School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: Movement Medicine Newsletter March 2014

Life in the Woodshed
By Roland
“I define myself as a man for whom happiness is a woodshed full of wood rather than a wallet full of money.”

This sentence popped into my head while I was moving wood from one of my stores into the house.  I just love woodsheds – they have a distinctive homely smell which instantly evokes the picture of some ideal life of stored root vegetables, bread fresh from a bread oven, homemade jams in the larder, kettle gently steaming on the hob, long walks and crisp fresh air.  And that is just a beginning - I place my hands onto the carefully stacked logs, lean closer to breathe in again and savour floods of images of winter sunsets, the distinctive smell of wood smoke drifting in the air, the sound of rain falling on a tin roof and sheepskin slippers.  One final inhalation of breath – this time with my nose right up against the wood and I sense the musty aroma of the mice in their nests made from clematis seed heads which I know are somewhere at the back of the wood stack together with the moths, wasps, hornets and myriad of other small insects which have refuged here to hibernate away the winter.

This passion about wood extends beyond the pleasure of the smell in the wood shed to the selecting, collecting, cutting, stacking, sorting, storing, drying and moving of wood.  I could go on but I am sensing there is a small book’s worth of material here and I think it would now be good to bring everyone’s attention back to the main subject of this article.

Recently we have run two small competitions.  The first was to find out about people’s opinions as regards the design of School of Movement Medicine fliers.  We asked you to rate 35 fliers and give your opinion.   The clear favourite which emerged was ‘Love Stories’ – as one person wrote “wonderful, maybe my favourite of all, love, fire, fusion, passion, engagement, energy, movement great, I love it.” 

The winner of the competition was – I rather foolishly promised - going to be chosen at random by my cat Hitchcock.  As Hitchcock is a rather elderly neutered tom cat this has proved quite difficult to do as he spends most of his time asleep or if not actually sleeping then a recumbent pose with his eyes half closed.  In the end I put all the names of competitors and piled then up on the sofa beside him in the hope that he would eventually knock one (and just one) onto the floor and that would be the winner.  I am relieved to say that after just 45 minutes the process worked perfectly and a winner was chosen and it is Nancy Eschler from Germany – well done Nancy!  The information we have gained from this survey will prove very useful when we are designing future fliers and also with the new version of the School of Movement website which we think will be ready in a few months’ time.  Many thanks to all who took part!

The other competition was about the ‘Bringing the Dance back Home’ webinar series.  In this survey we were trying to find out what people liked about the webinars and how we could improve them.  There is a separate article about this elsewhere in this newsletter. 

The success of these two competitions has inspired me to run another.  For this competition you need to complete this sentence:

“I define myself as a _____ ……………………………………………..rather than ……………………………………………………...”

And send it to me at by March 31st 2014.  Just one entry per person.  And the winner (to be judged by the editorial team) will either receive a free weekend School of Movement Medicine workshop or £120 reduction on any School of Movement Medicine residential workshop organised by RW Events.   This prize can only be used for a workshop you have not  already booked on.  We are happy for you to give the prize to a friend if you prefer.  We would like to print a selection of the entries so all applicants should provide a name (or alias) with their entry and be happy for their entry to be printed.

With the joys of early spring in our hearts and bodies,



Forthcoming Workshops
We have a full programme of workshops coming up over the next few weeks and hopefully there is something here that you will be able to take part in.

This coming weekend 7 - 9 March Susannah will be teaching Love Stories in Salzburg, Austria. Contact: Andrea + 43 680 23 876 28   On the Saturday evening Susannah will give a talk about her recent visit to the Amazon.  This is an open talk and people who are not attending the workshop are also welcome to attend this.

Caroline Carey is off to South Africa this week and will be teaching the following three workshops:

Ancestral Elements 7 - 9th March   in Cape Town. For more details please contact:  Jayne + 27 737487743

Heart Matters 14 – 16th March in Johannesburg.  Contact:  Ryan + 27 082 552 0619

Magic of Mandorla  21 – 23 March in Knysna. For more details contact Jayne + 27 737487743

On March 18 at 7.30 Susannah & Ya'Acov invite you to join them in their living-room for the Bringing the Dance Back Home webinar.  Contact: Roland +44 1803 762255  We are offering a reduced subscription to over the next few days for anyone who subscribes to service.  Sign up before Tuesday 18th March and you can have a year’s subscription to the live service and access to all the recorded webinars for £30 rather than the normal £30.  Please following this link                                            

On 19 - 23 March Ya’Acov will be running the Re-Creation workshop at East West Centre in Orval, Belgium. Contact Frank: +31 71 8893253 Please note this workshop is full and there is a waiting list.

Journey of Empowerment.

The first module of this year’s Journey of Empowerment is 24 - 29 March and will take place at Waldhaus, Switzerland and will be led by Susannah.  The second module of this group will also be taught by Ya'Acov. We still have a few place for this group.  Applications forms are available from the website here.  Contact  Roland +44 (0)1803 762255

April 2014

4 - 6 Ya’Acov will be teaching Holy Trinity in Norway. Contact: Marit +47 45604535                                                                                                  

4 - 6 Susannah will be teaching Love Stories in Berlin.  Contact: Kathrin +49 30 28458820

The following week 10 -13 Susannah will be in the beautiful island of Sylt, Germany teaching the residential workshop Elemental.  Contact: Petra +49 4651 87 12 76

11 -13 Ya’Acov will teach Tending the Circle in Manchester, UK.  Contact: Elaine +44 161 881 2644                                                                                              

15 At 7.30 Susannah & Ya'Acov again invite you to join them at the Bringing the Dance Back Home webinar.  Contact: Roland +44 (0)1803 762255                                                                                       

18 - 20   Paris, France Ya'Acov will teach   Poetry of Presence.  Contact: Pierre-Henri + 33 615 325 816

Phoenix Retreat.

Please note the Phoenix Retreat  18 – 25 May is now nearly full.  If you want a place please act quickly.  Contact Roland 0044 (0) 1803 762255.

Summer Long Dance.

This years dance will take place 28 June - 4th July at the EarthSpirit Centre in Somerset.  The actual dance will again be in the 72 hour format.  The cost is £355 and this includes food and camping.  For more details about the dance please follow this link.  There is a discount of £60 for the first 50 people who book and there are a handful of place still available at this reduced rate.  So if you are thinking of coming and have not booked yet we suggest that you do so soon if you want one of the cheaper places.  There is an application form for this workshop and you can either download from the website or contact  Roland 0044 (0) 1803 762255.

Apprenticeship Programme.

Susannah and Ya'Acov are really enjoying reading through the applications forms the next Apprenticeship Programme which starts in August of this year.  We have a great group of people coming together for this journey and Susannah and Ya'Acov are really looking forward to working with them.  If you have applied you will be hearing from us soon.

Hoping to see you on a dance floor very soon.


All at the School of Movement Medicine

Journey to the Amazon
By Susannah Darling Khan
Episode I:

It was ‘business as usual’ as Maria and her mother, Mukasawa, the laughing, loving, enchanting grandmother of this Sapara Amazonian tribal community showed us women how they make their clay pots.

A few moments before, we’d all been together, men and women, for a cultural sharing. Wonderfully unexpectedly, each dance or song they shared with us seemed designed to reduce everyone to hysterical laughter. At one point our whole group were asked to become hungry baby parrots, flapping our folded ‘wings’ and squawking for food, whilst the Sapara women fed us chewed up manioc root. In another dance, the Sapara men became scary jaguars, doing a jaguar dance accompanied by a growling chant which ended with them rushing towards us, as we screamed in mock terror whilst they ruffled our hair. Inspired by this, Ya’Acov and I showed them a laughter yoga practice to turn an argument into laughter, which we sometimes manage to do for real.

Later, the Sapara men had taken the men in our group off to teach them how to use the blow dart gun, and we women had gone off to learn how they make the clay pots. Maria and Mukasawa were answering our questions about where they got the clay (at a spot on the river bank quite a distance away) and the dyes (from different plants) and the glaze (a tree resin) with which they make and decorate their pots.

Some of us had begun to have a go at the coil pot technique, which Mukasawa’s demonstrations made look deceptively easy, when Maria looked up, her eyes shining, as words burst out of her. “Stop!” she said, “Please listen! I have something important I need to say to you as women.” We could tell that this was a big moment. “Yes” we said, “please talk us, speak to us”.

Here is Maria’s message:

“I speak to you as a woman of the Amazon. I speak to you as sisters. We do not want the oil companies here. Our government has already sold the oil rights for this territory where we live. We do not agree. We will protect this forest with our lives. This is the forest where we have always lived, and we want to keep it clean and uncontaminated, for ourselves, for our children and for all life on earth, which we know also depends on the Amazon. We stand with and behind our men, who are ready to give everything to defend the forest and to defend life. But we, as women, for the first time, are also stepping forward to lead, to speak. Recently, I walked, with 300 other women and our children from the Amazon to Quito (the capital of Ecuador) to speak to the President. He would not speak with us, but our actions did speak. We know we cannot do this alone. Please stand with us, as women, as sisters, and ask your friends to tell their friends. I am just learning to find the courage to speak and to lead, and I ask you to help us, we need the world wide web of women, as sisters to hear us and stand with us. We are doing this because we love the forest and we will protect it with our lives. And we are doing this for the sake of the entire world. We all need this forest. Will you stand with us?”

“Yes!” we said. We asked her if we could video her message to share with the wider world which, between us, we were connected to. One of her videos is ready, as well as that of her Grandmother, Mukasawa. Here they are with another from an Achuar leader.

Maria Speaks

Mukasawa Speaks

Jose Speaks

Jorge Speaks

Please send them out to your networks. They gave us these messages to reach out to the women and all the people of the world.

Later that night, as we went into deep meditation together, Maria held my hand for several hours, and later told me that in this quiet sharing, her heart had been given the courage she needs to move into her new role as a leader. In the morning I gave her a crystal angel. This angel has a twin, which is in the hands of a dear friend of mine, Julie Rose. We have had these angels for years, always with us in times of ceremony and prayer. In every Movement Medicine ceremony I have ever been in, one of these angels has been present. Every so often Julie and I swop angels.  Julie was with us when I gave birth to our son, and at many other times of transition. So the angel I had with me was the best representation of sisterhood and solidarity I could imagine. I knew that Julie would totally agree with giving our angel to Maria, and that it went to Maria with her the beauty and strength of her love for the earth as well. When I gave it to her, Maria slipped it into her pocket, but weeks later, when we by good fortune met again, she told me that the angel is appearing in their dreams, offering good medicine and helping her feel connected with all the women and men who either are, or will be, standing with them. I was so touched by this and by how she and her people experience the vibrations of our people.

I have now found another, similar angel who has taken up residence on my altar, and I feel has quickly gone into resonance with Maria’s angel, supporting us to stay connected.

There are many other extraordinary moments, teachings, learnings, experiences and discoveries in the journey we just underwent.  I feel changed in a way that I am only beginning to understand. Its going to take a while to share this with you all, and we are delighted that we have begun to do by adding an hour’s talk called “Journey to the Amazon” to all our weekend workshops. These are free (donations to the Pachamama Alliance) and all are welcome, whether or not you are attending the workshop. Big thanks to our organisers for being so enthusiastic about this!

If you want to support Maria and Mukasawa you can get involved with the Pachamama Alliance, the organisation which supports them,  (see their TAKE ACTION page). Come to or support the Long Dance, which supports the Pachamama Alliance.

And of course, in order to create the kind of world in which the forest stands and we are not driven to destroy our living planet by our thirst for oil, economic growth and power, needs many changes on many levels. Nothing is too small to make a difference, and maybe the time to stand up tall together and make a tidal  change has come.

Movement Medicine stands for the necessary linking of micro (personal) and macro (big picture) transformation. If you see yourself as a Movement Medicine practitioner, it does not mean that you are expected to get involved with the Pachamama Alliance, or to become a supporter of the Sapara and the Achuar, though of course we invite you to do these things if they sing in your heart. The point, though is to follow your own star, and trust your own offering. Our world needs love on many, many levels. And all of them are important.

Like Maria, like me, we all need support and encouragement. I wish you the giving and receiving of good support and encouragement to follow what is true. I am so happy that Movement Medicine offers a way for the stars that we each are to be encouraged, witnessed and supported as we step out from hiding and make our unique contributions.

I thank all the people of the forest who received us with such warmth, as friends and allies, I thank the forest itself, and its immense vibration, and I thank the Pachamama Alliance, integrating vision, wisdom and service, both from its indigenous partners and from its partners in the modern world, and I thank David Tucker, the man behind the Pachamama Journeys without whom none of this would have been possible,

With my love,


Susannah and Y'a'Acov will be leading their next journey to the Amazon with the Pachamama Alliance next January. For more information go to the journeys section of

Return from the Forest
By Ya'Acov
We had some good friends over for dinner this week. They wanted to know the ‘full version’ of the story of our recent trip to Ecuador. ‘Are you sure?’ we asked. ‘Absolutely, every detail please.’ Five hours later, at 1am, we brought the telling to a close.

During those hours, I had once again felt the soft dark earth of the forest under my feet, smelt the fresh bright air of the Amazonian dawn and tasted salty tears as we recounted stories of deepening friendship and of the heartbreaking beauty and dignity of the people we met.

We’ve been visiting the Amazon regularly for the past 10 years. For the past three, we have been there with the Pachamama Alliance. We went first as travellers and in the last two years, we returned as journey leaders on our annual Dancing with the Heart of the World collaboration with our good friend David Tucker, the Director of the Pachamama Journeys Programme. The strength and medicine we have received from the Amazon is woven into the very roots, trunk and branches of Movement Medicine practice. As strong as our connection had been prior to this visit, we were not prepared for the quantum shift in the depth of relationship that we experienced with our brothers and sisters in the forest this time around.

The thing that is so extraordinary and in my view unique about visiting the great forest through the Pachamama Alliance, can be found in the way the Alliance came into being. Don Rafael Taish, an elder Achuar shaman, started having visions more than 20 years ago of the threat that he and his people were facing from the encroachment of so called civilisation and especially from our thirst for oil. The Achuar are a warrior people who have never been defeated, not even by the might of the Spanish Conquistadores. Their philosophy is simple. If something frightens you, approach it and investigate it. And that’s what the Achuar did. They put out a call and the call was heard by Lynne and Bill Twist and John Perkins and through that, at the request of the Achuar, the Pachamama Alliance was formed. The work that has been done over the past 20 years is phenomenal but as you no doubt know, the threat of oil has not gone away. Far from it and right now, these magnificent guardians of the lungs of the earth are once again facing the very real threat from oil companies who wish to remove the oil from their ancestral homelands and in the process trash one of the most biodiverse sanctuaries for life on earth. The Achuar and their neighbouring tribes understand very well that the Amazon Rainforest is the lungs of our planet and that their stand for life is vital therefore not just to them but to us all. They are standing for all of us.

When we first went to visit them, we already had experience of the beauty and raw power of the forest. The thing is, it’s just as it was created. It hasn’t been interrupted or interfered with and therefore, the channel to the force of creation itself is completely wide open under the great canopy of green. And the Achuar live in total connection to their environment. According to the Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, the Achuar are an impoverished and ignorant people who need saving from their poverty and life of misery in the forest. Nothing could be further from the truth. A more dignified people I have never met. The forest provides everything they need and they are carefully choosing what they wish to integrate from the modern world. They are very clear that the answer to the crisis of the times we live in is to integrate the best of traditional wisdom and knowledge with the very best of modern wisdom and knowledge, including technology. In several villages, solar panels and satellites provide access to facebook so that the people can stay in touch with their friends around the world and keep them updated about what is happening.

This year, we met Don Rafael for the third time. He’s quite a character and an absolute force of nature. We were also very blessed to meet two other elder shamans from the Achuar, Jimpickit, who we met last year as well, and Tsumpa, who we met for the first time. Tsumpa is in his eighties and is building a new home. When we arrived, Roman, an Achuar man travelling with us who had seen me working and doing healings in his village, introduced me as a shaman. We asked Tsumpa when we arrived there if there was any help we could offer him or his people. The next day, with the help of a little cheecha, the local beverage, he had us carrying huge piles of palm fronds on our backs through the jungle that would be used to complete the roof. The Achuar are a practical people.

We began our journey in the forest this year with a visit to the community of Sharamensa, where we were formally greeted, Achuar style, by the young President of the community, Augustine, and his colleagues, all traditionally dressed and holding large spears.  They told us that they were very happy that we had come at this time. They knew that President Correa had recently shut down Fundacion Pachamama, the Ecuadorian organisation that has been so effective in working with the Pachamama Alliance to protect the forest. They were worried that people wouldn’t be able to come and visit them. They told us how this forest had been their home for countless generations and how they wished it to remain so. They told us that they wished to protect it so that their children and children’s children could enjoy it as they had. And they told us without bravado and with full heart that they were all united in their intention to protect it on behalf of all the people of earth (that’s you and me folks) and would do so ‘to the very last consequence.’ Over the time of our visit with the Achuar and with their neighbours, the beautiful Sapara people, we were given this message time and time again. ‘This is our home. We say no to oil. And if necessary, we will die to protect it on behalf of all of life on earth.’ When we first visited the forest, we knew how important it was to protect it. Later, the Achuar people themselves became the focus of our support. That was strong but now, as a result of the extraordinarily profound exchanges we had with them, these people have become our brothers and sisters, our family. Amongst the Sapara people, there is a beautiful three-year old shaman-in-training. Susannah and I were asked to be his godparents and we agreed. His name is Manari. He already has the capacity to accurately predict the weather and see illness in the people that visit their community. His Grandfather was a very famous shaman also called Manari, whose wife, Mukusawa, is still living. She’s what the Japanese might call a living national treasure! When we got off the small plane that had skidded to a halt on their short and muddy runway, she came up to us all and greeted us each with a big hug!

On this visit, I was authorised by the shamans we visited to work in their ceremonies and offer healing to our brothers and sisters that needed it. This may seem like a straightforward thing but the level of trust involved in this is huge. They know us not as tourists but as allies and friends and we are the beneficiaries of all the years of groundbreaking down to earth work that the Pachamama Alliance has done to make this new level of connection and partnership possible. 

I would like to take this opportunity to formally invite you to participate in this year’s Summer Long Dance. It’s a an extraordinary event and I hope you can either make it yourself or feel moved to support one of the dancers or the Achuar by donating to the fund raising for the Pachamama Alliance that is so central to the Long Dance.

If you would like to see our friends from the Amazon giving their message directly, then go to:

Maria Speaks

Mukasawa Speaks

Jose Speaks

Jorge Speaks

2014 mark a very big year for us. In this year, shockingly soon actually, I will be 50. In October, Susannah and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and 28 years of being together. And as we step out on the road to begin teaching again, we are celebrating 25 years of teaching movement as a spiritual practice. Those of you that know us will recognise that for us, spiritual practice is a pretty down-to-earth kind of gig. And in the last seven years of Movement Medicine’s rapid evolution, we have been able to distil our philosophy down into 9 words: be who you are and give everything you’ve got. Those simple 9 words are a gateway into the rich landscape that is Movement Medicine practice. We are absolutely delighted by the range of work now being offered by the ever-growing circle of Movement Medicine Professionals who we are training, with the help of a lot of excellent input from the circle. You can take a look for yourself by checking out the Movement Medicine Association website. The Association is the professional body that has been set up, in consultation with us, by the circle of teachers and facilitators, to be the central hub where you can find out what’s being offered through the Movement Medicine network worldwide. We feel proud of the quality of our apprenticeship and training and of the beautiful variety of teachers, facilitators and practitioners that are the fruit of it. Like any project, there are many people involved in the day-to-day business of making all of this happen. As we begin a new term of teaching, I wish to honour and celebrate the work of the many people behind the scene who are making the healthy development of Movement Medicine a manifest reality. We have been working with Roland in one capacity or another since we met him in 1989. Susanne, his partner is, as you might expect, the power behind his throne. Our staff, David Rose, Sue Kuhn and Jo Hardy, have been a great source of support in these initial years and continue to offer their excellent one-to-one mentoring for all our apprentices. They have been recently joined by Caroline Carey, Christian de Sousa, and Mark Boylan who have taken up their roles as pathfinders again as we continue to look for the best ways to pass our work on. Our network of local organisers are the ones who make it possible for us to bring our work to you in the many different venues we visit each year. We are very blessed to have such good people around us and on top of that, we have a wonderful circle of mentors and guides who help us to stay as close as possible to the core principles that guide our lives and work.

I find it remarkable how this whole thing is unfolding. Looking back over the past 25 years of work, I see how everything we have learned as students and as teachers has prepared us for this time. 

And so dear friends, as the wheel of the year begins to turn towards the return of the light here in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope to meet you and dance with you at one of our many offerings this spring. Here’s a link to our calendar so you can check out what’s on offer. We’ll be sharing a talk and slideshow about our recent journey to the Amazon at most of our workshops in the early part of the year. And finally, this is the final week to get your applications in for the next apprenticeship programme that begins in August.

Wishing you all the sweet contentment of being and becoming and offering all you’ve got.

Ya’Acov Darling Khan

March 2014

Susannah and Y'a'Acov will be leading their next journey to the Amazon with the Pachamama Alliance next January. For more information go to the journeys section of

Bringing the Dance Back Home
We recently ran a survey about the School of Movement ‘Bringing The Dance Back Home Back Home’ Webinar series. Here are some of things that people are saying about the service.

Always feels great to dance on all levels so the webinars have been immensely important when was struggling to leave the house & lacked motivation to dance & helped me to re-connect when very ill. I liked the idea of saving the planet by not using up resources by dancing at home rather than travelling the world to dance & helped me get over my technophobe & see them as an all-round winner!! Beneficial to feel & be reminded of the collective, communal collaborative effect. Being able to dance & share my passion for movement medicine with my son, cat & dog & non- mm friends or who wouldn’t want to come to a big workshop. Feeling the web & reminded of the vastness of the weave. Claire Armstrong - UK

I continue to feel deeply connected to the Movement Medicine mesa and community, as we all dance together. I am able to practice MM with the guidance and support of S&Y, even as we are on opposite sides of the earth. I have been able to share this practice with friends, in my own home, and in communal space, so that they too can experience some of the essence of MM. I enjoy the freedom to resource the archived dances, when I would like to have guided practice.   Carey Yarrow.  South Africa.  Teacher, Bodywork Practitioner

I receive the energy of the MESA and the community I can feel during the dance. It makes me stronger. Véronique Champalou - France

The webinar series has strengthened my MM practice, making it a substantial part of my life. The monthly exposure to the teachings gives it a continuity I didn't experience before. Apart from that, it's just great to listen to and dance with Y & S on such a regular basis :). Erik Van der Veer.  The Netherlands.  Mentor/supervisor in child psychiatry.

I can make deep process and good dancing at any time, without traveling and spending a lot of money for workshops. If I dance with friends, I also have the benefit of human contact and the created energy field. Esther Zopfi. Switzerland. Teacher.

As I also take part in your workshops, I feel so connected to Susannah and Ya'Acov, when I take part in the webinar series where I can hear their voices and see them on the screen. It reminds me of the workshops and I'm almost instantly feeling much better than before. Mica Deinhardt. Germany. Translator

My experience of dancing to these webinars is the same as going to a class. So everything I would gain from that...getting teaching from my teachers, dancing alongside my fellow students (I have had several moments of tangibly feeling them dancing all around me, as if we were in the same room, despite us being in different countries), a great support to my personal practice, an expansion of my dance vocabulary, etc.  Ella Spiers. UK Decorator/Counsellor UK

Bringing some of the Movement Medicine workshop magic into my own home, encouraging my practice in small spaces, it is still possible to move and enjoy at any level. Feeling the connection of the circle around the world, helps me to stay connected and feel supported. Katherine McKenzie UK

Being able to dance at home being able to dance with my partner

The chance to dance MM class as there are none in my area except the ones I teach! I love being alone in my living room and yet connected. Very useful for those times when I have a shame dance to explore. Having the archive means I can have the support of Y&S teaching and of the circle of dancers whenever I need it which is particularly useful at the moment as my partner has cancer Kerri Cripps UK Teacher

I can stay at home with my son and at the same time do my practice and connect with a wide field of dancers all over the world. I receive high quality teachings that fit into my daily life and strengthen my relations to the place where I live, the people I deal with and the setting I live in. Kristin Glenwinkel Switzerland Physiotherapist and mother

It reactivates the dancer regularly, I can use the archives when I need to, for instance when I am going through difficult time or when I'm tired. I could share it with friends who didn’t know MM and introduce them to this practice. Virginie Longet France Coach and Therapist

The reason why I like the Webinars so much is that they help me find and strengthen connections: Between my Feet, my Head, my Heart. Between myself and the web of community woven by the Dancers around the Globe, and the magic of the Medicine into the daily surroundings of my life back home. Annmeike Van Bellen Apprentice Teacher - Social Worker

We are offering a reduced subscription to over the next few days for anyone who subscribes to service.  Sign up before Tuesday 18th March and you can have a year’s subscription to the live service and access to all the recorded webinars for £30 rather than the normal £30.  Please following this link

 The next webinar will be broadcast on Tuesday 11 March at 7.30

Repeating Meta Magic
By Victor Branaghan
Micro, medeo, macro, meta Micro, medeo, macro, meta Magic

Patterns repeated, patterns from our past,
Patterning our present and our future,
Dancing the oracle of repetition
Repetition to transition, repetition as volition,
Repetition to envision, a new mission, a new you,
Repetition, the mother of all skills

Move, step, turn, dance, repeat
Move, step, turn, dance, repeat
Find the pattern that connects

Speak of patterns, patterns that bind
In four minutes, compressed
Expressed, released, revealed
Spoken, shared, heard, Steps to being healed

Old to new, old you, new you, old me, new me
The shared dance of the new me,
Changing patterns through movement alchemy

Carving new patterns with fresh steps,
Step through the gateways with intention,
Patterns practiced with attention

Patterns selected, see, we are connected
To each other, to ourselves, to the lake, the waters of the lake,
Reach out, reach in, to the wisdom in the lake
The wisdom in the memories
Muscle has a memory, So

Let the dancer show you the way,
Keep giving it to the dancer, follow the dancer,
Let it unfold, let it be retold, behold
The dance flows, the dancer knows

Explore the uncomfortable shadows, our shadow self
Feel the heat, feel the beat, move into the new you,
Allow the exchange, be the change
Dance into the web, Dance the beat

Micro, medeo, macro, meta,
Micro, medeo, macro, meta

Repeat, repeat. Magic



Words of Appreciation. Meta Magic; Caroline Carey Dance Workshop, Cork, Ireland. January 2014

The dancing Tree of Life in Amazon
By Margus Mägi
“One round trip ticket from Earth to Heaven, please!” And once again I am on my transcendental journey. My Movement Medicine dancing practice is the engine.

The integration into my dance of the metaphors “Tree of Life” and the four elements “earth, fire, water and air” have over the years facilitated this journey between the reality I live in and my inner spiritual world.

The Pachamama Alliance´s  workshop “Awakening the dreamer “ prior to the Summer Long Dance 2011 was a heart and eye opener to me. Since then I have wanted to go to the rainforest in Ecuador. When the “Dancing with the Heart of the World” journey, with Susannah and YaÁcov as two of the leaders, was offered in December 2013 I felt this was the perfect time to go. To dance with the trees in the rainforest, what a treat!

In my Biographic Intention Statement I wrote  ”to learn more about the spiritual world of the Indians and deeply root in my heart the insight that we are all one, and then use this good energy in my dream changing work at home”

Did I reach my goal? Yes! In addition, more than that - the awareness of that we all are one has since the journey become a part of me. I can feel it in the very muscles, bones and cells of my body. It leavens my daily life, guides my actions and strengthens my intentions.

Much more often than before I ask myself: ”What is important to me in my life? Are my actions sustainable with regard to their impact on environmental, social and spiritual issues?”

My dance helps me to find the answers.


The teaching of the Indians

The most important part of the journey for me was the meeting with the Indians.

The elements that had the greatest impact on me were how they made us feel at home and how they faced difficulties and enjoyed life, their way of living in harmony with the nature and their deep connection with and knowledge of the forest and the spiritual world.

The welcome ceremonies

They did it with such dignity and openness.  Their generosity and hospitality made me feel at home at once.

The people in the San Clemente community, situated on the slopes of the volcano Imbabura, greeted us with an out-door lunch including an abundance of delicious local dishes. My high altitude sickness disappeared like a miracle after ingestion of five glasses of refreshing fruit juice. After lunch, we were invited to stay in their houses and share their daily life.

The Achuar people spoke of their community and the current threat of oil exploitation. They expressed a very firm, courageous ”NO!” They will defend their land until the ”ultimate consequence”.

The question ”What would I die for?" flashed through my mind

Then they wanted to know who we were, and they listened to our presentations with deep sincere interest. I was deeply moved by this, sensing that I was invited to support them the best way I could.

The Sapara people gave us all nicknames, based on the evaluation of the specific energy field in each of us. I became Sumakau”the monkey who likes the sunrise”.

How did they know? At home, through the wall of windows facing towards east I like to watch the radiating light of the rising sun paint the water of the sea from metallic silver to golden yellow.

All the welcoming ceremonies strengthened my feeling of being a (guest) member of the tribes. I experienced a growing sweet sense of reciprocity – they made me feel that I was important to them and they were increasingly important to me.  

Be worried and happy

The Achuar and the Sapara people were very open about the severe difficulties facing them. Besides the threat of oil exploitation, the Saparas also feared extinction as a tribe, being so few left knowing the language and their cultural heritage.

Yes, they were obviously worried.  However, in spite of that, they showed all signs of enjoying life. Their goodhearted laughter’s were easily aroused, they had a lot of humour and liked to make jokes. They played games, sang and danced with us. It seemed so easy for them to create an atmosphere of ”easy going life”.

(Like the raft trip;  the Achuar built two solid rafts based on what was available in the nature. While we slowly drifted downstream in the cloudy sometimes drizzling weather the Achur flopped into the river fully dressed and invited us swim and play with them. After some hesitation, we did so, but first we had to change to bathing suits and protect our dry cloths. When we reached home the Achuar waved goodbye to the rafts ad let them go…)

They took time to talk and be together with themselves and us.

The feeling of chronically shortage of time, which I´m so used to at home, was not there.

 Questions like “what is important in my life” and “how could that be, that they were so capable of wholeheartedly embrace all aspects of life, the good as well as the bad?” started to echo in my mind.

The forest is generous

”We live in an abundance. All we really need we can take from the forest” we were told

“That is really true” I thought when I looked at the beautiful hut with its thick roof of woven palm leaves resting on arches of tree branches and columns of high logs, some few pieces of wooden furniture, the log fire for cooking, plates and bowels of clay.

The words “space and freedom” came to me.

At home, I have three small houses and one little bigger one,  all full of various things, and a car and a motorboat, two kayaks – but do I feel that I live in an abundance?  No, most often I complain to my friends I have too many things to take care of, they steal too much of my precious time…

We are offered excellent food of local origin; vegetables and fruits from the surrounding ”gardens”, fish from the rivers and prey from the forest.

In Sweden, I can buy oranges from Israel, apples from Argentina and kiwi from New Zeeland...

There are of cause things from the outside world too, like metal saucepans, machetes, wristwatches, mobile phones, computers, solar cells and outboard motors. For the Indians there is no contradiction. 

”We do not resist western technology, we use the best of both cultures. Let the condor and the eagle fly together”.

Be connected with the forest

”Please do not touch anything when you walk”!

I did not listened to the advice. I grabbed a vine in order to hold the balance on the muddy trail and a burning sensation suffused my palm.

I realized that I knew almost nothing about the vegetation surrounding me, the variation was confusing and overwhelming. If I were left alone in the forest, I would be totally lost.

Our fellow Indians moved with ease and confidence along the trail.  Stopped here and there to tell us about the plants, sometimes the same plant could serve as building material, food and medicine.

The knowledge of medical plants was impressing.

Andres the Sapara had about 2000 different medical plants in his two forest ”gardens”. His dream was to write a book about his plants.

The Kapoc tree was overwhelming in its size. Considered sacred and the ground surrounding it, was used by the Achuar to perform spiritual and dream changing ceremonies. I could feel its power, when resting my hand on its enormous trunk.

For me the bath in the sacred waterfall was like a solemn and cleansing ritual of initiation into the spiritual world of the forest.

Then I saw it! We were left alone for meditation in Andres ”medical plant garden”. I sat relaxed taking in all the growing richness surrounding me without focusing on anything particular. The light between the trunks and leaves started to vibrate and suddenly it was changed into big almost solid looking vertical and diagonal columns of vibrating bright light. It reminded me of the northen lights I had seen in wintertime in Sweden…..

Descending the hill back to the camp, I saw in distance a bird with huge wings sailing above the canopy. ”Yes”, confirmed Andres, ”it is a condor”.

Slowly I started to accept my sensation of duality that had troubled me since I arrived to the forest. Yes, I am a visitor from a very different culture, and the forest has so many unveiled secrets, which I will never be able to understand. Nevertheless, the forest is also a part of me and I am a part of the forest - I felt that my inner tree of life was growing.

Dream talk

The stock fire is glowing in the darkness. Still sleepy I dink bowl after bowl of

morning tea (”waiaska”), abruptly alerted by nausea and an unresistable urge to through up. ”Good cleansing” the Indians comment smilingly ”had any dreams tonight?”

We start sharing dreams. It takes time. Our reports are translated from English to Spanish and sometimes to the local language, discussed by the Indians and their interpretations of the dreams are translated the other way around. The interpretations embrace a great variety of circumstances. Some interpretations are related to the actual situation (”I dreamed that I was threatened by some obscure forces” – ”yes your dream deals with our situation and the threat of the oil companies”) others about the spiritual world (”In my dream our group was accompanied by a big yellow anaconda when we followed an Inca trail in the mountains” – ”Ah, this is the spirit of the Boa who is protecting you”).

We have time, lots of time. Gradually the darkness turns into the discrete light of the daybreak, relieving the beauty of the adjacent vegetation.

And I contemplate on the beauty of the meeting. My heart is full of gratitude. We are different and still so alike. We share our hopes, fears, joys and sorrows. We acknowledge the importance of being treated with respect and justice, to have a meaningful life, to love and to be beloved.

”This here is really empowering! I have to initiate dream sharing meetings with my friends”.

My inner Tree of Life is thriving

In their physical form the four elements are essential for all the living on Mother Earth. The elements connect us all to each other, we all share them, they are parts of us and we are parts of them. In that very sense obviously we are all one.

Coming to the forest the truth of this became more evident as ever before for me.

Standing with my bare feet deep in the mud, inhaling the humid, oxygen rich air in the midst of the energetic vegetation I became a living part of the forest, my Tree of Life had rooted itself in my body and in the forest.

Sensing the metaphorical characteristics of the elements I feel supported, protected, rooted in and nourished by the earth.. The transforming, creative power of the water flows along the branches to all the leaves and meets the solar energy that feeds my inner fire, the power of my intentions and passions for growing. High up in the top of my tree I meet the air which brings me the overview of my on-going life, the visions and a sense of limitless freedom.

That´s my dancing Tree of Life.

When dancing with my fellow travellers in the evenings, the voices of the forest accompanies our music.

 Yes I am dancing with the heart of the world.

The teaching of the visions

I see the blue gleaming celestial body of Mother Earth floating in cosmos and suddenly she lies in my lap, like a little child needing support and protection. When I hold her I feel love and compassion in my heart.

Then I am slowly sucked into Mother Earth, I sense her soft, warm, protecting inner self.  My heart is filled with gratitude and faith.

The roots of the giant Tree of Life embraces the Earth. The branches are covered with flowers, birds, animals and people. All the living on earth is there.

Then all the people are spread over the Earth and everyone has a minor Life of Tree inside.

From an airplane I look down on the rainforest. I see miles after miles of green canopy, like a green ocean. Coming closer the green ocean relieves an enormous variation of all kind of plants. I sense the “ecological” energy, how the plants interact with each other and with the insects, birds and animal that live there. Suddenly, instead of trees I see lots of people all with inner Trees of Lives standing there, like a forest. They have all different needs of protection, support, nutrition, water, solar energy and space. In addition, I sense their needs of expansion or contraction, their feelings of love, affection, hatred, fear, joy and sorrow, their needs of stability or change, their passions and intentions. I can “see” their visions and dreams like thin veils surrounding the treetops. I am aware of a whole range of aspects of what it is to be human and to live connected to each other. The life energy of the Trees varies, from very strong to almost extinct.

An inner voice urges me “reforest your people at home!”

In conclusion

I have understood that profound political, economical and social changes can only be sustainable if they are based on ”grounded spirituality”.

I see that the metaphors of Tree of Life and the four elements can be very useful for me when I try to explain what I mean with “grounded spirituality” as I go on with my dream changing work at home. To do it by dancing is a good idea.

I am very grateful for the teaching of the Indians. The journey was really life changing. I want to thank the excellent leaders of the journey; Cristina Serrano, David Tucker, Susannah and YaÁcov Darling Khan. They treated us with respect, love and wisdom. Their leadership was clear and resolute when needed. Simultaneously they were also parts of the group. To dance together brought us closer to one other. They contributed, according to their individual experiences and knowledge, to deepen our understanding of the spiritual world of the Indians and the social and political situation in Ecuador.

What next?

An article about my journey has been published in the local newspaper. An invitation to join the network “A Sustainable Life” was included in the article. People are taking contact and many are interested to join. My intention is to create a local forum were we can discuss what is important to us, share our dreams and visions for our lives and local community that can be environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling.

Vive la selva!

Margus Mägi

Susannah and Y'a'Acov will be leading their next journey to the Amazon with the Pachamama Alliance next January. For more information go to the journeys section of .

All the Earth is Sacred
“I like to share with you that your music “All the Earth is Sacred” is a great supporter in my life. Some weeks ago I bought the songs just in a time of change, loss and grief.

The songs give me a new form of praying. For a long time singing and drumming is my way of prayer.

I love your songs, they touch my heart deeply and I will use them for singing in my groups, if you agree with. Do you?”

Andrea Pilchowski

Susannah says: “YES! That is what they are made for, thank you!”

Please use this link to find out more about the CD and to order it.

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.