1 July 2024
8 min read

A few days ago I met our old friend, Nick Price, on Totnes high street. He is approaching 80 and a couple of years ago had a cardiac arrest and very nearly died. He told me: "Do you know, Susannah, since then my life has been the best it's ever been?" Of course I asked him to tell me more. His answer distilled what I've been feeling growing in me this last year since my father died and Ya'Acov and I have entered our 60's. I'm grateful for how Nick encapsulated this perspective in a few words. Read on and I will share it with you!

Recently I was dancing this month's Mini Embodiment Practice (a Study Hub 15 minute practice). As I danced, I was invited to allow a particular memory of gentleness to arise. What arose, without effort, was the memory of holding my father's hand a few days before he died. I had been sitting by his bed and we'd been speaking gently. During a quiet moment, on impulse, I reached under the blanket to take his hand, something I wouldn't normally have done. He smiled and said; "I was really hoping you would do that - so that I could hold your hand without getting cold". I remembered the feeling of his well known hand gently holding mine as I gently held his. I remembered the feeling of quiet, warm connection and mutual understanding. Tears washed through me.

Ya'Acov and I with Richard, my father, 17 June 2023

One year on

It is one year ago that my father died (4th July 2023) in the middle of the Long Dance last year. Luckily, I could move back and forward between him, at home where Thea Henderson was taking beautiful care of him, and the Long Dance at Hilly Field, only a few miles away. I found I could be simply real. I could let my heart break in the dance alongside other dancers. I could fulfil my particular roles with clarity and good energy - not despite my vulnerable heart, but with it, simply whole. For me this was a profound confirmation of my own simple realness and of the field of Movement Medicine.

I am now writing the book of what I've learnt through journeying alongside my parents in their dying – the dance of tending and letting go. Because they were both so able to share the experience openly, it's an unusual story, which I hope will support others. Nell Stanislas is my god-sister (my parents were her god-parents) who, as a nurse has supported many people who are dying as well as their families. She supported me during the last months with Dad, and is writing a professional commentary to interleaf with the story. We feel and hope this book will be of service to others. I’m so grateful for all the support which Ya’Acov and many others are offering me in this process of remembering and writing. Thank you all.

I honour the mystery (once more) of timing, which means I’ve been writing some potent parts of this book whilst leading the Study Hub lesson on transformative memory, just as last year I led the Waters of the Heart lesson on "Love, Grief and Letting go" whilst my father was approaching the end. How do these things get organised? I have no idea - but I'm very grateful. And thank you Anne Ena Bernard for our profound sharing on grief, love and letting go which we recorded that month.

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Deep Listening is the new hug!
Last night I offered a session at the Totnes Consciousness Café on Embodied Listening. This experience has re-awakened the passion I have for this game changing skill. And I mean not just the feedback from the participants and how I could feel the “temperature” in the room changing as we dropped into the river of receiving each other together, but what I experienced myself. The numbers were uneven, so when we were in paired practice, I got to take a partner too. I will never forget these individual sharings and how they touched me. Thank you to my diad practice partners, to Max and the Consciousness Cafe.

If you want to tend your relationships with partners, family, friends, and colleagues, I recommend the “Embodied Communication” self-paced study course. You can do it solo, you can do it with a Study Buddy. Having felt a strong spirit nudge at the time of isolation and of Covid to make this source, I'm recognising that in this time of polarisation it feels maybe even more important. I made if for others and for the world, and it has changed my life and still is doing, as I learn more and go deeper.

If you are part of a committed couple, do look out for the offer for couples booking onto "The Space Between Us" (see newsletter 😉).

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A lot of our newsletter this month relates to the theme of relationship. Though we are not all in couples (of course) - for the vast majority of us, relationships are important. So, I hope the audio of the talk we gave at the Hairy Barista (thank you Ruth and Ro’ee) on the “Space Between Us Two” is helpful.

Ya'Acov and Susannah at Initiation 2024 Poland.

As the world turns and the soul wrenching anguish of Gaza-Israel and Ukraine and all those other places goes on, I am noticing that in order not to cut off, I also need to allow myself to turn away. To feel and celebrate the joy of life and of us humans too. To feel everything and to dance, sing and let my heart rejoice in life and to break in fractals of pain and beauty and the love that holds it all, in-order to be able to become whole again and to turn back and bear witness with a deep and vibrant heart. 

To want!
At a ceremony I was blessed to be in recently, I was guided by that which guides me to understand the importance of letting myself really want something. There is the power of acceptance, and there is the power of "gratitude in advance", but, I was told, there is also the power of wanting something, connected with the power of dreaming, vision and action linked to that dream. In the Study Hub, we are currently working the 'arc of time' (aren't we always?!) In May, Kristin Glenewinkel led us in the Precious Gift of Presence. In June I've been offering a revelatory perspective on 'Memory Mystery and Meaning' and in July, Ya'Acov is offering Envision: Life's Invitation to Create. Who better to guide us on this?

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I am alive now. I try to make a difference with the song of my life, with my actions and my prayer. I am utterly grateful for the Summer Long Dance coming up and such a good crew there. I bow to commitment of all the dancers who are coming. This is Movement Medicine Ceremony Central. A chance to ask more of yourself. Play your role as part of a wider sense of belonging and co-responsibility. And dance, dance, dance and let yourself be dance and hear the song of your soul - your line as part of the chorus of life.

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Dance with the Long Dance

For those of you who want to connect with the Long Dance, we are so grateful that Movement Medicine professional Christian de Sousa is offering a "Long Dance Connection Space" on the last evening of the ceremony for those who can't come in person. Please do come and join Christian, and dance and co-vibrate with us, to help us lift up this prayer and root it in action by supporting the Fundacion Pachamama (here's the Justgiving link) to support the Sacred Headwaters project to protect the Amazon Headwaters and the Amazon forest. This project is led by the indigenous people themselves, in concert with the Fundacion Pachamama, for the sake of the forest and all life on earth.

Wed 24 July 2024 6.00 - 8.00pm (UK)

Thank you Christian and all!

I send a thousand gratitudes to all those who tend the healing power of gentleness in this world, however and wherever they and you do that. Nothing is too small to make a difference. Nothing is too large to dream and move towards. I bow to the great mystery, and I thank my parents for being the ones they were.

And how did Nick Price answer my question? He said: "These last 2 years have been the best of my life because I am experiencing every day, every single moment, as the gift that it is. I'm not taking life for granted. I know this now like never before. This has made the last two years since I nearly died by far the very best time of my life."

There you go. That's my prayer, that I can live into that extraordinary ordinary knowledge of appreciating the actual moments of my life even more deeply myself, and experience the depth of life, of love, of true presence, right now. And I wish that for you, if you want that too.

with love,

Susannah Darling Khan

Susannah Darling Khan

Susannah's life is dedicated to the quest for a world where beauty and compassion flourish....