admitted we were powerless…

June 13, 2011

Ever been in utter overwhelm, down-on-your-knees-I-give-upness? You may have discovered that the first step is to admit it.

I am always glad when I get to that place. Why? Because spaciousness soon follows.

I don’t know about you but I find a lot of life overwhelming. National budgets for instance. The weather. My inherited privileged position. Parenting. Being parented. Cooking dinner. Insidious nonverbal messages which tell me to eat more, do more, buy more and to feel bad when I do. Crazy. Over the last few weeks I admitted it. “I am deeply disturbed.”

Yet, body wisdom has other advice. There is another way. Slow down, touch stillness, rest, and if  lucky get with people with arms wide open to mystery, people who sing or dance with abandon to remember who they really are, or at least readily admit they are not in charge. When this happens answers can arrive without force.

Can we do something like this on a wider collective level, welcome that spaciousness that begins with admitting and opening the body to something greater?

We need to allow room for it. It won’t come with a 5 year plan. Oddly, it comes most quickly when we “hook up” our strangely wonderful dance-song-spiritbody.

Yeah, this still surprises me, too. They get it in India. But, it’s a hard sell in a country founded by super serious guys who tried to talk, write, and decree everybody be free the same as them, with NO DANCE on Sundays.

The body knows best how to get to greater wisdom. That is why Phil and I cooked up the InterPlay Secrets of Effective Groups: “bodies, not machines.” When groups can shake out some rampant expectations, take some deep breaths around the fury of activity, learn what the body wants, and let it communicate– we see something new. Most of the time they don’t even have to dance to see it.

How do I know? I watch and listen to the body. People feel better. They start to like each other. In their powerlessness, space opens. They get some power back.

Phil and I will share the Secrets for Effective Groups in Oakland and also in Berkeley at the Pacific School or Religion this summer. When we are in your area we’d love to share them with your work or community.

I am a Traveler

April 5, 2010

InterPlayers in India

I am a Traveler. Call me way out there, whatever. I not only travel on planes, but with my amazing human abilities, I “connect” through time, space and over long distances in my physical body. Reaching out to friends around the world, I sense relationship on a physical level. My body kinesthetically “moves” into relation with InterPlayers in India and Australia like a magical tele-motor-conductor. You too?

The bad news? Travel can make me scattered, spacey, till I’m downright outta body. That’s one reason I love InterPlay as a life practice. Again and again it brings me back to this chair, this room, this breath, this little place. If I dance, sing, or create with someone else in the room, I know how good it is to be at home where I am. This chair, dance, breath is ENOUGH! I don’t have to be all over the place, in everybody’s business. Wheeee. Gratefully, I’ve learned that I can move easily between travel and homecoming throughout the day. What a wonderful body. I’m rarely stuck.

And hey, like Michelle Shocked, “I’ve come a long way.”

The web allows similar physical play. Online travelers now meet, greet and conspire (breath with) one another in embodied forms. Nika Quirk has her Powered by InterPlay “Wheeeee, we’re Alive” Monday Morning calls. And, Meri Walker, the Madhatter of Virtual Meetings herself is coaching me and others in the Madhatter’s Tea Party 6-Week Virtual Meeting Camp. Wanna play? It’s APRIL 19-May 24th Monday Pacific Time 3:30-4:30. Meet Meri. The cost is $89.  It’s for anyone who enjoys goofy learning environments involving a tea party and funny hats. What if we could play and achieve our goals without having to drive and fly around all the time? Email for more info:

Other travel…

Conscious Dancer magazine would love your input for the “Summer Travel” issue. Where have you been and where are you going? What do you dream about? Let our readers know by taking our quick and easy summer travel survey. Thanks!

Minnesotan InterPlayer Sage Lewis, author of JAVA: The True Story of a Shelter Dog Who Rescued a Woman hosts The Pet Playground radio show. Wednesday, April 7 from 1-2pm Central. Six MN InterPlayers will share music, dolphin noises, stories. Call in stories, babble or blurt about animals @ 952-946-6205 or listen to archives of the show at or live at Show airs May 2, 6pm Central.

Read about InterPlayer’s Marcia McFee and Karen Foster’s new book, “Spiritual Adventures in the Snow,” about preparing for Holy Week and Passover in USA Today.

Sheila Collins and I are among 60 women launching “Imagine a Woman.” Imagine a Woman International and celebrating the “Imagine a Woman” poem’s 15th Birthday Party at Get your party clothes on, invite your friends, and come on over.

India Stories

February 1, 2010

InterPlay in IndiaDay Two in Bangalore, India we shared InterPlay at Vimochana Forum for Women’s Rights, a center working towards gendered justice and reaffirming the ethic of the feminine. The center is dedicated to making violence against women unthinkable. I went with InterPlayers Francoise from India, and Cassie and Trish Delaney from Australia. In the open, clean courtyard my eye rested on a metal bowl of red marigolds afloat in water. On the walls were beautiful African masks, spirit ancestors, and in the conference room library a poster with words from a Native American chief.

We sat and had coffee. One of the founders, just back from New York, shared the history of the center that started in 1979. I recalled that that was the year I married, started seminary, and met Phil.

She told of how the women’s movement in India arose from fighting against the outright violence against women. I thought of my dream of a memorial for victims of domestic violence and my own journey to renounce violence.

She spoke of women murdered, burned, of suicides and the work of the women’s courts. Then, the workshop participants started arriving. One group from a village took three bus rides to get there. Translation made teaching slow but meaningful. There were giggles as women encountered InterPlay’s practices and we began connecting, connecting, connecting. I taught the five essential freedoms: to move, have our voice, connect, do nothing, and tell our story and the five elemental movements of healthy interaction: to lead, follow, blend, change, and reconnect. At the end the women who traveled the farthest encircled us with their spontaneous dancing and we spontaneously followed them in movement, laughter and spirit.

InterPlay in IndiaOne young woman, 17 years old, took us to her heart. She would have easily become a friend had there been opportunity. I’ll never forget seeing her stand before the poster of the Native American chief with Trish asking about each word and its meaning as she wrote it down, words that spoke of refusing to speak of God if doing so created violence, oppression, and division. Observing Trish’s gratitude I took it in as a deep meditation on the cross cultural support, wisdom, and friendship that can be sparked in such brief moments. Once again I realized, it is not only what InterPlay does in the moment, it is what results from InterPlay that is so profound- the spontaneous life, healing, and humanity. InterPlay offers sneaky-deep, homeopathic, social medicine with surprisingly powerful outcomes… stuff that our greatest spiritual teachers want for us.

Adrienne Rich said, “Violence is the failure to connect.” This is how InterPlay serves as peace-making. Anytime we make ease-filled, rich connections and foster chances for people to notice, share and celebrate the most everyday truths, we strengthen the underlying web that fosters harmony, innovation, and resource sharing. We learn things about each other we never knew. We bond. Violence becomes less and less desirable. Peace rises up in families, non-profits, organizations, on the street when this happens regularly.

InterPlay in IndiaFor many such simple practices like InterPlay takes tremendous courage. We have good reasons to fear being open, direct, and full of life. That is why the practice of InterPlay in community is so useful. Giving people regular chances to rediscover on a body level that it might be OK to “come out” and play, work, be, and create with others is an increasing need in a world of anonymous, virtual, and isolating practices. Amazingly, those with the least to lose-the hopeless, the sick, the homeless, and the imprisoned are often quickest to respond to InterPlay. Courage to live is something they already practice every day.

InterPlay is offering elegant simple tools to more and more people all around the world. In India we shared InterPlay with paraplegics, elders, women with extreme depression, people with multiple sclerosis, teen women just out of prison, village people, school children, and leaders of NGO’s and corporations. There were so many open doors thanks to Prashant and our friends Bobby and Sampoorna.

Masankho Banda taught InterPlay in Frankfurt. Phil taught in Sydney and Adelaide Australia, and Nadia taught InterPlay in Brazil at the World Social Forum. Friends in Thailand, Japan, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Montana, and France ask if InterPlay is happening where they are… Together we are making a difference. Stay tuned.

InterPlay in the news:

Drumming Up Energy by Vishakha Avachat

Let your inner child have a free run: InterPlay Helps Participants Reach A Higher Plane Through Spontaneity And Intuitionby Joeanna Rebello

Clergy merge body, mind, soul in class by Yonat Shimron

Meditation – The Dance of Life by Life Positive

Dealing With Rape by Sanaya Chavda

Find these stories and more on the InterPlay Hot News page!

From Nadia in Brazil:

The InterPlay experience at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
I would like to share my experience leading InterPlay – art, multiculturalism, social change and cultures of peace at the World Social Forum in Brazil on January 27 and 29. The first day was at Faculdade QI College in Porto Alegre with 25 teachers, 2 computer technicians, a visual artist and  2 musicians – percussion and guitar. We had a wonderful experience, a very playful morning and in about 2 minutes all people were already feeling free to play. The second day I lead a multigenerational and multicultural group at the World Social Forum Youth Camp in Nova Hamburgo connecting people from Uruguai, Brazil and Argentina with mother earth and a lot of fun in the middle of the mud! It´s amazing how InterPlay simple forms can lead people to connect easily. As a performer with extensive training for more than 20 years, I recognize that simple forms, clear comands and incremental steps are very important to encourage people to let go the barriers and simply play. I am very happy to be part of this International community of people engaged in transformation through art. It´s a blessing to get to know people like Masankho Banda who came to Brazil and opened people´s heart with his wisdom using InterPlay forms. I understand now that whatever you do, it is always about leading people connecting heart to heart. The responsibility of starting InterPlay in Brazil is certainly something that I am aware of. I will always do my best to respect the work that has already been built by so many people and specially Cynthia and Phil my gratitude for your effort and dedication over so many years. InterPlay in Brazil is growing step by step and with this I am also growing because my main motivation is self development and the happiness of having more and more people also into a path of love, integrity and hope of a better world. Read some news from the World Social Forum official website
Nadia Thalji

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