School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
Issue:

Best laid plans
By Roland
"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." This little phrase comes from a poem by Robert Burns written in Scots but is often paraphrased in English as "The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry" and was made famous by John Steinbeck when he used it for the title of his novel ‘Of Mice and Men.’ Our plans, which have gone a little awry, are the preparations for the School of Movement Medicine Brochure for 2015.

We actually began the process for planning the 2015 schedule in the Autumn of 2013 to allow enough time to book venues for the larger workshops and then consult with local organisers about dates. 

Well that’s the theory.  In fact in practice it’s never quite like that.  Just when the schedule seems fixed something crops up and we have to change and one change leads to another and then that new change leads to another change. I think you get the picture.  Finally, and hopefully by the time we need to print our brochure, the schedule is finalised.

But you will have guessed from the title of this article, it doesn’t always work out that way.  This year we had planned to send out the brochure at the beginning of September, which meant printing it during the summer and getting the design finished mid July. Then all that should be necessary is a bit of proof reading and it can go off to the printer.

Sometimes it is only when you can see the whole picture that you realise that something is wrong.  In this case if was the whole fully designed brochure. Only then, when looking at the proofs, it became clear that the new format for the ongoing group next year didn’t fit with the rest of the schedule.  For various reasons printing couldn’t be delayed, so when you receive our new brochure you will find a separate flier in it with all correct updated information for next year’s ongoing group.  It’s not ideal, but we are pleased with the end result.  Next year’s group will be ‘Journey of Empowerment’ led by Susannah (with module 2 co-led by Ya'Acov) and not a group led by Ya’Acov as had been planned.  We do realise that this will be a disappointment to some of you and we do hope to make the content of the new course available as separate modules at some time in the future.  We are planning to run the Movement Medicine vision quest in the summer of 2016 as individual module.

We have also noticed that the information for the Phoenix Retreat in May 2015 states that Susannah will be running the workshop whereas Ya'Acov will be.

The brochure will be sent out to everyone on our postal mailing list in the first week of September.  If you are not on the list and would like to be, please drop me an email at roland@rwevents.co.uk.

Also scheduled for September is the launch of our new website which will go live at 12.20 (UK time) on 29th September.  See Susannah’s article ‘Growing our Movement Medicine Community’ for more details about this.

From September 4th – 15th Susannah and Ya’Acov will be teaching the Initiation workshop at the Rill Estate.  This 10 day journey through the life cycles is taking participants through all the stages from birth to death, and is one of Susannah and Ya’Acovs’ oldest, most tested workshops and is highly recommended.  We have a few places left.  Please contact Roland for an application form if you are interested in joining. roland@rwevents.co.uk

Later in September, 24th to 28th, Ya’Acov will be leading the Poetry of Presence workshop with the highly accomplished lucid dream teacher Charlie Morley.   This is also a residential workshop at Rill Estate.  Lucid dreaming practice aims to help us sleep better, dream more lucidly and wake up with more awareness, clarity and joy. It is a precursory skill to Tibetan dream Yoga, an ancient esoteric practice of transformational lucid dreaming.  There is no application form necessary for this workshop.  If you want to book please contact Roland at roland@rwevents.co.uk

And we are now taking bookings for the Residential workshop Dancing with the Heart of the World which will be taught by Susannah and Ya’Acov at Waldhaus, Switzerland form 17 – 22 December.  To book, again contact Roland at roland@rwevents.co.uk.  There will be translation into German for this workshop.

September Workshops

16th  Bringing the Dance back Home.   Susannah will lead the next School of Movement Medicine webinar.   You can book directly through the link.  The cost is £35 for 10 live webinars and access to all the past webinars to follow as often and whenever you want.  If you have further questions contact Roland +44 1803 762255 Roland@RWEvents.co.uk.

In October the Webinar will be run by for the first time by Caroline Carey.  The date for this is October 14th

19 -21     Meta-Magic. Cape Town, SA .   Caroline Carey is returning to South Africa to teach for the School.  Contact:   Jayne + 27 737487743  info@movementmedicine.co.za

20 - 21     Antwerp, Belgium. David Mooney will be running his first workshop for the School as a guest teacher.  He will be teaching Fundamentals and Equinox Prayers.       Contact:  Luc + 32 61 32 99 20 luc@owc.be

26 -28      Jo'burg, SA .  Caroline Carey continues her South African tour teaching Bridging Meta Magic Contact: Ryan +27825520619  joburg@movementmedicine.co.za

Gateways of the Mind Conference

Ya'Acov will be running a session at this conference.  For more details click here

Gateways Of The Mind takes place in London on the 8th & 9th November and offers a transformational weekend of presentations, practical sessions, panel debates, meditational soundscapes, art and workshops.

A gateway of the mind is a methodology to enable us to understand our deeper self, the cosmos and the nature of reality. There are many gateways of the mind, including lucid dreaming, out of body experiences, shamanic practices, meditation, dance to name a few.

Wishing you a wonderful late summer & Autumn Equinox!

Roland

Letter from Suannah
By Susannah
Dear Movement Medicine community, I want to thank you for all the support, understanding and love that I have received in my journey with my mother’s journey. She died on the 11th July after over 3 years journey with cancer.

I left the Long Dance early to go and be with her in the hospice where she was being cared for, as the end was approaching rapidly. Thank you to everyone there who supported me to go with such good heart, knowing that I left the Long Dance in such good hands and hearts.

Those last days in the hospice with her were infinitely precious and I was aware of all of us being supported by love from many of you. Thank you. And a big thank you from my whole family to all those who contributed a gift to the hospice for my birthday. There are some words I spoke at my mother’s funeral, together with some extracts from my diary, about my experience at the end of this article.

As we approach this year’s Initiation I’m aware of how much of a human initiation I am going through now catalysed by the death of my mother. My own sense of this journey of life from birth to death, which is reflected in the microcosm of the workshop Initiation, is already being affected by this change in my place in my own lineage. At the same time, I’m aware of how the work with death over the years in Initiation supported me and gave me more ground for the journey with my mother, which has been dancing within me for the last years.

So I look forward to seeing many of you over the autumn and sharing the preciousness of being human, being in a body, being able to share the nectar of the dance and life itself,

With my love,

Susannah

Here is a picture of Susannah's mum Elizabeth Darlington


 

Some excerpts from my diary:

So the Long Dance begins (Monday early afternoon) and we set sail into the mystery of how these days and nights unfurl and deepen into the ceremonial heart. We knew, going into this Long Dance, that my mother’s death journey and the Long Dance 2014 were converging in an unpredictable way, and that I might have to leave. Everyone knew, and I’d made sure all my roles were covered. On the Wednesday morning after two nights and days of ceremony, after listening to some exquisite early morning poetry about the “strength of your fragile heart” and Kristin leading us in the Tara Mantra, Mark comes to tell me that there is a phone call from my father. Oh god. My mother is having breaks in her breathing (apnea) and it seems she may well be on her way. It’s time to go. We gather everyone together and I say my tearful farewells to the Long Dancers and to Ya’Acov. Many tears all round. I pack, and Volker takes us to Bristol station. We get the next train up north with a minute to spare, and sit at a table with a sweet young man who works with trees in Ireland and who is not afraid of our emotion. We read the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Ya’Acov’s Mum, Angella, picks us up at the station and takes us to the hospice.

As I greet Mum she opens her eyes and gives me her radiant smile. Her eyes, and the light and clarity of the space behind them are so, so clear and beautiful. That’s all I can say: ”You’re so beautiful!” I’m so pleased I am here, and that there is nothing to do now but be here, and be with Mum and Dad and Reuben.

Dad tells me that a few hours before, she had asked; “Am I dying? Is that what is actually happening now?” and he’d said, “Yes, I think, from what they are all saying, you are”. She said, “Oh, thank god. I am so ready”.

I felt that she was almost longing to go, like someone getting to a door they really want to go through, but can't quite work out yet how to fit themselves through. As she said, “you don’t get a chance to practice dying”.

Over the next 10 days, Mum went on a slow journey in waves through what I called the labour of dying. Even though it was, in the main, very gentle and peaceful, she was working.

I’m aware of her labour, both on the level of the psyche, sorting out the letting go’s and responsibilities, and on the level of breathing, the fight for the breath. And I know that Mum was never frightened of labour, and I felt I needed to support her to do this work, this labour of dying, even when it was not comfortable for her or for us. I am grateful that the hospice always asked her whether she wanted pain relief, and always respected her choice, which was to have nothing except her anti nausea drug until very close to the end…..

Friday

We had a good laugh this morning together when she said that she thought we needed her more than she needed us and I agreed, and promised to try not to fuss over her too much, which she was so tender with me about, stroking my cheek.

Saturday

Elizabeth had a sprightly morning yesterday, in which she ate ice cream with gusto and was very articulate about many things. Sharon Darlington (my brother's wife) was here with us and gave me some reading specs she'd got for me. Somehow she'd got the design exactly right. Mum said "Ah! The specs have been re-united with their owner" and I explained that these were new ones Sharon had chosen for me. Then, after a bit of silence, Mum said simply, as if she was identifying a species of plant: "Intuitive empathy between sisters in law".

Later that day, she entered a very different state, and seemed to be going. The nurses felt it was unlikely she would still be alive in the morning. At some point she said very clearly to Dad and me: "I want to let go" and then after a while: "Its so lovely". This time, she came back from the brink. Mum says in the morning, “I think all this care and attention is much too early” by which I take it to mean that she does not think she is dying yet. I’m aware that we’re all having to calibrate and re-calibrate our sense of timing, which (for me) keeps lurching one way and then the other. I’m aware that Mum, though she is saying she is ready to go, is on some levels, and not in others. This whole dying dance feels to me, on the one hand very slow and gentle, and, on the other hand, ludicrously fast. I’m not surprised it’s hard for Mum to fully realise it too, just how close to death she was last night.

Ya’Acov arrives. He got home from the Long Dance, unpacked, slept, dealt with things that had to be done, re-packed and made it up here by evening. Wow. I feel so held. As we surrender deeper into this hospice dance, and I feel his love and total, strong unwavering kindness and support for me, Mum and Dad and all of my family, my heart opens to him on a whole new level. I, and my family are safe with this man.

Monday 7 July

So here we are, still here in this blessed hospice, which, for now, has become our world. 

Ya'Acov, Reuben, Dad and myself are being a good team being with Mum, taking turns to sit with her, to go for a walk, holding each other, and cooking our weird and wonderful diet, which Dad is enjoying too. 

Still no morphine. Just slowly, very slowly in the process of dying, up and down in waves... Still very here, and aware of us and herself. Occasional words. This morning she asked for tea and drank a small cup of the fair trade earl grey she has loved for so long. Occasional bouts of apnea (stopping breathing for a few seconds) and we think she is going, and then back to deep, calm rest. For the first time this morning she asked for some pain relief, as long as it was not morphine, and, a bit later, as she was still occasionally clearly uncomfortable for a few moments at a time, I asked if she wanted some more. A clear small shake of the head. "Thanks for being so clear what you want", a clear small nod of the head. Her beautiful smile is getting subtler, she's traveling. I love her so much, and I'm so glad to be able to attend to her with some of the tenderness she's always had for me.  

These last hand holdings, holding her beautiful elegant, warm hands in which you can still see and feel the strength. So precious.

Dad is being magnificent, and his love for her is so beautiful to witness.  

I'm feeling such a strange mixture of joy and grief, sacred beauty of this journey and the feeling of heartbreaking loss, almost like two different parts of me depending on who take turns at the driving seat.

It’s so beautiful to witness Dad’s love for her. In one of her more talkative moments I said: “You married a good man” and she said “yes I did!” and then I said “and he married a good woman” and she said “Yes, it was a good marriage”. Which it was.

Dad and I went for a walk yesterday, and were able to laugh as well as cry.

Wednesday

This afternoon Mum is getting weaker, has not wanted any water for quite some time, and we all feel the time is drawing nigh.

At some point I say “I love you” and I hear her say muffled but clear, “and I love you”. Those are her precious last words to me.

Last night, as we went into our good night silence with her, we played her a tender song which a friend (Kate Lawrence) of ours wrote and recorded for her, called "Rest Finally Rest" which fits totally, and seems to help Mum settle and drop into a deeper peace.

Thursday

Reuben has said goodbye and gone to continue his next steps. It’s been so beautiful that he's been here, and that Mum could sense her line continuing in such strength and heart. Before he left we sang a song together for her called “Letting Go”. The first verse of this song had come to me decades before, fully formed, and I’d never known who or what it was for. Sitting by her bedside it came back to me, and I remembered that the reference to wild geese rising with the snow was inspired by a book that Mum had loved as a child called “Geese Fly South” which she’d passed onto me and which I also had been deeply touched by.

One of the lines in it is about the “seeds you’ve sown” and another says how “your love goes on through us all”. Reuben and I had not sung together as a duo since adolescence banished the childhood joy of singing together, so this was quite a moment. Hearing his rich baritone join my voice singing this love song for his grandmother and a blessing for her journey, I trust that on some level Mum heard and received this resonance of her line continuing in strength and beauty.

Elizabeth died at about 11am on Friday 11th July, the following day. We’d been out for some rest and recuperation, and Dad had been with her during the morning. At this moment

I was tootling about in a clothes shop while Y bought something he needed, and I met an Indonesian family. The Mum was looking at clothes, and the Dad held the baby. I smiled at the beautiful dark haired baby in his father's arms, and the baby looked at me intently, following me with his eyes as I moved around. I offered him my hand, and slowly he took a finger and we held hands and eye contact. Very still and quiet deep energy in the middle of the babylon of a busy shopping mall. The Papa happy, trusting and curious. Then I said goodbye, and wished the baby a good life. Just after that I had the call from the hospice, "Your Mum has just died". Shock. I felt myself go white. Amazing how you can be so prepared and yet so unprepared. I call Y and we make haste back to the hospice, praying as we go. Dad quietly weeping by her side. Amazing how still a dead body is. After all those apnea moments (breathing stops and then starting again) it’s hard to believe that her breathing has finally ended.

We sit in meditation together, deep peace in the room, and a sense that Mum's spirit essence was so ready to leave that she was well on her way, and we were just adding energy and love to her journey. The space of light I saw which was welcoming her was radiant and, round the edge many happy, triumphant angels blowing trumpets of honour and respect and celebration. This is the kind of stuff Mum would probably dismiss as a placatory illusion to avoid the pain of death and loss, and who knows. It’s a strong sense for me and, as far as I know so far, we certainly don't know. I only know that Mum was ready to let go, and she did, in her own way, in her own timing, surrounded by love. And that the energy she left behind was of deep peace.

Later, after Mum's body had been still and quiet for quite a time, and we all felt she had properly left. I was asked if I wanted to help the nurses wash and cream her body, and after a little unsureness, I decided to do so. What a privilege to feel her body for the last time, and to thank this body which has given me my life, and tended to me and to others in so many ways, and to cradle her head whilst they turned her. Her body was still warm underneath, where it lay against the bed. Extra-ordinary to feel the warmth of this life, and the warmth leaving. And the reverence and tenderness of the nurses, totally beautiful. As we washed her Mum's face relaxed, almost into a smile. In her very skinny body there was still the fine muscled, fine skinned body I know and remember. Holding and washing her hands was so beautiful, still those strong, clear relaxed hands.

……….

 A week later:

On the way up north to the funeral, we'd been able to stop in Stroud for a couple of nights, and were able to celebrate Dawn Morgan's 50th birthday with her. Dawn had created a big ball for the forest, to raise money for the trees (Pachamama Alliance for the rainforest, and tree planting in the UK) and loads of people had turned out to celebrate Dawn and to dance. Dawn had asked us both to DJ, and as Y took his turn on the decks, I was asking myself, is this really right for me to do right now, to DJ for this rocking party? I knew Ya'Acov would have been happy to go on if I'd needed him to, and I knew that Dawn would have totally supported me to do what I needed. I knew I did not want to compartmentalise myself, to have the me which was with the death of my mother separate from the part of me DJ-ing. So I tuned in, and decided to DJ; for Dawn, for life, for my mother, and to consciously tune into my mother's spirit. As soon as I did, I felt a humming vibration of support all around me, and then, I felt this: 

I felt how the energy of my mother's love for life and the world has now expanded into connection with the spirit of universal love. And that, through her love for me, the energy of universal love could now flow free from the universal level, through her, to me, through me and through me and the music I was playing spread out over all the dancers and everything. It was the most exquisite feeling of being guided, supported and, at the same time, totally free. At the end, I led a prayer for the trees which came through me so easy like the wind through the leaves. I share this because it makes sense of how multi-leveled this moment is for me. I feel the blessing of my mother's spirit/presence and it is so beautiful. At the same time, I'm with my grief not to have her in this world anymore to share life with. Such sadness and at the same time, such gratitude.

And finally:

Susannah’s funeral tribute to Elizabeth.

When I was 5, and we were living in Kenya, I woke in the night with the terrible realisation that one day my parents were going to die. In great anguish, I got up and padded down to find Mum and Dad. We had a tradition for such moments. I would have a cuddle and Mum would cut me up an apple (peeled, cored and carefully cut into 8ths) and I’d have a glass of milk, and we’d talk about whatever was bothering me. I have never forgotten what they said in response to my terrible realisation. They said: “Well, it is true, we will die, as everyone does, but almost certainly it won’t be for a very, very long time”. I could live with that then, and now we are at that point, a very, very long time later, and I feel both prepared and yet unprepared to learn how to live with Mum’s death. Part of that learning how to live with it is paying tribute to the person she was for me.

So, I want to pay tribute to my Mother, Elizabeth Darlington who was such an unusual person. She wasn’t mainstream, and she wasn’t alternative, she was simply herself, with her own adventurous ethical orientation that she lived by, together with Dad - Richard. I am so pleased that they found each other, and could live with the support, love and comradeship of another practical idealist, and that they found you, this church, which has given them a real sense of home, community and belonging.  Thank you. And whilst I am doing ‘thank-you’s’ a huge thank you to Dr Kershaw’s hospice whose level of care for Elizabeth and all of us in her last 12 days was exquisitely sensitive, kind and caring. We will always be profoundly grateful.

One of the most heartbreakingly beautiful things I have ever witnessed was the quality of love expressed in so many ways by my father for my mother during her last days. As Dad said, their relationship had its stormy crisis which had the teenage me wishing they would split up so that the conflict could end, which resolved itself when they went, led by Elizabeth, into group therapy. I remember singing as I worked on the goat farm where I spent most of my free time, and the people there asking me why I was so happy, and me saying: “my parents have fallen in love again!” Witnessing Dad’s abiding quality of being in love with Mum over the last days in the hospice, I want to acknowledge them both for all that they did to tend the garden of their relationship and for sticking with it when the going got tough, when, as Mum told me later, they only managed to stay the course because they were people of their word, and they had given their word.

The Kabbalists (the mystical wing of Judaism) say that the light of the soul is like a plaited candle. One of the three candles in the plait represents the mind, one the heart and one the body. When all 3, mind, heart and body, are balanced and awake, they say the light of the soul can shine. I think this sums up Elizabeth’s unusual set of attributes all of which came into play in her commitment to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

In some ways Mum’s mind is reflected in Dad’s history of her. This was someone who took double Maths and Physics at A level, and then went on to study Theology and the History of Philosophy of Science at University. This was a big, articulate mind. Interested in the big questions. Willing to be fiercely logical and realistic, curious and self-questioning; a deep intelligence, able to think things through in detail, abstractly and metaphorically through image, story and symbol. I’ve treasured having a Mum with whom I could share my own ponderings about the nature of existence and our humanity right from being a little girl up to last month.

And then her heart. I’m sure many of you will share precious memories of moments of deep empathy, feeling received and understood, and that she was able to be with you in whatever you were going through. Mum held her love for the world in a very private way I think, but I’m sure we all felt it, and saw it in her long term commitment to re-cycling, renewable energy,  Fair Trade, the Inter-Faith forum, support for victims of torture, her professional life and in all those one to one moments of care. I remember going home from University once, feeling wretched with a terrible cold, and lying down on the sofa with my head in Mum’s lap, a towel to catch the drips, and Mum stroking my hair, in the particular way I like (she always said there are two kinds of children, those who like their hair stroked forwards, and those that like it stroked back - I like it backwards!). Of course, I thought this level of tenderness from one’s Mum was normal, as it was what I had always received, until, after years of accompanying others on their healing journeys, I’ve come to realise it as the precious gift it is.

And her physicality. I remember Mum driving a tractor on my Uncle and Aunt’s farm in Wales, strong, radiant and full of joy as she guided the tedding machine through the hay. I remember Mum striding across mountains, putting up tents, cooking amazing meals on those primus stoves. I remember someone who was, besides everything else, a craftswoman. Making our beautiful clothes, often the envy of my friends, knitting, wrapping up presents without sellotape in her special way with those elegant long fingers doing some kind of personally invented magical origami, and what a cook! And a Mum who trusted us and trusted life enough to let us, very young, swim with our arm bands out beyond the breakers of the Indian ocean to bob up and down in the swell, and who let us race round naked in the monsoon rain in the garden (it was called a ‘skip-a-bath’) before coming in to get dry by the fire.

Following the Kabbalist’s thrice plaited candle metaphor, Mum’s soul shone from her own unusual integration of a strong mind, a strong body and a strong heart.

Thinking about her during those last days at the hospice, and since her death, I’ve realised even more than ever before, how she held a big vision for the healing of the world, and was, at the same time, so patient and present in all the small, practical steps of love and commitment made manifest in her life.

Lest you think I am making her out to be angel I want to mention that, like all of us, of course she had her challenges. Mum was very contained, and giving and receiving love and appreciation directly with other adults (never a problem with children) could be a delicate matter for her. She was a shy person, and sometimes did not know how to express all the love in her. In the last years, and with the help of the cancer, and all the love that came towards her, this habit melted, and she was able to receive and give much more directly and freely.

My last words to her were about how I am so proud to carry on her lineage; I stand tall as her daughter, in my own version of commitment to the world, to all our fellow beings and to future generations.

I want to share two of her last gifts as I received them. One of them was a few months ago, when I asked her what wisdom she had extracted from her years of living that she would like to pass onto future generations. She asked for a little while to ponder on that, and a few weeks later, on my next visit, told me:

“Well, firstly, the body, mind, heart and soul are not separate at all…. They are one thing… and secondly, the story we tell ourselves about the nature of existence and who we are as human beings makes a huge difference to our sense of identity, possibility and experience.” Yeah Mum!!!

Maybe her last gift to the world was her radiant, shining smile which she shared with all of us till very close to the end. Those of us who had the privilege of being beamed at like that, by someone so consciously and willingly approaching the mystery of death, will, I’m sure, carry it with us as a blessing always.

Last but not least, I want to explain why I am wearing yellow. I was part of a conversation with Dad and Barbara Christopher, in which we were helping Dad get clear about what he wanted to say about the dress code on the funeral invite. As you know, he settled on the words “Dress as you feel to celebrate Elizabeth’s life”. As soon as this became clear, I thought “Oh No! That means I have to wear yellow!” which I had never worn in my life and seems unusual for a funeral. Why? Because whenever I think of Mum, I think of daffodils, even though her birthday is in the time of the snowdrops. And it seems in keeping to wear something unusual in honour of a lady who had few concerns about convention. The daffodil masquerades as something ordinary, but look, really look into one, and you are swept into a blaze of glory, the radiant sun, the warm majestic brilliance of life itself. That’s what was reflected in those last smiles of Mum’s and that’s why I had to wear yellow.

I will always be so grateful that Elizabeth was my Mum. Thank you for everything dearest Mama, and bon voyage in the mystery……

Susannah Darling Khan

A Summer to Remember
By Ya'Acov
This afternoon, we will begin the third cycle of our Apprenticeship Programme with a very strong circle of new apprentices who are gathering from 17 different countries. I don’t remember ever being so calm and happy about going back to work.

Usually the end of the summer break has been a time tinged with melancholy as the deliciousness of my time being my own has come to an end. But this has been an unusual summer. It’s been a time of such deep learning and revolutionary perspective re-sets most of which has been catalysed by the death of Susannah’s dear mama, Elizabeth. And it’s been a time in which I have had to use everything I have learned on the dance floor and in ceremonies over the past 30 years.

As any of you Dancing Warriors who were at the Summer Long Dance will know, Susannah had to leave early to go and be with her mama. That was a big invitation for a whole group of people to step up and take responsibility for filling Susannah’s shoes. It was quite a challenge for me too. We work so well together. We’ve got 28 years of living and working together under our belts. We know what the other needs and our presence and love for one another is the channel through which Movement Medicine originally came into the world. The Long Dance is a major ceremony. It’s a catalytic journey that takes us to our edges and beyond. Over the years, I have learned to have full faith in the intelligence of life or what we love to call the Great Choreographer, to place the challenges in front of us that offer us the opportunity to learn and deepen the direct experience of who we truly are and what we are truly here for. Sometimes, that catalyst takes months or even years to work its way through. The journey can be rough at times which is why we’re very clear that the Long Dance is for those who feel they have enough steady ground in their lives to be able to take the challenges that a ceremony like this will inevitably bring. None of us, however experienced we are, is exempt from this process. So here I was, my wife and son (who was there for the first time and how wonderful that was for us!) were leaving, and we still had over 24 hours of the ceremony to go. The last night of the Long Dance is dedicated to lifting up the prayer that is our collective intent and sending it out through the Tree if Life into the 8 directions to do its work. It’s an effort and it’s right at the heart of what the Long Dance is about. We add our prayer to all the prayers that are being offered around the world through so many different traditions and in making this offering, we strengthen our place in the circle of life.

I am blessed with stamina and a deep pool of resources but I had reached my limits and I knew that I now needed help. At one point, I lay down on the ground, face down, and prayed for support from all my allies. I felt Susannah come up behind me and start to massage my spine. Susannah is a wonderful healer and her energy felt so nourishing as she worked her fingers into my back to support my praying. After a while, it occurred to me that it may not be Susannah massaging me at all. I wondered if maybe Sarah had seen me praying hand had come over to support me. Whoever it was, the massage was deep and supportive and I continued speaking to my allies and asking them for their support for the ceremony. A minute later, my curiosity got the better of me again. I wanted to know who was offering me their healing touch. I turned around, expecting to see Susannah or Sarah leaning over me. I could still feel their hands on my back but when I turned around, there was nobody there. Or should I say, there was no body there. I gasped and laughed.

From that moment, I knew all would be well. And I knew that I needed human support as well. I asked a group of our apprentices who have been with us a long time to come and sit in circle and I explained what I needed from them. They were more than willing and more than that, they had their own ideas of what might support the ceremony. I was reminded of Lynne Twist’s beautiful words: ‘Together we are a genius,’ and in that moment more than ever before, I knew she was right. Not without its challenges and with the wonderful support of Manari, a visiting Tribal Leader from the Amazon, and the support of everyone present, we lifted up the prayer of the Summer Long Dance 2014. More than that, the ceremony raised close to another £40,000 for a whole host of magnificent, life supporting projects around the world.

I want to tell you what Manari said to us. He has travelled many times from his Amazonian village, but around the fire on the last night, he told us that never before had he felt so at home away from his village that he was able to connect with his spirits and his family back home. He told us it was because the Long Dance was a place where those channels were open and he was delighted to receive the support of all the dancers and their prayers for his people, tradition and land. More than ever, that support is still needed. We will be taking a group into the Ecuadorian Amazon and visiting Manari and his family in their village in January. If you feel the call, please apply to join us.

And so the Long Dance finished and I travelled home, happy and tired and ready for a break. But I knew already that the break would have to wait. I was told as I drummed during the last night of the Long Dance, ‘your place is by Susannah’s side. Go and join her.’ I would like to tell you that I was completely surrendered to this but that would be lying. I was tired after another super intense year, and I was desperate for some quiet time at home. However, I have learned to be obedient to the source of this kind of instruction. And so I drove home, unpacked the Long Dance gear, put on the washing, paid the bills and answered my mails. I then slept for four hours and headed up North to join Susannah, Reuben, her father and her mama in her dying days.

I would have hoped that I would have felt total faith that all would be well, and that eventually, I would receive what I needed after so long of giving. But in truth, I was already in a lather of martydom that’s really wasn’t pretty by the time I arrived at Dr.Kershaw’s Hospice in Oldham. I was convinced, naturally, that Susannah’s difficulty in receiving my support was the source of my background irritation. We went for a walk along the canal. I felt terrible. I’d hardly slept, I wanted a break and I wanted someone to look after me! I was worried that our whole summer would be taken up with Susannah’s mama dying and that we would end up with no break. My vision was thundery with clouds of needs and wants and worries. Susannah was obviously deeply involved in the process of her mama dying and we were in that deep discomfort that can often lead to full scale war in which clear sight has vanished and the past with all its hurts, sufferings and miseries has filled the space between us. Blame and counter blame is the inevitable next step unless someone chooses to change the story. I have to say that in times like these, I am ever more grateful to for all the practice I have had on the dance floor. All of it is for moments like these where life gives us the chance to actually live the experience that we have in our practice. It takes courage to recognise that the story we are in may not be the whole truth!

Recognising that there was a deeper story at work, we sat down and opened our hearts to one another. I recognised that I was struggling to surrender. And as soon as I saw that, something in me let go. I remembered those hands on my back, and I accepted that in no way was I in control of events. By the canal, close to Oldham Athletic’s football stadium, I had an experience of surrender that literally took my breath away. The clouds didn’t just part, they dissolved. I saw clearly what was needed and I felt the deepest joy I had ever felt in the knowledge that I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and that all I had practiced and come into relationship with over the years was available to me. And then from feeling like a victim of the circumstances, I simply understood the privilege of my position and the perfection of the timing. More than that, I knew for certain that I would be looked after, that I have always been looked after and that I will always be looked after in ways that I cannot even begin to imagine. After all this time, it’s still amazing to me how what I choose to focus on changes my perception and experience of life so dramatically.

Amongst shamans the world over as well as in many other traditions, death is known as the great teacher. I can once again attest to that. And I want to say out loud that the dignity, courage and grace with which Susannah’s mama faced death was truly inspiring. Again, I felt privileged to be present and to offer what support I could. My own relationship with death, already strengthened by numerous ceremonies and dialogues and meetings with death over the years, has dropped to anew level of intimacy. And I want you to know that though I did not do this for reward, the rewards that came in the weeks that followed Elizabeth’s death and funeral, have been rich beyond measure.

I have found deep rest in working on our land in a way that I hadn’t expected to be in my life for at least another decade. I have discovered that to be a true husband, I am not just required to look after my wife and family, I am also required to look after land. An image I had of myself has died. I have taken my place and I have to recognise time and time again over the past weeks that Mark Twain so beautifully put it: “Luck is the residue of design.”

All I can say really is this. As deep as we feel we have gone, we have only ever just begun to scratch the surface of the Great Mystery that underlies our existence here. Practice supports a deepening relationship with this mystery. When we are awake or when we are sleeping, the dream we are dreaming is rooted in this relationship. And I have felt called into another level of dreaming and acting in this world. In a word, that new level is called ‘surrender to your responsibility.’ And it is as yet, the greatest joy I have ever known because in order to surrender to responsibility, it is required of me to surrender to love.

Practice works. Movement Medicine works. So do lots of things. I’ll look forward to seeing you soon or meeting you for the first time on my travels in this new term. For now, it’s time to dance.

Ya’Acov DK. August 2014.

Ya’Acov’s Autumn Intensives Programme

(For weekends, please check the website calendar)

 

September

5-14     Rill Estate, Devon  Susannah & Ya’Acov   Initiation

24-28  Rill Estate, Devon Ya’Acov & Charlie Morley     Poetry of Presence

(Movement Medicine & Lucid Dreaming)

 

December

17-22           Waldhaus, Switzerland       Ya’Acov & Susannah           Dancing with the Heart of the World

January

5-19             Ecuadorian Amazon            Ya’Acov, Susannah &          Dancing with the Heart of the World (Amazon Edition)

Growing our Movement Medicine Community
By Susannah
3 wonderful things are coming together: 1) We are community. We are more and more aware of how many amazing people doing potent, beautiful work on many levels. We want you to be able to find out about each other and connect, support, learn from each other, collaborate. A sane future, as we see it, needs our inter-connection and mutual creativity.

2)    How to connect. Soon, on our (new) website, there will be a page called community Mosaic. On this page will be a picture of the mandala. To begin with it will be silver blue gray. If you want to make yourself visible within the Movement Medicine community, you send a picture and whatever words you want (this is called a pictogram) to the Movement Medicine Mosaic. Your image becomes one pixel which starts to “colour in” the mandala, and other dancers can find you, either by looking, or by searching for key words. You can put as much or as little contact information up there as you want. We hope this will be ready soon, and wanted to let you know so that you can start thinking about what you might want to say to us all. This Movement Medicine community Mosaic will be a pilot “daughter mosaic” which grows out from the “6 Billion Reasons” and “Mosaic Earth” project which some of you will be aware of and is open for your messages! www.mosaicearth.org

3)    Where to connect. Our wonderful new website will be online (we hope) on the 29th September.

Enjoy!

With love, Susannah Darling Khan

Mandorla
By Jayne Bullen
After the Mandorla, even a year on, I am struck by its presence everywhere in my life – it was as if I had this part of a golden puzzle that I needed in my toolkit and just had never seen it before.

Since ‘finding’ the work and dancing it, I have also been visually struck by its presence that keeps showing up for me in nature, as if it were some Arcadian code or rhythm that was there all along and needed to be shown to me and is now everywhere, teaching me. Just after doing the work, I saw it everywhere, its presence and power. I saw how most of my great inspirations, teachers and masters Had this concept under the belts as part of their toolkits in common – they knew to illuminate and enlighten contraction and seemingly opposing concepts in ways that were profound and meaningful and that was what inspired me about them. It was at the time when my all-time hero Madiba was coming to slowly end his life and I went with Caroline to the apartheid museum in Joburg – there it was again so clearly – the ultimate Mandorla that made the man: he had found a way to embrace his indigenous heritage and roots and at the same time illuminate his Western education and influence. He is a true embodiment of someone who found deep power and light in two often opposing forces – everyone loved and admired him – blacks, whites and everyone in-between because of this. We all envied how articulately he had transformed the most seemingly complex opposing ways of being into sheer brilliance in a way that could turn a government, country and world around. Within himself, he had truly found a way to illuminate both the eagle and falcon of his story in a resonant, profound way.

Understanding this dichotomy of existence and seeing that it is possible to illuminate to apparently opposing fields in my life unlocked a lifelong frustration with ‘having to choose’. I have always been tormented by contradiction and choice, always seen both side to all coins and have always struggled with this need to ‘choose’ in many aspects of my life. I blamed it on being a Libran – always needing to see both parts of the balancing of the scales, using it as an excuse to often delay decision making and clarity. Finding this vital piece of work in my body was a huge unravelling for me – I for the first time Got that no choice can come about without full illumination, exploration and understanding of both sides that make up the intrinsic contradiction of being human. That both sides of any coin are vital and contribute to the intrinsic whole and that often there isn’t a good or bad side that needs extracting and dismissing. It allowed me to clearly see that all angles and perspectives of a story are part of its healthy, balanced whole much of the time. Without understanding and illuminating death, how can possibly illuminate life? Without integrating the masculine, how can the feminine by met and in her power? And so it goes – my Mandorla was about my constant need to be both a rock and feather – both weighted and rooted by free and frivolous at the same time. I have always felt bound by a need to ‘be’ one of these things and in the instant I stepped into that constellation, I saw that I can be all these things and embody whatever I need to as part of my journey. I am the mother, the father, the woman and the warrior. I am a dancer that knows all these things. No more pro and con lists, no more conundrums about positions I feel I need to take, now I know how to stand in the centre of my own Mandorla’s and navigate clearly the contradiction that it means to be alive. Within me I hold the north, south, east, west; the yin and the yang; I am the seed and its tree and all these things, at the same time, I can be.

Thank you Caroline for this vital piece of my toolkit, puzzle and journey. I am so grateful and empowered by this finding of yours and the deep wisdom it has offered me as a dancer.

Jayne Bullen

Cape Town, South Africa

Mandorla work with Caroline Carey    http://www.alchemyinmovement.com/index.php/journeys-out/magic-of-mandorla/

Caroline is teaching Movement Medicine as a guest teacher for the School of Movement Medicine this Sept.

19 -21    Cape Town, SA  Meta-Magic  Jayne e + 27 737487743  mailto:info@movementmedicine.co.zai  

26 -28    Jo'burg, SA Bridging Meta Magic  Ryan +27825520619 joburg@movementmedicine.co.za

Manari
By Lindsey Spinks
It is almost 2 months Manari was here with us at the Long Dance, sharing his ancient culture and asking for help to protect the Sapara land and ancestry. Manari is back in Ecuador and facing an intensifying situation. There is only a few weeks left for the oil companies throughout the Amazon to get consent from the landowners to the land in order to carry out seismic testing. If they find oil, the ownership of the land will pass in to the hands of the Ecuadorian Government, which is disastrous.

Now is a key time to support the community.

Manari's culture is one with deep connection to the land and understanding of the delicate and interdependent role every aspect of nature has.  Manari explains that if the land is taken, this connection will be broken and the Sapara people become a lost civilisation.

It is not too late.  We have truth and determination on our side.  The more united the communities and their supporters are, the stronger our presence becomes.  We also have our connection to the spirit world, which can give us strength and guide us.

What you can do:

Send a letter

You can send a letter to the President through Pachamama Alliance http://www.pachamama.org/advocacy/oil-free-amazon

Help with Website

We have created a group called Amazon Action UK.  I need to add content to the website and keep a blog going. Can you help?

Media

Can you draft a Press Release? Do you have contacts within the media – Press, other written media or film?  Could you write an article?  Come to Ecuador and film?

Campaign

Are you a campaigner? Do you have other strategies? We are looking to UNESCO, the Pope and other avenues.

Join the Sapara in Ecuador

Through their tourism project Naku (Sapara for forest). You can come as a visitor to immerse yourself in the Sapara way of life and learn and share their rich Heritage.  See http://www.naku.com.ec/web/

Fundraising

If you can help in anyway, please let me know.  If you would like to contribute to Manari and the Sapara, you can also donate on www.pachamama.org

If you can help in any way or even have suggestions, please let me know at laspinks@gmail.com

Resources:

Pachamama Alliance - www.pachamama.org

Amazon Watch - http://amazonwatch.org/take-action

Accion Ecologica - http://www.accionecologica.org/

Sos Yasuni - http://www.sosyasuni.org

Eyes of Gaia - http://www.eyesofgaia.com

Guardian reports: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/02/ecuador-power-plant-yasuni-national-park-documents

Videos of Manari - https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=manari+ushigua

Oil Spill 2nd July 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ZGFr5H6Dry0&app=des

Movement Medicine and Lucid Dreaming
The Poetry of Presence Movement Medicine and Lucid Dreaming Workshop with Ya’Acov and Charlie Morley is coming up in September. Here, bestselling author, Charlie, talks about the connection between Movement Medicine and lucid dreaming practice.

In a lucid dream we become conscious within the unconscious while we sleep. We have not woken up though. In fact we are sound asleep but part of the brain (the right dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex, in case you were wondering) has reactivated, thus allowing the dreamer to experience the dream state with self-reflective awareness. We know that we are dreaming as we are dreaming and thus gain access to the most powerful virtual reality generator in existence: the human mind. And so our story begins…

As a teenager, it was the free accessibility of lucid dreaming was one of its real selling points for me. There was no equipment to be bought, no initiation to be done, no club to join. The only commodities required were sleep and determination. Also it was great place to have lots of dream-sex and as a teenager, sex (whether in dream or waking) was one of my driving motivations to start any new project!

A few years later when I got into Tibetan Buddhism I started to read about something called “dream yoga”. Dream yoga is the term given to a collection of lucid dreaming, conscious sleeping and (what in the West we refer to as) “out-of-body experience” practices aimed at spiritual growth and mind training. Within the context of dream yoga the lucid dream state is used to go way beyond sexual fantasy and instead used as a way to do spiritual practice while we sleep. I was captivated by this possibility.

Once my lucid dream practice became my spiritual practice things really started to take off and I spent the next 5 years reading everything I could find on the subjects of both lucid dreaming and dream yoga. I received teachings on these practices from the rare few who were offering them, and went on Buddhist retreats with dream yoga specialists such as Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, the man who would eventually become my guru and suggest that I start sharing my experiences with others.

But what was I doing before I started running the lucid dreaming workshops full time? For 10 years I managed and was part of a hip hop collective of break dancers and hip hop performers called THROWDOWN. The collective had workshop leaders, a professional crew and an events team putting on monthly dance battles at a nightclub in downtown Brixton, South London.

Living these two lives of dream and dance was not as contradictory as it may seem. In the breakers I saw a certain panoramic gaze shining from their eyes as they danced that I had seen in meditators before. It was the wide angle, peripheral vision that allowed them to see the whole dance floor as they spun on their heads and the same steady mind that takes in space without preference as we meditate. After the bravado of battle was over with and they actually hit the lino the b-boys were not in a state of trance, they were in a state of meditation: one pointed focus set within a broad panoramic awareness. It’s not that they were meditating while dancing, it was that dance was their meditation.

I saw that same look again a few years later in the eyes of the dancers at last year’s Poetry of Presence retreat and realised that dance as meditation wasn’t just being practiced by the breakers in Brixton but by the hundreds of Movement Medicine practitioners around the world who use their dance to go deeply into stillness.

The nocturnal practice of meditation within sleep and dreams known as lucid dreaming is one of the most dance like forms of meditation there is. Lucid dreaming is not about dream control, it’s about making friends with the dreaming mind, it’s about dancing with our dreams. Just as some dances require one to lead and the other to follow, so too in our lucid dreams. One night we let the dream take the lead as we allow it to guide us but another night we may lead the dream with a firm hand round the waist, directing the dance as we go.

When we become conscious within our dreams the first thing we need to do is to listen carefully to the music of the dream. Each dream plays a different music, with no tune ever the same. We take a moment to feel the beat, to move to the rhythm of the dream and once we are in synch, then and only then, can we  begin to choreograph the dream at will, dancing with “the dreamer” to the music of our mind.

The dreamer is the name that I give to the part of the unconscious mind that creates and plays out our dreams. Using our own internal archetypes as actors and the wellspring of  memories and creative possibilities as the stage the dreamer is a the theatrical choreographer of our dreams. She directs each scene and creates the plot, masterfully encrypting message and meaning into even her most fringe and experimental works. Once we become lucid we will often be invited to the stage by the dreamer where we can humbly make plot requests and suggestions which will be incorporated into her play.

My connection to Movement Medicine begun around 3 years ago when a cold call from a friend of friend called Ya’Acov led to a series of synchronicities, including me dreaming of this strange named man before I met him, (in the dream he looked identical to how he actually looks!) These co-incidences soon blossomed into some lucid dreaming workshops for Ya’Acov, Susannah and a few of their friends and then culminated in the first ever Movement Medicine Lucid Dreaming retreat last year. Since then my relationship with Yaacov has moved still deeper as we shared ceremony together and I opened fully to the guidance of his experience.

Dance has been linked to dreaming for millennia. In some African shamanic traditions the friction caused between the feet and the ground as you dance is said to awaken the umbilini (an energy source comparable to kundalini) leading to more energetically powerful dreams that night. To dance is to connect with body, synchronise the two hemispheres of the brain and allow creativity to flow freely;  the exact three qualities that we need to foster in order to dream lucidly.

At last years retreat we found a level of lucidity far higher than we would have expected as we spent the days dancing and learning the lucid dreaming techniques while spending the nights engaging in the optional “group dreaming” practices which involves sleeping side by side and briefly waking every 90 minutes for the last few hours of sleep, allowing us to fall back into the dream lucidly and collectively.

To all the Movement Medicine practitioners I say this: to dance is to dream so please come join us for what is set to be an amazing few days of movement, dreaming and high levels of lucidity!

Charlie Morley June 2104

 

The Poetry of Presence workshop led Ya'Acov and Charlie will take place 24th - 28th September at Rill Estate in Devon.  Please follow the link for more details

ABOUT CHARLIE

Charlie Morley is the Hay House author of the bestselling Dreams of Awakening. He received the traditional “authorisation to teach” within the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism from Lama Yeshe Rinpoche in 2008 and was described by mindfulness expert Rob Nairn  as “the most authentic practitioner of lucid dreaming teaching in Europe”.  For the past 5 years Charlie has run retreats and workshops around the world, written two books on the subject, taught dream work for the Mindfulness Association  and given the first ever talk on lucid dreaming at the well-known TED conferences. For the past 4 years Charlie has lived at Kagyu Samye Dzong Buddhist Centre in London. 

Watch Charlie’s TED talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1i6A7t6L2g

  

 

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