Fierce Gratitude – Dec 2019
All, firstly, a massive thank you. The way Movement Medicine dancers
are receiving the work I am now sharing is deeply significant for me in
my life. I feel truly useful, and in those special pearl moments, truly
rooted and flowering.
At this moment of my life, the convergence of many paths leads me to a feeling of being at the right place at the right time. I am keeping my pledge with life to play my part through these multiple inter-weaving paths:
- I’ve been (and still am) in a deep process of metamorphosis. The menopause is mega! For me it’s being a tough and wonderful teacher of a deeper gentle way of being. Ya’Acov calls it a fierce gentleness which is sometimes a gentle fierceness. It’s difficult enough if you roll with it; I cannot imagine how it feels if you cannot. And I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m loving who I’m discovering in myself in this new era and what I’m learning and how useful it is to others.
- I’ve been given the perfect mix through living at a time when so much more is becoming known about trauma and our nervous systems, especially polyvagal theory.
- And I have the perfect teachers and trackers of “reality checks” of how I’m doing with that through my growing connection with my wild born Exmoor ponies. They are mirror masters; not of what I show or what I do, but of how I am inside. Kind and yet absolutely honest. I feel redeemed by them on a daily basis as I learn what it feels like to be included in the herd. It’s a matter of heart, connection, the song of breath, of listening, clarity, gentleness and love. A mega thank you to Dawn Westcott for all her support. If you felt like supporting her project to take care of the kind treatment and support of this ancient and endangered breed, I know it’d make a big difference.
- The reason I originally got interested in Exmoor ponies is because of their connection with this land. They are known as “conservation grazers” and are closely connected to the original indigenous wild horses of Europe. Like all wild animals they are “bred” by the wild to survive rather than selected for compliance by domestication. They are unbroken, dignified in their autonomy and their sureness of their own right to choose.
- As Ya’Acov’s wife, I’ve been in the privileged position of witnessing him up close over the last years giving everything he has to the writing of his new book: “Shaman”. It’s a delicately powerful and difficult thing to do, this. But he’s done it with all the sensitivity and prowess of someone whose nature is his fine blend of jaguar and butterfly medicine. In this book, he raises the bar for western “shamanic” practice, inspiring us to understand and live within the natural mutuality and reciprocity with life itself.
I’m proud of him and of the work he refers to in the book; our work, Movement Medicine, which is shamanic practice that has not been imported from another people or peoples. It is inspired and mid-wifed by our contact with the indigenous people and communities we are connected with, for which we will be forever grateful. It springs from the healing of our own wounds; from the slow, step by step and ever evolving consciousness and healing of our own culturally normalised wounds. It arises from the source of our intention to bring healing to our people as we recognise what is needed. And it springs from the love between us and our shared love of life and of the earth. As Gabrielle Roth said: “Shamanism is indigenous to its own people”. And so it is.
In this book, Ya’Acov is sharing and teaching about how to heal (not about how to become a weekend shaman waving feathers around) but how to heal yourself so that you can participate fully in the wonder of life and the wild opportunity and need of these times.
If you haven’t yet read Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart Ya’Acov’s first solo book. I think you’ll love it. I do, in all its honest, real, personal revelation and his amazing journey.
- We are currently teaching our last MM Apprenticeship (AP7) and then, after that, for the next Movement Medicine Apprenticeships, we’ve handed that baton over into the skilled hands and hearts of initially, Yasia Leiserach and David Mooney who are pathfinding this role and will be followed by others in the near future. This is a moment of celebration for us. We are relaxed in our knowing that they are able and ready for this role (they have trained with us and are continuing to do so) and bring so much of their own fine beautiful medicine, knowledge and experience too
- This letting go is giving us space to turn our attention even more strongly to two other aspects of our work. The first is to continue to support the excellence of Movement Medicine professionals, which we are doing in various ways, including evolving different modes of CPD. The second is to offer what we have to share in ways that are more easily available to more people and don’t require people to get in cars or aeroplanes. This means books (Ya’Acov’s and mine – mine is actively incubating) and our new offering, a membership site called: “21 Gratitudes: The Movement Medicine Study Hub”. Check it out.
If you are on our School of Movement Medicine mailing list, then in late January you will receive an invitation to join our waitlist and be eligible for a sizeable discount when we open the doors to membership for 6 days in April 2020. If you want to join our waitlist now, don’t worry, you won’t lose out on that offer. You’ll be included. It’s for all those who are on that “School of Movement Medicine” mailing list.
I am so excited that I can stay home and create something beautiful to share with you in your home, in bite sized nuggets, maybe all the way around the other side of the earth. And I love that, because we will be sharing with you whilst you are in the belly of your own life, we can offer practices which you can immediately implement to make a difference to how you live, how you feel and who you can become.
The way I see it, we humans are powerfully calling on ourselves to raise our game. We’ve self-created the perfect storm to help us remember that, in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s words, “All flourishing is mutual”. So, as radical theologian Matthew Fox says: “It’s a time for all hands on deck!”. We are designing “21 Gratitudes” to bridge the work of personal healing with showing up on deck as our real selves, connecting to what matters most and learning how to support our grounded, heartful, co-creativity for the good of all.
We want to support you to make YOUR contribution. As Lynn Twist (of the Pachamama Alliance) says: “You don’t have a small role to play, you don’t have a big role to play, you simply have YOUR role, and if you play it, your life will have a meaning that you’ve dreamt of”.
- And lastly a few words from other people who’ve inspired me lately:This is from Brigid Delaney writing in the Guardian 12.12.2019.
“But lately I’ve been wondering if the disembodied nature of our communication is related to the increasing toxicity of our interactions and public discourse. The more absent our bodies are from the scene, the more easy it is to be casually cruel. Social media platforms, rather than bringing us together as promised, increasingly resemble polluted streams, with their continuous flow of abuse and derision reinforcing separation and tribalism.
With mass, disembodied communication so corrupted, it’s no wonder dancing feels like immersion in a cool stream on a hot day. The purity of it, it’s wordlessness – seems like a way through the divide into connection.
……. Everyone is equal on the dance floor – and comes into the circle with a measure of vulnerability. Am I going to look weird moving my arms, head and legs like this? Yes, probably. But we will all dance badly together.
We know now, if we didn’t know before, that the way we are living – as individuals on this burning planet – is no longer sustainable.
Individuation is a kind of hell. And the most human thing is to be part of people…”
Last but not least, some gems from the extraordinary book: ‘Braided Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I recommend this book hugely. She starts so gently and builds, so gently, to profound revelations of inter-connection: “From the very beginning of the world, other species were a lifeboat for the people. Now, we must be theirs.”
“What else can you offer the earth who has everything? What else can you give but something of yourself? A homemade ceremony, a ceremony that makes a home”.
“For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children’s future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it”. (pages: 8, 38 and 9)
Upcoming Workshops with Susannah Darling Khan:
14 Mar–15 March: Source Hamburg
27 Mar– 29 March: The Alchemy of Healing Aarau, Switzerland