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Riotous Spiritual Rigor: For All Who Are Far From Dead

“You may have heard of “rigor mortis”––which is a medical term describing the stiffness of a body after death. Rigor used to mean stiffness outside of the corpse context, i.e., sternness. The word changes meaning along with our changing standards for what we want teachers to be.”

Synonyms:  cogencyrigour, validity
Type of believabilitycredibilitycredibleness: the quality of being believable or trustworthy.


While talking to Spiritual Leaders in InterPlay’s Life Practice Program on Body Wisdom and Hard Challenges or what InterPlayers call body deals I said, “This is not an easy time. Creativity, Art, and Spiritual Practice demand rigor.”  I call big times of learning and growth– our initiations.  I think the whole world is currently in a difficult initiation rite.

This is a rigorous time for me. If I engage a sense of rigor without spirit or creativity I descend toward rigor mortis.  I need all three– creativity, spirituality, and rigor in order to rise to the moment. And that is just to stay upright some days! It’s rigorous for this body to remain patient, kind, loving, truthful, embodied, to dance, to sing, to be true in a hard personal, political, global time.

How do we engage in the face of whatever-the-hell-it is?  It is crucial to aim toward our own grace, energy, identity, community, and creative path and to dignify this in others. Yet, as every human and artist knows even God won’t stop a storm from coming.

Artist and monk: apply thy rigor and find those who do. Make sure to include riotous humor.

I keep thinking about the Olympians and dancers who flip and soar and crash. They train. They exemplify rigor. I am glad for my undergrad training in dance. I had to use all parts of me in order to graduate. I’d like to see some real grace training in all my leaders– to see the grace and love that our leaders are capable of today.

I bought new hot glue guns. Stick with me if this seems a little off topic. The ones from Beverly’s Crafts died. They were pretty middle of the road. As a hot glue, E6000 artist  I’ve got big things to attach. It’s a time to go beyond Beverly’s. I need a hotter gluegun with higher wattage. Plus I recently burned the skin off of a finger! I want to be able to change the temperature or turn it off on the handle. I must admit though the burn came when the little shell I was holding flipped glue right into my hand. Nothing could have stopped that. Today, as I meditate on my finger the wound is covered by a tough scab. In a few days it will be gone. My body is resiliently, rigorously working its healing magic.

Rigor upgrades our tools and practices. It’s the result of willingness to face life as it is, to speak up, and do so in a seemingly abnormal, riotous way.  See Youth Against Gun Violence. Back Lives Matter. See Coke Tani’s one hand dance in the midst of her cancer journey on facebook. See anyone who survives the death of someone they love and learns to rise again.

All you who are inciting or taking part in a riot, 
given to or marked by unrestrained revelry; boisterous, uproarious: 
hilariously funny.
O’ Riotous, Rigourous, Spiritual Livers!
You know it isn’t easy to be a place of grace and ease.
Thank you.
Sign me up again today for that holy job.

I’m excited about spaces to keep creativity and spiritual ingenuity alive and engaged.

Mondays, 5pm PST and Thursdays 9:30 am PST Online Dance Chapel: Cynthia Winton-Henry & Nancy Pfaltzgraf

Fridays 10:30-12 Weekly InterPlayce Meditation in Oakland

April 4, Wed 9-12,  May 19, Sat 9-12 New! Online Contemplative Writers Retreats
Move Write Share Come if you do best writing with others,if you need help getting going, or if you wonder if writing could be a spiritual path for you. Receive gently structured support to move your wisdom. questions, and inspiration from body to page.  We begin with a body warm up and brief check in about life and our writing process. There are movement breaks, gentle coaching, and a period to share writing at the end..

May 5th 10-4, Workshop: Wanted! Creative, Spiritual Intelligence To Meet Our Historic Time. InterPlayce in Oakland. Embodied practices doors open rather than close.

Cynthia Winton-Henry, InterPlay cofounder, believes that spiritual intelligence is the sum of all our our Intelligences: kinesthetic, emotional, spatial, cognitive etc.” and that it’s time to put them all together and link to the Greater Intelligence of the planet and Universe. When we access and combine our birthright intelligences of movement, voice, words, stillness, and reflection we create pathways of resilience instead of roadblocks.Come delight in a way to name and explore an evolutionary path.
Cost: $20-$80 sliding fe

June 22-24 Hidden Monastery Retreat Bay Area Enshrined!

Where body and soul need no explanation, artfulness is natural and diversity and mystery are holy ground.  With the founder of InterPlay.

Friday 10:30-12
  Body Meditation at InterPlayce
Catered Lunch
Friday 2-6 Shrine Workshop: Jingletown Art Studio
Optional Dinner Out
Saturday 10-12:30 at InterPlayce Body Wisdom for Our Time: Sharing Practice
Lunch Out 12:30-2
2- 4:30 SpiritMarkings: Contemplative Art, Writing, Relfection.
5-6 Prayer Circle
Sunday 1230-3:30 Optional Excursion to Sausalito Labyrinth

Costs: $225  includes Friday Lunch. Or select a Single Time below. No one turned away.
Friday Morning ($10-15) Fri Workshop $65 (includes materials) /Saturday only $95/Sunday only $35








July 9-20 Oakland Art and Social Change Training for Millennials

August 9-13 InterPlay Leaders Gathering at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Pennsylvania

September 16-20 Alice Springs Campfire of the Heart, Australia

October 8-11 InterPlay for Spiritual Leaders Life Practice Program Oakland Retreat 

Nov 1-7 InterPlay at the Toronto Parliament of World Religions