School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: January 2013 Newsletter
A Time of Change

By Ya'Acov

I think I should begin with some hearty congratulations to us all! If you’re reading this, then we’ve moved past that most mentioned of dates, 21/12/12, and we’re still here, breathing, and hopefully celebrating the beginning of a new era (or at least a new year!). Happy New Year everyone! Wherever we are, we’ve survived thus far and it seems that life is giving us another day to dream and work, and love, live and learn here on this beautiful earth!

It’s easy to be cynical about the 2012 thing. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to get caught up in placing cosmic certainties on the most uncertain of situations we have ever faced as a species. I’ve been reading a book called The Dawn of the Sixth Sun by Sergio Magana, a Mexican teacher and Nahual, steeped in the Toltec traditions of his ancestors. I’d been told that it was a down to earth look at what this time portends for us. The calendar that he refers to is the Toltec-Mexica calendar. It’s based on the mathematical principles of time and space that our ancestors observed. It tells the story of the five ‘suns,’ or periods of time (each one 6625 years long), that we have lived through. According to Sergio’s teachers, 21st December 2012 was the moment when the old sun and new sun had equal power – after this point, the old sun continues to pass away whilst the new sun gains in strength. This shift happens over a period of years and it implies the possibility of renewal and change.

It was interesting for me to read how each sun or time period had specific characteristics and the new sun is said to be characterised by a rising of creative energy to levels not seen before, a cleansing of our shadows, and an increase in the importance of our ability to dream lucidly. If I use my own experience as a gauge, then I’d have to say that sounds about right to me! Apart from that, three things have stayed with me from my reading this week that seem relevant to share here:

  1. The new sun is governed by the laws of nature whereas the laws of humans governed the last. This means that nature is now in charge!  And this means that we need to learn to listen. That makes sense!
  2. Our indigenous (*) ancestors created ways of measuring time based on how the planets move, most especially the Pleiades. They recognised that each shift brings about the possibility of renewed focus, renewal, and dedication of one’s efforts towards creating or recreating balance in all areas of life. In my own life and in our work, I have become more and more aware of the importance of these kinds of ‘remembrance’ rituals throughout the year as a kind of compass to make sure that as much as possible, we remain on track with the creative project called life!
  3. Sergio Magana insists that dreaming and more especially, the practice of lucid dreaming, is of vital importance in this new era. He explains how for his people, the ability to dream consciously was considered to be the best way we have to manifest what matters most to our hearts in this world. I have heard this notion mentioned many times by shamans from many different traditions. What we dream is what we create and if this is true, then becoming conscious of what we dream, and interacting or dancing with our dreams in a lucid way, on both the individual and collective level, is of vital importance if we are to survive and flourish as a species in balance with the community of life on earth. In a nutshell, what we might call embodied dreaming is the deepest practice that we work with in Movement Medicine. Dare to Dance, Dare to Dream is much more than a strap line. It’s a clarion call to become conscious of the ways we dream. And more than that, to become conscious of the effects of the stories we tell about life and ourselves through our internal dialogue, the ways we hold our bodies, and the ways we relate to each other and to our environment. In other words, it’s an invitation to become conscious of what we are dreaming and what we want to be part of creating.

Movement Medicine has evolved out of our own recognition that our own personal ecstasy doesn’t mean very much if we don’t bring through the lessons the dance teaches us into the way we live. For many years, we were working within a story that relegated the thinking process to the dustbin named ‘too rational’ and ignored the power our thinking has on our perceptions of the world and therefore the ways in which we respond and act. As our own practice developed, we began to recognise how powerful our thinking is. When we started to work with our own individual and our collective ‘creation stories,’ a major shift happened inside us, between us and in the focus of our work. We started to see that our own ground had changed. We had been so rooted in the 5Rhythms story about how things are, and we realised that it was no longer the ground of our own thinking and way of being. In short, it was no longer our practice. We are not the kind of teachers who can teach what we don’t practice and though our shift to Movement Medicine 6 years ago was a little ‘clunky’ in places, as we approach the 6th birthday of The School of Movement Medicine, we do so with deep gratitude for the dreaming that brought through the name, mandala and essence of a story so much more aligned with who we are and who we wish to become.

In the past 12 months, I have been challenged to my core at times by what life has asked of me and by what I see happening in our world. I have had to look deeply into the shadows that beset our transition from the relative safety and known ground of the 5Rhythms to our new work. When I look back now, I can see what a leap of faith we took. We had our niche carved out and our place in the 5Rhythms world but it would have been a lie to hold on to it. I have come to realise that the difficulties we had with Gabrielle in the last years of our relationship with her were in fact the deepest and most useful chapter of our long 18 years of apprenticeship with her. What we learned in those times and through all the challenges of leaving the ‘safety of home,’ has become a library of experience we intend to pass on to our own apprentices.

This acknowledging and cleansing of the shadow has been powerful and humbling. Perhaps because it has been my focus, I have also seen a lot of this going on around me. I have used the Movement Medicine SEER Process, which I will teach at next year’s Re-Creation workshop in Devon, to great effect several times. It’s been a year that has felt like fast track learning for many of us. This is not always comfortable but I have to say, that I have, without a shadow of a doubt, learned at least as much from the uncomfortable challenges in my life as I have from the ecstatic realisations that grace sometimes bestows! What I see around me is a heady cocktail of awakening and the purifying of shadow that must go along with it if we are to evolve into more communicative and perhaps co-operative ways of being that do no deny our power and the whole host of ways of being that we may consign to the ‘not okay’ box. These will only fester in the shadows and come back to bite us if we cannot find peace with them. For me, now is a time of integration. Rather than trying to be ‘spiritual beings’ who are not a bunch of competitive, territorial, selfish, hedonistic, immature, power crazed lunatics devouring everything in our path, let’s look for the integrity and intelligence in the ‘beast.’ Let’s use our discernment to filter out the mindsets or stories inside these shadow energies and allow through the pure energy of them in a way that supports the life in us and around us. For instance, I had a dream recently where I was with a group of warriors. We were running a race. We all wanted to win. And it was clear that we all loved each other. We all ran our hearts out, bringing out the very best in each other and all wanting to win if possible. It was glorious! It wasn’t about being better than others; it was about being the best we could be. That’s what I mean by integration. And we each have our own list of ways of being to integrate that we have made not ok. The deeper we go with our apprentices, the more I understand this way of working. The stronger the yang, the stronger the yin and my own challenges this past year have been as much to do with my capacity to stay present in vulnerability as they have been to do with allowing my warrior spirit his space. And naturally, if our indigenous friends are to be believed, the deeper I and we go, the more lucidity there is within the psyche and the way we dream, the more lucidity there will be in the manifest world around us. Now wouldn’t that be a cool thing!

I feel blessed to have such an open, strong and diverse field to work in where all of our collective learnings and understandings become part of the circle that holds us all. On January 10th, a few days after our 21 year old son has set off on his travels, we will celebrate the 6th birthday of our School. We will be in the cloud forests of Ecuador having just left the Amazon and our Achuar companions behind and we will be drumming and in prayer and sending the best we can find in all directions. Please feel free to join us at 5.26am (UK time) in the morning if you are so moved! In six years, our little Movement Medicine baby has grown into a strong child. We are more than halfway through our second apprenticeship and there are now many teachers and facilitators out there working with Movement Medicine in a variety of ways in a variety of situations. At the end of January, we will have our first Winter Dream Dance. During this time, the Movement Medicine Association council will have its next assembly, and several more apprentice teachers and facilitators will graduate. The Dream Dance is our giveaway to the community of apprentices and it’s a chance for us to be together and go into ceremony and use the time to strengthen our dreaming, commitment and understanding of our individual and collective journeys at this time.

In the year ahead, with all my heart, I pray for courage and continuous breakthroughs grounded in a whole new level of acceptance of self, lucidity in dreaming and waking, focused intention and action, and celebration of the diverse community of life. I don’t expect an easy ride but I am strapped in and ready to go.

May 2013 bring each one of us the clarity to see what we are dreaming for our selves, each other and those who will follow. I have no idea what the outcome of this great adventure will be. Maybe that’s not the point. However, I choose to go on deepening and making my contribution and dedicating my life to what matters most to the heart that lives this body and to the dreams that come. I will look forward to seeing you on the road and on the dance floor. As always, the journey has only just begun.

Ya’Acov. January 2013.

(*) These words were placed on the alter by Louise Maloney at the recent Circle & The Sword workshop in Manchester and I found them beautiful.

They were written by Cecilia LaPorte in 2009.

Indigenous is not a skin colour
Indigenous is not my nose, not my eye colour
Not my lips – indigenous is not romanticising
Ancient teachings. To appropriate, disseminate,
To cut in pieces, abbreviate in a research document –
Indigenous is removing layers of shame from your ancestors’ trail
Indigenous is stepping up to the plate
Healing and creating a new way for future generations,
Indigenous is standing tall.
Indigenous is standing beautifully.
Indigenous is an honour.

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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.