Fanny

About Me

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I have been searching for God, for meaning and for a sense of justice, for as long as I can remember.  I have tried to make sense of the utter madness of our human race and where we find ourselves at this point in history.  I have wondered at our seeming inability to find a simple ease of being in the world, and a sense of our place in the natural order.

As a child growing up in Italy, I sought this through converting at the age of 10 to Catholicism – the local priest becoming my closest confidante - and made going to mass a daily commitment (mostly it was just me and 2 or 3 old women on the weekdays; I would read the lesson and help the priest before and after).   But I most deeply touched a sense of the mystery and beauty of life, through being in nature and connecting with animals and plants, the sky and the waters of a wild river running near our home.  I railed against us humans for what I saw us inflicting on the animal kingdom, and vowed to do what I could, to not forget the preciousness of the natural world and its need for our protection.  Then, as a young adult I became involved in radical politics and feminism and a call to social justice.

After the devastating suicide of my half sister and the subsequent crumbling of my family around me, I turned to spirituality.  It seemed that if so many of us are so lost and bewildered by being alive  - something more core is needed than dealing with the effects of that lostness.  I wanted to get to the root of it.

I turned inwards.  I got together with my first husband who was a deeply committed Buddhist and tai chi practitioner; I had 2 children with him, which opened me wide in love and brought me to my knees at times.  A year after my youngest child was born, I separated from their father.  I found myself devastated by the tearing apart of my new family, immense grief interspersed with moments of freedom, potential and the recognition that I desperately needed to find myself again.   I discovered the 5 Rhythms with my first true teachers, Ya’Acov and Susannah.  This was a huge awakening for me.  I discovered my moving dancing body, I discovered a level of love for myself, others and life itself which blew me open – and I realized for the first time quite how far I had come from myself, my power, my beauty, and my capacity to really participate in the life I was living.

I then trained with Gabrielle Roth to teach the 5 Rhythms in 1994, and in 1995 was asked by her to start teaching.  I received the letter from her on the very morning when, for the first time, it occurred to me that I might actually have something to offer in this.  So I began with great trepidation, to offer the practice which was so precious and profound to me.

 Over the next years I studied with many incredible teachers – Helen Poyner, Sandra Reeve, Suprapto Suryodarmo, and was eventually led to Adam who remains my teacher to this day.

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In 1998 I got together with Colin who I married in 2002; my relationship with him has grown me, opened me, inspired me, challenged and stretched me in more ways than I can say here.

The remarkable effects of the work with Adam, my relationship with Colin, my teaching work, my parenting, my friendships - and the unfolding of Life itself - keep taking me deeper and deeper into an appreciation of the ordinary and absolutely extraordinary reality of each moment – and an increasingly capacity to relate with all feelings, states and experiences rather than following the million ways I have learned to bounce off them, avoid them, act them out, numb them, or indulge them.  This is an incredible, humbling, sometimes devastating and sometimes ecstatic unfolding; and in this, ‘who I am’ becomes more and more fluid, undefinable, and available.

I feel free.  Increasingly so.  Which includes being free to feel trapped and caught in the hold of my own conditioning.

 I feel happy. Increasingly so. Which includes being happy to feel all states including despair; it is not a happiness which is always smiling and bouncy, but a happiness which depends less and less on things going my way.

 I feel at peace. Increasingly so.  In the midst of often feeling shy, awkward, inadequate; and in the midst of feeling confident, exhuberant and more than adequate, sometimes even excellent.

 And I recognize that there is no goal in awakening, there is no goal in developing as a human being, there is just an ongoing unfolding which is not SAFE but it is deeply HELD by the process of life itself, and a sense of enduring and constant presence.

A few months ago, I stood in the middle of the night with my fathers’ body in a Spanish morgue feeling everything in my life and in my family’s dynamic, reconfiguring; like swirling patterns shifting through the space.  Months later, also in the middle of the night, I held my daughters’ daughter, barely two hours after she was born.  My fathers body was so empty. I felt death.  The absence of spirit in the body.  Baby Aroha’s body was brimming with life, unrestricted by thought, beliefs or self concepts, just streaming through.

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I am filled with wonder at this life.

And I am in wonder at the fact of death.

Things in our world are changing so fast I can feel overwhelmed; and yet  I feel more and more a quietness resting in the centre of the madness and glory of it all.

I am full of gratitude for my increasing capacity to open to life, meet it, surrender to it, and love it with my whole heart, body and mind.

I love the capacity of my body to feel everything as it moves through me; and to express my responses to everything which happens.

I love the capacity of my heart to love it all!

I love the capacity of my mind to make sense of what it can make sense of, and recognize what is beyond it; to discern, articulate, plan, remember.

And I love how all these interact in this immense possibility which being human allows.



And I am immensely grateful



To my ancestors, my grandparents and my parents,

To my children, my grandchild, and the generations to come,

To my beloved husband Colin,

To all my teachers,

To my siblings,

To my friends,

To all my students,

To the animals,

To the Earth

To Life itself.



This  thanksgiving is brief.  I could wax lyrical in every direction but my mood is sober right now, and simple, and the love and the bowing that I feel is more than I can say in words.

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