Many years ago I used to wonder if I would ever find what some would call ‘my own work’ and if I did what would it be. I mean by this, the work that would not just be my own style or my own approach, but something specific that I created myself from my own journey. I’ve been teaching movement work now for many years and although I do most definitely have my own style and ways of creating and holding a space for others to work in, it has never actually felt like ‘my own body of work’. Despite being a dance and movement teacher, and now working and teaching Movement Medicine which is a profound and wonderful way of working with the dance and I absolutely love with a passion, I knew there was a few key elements I needed to offer of my own.
Until a few years ago, when quite accidentally and without any searching or planning for it at that time….. It found me!
In fact the biggest realisation was that I had actually been living this ‘work’ most of my life and it was as much a part of me, as I was of it.
Of course it had not come easily, in fact it was the absolute biggest challenge in my life. It included my home life, my working life, my children and their fathers and all the ins and outs of daily living and working things out. It was about who I had become and all the energy I carried to enable me to be who I was in the world.
And it had all been choreographed quite beautifully to form a constellation process that I could add to my dancing warrior path. It would in time develop into a magical process that transformed people’s lives and opened up new door ways of deep enquiry into their own human-being.
The Magic of Mandorla had been crafted from my life and many of my experiences into one neatly packaged piece of shamanic theatre work, and all I had to do to find it, was quite literally ‘live it!’
Over the last few years it has begun to show me exactly what it is about. Each time I hold its process, new and different pieces of its puzzle present itself to me and the work just gets deeper and deeper.
I had been witness to many others work and enjoyed my time taking part and experiencing their art and healing potentials. I knew it was all influencing my own ways of working and would in time be part of the small seeds that influenced the work I offered to the world.
But discovering my own Mandorla work came through the pain I felt at having to follow a life time of passion on the dance floor as well as love and raise my six wonderful and deeply loved children within the restrictions that family and home life can create. Some of those years I simply had to put the work I loved ‘on the shelf’ feeling the pain that went with that and some of those years I had to juggle both my passion and my child-care, with the conflicts that lay between them, but with the focus and attention that both deserved and I was able to give. I loved both, most importantly of course my children and my passion could not be forced onto them, they would find their own in time.
This was me right in the center of my own Mandorla, empowering myself with the energy it created. Without any knowledge of what the Mandorla actually was.
Within a dream that connected me to two fire places and then finding those two fire places in real life, I knew I was on to something. I was literally being shown what to pay attention to through my dreaming and through being in nature.
The dream maker appears as a Station Master, old and grey, he seemed somewhat saddened. He took me to an old house, it was very dark and damp, there were thick cobwebs in every corner. As I entered the room I saw that there were two empty fire places, neither had any sign of a flame or coal ready to be burned, they looked like they had been left for many years to collect dust and webs. Why were there two fireplaces here, maybe once it had been two rooms?*
It is known as the most powerful of religious experiences we can have in life. Mandorla is the place of poetry “where the fire and the rose are one!” (four quartets; T.S Eliot)
There is a tension that is created at an evolutionary level. The Mandorla is the almond shape where two circles partly overlap, it is the Italian word for almond. Where the circles merge, this place symbolises the sacred place in which balance and reconciliation are birthed. There is a generative power available within the tension of opposites as in heaven and earth, light and dark, masculine and feminine, loyalty and betrayal, to name but a few. Mandorla is the sacred space of our soul work; it is where beauty and terror exist together. There has been a split and these two circles become united together. The curse is the pain it can inflict but with the greatest potential to heal.
At a time when our differences, our needs and desires, gender, culture, politics, faith traditions, etc threaten to divide us, the Mandorla provides a bridge that can deepen this experience with relationships and empower the right action. There is no way to depict the Mandorlas brightness, except by darkness. If we stand in the place of the Mandorla, that meeting place of two opposites, then we can use the energy of that particular conflict to provide a vital spark which can lead to a deeper understanding of what is occurring and to enable us to make clear decisions and feel into the power this gives us.
In my own case my mothering and my ever-emerging soul-craft conflicted with each other. I became more aware of these two opposites as I explored them. I held two very strong levels of soul work. One was the rearing of six children; the other was my work in the world. They were both equally as important to me. I was stretched unbelievably between the two. For years I experienced deep anguish and pain as I juggled these roles and found ways to combine both of them in my life.
‘I felt that tension growing in me, the tearing apart of what I needed to do, pulled in all directions. My own tension was growing inside me, a creature going crazy feeling the madness of it all. My own heat rising in my belly, the curse of the mountain lion, the puma, sharpening her claws, what was going on inside me, what was happening to the child I wanted to protect from wounding. I raged with agony to be in both places. One voice saying ‘go home to your daughters, be a ‘good’ mother.’ Another voice saying ‘let her be, this is her journey she needs to experience this’ Another voice recognising the importance of the work I was undertaking and how it may affect hundreds of other beings in years to come, as well as helping me very deeply to connect with my own strongly emerging mytho-poetic identity.’
The Mandorla work was exploring me, just as I was exploring it. Now I had a ‘name’ for what I had experienced so much in my adult life. I began to see so many other Mandorlas, every day I could see where this energy field could be created and made use of.
If we look at any spiritual imagery, like Jesus or Mary, if we look at images of angels or fairies, we will see that golden light that surrounds, illuminating what is around them. This is called the Vesica Piscis or the Aurola. It depicts sacred moments, transcending time and space, its brightness shines out through the darkness that it emerges from. The energy we feel in the moment of conflict or the power of the polarities creates this luminosity, it shows us what it is we need to be aware of in that moment.
Where there is conflict there is light, there is energy and there is massive healing potential in that moment. We need to stand in its center, be still within it, feel into its energy and create that light. The light will illuminate the shadows of our habits and personalities, showing us where we might need to make changes in our lives. As we engage with the circles around our own Mandorla process we get to see what has been hidden and what is really going on that has not been made clear before.
After a time of exploring my own Mandorla process, I found a way to help me become clearer on how I could work with it more effectively. It meant using creativity, artistic tools that helped me to tap into my more innocent self, my curious self and to put what I was feeling outside myself with this art work, so that I could ‘see’ it.
I invited others to experience this work in my small garden yurt, and when a friend from the Netherlands heard me talking about it, she was keen to experience it and so arranged for me to share it with her own community. It began to grow and I realised that this piece of work wanted its own journey in the world. It has stretched as far as South Africa where its energy has touched others individually and collectively. It is preparing to expand, to touch into as many communities as possible. Sometimes I am completely in awe at its power, something that has surprised me at times and left me in wonder at its magic.
So I feel the calling of this wonder and with the support of my organisers and my dear friends whom I am ever grateful to, ‘The Magic Of Mandorla’ has been rocking around the world entering into the hearts of many and collectively rocking our boats, stirring up the hidden truths and bringing to light what needs to change, for only by seeing what is hidden in the dark, can we truly manifest abundant and lasting change in the world.
So if ever I am asked, “how do I find my own body of work?” Of “how do I find what my own offering is?”
I often just say, ‘live it! Watch what is happening through your life and document it, learn from it and see what is being asked of you’
We have to know this work like the back of our hand, we need to embody it and find its truth. We cannot make something up or take anything from another’s work. We can imitate and work with the processes of others until we come to that place, when we know there is something quite unique to ourselves and we manifest the tools to offer it in our own unique way. This all takes time and cannot and should not be rushed.
The Mandorla of course is nothing new and is thousands of years old and is used widely around the world as well as taught, written about and mused over. There are umpteen diagrams and paintings of it. But what was offered to me in my own process was how I needed to work with it, which was something I had not experienced any where else in the world, but came from my own way of working. This is how I came to find my own unique little piece of a dream I held to offer my own unique piece of work.
More of my own story can be found in my second book ‘Reclaimed Innocence’ Published by MyVoice Publishing