What an Adventure – June 2021
By Susannah Darling Khan
I write to you from a life that has massively changed in the last year. So many lives, including possibly your own life, have changed, as the powerful ripples of the pandemic have brought tragedy, loss and challenge as well as, in some cases, the transformative need and wake up call to re-think, re-shape and re-prioritise.
For me personally, the pandemic has offered me the ‘kick’ and the opportunity I needed to work out how to follow an instruction I received from what I call my ‘guiding voice’ all through the winter of 2019-2020 to ‘stay home and connect globally’. We were working on the ‘connecting globally’ part but I didn’t know how to follow the ‘stay home’ part until the pandemic made it a necessity.
In the spring this year we got the news that my 88-year-old father’s cancer had metastasised. His GP was telling him to find a place of safety in which he could be taken care of as he got more ill in what, presumably, was to be the closing era of his life. Ya’Acov and I talked and prayed and got clear that we felt that it was time to invite my father to come and live with us. He agreed, and so, in a few short weeks he had packed up his house, put it on the market and was being driven down to Devon with a vanload of what he wanted to bring with him for his new life. On the way, he had a major medical episode and ended up in Intensive Care in Bristol. He lived to tell the tale. After three weeks in hospital, he has come to his new home to live with us.
Visiting Dad in one ward after another and meeting NHS (National Health Service) team after team was a huge learning curve for me about the beauty and the beast of the NHS. I saw so much love in action, and at the same time, so much carelessness. When I say carelessness, I don’t mean from individuals; almost everyone I met was trying to do their best. I was impressed by the level of care that was there after such a year, when no doubt everyone is over stretched and exhausted. Rather, I mean that in the whole system there seems to be a lack of attunement for the importance of communication and towards real patient participation in their own care. Most surprisingly, I found that it seemed there was a real lack of knowledge about the importance of people feeling safe and warmly taken care of and well communicated with in order for their own bodies to be able to optimally heal.
I’m aware that these are highly testing times for those working in the NHS, but it seemed as if there was something in operation here that was not about staff morale or willingness, as there were so many sweet, kind, generous people working. It was something about how much importance is given to these values and the co-ordination such care would require.
I did my best to uphold, celebrate, honour and appreciate, whilst at the same time being clear about what was and wasn’t OK for my Dad as he expressed to me. I was glad to be his advocate whilst he was feeling so fragile and I was so aware of how hard it must be for people without someone to be in that position for them.
I come away from that experience feeling very grateful for the undoubted fact that the NHS saved my father’s life, and for this amazing service we have while not having to worry about paying for at the point of need. At the same time it renewed my wish to offer something of what I’ve been learning into the NHS, especially about Embodied Listening and the power of feeling heard and safe to support parasympathetic regulation to support healing.
I remembered, through seeing what I witnessed in hospital why, as a young woman, I had begun Medical School, and why I had left to pursue other routes of healing.
Now, we are working out how to live together, whilst the builders get on with building Dad’s ‘Grandpa Annexe’ in our old garage. As you can probably imagine, it’s both wonderful and difficult for us all. I’m so grateful for Ya’Acov’s kind, welcoming strength. He is taking care of so much to make this possible with so much steadiness. I’m witnessing family patterns in myself and in the mirror. I am also grateful for Dad’s emotional intelligence and capacity for heart communication which makes the whole adventure feel possible.
At the same time, Ya’Acov has had his own medical episode which has taken us by surprise and made sure that we look our own mortality in the eye. More of that in his article.
I am proud and grateful to my bones that we have found a way to offer the harvest of the teachings that are within the Movement Medicine Mandala to a growing community worldwide through the 21 Gratitudes Study Hub. Month by month we are voyaging around the mandala, distilling our teachings into short videos illustrated by the wonderful Kata Mathe, with mini-embodiment practices, and live Movement Medicine dance classes each month.
Over and over again, the lessons I need to be learning are exactly the ones I, Ya’Acov or we are teaching. It’s proving such an exquisitely focused and precise way of giving and receiving exactly the medicine I need, step by step and month by month.
This way of offering our foundational and keystone work is so much more accessible than anything we have ever been able to offer before. I am finding it a deeply beautiful and satisfying experience to work in this creative way as part of a world-wide community arbour of embodied learning and practice. Thank you to all of you who are participants. I feel privileged to be able to communicate and share with you in this way.
As, possibly and hopefully, local dance classes begin to open up in some parts of the world, we hope that our Study Hub teachings, can provide a useful adjunct to support the Movement Medicine journeys of dancers around the globe. You can access the wonderful offerings, both online and ‘in the room’ of the wonderful teachers we have trained, at the Movement Medicine Association.
If you want to work with me and us in this way, make sure your name is on the 21 Gratitudes waitlist, so you will hear when the 21 Gratitudes Study Hub gates next open (it won’t be too long!).And my online course Embodied Listening is available, if you want to access what I currently think is probably the most transforming thing I have ever offered, both for individuals and relationships.And, amazingly, I am offering (Covid willing) our incredible ‘in the room’ intensive workshop Initiation at Rill in September.
Ya’Acov is offering an exquisite weekend online workshop Calm at The Centre of the Storm together with Manari Ushigua and Estas Tonne now, 4–6 of June. He has been in training for this work for decades and especially in the last year, the last months and weeks, he has been through so many every day and yet profound initiations in the testing of the ground he is establishing inside himself to stand in the authority of his own practice and experience as he offers this. I commend this workshop to you.
I hope you, your families and communities are finding or inventing the inner or/and outer resources necessary to move through this time together in as good a way as possible. I feel that there is such a lot of stretching and metamorphosis going on, many of us are being stretched over and above, over and over again, what we thought we could manage, tolerate or live with. Thank goodness for life itself, the earth and the trees and people to give and receive love with. Thank goodness for the sun today and thank YOU for still being here on this earth and for reading this!
With my love and care, Susannah Darling Khan
Upcoming Workshops with Susannah:
19th June: Tribal Heart Solstice Ceremony with Ya’Acov and Susannah. Online.
With Special Guests Ayla Schafer, Joshua Wenzl and DJ Reuben DK.Dance your heart out, in your living room, your kitchen, or wherever you find space at home. In the dance we resource ourselves through our connection to each other, the dance and spirit. We dance together to remember the light we came to shine and what’s really important to us. We dance for all life, for the cycles of the year that hold us, for pure joy of being alive and connected, and in deep gratitude for earth and all that sustains us here.
19.00–22.15 UK time
For more information follow this link.
4–12 September: Initiation with Susannah (supported by Ya’Acov) . Rill Estate, Devon, UK.
Initiation is an intensive 10-day retreat during which the dancers are invited and guided to embody and dance through the rich landscape of all nine life cycles from conception to death. This deep journey includes play, deep processes, and the support of the group and teachers. This workshop is an extraordinary, life-changing, colourful, profound and rewarding journey; and it is one of the prerequisites for the Apprenticeship Training.
Contact Roland: +44 1803 762255; firstname.lastname@example.org
13–17 October: Embodied Leadership with Susannah Darling Khan. Waldhaus, Switzerland.
What a great combination – Leadership training through the playful and embodied work of Movement Medicine! This workshop offers a safe and very well guided space to explore various facets and qualities required in leadership and co-creation, such as congruence, clarity, self-trust and the ability to guide creative team-work. Personal authority together with the skill to co-create makes great leaders and brings these beautiful qualities into your personal life too. Come along to dance, to play, to co-create and to remember that everyone is a leader.
Contact Kat Forester: +39031 221 279; email@example.com
19–23 December: Returning Home with Ya’Acov and Susannah. Waldhaus, Switzerland.
This annual workshop of story telling, art, dance and ritual, invites participants to reflect on the year that has past and conceive new dreams of another year ahead. Set amidst the mighty 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 community and to all life.
Contact Roland Wilkinson: +44 (0)1803 762255; firstname.lastname@example.org