School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: December Newsletter
Honouring and Owning our Pain for the World – Grief and Conflict as Medicine for the Heart and Soul

By Ben Yeger
Joanna Macys spiral of ‘The work that reconnects’ offers us four points of reference: 1. Coming from gratitude, 2. Honouring and owning our pain for the world, 3. Seeing with new eyes, 4. Going forth. Joanna claims (and I agree) that the most vital and complex part of this repeating journey of reconnecting to our essence is the 2nd place on the cycle- honoring and owning our pain for the world.

She says “If we can really reconnect to our anger, fear, grief and sense of futility and emptiness we feel in response to the many manifestations of our human behavior on this planet in this unprecedented moment of challenge and opportunity, then we would truly be a force to reckon with.”

Why might this be true?
What would it be like if we chose to look deeply into our heart and allow ourselves to include the fear and grief that we feel at this moment in our human existence? What would it be like if we were able to accept the sense that this unprecedented moment in time is really upon us? That we are not just victims of this reality but also its creators? What would it be like if by taking this step towards this possible truth we could build a new kind of strength and resilience? A new reality in which we could dance with and move through this and emerge the other end with a whole load of new tools that we were not able to be in touch with before.

There seems to be collusion with the shutting down of grief (personal and collective), which is, in my opinion, a calamity and is no longer serving us. The acting out of the illusion of separation is the ultimate manifestation of conflict. It lives inside us and continuously spills out in violent ways onto others we come into contact with because we refuse to look at it in more direct ways.

At the moment, at every European city I pass through, I witness an increasing presence of armed police with grave looks. Looks of fear, which induces more fear in the passers by and me amongst them. This fear of the so-called threat to ‘civilised’ society, with the projection onto a dangerous and extreme ‘other’, is threatening to eat into the very fabric of our basic humanity. It is working very hard to convince us that we are separate, that there is an ‘us’ and ‘them’, in my understanding, this is simply not true! The invitation to find a new relationship to conflict is an invitation to heal this story of separation. What would it be like if we could start to find a new language, in which we were able to take full responsibility for which we are and how we relate?

What do we need to take this step? What tools and processes do we need right now?
First of all I’m pretty sure we need to dance. Finding ways to bring these questions and quest for reconnecting into movement, fully embody them, inviting our minds into our hearts and see what new information can emerge. The maps of Movement Medicine in general and the maps of the heart offer expansive gateways to explore big questions – so that's a good start …

My fellow Movement Medicine teacher and friend Rosie Perks has taken a long and deep personal journey to understand grief in all its painful beauty and glory. She has emerged from over 20 years of deep grieving, not only alive but also filled with riches that she is sharing with others right now. She has made it her medicine and is offering it all over the world. I have taken a long journey through a traumatic personal separation and experiences of what I now understand to be the distortion of conflict and have spent over 20 years of discovering, interacting with and articulating the wisdom of conflict. I too now share this as my medicine, drawing on this rich wisdom to offer another perspective on this ever present and persistent teacher as it manifests in all walks of life.

Rosie and I come together seeking a way to combine our medicine because we believe that grief and conflict are deeply related and that through our collaboration our combined medicine will become an even more potent offering.

We are on a journey together, on an enquiry. We are at a stage in our enquiry in which we want to offer an even more immersive journey. This starts with The Spirit of the dancing Heart in January and continues with the 5 day intensive in April. We are offering the intensive to allow us more time to dance, talk, process and learn together. To create a community of people who are willing and ready to take this step. On some level I want to believe that we all are ready, in our own way, to take this step. If this resonates for you then please contact Emily at to register this interest.

If you have already experienced the Out of the Ashes or The Wisdom of Conflict workshops that Rosie and I offer separately or indeed joined us last year for the first Spirit of the dancing heart, that is wonderful and will serve as strong ground for deepening the work. If this is your first step then that is also wonderful and you are most welcome. We all have a relationship with grief and conflict and all have a unique response to them. Now feels like a good time to come together in community to support each other to be brave enough to engage with what is true in our hearts.

Hope to see you on the journey soon,


To book onto The Spirit of The Dancing Heart please see information in this link.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.