This week’s Dance First Member Spotlight is from global movement leader Ya’Acov Darling Khan, co-founder of Movement Medicine.
Greetings dear dancers,
My whole life has centered around the great unanswerable questions of our universe. The original iteration of this fascination was: ‘If God created all this, what created God.’ From the age of 5, I would fall asleep with the delight of this question on my lips, vanishing into the vastness of the night and the ‘much more real than waking life’ territory of my dreams. I loved the mystery. I still do.
Another word for the mystery is the Unknown. Each of us has a different threshold when it comes to the twin needs of certainty and uncertainty. Certainty, even if it’s an illusion, gives us a feeling of safety. Uncertainty, even if that’s an illusion, too, provides us with the sense of movement and evolution. The pandemic tipped that balance for most of us. Susannah (my wife of 35 years) and I saw the writing on the wall and, very early on, made the decision to cancel ALL our traveling for a year.
Suddenly, after 33 years on the road, bringing movement practice to thousands of people in a huge variety of situations (from rooftops in refugee camps in Palestine to the Amazon Rainforest alongside all those studios in Europe, the US, South Africa, and Japan), we were home. And more than that, we were at home together.
Luckily, for the three years before the pandemic hit, we had been planning to launch our membership site in April 2020 (www.21gratitudes.com). Having lost 100% of our income and provided with no government support, we could easily have gone into survival mode. But, knowing how fortunate we were, living on our own land with access to the wild, and with four decades of practice under our belt, we chose instead to dive into action. We began by offering a whole load of FREE events for our community to support them in staying present. I found myself doubling the amount of time I allocated to my own practice. Not because I wanted to be more spiritual – I simply found I needed it.
There was anxiety everywhere, and deep as my practice was, the stress in the human field was affecting us both deeply. In our prayers, we kept asking for guidance and finding ourselves in deep connection with all the Medicine people we know. We recognized that creating spaces where we could all let go, shake out and resource ourselves were of great importance. We were making connections across the web – the one that was here before the internet, I mean. And we started to see how our online work was also a new way of reaching out to many people who would have never made it to a workshop.
The tech was a challenge at first for us all, and, of course, the recognition that we need to make it clear that online work is not the same as ‘in the room’ work. We were all on a deep and fast learning curve in those early days. Both personally and professionally, we were leaning into the harvest of all those years of practice. The practice was over. The dance had begun.
Susannah had been receiving the message for several years that it was time for staying home and connecting globally. And here we were, reconsidering every aspect of our lives and having to learn a whole new way of teaching through the camera. There’s a simple fact about life on earth – everything is connected to everything else. Now, we were having to learn to experience that through the screen while staying in the body. This is a new way of learning, and like any other form, it has its advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps the best thing about it is an added layer of intimacy – here we are in our home working with you and yours. And not an air mile in sight!
We have been delighted to discover that, in terms of learning and integration, there is a lot of goodness in this way of working. And it allows for a different kind of creativity to emerge – both as a teacher and a student.
Step by step, we have found the most efficient and supportive way of offering our work in this new format: from worldwide ceremonies with people from 30+ countries to six-week courses and, of course, our flagship Membership site.
And now, we are launching our latest offering – a weekend workshop from June 4-6 called:
The Calm at the Centre of the Storm – The Power of Peace in Times of Change. I’ve invited my dear friends, Amazonian Chief and Shaman, Manari Ushigua, and extraordinary music medicine man Estas Tonne as Special Guests. The focus of our work will be to discover the calm at the center of the storm and come into relationship with the power of peace. On the way, we will draw from the well-developed resources of Movement Medicine and connect to what we call in shamanism – the Unbroken. From there, we can bring the reality of where we are into focus. Moving through whatever is true, seeking guidance, and engaging with the alchemical work that is ours to do.
So, dear worldwide family, in this moving web of challenge and evolution, it’s time to dance. But then, it always was.
Ya’Acov Darling Khan, the author of the best-selling Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart – the Real-Life Initiation of an Everyday Shaman (Hay House 2017), and Shaman – Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who YOU Are (Hay House March 2020), is known for his blend of strength, humility and humour.
He is acknowledged as a practicing shaman by the people who work with him worldwide and by many indigenous elder shamans and communities from the Arctic to the Amazon. Together with his wife of 34 years, he is the Co-Founder of Movement Medicine.