And then the world was a different place….
Wow! That was quick! Just like that. All change! I remember, we were a small group of 20 of us at Shell airport outside Puyo in Ecuador. We were about to fly into the Amazon forest to go and be with our friends and family there – when, quite suddenly, we were asked to pay attention to a young woman from the Health Ministry who was going to show us how to wash our hands properly.
That was the first time I’d heard mention of Covid-19, the now ultra-famous reality change agent. It’s interesting what gets us to act isn’t it? Apparently, a human being dying every 10 seconds from hunger is not a serious enough virus for us to act.
That hand-washing demonstration at the tiny airport was like being at the Long Dance again, when our dear friend Agnes, a Movement Medicine Facilitator and medical doctor with years of field experience working in refugee camps, explained to all of us how to wash our hands properly. Since that delightful choreography that Agnes showed us whilst explaining how it had been shown to reduce spread of disease by a massive percentage, I’ve been a fan. And then Reuben told us that he had been taught in his apprenticeship as a chef that washing hands for the length of time it takes to sing a full rendition of ‘happy birthday’ twice was a hygiene necessity. It kind of suits my fussy self to have a reason to wash my hands so many times a day. But my goodness, what a challenging time to be a human living in a body on planet earth.
For us, the fact that we were already at home together and not travelling far away and having a reason to stay at home whilst the Spring springs, are the silver linings in all this. We decided early on that the most responsible thing to do was to postpone all of our events for the foreseeable future. So we did. And we’ve spent the last week mostly ‘on hold’ as we waited for the over-worked switchboard operators at all the travel companies we use to answer the phone and our questions about postponement and refunds. There are so many things to be scared of, but when a whole host of them land at once and threaten the illusion of certainty that we’ve been invited to hang out in, life can become very overwhelming.
I’ve been taking the invitation to take a good dose of my own medicine and I’ve been practicing (movement as medicine) in the mornings, and at night, and quite often whilst on the phone. I’ve noticed that, on the whole, people have been going out of their way to be kind to one another and I’ve been floored several times this week by the humanity a shared crisis can engender amongst total strangers. Having said that, surely a radical act of kindness would be to transform the on-hold music that gets played round and round. How about a little Movement Medicine meditation whilst you’re waiting to be answered? Or at the very least, some Bob Marley to lift the spirits.
Laughter and joking aside, I recognise how blessed I am. And I am very much more blessed than many. So, as always, the most interesting question for us here in the DK household has been, ‘what’s the most creative and generous way to respond to all this?’ We’ve lost our income but not our love for life, and certainly not our love of the practice we’ve created.
And the news from my front line is that; ‘Yes, it works!’ Whilst in my Movement Medicine practice these past two weeks, I’ve noticed so many things. Like how quickly my heart comes online when I move. Like that uncomfortable icy, cold echo of fear in my guts that turned out to be a not-so-very-old memory from my great-grandparents as they faced a new life as refugees in a country far from home. When I turned to see those teenagers, travelling on a ship in the opposite direction of everything they knew, and I tasted the salty blend of sea air and survival fear, I danced all that deeper to thank them for their courage and yes, I felt them that little bit stronger at my back.
And in the midst of all this, I have a new book coming out on March 31st. and though I say so myself, it’s making a timely entrance. I know how useful that archetypal force called the Inner Shaman can be and I know that anyone in a body can gain access to what they know should they want to. I’m going to leave the fanfare for the massive effort I’ve poured into this book to the one person in this world without whom I wouldn’t have managed to get to the end of page one, Susannah:
’I have been married to Ya’Acov for over three decades. He is my best friend and much more besides. We have shared so many ups and downs as we learned, loved, fought and brought our work into the world. Over the years, as we have met indigenous groups in different places round the world, over and over again the same thing has happened: out of the blue, elder shamans recognized him and told us that he is a shaman too. These were people who knew nothing about him and who did not have anything to gain from recognizing him in this way. They simply saw who he is.
I’m proud to stand by his side and uphold him, his integrity and this amazing book. It makes clear what a genuine and inspiring shamanic practice, relevant to the wounds, challenges and opportunities of our modern world, can mean.’
Susannah Darling Khan
Thank you sweetheart! Your turn to write now and I’m right here at your side…….
Of course, I was going to do some book launch events in person, but our new world situation means that I’m going to have to offer them online. The good thing about that is there’s no travel costs, hardly a carbon footprint in sight (relatively speaking) and of course, we can record it and you can watch it anywhere at your leisure.
Any of you in touch with us through facebook or our mailing list will know that we’ve decided to take the opportunity to run some free online events. We were blown away by the response from the last ones. 400+ people from around the world joined together to practice together. Amazing grace. And this is just the warm-up.
Tomorrow night, March 17th, we’ll be at it again, shamelessly inviting people into their bodies, their creativity, their ground, themselves, and of course, the power of experiencing this connection through the world-wide-web. The focus will be:
SHAKE IT OUT – SHAKING MEDICINE FOR SHAKY TIMES
Please take this as your personal invitation to come and dance with us (and if you can’t make it, don’t worry, there’ll be a recording in the library.
Finally, our new membership site will be launching over a week-long period in April. We’re currently reviewing the pricing structure to take into account the financial realities many of us are facing. You can sign up for the waitlist here and you’ll be amongst the first to hear our news.
For now, dear Movement Medicine community, stay well. Keep on moving. This is the time to use everything we’ve been practicing. Whilst our hearts still beat. I’ll leave you with a quote from my new book. And see you online.
With so much love, I’m popping like a birch tree.
The title of this book is an invocation. And I am drumming and singing it into the eight directions, through the roots, trunk and branches of the Tree of Life: ‘Shaman! Hey! You there! Yes, you! I’m calling to you – you inside your skin, inside your bones. To the ancient memories that are alive in your DNA – the Inner Shaman who remembers your unbreakable connection to the magnificent spirit of life and who you truly are. It’s time to awaken. Your body needs you. The Earth needs you. Your heart needs you. Your dreams need you. You are creation itself in the form of a human, and you have so much to give…’
My intention is to show you that there is an Inner Shaman within you, an archetype that I believe has a powerful role to play in the personal and collective awakening we need to engage in if we are to have a future on Earth. Some say it is already too late for us. But my own experience tells me that we have barely begun to understand the power and intelligence of life itself and the potential power of transformation that is within us, between us and between we humans and the web of life.
YDK. March 2020