Prayer upon Prayer – January 2015
Prayer upon Prayer for your Health, Wellbeing and Deepest Contentment
It’s one of those super surreal mornings. We’ve been up all night praying (again!). Honestly, some habits have a rather habitual way of repeating themselves. For the last few years, December 22 has been our end of workshop, end of year all night prayer binge and this year, no change. After all, why try to fix something that isn’t broken? So we didn’t sleep very much and we’re travelling through the frozen wintry landscape of Switzerland on our way home. And I thought, now’s the perfect time to write to you, dear hearts of the Movement Medicine community and share a few end of year wishes, prayers and gratitudes with you all.
I love praying. Always have. Not in a doctrinal or any kind of preachy way. Just the kind of praying that’s an intimate and cosy chat with the source of life in its myriad forms. Sat round a fire with some drums and some good friends and some songs from the old ways. Last night, we had all of that, not to mention three fine young men playing prayer songs with drum, rattle and shamanic leaf rattle, perfectly in tune and harmonising in a really beautiful way. The next generation is already doing its thing and it was such a pleasure to receive some of that holding. Our own Reuben is studying in Costa Rica before going off on Vision Quest in Colombia and we are very much look forward to sharing his understandings and experiences on his return.
Looking for and deepening the meaning in my life was for a long time the main focus of my journey. It was such an intense moment for me when I realised that there is no inherent meaning in life whatsoever. One of our earliest teachers, Batty Thunder Bear, had shared that with me as a 21 year old. It was very scary at first and I had to resist with the full force of my adolescent passion. But later in life, I reached a similar place of understanding. The meaning that is in life is the meaning we assign to it. This came to me on the side of a Spanish mountain, on a mini vision quest on my 28th birthday. Another all-nighter spent in prayer put me into a deep state of peace and quiet and connection. I felt the mountain breathing under me and the very early morning dawn sky seemed to be expanding in all directions at once. I was asking that life use me and bring out the best of me in service of life. I knew I had so much more to give and I wanted life to know I was willing to go through whatever it took to help me to make my contribution. I still had the “I’m gonna live forever feeling” that seems to land at around the same time of the rush of hormones which drags us from childhood into manhood, at least in a biological sense. But in that early morning, it was as if everything fell away from me. All that was left was the sound and feeling of my heart beating in time with the earth under me and the sky above. The vastness rushed through me like a surge of spring and extracted me for a moment from the known world of my internal dialogue into the vast silence and love of creation. Prayer is powerful medicine and that night was a watershed for me. On the same night, I called out for my sacred name. On the path I was studying at the time, it was necessary to find one’s own spirit name. The idea was to ask nature and our ancestors to remind us of our ‘real’ name. Once we found it, we had been instructed to shout it out to the night sky. If we immediately saw a shooting star, then we knew we had found our name. If not, we were told to come back and try again on another night. I had tried twice before. I had come close I felt but I knew that my ‘true’ name was eluding me. That night, in that vast silence, I found some part of me crying out for my name and the deep experience of self that it was rooted in. My name came immediately. I shouted it out without any hesitation and to my utter astonishment, across the mountain peaks on the eastern horizon, I saw a shooting star that shone and shot right to left across the horizon in a trail of effervescence. Never had anything so silenced me. It was if the idea of myself as something separate from the land and the sky and the past and the future simply popped leaving only the humming pulse of the blood and a heart that knew love as it knew itself.
That was not the first time for this kind of direct experience but it was certainly the deepest one up until that point. I am amazed how stubborn the part of me is that forgets. It’s so easy to get lost in the temporal world of imagined permanence and the minutiae of day-to-day details that eventually fog the mind and put a blanket between us and our experience. That is why I return to ritual again and again. I return in order to remember who I am and what the story is that emerged from this being’s soul as being one that he wishes to live as fully into as humanly possible. It’s a joy to dream. It’s an even deeper joy to shape one’s dreaming from a place we know we can trust. In ritual, in the repetitive beat of the drum and the deep movement that comes from this listening, I am retuned again and again to the silence that underpins everything and I remember myself and I remember you and I remember what it is we are being given.
As the year turns, we will once again be in ritual at home, preparing for our visit back to our second home in the Amazon Rainforest. We will be visiting our dear friends and family and our three year old god-son. We are taking a group of people with us from around the world who are all committed to learning what they can so that can deepen their capacity to stand alongside our Amazonian family in their struggle to protect their lands, culture and homes on behalf of all of life on earth. On New Year’s Eve, we will be sending out prayers for ourselves, for our families, for the whole Movement Medicine community and all other communities working for the evolution and growing up of human consciousness around the world. We will also be offering prayers for the 8th birthday of the School of Movement Medicine which officially happens on the 10th January at 5.26am UK time.
2014 was without doubt the deepest year yet for us. We completed our second Professional Training, began our third apprenticeship, lost Susannah’s mama, said goodbye to our son who will be away travelling for quite some time, began numerous new projects, continued developing our work with new workshops and quantum leaps in understanding what we are about. On the personal level, I made some great progress with my book and felt the call for another level of discipline in my practice. Becoming 50 and celebrating 25 years of marriage and 25 years of teaching was a good inspiration for taking another level of responsibility for myself. I have come to the conclusion that relationship is the deepest spiritual practice I know. And we have certain travelled into brand new territory this year, territory that I didn’t even know existed. Trust is not a very large or complicated word but fuck me, to really learn to trust myself, to trust Susannah, to trust life, even with all the proof I am offered hundreds of times every day, seems to be a monumental project for me. As those of you who know me will already know, I like a good challenge. My end of year (21 worded) haiku for 2014 says it all really:
Jaguar in body, butterfly in the heart
Surrender is not defeat but the sure-footed trust
Of a man living life
I wonder what yours is?
So dearest Medicine community, I send you:
Prayer upon Prayer for your Health, Wellbeing and Deepest Contentment for 2015. May we all dare to become conscious of what we are dreaming and make some choices that dignify who we are, where we come from and where we are going.
With my love and respect to each and every one of us.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our events in the year ahead.
Be well. Be true. Be yourself.
Ya’Acov DK. January 2015