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Issue: December Newsletter
Putting the Boy Together

By Roland
“It’s time to put the boy together now.” said Ya’Acov in a quiet voice to me. When he turned away I rolled my eyes - why should he have a say in our carefully constructed art installation for the fire altar? I took down one part of the photo of the boy, that had been ripped in two and then stuck on the wall so that there was a jagged gap between the two halves, and repositioned it on the wall, so it married up with its matching half and the tear between the two halves was scarcely visible. I then promptly forgot all about it for 11 years.

That happened at one of the first Alchemy of Stillness workshops at Croydon Hall.  I had a wonderful time during the all night ceremony in the Alchemist’s garden and since then have often thought about the many magical things that happened that evening.

But why now, as I was running along a footpath that follows the River Dart near my house, should I suddenly remember about the photograph of the boy?  Now this is where I can hear those who know me say ‘What’s this?  Roland running?’ 

I will explain.  On returning from a summer break walking in the Black Forest in Germany I got a firm instruction from some part of me - not sure exactly where it came from - that I should start running.  So the first morning I was back home I put on a pair of shorts and early in the morning, when I hoped no-one would see me, went on a run ‘around the block’.  Nearly every day after that I went for the run, gradually extending the circuit and even going a little later in the morning when the dog walkers were out.  Now I greet them with a cheery good morning as I run past them.  Any embarrassment I had felt at the beginning has gone – I now feel a certain satisfaction that I am seen as a runner.

So why, I wondered, has the story of the ripped photo of the boy suddenly and vividly come back into my mind after a period of 11 years?  The answer to the question came fast and was so obvious I almost stopped running with the shock of realisation.

At the time of the Alchemy of Stillness I was seeing a psychotherapist and had spent much time talking and thinking about my childhood and had been encouraged to take care of my inner child.  I would find myself in my therapy sessions and at a time of anxiety placing my hands on my belly as if I were comforting or protecting the child within.  The therapy sessions stopped eventually and I didn’t think about it again until now, after I had started running. I noticed that my body was changing – my thighs were getting larger, my belly getting smaller.

Then I realised what I needed to do.  I needed to enter a race.

Here I have to explain that as a child I avoided all organised sport whenever I could and when obliged at school to take part would deliberately do badly.  As for anything involving a gym or swimming pool, I could write a small book on ways to avoid going anywhere near them.

There is, I have discovered, an international network of 5km park runs and there is one that takes place near to where I live.  So last Saturday morning I got up early, dressed in my running clothes, and went to race.  I had a week before to run the distance so I was confident I could make it.  There were 120 runners of all ages and soon I found myself running with a group near the back of the pack.  In front of me were two small boys who not only seemed to be enjoying themselves, but also seemed to be spending much of the time chatting, laughing and even playing.  Their presence annoyed me. I tried to go faster to go past them, but couldn’t.   In fact for the rest of the race they were there just a few meters in front of me.  When we finished I was pleased to find that the organisers were applauding all the runners. 

It was only when I was halfway home that the feeling of exhilaration at my achievement swept through me.  It was not just the running, but also the realisation that I don’t need to protect the child inside, but instead can show him the pleasure of experiences I had been protecting him from.  I had put the boy together again.  And it is a lot more ‘fun’ for both us.

The Alchemy of Stillness now forms an integral part of the Journey of Empowerment and I strongly recommend it to everyone.

Another major workshop which is taking place soon, which will involve ceremony, is Dancing with the Heart of the World taking place from 17 -22 December at the wonderful Waldhaus centre in Switzerland.

Have a great December (and maybe see you on a Park Run),

Roland

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