3 May 2023
6 min read

When we decided that, due to my father’s frailty, it was not right that I go to the Amazon in the beginning of this year several unexpected doors opened. 

One was the experience of writing the Amazon Blog (see categories). If you want to know more about the context of our commitment to the Amazon as expressed through the Long Dance, want to learn more about the work of the Pachamama Alliance, or simply want to revel in a deeply felt adventure, these blogs are a good resource.

When Sasha, one of our Ukrainian guests told me that she felt as if I was taking her by the hand and leading her through the story, opening it for her so that she could feel it, not only in her heart but in her body, I knew I must be doing something right. I'd felt myself in the word-forge trying to find the right words. Sasha's message arrived early on my writing of that blog series, and gave me a hope that i might be able to do so. And that was through google-translate. Thank you Sasha (and auto translate!).

And then I heard these words on Radio 4: a reading from the recent book about John Donne (17th century metaphysical poet) by Katherine Rundell.

"The human soul is so ruthlessly original, the only way to express the distinctive pitch of one’s own heart is for each of us to build our own way of using our voice. To read Donne is to be told It is necessary to shake language until it will express our own distinctive hesitations, peculiarities, our own uncertain and never quite successfully earning towards beauty ...Language, his poetry tells us, is a set not of rules but of possibilities.”

Katherine Rundell’s book on John Donne: Super-Infinite  

WOW! I took this a a profound support for my effort to find the precise viscerally evocative words, which means to go back and feel it all again and let the words arise from inside that experience. That's why I felt I lived a double life during that tine, there and here.

Meeting my father anew

Making the film with my Dad (Richard Darlington) has been deeply satisfying and emotional for me. Once again, I am amazed by what asking a good question allows to be revealed. On the other hand, this brings into focus the sadness that so much remains hidden in so many of us because no-one has had the imagination, time, or curiosity to stop and ask and listen.

In my experience there is such magic and mystery and beauty and depth of experience in each of us, which unfurls itself with the presence of welcoming others. This is what I've experienced over the years and years of teaching movement as medicine. Good community strengthens each of us and each of us then can strengthen that community. (for more on this and the link with Malidoma Some's incredible teachings, see Hub Keynote Lesson on Community). Most of us have not set our every day lives to create structures for this sort of deep revelatory, curious asking and listening.

As you probably know, my father now lives next door to us. So I see him often. And I keep seeing that a different kind of communication happens when the space his intentionally delineated, for example for this film, or for our weekly shabbat mini ceremony of gratitude together. I thank Emilio Mula who brought such deep receptive presence to the filming, which made it so safe to let go. Thank you Emilio. This is a real skill and gift you bring.

Susannah and her father Richard Darlington during the filming

Unexpected gifts

In the film (My Road to Emmaus Mossley) Dad speaks about a teacher (and vicar) called Michael Mayne who helped him to know that he was accepted and loved just as he was, not because of anything he had achieved. This was an important fulcrum in his life and it was emotional moment in the film. Follow the link to see the short 3 min trailer or the longer 37 minute film.

When Emilio and I were editing the film, it was clear how very important Michael Mayne was in Dad’s life. When I was searching for an image of Michael Mayne I learnt that he had written books, amongst them: “Learning to Dance” which I have not stopped quoting since. It's a book bursting with deep enquiry into the existential mystery of suffering and the nature of god - the agonies and the ecstasies of life, from the angles of poetry, science, philosophy, theology and his own human experience.

A few glints of the mind-bending nature of what he gathers together:

Going outwards:

“Scientists estimate that there are about 18,000 galaxies for each human being on earth”

Going inwards:

“There are more cells in just one of your fingers than people on earth”

And on love:

“Never was anything in this world loved too much, but many things have been loved in a false way; and all in too short a measure.”

Thomas Traherne

Witnessing my man

As I have been witnessing Ya'Acov create the visuals for his new online course Encounter 3 - I am witnessing a craftsman creating something that brings together deep understanding, art and generous teaching. I know my husband is turning into an alchemist. This is such an exquisite labour of fine-tuned love. Ya’Acov! I wish all the participants and the brilliant team of Movement Medicine assistants, a beautiful, strong journey of self understanding, growth and standing up inside the one you are. I know you have made a deep commitment and are sailing with a great captain. All blessings to you and this culmination of Ya'Acov bringing his book 'Shaman' into generous life for and with people.

And lastly, if I wanted any more encouragement to go on being curious and asking questions and being interested in the life and the people around me, the result of one of my recent conversations on a train when I offered someone a lift, is that I have found the hairdresser of my dreams.


You never know who is there and what you have to offer each other if you listen deep to what is calling to be spoken and be heard. And what happens when you hear the whisper of another being's communication and let them know that it has been heard. Magic. I still feel as if this Embodied Listening enquiry is one of my biggest and simplest offerings. It's profoundly about respect for the sensitive and strong depth of life within everyone.

The Art of Embodied Listening (image by Kata Mathe)

I love being a life long student of life,

with love, Susannah

Susannah Darling Khan

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