Susannah and 2017- December 2017
What a year! As we approach the turning time of the solstice, and what has become an annual “rite of passage” in our lives between one year and the next at our “Returning Home” workshop, I’m reflecting on what feels like a year of agony and ecstasy, of hope and of despair. I’m aware of so many levels of this, from the personal out to the macro.
Ya’Acov and I have been in a deepening dance of our relationship which is intense, challenging and sweet beyond my wildest, most tender dreams. This is linked to our joint decision for Ya’Acov’s book to lead the way for us to be able to offer our work to a wider group of people worldwide, whilst continuing to nurture and play our role within the development of Movement Medicine. It’s happening.
I’ve been really touched by the many strong and heartful responses to “Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart”. I’m not surprised, but I am really glad that the medicine of Ya’Acov’s honest, passionate writing is reaching and landing way beyond the circle of people who already know him and us. Hooray!
My own work is benefiting from the inner ‘drop’ into my own capacity to receive more support, from my man, from others and from life, which the process between us connected with Ya’Acov’s book (as described in my September article “A Postcard from my Learning Edge”) has catalysed in me. Over and over again I am recognising my unconscious default mode of self-reliance, how easy it is to subtly (and again unconsciously) ‘manage’ things so that I get the confirmation that my old story is correct. I’ve become aware of the sheer depth of scariness and vulnerability involved in moving from the safe territory of the known, however painful and lonely it is, to a place of greater openness and trust. And this is me, who comes from such a relatively sane background. As a consequence, my respect for the deep challenge of change and transformation for all and any of us has gone up another few notches.
I recognise just how much individual responsibility is needed to heal, release and transform habitual survival strategies (which, in Movement Medicine we call ‘understudies’) which, of course, have arisen not just through personal, but through society’s wide and trans-generational deep suffering. And at the same time, like football, transformation is a team game. As humans, we need each other. There is no way I would have been able to get where I am getting to without Ya’Acov’s own growing awareness, strength, clarity and compassion. It does take two to tango. And it does take a village to raise a child, or grow an adult. We do need each other to heal, to transform and it’s not always easy or light going. Real change takes time, patience, tolerance and sincere effort by everyone involved to take responsibility and to recognise the systemic, co-arising, relational nature of pretty well any of our patterns. This is a deeper meaning of the both/and ‘autonomy and community’, ‘individuality and relationality’, ‘micro and macro’, ‘inner and outer’ work, which is central to Movement Medicine, and is reflected in our central five dimensions of awareness: self, other, community (all levels and all nesting spheres of community including the non-human world), spirit world and the divine.
Talking of relationship with the non-human world, Ivor and Ivanhoe, our two beautiful, strong and so sensitive wild-born Exmoor ponies are teaching me more than I could have dreamed of about the nature of leading from listening, about true conversation, gentleness, congruence and clarity. Teachings which emerge from this deep learning situation are already making it explicitly and implicitly on to my dance floors to beautiful effect. I’m very grateful for the pure love and pure mirroring these two are bringing me and I thank pony whisperer Dawn Westcott for her profound support in this journey. More about them in “New and Good”, my November 2017article.
Since my birthday vision quest in 2016, it’s been clear to me that it’s time for me to bring our work into the mainstream. I’m ready for it and its ready for me. My new workshop “Life Lab” is one of the several cutting edges for me in this regard, with its focus on resourcing people with a tool kit that can be useful in day to day life. It is designed both for dancers who want to learn more about how to bring the gifts of the dance-floor into everyday life, and for those who don’t identify with being dancers, but who want to learn tools that support presence, potency, partnership, perspective and purpose in life through embodied practice.
And, recently, I’ve begun what I hope will develop into a deep thread in my life, to bring Movement Medicine into the NHS (National Health Service of the UK). Thanks to the initiative of Rebekah O’Rourke, and collaboration between herself, the Kings Fund and the NHS, this start that has been made. It is but one small step, but a very good one, and I’m very grateful to all those who made this possible. It’s an answer to a deep prayer. In the process of this work I realised that my grandfather (my Mum’s father) was a historian who wrote a book which became a standard text book for those studying the subject: “The Coming of the Welfare State” by Maurice Bruce. I feel the echoes of my grandfather’s humanist passion for the welfare state in how strongly I feel about the NHS and caring for those who work in it and whom it serves. It was a great privilege to meet and work with some of the extra-ordinary women playing important roles in the NHS. I witnessed their deep care, courage and generosity, and it was such a gift to be able to offer them some Movement Medicine.
Which brings me to my father Richard Darlington, who is now 84 and is living well, 3 and half years after the death of his wife Elizabeth Darlington, my Mum. I feel so proud of him and how he is managing to both grieve her fully and embrace this new era of his life with open hands. He is going on learning, developing and offering his love, wisdom and art into the world in many ways. He drove to Waldhaus in Switzerland with Reuben in the summer, when Reuben, our son, was going to cook there, and spent a week as ‘grandfather in residence’, sketching away, experiencing and contributing to the loving field of energy that is Waldhaus and continuing his heart pilgrimage of visiting the special places he and Mum had loved together. I’m so grateful for this Waldhaus welcome of my Dad, clearly there was a fit! And right now they are continuing the tradition, welcoming Angela, Ya’Acov’s amazing Mum here with us for this week of our “Returning Home” workshop.
I’m settling into writing a book for Movement Medicine professionals and others who are offering Conscious Dance or embodied healing work. I’m wanting to bring together the concepts, understandings and stories which are the harvest of my 30 years in this field, and which there is never time to share in their full depth on our Professional Trainings. Writing this book has come to feel like a real personal need, to get this ‘down on paper’. Predictably, as I am writing, more is falling into place. It’s been so important to let this emerge in the right time and from a deep place of relaxation and personal “enough-ness” and not as a reflex of ‘trying to keep up’ with my stratospheric husband.
And lastly, Movement Medicine is growing. We feel it in the ether and we see it on the number of successful classes and workshops happening out there. Movement Medicine is growing a name for itself. As it does so, it becomes more and more of a living network; a living system which begins to mirror within itself the all and the everything that it is part of. This is inevitable, healthy and not always easy.
Recently, there have been challenges coming from within the Movement Medicine community as voices are raised to have different experiences of race and ethnicity more well recognised, and to know that we, as leaders, recognise the reality of racial prejudice is alive and kicking within society and the need for all of us to get more conscious, aware and responsible. We accept the challenge gladly and with excitement about the enrichment of our community awareness, and consequently we will be continuing our own studies in this area and making sure that diversity training is part of our professional training from now on.
Speaking of diversity, I want to share this little video that one of the elders who dance with us Judith Buchli asked to make with me recently. She is speaking to encourage other elders to come and move their medicine. Thank you Judith!
And lastly, I want to celebrate our new online course: “Standing at the Centre of your own Circle” and the wonderful feedback we are getting. Thank you to everyone who has already joined the course and let us know how it is landing with you. It is never too late to join the course and we have made a little video to explain how it works here.
Wishing you all a good solstice and renewal of the light, and the courage to own your part and play your part with joy, grace and co-creative collaboration in these challenging times of such possibility.
Forthcoming Workshops with Susannah:
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.
26–28 January: The Nine Gateways with Susannah. Burlington, Vermont, USA.
This weekend provides embodied and playful understanding of the nine Gateways of Movement Medicine, Body, Heart, Mind; Past, Present, Future; and Fulfilment, Interconnection and Realization. They form a three axis around the centre of our own circle, and through that can offer great orientation of our middle, our ground and our presence. Enjoy a full weekend workshop of dance, connection and song with great guidance and wonderful companions.
Contact Carolyne Cooke: firstname.lastname@example.org
9–11 February: Embodied Leadership (women’s edition) with Susannah. Geetbets, Belgium.
With the wonderful healing and grounding tools of Movement Medicine, this workshop offers a field of play, work and exploration for women, with the focus on how we women want to take our place in a shifting and changing world. Through learning in more depths about who we truly are and who we want to be, it can become clearer how to claim leadership spaces, be that as a mother of children or in the business world.
Contact Luc: +32 61 32 99 20; email@example.com
28 Feb–3 March: Winter Dream Dance (Apprentices only) with Susannah and Ya’Acov.
Rill Estate, Devon, UK.
This is a gathering where the Apprentices meet and rejoice in their community. As a winter dance, this is an invitation to turn inward and to nourish and be held by the practice shared, and to experience and be part of our dances and dreams weaving together.
Contact Roland: +44 1803 762255 firstname.lastname@example.org
24–25 March: Life Lab with Susannah. Aarau, Switzerland.
With Move! Evening on March 23.
In this new workshop, the participants can discover new possibilities of showing up in every day life, and new ways of engaging and relating to body, heart and mind, inviting widened awareness and presences within self. The participants will walk (or dance) away with a wide knowledge of new skills around embodiment, and a practical tool kit to be empowered to integrate this into every day life, bringing about real and tangible positive shifts in personal and professional life.
Contact Monika Dittli: +41 78 738 8470; email@example.com
31 Mar–5 Apr: Your Voice Matters AP Elective with Susannah. Rill Estate, Devon, UK.
As the title says, this course is about finding, trusting, loving and expanding your own voice, as only you can share and sing the songs of your heart and being. You will find out more about how your unique voice finds embodiment, how it expresses, what style it brings and what medicine songs are waiting to come through your voice into the world. This is a deeply empowering workshop on many levels.
Contact Roland: +44 (0)1803 762255; firstname.lastname@example.org