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Issue: September Newsletter
Landing at 50 ...

By Susannah What a beautiful, unexpected, splendid, extraordinary summer we have had. In June we arrived in our new house and land, laughing with awe and gratitude and (almost) disbelief. In July I was 50 and we had my birthday party and house warming in one long beautiful celebration.

We’ve spent the summer at home in the beautiful sun of this unusual English summer, receiving the quietness, the beauty, the smells, and slowly meeting this land; tree by tree, hedge by hedge, dock, nettle and bramble by dock, nettle and bramble. And we’ve been learning what it needs from us. We’ve done a lot, and of course this is only the beginning of the journey which will evolve in the dialogue between us and the land, as we learn how to be stewards of its flowering.

We’ve been asking ourselves a question, how did this come about? It certainly wasn’t the result of a seriously held intentional intention. We’ve been following a playful thread of possibility, underneath which is a backdrop of love and desire for wilderness and earth under our feet. This is my part of the story, at least, as I am aware of it right now. Since I was a child in Africa, and then back in the UK, every summer at my Uncle and Aunt’s organic farm in Wales, working with land and animals has been a strong part of my love and my longing. In the last decades its been expressed in many ways, but not directly in my every day life, except through gathering nettles in the forest where we used to live and caring for our garden.

In the mountains in Portugal last summer I was instructed that I really needed land… We heard the instruction which felt like it came from the rocks themselves, but, as we looked at what this meant for our lives, we felt that it would have to wait a few years, “we’re too busy now, with the Apprenticeships and everything” we said. That reminds me of how we felt before we really heard the call to become parents… “Oh no, we’re not having children” we said, “we’re much too busy with important things to do to have children!” So much for that arrogance, and thank god we heard and followed the whisper from the infinite which turned into our beautiful son.

Anyway, last year we put away thoughts of land, until we came back from the journey with the Pachamama Alliance to Ecuador in January, when suddenly it erupted again, and we started, still playfully, looking in Estate Agent’s windows and at properties on the internet. We looked at this property because of the magnificent horses in the Estate Agent’s picture, and went to see it because of all the eco-features. That proved to be like going to “just look” at a puppy. We were smitten. We both felt immediately “oh god, this is home.” Somehow what had seemed impossible became possible. I am so grateful. Of course there was lots we did to make it possible and lots of support on many levels made it possible. The thing which drove it was a feeling that, in some way, we were already there. And what has been startling is how everyone has said more or less the same thing; “this fits you” which has really surprised us.

Many great people have helped us deal with all the details which at times have felt overwhelming. On the day we had to move out of our old house, we still had not exchanged or completed our contract on the new one, but it worked out, almost to the minute. That was a moment of having to hold our faith and trust the adventure!

I have to take my hat off to Ya’Acov. I grew up farming, but this has been a huge leap for him. Before we moved he said something like “I can feel that the land is going to ask me to grow into whole new and previously unknown parts of myself”. And he is! It’s so beautiful for me to see my man discovering the joy of physical work on and with the land. I love him in his work clothes in the strimmer harness, making sure that the brambles don’t take over our world, and to gallop next to him on the moor, wow!

My parents wrote, on their birthday card to me, “Your love of the land has born fruit” and this feels true and at the same time astonishing and amazing. I have been longing for this since I was little, but I’m not really sure how it has happened, except that we have gone on following the thread of what we feel is being asked of us and of our excitement, interest and desire. I can feel already that our contribution to the world is going to be substantially enhanced and supported by the land which we are becoming intimately energetically and practically involved with. It feels like having a really, deep, wide and spacious ground from which to engage with the world.

I’m really still taking it in and as we learn about what our role is. What I know so far is that we are here to enhance the bio-diversity in and between the meadows especially for the birds, bees and butterflies, and by making our small lake into a wildlife haven. And I feel we are only at the beginning of deepening into the dance of living a personal day to day communion with pachamama and the dance of the seasons. I am so grateful.

And there is another strand to our presence here. This land, which looks so peaceful and beautiful, has not always been so. This house is built on the site of the old gas works (where they turned coal into gas for lighting) for a big psychiatric hospital which was opened in 1891 and closed in 1992. I feel we are also here to be part of the healing and renewal of this land by bringing remembrance, honouring, and beauty. Some of the land we “own” was a quarry from which they mined the stone to build the hospital, then the quarry was used for rubbish from the hospital. Johnny, the guy who, with his wife, bought and transformed this place has done an amazing job in healing that scar and bringing healthy life back. Our job seems to be the next step in that reparation; Phoenix medicine with the land itself. I feel the earth energy here is so, so beautiful, strong and supportive, and at the same time is longing for gentleness. And we are engaging with this dance of reciprocity step by dancing, gentle, explorative, learning step. The patients’ graveyard is up the road, and in one meditation I was asked to take flowers there every month for a year. I’ve just taken our second months flowers there with our dear friend Sarah Patterson, and as we had a quite moment in prayer with the flowers and the memorial stone in the graveyard, a glad peace came. I asked the florist to make a bouquet with as many different flowers as possible, to represent all the different, unique human beings who were buried here. This feels good. Part of our journey of responsibility in being here.

And us! Yes, we’ve had another one of our summer relationship intensives! In the last years we have learnt that we both can be (differently) right. This year we have learnt that we can both be wrong! That’s been so good, humbling and funny (once we got it). I’ve seen another layer of my defences and how hard I will battle to keep them and my story that they are necessary. And there has been such softening and relief. This relationship thing is really the greatest, most challenging, most wonderful teacher I have ever had. Thank you Ya’Acov! I’m so appreciative of us both for staying with the journey. And we find it does keep getting better.

And becoming 50. Wow. Becoming 50 feels like a beautiful and potent fulcrum in my life. At one moment in the several day celebration, I was with a small group of close women friends. I was talking about my metaphorical “bridge to 50” and Susie suggested that as we walked up to Dartmoor I made a conscious bridging of the stream. The women who were under 50 stood behind me, the ones who were over 50 stood on the other side of a small bridge. Before I walked over the bridge, I looked back and saw the track of my life from birth to now laid out on the ground. Julie gave me some cedar-wood, and I went back to the start, and blessed and thanked my parents and my conception and birth and walked through the decades remembering, thanking and blessing. What was startling was seeing the 3 decades of sustained work in one direction. Since I left medical school at 19 I’ve been on a clear compass. It was quite something to realise that and the length of it. Then the women who were younger than 50 asked me what I would want to pass on to them from my 50 years so far. I found myself saying (rather startlingly) “Don’t be afraid of hard work and strong, committed, long term effort. Get clear what is important to you and simply to go for it, stay with it, and give whatever you are committed to the time to put down roots and to grow.” Then I looked across the bridge at my two beautiful older woman friends who were standing on the other side of the bridge. They were radiant and shining, holding flowers and my deer blanket and ready to welcome me. I walked over singing “Now I walk in beauty” and was enfolded in their sweet, joyous, gentle welcome. As they whispered their welcome to me, I felt I was receiving a secret, about how wonderful it is to be older, freer and even more oneself. The younger women said how important it was for them to receive this beautiful inner picture of what it can mean to get older as a woman. Then we all crossed the bridge and went up to Dartmoor where we washed in the stream before going to have birthday tea. Yum. And then Ya’Acov started an extra-ordinary roll of surprise after surprise after glorious surprise. Reuben cooked an haute cuisine supper for 12 of us, and the next night we had the party of parties (so far!). I felt so loved and celebrated. Thank you Ya’Acov, and thank you all. One very special moment was when everyone sang happy birthday (twice- thank you Malcolm!) and the harmony and strength of the song in 360 degrees was music medicine of such beautiful strong, loving, joyous vibrational calibre- thank you! And I am so grateful that my Mum (in good health) my Dad, my brother and Ya’Acov’s Mum and many of his family were all there to celebrate with us.

I remember a lovely older lady who, at the end of Initiation years many years ago had something to announce; “Listen you young people!” she said,  “I see many of you going through such angst about your lives, your identity and what you are here for and all that. I understand,” she said, “I’ve been there too! But there is good news! Once you get to 50 it all gets easier.” So far, that is what it feels like.

I’ve just been in The Hague to dancing Love Stories with a very strong group, and I can feel a change in the work. I don’t know if it’s the land, being 50, or just having had time off, but I feel another level of integration, ease and depth which I look forward to sharing with you if/when you want to come and share a dance floor with me. Ya’Acov and I are offering our yearly ‘washing machine workshop’ Initiation at the Rill centre in late September. A very few places left if you fancy a deep dive into the dance of your life. And next year’s ‘Journey of Empowerment’ back at the beautiful Waldhaus in Switzerland is open for booking. This course (along with Initiation and the Phoenix) is an important step in laying the foundation for the AP for those of you wanting to move in this direction. And of course it’s a powerful transformative journey just in its own right.

Love to you and wishing you the courage to love and to desire what you truly desire and to work with joy for what you really, really feel is important,

And wishing us all a beautiful turning of the season,


Susannah’s Autumn Term Calendar


16-22           Apprenticeship Final Module at Rill with Ya’Acov

27-6/10        Initiation at Rill with Ya’Acov (a few places left – contact Roland)


8                  Bringing the Dance Back Home: Webinar online wherever you are


1-3            Arc of Time in Luzern. Contact Kristin +41 788 013210

5                  Bringing the Dance Back Home: Webinar online wherever you

8-10             Source in Paris. Contact Pierre Henri:  + 33 615 325 816

15-17           The Circle and the Sword in Munchen. Contact Claudia on +49 89  292644

22-24             Love Stories in London, Contact Alex + 44 7868842219


2-11             Professional Training Module 1 at Rill with Ya’Acov

17                Bringing the Dance Back Home: Webinar online wherever you are

18-22           Returning Home: Switzerland with Ya’Acov. Contact Roland


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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.