The Spirit of InterPlay Awards

November 7, 2011

Drumrollllllll please!!!!!

On November 5th, 2011, at a festive San Francisco Bay Area Million Connections Fun-Draising Brunch celebrating InterPlay Outreach, we presented our 2011 Spirit of InterPlay awards to filmmaker and activist Katrina Browne and St. Mary’s Center which serves low-income seniors in the East Bay. We honor those who are making a world of difference using creativity and body wise smarts for social change!

st marys

Katrina Browne, 1998 Bay Area Life Practice Program participant, brought InterPlay to Boston, co-taught a Life Practice Program group and offered workshops on racial dynamics at the First International InterPlay conference in Nashville.  Katrina just moved to Washington DC and hopes to InterPlay there soon!

Katrina is Producer/Director of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, a documentary about her slave-trading ancestors, the hidden history of New England’s complicity in slavery, and questions of repair and reconciliation today. She met film co-director Juanita Browne in an InterPlay-inspired multicultural Women’s Performance Group.

Traces of the Trade premiered at Sundance in 2008, aired on PBS to reach over 1.5 million Americans, was nominated for an Emmy, and contributed to the Episcopal Church’s vote to atone for its role in slavery. Today, the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery creates heart-opening dialogue on issues of white privilege and the legacies of slavery.

Her award certificate read, “For your exceptional contribution to the world through your potent, creatively inspiring, and open-hearted film Traces of the Trade and your commitment to spreading its truth through unflagging outreach, education and relationship-building.”

Saint Mary’s Center and InterPlay Oakland have been friends for years. InterPlayers have engaged their board, staff, and community at many events. St. Mary’s believes in the arts, friendship, and people-led social change causing one InterPlaying social worker to say, “This is the first agency I’ve been in that was also a community!”

Thanks to a County of Alameda Mental Health Innovation Grant, three InterPlay leaders, Phil Porter, Coke Nakamoto and Connors McConville and St. Mary’s staff are offering low-income seniors activities in the winter shelter program and other settings.

We acknowledge Carol Johnson, executive Director for her wise, open-hearted, people friendly leadership over these years. The certificate presented to St. Mary’s read, “For providing heart-felt services to low-income seniors, families and pre-schoolers in the East Bay and for fully embracing the arts as a part of their ‘whole person’ approach to addressing the needs of their communities.”

Fundraising, grants, fees for Body Wisdom events help us strengthen connections among movements of people seeking the vision, energy and peace to get where they want to go in surprising, healing, creative. miraculous and world-changing ways.

Join us at an event or click here to play a part with your pocketbook.

Cynthia Winton-Henry

InterPlay: Recognized as a top modality for conscious dance

October 4, 2010

Since the 1970’s certain dancers have taken on a form of “spiritual leadership.” These pioneers uncovered lost body wisdom hidden in forms of free and creative dance. In dance, music, and drum they found ways to heal splits between body, mind and soul, strengthen individuals and communities, restore balance in every sector of human behavior and do so as artists, entrepreneurs and community organizers. Their followers are equally inspired and growing in number. With practices that have gelled into systems they can be shared in many locations giving rise to a verile, social movement. One magazine shines a light on it, “Conscious Dancer.”

In it’s September 2010 issue, Conscious Dancer Magazine features InterPlay among the top ten of 100 modalities along with NIA, 5 Rhythms, Zumba, Jazzercise, Biodanza, Tamalpa Arts, Continuum, Take Tina, and JourneyDance. We are honored.

Read the article (download here) and celebrate all that has gone in to bringing these modalities into view as resources for healing and a new enlightenment in the twenty first century. If you are an InterPlayer share our pride in being part of something both ancient and fresh that is serving many populations.

For as the Hopi elders say…
“The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones that we have been waiting for.”

– The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation

If you know that InterPlay plays a key role in this era, your support has never been more needed. Participate in the Million connections campaign to help Body Wisdom, Inc. continue to be a leader in building health, insight, and connection in the US and with our partners around the world.

Phil Does Math!

April 26, 2010


While Cynthia is in Asheville and Raleigh, NC, I thought I would sneak in and do some math with y’all.

Surely you know by now that we are in the first year of the Million Connections Campaign, yes?

Our goal is to count up the various ways–both small and large–that InterPlay is being shared in the world. So many people are spreading InterPlay around in such interesting ways. We knew this was happening, but didn’t realize how much it was happening, until we did a couple of informal tallies.

That is why we are inviting InterPlayers to count their connections–to pay attention to when and where they are using InterPlay directly or indirectly–and then to log those connections on the website. We hope by the end of 2012 to be over a million, and we are well on our way.

Between September 30, 2009, when the counting officially began and today:
· InterPlayers have logged in 116,012 connections
· 123 different people have logged in
· there are 741 logged entries
· a whole group of people have logged in more than 10 entries (Krista Harris holds the current record at 68!)

And folks are telling us their stories: Dorothy Finnigan used InterPlay at St. Mary’s Center, Annie Goglia used it at a laughter yoga workshop, Allysson McDonald used it with 1st graders, Stan Stewart used it with his co-workers, Harriet Platts used it with a hospice team, Kate Arms-Roberts uses it with her young triplets, Laurie Rudel used it at church, Krista Harris used it with families with disabled children….

Read the stories–over 50 of them!

Each time InterPlay is used, we believe there is a little more ease in the world. Want to help us spread that around?

Are you already doing it but haven’t shared your numbers and stories?

Now is a perfect time to log them in!

Join the Million Connections fun!

Social Capital

January 21, 2010

This week’s post is written by Theron Shaw, Director of Development.

I made an investment yesterday. Actually, I just added some capital to an asset that I’ve been building for some time now. And I’ve noticed a funny thing – I’m often tempted to spend out of that “fund,” and whenever I do, it just ends up being worth more.

“How can I get an investment like that?” you ask…

Well, my investment yesterday was that I took two ginger pumpkin scones and three little bags of gingerbreadman-shaped doggy treats (one for Ace, one for Blanca and one for Mina the German Shepherd) to our neighbors down the street. It was an investment of social capital, and I’ve been working on that investment since we moved here a couple years ago when I began to stop and talk to them and their three dogs anytime I walked past their house. The social capital there is my relationship with these neighbors, whom I love to talk with and whose dogs say enthusiastic (albeit noisy) hello’s to me every time I walk by.

Social capital is defined as the collective value of all “social networks” (who people know) and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other (“norms of reciprocity”). Robert Putnam said it well in his book Bowling Alone Americans are bowling more than ever before, but not in leagues – people are bowling alone.

And social capital is a fascinating kind of capital, because unlike the capital in your bank accounts (aka “dollars” or “Yen” or “pesos”), the more you spend it, the more it’s worth. The less you spend it, the more it loses value. The more I rely on my neighbors to water my plants while I’m gone, the stronger our connection. If I get too busy and don’t stop to talk with them for a year, the connection grows cold. The social capital between us has decreased.

Makes me think of that campfire song I learned as a kid… “Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away…you end up having more.”

Turns out that InterPlay is a sophisticated technology for creating social capital. When we tell our everyday stories to another person, when we do a hand-to-hand dance, when we stand in a circle and create improvised music with our voices, we are creating social capital – connections with people around us that make our world work.

Economists and sociologists in the academic world have spent lots of time studying this phenomenon of social capital, because without social capital it’s very hard to get anything done.

Imagine if you didn’t believe that the bank was going to take care of your money when you gave it to them? That’s also known as a “run on the bank,” and usually makes headlines.

Imagine if you had to stay at the car repair shop all day while they install your new transmission, because you are afraid they might steal your car if you left the premises?

Imagine if you couldn’t ask your friend to water your plants while you’re on vacation because you’re afraid he might steal your computer and stereo system?

Social capital – the same kind of thing that InterPlay creates – turns out to be essential for making our basic day-to-day activities possible.

InterPlay’s Million Connections Campaign is about social capital investing. When Cynthia and I started a year ago dreaming up ideas for celebrating InterPlay’s 20th Birthday, we wanted a game to play that helps point out the intangible contributions that InterPlay makes to the world every time someone raises a hand to a partner’s hand. Imagine InterPlay connections like little drops in the “this-is-a-world-I’d-like-to-live-in” bucket. Will a Million Connections fix all the broken and painful parts of our world? No. Will they make the world a better place? Yes.

That’s why we created a place to count your connections– it’s a fun, easy-focus way to play a game together, as the global InterPlay community. It’s a game called “Let’s See If We Can Measure Just How Much InterPlay is Changing The World.” Join me – it won’t hurt at all, and your investments will be worth more! (And for the Shapers out there who have been asking “What counts as a connection?” – check out Phil’s explanation.) This is an easy-focus game – the goal is more about heightening our awareness, and the awareness of our communities, about how much InterPlay really is creating health and beauty and grace and ease in the world.

What if the Million Connections Campaign gave each of us the courage now and then to have the kinds of Connections that are most juicy, using the kinds of things we know how to do as InterPlayers?

What if you played “I could talk about” with your family members who you only see at holiday gatherings but don’t really know anything about (except that they’re kind of conservative and that’s a little Scary!)

What if you did vocal play in your living room with your friends and family – teaching them how to “start something, mess with it, and find an ending”? What if that was way more fun than playing Cranium after dinner?!?

What if you and your significant other could howl and cuss and swear at each other in a made-up foreign language, feel much better afterwards, and not have to clean up the mess of having actually said all those nasty things in English?!? (Thank you to InterPlayers Sharon Pavelda and Randall Mullins for that brilliant inspiration!)

Personally, the Million Connections Campaign has heightened my own awareness – and courage – to try some of these things.

Of course the Million Connections Campaign is about two goals – Raising $1 Million and Creating 1 Million InterPlay Connections, over the next three years. The $1 million is the fuel for this global social movement, and it is what will get us to the 1 Million Connections goal. We named this the Million Connections Campaign, because neither of these goals is worthwhile without the other. If we raise $1 Million, and haven’t created a single InterPlay connection, we failed. And we won’t be able to create those 1 Million Connections without some additional resources for training new leaders, for doing InterPlay outreach projects with new communities, and for administrative staff and resources across the country to keep everything moving.

So go out and be a Social Capital Investor!

For those of us who actually have lots of social capital in our lives – InterPlay connections, family connections, friendship connections – we are in a position to be social capital investors! Just like a venture capitalist is looking for a place to invest some money in order to create more money, social capital investors can look for a place to invest our social capital where there is the greatest hunger for connection, community, relationship. And by investing your social-capital-building efforts, you’ll end up with more than you started with! And don’t forget to tell us about your connections– it’s more fun that way!

Thanks for all the Connections you create in the world,


P.S. And for all you techno-curmudgeons out there who think that Facebook is the death knell of human connection (and I confess that I have tended to be among this curmudgeonly lot!), science has proven that Facebook is good for you!

P.P.S. I’m sure there’s a connection somewhere between social capital and helping out the folks in Haiti whose homes and cities and lives have been ravaged by the recent earthquake. If you haven’t already, join me in sending them a financial contribution through Partners in Health, an organization that has worked in Haiti for over 20 years, providing health care in some of the most remote parts of that country.

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