School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
 
Issue: December Newsletter

Shopping Dance
By Hanna
First of all, I wish to thank you very much for the support and encouragement I received from you, and of course for the articles contributing to this newsletter! Its that time of the year in which we are witnessing this consumerism phenomenon around Christmas. Suddenly the shelves are even fuller as usual, and even more stuffed plastic bags travel with people from shop to shop to shop ... Things are wrapped even more shiny, golden, red, and “seductive”, and even more people seem to be urgently needing to buy things.... and things and things ….

Meanwhile, that which many of us wish to celebrate around Christmas is this miracle called Love in our world and in our relations, and the joy of expressing that through the wonderful gifts of giving, forgiving and sharing.

I myself experience difficulties staying calm, centred and serene during these weeks, especially when living in a city (as I am at the moment). I tend to get annoyed with shops and shopping.

This personal challenge reminded me of an article I had written many months ago, after my first Journey of Empowerment module in March this year.

Its about how life (and shopping ;-) can be experienced so differently, when in a different space within myself. That way, my attitude and through that my experience once again remains a personal choice! It depends directly on which glasses I chose to put on in the morning. Meaning: I myself can chose and influence how I experience this day, my life or crowded shops.

It is also a good example of how Movement Medicine (or body- and spiritual awareness) can be lived, integrated and be seeping into everyday experiences; similar to Kristins article as well, which tells a fabulous and moving story of lived spirituality and human connectedness in a Swiss train station.

 

So, here it is:

What a place and space to be in: Coming back from a Journey of Empowerment module! And amusing in a way too: everything looks different and feels fuller somehow: My body seems more filled and “bigger”, life and being here appears ... like more tangible, closer, more „real“ …

I feel totally present, aware and awake, yet soft and relaxed at the same time. Colours are more colourful, nature appears more alive, and the other people around me seem „closer“ to me, as if I know them somehow.

Who says I need drugs to see colours more intensely, to truly notice the magic of living, or to recognize the Love that we humans are in all beings around me? Yes, it does/ can work, but letting my own essence and being, my spiritual flame and my all-embracing connectedness when lived, embodied and experienced fully be the “drug” is quite a different story. That way I am (along with my spiritual openness) my very own resource -how refreshing!


Leaving the centre (Waldhaus in Switzerland), I still have to go shopping that night in this huge super market, the only one still open. Wow ....!! Yes, quite a shock to the system after a few intense days of journeying with body, spirit and soul, now being faced with hardcore-“modern“-society-facts and a shopping centre buzzing with people, stuffed with things and the whole experience tinted in those loud “consumerism-colors” that are now jumping at me. Yet, while it does feel fairly unreal (and bizarre) somehow, I still experience it quite differently to this one time, when returning from a silent retreat in South Africa, where I seriously, literally could not function in, handle or deal with rows and rows of supermarket shelves, trolleys, people and shopping-madness. Looking back now, it feels like I wasn’t quite there.

This time was very different: I felt very present and totally centred. Difficult to describe. Like... really still in the dance, so real in my being, so grounded, so in my body, so aware.

Still having our groups` energy with me, I meet and see all these people with "those" eyes: merely seeing and encountering another human being, as he or she is, there next to me, behind me, or in front of me. No judgement, no interpretation. I am not annoyed with this many and busy people, but just experiencing and taking in what is. Period. I feel patient and calm, knowing and feeling my invisible energetic protection around me. I am simply seeing all these other lovable and vulnerable souls in their human bodies, each with their own stories, egos and veils, joys and sorrows, their wounds, insecurities and healing, while doing their necessary shopping in their “perfectly imperfect” (to quote Susannah ;-) human way -just like me.

Seeing them .... as if any minute we would all just gently start moving and dancing together through the shelves of the super market; as if all these people were nothing but friendly strangers (like all the other JoE participants, on the very first night dancing together), as if we are all connected through thin threads of essence, almost visible and tangible, yet fragile, like a freshly woven spider web. No “other”, no threat, no real separation, but a gathering of souls in their bodies behind their trolleys, and in between groceries and shelves.

I experience all these people with no veils and no judgement between me and them, perceiving them just as they are in that moment, and catching glimpses of their story-telling human souls through the thin "glasses" of their eyes.

And precisely that, the awareness of vulnerability and connectedness, brings forward this softness and friendliness towards my shopping colleagues, and leaves me relaxed, open and serene, even though in the middle of a busy super market.

What a delicious experience this. That way even shopping can be a joyful, light-hearted and spiritual event.

 

So for these coming weeks (and in general), I am glad to know that I still hold the choice of which glasses to wear, particularly when I have to go into shops.

I can chose to fully feel my feet on the ground, drop my shoulders, feel the weight of my hips and relax my face. I can chose to remember my personal energetic protection around me. I can chose to feel a connection with my heart. It is my choice to become aware of my breath when I feel crowded. I can chose to be aware of Mother Earth carrying me, with every step I take. It is up to me to not loose my inner peace to long queues and general stuff-and-information-overload. I can encourage my awareness that in fact I am not separate from the possibly moaning shopping colleague in front of me, nor the pushing, impatient one behind me. I can chose to keep my serenity and to meet other people with openness, friendliness, and compassion.

 

Forthcoming Events and Workshops:

December:

16th Bringing the Dance back Home. In this Movement Medicine webinar you are able connect with other Movement Medicine dancers, experience a led Movement Medicine session in your own living room and invite friends to join in. Its £35 for 10 webinars, plus the online access to all the past webinars. For further information contact Roland +44 1803 762255 roland@rwevents.co.uk

17-22 Dancing with the Heart of the World. Susannah and Ya`Acov. Waldhaus (Switzerland). In the wonderful and nurturing home and land of Waldhaus in Switzerland, Susannah and Ya`Acov invite the dancers to a workshop focusing on each individuals heart, dreams, and visions. During our Winter Solstice and close to a new year dawning (both a time of shift, change and giving space for the new), this workshop will help the dancers to remember their love for life and the voices of their hearts. It is about seeing where we are as individual and as collective spiritual human beings in this world. It is about own choices, empowerment and responsibility -towards your own heart, and towards the heart of the world. Reflection, choice and growing. What an inspiring and beautiful way to celebrate the Solstice and yet another year coming to its close.

Contact: Roland +44 1803 762255 roland@rwevents.co.uk

January:

5-19 Dancing with the Heart of the World. Amazon Edition. Susannah and Ya`Acov. Quito, Ecuador.

Holding ties with the closely related workshop and journey at the Waldhaus (see above), this unique event and offering stands in close partnership with Pachamama Journey and David Tucker.

The Amazon Edition in itself embodies and represents, while at the same time encourages, and calls for the standing and holding together of hearts, minds, spirits and people across the globe; together taking action, showing up, and discovering responsibility. It travels even deeper into catalysing individual and collective choice, steps, commitment, and a way to face and deal with our current global situation here on earth, a way to really meet and be in dialogue with the Heart of the World.

9 to 11 SHE is Dreaming. Caroline Carey. Berlin.

As a great support during Northern winter-times of self reflection, and discovering inner landscapes, this workshop invites the Wise Woman of the dancers to softly speak with, cradle and nurture inner seeds and dreams, which are possibly still resting unseen, waiting patiently …

Contact: Kathrin Keller +49 30 28458820 kellerkathrin@yahoo.de

 

I look forward to any words, articles, feedback or ideas from you. Send them to: hannaspostbox@gmail.com

Wishing us all a peaceful closing of this year.

With Love,

Hanna

The Wounded Healer
By Susannah
Thank you for all the feedback from the last article on this subject of being a woman shamanic practioner. It clearly touched something important for many of you. I want to write just a little bit more (for now!) on this subject. Do you know the idea of the “wounded healer”?

It’s an important concept for me and is inherent in shamanic practice and initiation. It’s the concept that your healing capacity comes from the wounds you have healed or are healing in yourself. It is from this intimate, first hand knowledge of the healing journey that your medicine comes.  I find this important in several ways.

First of all, a little story. I was walking along the road last Sunday morning, on my way to teach the second day of “Power of the Heart” workshop in Amsterdam. I had my bags with me as I was leaving to come home after the workshop. I had been thinking about how feelings and our stories about life are so inter-woven, and how I wanted to attend to this in this workshop. I was taking myself as an example and looking into my old and well-known story of “I have to do it alone. There is not enough support”. I was recognising the story, and feeling the pain of it, on that balancing edge between feeling its impact, but not going full into it. I stayed there for a little, bearing witness to the soreness of this story without believing in the drama of it. Then, thought I, isn’t it time to call in a new story? (Again!). So I did: “I call in the knowledge, trust and experience that there IS support, I am not alone!” At that exact moment a voice called “Susannah!” I turned round to see Frank (the organiser of the workshop) in his car offering me a lift. We laughed and laughed at the joyous synergistic power of the moment. I got into the car and then got a text from Ya’Acov sending me love and inspiration and support for the day. It was a great beginning to the day to connect personally with the important of support, the power of our stories and the possibility of re-writing them. Those of you who were there will recognise how these themes wove through the workshop.

The wounded healer concept gives a dignifying framework through which we can acknowledge how many of our gifts and medicine potency have come through our own particular journey with suffering and the labour of healing. It’s also helped me understand different aspects of my own medicine. There are some places of the psyche’s wounding which I am very familiar with, and some places I am not. With those that I am not, I do not have the same instinctive grasp of the landscape and the work as I do with those disturbances of the psyche more familiar to me. With those that are more ‘foreign’, it is a different kind of journey, learning through observation and listening, and through being willing to “feel into” and to immerse myself in this other inner landscape enough to feel it from inside through the resonance of my heart. This depends on my own sense of knowing, but not being identified with my own “pain depths” and so being able to tune into someone else’s as a compassionate witness.

The Compassionate witness.

These are such easy words to say. What a huge meaning. I’m aware of how the word “compassion” as it is often used does not do justice to its real meaning. “Com-passion” literally means to “feel with” (from the Latin ‘com’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘passion’ meaning’ to feel’). So to be compassionate with the whole spectrum in others, we need to be able to “feel with” which means to be able to resonate with all the parts of our own emotional spectrum. So it is a deep work of radical inclusivity. And if we then add “witness” to make “compassionate witness” we have the capacity to resonate (and co-resonate) with the whole spectrum whilst not getting identified with it, remaining able to witness. This is a fine tuned consciousness to aspire to. It means developing a meta level of consciousness where one is aware of and able to witness one’s own consciousness without separating from it and without identifying with it.

 

Elemental connections.

And the elements. We dance with the elements a lot in Movement Medicine. This gives us so much, and hopefully means we enter in a relationship of reciprocity where we feel our love and responsibility to care for the elements, as, at the same time, we receive such healing and empowerment from and with them. Ultimately they become part of the healing dance of medicine which is constantly weaving through us. If we are connected with the spirit of the waters because we know and love the waters as and in ourselves, we can call this energy as part of our healing medicine. It comes because we are already connected in a relationship of mutuality and inter-wovenness. I am water, I know the dance of water as I know myself, so when I call the energy of water to help in something, it is there, as I am there. And the same for fire, for earth and for air. This is one reason why the elements are key parts of movement as medicine. When we each as dancers, discover and strengthen this relationship, we learn how we can offer this to our own psyches, we are empowering our own shamanic natures.

 

Primary and secondary emotions.

I said I would say something more about this. Here goes. I’ve found myself cautious to share this, as there is a risk of using this information to judge oneself or others with something like “oh, they were/I was just in a secondary emotion”. For reasons I will make clear, this is not only unhelpful and inappropriate, it misses the point.

When a primary emotion is being expressed, it is the expression of the basic emotion which is there in your being at that moment. No kinks or translations in the internal pipe line. It’s straightforward, simple and uncomplicated. Normally, others who witness your expression feel the feeling too. When a secondary emotion is expressed it is a different emotion from the one being felt in the base of your being. It normally doesn’t have the same effect in others, who can be confused by witnessing the expression of emotion but not feeling the response in themselves they would expect to have. They may wonder if they have become hard hearted, for instance. So what’s going on? If we were at home in the full spectrum of our hearts, and knew that each feeling was allowed, acceptable and simply part of our humanity, we’d be simply at home in the experience and flow of our primary emotions. However, we have all grown up and live in social conditions which for many of us outlaw certain feelings as socially unacceptable or “embarrassing”. A typical (but of course not always) example is the mix up between anger and sadness. Often when we women are angry, (primary emotion) we express sadness (secondary emotion). And often when men are sad (primary emotion) they express anger or irritation (secondary emotion). This is because, in many parts of society, it has been more acceptable for a woman to be sad than to be angry, and it has been more acceptable for a man to be angry than sad. It is as if the emotional energy, blocked from flowing down its “home channel” has to go somewhere and flows out through the most open door available in the psyche.

So, when we discover the possibility that we ourselves, or someone else, is expressing a secondary emotion (and we don’t absolutely know for anyone else than ourselves, as there are other things that can block the empathic resonance, including our own patterning) it’s a sensitive job for the compassionate witness and the wounded healer. Once again, when we know these inner twists and interruptions to the straightforwardness of our own healthy functioning, and know the fear and internal pressures which can be associated with them, we can support others in untwisting their emotional pipelines. The necessity is to have become at ease with one’s own emotional spectrum, so that (primary) feelings can be directly and simply acknowledged, and to know the internalised pressures which can distort them into secondary emotional experience. So, once again, we are talking about the medicine of the wounded healer.

And the benefit is huge. Secondary emotions lead to strange, complicated stories and mix-ups. Their expression does not bring relief, satisfaction and transformation in the way that expression of primary emotions does. Learning about this difference and the different quality of feeling has been very helpful to me, both with myself and with my relationship with Ya’Acov, my friends, and with my professional work. Again the key is knowing myself, the flavour when I am “off” when what I am expressing is not the base of that feeling, and being willing to take responsibility and make a new choice. Knowing what work it takes to do that, I can be respectful as others also struggle with this.

 

In Conclusion

And once more, I think primarily for me, being a medicine woman is about trusting myself and that I have within me the capacity to call on what is needed to meet and respond to whatever it is that I am meeting. Even if my real response is “I don’t understand” or “I don’t know how to approach this”. Being with what is always seems to provide the doorway to the path.

I hope these thoughts are helpful! I’ve certainly learnt a lot, writing them down! Look forward to seeing some of you at my next open workshop, with Ya’Acov Dancing with the Heart of the World

Anyone interested in the Apprenticeship and training Movement Medicine path with myself and Ya’Acov can look at the information for the fourth apprenticeship programme which starts in Autumn 2016. The pre-requisites for this are: the Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group starting in March, the Phoenix Retreat, and Initiation. All of these next year are at the Rill Centre in England. See our website calendar.

 

Love to us all!

Susannah

Rhythm and Timing on the Consciousness Trail
By Ya`Acov
Do you notice how the year seems to speed up once we get into late October and November? Maybe it’s the shorter days or the early appearance of Christmas in the shops, but suddenly, we seem to be racing towards the end of another year. The summer is long gone and the autumn rains have softened the ground. The back door mat is muddy from our morning walks and those flooded fields are once again a part of the landscape of South West England.

One of the things we have found really important in our lives is taking time out at the equinoxes and solstices to review how things are going. In the busyness of life, creating islands of reflection time has given us the space to regain the overview, refocus our intention and give thanks for our lives in ritual space. In ritual, we have the opportunity to remember our connections to the bigger picture of life around us. This December, we will once again be in Switzerland offering our Dancing with the Heart of the World workshop at Waldhaus over the Winter Solstice. You will find more details of this gathering later in this article.

 

I’ve really enjoyed introducing my new workshop Dare to Dream over the past few weeks. It’s one of the things I love about my work. As new understandings become part of my everyday lived experience, I am able to create workshops that turn what I have learned into an offering or an enquiry for others. This process takes time. When I was younger, every new learning made its way quickly onto the dance floor but as I have entered my late 40’s and 50’s, I have started to see how important it is that whatever it is that I am learning has to become a part of my everyday life before I share it with others. A new learning is like a seed. Give the seed away and it cannot grow in my life. However, plant the seed, nurture it and support it to grow and soon enough, I can share the fruit of my work. Next year, I have two new workshops on offer that I’m excited about. The first is called Beyond Muscle and Bone and it’s an embodied enquiry into our relationship with death. The second is called Power Stories which is an investigation into our relationship with power. Check the calendar for details.

 

One of our commitments as teachers is to do something every year as complete beginners. This autumn, I have been lucky to find a local martial arts teacher who is super committed to his way. I love meeting people who have that level of dedication. It’s obvious in the way they are. He has been practicing for 30 years and he told me recently about one of his teachers. She was a woman who began practicing a certain kind of Ch’i Kung at the age of 5. At that time, women were not supposed to practice martial arts so her grandfather taught her on the rooftop out of view. She practiced for 65 years and at the age of 70, began teaching! Seemingly, she lived and taught to the ripe old age of 105. Can you imagine how rich and ingrained her teaching was? 65 years of practice and then she began! It’s not that I think that is the right or the only way to do things. But it’s a lovely story about the commitment it takes to share the fruits of one’s labours. We are delighted to see how many teachers and facilitators are offering their Movement Medicine fruit in a widening variety of contexts and places.

 

I was talking with a friend over the weekend about how useful Movement Medicine could be with our elders in Old Age homes, in hospitals, in business and with children and teenagers in schools. Part of the Professional Training we offer is about making give-aways in these kinds of situations and it was a great pleasure for us to see Silvana Rigobon’s photos on the Facebook page of her give-away with elders in Italy. Thank you Silvana! We are beginning to understand that delivering something as deep and as complex as Movement Medicine needs to be done in chunks and language appropriate to the place and culture in which it is being taught. Just getting people moving and aware of the body is already a radical step for many people. I remember what it was like to be in a situation where it felt as if everyone else in the room knew what they were doing and I felt like a fish out of water with no idea of what was expected of me. For people who have never thought of or experienced movement as a pathway to deepening consciousness, finding the courage to come on the dance floor can be quite a leap. Putting myself in the place of being a beginner again reminds me how uncomfortable I felt when I first came onto a dance floor 25 years ago with Gabrielle Roth in a Karate Dojo in London. For me, putting myself in places where my view is challenged and my comfort zone stretched is a wonderful process. It keeps me fresh and in the experience that surrounding the little I know is the vast space of the unknown.

 

I’ve heard people saying from time to time that Movement Medicine can be too deep for beginners. I don’t agree. It’s down to a teacher or facilitator to welcome beginners into the work and give them steps they can take that are not too threatening all at once. We need to feel safe in order to learn and we need to feel safe in order to be willing to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone. I am well aware that the idea of movement as mindfulness meditation is already a massive leap for a great many people. It is our job as teachers to go on finding ways to open the doors to those who could benefit hugely from Movement Medicine or other conscious dance or body based practices. There is more and more research being done about the benefits of working through the body in order to change our experience of living. The movement from disempowerment to empowerment can seem daunting. We need a certain amount of courage and determination or just plain despair to get us to break out of our boxes and explore the territory beyond the known. And it’s obvious to me that we all have so much more creativity and humanity than we generally give ourselves the time of day to explore and own.

 

In essence, that’s what I feel Movement Medicine spaces are: They are safe spaces in which we can step out of time for a while and stop the world. The day-to-day rhythm of the 21st century is so fast that we can simply get swept away in the tempo of other people’s rhythms, stories, ideas and expectations about how life is. We can and do lose ourselves in a world that is more interested in selling us gadgets and empty promises than the development of soul, compassion and the direct experience of who we actually are. When we are full of the stress that the industrial world seems to demand from us as the norm, it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees. A workshop space brings us back to the tempo of the body and the heart. We can listen, empty out, renew and remember. The need for spaces such as these is not new. We used to do it in community. We sat by the fire, told and danced our stories in rituals that made no separation between theatre, movement, song, acknowledgement of one another and the challenges of life, healing and renewal of our sense of what mattered most to us in our lives. Workshops now fulfil the same function.

 

Since we began our teaching work in 1989, we have always taken times like this for ourselves. Every winter solstice, we go into a time and space for review. How have things been over this past year? What did we learn? What were the major experiences of the year that we wish to acknowledge and remember? What do we need to let go of? How have the intentions that we set last year come into form or changed or been forgotten? What can we give thanks for? What’s going on in the wider community of the world we live in because without doubt, this is also having an impact on our experience of life and to forget that is to forget the reality that we live in an interconnected world? And what adjustments do we need to make for the year ahead to go on deepening the alignment between our underlying intentions and the way we live. Our first New Year workshop was in 1990 and was called Patterns in the Sand. This year, as I have already mentioned, we will back at Waldhaus in Switzerland over the Winter Solstice to run one of our favourite events of the year, called Dancing with the Heart of the World. In it, we will take the time to slow down, remember the rhythm of the body and heart and invite the mind to calm and open to the bigger picture once again. You can find full details of the workshop, which includes working with the Pachamama Awakening the Dreamer symposium, on our website calendar. There is a strong circle already gathering and if you feel the call, please contact Roland. We have discovered again and again that we simply could not live the lives we live without these times of enquiry, ritual and renewal.

 

Finally, I am happy to tell you that details for our fourth apprenticeship programme are now up on our website. The journey does not begin until September 2016 but now is the time to be preparing and taking the prerequisites. Full details of what these are on the website and Roland will be happy to support you with any questions you may have.

 

As I’ve been writing, the sky has cleared and I am being treated to a feast of late autumn colours. Time to sit back, stop the world for a while and let mama train and her rhythms do the rest. I look forward to seeing you somewhere on the road and wish you all a rich and creative ending of 2014.

 

Ya’Acov DK.

 

Ya’Acov’s Programme Autumn-Winter 2014

28/11 Move! London Alex

29-30/11 Holy Trinity London Alex

16/12 Bringing the Dance Back Home Online Roland

Online Monthly Movement Class

17-22 Dancing with the Heart of the World Switzerland Roland

5-19/1/15 Dancing with the Heart of the World Ecuador Pachamama

Amazon Edition Alliance

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

One pointed arrow of body, heart and mind
By Kristin Glenewinkel
I want to share a story of my journey to the Long Dance this summer. We were on the way to the Airport and the train stations were full. Train stations in Switzerland always appear as a palace of perfection to me: they are small, clean and every centimetre is used in the most efficient way. This evening the trains were late, unusual situation, so we decided to take another route to the destination and jumped into a full train, needing to change trains after twenty minutes.

Getting off the train at the next station the platform was crowded, Friday evening, everyone on the road, trying to get to their place for the weekend. I was very determined to be on time and catch my flight together with two dear dancing friends from Basel. We went downstairs to change platform. In the tunnel something stroke me like a lightening: I did have the big back pack on my shoulders but my suitcase was missing!
The next second I was running up to the platform, screaming from the top of my lungs, I screamed STOP, STOP, STOP, this train MUST WAIT, MY SUITCASE IS IN THE TRAIN!

 

My body was a one pointed arrow, my emotions, my heart was just pointing towards this one thing and my mind went along like another arrow and there was just that one thought: I need the suitcase. The conductor waved at me, he said: too late, the whistle had been blown already. There was a man standing on the platform who saw me screaming and immediate started to scream with me, totally anticipating my call. His screaming filled the platform, his arms were up in the air like he was playing theatre. I jumped into the only open door of the train while the man was screaming on the platform so the train wouldn't leave. I screamed through the railcar: „This green suitcase, can you hand me the suitcase!?“ Everyone anticipated, everyone seemed to understand what I wanted and I did have my suitcase in the next second and jumped out of the train again. Then the tall man stopped screaming, the conductor looked puzzled, the door closed and slowly the train took off. I was wet from sweat, trembling and I bowed deep to this man who was beaming with a big smile and I said thank you a thousand times and ran off to catch the train. My dancing friends were wondering, waiting on the other platform and we barely made it into the next train.

 

This was the first time in my life I wasn't holding myself back at all, I allowed myself to go fully with what was needed and I felt received so beautifully in the world. I got my suitcase back and many smiling faces. Sitting in the next train, feeling the adrenalin pumping through my system, my friends and I still trying to comprehend the situation. We were laughing and I was feeling so protected and guided by my own intentions and the intentions of the Long Dance. My friend looked at me and whispered: You stopped a Swiss train. That’s a real miracle!

 

Two and half years ago, starting the Apprenticeship with the school of Movement Medicine I had a dream. Many people were on a tiny boat, all sitting on deck together at night. Ya`Acov was sitting right in front of me and he had a very sharp arrow in his hand. He was radiating with joy and enthusiasm. The arrow was short and very strong. He said to me: „Look, look, you need to point your arrow, you need to point it and focus.“ The arrow was pointing straight into my navel. He gave me the arrow and I tried and I remember in the dream how strange it felt and how I had never practised to point an arrow. 

 

After this amazing moment at the train station I start to feel how I learn to focus and point my arrows. Not to just get my own will, but to discipline myself so I can offer what I am here for.

 

And sharing of what she is here for, Kristin also does by offering regular Movement Medicine classes in Basel, whoever wants to join her healing, creative, nurturing and playful evenings of Mit dem Leben Tanzen (Dancing with Life).

Tree of Life
By Elisabeth Schrag
I want to share an experience I had during the second module of Hollow Bones with Caroline in Cae Mabon this autumn. In waves we went deeper and deeper to the lower world during a drum session. I had this feeling I am a very old beach tree, strong and deeply rooted with branches and roots making connection with other trees.

May be you meet your allies or wise elder there”, she said.

I first met my father who died in 1978. He had been badly wounded during World War II, and as a child I was affected of his conditions.

I saw myself leading a whole army of soldiers while he watched me. I felt very strong and exactly at the right place.

And there suddenly the question came up: Could it be, that his fighting in the war was not in vain and his suffering might be holding a deeper meaning for me? I got the whole power he counted there.

Then I saw a very short movie of my mothers life and the way she suffered and found solutions to deal with. At the end stood the question: Was her pain necessary to give me the strength I hold now?

I then felt the power of both melting together in my body as one. Wow I had never felt something similar.

Then, we had to think about our offering for the world.

 

Later in the week:

We were to find a theatre role we always have dreamt of but never had the courage to act in reality, like singing an Aria in an opera or being very strong as we felt always so shy and weak.

We visited the upper world during a drumming journey to find this character:

I stood there and took the rhythm of the drumbeat into my body. First, I saw the head of an owl, beaked and with big eyes. Then I grew wings to fly with. My mind told me this is not really possible, but they were there. So I surrendered. The space around me started to shake and I heard shouts and primal screams. With my pinions I poised over the scenery. Suddenly the energy in the room was so strong that it took me down to catch a mouse. I started to hunt and in that moment I got it, I knew: “Elisabeth it is not the time to hunt any more!” So I let it go, raised myself into the air and on top of a huge tree standing close by.

I overlooked the whole scenery and all of a sudden my body started to thud the way I had seen the San dancing around the fire the day before in a film about Africa. Allowing the rhythm to bring the movement down to a still point. Nothing else: Stillness!

And then a very strange feeling came up. Every single cell became solid but remained fluid at the same time.

And there I stood, myself manifested, in this huge, big, magnificent very old beach tree. With a size I had never seen in my life before.

 

In this moment Caroline asked: Can you find a name for what you have found now?

Am I an old beach tree or tree beach? It took me a moment to realize:

I am the TREE of LIFE.

That’s it. Tears emerged. Yes, I am the TREE of LIFE myself and here I am with a heart full of LOVE to all life.

In my trunk lives and rises new life and I am here to hold others in stormy times with thunder and blizzards, may it be rainy or sunny. I am just here!

You can come to me whenever you need it. You can hug me, lean on me or cry, tell me about your worries, or fill up with new energy. I am here!

Nourished, held, carried, flushed, always renewed. I am going through all seasons and accepting what ever it is. Connected with all other trees on this planet.

I am just here!

And I felt this big fire emerging from the centre of the earth, to heat and melt together with all fluids and nourish my roots, trunk, branches and leaves. I felt the support of the earth and the wind was blowing through my crown.

 

First, I was almost overwhelmed but full of joy, until suddenly sadness came up and I realised what I really need.

Accept fully who you are. There is nothing wrong with you. Nothing!”

My body has exactly the right shape for me, nothing has to be different. Too many years telling myself stories of not being right are gone.

 

Accept and relax! Accept and relax!”

In this white Light
By Vanessa
As always, Susannah led us this weekend full of “Power of the Heart” so skilfully and softly, right to the heart of it all. After moving for hours and through many layers in the 4 chambers, the Wise Elder was first imagined right in front of us. But sooner than the invition came, I felt the urge to step into her field. She seemed so much an older me, my curiousity drawing me in. There I stood, in the centre of my circle, wise enough to Love it All. What a place to find ourselves in, dear dancers!

So many years have past since I first took that step and made it my daily practice. But still, everyday before I consciously step out of bed, I first sense where my centre is and how my heart is doing. These and many other repeated little moments of consciousness have really paid off.
And now, during this weekend I fully realized; Yes I am truly in the centre of my own circle, Yes I do have a soft and flexibel, semi-permeable membranal boundry and Yes I can say Yes and Yes I can say No. With love, rooted in a place of Love.
For that is where the journey through the four chambers of the heart lead us once again. And if it wasn’t for the Great Choreographer, I would still be there, in a splendid, sparkling, spirited place of love.…but would I be human?
So there, seemingly out of nowhere, appeared my challenging mirror, another human being! Sparkling, spirited, full of love. How to not fall out of my own circle now?
Breathing, feeling my feet, staying centred, I instantly learned a lot more about being a spirit inside a body. About being a soul with a heart. About being this being that I am.

I managed to stay in this place where all colours merge, for many days after the workshop, but only after I allowed my shadows to dance their dance too. I needed to and could allow old stories, ancient feelings, dusty ideas of self blend and melt in this light. All being washed clean in this light. All because of the witnessing eyes and heart of another human being. We could be all teachers and healers to one anothers soul…..if only we allow ourselves to be seen as we are, Love.

So my next serious update of old stories and firm tugging on heartstrings will probably be during Circle & Sword, sometime in May, in Holland. Maybe then our circles will overlap for a while and create another sacred moment, for something like white light to be embodied in the space between us.

With Light & Shadow,
Ness

Dare to Dream
By Heidi Nolte
I am a woman, turning 60 in December. My parents are about to leave this world and one of my best friends (I have been living in a community with him and his wife the past 28 years) is very ill and will die within the next years. Time to dare to dream? It doesn't seem to be. But I still have enough power to change and to open a new chapter of my life.

My dream before and after the workshop is to share all my knowledge and practise of dancing I ever had. I did this when I was between 45 and 52 in a weekly group with women, and in dance sessions with life drummers, for men and women.
After that followed a time, when I had nothing to say and nothing to give. I was "frozen" in this situation. I avoided to dance deeper. I decided to be too old for 5-Rhythm-weekends and lived a neutral status quo - not hot, not cold.
Two years ago I told my best girlfriends that Jonathan Horan will give a workshop. They said "and tomorrow you'll book the weekend.“ It was like coming home, and the following year I attended Ya'Acov's workshop in Hamburg. These were highlights, which had no consequences in my daily life.
This year followed Dare to Dream. In a deep inner dance it was the first time, that I faced the deaths of my parents and my friend. I did never really try this before. The result was exciting. I felt a big strong ray of light through my hole body from the ground to the top. I knew this from before, but had not felt it for a long long time.
And my dance filled with life, and I moved through a lot of different emotions. I had missed this for so long. I was present with myself, the others and all that happened during these days.
I had contact with a lot of different people and was able to look into many different mirrors. I enjoyed it so much. I loved the yin and yang dances with changing rolls. I wished to share my yan-qualities with a young man, and danced with a yan man and a yin man at the same time. This was simply the best.
During the workshop Hamburg I often remembered a woman, who is like a sister in spirit of the dance for me. She should have been there with me in Hamburg.
Last weekend she gave a course in singing mantras. I was there and was surprised about her work. My heart opened wide and I felt deep peace within myself. Now we stay in contact to share our ideas. Perhaps we will work together. In my daily life I work with my body every day (dancing, walking, yoga, Reiki) to get into deeper contact with my inner being and to find ways to express it.
This the active part. Sometimes it works good, sometimes it is only an exercise. But there are situations happening I can't create actively. I meet people I receive very hearty gestures from. I hope that will show me that I'm on the right way. Many thanks to Ya'Acov and his work, it gave me ground, hope and power.

 

Best wishes to all the dancers. We will meet again on the dance floor.
Heidi


PS. After I had finished the text, I remembered a song from Carlos Santana: Put your lights on. It's a good song for me. Looking forward to my birthday at the end of December and a good song in this dark wintertime too.

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