I’ve come home to this dance & mesa and found myself nourished and strengthened, again and again - for over a quarter of my life.
I am proud to have lived and grown alongside this Movement Medicine Mandala and I recommend this work, without hesitation, as the most effective, wholesome, transformative & well integrated modality that I’ve known.
Movement Medicine is an incredible resource that hones the complexity of our human experience into embodied presence; alive, moving and grounded in the body. Movement Medicine is a non-dogmatic, trauma informed, fully accessible model of intergenerational community.
In an age where the wellness industry is falling over itself to bring us the new best thing, Movement Medicine has strong foundations and tried & tested deep holding, woven with the timeless grace of a vision of beauty for our Earth and our people, firmly rooted in sustainability & reciprocity.
It’s 2023. There’s no shortage of new retreats or workshops to go on. We have the pick of the world’s crops of superfoods and medicines. I believe what we are most hungry for, as a culture, is Elders who have woven a good road for us to follow, Elders who have walked their talk long enough to earn our genuine love & respect. Fortunately for us, we have them here in Ya’Acov & Susannah, still rocking in radiantly good health with hopefully a few more decades of teaching & good beats under their medicine belts.
I’ve known Ya’Acov & Susannah as my friends, clients, colleagues, allies and teachers and have found kindness, humility, willingness, clarity, fairness, warm hearts, great boundaries, integrity, good humour, impeccable and unwavering dedication to the wholeness of their vision for Movement Medicine and more importantly, an unfaltering commitment to keep growing, as humans, to meeting, holding and growing this work to the very best of their ability.
I came to Movement Medicine following a profound lucid dream that led me to a 5 Rhythms class that I didn’t usually attend. It was the only time Susannah had ever covered this class and the first time we met. I danced into a new doorway with a sense of total arrival. Susannah led the room with such graceful authority, moved with rooted dignity & spoke with pure clarity of intent, a woman with wings at the back of her chest. I booked myself onto one of the very first Movement Medicine workshops the following week.
Meeting Ya’Acov was like meeting an old friend, because the words he spoke made so much sense, articulate and resonant, and at the same time, like meeting an entirely new being, illuminated with purpose, bright arrow of focus, bringing vision into action, roots into dreaming.
I was in my early twenties but already quite the veteran of wellness modalities; the extremity of traumatic experiences in my younger years had propelled me with fierce determination & courage towards healing, towards wholeness, as if my life depended on it, because in many ways, it did. I’d arrived early to Shamanism, Breathwork, plant medicines & vision quests, to Tai Chi, to fasting, psychotherapy & dreamwork.
I joined Initiation later that year and it was the first time, ever, that all of me, all states of me, could gather, move, feel & exist in one place. Light & shadow, wounded, humorous, agonised, terrified, songful, playful, all welcome in this space. The container they created was vast & safe. Coherent & integrated, spirit of grace.
There is no separation between finding Movement Medicine & how my path unfolded as a professional artist & traditional craftswoman. Ya’Acov saw the potential in me that I hadn’t yet met in myself and asked me, with absolute confidence, to create things that I hadn’t made before. My artistry was acknowledged, encouraged, tended and invited into forms of tools and altars, giving form to prayer, shaping the sacred.
There was a sweet spot of how generously they supported & believed in me, with a spaciousness and warmth that was genuine & kind, along with respect & acceptance for me doing things my way. I have an inherent wariness of dogma and any path or authority that insists I must subscribe fully to its beliefs. As an artist I’ve held the rebellious prerogative of moving unto myself. I have found wellsprings of sense, wholeness & wisdom in Susannah & Ya’Acov’s teachings, yet they have never required that I fit into the mold of their model, just ongoingly offered a reflection to be & become the very best of myself.
I moved for two decades between the heart & the margins of Movement Medicine & due to finances, birthing children, circumstance & travel, I almost but didn’t quite join the apprenticeship programme.
Several years left me feeling like I’d missed the bus, that I’d left it too late, but in the last years found that Movement Medicine is inside me, all the moments, teachings, connections, prayers & possibilities. Here, as a resource, tangible, singing.
As the years have rolled on, I’ve seen many teachers rise and fall; the human ego is a fragile & precarious thing, healthy & sustainable leadership models are scarce in our culture: we are oversaturated with a pick & mix of cultural appropriation & the next new thing, the thing that works, that will redeem us, at last, from our neurosis & suffering.
Compassion for our human condition has always been at the centre of Movement Medicine. Our stuckness & stickiness not separate from the miracle of embodied spirit.
Care of our bodies, environment & earth comes first. Cultivating responsibility, the ability to respond, with love, to our circumstance, whatever we are facing in the personal & collective. Movement Medicine is not a bubble or island, but a map of interconnectedness, where life can keep dreaming through the vessel of our humanness.
Movement Medicine has roots but is not static. Wisdom is what works. Movement is Medicine and it works.
As a friend, student & colleague of Ya’Acov & Susannah for 20 years, I’ve watched them walk their talk with unrivalled stamina and dedication to their path. I’ve watched them lead with integrity & fairness, with strong boundaries & true kindness in equal measure, rising to meet the wholeness of their vision, not without challenges, mistakes or disappointments but because they are so willing to be here. It is not necessary that we agree upon all things, (and we don’t), but trust & respect make a fertile ground for growth & togetherness.
Movement Medicine is far bigger than the individual personalities of Ya’Acov & Susannah. The sacred space between them has birthed a vast container, a living spirit with its own vision, protection & wholeness.
Our Earth, the jewel of the heavens, is a vast being of consciousness. To dream with her, for her, within her, we need our humanness and our togetherness.
The Long Dance is an altar of all life, for all life, a white bird, a spirit, nectar of life, reciprocity in action, so deeply needed. If their life’s work is in this altar, it was well done. Brave & beautiful.
Back to the personal: Movement Medicine works for me because trauma is not dramatised or glorified but navigated in safe ways where we can make medicine from our personal suffering & stories, however extreme or horrific.
The invitation to presence in the body acknowledges all states without over identifying with any of them. That many things can feel true in any moment. The shadow is powerful & needed. The effectiveness of the work is not in our ecstatic experience but the state of our relations and recycling bins.
To honour the tender miracles of our bodies.
I hope to dance in this mesa, to tend these altars, care for theses waters and grow in these arms long after my heart stops beating.
In gratitude & alongsideness,
Dorrie Joy, Artist, Craftswoman & keeper of Altars
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