School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Rainbow Hammocks and the mystery

By Susannah
I got home last week from a visit to my parents, to find out that my ticket to Switzerland had been booked a day earlier than it should have been, which gave me a very short turn around time. Before that Id been teaching Phoenix (thank you to all the Phoenix dancers for a beautiful and profound journey) and I was longing for a couple of days quietly at home before setting off again. So I was not pleased when I got home to get the message from the guy who books our tickets that hed made a mistake, had only just realised it, and that it was too late to rectify it. In fact I felt defeated, unsupported and really upset.

And then I felt my psyche adapting to the new reality. I called in help to do the things I wasn’t going to have time to do, found a local hairdresser to cut my hair, which had suddenly become really important, and got packed. Arriving in Switzerland a day earlier meant that I had an extra night and day with Ya’Acov, and gave me the opportunity to dance with him in Basel, where he was doing a one-day workshop on the Sunday, called Ascension, a journey through the roots, trunk and branches of the Tree of Life.

It’s a long time since I danced a class with Ya’Acov, and I’ve never done a workshop with him before. It was beautiful. So happy to be in the hands of a master teacher and DJ and receive Movement Medicine simply as a participant. I’m grateful to all the dancers who greeted me so warmly and then let me get on with dancing, and to the assistant team who held the space so surely that I could really let go. One thing that Ya’Acov said several times really resonated with me. He invited us to feel the internal movement that is going on, even when we are sitting, and then explained how, in the dance, we are just getting out of the way to allow this natural movement of life to move us. And then he talked about the decision and commitment needed to keep moving, if we are to move through and with everything, as there are also parts of us that don’t want or don’t know how to move with life. Oh yes.

As many of you know, my mother has been living with cancer for several years now. She’s been so gracious, steady and wise, I’m full of respect for her. She’s refused to make cancer into the enemy, has been clear that her body is not a battle field, and has several times turned from seeming to be on the brink to coming back into full vital life. The last time this happened, over a year ago, she feels that it was her surrender to dying that allowed a new lease of life. Now, she’s at the point of saying “no more chemo” and we’re facing her death square on, on a new level. She’s weaker than before, but magnificent in her spirit. When she was first ill, and many people of all faiths were praying for her, she imagined a “rainbow hammock” which held her and sustained her, each different coloured thread of which was someone’s prayer and love for her.  It’s still important, now, as a support for the next part of the journey. The image at the top of this article was painted by my god daughter, Lua, for my Mum.

I’m aware of how the workshop Initiation has prepared me in many ways for this journey of accompanying my Mum in her dying process, and, at the same time, how deep and unknown this journey is. I’m grateful not to be frightened of my own heart, as I let the waves of my own love and grief through, celebrating my mother’s life and receiving and giving love. And I’m so grateful that my Dad is there, strong and awake and taking such beautiful care of everything, day by day.  And I am so grateful for all the love and support my Mum and I receive from so many of you.  You are part of that rainbow hammock.

So, dancing in Basel I had much to dance for and with. To get down into the roots and pray and ask and give thanks for support, love, wisdom and guidance for my Mum, my Dad, for all my family and for myself was powerful and beautiful. In the afternoon, as we “lifted the lid” to the heavens, I was dancing with a beautiful elder, and suddenly, quite spontaneously, we two and everyone else simultaneously raised our arms and cried out in a huge burst of love, gratitude and joy with the heavens. I felt the sky raining down blessing on each of us, for all of our relations and for all we are connected to. Thank you life, thank you Ya’Acov, thank you everyone!

A few months ago I asked my Mum, whose name is Elizabeth Darlington, what she’d discovered in her life that she would like to pass on to the next generations. She thought about it for a few weeks and then said; “I’ve discovered that the story we tell ourselves about who we are and what life is like, has a huge influence on our identity, our sense of belonging and our life experience”. Wow. A few weeks later again, she told me that she didn’t really believe in God but she did believe in the mystery, and that what really is behind life and the universe is far beyond and far more mysterious than we have even begun to fathom.

I bow to the mystery of life, including the mystery of “mistakes when booking travel tickets” and I look forward to sharing dance floors with many of you soon, as the Long Dance approaches, and, the other end of the summer, Initiation sends out its call for those wishing to bring their life cycle, from birth to death into the transformative fire of the dance.

The Summer Long Dance will take place June 28th to July 4th. This year, we are honoured to have Manari Ushigua Kaji, a native of the Sapara nationality from the Ecuadorian Amazon, visiting us. He’s a beautiful being from a tribe of the most loving, funny, caring people we have ever met. During his years as a tribal and political leader, he has been the President of the Sápara Nationality of Ecuador, the Binational Coordinator of the Sapara of Ecuador and Peru and the Vice National Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of Ecuador called CONAIE. We met him this past January in his home village in the Amazon and we are delighted that he will join us,

Love and courage to us all,



June 2014

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.