One door closes…..
You know that really annoying saying; “When one door closes another one opens”? Well I just couldn’t get it out of my head when Ya’Acov and I made the decision that that I shouldn’t go the Amazon this February. My father , who lives next door to us was just too frail. My Dad was able to acknowledge the sacrifice and we all knew it was right and necessary. However, that didn’t stop me howling about it. Anyway, what I have experienced is just precisely that, one door closing and several doors opening, including a new and different way of playing my part in the Pachamama Alliance Amazon journey.
I’d asked myself how I could contribute to the purpose of the journey, without going, and realised that on ever previous journey we have led there, I’ve had the feeling of there being a missing “somebody” to somehow transmit and share something of this wondrous experience into the world as we are having it. Then I realised, OMG, maybe its ME! So I started writing, one episode for every day that they were there. Then I began to get responses, unexpected people telling me how much they were getting from it, our Ukrainian guest Sasha telling me that she was reading it in Ukrainian and actually feeling it physically in her own body. Writing this became a twin river of experience alongside my life here, with the land, the ponies, my Dad and Moxi.
And it was a quite an experience. I really felt like I was there and at the same time I was very here. I feel as if I’ve been there in the Amazon, even though of course I know that I wasn’t. At the start, I felt discombobulated, as if my psyche really couldn’t understand what was happening. And then I seemed to learn how to do it. It was like riding, standing on two horses cantering in tandem side by side with one foot on each. That is a dramatic image, and I have never done it, but it is what it felt like; being with, simultaneously, these twin tracks of galloping life.
When Ya’Acov came out of the forest he discovered that he’d picked up a bug which meant that he couldn’t teach in the room. As he was due to teach a Movement Medicine workshop; “Soul Seeds” in Toronto on his way home this was serious news. We realised that I should go to Toronto to co-teach “Soul Seeds” with Ya’Acov – him on zoom in the room and me physically in the room. And what’s THAT going to be like when we haven’t seen each other for nearly a month?
And what about my Richard Darlington, my Dad? After all, he was the reason I hadn’t gone to the forest in the first place. However, Dad has had another of his “Lazarus” moments and is feeling much better. Indeed, the doctor says that he’s gone into reverse ageing. Amazing grace!
Together with film maker Emilio Mula, we began making a film in which I interview Dad with the intention of honouring and sharing what he has learnt and accomplished in his life. This is to celebrate his upcoming 90th birthday and I have learnt so much that is already so useful to me in my life and work, as well as recognising more of my own lineage and who my father actually is.
The film (My Road to Emmaus Mossley) will be available, we hope, after Dad’s 90th, in April. Reuben and Haein came up and lived in our house for the weekend, so that Richard had company. And off I went to Toronto.
In Toronto I had the extraordinary experience of teaching again in a gorgeous big space with a beautiful strong and diverse group of dancers. What a pure pleasure to introduce them to Movement Medicine.
Ya’Acov and I co-taught with him there on zoom on a big screen and we had a ball. The love and connection and congruence between us felt so easy, playful and lovely. Once again this surreal and yet real embodied dream of being together and yet not physically together.
I bow to the great mystery who has winkled me out of my hermit life to re-discover teaching in the room and to remember how much I love it. At the same time, I am re-confirmed in knowing how little I want to travel or leave this land. So, these forays into the rest of the world are going to be very few and far between and are so special to me. My upcoming workshop in Aarau (in my favourite dance hall of all time) has come to feel even more special to me now. At the time of writing it is nearly full, so if you want to come, jump into action.
In Toronto we had a meet up of those in the workshop who have been participating in online Movement Medicine. We hear the same words again, that this is experienced as soul food. I feel so happy to know that I can share the harvest of all those decades “on the road” from the inner sanctum of my life here and know that people are able to receive it in the deep intimate reaches of their lives.
And it is not the same as being in the room together. That is really a different medicine. For me too! I am beginning to really appreciate how different, yet complementary nature of both formats, with their very different demands and rewards.
Online work demands so much in terms of self-discipline, active choice and fully committing moment to moment. At the same time, it gives so much in terms of integration and self-empowerment. You are doing the work, choosing the work, in the context of your life. The shifts you make are already grounded in your own landscape.
On the other hand, working in the room together demands greater commitment in terms of cost, travel, blocks of time, but then, once you’re there, you’re there and can be carried and supported by what I call the “magic carpet” which the teacher and the group create, as we journey together. The group setting gives us something which, for we humans as the social animals we are, is so powerful. We can travel deep together and then bring the medicine home.
On the other hand, the online format supports and pushes us to find and make the connections we need, at or from home, IF we manage to engage with it. Having been very sceptical initially myself, I am now having the frequent experience (and hearing it from participants) that we can and do travel deep into ceremony, into healing and into connective places via the online format. And no air miles
Last night was “Listening Bowl” night on the Movement Medicine Study Hub. David Mooney has been shining the light of his wisdom through the Hub this month, where he has been in residency as the first guest teacher. Wow. I’ve experienced David’s teaching about the connection between Polyvagal theory and Movement Medicine as a deep master class. The Listening Bowl was a deep and rich sharing between us about this work of befriending our nervous systems, which is the name of David’s Lesson. I am so glad that this precious lesson, like all the resources on the Hub, goes on being there for the long term. And David is one of the teachers offering the next generation of Movement Medicine Apprenticeships. Yes, you heard that right. Amazing news!
I want to come back to writing those Amazon blogs. This was a thrilling labour of love, deeply soul nourishing as I followed the landscape of Ya’Acov’s group’s journey, to find and lay out the thrum of words to carry my sense. As occasional responses came I knew the signal was carrying and being transmitted in a way that others can receive.
That felt like holy communion. And I am so grateful for each person who reflected back to me from their “earth station” something about what these words did in them. And I’m so very grateful for all the kindness and support I and we have felt for and with my father.
This journey has been a doula for my writing. My book on Embodied Listening is coming. And it feels like the most powerful thing I can offer the world right now. I look forward to sharing more of this as the journey goes on.
I wish you too the experience of many doors opening when you make that hard “choiceless choice” to do the right thing and let go of something that has been precious to you,
Susannah Darling Khan
Dance with me in Aarau, Switzerland, 17-19 March
Learn Embodied Listening with me