I Was A Mountain: The Journey of Apprenticeship

About a week ago, I rose up out of bed and had the felt experience of growth. Something in my spine felt longer, taller, straighter. As I inhaled, I felt my rib cage expand as the top of my skull lifted up and slightly back, shoulders at rest, arms loose. In the early morning darkness, curtains drawn, light pushing through the seams, I sensed the energy body surrounding me, growing up and expanding. It felt light and good.

I was waking up at Fort Worden, a beautiful old military base in the Pacific Northwest converted into a State Park with dormitories and meeting spaces. I’d slept on a firm mattress in a room that had been home to medical personnel in an earlier incarnation. I was there for a Movement Medicine workshop called The Alchemy of Infinity.

My roles for this workshop were organizer and teaching assistant. I’m about four months into the Apprenticeship Program with the School of Movement Medicine, and this workshop was the second in a row I’d organized and assisted within the last two weeks. I love and feel deeply honored to hold sacred space for transformation, and in this role of teaching assistant I get to live my life on purpose.

On this day last week when I truly felt growth, I stood next to my teacher and the other two teaching assistants and felt like a mountain. I felt solid. I felt strong. I can’t say I have had such a clear knowing of this feeling state in the past. As an apprentice I am practicing interoception with regularity. Checking in with my body and asking what I’m feeling, where I’m feeling it, what are the feeling tones, shapes and qualities, getting clear about it, the good, the bad, the stuck, the pain, the flow, the radiance, the lightness, the darkness, etc. Last week I was a mountain.

I was also the wind, the waters, and the fire…..

Feeling the echo of this statement that I said in front of my community in San Rafael, “I have a dream to grow Movement Medicine community in the United States.” I had said the same statement a month earlier at the end of the Realizing Our Full Potential elective in front of the group of apprentices and teachers there, and also on Facebook.

What do I mean when I say I want to grow movement medicine community? Little m’s or big M’s? How has it landed? What did I mean by that? When I said it in San Rafael I imagined every dancer with a seed planted at the place where their body connected with the floor. Knowing it takes time for seeds to grow, and sometimes seeds just get blown away in the wind, or sometimes they don’t get enough water or sun shine, or love. Sometimes they grow fast and in groups. Sometimes they grow in a single bowl alone, tended, fed and loved by the organic nature of the elements.

Another inquiry I’m sitting with in the echo is about what is it that I actually am wanting more of, dreaming of? Is it about the specific teacher/ego/personality, or is it about the teaching/curriculum content, or is it about the community of people that show up for the work? I can say I’m 100% mountain next to/behind Ya’Acov, his and Susannah’s teachings, and the community of people who show up to learn from him. And I wonder if the teachings stand on their own in the way that Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms stand as a solid framework for me that I know in my body quite well. Map upon map. Can I go into a Movement Medicine class or workshop taught by someone who is not a Darling Khan and know in my body that the container is backed by mountains, and that the teacher has been steeped in the wisdom of their own journey? How long and what will it take for that to be an embodied yes? I’m even struggling to write this since I am still in this inquiry and can see that I have many more miles of discovery ahead of me. I will leave it here for now….

Snapshop lessons learned/reflections:

  • It’s challenging organizing a residential workshop from a distance, and I can do it!

  • Better to have the craniosacral session before or after a workshop I am assisting.

  • Showers and baths are grounding.

  • Walking on the earth with shoes that allow me to feel the textures of the earth is healing and nourishing.

  • I noticed the pattern that has repeated in my life since childhood where I’m perceived to be “bright” and therefore accelerated and/or given more responsibility than average, and missing out on some basics, expected to catch up. Managing to perform very well at high levels, and feeling like a failure at some basic levels.

  • Sometimes growth hurts in very real ways. Breaking out of a pattern of guarding my knee with a series of contortions in my hip and toes, yielded a new pain in my shin, while my knee looks and feels better than it has in years.

  • Working with the infinite pattern of giving and receiving this past week, much of my personal focus was about money.

  • I can do less.

  • I will fuck up, water will spill, and it’s ok.

Epilogue: Last night I decided to register for the Syzygy Facilitator Training which began THIS MORNING. FUCK!  I recall some teacher saying something about how it’s a good idea to study at least two other things while doing an apprenticeship, so here’s the first other thing. While on one hand it seems last minute, in truth, it’s taken me several years, and multiple conversations with Sylvie Minot to be a yes to this training. So after this Sunday, if I find myself a monastery and people ask me to lead them in dance, I will be able to say yes. That is all.