School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: February 2013 Newsletter
Inter-being and the Winter Dream Dance.

By Susannah
We’re just emerging from the Winter Gathering and Winter Dream Dance which is for all Apprentices; the current Apprentices and those from the first Apprenticeship. It is the ‘moon’ to the ‘sun’ of the Summer Long Dance, a chance for the Apprenticeship community to gather inwards and water our roots.

Personally it was a pleasure to be with others who share this way of dropping into dancing ceremony. We danced and sang (and slept a little!) through the days and nights. Catalysed by the gateways of each of the 21 stations of the mandala we remembered and strengthened our connections, dreamt and danced together, grieved and prayed and healed together. Held by, and holding, each other, the Mesa, the wider circle, the beautiful dance temple at Rill and the land there, we journeyed deep, gently, lightly, with focus and restfulness, together and each in their own way and space.

In the last circle Tamara Haydon, one of the first group of Apprentices said something which struck a deep chord for me. She said; “When I first joined the Apprenticeship, I thought, “Yes this will be good, to be part of a circle for a while, while I grow up a bit, until I don’t need it anymore.” ‘Now’ she said ‘I realise that it is simply that I need this, I need community, and we need this, we need community, and that is just how it is”. Ah yes. It takes a village to raise a child. Maybe it also takes a village within which to be and become human.

One of the other AP1ers has been making a wonderful choice to go slower with her qualification process. Part of what led her to this was seeing the bottom of the mandala as a glowing gateway. The bottom of the mandala is the place of community and, below that; earth. What this means to me is that we come to earth and into manifestation as humans, through community, through relationship. We do not arrive as a self and then come into relationship. We grow into self through relationship.  Of course it’s obvious. We come into the womb. We come in through profound relationship with the mother, and the wet, warm, intimate depths of her, we come in through the meeting of mother and father and they only exist through all their relationships through space and time. But, still, I have generally thought of the 5 dimensions of relationship as starting with self and widening out in concentric circles to eventually include everything. And of course this perspective makes spatial or geographical sense and has its value. 

But now I wonder if this is also a reflection of the collective ‘unexamined assumptions’ of our individualistic society. Maybe it’s also a reflection of an assumption that we exist as separate. That we are (and should) exist as separate, independent ‘islands’. I’m reminded of what Thich Nat Hahn says in the Pachamama Awakening the Dreamer Symposium: “I propose the word to “inter-be”. You cannot exist by yourself. You need, mother, father, sister, brother, but also you need, river, tree, elephant”.

This was underpinned by a conversation I had yesterday with a woman I met on the train on the way to celebrate my mother’s 72nd birthday. We were talking about adult learning and I was saying about the neuroscience findings that in order to learn new stuff as adults (children’s default “setting” is learning so they soak up stuff anyway) we need attention, focus, motivation and repetition. The motivation part is the emotional commitment, the desire to learn whatever it is, the letting it be really important to ourselves. She said that in her study as a teacher they talk about two kinds of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside you, through relationship. It’s to do with the appreciation, praise, acknowledgement or approval of others. I guess it could also be your fear of the disapproval of others.  Intrinsic motivation is to do with yourself, your own desire to learn, the joy or satisfaction or pleasure that it gives you when you have learnt or accomplished something new. She told me that it’s been found that we need both, and that neither is enough by itself to ensure ongoing effective learning. It’s clear to me that extrinsic motivation alone would not work too well, but I was more surprised to hear that intrinsic motivation alone does not work very well either. However internally motivated we are we still need that external reinforcement and support too. What a beautiful, permission giving revelation- at least for me!

Well, of course it fits. I’m still updating from my own unconscious assumptions of independence/separate existence. We need our new gifts/abilities to be received in order to own them and then build on them. That’s what so beautiful and empowering about ongoing community where there is acceptance of each one as she or he is, and a space for each of us to grow into as we find out who we naturally can become, as we say “yes!” to the energy, love and longing inside us.

So a big thank you and appreciation of the wide, open field of MM dancers in which each of us (myself included) can go on learning, growing, giving and receiving, being loved, cherished and accepted in our being and being loved, cherished and welcomed in our becoming.

Tamara gets the last words: I feel how things grow together. And knowing, through my own dreams and through the dreams we just all shared, what might be possible. I need patience with what is ready in the present. Step by step.”


Love to you, to us all, and to all our relations,


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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.