement meditation. We are able to visit the past and heal old wounds, freeing up potent life energy that is then available again in the present. The present can thus be lived more empowered and conscious, allowing us to move into the future with all the resources, support and healthy choice that is now available to us, to live and forge the path we dreaming of.
Contact Jennifer Coffey: jencoffey@gmail.com

2526 January: The Power of Choice with David Mooney. Paris, France.
During this weekend, through intensive inquiry and Movement Medicine practice, we will learn how to be much more empowered and conscious in the way we make choices in life. We can be either be making very unaware choices through being caught up in our own stories of the past, or we can learn how to connect with the creative dancer inside us who is able to weave a new and healthy story at any given moment, reminding us of what is really true for us. We will transform stale and repetitive self-limiting stories into alive believes that fit our true nature and thus enable us to make healthy and empowered choices in the now.
Contact Marie-Gaëlle Silve: 0033 (0) 61 27 32 79; info@embodiment.ie

29 Jan–12 Feb: Dancing with the Heart of the World with Susannah, Ya'Acov & partners
In this powerful intensive, Ya’Acov and Susannah team up with Pachamama Journeys director David Tucker,
and with the indigenous partners in the Amazon from the Achuar and Sapara people. Participants experience a life-changing journey into the rainforest, which includes various shamanic, movement and creative processes. Be moved. Be stretched. Be changed.
For more information, click here

1 Feb–1 Nov: Dancing with Life with Catherine Wright. Edinburgh, Scotland.
Movement Medicine Through the Celtic Year. This offering is an ongoing group, with four 2-day weekend workshops, stretching from February to November 2020. It is a wonderful invitation to dive much deeper in your dance practice, and let the dance swash even more into your everyday life, being and doing. During this period, there is space for one-on-one sessions as well as completing a project of one’s own choice.
Contact Catherine Wright: +44 (0) 131 557 4278; catherine.wright@phonecoop.coop

7–9 February: For the Love of Life with David Mooney. Berlin, Germany.
Including a rich dance ceremony, this workshop is dancing with our connections (relationships) in life (of all kinds) and with what supports us to be our best selves in these connections, so that we are able to flourish in the web of our relations in life. You will take with you a practical tool-kit of simple Movement Medicine practices to weave into your everyday life, keeping it healthy and connected.
Contact Kathrin: +49(0)3028458820; info@kathrin-keller.com

13 February: Pre-Book Launch for Ya’Acov’s new book. Vancouver, Canada.
Meet Ya’Acov and his new Book Shaman – Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose of the core of Who YOU Are. Listen, laugh, be touched and inspired, as you sit with Ya’Acov, who just arrived back from visiting the Amazon rain forest and Manari, shaman and leader of the Separa people in Ecuador, who wrote the foreword for the book.
Contact Bettina: bettina@bettinarothe.com

14–16 February: Source with Ya’Acov Darling Khan. Vancouver, Canada.
In this workshop we will dive into the exploration of the primal energy of creation, our sexual energy, which, when embodied fully, enriches all areas of life and living. We will dance with and release some of our shadows around sexuality.
Weaving the balance between the masculine and feminine, we will embody the free flowing movement of sexual energy, allowing it to return to its own innocence.
Contact Bettina Roth: (604) 767-3798; bettina@bettinarothe.com

14–16 February: Ashes and Blossom with Rosie Perks. Brighton, UK.
This safe space invites us to dance and be intimate with our grief and heart-break, as a part of our lives. Grief brings a certain intelligence and can show us more about who we are and what really matters to us. The dancing, moving body creates its own safe container as it best knows how to move with and transform intense emotion in a healthy way. This allows us to do deep process-work and find the blossoms in our grief.
Contact
Annamarie Bayley: +44 7921 842621‬; annamariebayley@icloud.com

15–16 February: Wisdom of Truth with Ben Yeger. Hasselt, Belgium.
With Move! Evening on 14th February.
This is an invitation to explore your own truth in your heart, and how it moves. It is also an exploration in how this truth is expressed and shared with others in the community, while weaving together story telling, drama therapy and other tools of Movement Medicine. Learn more about conflict, the separation from others or from our own truth and step closer to finding resources for positive shifts and healthy relationships.
Contact
Luc: +32 (0)61 32 9920; luc@owc.be

2020 Vision Time
By Ya'Acov Darling Khan
Dear all, it’s time to write to you again as we come to the end of another year and the end of another decade. There is so much to share. I keep hearing how many reasons there are to get depressed. And I understand. The bitterness of defeat is tough medicine. The realisation that there are more people who hold different views to me than there are who hold similar ones is quite a slap in the face from what people love to call ‘the real world.’

But depression is the result of an overwhelmed and disembodied heart and mind, laced with the fragments of undigested history that feeds our fears. I have a practice. And I know that if the words I speak and the feelings I feel have any reality, then getting up and doing my practice is a choice I am going to make again and again, just like I have for the past 30+ years. Why? Doing my practice returns me to my being. It brings me back to an embodied connection to what I know to be true. It brings me back to the love of the mama under my feet. It reminds me that life right now is a blessing. It reminds me that benevolent death left me to live another day. And whilst my heart still beats, my practice returns me to the love I feel for this life and the recognition that there is so much to be inspired by right now.

Yes, I do know that there is suffering in our world – as I write, I can feel it in my hands, stretching my sinews with sorrow, and grinding my teeth with fury at the injustice of it all. And yes, I am privileged, and a man, and a white man at that. And yes, I have the resources that allow me to make the time to feel what I feel. I have the will to get up and practice every morning so that my heart doesn’t get jam packed and inoperable with the rivers of bad news that are designed to suck the very life out of my bones. No, I’d rather dance and shout and cry my heart out and empty myself out so that I can remember the warmth of the sun touching my body as the water falls from the shower. So that I can be quiet enough to hear the song of the stream and the wind and to remember the good earth under my feet. Gratitude is what’s left after I’ve let my body move and shake. Gratitude is a choice that I make when I allow myself to be with what is real. My practice is Movement Medicine and it works. Simple as that. It gives me the tools to embody whatever is true, to shape and express it, let go inside it and return to the warmth, strength and wisdom of my body and heart. It creates space for the mind that listens to a much bigger picture than the tiny screen on my phone could ever provide.

As we enter the darkness of the year, the dreaming time, I feel twice as passionate as I did last week about the necessity of creating a new story – 2020 vision inspired – for the years ahead. So I’m going to share a little gratitude poem that arrived in my in-box this morning from one of our community elders, the one and only Rob Porteous (whose poetry is available should you follow the link).

Gratitude

So many voices arguing, so much noise

buffeting the brain, restless gusts of thought

sending mind hither and thither on the run

in search of fragile shelter from the storm.

 

And amid all this movement, in the poise

of a leaf on a twig, still moment brought

into sharp focus by the setting sun,

a flash of joy and thankfulness is born

 

Rob Porteous

Thank you Rob. Another jewel mined from the dark caves and brought into the light.

I’ve never let the difficulties of regular practice get in the way of actually doing it. I recognised in my early 20’s that if I didn’t give time each day to what mattered most, I would quickly be consumed by what didn’t. I learned that I had to keep my heart moving faster than my tricky little ‘story mind’ could create the reasons not to. I’m not saying it’s easy. There have been so many times when I was bored to tears by my inability to find new ground. Over decades, I have learned that apparently, embodying what is actually happening and moving with that, an instruction I’ve given so many thousands of times, actually helps me to be here in my body, even if being here is sometimes really uncomfortable. Eventually, connecting to the unbroken resources that I am made from, brings me to my heart. If I let myself feel and move with what I feel, then my heart will lead me back to gratitude.

And all of this is the reason why I’ve spent my time off over the last two years writing Shaman – Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who YOU Are. The book, which you’ll be hearing more about soon, is an invocation of the inner shaman in YOU. The part of you who knows exactly what I’m talking about and the part of you who knows that we need an inspiring vision of what we can choose to create here on earth more than ever, regardless of what the outcome may or may not be. Without a guiding vision that gives you purpose and meaning, then all the influencers in the world have easy access to you. Without a constantly evolving vision that you nurture, feed and strengthen through ceremony as often as you can, your backbone belongs to whoever is able to speak the loudest. Holding a vision that guides your being and makes sense of your actions today is what helps us to create the tomorrow (as Charles Eisenstein put it) our hearts know is possible. It is also exactly and precisely what we mean by the simple words Empowerment, Responsibility and Harvest that describe the three journeys of soul in Movement Medicine practice.

So, as well as the book (released March 31st by Hay House in written and audio format), Susannah and I have decided to massively deepen our online offering in the year ahead. For seven years, we ran monthly webinars – Movement Medicine online classes. We were amazed by the depth of the practice we could experience even without being in the same room together. Now, with improved technology and a new team in place, we are creating 21 Gratitudes – The Movement Medicine Study Hub launching in April 2020. It will be an accessible, bite-sized inspiration portal, an oasis of safety and support for the people in this world-wide community. It will also provide an easy access gateway for those yet to know about it, to be able to practice from the privacy of their own home (with prices relative to where people are living).

Each month, there will be:

  • A live online class (which will be added to the archive accessible to members to participate in at any time)
  • Monthly bite-sized teachings from myself and Susannah as we travel through the 21 Gateways of the Movement Medicine mandala

As well as this, there will be other regular offerings during the year such as:

  • Online rituals for the equinoxes and solstices
  • Occasional Time with Our Elders with Professor Jake and Dr Eva Chapman
  • Time with Susannah’s mirror master ponies to share her latest learnings
  • Quarterly Time with Your Teachers sessions to share your questions and experiences
  • … and of course, the many things we are yet to discover are possible through such a dynamic membership

You will be hearing more about this at the end of January with the invitation to become a founding member and a special offer for those on our mailing list. And yes, happy to say that those of you who were part of our webinar membership will be receiving the offer we promised you in due course.

So dear ones, dancers born for these times, creative hubs in your own right, hearts on legs who care for life, humans who remember how to be strengthened by swimming, salmon like, upstream against the current. Do not lose heart. Not now. Not ever. Did the sun rise this morning? Then rise with it and be who you are and give everything. And forget about the outcome unless it inspires you more. I hear my mama singing when I remember to give thanks. And I feel my papa shining brighter inside me when I remember to say good morning.

Check this out. I enjoyed seeing this Future Crunch news today.

Dance. Sing. Revolt. Create. Dream. Plant trees. Do what’s in your heart whilst it’s still beating. And remember that if you’re a human being who is willing to be with the pain in this world, then you must balance that by being a human being who is willing to be with the beauty that is everywhere we dare to look, and everywhere we don’t.

Before I go:
My 2020-Vision for the New Decade is to put as much love and beauty into this world as I can possibly manage.
What’s Yours?

With love to you and your families at this solstice time. Looking forward to seeing you on the road in the next months or online (my book launch will go out on Facebook Live on March 31, 2020)

Ya’Acov DK

December 2019


Ya’Acov’s Winter 2020 Calendar:

24–26 January: The Arc of Time with Ya’Acov Darling Khan. San Anselmo, San Francisco Bay, USA
In this weekend workshop, we are travelling the arc of time – past, present and future – of course with body, dance and movement meditation. We are able to visit the past and heal old wounds, freeing up potent life energy that is then available again in the present. The present can thus be lived more empowered and conscious, allowing us to move into the future with all the resources, support and healthy choice that is now available to us, to live and forge the path we dreaming of.
Contact Jennifer Coffey:
jencoffey@gmail.com

29 Jan–12 Feb: Dancing with the Heart of the World with Susannah, Ya'Acov & Partners
In this powerful intensive, Ya’Acov and Susannah team up with Pachamama Journeys director David Tucker,
and with the indigenous partners in the Amazon from the Achuar and Sapara people. Participants experience a life-changing journey into the rainforest, which includes various shamanic, movement and creative processes. Be moved. Be stretched. Be changed.
For more information, click here

13 February: Pre-Book Launch for Ya’Acov’s new book. Vancouver, Canada.
Meet Ya’Acov and his new Book Shaman – Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose of the core of Who YOU Are. Listen, laugh, be touched and inspired, as you sit with Ya’Acov, who just arrived back from visiting the Amazon rain forest and Manari, shaman and leader of the Separa people in Ecuador, who wrote the foreword for the book.
Contact Bettina: bettina@bettinarothe.com

14–16 February: Source with Ya’Acov Darling Khan. Vancouver, Canada.
In this workshop we will dive into the exploration of the primal energy of creation, our sexual energy, which, when embodied fully, enriches all areas of life and living. We will dance with and release some of our shadows around sexuality.
Weaving the balance between the masculine and feminine, we will embody the free flowing movement of sexual energy, allowing it to return to its own innocence.
Contact Bettina Roth: (604) 767-3798; bettina@bettinarothe.com

Fierce Gratitude
By Susannah Darling Khan
Dear All, firstly, a massive thank you. The way Movement Medicine dancers are receiving the work I am now sharing is deeply significant for me in my life. I feel truly useful, and in those special pearl moments, truly rooted and flowering.
At this moment of my life, the convergence of many paths leads me to a feeling of being at the right place at the right time. I am keeping my pledge with life to play my part through these multiple inter-weaving paths:

  1. I’ve been (and still am) in a deep process of metamorphosis. The menopause is mega! For me it’s being a tough and wonderful teacher of a deeper gentle way of being. Ya’Acov calls it a fierce gentleness which is sometimes a gentle fierceness. It’s difficult enough if you roll with it; I cannot imagine how it feels if you cannot. And I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m loving who I’m discovering in myself in this new era and what I’m learning and how useful it is to others.

  2. I’ve been given the perfect mix through living at a time when so much more is becoming known about trauma and our nervous systems, especially polyvagal theory.

  3. And I have the perfect teachers and trackers of “reality checks” of how I’m doing with that through my growing connection with my wild born Exmoor ponies. They are mirror masters; not of what I show or what I do, but of how I am inside. Kind and yet absolutely honest. I feel redeemed by them on a daily basis as I learn what it feels like to be included in the herd. It’s a matter of heart, connection, the song of breath, of listening, clarity, gentleness and love. A mega thank you to Dawn Westcott for all her support. If you felt like supporting her project to take care of the kind treatment and support of this ancient and endangered breed, I know it’d make a big difference.

  4. The reason I originally got interested in Exmoor ponies is because of their connection with this land. They are known as “conservation grazers” and are closely connected to the original indigenous wild horses of Europe. Like all wild animals they are “bred” by the wild to survive rather than selected for compliance by domestication. They are unbroken, dignified in their autonomy and their sureness of their own right to choose.

  5. As Ya’Acov’s wife, I’ve been in the privileged position of witnessing him up close over the last years giving everything he has to the writing of his new book: “Shaman”. It’s a delicately powerful and difficult thing to do, this. But he’s done it with all the sensitivity and prowess of someone whose nature is his fine blend of jaguar and butterfly medicine. In this book, he raises the bar for western “shamanic” practice, inspiring us to understand and live within the natural mutuality and reciprocity with life itself.

    I’m proud of him and of the work he refers to in the book; our work, Movement Medicine, which is shamanic practice that has not been imported from another people or peoples. It is inspired and mid-wifed by our contact with the indigenous people and communities we are connected with, for which we will be forever grateful. It springs from the healing of our own wounds; from the slow, step by step and ever evolving consciousness and healing of our own culturally normalised wounds. It arises from the source of our intention to bring healing to our people as we recognise what is needed. And it springs from the love between us and our shared love of life and of the earth. As Gabrielle Roth said: “Shamanism is indigenous to its own people”. And so it is.

    In this book, Ya’Acov is sharing and teaching about how to heal (not about how to become a weekend shaman waving feathers around) but how to heal yourself so that you can participate fully in the wonder of life and the wild opportunity and need of these times.

    If you haven’t yet read Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart Ya’Acov’s first solo book. I think you’ll love it. I do, in all its honest, real, personal revelation and his amazing journey.

  6. We are currently teaching our last MM Apprenticeship (AP7) and then, after that, for the next Movement Medicine Apprenticeships, we’ve handed that baton over into the skilled hands and hearts of initially, Yasia Leiserach and David Mooney who are pathfinding this role and will be followed by others in the near future. This is a moment of celebration for us. We are relaxed in our knowing that they are able and ready for this role (they have trained with us and are continuing to do so) and bring so much of their own fine beautiful medicine, knowledge and experience too

  7. This letting go is giving us space to turn our attention even more strongly to two other aspects of our work. The first is to continue to support the excellence of Movement Medicine professionals, which we are doing in various ways, including evolving different modes of CPD. The second is to offer what we have to share in ways that are more easily available to more people and don’t require people to get in cars or aeroplanes. This means books (Ya’Acov’s and mine – mine is actively incubating) and our new offering, a membership site called: “21 Gratitudes: The Movement Medicine Study Hub”. Check it out.

    If you are on our School of Movement Medicine mailing list, then in late January you will receive an invitation to join our waitlist and be eligible for a sizeable discount when we open the doors to membership for 6 days in April 2020. If you want to join our waitlist now, don’t worry, you won’t lose out on that offer. You’ll be included. It’s for all those who are on that “School of Movement Medicine” mailing list.

    I am so excited that I can stay home and create something beautiful to share with you in your home, in bite sized nuggets, maybe all the way around the other side of the earth. And I love that, because we will be sharing with you whilst you are in the belly of your own life, we can offer practices which you can immediately implement to make a difference to how you live, how you feel and who you can become.

    The way I see it, we humans are powerfully calling on ourselves to raise our game. We’ve self-created the perfect storm to help us remember that, in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s words, “All flourishing is mutual”. So, as radical theologian Matthew Fox says: “It’s a time for all hands on deck!”. We are designing “21 Gratitudes” to bridge the work of personal healing with showing up on deck as our real selves, connecting to what matters most and learning how to support our grounded, heartful, co-creativity for the good of all.

    We want to support you to make YOUR contribution. As Lynn Twist (of the Pachamama Alliance) says: “You don’t have a small role to play, you don’t have a big role to play, you simply have YOUR role, and if you play it, your life will have a meaning that you’ve dreamt of”.

  8. And lastly a few words from other people who’ve inspired me lately:This is from Brigid Delaney writing in the Guardian 12.12.2019.
    “But lately I’ve been wondering if the disembodied nature of our communication is related to the increasing toxicity of our interactions and public discourse. The more absent our bodies are from the scene, the more easy it is to be casually cruel. Social media platforms, rather than bringing us together as promised, increasingly resemble polluted streams, with their continuous flow of abuse and derision reinforcing separation and tribalism.
    With mass, disembodied communication so corrupted, it’s no wonder dancing feels like immersion in a cool stream on a hot day. The purity of it, it’s wordlessness – seems like a way through the divide into connection.
    ……. Everyone is equal on the dance floor – and comes into the circle with a measure of vulnerability. Am I going to look weird moving my arms, head and legs like this? Yes, probably. But we will all dance badly together.
    We know now, if we didn’t know before, that the way we are living – as individuals on this burning planet – is no longer sustainable.
    Individuation is a kind of hell. And the most human thing is to be part of people…”

    Last but not least, some gems from the extraordinary book: ‘Braided Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I recommend this book hugely. She starts so gently and builds, so gently, to profound revelations of inter-connection: “From the very beginning of the world, other species were a lifeboat for the people. Now, we must be theirs."
    "What else can you offer the earth who has everything? What else can you give but something of yourself? A homemade ceremony, a ceremony that makes a home”.
    “For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it”. (pages: 8, 38 and 9)

 

Upcoming Workshops with Susannah:

14 Mar–15 March:  Source Hamburg

27 Mar– 29 March:  The Alchemy of Healing Aarau, Switzerland

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: kristin.glenewinkel@gmx.ch

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. https://kristin-glenewinkel.ch

Fellow Travellers
By Susannah Darling Khan
I originally shared this on Facebook, and the response was so strong that we decided to share it here too.
On Sunday I walked off the Eurostar into St Pancras. As usual, someone was playing the communal piano in front of the doors; sweet, wild music.

One man stood right in the doors with his hands stretched out towards us, holding an empty cup and saying "Help!". He was tall and thin and his voice carried strength and desperation in equal measure. He was shouting "Help me! Please help me!".

I watched the people in front of me rush past him like the tide racing around a rock. I too walked past and stopped by the piano. An image flashed into my mind of us dancing in Paris earlier in the day and me encouraging people to dare to ask spirit for what they needed. Here was someone asking. I registered my response; his humanity, my humanity and remembered my very own words. I took out my purse and a £20 note.

I walked back to give it to him, met his eyes and put it in his cup. His response broke me open. He said "Thank you, oh thank you! Now I can afford to spend the night in a shelter. Bless you! Thank you for still being human." We walked together side by side; me towards the taxi rank, him towards the shelter. I told him about Emmaus the homeless charity as this might be a life-raft for him and he hadn't heard of it. My father, Richard Darlington, was one of the people who helped start the Emmaus movement in the UK. I’m very proud of him.

As we parted I felt we had shared a true and real moment together as fellow travellers on this earth, in a way which dignified both of us. I felt truly blessed and that however lucky he was to have received my help, I was luckier still to have experienced this moment.

Then I got into a taxi and, after a few moments of small talk, found myself telling the taxi driver about what had just happened. I was so tearful and emotional I didn't want to pretend otherwise and I sensed a kind heart in him. He told me that he knows that man from seeing him so often on the pavement around St Pancras and how genuine his need is. He told me that he himself often helps the people on the street with enough money for a night shelter which costs them something like £7.70 per night.

He told me how he's seen the number of people on the streets grow and grow and how he's worried that he's one of the few "softies" left. We spoke about how hard it is to keep your heart open and how easily it could have been me (and frequently is) walking past someone needing help, fearful of being overwhelmed when there is just so much suffering and distress everywhere in our big cities.

He spoke about how many empty buildings he passes as he taxis around London and that there is no reason for people, whatever they may have done or not managed to do, to be sleeping on the streets in freezing weather in our society. There IS enough money and there ARE enough resources. It is about what we are committed to and what we prioritise and choose as individuals and as a society. I agree.

The tragedy of homelessness on our streets did not just happen, it’s the result of many choices, many of which were issued from the top of government policy. However, we are where we are. If you feel called to make a difference, do find out about Emmaus; they do amazing work which is all about dignity, community and up-cycling for the good of all,

With love and care, Susannah Darling Khan



Movement Medicine Sponsorship Fund Annual Report
By Margaret Davies
This is an except from the Sponsorship Fund Annual Report. It provides an overview of how the Sponsorship Fund has impacted lives and communities, how it has been supporting growth and healing, and nurtured diversity. The report is generously laced with quotes from students and teachers that received funding. It shows all the grants given and the income that was received, and outlines future commitments.

Motho ke Motho ka Batho’ - A human being is a human being because of other human beings.

The MM Sponsorship fund is indeed #LoveinAction. It is like the infinity loop: giving and receiving, to support the dance of life. Silvana

To everyone who has donated to the MMSF:
You are helping to make dreams come true. Thank you for being Earth Angels.
By investing in people’s futures, you are giving them hope and the opportunity to fulfill their passions, callings and life’s purpose… allowing them to shine their lights. Words cannot describe the joy of being on the receiving end.

Anja, South Africa

 

Summary
It has been another busy and successful year for the MMSF. Funds have continued to roll in and we have had four meetings to process applications and decide upon grants. In between those meetings, urgent requests have come in and we have also dealt with them.

For the first time we took the plunge and invested in branded merchandise for fundraising. After a lot of hard work, Gift Aid finally came through and made a significant contribution to our income. Roland Wilkinson ran a half marathon (13 miles) in the Summer and raised £2000, which the School of Movement Medicine matched. Well done Roland! We received a large donation of £13,000 from the JMG Foundation, specifically to support Rachel Morris’s work in prisons and with ex-offenders in the community.

We have supported dancers in poverty from South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands, and the UK. We have supported teachers to work with ex-offenders in the UK, with disadvantaged people in India and south Africa and with blind and partially sighted people in Croatia.

Through the feedback we have received we have seen how the money used has impacted on dancers’ wider communities, working outwards towards all our relations.

The total amount of money raised in this period was £34,203. The total amount given in grants was £28,674. The balance left in the bank once all the grants have been paid out is £14,792

Impact: 

1) Dissolving financial Barriers to Dance

The fund exists to dissolve some of the financial barriers to participating in Movement Medicine. As one dancer who received support put it:

Money shouldn't be what stops people from being able to receive medicine that they so desperately need. Anon

To be successful, applicants have to prove that they meet the fund’s criteria of being economically excluded, living in poverty or in conflict zones.
This year the individuals who have met the fund’s criteria and have been given support, have been:

  • Ex-offenders and recovering addicts. I acquired sponsorship for the Initiation event. As I was new in recovery from addiction, I greatly benefited from discovering the world of Movement Medicine. – Christian, UK
  • From developing countries. I am part of the lower working class of young South Africa. I basically live hand to mouth with the salary I am earning. I could never afford such a journey from my own pocket. – Lemo, SA
  • Unable to work fully due to trauma histories or chronic health conditions. Financially I’ve been struggling for the past few years, I have no money as I’ve been signed off by Universal Credit with Limited Capability for Work to help me deal with my mental health, and not working for months on end. – David, UK 

Teachers have been funded to reach out and work with those who could not afford to dance:
Many people in South Africa, especially those from disadvantaged and excluded populations, cannot afford the cost of a workshop, let alone an ongoing group where upfront expenses are higher. Petra
I work directly with inmates in jail, homeless people suffering from addiction and ex-offenders suffering from addiction. I also work with addicted people in a community crisis centre in Tottenham. I volunteer my services to these groups as there is no available extra money in their budget. Rachel
I need financial help because the Association (of the Blind and visually Impaired) was and still is not able to pay for the class and their members are people who are mostly without jobs and live off state support. Tamara
The girls of Navgurukul come from underprivileged backgrounds (poor families who could not afford to educate them). Silvana

2) Supporting growth and healing
Successful applicants have expressed an informed and urgent desire to attend Movement Medicine workshops. Their feedback after the event has shown us how deeply they have benefited from being able to attend the workshops they applied for.
When we started the journey, we had to introduce ourselves to the group with a few words and the message that came out from me was that my ancestors were glad to be here and have this time with me to dance and communicate. Dudu, SA descent
You are changing a person’s life by supporting MMSF. David, UK
Now I feel quite connected with a forward directed energy. My body feels quite awake through the dance practice and sharper and more alive with the energetic quality of a warrior. Dudu, SA
Before Movement Medicine I was so timid and not able to be in my warrior spirit and now I am able to set boundaries and step into my power. Anon
The girls at Navgurukul have been empowered to reconnect to the wisdom of their bodies. The results were immediate and tangible: in the final circle that we held together the narrative around their bodies had changed dramatically. – Silvana
My foundation feels solid and I have learnt so many tools to help support every day in my daily life. – David, UK
Please realise that every contribution made for someone to participate in MM is medicine for past, present and future generations in their lineage. Lemo, SA

3) Strengthening Community
A significant benefit for people who receive funding from MMSF, is that they feel supported on their journey, by unknown donors, volunteers who administer the fund and by supporters at the workshops. They receive a big energetic YES. Once at the workshops, the support and connection felt with other dancers is also hugely beneficial, and although we don’t have the feedback to prove it, I’m sure the exchange is both ways and enriching for all. In this way the reach of the funding is much bigger than only to the individuals who apply.
At the time I was struggling a lot with depression and anxiety and difficult family situation and just feeling really alone so having a dance community where I felt accepted and connected meant the world to me. – Anon
That I was supported by unknown, that people have given the money to support us unconditionally, gave me a sense of Trust and Support from other Teachers and Dancers of Movement Medicine community. This gave me a lot of strength to continue doing my work as a student of the School of MM. Veronica
As a young black woman from a "democratic" country that has not healed from it's past (discriminatory) wounds I found myself experiencing a genuine connection with other Beings. – Lemo, SA
As one of the aims of the ongoing group is to resource people both with the practice and with community, it feels important to create the possibility of reaching those who do not normally make it onto the dance floor. Petra

4) Nurturing Diversity
By dissolving some of the financial barriers to accessing the dance, we nurture diversity - on the dance floor, in the Movement Medicine community and in life lived off the dance floor.
I got sponsorship for monthly Movement Medicine class in the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Zagreb, Croatia. The dancers had the chance to enjoy an activity which is so natural and beautiful but usually cannot participate in due to their disabilities - they are extremely sensitive to sound and there is not much offer of dance space for blind and visually impaired people here in Zagreb. They had the chance to connect with themselves, with their bodies, explore further the spatial awareness they already have and connect to the joy of dance. – Tamara (teacher)

5) Creating Ripples
Many of the people who have been sponsored to dance and learn through MM workshops are having a positive impact in the communities they connect with.
I now work with children as a Kindergarten teacher and I am able to realise the need for expression through movement and dance. I every so often put soothing music on for them and encourage them to move in whichever way they feel called. – Anon
Everything I have learnt I am bringing into my daily life, including a new men’s support group I am setting up in London with friends. David, UK
I really had to challenge myself to concentrate and dance for that amount of time. This has given me the springboard to complete 3 months of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to start an level English Course and to become a Peer Support Worker (volunteer) for the Harbour in Brixton, London. – Christian, UK

Income Received

In this year we raised a total of £34,203. The income came from seven streams:

  • Faculty Teachers £541: all faculty teachers are required to give a small percentage of their profits from any School of Movement Medicine workshops
  • Gift Aid £1851: this is money given by the UK government against donations made by UK tax-payers. This sum includes backdated claims from the last 5 years.
  • Individual donations, including buying branded merchandise £1866.
  • Roland’s half marathon £4,000: Roland raised £2000 which was matched by the founders who also gave £2000.
  • Workshop and LD donations £4912: Regular bowls at weekend workshops and intensives provide a good amount of income
  • Founders £5033: the SoMM Founders continue to give generous support to the fund. In addition they do not charge tuition fees for dancers supported by the fund.
  • JMG Foundation £16,000: This consists of 2 donations made specifically to fund Rachel Morris’s work in prisons and with ex-offenders and recovering addicts.

I would like to stress the fact that this sponsorship fund and financial resource can be life changing for someone who feels called to the MM path or is needing to release trauma, but does not have the financial means to do so by themselves.- Dudu, SA

Grants given

This year the fund’s resources supported:

  • 4 people to do the Apprenticeship Programme. Total £8,000
  • 6 other people to attend weekend or intensive workshops. Total £5,366
  • 4 teachers to run workshops: with blind people in Croatia, with people in poverty in India, In the UK with people in prisons, ex-offenders and recovering addicts, and to offer free places to dancers in poverty in South Africa. Total £15,307

Future Commitments

In the next year we expect to support 1 person from the UK to go through the PT, and to continue to support 2 people from South Africa on AP7. We would like to support MM in Zimbabwe and the Kafunda Village, as well as supporting dancers from there to come to workshops outside their country. Approx. commitment £10,000.

Margaret Davies

Chair of Trustees of the Movement Medicine Sponsorship Fund.

12.11.19

Music Medicine - A Double Gift
If you feel like giving to yourself or others, maybe for no particular reason but just to enjoy and to share gems of sounds, words and inspiration, have a look in our Music Medicine store. Read on for some updates on new awesomeness in stock. And the great thing is, at this shop, while you are gifting yourself or others, you are automatically also giving to the Pachamama Aliance, as 5% of all online sales go there, to protect the Amazon rainforest. A ‘double gift’ ...

News from the store:

Come and have a stroll through our online store, we’ve got some fabulous new things in stock, including Laor’s new album of extraordinary songs, which was the soundtrack to our summer, Eva Chapman’s glorious and deep book “Sexy at Seventy; a spiritual journey” and elder and dancer Rob Porteous’s book and CD of his beautiful poems. And you can even give your friends a gift voucher.
Enjoy!

We’ve also got smudge essence in stock, but remember, we can only post it to those of you in the UK. Sorry!

As 5% of the sales go to the Pachamama Aliance, if you feel like it, go and have a look at what they are up to. Here is their news page.

With love, Susannah Darling Khan

 

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