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.


Don’t tell Mom I’m just playing?

May 8, 2011

Don’t tell Mom that I’ve gone public with my testimony about her brave, beautiful journey of dancing with Alzheimer’s on my other blog, Mystic Tech. Here’s the link. I’m proud that InterPlay offers ways to uplift our community members who suffer with dementia, depression, and other d words. We’re more than a disease, we’re dancers.

Don’t tell Mom that little by little I’ve learned that I don’t have to work so hard. Mom works hard even with Alzheimer’s. Nap? Naaaaaa. Fortunately, she always told me to do what I love. Thanks Mom! I am working on it!

Don’t tell Mom that I broke the secret pact that gives her dibs on being the only good cook in our family. Turns out that I wrote a cookbook for the heart, What the Body Wants: InterPlay. It’s full of recipes for the secret sauce, chewy morsels, and creamy centers of life. O.K., it’s not an actual cookbook. I’ll never cook a meal like you, Mom.

Don’t tell Mom about the other Mother’s: Mother Earth, the Great Mother of us all, Mother Death, and the Mom in me. Tell her, though, that She Alone is mother of my dancing heart. I love you Mom.

I wish I could tell Mom

• that InterPlay got a $25,000 county grant for innovations in mental health to work with Homeless Seniors and how Phil is leading the team that is offering that program through 2012.

•  that I am off to England to lead the first Arts and Social Change: Secrets of InterPlay and that my sister and I get to visit her ancestor’s villages.

• about meeting and mentoring young artists from the US, Australia, India, South America, and Rwanda who are signing up for InterPlay’s Arts and Social Change Next Gen program

or that granddaughter #1 got her first paid gig as a makeup and hair artist, and that granddaughters #2 and #3 are equally gorgeous, smart and about to graduate from 9th and 12th grade.

Mom would probably nonchalantly say, “As long as you’re all happy,” cuz a good mom knows she did her job if her offspring find happiness.

I AM HAPPY with a plus sign. I AM AWAKE, ALIVE, LOVED and AN ARTIST, teaching others how to play, find ease, and create a good life. Thanks, Mom(s)!


8 secret powers useful when change is afoot (no pun intended)

February 28, 2011

Phil Porter, Cynthia Winton-Henry photo: Carly Rosin

Somewhere in the midst of improvising with body and soul, listening to life, and honing 26 core InterPlay practices Phil Porter performed 8 of our key tools as a set. We were in North Carolina at the beach. He got up in front of thirty folks and the 8 tools flew out in a fun, powerful, body intellectual lecture in Phil’s inimitable style! Today, wherever people lead the life practice program these 8 tools form the foundation, the bones of InterPlay. When change is afoot they help us navigate.

Noticing any changes in the world?

The 8 tools are part of a larger set of 26 core elements. When people think of InterPlay they often reference forms like sighing, shaking, Babbling, Hand-to-Hand Contact, the Warm-up, Walking, Stopping & Running, One-Hand Dances, Toning, and one breath songs. Yet, it’s the 8 tools that are the backbone organizing our beautiful, brainy beings to be able to amplify and enjoy embodied thought, movement, breath, voice, speech and connection. What are they?

The 8 INTERPLAY BODY WISDOM TOOLS ARE….

1) Easy Focus or… how to lighten a stifling, serious look on life.

2) Body Data, Body Knowledge, Body Wisdom or how to catch  on to what’s right under your nose.

3) Internal/External Authority or how to honor your knowing even when you can’t articulate it.

4) The Physicality of Grace, or how to become a grace operative, amplifying what brings healthy energy in a crazy world.

5) Exformation, or how to find and let loose the wisdom inside you in creative, easy, and mind-blowing ways.

6) Incrementality or how to be an overnight success by being in your body, taking a step at a time, and celebrating more.

7) Body Wisdom Practices (aka Spiritual Disciplines), or how to use fun, ingenious practices to have more of what you want.

8) Affirmation. Affirmation. Affirmation or, how affirming others makes a world of difference.

On the printed page these 8 tools are just words. It’s when you actually play with them on a body level that they make sense. Would you be shocked that this is the stuff that 1000 graduates have found encouraging, helpful, and life changing?! Nothing replaces doing InterPlay and joining the real web for which your body was designed.

If you are curious to know more about the 8 tools, leave a comment and we’ll send you a free pdf of Phil’s book, Having It All: Body Mind Heart and Spirit Together Again At Last.

Readers say: “Master-teachers Porter and Winton-Henry have discovered a new way of “being” in the world. This book is foundational in an understanding of the philosophy which they both teach and live. I recommend it to anyone seeking greater integration and wholeness in their lives.”

“Phil outlines exactly what it takes to “heal the split” between body, mind and spirit. I have followed these suggestions, and they really work. For those of you who are looking for ways to improve and/or heal your connection with yourself and others, this is truly a winning way to go.”

Or, better yet, get thee to a Life Practice Program, now in its 17th year. If you did it ages ago, come again. Long time InterPlayers revel in the new developments and the price break. In the next few months the Secrets of InterPlay and the Life Practice Program will come to MN, Kansas, the UK in May, and to Oakland for Next Gen Leaders 18-30. The secrets are out! Come play. Change is afoot.


Be each other’s healthcare

December 21, 2009

Play like you mean it! Life depends on it.

On Friday, twenty of us set a rhythm with feet, one step right and one step left. Over the beat, we spoke desires and concerns. That’s when Nika said, “Be each other’s health care.” What a beacon in the midst of US health care wars and the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

As an artist, family member, and teacher, I’m dedicated to health in body and soul. Meanwhile, my husband’s outpatient surgery, Mom’s Alzheimer’s, my athletic dad’s pacemaker, my siblings tussles with stress from success at work, and my communities’ big waves of disease and depression, I know I am one of the lucky ones. I have health care.

“Be each other’s health care.”

You are my body. Frank Forenich states in “No Body is an Island”, our health is profoundly extrasomatic or beyond the body… Emotions are not just experienced by individuals, but shared, unconsciously and unintentionally, across social groups… and so-called “non-communicable” or “lifestyle” diseases may in fact be “spread” through social networks, influence and mimicked behavior. To say that heart disease, diabetes and obesity are matters of “lifestyle” misses the point because lifestyle itself is highly contagious. An enormous percentage of our health and disease is “catching,” one way or the other.”

InterPlay and Body Wisdom, Inc. arose because Phil and I realized that modern thought, language and practice dismiss the creative, curative power of total physicality. Treating the body as an abstract problem to fix reduces health, joy, ideas, and love in individuals and groups. Nations? Yes. When the poor are ill, I am ill. When a prisoner is tortured, it comes back. When I treat earth as abstract, I become abstract. Connectedness is a fact. Our health depends on each other.

So here’s a little Rx for being each other’s health care:

Look for good: Something good crosses your path? Savor and pass it on like multivitamin.

Affirm. Praise others randomly, especially at home. Humans expect chaos. Random praise disrupts theories of suffering and reminds us of life’s benevolence.

Play like you mean it: Step over speed bumps of self-consciousness. “Out” your playfulness once a day. music, dance, word, food, doodle, silence, sport, games, make faces, wear costumes.. Embodying permission to play encourages the play genes elsewhere.

Forgive like a 7 year old: Dogs do it, so do second graders. Relax complaint. Get over “shoulda’s.” Move on. When someone can’t play nice, let them be.

Bring soup, hold hands: When things get real bad, showing up for 5 minutes or more if needed counts.

Hard to get over speed bumps, reactivate play, affirm body wisdom, or show up to beauty and health? Maybe, you are trying to do it alone. Don’t!

Check yourself into an InterPlay life practice program: multiple sessions in friendly groups with great leaders. Life changing, world changing health connections!

“…civilized human beings are alarmingly ignorant of the fact that they are continuous with their natural surroundings. It is as necessary to have air, water, plants, insects, birds, fish and mammals as it is to have brains, hearts, lungs and stomachs. The former are our external organs in the same way the latter are our internal organs.” Alan Watts -Does it Matter


Nika: A “Powered by InterPlay” Coach

October 13, 2009
Nika Quirk

Nika Quirk

Nika Quirk, president of the Body Wisdom Board, has interplayed for about 17 years. A dancer, systems thinker, and beekeeper with an M.B.A., she has served both for-profit and non-profit organizations. As a social entrepreneur she is a savvy small business consultant and EveryDay Leadership coach. Being a beneficiary of her coaching, I want Nika to share her work with us because InterPlayers need ‘nuts and bolts’ ongoing support to create InterPlayful work and lives. We need help to continually clarify our purpose, consider our use of time, energy, and money, and garner crucial encouragement to take new steps.

Nika says, “As changemakers (social entrepreneurs, artists, activists, InterPlay leaders, etc.), we often notice the personal wear and tear of holding the center of something new. It takes physical, spiritual, mental and emotional energy to make the new world that we want to live in. We need community that affirms our body wisdom, grounds our life practice, and supports our purposeful work. A circle, sustained over time, in which to witness, babble, shake out, discern.”

Nika is offering unique coaching in affordable small group tele-sessions- “powered by InterPlay” to support EveryDay Leaders who want to sustain a daily life practice and build a creative livelihood.  Wouldn’t it be great to get support from someone who knows what it means to “go the speed of the body” “use easy focus” “get rid of the icky stuff,” and proceed incrementally?

A visionary listener for times of change, Nika muses…

“Our planet shifts
Old structures fall
Feel the urgency?
Time to engage
With all we’ve got.
Notice the rhythm?”

What is your rhythm? Is it time to thrust, swing, shape or hang? Is it time for a solo, duet or ensemble? What do you need for your next clear, strong initiation? Can phone calls work for embodied activities?  Nika says, “Over the years, I’ve been integrating InterPlay into coaching by phone, teaching online, and facilitating groups like the Body Wisdom National Board via teleconference. We all know the joys of being body-to-body together but in casting a wide community web, I believe that maximizing the possibilities of telecommunications strengthens our interconnectedness.  Just like hand-dancing at a distance, we can stretch our kinesthetic imaginations to find the connection.”

Nika is forming coaching groups of 6-8 people. Interested? Email her at NikaQuirk@mac.com to learn how this form might serve you. Are there other people you’d like to form a group with? Let her know. Individual coaching is also available by phone or Skype, at sliding scale fees – you can schedule directly from her website. As she says, “My mission is to inspire both ease and action in these turbulent times, and to offer my services in a way that I hope is more financially accessible for you and still a self-sufficient livelihood for me.”

Nika’s blog, services and other information can be found by visiting Quirky Auntie’s “Sustainable Living” Room.

Are you a coach and InterPlay leader? Let me know how you blend InterPlay with your services at Cynthia@interplay.org.


InterPlay in the Jailhouse

July 20, 2009

First if all, Wednesday, July 22 at 1pm PST, Phil and I are guests on GREEN VISIONS radio program hosted by Carolyn North. We’ll be talking about how dancing and singing and creativity connect us to each other and our world. Its all about human bodies playing! To hear the show live, go to http://www.voiceAmerica.com. Click on GREEN TALK NETWORK; then click GREEN VISIONS. To hear this show, and all shows archived, go to Carolyn’s website (The show will be up by Friday, July 24).

An expression of this, came this week from Laveria Bogan, an InterPlay leader from Texas. She shares her own story of how InterPlay snuck up on her, sent her to jail (so to speak) and changed her life.

________________________________________________________
I can’t begin to tell you how many times Sheila Collins asked me to get involved in InterPlay’s Jailhouse Ministry.  I told her ‘no’ each time she asked.  She would always respond with how beneficial my presence would be.  I still said ‘no’.

Well, during our last Leadership Training in Austin, I just happened to be in the car with Sheila and Lila.  Well, Sheila saw an opportunity and she and Lila actually double-teamed me.  They came right out and told me that they needed me because I’m black!  I couldn’t believe my ears!  Because I’m black?  I’ve worked with a lot of people of various ethnic persuasions, and none of them have ever come right out and told me that they wanted me to do something because I’m black!  After I got over my shock,  I was really impressed!

I said to myself. ” These women are special.  They’re honest and straightforward.”  I was really impressed.  I already liked Sheila and Lila, and when they told me that they needed me because of my blackness I knew we would be friends for life.  And now, I can see what they meant.  My blackness has made it possible for the other women who are black to talk about some of the things that really bother them.

Needlesstosay, the Dallas Jailhouse has been an incredibly healing and transformative experience for me. I’m not nearly as angry as I used to be.  I didn’t know how angry I was until some of the women started to tell their stories.  Suddenly, I could relate to what they were saying, and I wasn’t angry anymore.  When they released their anger, I also released mine. Lila and Sheila said that my presence would make a difference, and I suppose it has. The biggest difference has happened within me.  But most importantly, it has helped me to see the transformative power of InterPlay in action.

I’ve been ‘playing’ with Lila and my ‘jailhouse’ playmates for over a month now. I plan to continue to do so. I love all of the women and we all look forward to seeing each other every Monday.  We ‘play’ together for two hours.  The time goes by so fast!  When it’s over we all wonder where the time went.  Everyone leaves with a smile on their faces.  Sometimes they leave singing the lyrics of a song that I made up.  I’ve grown so much.  The women have given me so much.  They’re beginning to feel safe enough to reveal their true ‘inner’ selves to us.  They are also beginning to share their God-given gifts and talents with us and to share some of their stories.  I am so excited and blessed to have been chosen by a Higher Power to be a part of this wonderful organization.

A thought came to me in the night that one of the reasons that InterPlay is so powerful is that it gives the women a ‘voice’ that expresses itself through ‘play’.  Yeah, that’s what it does for me!

Take care,

Laveria


I hear voices…

July 7, 2009

OK. I am giving you the first chapter of my memoir. Giving it away… that’s right. But not the whole story. Not the part about drowning. Not the part about the angel that gave Wing it! it’s wings. Not the part about adopting Katie after Mary-the-mother-of-you-know-who told me I was going to have my own immaculate beyond conception conception, not the part about holy nipples, or my PHD death in dying, and not the part about why after loving those gotta-love-em churches, I undid my oath to the church in exchange for my real oath, the vow I made decades ago. This chapter is for you… because InterPlay is what rose from the ashes of my passion and because it takes us years to tell our story and when we go that is all we ever leave behind.

The Fire in My Flesh
“Your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
-Walt Whitman

OK, I admit it. I hear voices. I see things. Especially when I dance. Flannery O’Connor said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.” I’ve had mystical experiences that are barely footnoted in America’s everyday lexicon and charted my life course by them. As a result, my work is not only difficult to describe, but I can’t decide what to wear to work: a suit, a funny hat, a robe or sweatpants? Being the Gemini I am, I change costumes as needed.

What do you do if you hear voices or see things? As an American woman with plenty of common sense, I’ll tell you what you should do. You should shut up. However, if there are voices that prod you to quench the thirst for big human needs like Love, Justice, and Freedom, you might become a blabbermouth performance artist like me. You might try to demystify dance, healing rituals and communal peacemaking enough to wave a flag in sight of the mainstream. The Voice of Love is that compelling. Mechtilde de Magdeberg, a twelfth century mystic said, “Love transforms, love makes empty hearts overflow. This happens even more when we have to struggle through without assurance all unready for the play of love.” She understood.

By the time I was thirty I was well prepared for the voice that gave me my “instructions.” Driving down the freeway on my way to see a horrific movie about nuclear holocaust, a neutral voice simply and clearly spoke to me and said, “Here are your three directives: Clarity of Vision. Efficiency of Energy. Courage to Love.” Being both undeniably gullible and unflinchingly faithful, I listened, not realizing I was downloading a mystic’s grocery list.

The voices I hear are always wiser than I am. Their messages are to the point, astute, and take me off guard. When I share them with other people they often ask me to repeat them. Should I warn them that when you actually follow the advice you get from “on high” you get into trouble? Things that make sense in a spiritual realm can make you look unusual in ordinary time. “Voices” have incited me to dance in academia, sing improvisational ditties at United Nations Association meetings, and confess mystical encounters from rational, left-leaning pulpits. They made me an iconoclastic prophet of the body and its one true love, play. In spite of all of my best attempts at being taken seriously, my voices have doomed me.

Today, I live on the bread of dance and sense things on freeways and in malls that others do or don’t see: spirits, voices, hungers, and curses. Hunting for a tribal dance to feed the soul, I gather people to song, story, beat, and breath. I seduce the cosmic dance out of a thousand starry gaps. I ponder all of this constantly like a mad scientist. Add my troublesome tendency to wax poetic and use jargon that people don’t quite get, and you get my problem. Chasing the dance of life inspires me like nothing else. It has also gotten me into trouble.

You’d think that dancing and loving the Divine would create bliss, but putting these two together is like playing with dynamite. Maybe that’s why the western world split them apart. Anytime you put your body where your spirit is even the mundane becomes extraordinary.

Jeremiah, that insanely upset Old Testament prophet scribed, “I will not mention God, I will not speak in God’s name any more. But then it becomes a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah’s pals called him a laughingstock. No one wants to go that far over the edge of mystery, be denounced for loving God, or cursed as touchy-feely. Not Jeremiah. Not me. But the costs of shutting down the wild ambushes of compassionate imagination are also great. I’ve met many a person whose body screamed with the symptoms of repressed dreams. Their throats are on fire and their bowels scream with ulcers. Giving up one’s imagination isn’t worth the price of admission you pay to a “dominant” culture.
I’ve reassured myself that the ancestors knew what they were doing. They sent us into the woods to receive visions and meet our guides. Initiations and vision quests gave us strength to do great work. Thank God I am an artist. When I tire of trying to fit in I remember that an artist who isn’t weird is in the wrong profession.

So why go on about this? Because I believe that it is our weird lives that lead to answers needed for a world in dire shape. I think we need to reclaim our wisest magic, not the puff and zap kind, but the kind that employs imagination to attract solutions when nothing else works. In my case, dancing, improvising, seeing things, and listening to the wisdom of my body has shown me how to accelerate peace and grace in a world that dances too vigorously, too mechanically, and too violently. I’ve seen peace born between people who bring their hand to a partner’s hand in an extemporaneous, experimental two-minute hand dance. I’ve seen walls crumble as a person describes to a coworker what they had for breakfast, a favorite place in their home, or someone who has come to their mind. Without effort people can move mountains of division. I’ve even seen individuals recover from depression to take on their life’s work with the support of an imaginative, embodied community.

The big challenge is creating a society that is willing to bet its future on such practices. Usually it’s only the desperate who are open to radically simple and crazy ideas: the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, women, the disabled, the oppressed, visionaries in developing countries, people of color, the usual revolutionary suspects.

I learned that you have to be sneaky to subvert the average person’s self-conscious fear of flakiness. If you want to nudge someone to fall down the rabbit hole of mysticism into Wonderland, humor helps. So do parables and enticing, insignificant little steps.

Once in a worship service with an academic crowd, I placed boxes of corn flakes on pedestals. We confessed our overwhelming fear of flakiness and how fear keeps us from admitting our strangest encounters with each other and the Divine. From puberty, it too often keeps us from doing normal things like dancing, laughing, breathing, and offering affection. I should know. My own fear of flakiness is why I wrote all this down. There is some relief in seeing one’s truth in black and white.

Buy Chasing the Dance of Life from Body Wisdom and support InterPlay or from Amazon and comment on the book.


InterPlay with Vets

June 30, 2009

Dorothy Finnigan and I met in Connecticut. We were at an “Untensive” hosted by Lisa Laing. Irresistibly confronted by all 4 feet 11 inches of her vibrant, open hearted, 100-mile-per-hour creativity, I learned that she had just “walked out” of Yale University, (“walk out” is a term created by Shilpa Jain of Y.E.S. and her brother Manish in India to describe students who purposefully move out of factory style educational settings). Dorothy was in search of something more than Oz. She wanted wise “elders.”

As one of the brilliant young activists working at the intersection of art, green spirituality, slow activism, and community development, Dorothy had already traveled the globe, busked on the street, served the Rainbow People, started a community at Yale, and held onto her Irish Filipino family that includes Davy, an older brother with CP. Someday soon you’ll read her story. It’ll be in some crazy book about growing up in a motorhome with the amazing Finnigan family juggling troupe, teaching community building to school kids all over the US and winding up at Celebration, a Disney planned community.

After we met, Dorothy flew to California last summer for the International InterPlay Conference, stayed for both Fall and Spring Life Practice Programs, joined the National Board, is doing the Secrets of Leading InterPlay, and assists with Bay Area outreach projects. As a twenty-something community artist and activist, Dorothy is actively using InterPlay to create the world she desires.

That’s where the Vets come in. To learn what happened when she took InterPlay to Vets, read her story on Gretchen Wegner’s blog. (Gretchen is an InterPlay board member, inventor of the MuseCubes, Wing It! member and learning activist.)

P.S. Dorothy and I attended the Y.E.S. collaborative gathering in Berkeley this weekend. Click here to be inspired by the international leadership of young visionary colleagues.

Check out the upcoming InterPlay with the Ancestors Untensive July 9-12 with Masankho and me.


Ancestry Matters

June 23, 2009
Delores as Family Tree

Delores as Family Tree

I was secretly ashamed of my ancestors. I had no idea who they were. Honor your elders? Respect the dead? What was there to respect?

Lineage is powerful and bodily. One might say “ancestry matters.” It’s who we are. Native Americans like Hunter Bear say ancestors, “dance from within the very essence of our own being.” The Maori in New Zealand claim ancestral energy as a fountain, a force supporting life. Mexican Dios de los Muertos altars and festivities foster grateful relationship with the deceased. African and Asian wisdom traditions rely on ancestral guidance.

Having restored connection to my ancestors, I can say that remembering my people affects prosperity, security, and community.

Masankho Banda and I began to make startling discoveries while dancing on behalf of each other’s ancestors. We witnessed disruptions in each other’s lineage and found ways to honor and repair relations with the past. Once, Masankho listened to my female ancestor who released me from “working on healing” the past. Oddly, the next thing I knew, my Mom’s partner, George, began to unravel her genealogy. We knew so little about them that it was a family joke. Astoundingly, George uncovered stories of pioneers, mayors, inmates, elites, and folks who had been “committed”. Then, he took Mom to visit every gravesite in North America. Vicariously, connection and pride grew in me. I was part of a tree that includes Wentworths, a name traced to the Magna Carta. I stem from Lutheran “Children of the Danube” immigrants.  The National Genome project confirms that my maternal DNA connects me to Ashkenazi Jews. In 2007 I traveled with Masankho back to his village in Malawi, the region of our first ancestors.

What is your family tree? Does it matter? Ra Ifagmewi Babalawo says Yes; they are “Hidden Hands, Healing Spirits.” How do we employ them? Tell their stories, sing their songs, dance with them, and give them a place of honor. Masankho and I will lead a special Untensive to do just that using the tools of InterPlay.

Honor your ancestors and the whole earth will be glad.


The Wisdom of Crowds

June 16, 2009

Mass Movements are popping up.

These are especially powerful when they exhibit random, purposeless joy. YouTubes of 4,000 dancers at Victoria Station, a mob of dancers in Japan’s Shinjuku District, and a recent release of a giddy dance erupting to “I got to be unstoppable,” started by a guy on a hill at the Sasqutch Music Festival, are sparking enthusiastic viewership.  It’s contagious stuff.

My alma mater, UCLA sponsored the largest student-organized philanthropic event on the West Coast, the eighth annual Dance Marathon. An LA Times article said, “726 sponsored dancers (along with 1,250 ‘moralers’) busted moves for a solid and sometimes grueling 26 hours…Emotions rose as the kids from Project Kindle and One Heartland (sleep-away camps for HIV-positive children) bravely got up on stage and told their stories. Things reached a fever pitch as the dancers slid into the ‘hour of power’ — the last 60 minutes, when all feet were on deck — singing along to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and rocking out to Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer,’… Some were crying, some laughing, but all moving until the clock struck 1 p.m. When it was all over, the sweaty, 2,000-plus collective sat down together and the dance marathon steering committee held up signs to reveal the total amount raised — $362,742. Dance, dance revolution, indeed.”

Movement is no longer mere expression. It’s a form of community activism that is beginning to influence how we organize ourselves. Those who know how to incorporate body wisdom into group dynamics are taking the lead as we gradually move from old models of cog-in-the-wheel actions to an era focused on the development and exchange of knowledge – a knowledge society. Michael Wimmer, Director of EDUCULT, Institute for the Mediation of Arts and Sciences in Vienna, shares that “The ‘knowledge society’ requires competencies such as quick perceptivity, planning competencies, convincing presentation and negotiation skills, and the social and emotional know-how to behave adequately in a multi-cultural environment.” Sounds like InterPlay’s skill set to me.

I am thrilled that InterPlay is part of this grand evolution. InterPlayers are beginning to understand the best ways for body wisdom to guide us to our highest good. If joy were the only outcome it would be worth it. But when I check out the growing world of InterPlay online, I know something much bigger is at work. If you check InterPlay’s website, you’ll see that this movement is widespread, and there are some wonderful tales being told.

Mass movements need to be smart. That’s why we’re testing an InterPlay community development toolkit workshop at InterPlayce this week. Wheeeeeeee. I’ll keep you posted.


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