23 September 2017
9 min read

It’s the Jewish new year this week. It has always felt right to me that the new year begins in the autumn. It’s such a time of change. I love the sweet melancholy that accompanies nature’s magical display of colour that heralds the death of the summer. I didn’t use to. I was looking for a reason for the feelings. September is back to work time for me. A new beginning after summer’s delicious pause.

And once again, though I could easily get used to staying home, I give thanks that my work has meaning, purpose and apparently endless space for evolution. I had such a delightfully simple time over the summer. Being at home, being family, working on the land, eating from the garden, friends, and time to reflect on how things are without the pressure of emails and meetings and decisions to be made. I love this time at home. It’s the fresh water spring that feeds the space beyond where words can reach. It’s the space that allows me to make my offering during the rest of the year.

And most of all, it’s time for Susannah and I to spend time in the university of our relationship where the learning curve we’ve been on just got a whole lot steeper. We are discovering such value in uncovering the shadows that have been our contribution to this age-old battle between men and women. And after 31 years together, we are starting to make some progress. Suffice to say, things were not as they seemed and the more we are willing to own the ways in which we have continued to play the blame game, the more the space between us opens up into landscapes I had never imagined. And it is the space between us that supports us more than anything else to do our work out in the world. Discovering the ways in which we can jump from the vicious circle into a new dream of responsibility for what we create has been and continues to be a revelation.

Coming back to work, I wondered if we would be able to bring the learnings of the summer with us once we had to switch our computers back on and turn our focus back towards our outer work. This new year, our 30th year of teaching, we began with a brand-new project which I’ll tell you about in a moment. As we began, those old default modes started to kick in and after a day of work, we paused to reflect. Having tasted the sweet nectar of a passionate kind of peace between us, those old patterns were all the more painful to experience. Of course, I wanted to blame Susannah but I knew better. We sat down together and recognised the moments we had lost the power of listening, of trusting, of supporting each other to shine. A few tears later and strong commitments became the focus for tomorrow’s work. The next day, something really changed. Those crossroad moments that happen so many times in every day, where we get the chance to choose an old movie or a new possibility, came into sharp relief. And every time we noticed, and there were many, we stopped, breathed in, remembered and chose a new road.

Occasionally of course, we have missed them and an undermining and so well-known competitive bickering started its noisy repartee. Oh, we humans, such infinite possibility we have and such narrow experience we so often choose. Sometimes it’s sweet. Sometimes it’s deadly. And I for one, am tired of playing the game of putting my attention into the underlying myth of hurt that always leads to the same outcome. As crazy as it may sound, it’s really taken us decades to get where we’ve got. And we can see that we’re right at the beginning of a whole new world. And as always, new ground is unknown ground with all its associated need for attention.

We went back to work and began our new project. We’ve been filming our first online course together. It’s called At the Centre of your Circle and it’s focused on what we have started to call engaged shamanism. Engaged shamanism is about bringing the work into the everyday and into relationship with people and environment. We intend to offer the principles and practices of Movement Medicine in a way which includes embodied learning but doesn’t focus on the practice of the dance so that we can bring this medicine to the many people who wouldn’t consider dance as a pathway. To be clear, we think this will be of great value to people who do love the dance too as the format allows us the time and space to teach the specifics of everyday shamanic practice. We hope that you’ll enjoy this new offering and feel moved to become part of the online study community we are creating. It will be a helpful compliment to your movement practice. We are also so happy that the people who get turned on to embodied practice though this new venture will have a growing range of Movement Medicine classes and workshops to attend offered by our trained teachers and facilitators around the world.

One of the things we recognised in the creation of this course is that the land we live on and the spirits we feel there, have given their support to this work. More than that, their energy is very much part of what is being created. Our new website goes live on October 2nd and the course begins on October 31st (though you’ll be able to take it any time if you can’t make the dates the 7 modules will be released over the following 12 weeks). As part of the course, we will be offering two closed Facebook Live! question and answer sessions so that we can meet as a community and learn together. Look out for the mailing that Roland will be sending out soon with all the details. We are also hoping to offer the course in different languages in due course and are looking into that now.

Susannah and I are just coming up to celebrating our first 31 years together and taking a few days out to do so. Having just completed our 23rd Initiationworkshop with a most wonderful crew of voyagers and adventurers (congratulations to all of you for your courage and work) we are ready to pause again and reflect. The stronger our work becomes, the more reflection time, supervision and mentoring we are feeling the need for. I wonder if it’s the times. That ‘no time to waste’ feeling has really intensified for me. And perhaps paradoxically, there is more of a feeling of contentment in me than I have ever experienced before. Not complacency, just the feeling of receiving the gifts and challenges of the days and nights. I taste my food more, and I want less. I’ve laid to rest the story of insatiability that has kept me so driven for so long. I have no complaints about that. I discovered that as long as I focused that energy in the direction of what mattered most in my marriage, my family and my work, things went OK. I was just never quite satisfied. And I consoled myself with Martha Graham’s quote about the true artist never really being satisfied. She said that there is always that ‘queer, divine dissatisfaction that keeps us moving forward.’ Well, maybe that’s true in the 30’s and 40’s but in the 50’s I am finding a different perspective. And the funny thing, the less I’m telling the story of hunger, the more I am receiving.

As the autumn unfolds, I’ll be visiting Birmingham (twice!), Belgium, Holland(also twice!), Slovakia, Austria, Italy as well as offering a new workshop in London called Money Stories. As well as that, we begin our fifth apprenticeship journey in October (just two more chances after this if you want to apprentice with us), and Susannah and I will be offering our yearly winter solstice retreat in Switzerland. This workshop will be followed by a solstice party and pray night in aid of the Pachamama Alliance.

As the Augustine calendar rumbles into 2018, we’ll be back in the Amazon taking a group of intrepid and committed travellers to meet our family and friends in Achuar and Sapara territory. This trip is now full with a waiting list. We will be participating in a wonderful project brought into being by Shelley Ostroff called 7 Days of Rest. We hope you’ll join us for this prayer for the evolution of humanity for the common good and find your way to participate. This is what Shelley says about it:
“Individuals and communities are invited to connect as a global community. An ongoing virtual community platform will be put in place to enable a vibrant co-creative sharing space where we can together.”

Wherever you are, and whatever condition you and your life are in, I’m taking this moment to send out a prayer that we all find the courage to do what’s needed for us all to evolve. Step by step on this mysterious road, without blame for what we have been unconscious of but with commitment to finding the way for humans to be part of this magnificent web of life in a mutually beneficial way. May it be so.

Finally, to all of you who have been so kind in sending me comments after reading my book, a very warm thank you. I also want to thank those of you who have taken the time to comment on amazon.com. Apparently, it really helps to get the medicine out there so if you do have a moment and feel to make a comment, please do.

I hope to see you on the road or through our online course.

Go well. And thanks for reading.

Ya’Acov Darling Khan. September 2017

Ya’Acov DK

Ya’Acov Darling Khan, is the author of ‘Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart...