15th Annual International Movements Retreat

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The International Movements Retreat first began in 1999 at the Claymont Society. This year for the 15th Annual Retreat during June, participants returned to where it first began.

This year’s retreat hosted a group of people who share a love of the Movements and a wish to live more consciously and responsibly. Participants come from many different cultures and with differing perspectives, teachers, and lineages. Many work or teach in independent study groups near their homes. Many first met each other at Movements workshops that occurred in various settings around the world.

Participants of the International Movements Retreat recognize one common wish, despite their diverse backgrounds.

“We wish to learn the Movements in a setting in which leadership is shared and not based on a 

pre-determined hierarchy. This differs from other groups that may be associated

with a dominant Teacher or other traditions of group work.”

 
For more information about future International Movements Retreats visit their website: http://www.movements-retreat.org/

Impressions from the 2013 International Movements Retreat at Claymont

“The purpose of Movements—the search to become conscious, to have a conscious relationship with one’s body 
and sensation of one’s body—gives to those who perform them sincerely and accurately a kind of ‘education’ and ‘enrichment’ of being, a food for all parts of themselves; the instinctive body, 
the emotional centre, conscious thought.”
 
–Solange Claustres, Becoming Conscious with G.I. Gurdjieff
 

Old. Old I am, and feeling it. Back when I had the privilege to practice Movements every week I could hold the feeling off a little. My objective measure was that I could bend my knees far enough to sit on my heels, and even rise gracefully from that position, and how many people my age could do that? But no more, and the sensations concurred with my feelings.

Old, cursing the pain from trying to get down, how could I ever get there again?

And we were all pretty old, nobody younger than 50, nobody willing to admit how far past 50 they actually were.

And few. We started as fourteen, and ended as twelve, just enough for two rows, and the teachers danced with us.

And it was good.

“If the Movements participant’s search is honest in both his feelings and actions, this enrichment happens 

very subtly and directly through impressions received in each posture, and from the whole 

succession of positions in the ‘Movement’”.

–Solange, ibid

Ten days. Ten days to learn Ten Movements, many of which were completely new to us. The Scales/La Gamme. Multiplication #13. Polyrhythms. From the 39 Series: #7 and #24. Dervish Hahaha (the Shouting Dervish). American #26, a Morse Movement. Enneagram 5 and 6. Prayer in 6. And one from a series developed for the Enneagram by one of the teachers, #9 Love.

Sitting. Walking. Singing. Weeping at Beauty. And always, always the piano, and the magnificent pianist. Some laughter, mostly at meals and from funny stories, but not a lot. We were serious, after all. There was a lot to learn.

Those ‘impressions’ are teachings, knowledge—acquired unconsciously, received by the body, the instinct, 

the intuitive feeling, and thought coming from being—quite different from intellect. 

The three are linked to the All, which is Being.”

–Solange, ibid.

Long days, solstice days, and the gargantuan moon at apogee, washing out all but Saturn and Venus. Even the fireflies were a little dimmed. Who can sleep when it’s bright enough to read outside? Sol, Fa, and Re humming in my ears.

Starting early with qi gong and the traditional sit. I am. Moving awareness with sensation. Moving to the next sensation, and the next awareness. Inhale and exhale. All day, I am. Or try to be.

Long hot days, temps in the 90’s F, to 37 C. And water, sweat and water, sweat and water. Must hydrate. Avoid the cramps. And, oh, here comes that one knee to the other knee 180 turn in Prayer in 6, and was that a groin muscle I just heard? Ow, ow, ow. I am. I am. I am (in pain). I grin at myself.

Will I ever be able to sit on my heels? Sigh. Must go back to ‘I am’.

“These ‘received impressions’ can become conscious if the pupil strives for this, with all the 

effort this demands—patience, will, perseverance, clear consciousness and humility—

so that nothing comes to turn him away from the true direction of his search.”

–Solange, ibid.

I am. I become. I can do this. But I worry: where are the young people? Why are they not here with us?

From five nations we were, and I’m told things are growing abroad, but why not here? Why are there not more of us, and young? What restricts their access? I pray that their restrictions be eased a little.

The Movements are Legomonisms, the Teachers are walking Legomonisms. I am. I am becoming a legomonism as I practice, I am embodying what was intended for me. I sense it, I feel it, I know it. I am one.

Oops, and then I’m two, and I screw it up again.

But now I can sit on my heels once more.

“Then a real ‘thought’ from all three centres can begin to develop.”

–Solange, ibid.

The day comes, the hot afternoon, the wind blowing through the open doors. An ‘informal’ demonstration in the beautiful Octagon. Thirty-five people come, some from other lineages, and some young people, too!

There is no nervousness anymore. I’ve done this enough times, I am comfortable even when I screw up. Move past it, move through it, there is the next posture. I am. Silence. Only movement, even image falls away. I am.

The audience was pleased with our efforts, our old and creaky efforts. They felt something. They saw something. There is joy on their faces. They seemed to have received favorable impressions.

And we walk out. Within, I know I was informed by limitations, old age and nearness to Death. And I know that by my efforts I have pushed those limitations back a little, because as the Movements come to life in me I come to live in the Movements. And I can remember to be I am. For a little while, anyway, in the little while of me.

Curtis, July 2013