Author: cynthia winton-henry

Cofounder of InterPlay, executive director of Body Wisdom, Inc, author and coach for body and soul at Mystic Tech, helping others to listen as deeply as possible for solutions and directions by unlocking the wisdom of the body for peace, community, fun, and health. Art, writings, keynotes, online teaching, and retreat and conference leadership.

I really am too sensitive. Initiated by holy rage, despair and sacred hope.

I believe that our body-spirits are created to live in a village-sized community. While I create a healthy life for myself, my family and give my bodyspirit what is most sustaining I also live a white middle-class lifestyle. Everyone who does is responsible for a little empire. This ‘wonderful life’ is modeled on that of kings, queens, lords, and ladies who hire lots of help. I work to manage the stable/cars, the books, the housekeeping, the nannying, the property, AND go to work.

I live in a world that makes it OK to be without a village, to be ‘on your own,’ to eat alone with no real connection to the land or the naturalness of bodies instinctually caring for one another. In my world it is normal to pass many days without a dance, song, or kiss from the wind. In my world one gets relief by running away from home. One spends a lot of money to get a break.

And what if you are sensitive and need to take care of mental health in particular ways? What if you are an orchid? Dr. Tom Boyce calls people like me orchids in his book “The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive.”  A lot of people I coach are in this group as Mystics, Artists, and Healers. We are susceptible to depression. Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist offered a sermon about his own depression at the Washington Cathedral. It’s revelatory. Watch it here. 

I recently met with Sandra Kim from everyday feminism. She helps people address and heal from systemic oppression. Her family immigrated from Korea. She sees most of us in the U.S. as displaced immigrants who gave up villages for the empire. One two or seven generations later many of us are so disconnected from the land and our natural body wise interplayful social life that we are in tatters by the end of the day.

This is a particular challenge for white people who thought personal financial freedom was the goal. But something more is going on. Bodies in times of stress need groups. We need sacred space and time to center into Great LOVE. We need to know we belong. We need to be taken personally, not impersonally. We need this on a body level. 

Something systemic is going on. One in five girls is diagnosed with depression. Mental health among young people is at a crises level. 

Are we growing too sensitive for this world of industry, cars, and skyrocketing complexity? It’s not hopeless, but it is a challenge to dance between overwhelm, rage, and despair! This feels like a major initiation that may be unique to privileged white people.

Are we being Initiated by Holy Rage, Despair, and Sacred Hope– Are we Divining a New Conscience?

Chronic sensations like these may be systemic to the collective body. Join me in exploring how to notice, address, and create sacred paths for the differences in our bodies systemic and personal experience of rage, despair, and hope. Click here.

With Thomas Merton, and with holy hope I am still confident…

“No despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not…the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.”

 

 

 

Dance Chapel– “a spiritual gift of enormous magnitude. Free from words. Connection without effort. Acceptance. Upheld.”

 

 

I am about to publish an essay on the body wisdom of sacred hope, rage, and despair.  Yup, that’s the time we’re in.

 

One of the things I know is that the InterPlay practice grounds me in hope. Any time I link body and soul in dance and song in a community I feel like I’ve made it to the lifeboat.  Some of us in the online dance chapel are now devotees.

 

Ruth Showalter said this,

 

I have been attending Dance Chapel regularly for three to four years and the practice has become deep and profound for me. Although I grew up in a loosely-held Christian household and went on a gargantuan religious quest from 15 to 30, I came up empty handed – no particular faith practice. I consider myself a deeply spiritual person, but I find verbal prayer exceedingly difficult to do. 

Dance Chapel with Cynthia gives me the freedom to move in prayer in a group body (albeit an online group body). Playing and praying around with my bodyspirit truly unlocks a deeper wisdom – one that thankfully in InterPlay I don’t have to articulate. I can pray at a nonverbal level and experience love at its most simple level – almost molecular. Think of all of us as pure energy – atoms bumping into one another across time and distance – connecting with God and one another.

I’m also a visual person. After these dance chapels, during which someone listens to my concern and dances a prayer on my behalf, I take away the image I witnessed of that person’s dance on my behalf and carry it with me into my life. Like a beautiful flower, that image keeps unfolding and blossoming (image a white rose or magnolia). 

Ultimately, I am strengthened by my ongoing attendance of Dance Chapel. It is a spiritual gift of enormous magnitude in my life. Free from words. Connection without effort. Acceptance. Upheld.”

 

If you would like to attend I can put you on the list for reminders. You’ll get the link and anytime you need a raft, some company, or affectionate prayer in your life, Nancy Pfaltzgraf, Jane Siarny, and I will be there on Mondays at 5pm pst and Thursdays at 9:30 pst.

 

Contact

 

 

 

Courage to Serve with Soul

When you look at a person do you know how to switch on your soul’s eyes, eyes that see the unfathomable beauty and vulnerability of life, eyes that see with compassionate mercy, eyes with the vision to know when to let go or to do something hard even if you look like a fool? If I can see through the eyes of soul you can too.

As a teen, I noticed joy and love that felt like nothing else. I noticed which activities brought this sensation into focus. Tracking this eventually led me to a Benedictine Monastery in Valleyrmo for a sacred dance workshop, and on to study dance at UCLA.  I knew that dance and music heighten our SOUL POWERS.


In college, I had an extraordinary encounter with Love and Purpose. The experience was so powerful it took me to seminary to try to understand what had happened to body and soul in the world and why dance and fear of the body were so widespread. I engaged books, classrooms, and wise teachers, but my greatest learnings came in collaboration with Phil Porter and Judith Rock in Body and Soul Dance Company. We traveled, choreographed, performed, taught, and researched the intersection of physicality and spirituality. When I was asked to teach at the seminary I began seeing the indescribable beauty in the soulful improvisations of these ministers in training. Many of them were equally surprised by their soulful bodies. I saw the same thing beyond the seminary as Phil and I created the InterPlay practice to foster the artful beauty of being human ANYWHERE.

Courage! Are you Finding the Courage to Follow Soul and to Love?

Courage is not a feeling. It is what rises when we claim contact with the wholeness of body, mind, heart, and soul. Especially soul!

Direct contact with soul is to have gold in reserve. You can feel the support of that reserve. Better yet, when you cultivate soul connection you can draw from it in everything you do.

Some of the best ways to build confidence and courage to be ensouled is 1) by inviting emotional, physical contact with soul whether it be as soft as a whisper or an echo from a life-changing encounter 2) in a community of two or more who share ensouled wisdom, 3) with a spiritual companion/director 4) through dance and music that fully engages Soul Power 5) center in a courageously simple theology like “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself,” or “Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly” or, “All beings are sacred.” 6) The patience and hope to use a candle instead of an interrogation light. 

Here in the Hidden Monastery, I am committed to conversation and connection around ensoulment. The Ensoulment Course, the Online Dance Chapel, and being a spiritual companion is all about this.  I believe we have to have enough security and comfort in our bodies to sense and relax into soul. I am committed to discovering how our Soul wants to guide us. I believe this is crucial if we are to find the courageous strength to let go of old ways in exchange for more beautiful ways.

Change doesn’t have to be soooooo hard. I know from experience as I recover from individual and collective trauma. By regularly engaging the joy and love of soul connection I deepen, without being deterred. And, as one spiritual leader in an Ensouled Group said, “The day isn’t successful if there hasn’t been at least one good belly laugh.”  Gold. Courage. Soul!

 

Judith Rock, Cynthia Winton-Henry, and Phil Porter performing “Speaking of the Trinity.”

 

Ensouled Course Starting Now! How to Get Credentialed as a Creative Soul.

Who is your spirit team? Where do you go when you don’t want to explain yourself as a Sensitive, Creative, Dreamer, Healer, Worrywart, Dancer, and Wisdom Worker?

If you are a sensitive, creative leader, you may feel overwhelmed as you strain for attunement in this world. You may be tired. What if these challenges are not your fault? You are attuning to people and systems that fundamentally disregard body and soul. In order to serve, sensitives need to be seen and recognized. You need resonance. You need credentialing in a community that gets you. Sensitivity is not a flaw in spiritual intelligence. It is a valuable gift that needs to be co-mentored at the same time as you support others.

To Find and Bless Your Soul Team is your Ultra Initiation! Without teams we struggle. To entrust our soul journey to a guide or group is like fertilizer! It is important to continuously give thanks to guides, muses, ancestors and soul companions as the foundation of our authority and the living stream from which our wisdom credentials flow. But this can be hard in our materialistic world. That is why I am forming small online wisdom groups Right NOW. These groups will soon be traveling together once a month for a year. 

We will explore 12 arts of ensoulment in my course: Ensouled: Blessed Instructions and Initiations for Body and Soul.  The course includes monthly writings on a key initiation, a video about the initiations that spirited leaders encounter, and the opportunity to share in a small group, a lifeline for raising the energy of our work. (If you can’t meet in a small group you are welcome to meet with me one to one.)

Are you ready to put spiritual intelligence first? This is the stuff of spiritual heroes, people of deep courage, skill, and faith. We are here to ride the waves of life, find the beauty way, stay true to love, accept our challenges and keep attuned to soul as our primary guide.

Stephen Covey, dynamic educator, called spiritual intelligence “the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences, because it becomes the source of guidance for the others. In Thinking with your Soul author Dr. Richard N. Wolman, clinical psychologist at Harvard Medical School shares the PsychoMatrix Spirituality Inventory (PSI). In it, he lifts up seven predictable ways that spiritual intelligence grounds in experience: Divinity, Mindfulness, Extrasensory Perception, Community, Intellectuality, Trauma, and Childhood Spirituality.” Cindy Wigglesworth, ED of Deep Change, calls spiritual intelligence “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace (equanimity) regardless of the circumstances.” Wisdom and Compassion compose the two pieces of loving behavior. She sees spiritual intelligence in 21 skills including the ability to

  • Be Aware of One’s Own and Others Worldview,
  • Align to One’s Life Purpose with Compassion and Wisdom,
  • Become Aware of Ego Self and HigherSelf
  • Feel Interconnected with All Life
  • Engage Mystical or Unitive Experiences,
  • Sustain Faith Even During Dark Nights of the Soul,
  • Seek Guidance From Universal Consciousness,
  • Become a Wise and Effective Change Agent,
  • Become a Calming, Healing Presence,
  • Align with Natural Timing in the Ebb and Flow of Life

As a lifetime ensoulment tracker, deeply curious about how things work, I hope my discoveries will support, clarify and even accelerate your body wisdom practices as you support others to grow into full spiritual adulthood.

Get on the waiting list for an upcoming group. Or consider meeting with me for a brief 30-minute consultation to check in about what kind of body and soul support would best serve you.

Groups are forming now and in the future. Let me know if you are interested. There is also an option to meet with me one to one instead of being in a group. Link here for details.

 

 

Guideposts for the Dance of Life: What would you add?

As an initiate of divine mystery and an activist for spiritual intelligence, there’s logic in my approach. Since science still can’t record much of the subtle and complex body data that I track, nor how to organize a person’s thinking around it, my spiritual tools and practices are more of an art. How can we trust it? How is the information that I share to be considered valuable? The success of any teaching is in whether people 1) claim a benefit, 2) choose to practice the ideas and tools, 3) want to replicate the teaching beyond the teacher. I hope in teaching Ensouled A Course in Blessed Initiations and Instructions for Body and Soul to help demystify and coalesce the more subtle body knowledge of spiritual intelligence with the help, feedback and wisdom of peers. 

I’ve glimpsed some of the great wonders of the world in the dance of body and soul in Africa, America. India, Europe, and Australia. I’ve witnessed people of every ilk ensoul life with enviable beauty as they synch up to the moving world. Such soulfulness is revelatory. Our dances, music, and languages are medicinal in the greater ecosystem. When we power up our creative pleasure fields more than humans benefit.  All we need is to join the dance as Thomas Merton said in New Seeds of Contemplation.

For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not. Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.

Forget the “how”. The general dance is How-less, bigger than a single mind, body, heart, and spirit. This general dance is unendingly relational, born of Intelligence that is magnificently inter-bodied, inter-specied, inter-stellar, and inter-playful. 

Spiritual texts across religions center around an Inspired Source loving and playing in concert with the world. We only need to tap into the awareness, emotion, and physical sensation of our relationship to this fundamental consciousness[1], in order for the unbroken wholeness of body and soul to dance us into Love.

Here are some guideposts that help me dance the dance.

Love is the bottom line. Ask for it! Go for broke on this. Ask and Keep Asking for Big Love. It makes everything work. As soon as you ask, accept everything as your answer. Trust exactly how love is offered, big or little, and from whatever source.

You’re a physical partner in reality. You and I co-create life. When one person suffers I do. When one person rejoices you do. Justice is the tension of good physical partnering. The question is how to partner when powerless over others, how to stay connected, take care of myself, learn and change? Fortunately, partnering is ensouled. Love and purpose guide us.

My purpose is at work even if you don’t know it! Webster defines soul as “that which is believed to give life, a person’s deeply felt moral and emotional nature, the ability of a person to feel kindness and sympathy for others, to appreciate beauty and art, etc.” You are linked up to a giant GPS system helping you navigate what, where, and with whom you want to learn to dance. With soul is tuned in and honored, life is a dance.

Being ensouled is physical! Human art, ritual, prayer, and sport allows us to break through the inertia of daily survival into our higher self. These methods awaken us to what lies beyond fear and fatigue. Without them, we get disorganized, go out of sync, or worse. Wise teachers say, “those who do not dance do not know what comes to pass.”[2] How you are in your body affects your soul.

Forget integration, authenticity and being good. This isn’t sustainable. Humans are designed to be human, to fear and transcend fear, to change, to be anxious and filled with grace. Instead, relax and honor higher intelligence as greater than self. Follow this spiritual intelligence. Don’t try to be it. Swim in it. Let it take you for a ride.

Trauma won’t destroy soul. Meister Eckhart said, “The soul loves the body.” I believe that Soul is eternal and can’t be abandoned or lost. However, it’s perfectly sensible for a soul to feel disturbed under threat. Are we safe enough to ensoul our body, to shine brightly in the face of a threat that could kill us? The treasures of soul may need to go offline to avert bodily suffering until we have the tools, support, and just and loving community we need.

Body and soul carry history. Written history focuses on those with power, wealth, and societal rights. Other forms document the generational wisdom of the ordinary, the poor, the undocumented, the kids and the women, the oddballs, the everyday humans, and creatures. There are markers in our DNA. There is body memory in the oral and artistic lineages of cultural practices. Mystics clue into other sources as well, like the Akashic records. Just because things are not written down does not make them absent. Sacred Dance is not absent. The Divine Feminine is not absent. The resources in our memory rise when it is time.

Institutions don’t legislate soul. Institutions are abstract forms designed to influence and maintain canons of practice. Living mercy, love, beauty and innovation spring from organic founts. Institutions can shape us but they can’t understand us. Consequently, we regularly skirt our institutional instructions to find places that bless the particularity of our genetic, gendered, purpose-driven personality. Institutions, being inhuman, therefore do best when they serve humanity and not “structure for structure’s sake.”

Something Bigger is required. We don’t have to look far. Any person I love is enough. Earth is enough. Humanity is enough. To cultivate healthy, ensouled lives that are aligned with Mother Earth, current generations will resist asking for every material thing we want. Refusing to be kings and queens we will become a garden. This won’t be deprivation, just a new focus on something more wonderful as we grow soul through art, sport, and beautiful skillsets, disciplines that lay the groundwork for purpose, regrow imagination, regulate energy, and bond us with one another. The call for returning to spiritual intelligence is to

  1. Bless the body, breathe, and relish sensations.
  2. Reach for and draw down the Arts of Love, Peace, Joy, Happiness, Good Health, Grace, and Ease.
  3. Refuse to denounce any soul or any aspect of life.
  4. Encourage each person to cultivate their chosen art or skillset.
  5. Support for each person a spirit team to further curiosity, adventure, beauty, joy, and fun.
  6. Affirm that life depends on each person in a beautiful way.
  7. Share in following, leading, blending, releasing and reconnecting. Locking anyone into one dynamic drains life.

Would you like more purpose? More joy? Would you like to be of service in a new way? Are you interested in how to best stay true to body and soul? Do you want to be a great soul? Would you like soul not to be a problem or absence but to know your soul as satisfied? 

To register for Ensouled! A Course for Body and Soul
 send a check to Cynthia Winton-Henry at 339 Broadway #215, Alameda, CA 94501 or through PayPal here.

  • Get a monthly module with a document and a video, and access community body wisdom in a closed facebook group  with one coaching session the year-long curriculum for $185
  • add four one-to-one sessions for $360 (this is the curriculum cost185 plus 65/per session, my lowest session rate
  • or join a monthly online zoom group where I offer an hour of coaching at $55/month, no cost for materials.

 

[1] Judith Blackstone, Trauma and the Unbound Body: The Healing Power of Fundamental Consciousness Sounds True, p33.

[2] Hymn of Jesus, Apocryphal Acts of John.