School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
Issue: Spring Extra Movement Medicine Newsletter

Two-bus Syndrome
By Roland
You've been waiting at the bus stop for what seems a long time when round the corner comes two buses - one directly behind the other. This syndrome now seems to have happened with the Movement Medicine newsletters.

The reason for this is a little mundane.  By mistake I left a couple of articles out of the March newsletter and then another two articles came along and it looked as if there was enough material for a special edition. And what good stories they are.

I can assure you that the next edition of this newsletter will not arrive until April and please do sumbit any articles you want to put forward for inclusion in good time.

First there is an article written by Virginie Rastello Longet about her Movement Medicine Journey over the course of a year and is a powerful account of discovery and transformation.

The story by Kristin Glenewinkel is another article in the ongoing series being submitted by Movement Medicine apprenctices on the theme of the Environment and Social Justice.

Catherine Wright's story is a very humourous and very moving account of a recent Movement Medicine class that she taught in Edinburgh.

Finally there is a wonderfully powerful story from Maaianne Knuth from Zimbabwe about a workshop she attended in South Africa run by Caroline Carey.

I've also included boh Susannah and Ya'Acov's articles from the email sent last week in case you missed them.

Best wishes from a surprisingly sunny Devon.

Roland

Journey of Acceptance and Transformation
By Virginie Rastello Longet
My journey with Movement Medecine started in November 2012. And wow, what a year it has been since I first joined the dancefloor with Yaacov and Susannah!

I first joined MM with Love Stories  with Susannah, literally weeks after walking away from a toxic relationship where I had lost myself.

In this intensive workshop, I felt such love, such care, such openess and acceptance for each of us to be just who we are, the way we are, whatever we are going through. The invitation to just open ourselves to the truth of the moment and to just let it be, let it teach us, to open ourselves to what it had to tell us was so new to me. I realised I could freely open myself to my emotions, cry all the tears that needed to be cried, just give it to the dance and let the healing take place, trusting my inner dancer knew just what I needed and would do the job...

I think I cried for 48 hours non stop, tears of sadness, tears of regrets, tears of anger and fear, but also tears of gratitude, tears of relief, tears of feeling home and whole again, of understanding deep in my body, heart and soul what this love story I had just ended had brought in my life, had taught me, how it had contributed to making me the personn I am today, and what lessons I could take from it.

It also allowed me to get a deeper perspective of the stories I had told myself about love and relationships since I was a little girl. All these believes that had made me accepte this kind of relationship, that had led me to forget and abandon myself in the process. I could see it very clearly, with a deep understanding, I could see that story running through generations of the women in my lineage, the stories of male supremacy, of abuse, of hiding your female power, of not shining too much and hiding your gifts and treasures, of not knowing your own value, of being afreaid of your own power, of hiding yourself in fear of dying if you showed who you truly are....

Deep inside of me, I could feel a healing had begun to take place, an understanding of where I come from, a clear sight of my patterns and limitations, and the possibility of choice. I could start to write another story, one where I would be the author, thankful for the previous chapters, hopeful and trustful for the next chapters ahead of me.

In March, I danced Circle and Sword  with Yaacov. I met with my Yang energy, with my inner divine fire, that powerful warrior of light energy that had scared me so much, that I associated so much with male supremacy, with anger and domination. I made peace with that strength both in me and around me, I understood how blocking that Yang energy in my life had led me to forget myself and to lose myself  so much, how my circle and its boundaries were blurred, how I was not being responsible enough for myself. In that deep Haka strength, deep inside my womb, I could feel how I can grow my power without oppressing others, I could see how I can have boundaries without being selfish, I could sense how I could make my own choices and be responsible for them without fearing to disappoint everybody else...And I could feel the bliss of balancing the Yin and the Yang in my life, the force of chosing consciously which one I could invoke for help and guidance, the liberation of welcoming them both with gratitude and respect, leaving the old stories of good and bad, male and female, strong and weak opposition, seeing it as a whole package that i can welcome and play with joyfully...

Reviewing the past intense and painfull months I had gone through, Yaacov's mantra kept dancing in my heart and mind : Here I am. And I'm still Dancing.

In september, I joined Initiation. Dancing deeply with the elements,my roots, my ancestors, my stories. Sharing the bliss, the joy, the tears, the astonishment, the gratitude, the love,with so many amazing and courageous companions. Connecting deeply with my vocation, allowing myself to accept it with joy, gratitude and courage. Receiving so many messages and blessings from my ancestors and from Spirit. One day, in the dance, I could see all the males and females in my lineage standing behind me, telling me that all the gifts I had received they handed to me to share to the world, that this medecine was in the family for a very long time and was very precious, that they had looked over it for centuries, that it had been placed in me for a reason and that they counted on me to take care of it, to offer it and dedicate it to the world, for they had done their best during their life time and that it was now my turn to continue the offering, to channel that loving energy.

During the whole workshop I felt so deeply whole and home, so profoundly connected to the spirit of love, so alive, so connected to the element, so human. And so deeply connected to my dancing companions, and to humanity as a whole. I could review my whole life, make sense to all I had been throught, make peace with what was ready to go, aknowledge what still needed to be seen and danced,  allow the possibility of not knowing what next but of trusting life would show me the way.

I could welcome myself, as I am now, with all there is, accepting and receiving myself with love and respect, with understanding and compassion. Accepting to see myself in all I am instead of seeing myself in all I lack .

And feeling so blessed and filled with gratitude to have found such a wonderful community, such amazing companions to share the journey with. I could really feel that I am not alone, there are companions along the way, I dont need to fear being so « different », I am not alone.

I came back feeling blessed, filled with love and gratitude, aware a brand new path had opened for me, allowing myself to dare to dream and dare to manifest my dreams.

In November 2013, I joined Source with Susannah. It had been exactly one year since I had walked away from my relationship, and since I started dancing with movement medecine. and God what a year it had been !

I joined the workshop with the intention to make it a ritual that would close my year of grieving and with the wish to open my heart again and be ready to welcome love fully in my life again.

Meeting with the divine mother and father, I could aknowledge everything I had learned in that year of grieving, and I realised I had learned to be a good mother and father to myself, that i had cleaned some layers of my attachment and depency in relationships. I could sense that sparkling energy of vibrant life in me, and how this energy had filled my everyday life in the past year.

I sensed also in my body how my dance had changed, how it was easier for me to share with the others, to allow myself to dance in my own clearly marked circle when I needed, to be clearer about what I want and don't want, to plerk without fear or shame, to give myself and the others that beautiful YES energy, to surrender to the dancer and just let myself be danced....

How transformative, deep and conscious this journey has been so far. How much it has connected me to love, to spirit, to the sheer joy and bliss of being human and of being alive, to the power of intention, to the strength of community, to the inner wisdom we all carry,and to so much more....

One of he most amazing discovery I have made along the way is that this is not a learning process. For me it has been a journey of opening myself more and more, surrendering, accepting to be broken open, finding doors, opening them, and reconnecting to ancient wisdom that is already there, and just allowing this wisdom and knowledge to speak through me.

I don't have to learn anything, as a matter of fact I don't have to want or do anything either.

I just need to open myself and surrender with trust and let it speak and happen through me while I danse. The seeds are already there, planted in me through generations and generations. My only job is to open the door, let the light in, and it will blossom and offer its fruits to the world.

I am getting ready to join Journey of Empowerment this year and feel so blessed and joyful at the idea of dancing through the rest of my life, opening doors, discovering new worlds, meeting amazing companions, sharing the pure bliss of being alive and dancing !

For all these blessings, I wish to thank you all, Susannah and Yaacov, and all the community of dancers, for making all this possible. May our dreams find their dance in this life and inspire more and more people to find their own dance, and dare to dream their own dreams !

 

Virginie Rastello Longet

MM Environmental and Social Justice Group
By Kristin Glenewinkel
I want to share a bit of my journey here, about purpose and our engagement in the world. When I started the apprenticeship in 2012 I was told that it was about finding a deeper connection to my purpose of life. Why am I here and what is important for me, what really matters?

We danced with these questions and in addition did the "Awakening the Dreamer“ symposium. During this process we danced into the future and met the children of a possible future. I was surrounded by children with different skin colors; brown skin--dark skinned mostly. These children were so full of joy and radiance!

They told me that I had lived a life for social justice and that I had dedicated my heart to the rainbow nation, a nation that doesn’t exclude any colors.  They were very loving and thanked me as their ancestor and also saw me wheeping and acknowledged my hardship. Coming back from this journey into the future I was overwhelmed and very scared. What was this about? Was this my life purpose? Would I live and dedicate my life to a rainbow nation, to a socially just humanity where skin color doesn't make any difference? "Oh no," I said to myself, "I cant do this. Thats too much. Look at me, blue eyes and very light skinned, how would I ever make a difference?" 

I shared these feelings with my peer group members and they were accepting and gentle with me. One lady said to me, "Do you know that you are already living this dream, that you have created your little rainbow nation at home? Can you see that you embody these values on a very physical level?"  I was shocked. My partner is African-American, our son has brown skin. We do live in this constellation and face issues of racism.  My son struggels with the fact that his hair is different than the others kid's hair. I never considered my commitment to the relationship with my man a political statement. I was simply living my life as it was. I wasn't aware how much energy it took and how many emotions went through me or how many discussions I had been in, fighting for more awareness about the subtle racism we deal with every day.

The next step in my Apprenticeship was to accept where I was;  to look at my life and slowly acknowledge and embrace the situation I live in. I want to become more aware of the one I already am. I need to somehow come deeper into my own skin, my own being. I always thought I must build a big school in Africa and have a great organization helping people, working against racism. I might go in this direction one day but for me at the moment it is important to simply embody the one I am, to stand behind myself when I am walking down the streets with my family, particularly when I end up in a discussion about racism and social injustice. This is a slow proces and my mind keeps telling me that simply living the life I have is not enough. There must be some organized protest and big campaign happening! I respect this drive inside me and I also sense that it really touches people if i fully stand my ground, fully stand for what I love. I remember a situation were I sat in the tram with my family and a old lady watched us. She looked at us with resistance, I almost could read her thoughts, "what does this woman want with this black man, look at them!" Usually I would try to disconnect or start thinking negatively about this woman and how preoccupied people are. In this situation I started to feel my body, to make sure I was fully there. Breathing I see my man and I feel my commitment and my love for him. I come into this moment fully and stand behind myself and once we got off the tram the woman followed us with her eyes and I saw a little smile when I smiled at her.

 I believe deeply that skin color doesnt matter and that we are all beautiful human beings and as long as skin color matters in a job interview, crossing a boarder, standing at the security check or being watched in a shop I know there is no peace. As long as human beings treat each other without respect for the way they are made, in beautiful, different colors, how will we ever find space to solve our real human problems?

I learned that being fully embodied is enough to live my purpose and it doesn't have to be big, it doesnt have to be written in the newspaper. I am the one I am and I stand next to my man and my child. This is my contribution and I know many, many human beings are standing tall and living their purpose like this every day. So the formal apprenticeship is over and I am becoming a Movement Medicine teacher. Often I see the children of the future greeting me and waving at me, making sure that I feel my life purpose close to my heart.

Movement Medicine Mesa Magic at the Mela
By Catherine Wright
You might think…. all you new (and not so new now if you include me!) Movement Medicine teachers and facilitators That there are certain prerequisites for Movement Medicine. Everyone should have read the brochure ‘What you see is what you get’ Everyone must know what they are in for. It has to be private. Movement Medicine is by no means a performance.

Last year, I offered a 'taster' session of Movement Medicine at an event called the Mela.
It is held in Loanhead Miners Welfare club.
Last year the session was in a little room with about twenty dancers. It was sweet and tender.

And somehow the medicine is in the movement, not in the prerequisites!!

I thought I knew what I was doing. (Ha ha ha said God)
This year.... with about three minutes warning.... (literally) I was asked to come out of the didgeridoo workshop on which I was a participant in order to do my session in the main hall. Which was huge, with dozens of people hanging around.
I was linked into the main sound system (no traktor).
So for the first five minutes I was (as politely and encouragingly as I could) asking people to either join in or leave.....
(Movement Medicine not really being a performance practice.....)
It was a bit like the proverbial herding of cats

“ Ummmm …..If you are going to stay… that’s just GREAT! And (for health and safety reasons)….. it would be great if you took off your shoes and socks…..
actually the socks are probably more important than the shoes from the safety perspective?! Ummmmm"

All very very outside of my comfort zone.

OF course lots of people DIDN'T leave

But then, the magic happened.
Movement Medicine arrived in Loanhead Miners Welfare Club.
Women in saris
Children
Big men and women
Small men and women
Babies
We all did the MESA practice
And invited in the elements
And shook our booty
And dropped into a tender receiving of the echo.
(There was not a dry eye in the house)

Not quite sure what I have started.
Afterwards I received several invitations to do rather unusual MM classes….

But do you know?
I too felt proud of myself
And proud of our practice


I am a Dancing Soul
Maaianne Knuth from Zimbabwe
At the end of November I went to Johannesburg for a workshop with Caroline Carey. It was a Movement Medicine workshop called the Circle, the Fire and the Phoenix. I almost did not go - because both my husband and my mother were traveling at that time. I have never left my children without one of the three of us present.

Phoenix Dance

My sister looked after them but my son was Very Unhappy. "I am too young to be left alone, Mom" is what he told me. His beautiful 5 year old unhappy self. But I went. I missed the Friday night session, but I went for Saturday and Sunday.

Am I ever glad I did. It was a Gateway. An enormous gateway.

After 80 odd days of dancing I entered a river of sacred dance that infused my whole being and opened me to go deeper, wider, wilder ;-), higher.

Day 1

We danced with our masculine and female impulses. Feeling them, experiencing them, expressing them. Noticing how they breathe differently in us. Although I am a strong woman, my masculine felt very awkward. Rusty almost. In the dance I realised that my masculine has not felt so very welcome in my being -not so very welcome at all. And so I began to dance my he'ness :). My warrior, protector, defender.

He is pretty awesome.

And in welcoming him in me I experienced that we can dance together, our feminine and masculine. We can have fun. My feminine is gorgeous, effortless, and strong. And she is now ready to invite my masculine to play, to frolick, to rock this house.

Connected & True...

Sometimes we were asked to dance with another person. I noticed how often I felt swayed to dance like my partner. In mirroring and following them I felt like I was giving them something, but I also lost something of my Self. I worked with it throughout the first day, and by the end I was able to hold space in a group dance for an energy I felt was missing. Instead of being swept away by the predominant energy of our group, I expressed the un-expressed.

It opened the question that still travels with me: How to stay True to my energy and myself, without disconnecting from the Other?

How to stay true to my Impulse and yet deeply connected to the Other?

That feels like a pretty fundamental question for all of us. I love dropping questions into the dance. I remember the image I have had of a question creating a small explosion in the fabric of the universe - opening, opening, opening. Without questions we stay closed. Questions Open. Dropping questions into the dance can create a right whirlwind of openings. And in the movement, clarity can arise. Almost as if by magic.

Dancing with the ancestors

During the afternoon of the first day we danced with our ancestors. First we danced with the feminine line, then the male.

There I was dancing, dancing. Happy, excited to be in a room full of dancing souls. Caroline invites us   a step back into the river of time. To step back into the past, to step back into the lineage of women who stand behind us. I dance my body back and WHAM!

I am engulfed in a river of grief. It came out of left field and utterly stunned me. Grief so immense. So so immense. Tears rushed through me, weighed me down. I felt like I would never ever ever stop crying. I was crying the tears of all the women in my line - and there was much to grieve. I did not see the abuse, but I could feel it. Downtrodden, abused, hurting women.  

And then the anger rose. Oh my god did it rise. Still with many tears. Perhaps still with grief. Grief and Rage. Such immense rage. I wanted to rip someone’s throat out. I was like a volcano erupting with wild redhot fury.

“Keep moving.” Caroline was probably speaking to us all, but it felt like she was speaking to me only.

“Keep moving.”

I moved, and moved, and moved. I feared this grief and rage being with me for the whole weekend. It was all consuming.

At a certain point she asked us - “What do you want to express, that may not has been expressed in your line yet?” I don’t really know whether the music changed or not, I just knew that I had to express my essence, our essence.

And I positively Exploded!

My dance became a fire work of energy. I bounded through the space, EXPRESSING my female line. Our beauty. Our grace. Our power. Our Joy. Yes here it was. Joy was here too. It came out, like the sun comes out after having been covered and hidden utterly and totally by thick layers of clouds.

The dance became a commitment, an affirmation, a baptism into expression. Into not stepping back, not stepping down as subservient wife or woman or slave.

It became a commitment to LOVE this world Freely whether it is returned or not.

Love, Express, Explode.

In the end I broke loose, broke free. It was as if I was released from old story. Woman. Temptress. Whore. Weak Sex.

Love! Love Freely. Love the man dancing opposite you. Love with no fear. No shyness. Be Free.

I ended the dance spent. and yet full of strength. The pain of my line had been expressed - I am sure there is more to come but a big big release happened that afternoon.

Thank you Caroline. Thank you Mothers before me.

We repeated the same with the male line.

In this dance I was holding space for the masculine. I picked up violence and anger. Rage unexpressed. I sensed it, but it did not take me over in the same way as I had experienced with the female line.

I touched the stiffness of Farfar (my grandfather) and many others. Stiff. Stiff. Rigor Mortis. I shook it loose. Shook it loose. And then as I touched the lineage I realised the overwhelming sense of impotence. An impotence that translated into a desire to control the female, leading to beating down on woman. Both destroyed. Man and Woman. An utter mess, an utter loose-loose. That we can now choose to step away from. Impotence and rage. Here I go, dancing through you.

Reclaiming my power. Our Power. Committing to stand as a warrior with integrity to protect and create safe space for the feminine. I cried here. And to keep my heart open.

From this day.

To keep moving. To dance it. To dance it.

Day 2

Words fail me UTTERLY

It was bigger than I think my words will be able to capture.

This day we danced the Circle, the Fire and the Phoenix. Much was released in me, surely - and I have no idea what it might have been. The masculine, holding the feminine, allowing the void to cleanse us.

Let me be a little clearer here....

Caroline invited us into two circles - the outer circle was the masculine, the warrior, holding space, protecting the feminine which was dancing in the inner circle. The feminine in constant motion, allowing the universe to keep flowing moving moving moving, closer to the void, closer to the mystery. Masculine holding space, for feminine to move, flow, move, flow, touch the void.

You will know”, Caroline said, when you need to be in the centre. In the centre was the void. Which I guess is both the big “I am” where the individual dies... and perhaps is reborn more whole. That is what it felt like.

I went into the centre and lost control. My body shook, I danced like a wild creature. No longer woman or man. Simply a Being releasing, letting go, letting go, releasing, shaking loose. And then back again – holding space, as masculine for the feminine and for the mysterious release that was happening in the centre, and then feminine keeping it all in motion, keep moving, keep moving, let it all flow, let it all move. We were to follow our flow and our process, and just make sure that each circle was at all times strong enough. So we surrendered to the process, and attended to holding the whole.

I was more anxious on the outer circle in my masculine energy. Wanting to make sure everyone did it just right. Ah there is a gap over the, someone fill it! After a while I relaxed a little more into it, and began to trust our collective capacity to hold the circle. Feminine circle felt, again, effortless and sweet although tiresome because there was more movement, more moving in it. The centre was terrifying and ecstatic at the same time. Letting go... of control.

I have no idea how long we danced this circle of life. Two hours? Three?

At the end we were tired, happy, connected. Free. Even if just for a little while - we touched an essence of freedom.

The days beyond

I returned home, and changed all my playlists. Old music that had not made it into my playlists was found. So much beautiful sacred music was found, and I dance now with a spirit that was opened in that workshop with the Circle, the Fire and the Phoenix. I noticed the shamanic influence on some of the music (of the CDs that I had bought in Joburg) and I cried with joy. Two streams of mine finding a place of connection. The following weekend I went to a Ceremony in South Africa. In it I was initiated as a healer. My healing salve is through creating Space. The Universe is Space and I open the valves to enable Space, more Space, more Space. The dance is one of my tools. My laughter is another. I laugh and space is created around me. I dance and space is created in my cells. I dance with others, and we make space together.

I write with great gratitude for the doorway that Caroline offered. I feel like I came home during that weekend in Johannesburg, and I am now getting to know my home. This body, the eternal movement of life, and the still point at the centre. I am dancing with them. Something was awoken. I continue to dance with the ancestors. Perhaps because we opened the floodgates of grief, the powerful women in my line have now been able to join me in the dance too. Or the power of the feminine. I am sure the same women who were downtrodden also held so much power. I dance with it now. I dance with my masculine. It’s strength and its shadow. And I am experiencing that awful dance of everyone losing. I am learning that I can’t ‘fix’ it through judgement and control, but as I learn to accept them all and love them in my heart something in me moves.

I am becoming more free in this beautiful dance that is life, that is life, that is soul, that is mother, that is father.

I am a Dancing Soul.

Aren’t we all?

In December I made a commitment to my self to keep dancing every day for a 1000 daysTo keep moving. To Dance it All.

 

Caroline is teaching in South Africa this month - March.  For more details go to: http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/ecstatic-dance-calendar.php



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 www.pachamama.org,  (see their TAKE ACTION page). Come to or support the Long Dance, which supports the Pachamama Alliance. http://schoolofmovementmedicine.com/long-dance.php

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

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 www.pachamama.org.

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 www.pachamama.org.

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