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Engaged Shamanism and some Household Chores – November 2017

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Yipppeeeee!!! We are really happy and proud to present to you our new baby: Launching Darling Khan Online – Home Study Courses in Engaged Shamanism. We had a weekend at home together this past weekend – such a rare jewel of space and time this autumn with a busy schedule behind and ahead of us. Added to our teaching calendar is the marvellous new adventure that we’re on fire with that takes its first steps into the world at 16.10 pm on 7th November.

We’ve finally got it together to create something we’ve been longing to offer for quite a while now. May we present to you for your delectation and delight:

Darling Khan Online – Home Study Courses in Engaged Shamanism

If you’re on our mailing list, you will have had an email in the last few days giving you details of what this is all about. We hope you’ll feel moved and inspired to join us in this next chapter and discover just how helpful engaged shamanism can be for you in your day-to-day life. To give you a sense of what I mean, here’s a little window into how things roll in our household when we get the chance to practice at home.

So, what do a pair of Darling Khan’s do on a weekend off? Well, during the summer, we did some really good clearing out of the kitchen, the garage, and the yard. I love the meditation of being a householder. Taking care of the physical space we live in is a genuine pleasure for me. For me, physical space is a mirror of my internal state. I used to be a nightmare to live with. Things out of place upset me to quite an unreasonable degree. I wondered why. I worked hard to relax my attitudes and take care of the underlying irritation that was such a part of my strategy for surviving life. But two things have happened in the last few years that have changed this story.

Firstly, I’ve come to understand the simple needs I have for a little empty space in our delightfully unpredictable, chaotic and magnificent world. Secondly, I’ve learned to simply ask Susannah for what I need. The result? A revolution.

When two busy people are stressed, default modes tend to rule the roost. Instead of recognising our own stress and the behaviour it provokes, we tell all kinds of justification stories to excuse our behaviour and we tend to focus on what others should be doing for us. We expect people to know what we need and give it to us and when they don’t, well there’s a convenient story that explains our upset. And so it goes on.

And for most people living together that I witness, there’s this low level, underground warfare that expresses itself in not listening to one another and blaming each other for our condition. A horrible vicious circle is the inevitable result where our worst fears tend to come true again and again – and there we are, the perfectly constructed excuse not to take responsibility for our own part in the story. We’ve recently heard it described as ‘immature love’ and I’d have to say that’s the best description I’ve ever heard for the suffering we bring on ourselves. What is immature love? Well, it’s an unconscious identification with the hurt child inside us and when we see the world through that lens, we see all the proof we need for our ongoing default pattern of self-defence. And funnily enough, self-defence seems to be the favourite excuse of the aggressor in most conflicts I witness. That part of us is so wrapped up in our own tiny little world that we don’t notice the effect our actions are having on those around us.

Anyway, back to our weekend off. Well, last week, after we completed the first module of our fifth apprenticeship programme (a brilliant and powerful new circle of apprentices they are too), tired little me walked into the office one morning and was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of stagnant energy in our office space. In my overwhelm, I wanted to take action immediately and get to work and clear it all out. But we had other things to take care of and tired little me doesn’t tend to see the world as it actually is. Tired little me wants someone to sort things out NOW and make him feel comfortable. I understand and with a little patient help from the marvellous Mrs Darling Khan, I came back into the present and we calmly agreed to clean up the office on Saturday morning. When I am present enough to witness what is going on, take responsibility for my own feelings, and as a result, communicate my needs clearly, it’s amazing how easy it is for Susannah to respond positively to what it is I need. And in that dance, where my focus is equally on what Susannah needs from me, not to mention the great pleasure I have in giving my beloved what she needs, oh my, the world is a very different place. Vicious circles are quickly replaced by virtuous spirals and the dance between us takes us into ever deepening and unknown territories of the sacred meeting of the body-heart-minds of a man and a woman otherwise known as mature love.

(Naturally, this could be a man and a man or a woman and a woman and this difference of immature and mature love is present not only in intimate relationships but for all relationships that matter to us).

So, yep, you guessed it. We got up on Saturday morning, did our practice, enjoyed our breakfast and then set to work. Wow! Years and years of files and papers and records that have long past their ‘time to let go of me’ date ended up in a truck full of blue sacks and on their way to our wonderful local recycling centre. Amazing grace. Our office feels SO different. Coming in to write this morning was a real pleasure! Having finished the job, what better to do than to celebrate? So we did what we love best whenever we have the time for it. We partied and prayed. Just the two of us. Great music, great company, such deep discussions and prayers-a-plenty. Just to be clear, what I mean by praying isn’t praying to some almighty creator spirit to give me what I’ve decided I need. It’s much more of a connection to that unbroken place inside me and between us where we feel our place in the web of life and we dance and speak our gratitudes for this miracle of an opportunity to experience life and creation on this earth. And that gratitude doesn’t come from an idea that I should be grateful, but from the direct experience of how much I am receiving from life. There is this sense of dialogue with the greater powers by whose grace we live. What greater powers? The turning earth under our feet, the sun and its life-giving light. The moon (what a full moon that was) and her powerful pull on all kinds of tides, gravity, and the interconnected web that we belong to. The four directions and the five elements that make up who we are and the concept of standing at the centre of my own circle have become such an integrated part of my day-to-day reality that they are simply there when I give my attention to them.

And this is why we have decided to offer a series of online courses. We’ve always been passionate about bridging the workshop space, and the freedom and possibility we experience in those spaces, with the dance of living in what people love to call ‘the real world.’ For me, the real world happens when I choose to be real. The idea that the dominant story of the times is more real in its essence than any other story we choose to tell is not one I’m signed up to. Choice, not about what happens, but about how we ‘dance’ with what happens is absolutely primary. And this is what we mean by ‘engaged shamanism.’ It’s not about flying off to other realities and meeting some other fantastical magnificence. It’s about learning to live in and with this reality. And it’s about being here and recognising the everyday blessing and fantastical magnificence that IS living life on this earth. This leads to an awakening to the joyful responsibilities of being humans in the 21st century, humans who have woken from a trance in which we believed we needed to consume and have more and more things for our happiness. We start to notice what life is offering us, receive it, be nourished deeply by it. We change the dynamic from acting like a bunch of wounded kids who have tantrums whenever life doesn’t give us what we think we deserve, to the deeply passionate and poetic state of life artists, engaged in the process of creating the very best we can for all our relations with the material that life gives. This is engaged shamanism. And there are many ways that this has now become the default mode in our lives. How? Through practice, repetition and choice. So, there we have it. Our new offering. If you’re hearing the call, we’ll see you online. The first module will be available on December 1st and you can find out all you want to from the new website:

I wish you all a deeply engaged and fulfilling late Autumn into winter time.

With love and respect for the one you are and the one you’re becoming.

YDK. November 2017


Ya’Acov’s Upcoming Events and Workshops:

23 November: Move! Evening with Ya’Acov. Rome, Italy.
This introductory event provides the opportunity to get into that body and just dance, express and move for one evening. Letting the mind drop into the body, our inner dancer will lead the way to free and authentic movement, bringing your whole self into the dance and the experience.
Contact Tamara and Silvana: +39 3396571488;

25–26 November: Power Stories  with Ya’Acov. Verona, Italy.
This workshop is an invitation to find out more about the power you hold inside and your relationship to that resource. Through dance and embodiment, we explore how it manifests through past stories, how we might deny our own power, or give it over to another authority within or without, and how we can access that power in a healthy, truthful way to give space to even more of what we are.
Contact Tamara and Silvana: +39 3396571488;

810 December: Money Stories with Ya’Acov. London, UK.
Dancing with the questions and stories we may have around money – what a good idea. In this workshop you can explore your personal relationship with money, such as the emotions you hold around money or how conditioning or believe systems may influence your present financial situation. In a refreshing and embodied dancing way you can open up into a new way of relating to money.
Contact Alex Hanley: +44 (0)7868 842219;

16–20 December: Returning Home with Ya’Acov and Susannah. Waldhaus, Switzerland.
As a rich workshop of story telling, art, dance and ritual, this space invites participants to reflect on a year that has past and unveil new dreams of another year ahead. Set amidst the stunning mountains of the Swiss Alps, this retreat provides an invitation to return to the essence of who you are, let go of what has been, plant new seeds and nurture your connection to Life.
Contact Roland Wilkinson: +44 (0)1803 762255;

21 December: Solstice Party with Susannah and Ya’Acov. Waldhaus, Switzerland.
Contact Roland Wilkinson: +44 (0)1803 762255;

3–16 January: Dancing with the Heart of the World IV: Amazonian intensive with Dave Tucker, Susannah and Ya’Acov. Ecuador, South America.
In this radical and powerful intensive, Ya’Acov and Susannah team up with Pachamama Journeys director David Tucker to take participants on a life-changing journey into the rainforest.
Click here for more information about the journey.