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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.

Life Purpose is no Mission Statement


What I Know

Purpose is more profound than a call, job, or even a vocation. It’s a poetic way-finder, trouble-maker, and life-loving sensibility. In David Whyte’s words, it’s where “all the elements of our life and our inheritance join and make a meeting,” 

Purpose abides in every cell. While purpose doesn’t need language to carry you, life makes sense when purpose reveals itself in a word, song, gesture, or image that rings true. You understand why things happen the way they do. 
History shows that those who dance, sing, and listen to body and soul can hear the poetry of purpose, especially alongside affirming witnesses who mirror, ground, and honor our path.

As I head into my seventh decade, into what some call retirement, I am curious about my life purpose: “to foster freedom for myself, playmates, and others.” In every season, a new restlessness rises. I need to check in anew with how I am living from purpose.

Freedom is usually attributed to the creatively daring, youthful, athletic, politically active, and rebellious. Me? My right knee often screams when I pivot. I’m drawn to quietly practice an art form that is new to me but pretty basic in the world. Bold and Rebellious? Do people care about what an older white woman thinks or creates? I know I do.

I know my life embraces the freedom of new, paradigm-changing voices. I know I offer shoulders to stand on when asked.

I unwaveringly hold a banner for civil liberties and the right to dignity for every soul and element on our planet. With that banner, I dance.

I know I sometimes suck at freedom. I retract or puff up in the presence of conflict. I forget that I take up space others might need to breathe. At least I know these truths more freely.

Fostering freedom as an elder means increasingly creating room for human beings and their choices, despite what I’ve experienced. Fostering freedom heightens the challenge of bringing my vulnerable flesh to embrace organic life, stay kooky, laugh without concern, curtsy to whimsy, suffer out loud, and create, create, create.

Fostering freedom is, for me, about recognizing the power of soul in body, with eyes and heart wide open. It’s about being free from thinking that death is the end or the worst thing possible.

Fostering freedom is about consciously allowing suffering and joy in myself and others. It is also about respecting the limits of my ability to endure suffering.

Finally, and most importantly, freedom is about claiming that I think and live as an artist, freely human.


Get the Divining Purpose pdf with exercises from the Art of Ensoulment Playbook, plus the recording.

$125/$85 low-income ensoulment participants and current art of ensoulment attendees. (No one turned away.)

Register Here


What Happens in a Dance Chapel?

Dancing Saints from St. Gregorry Nissa Episcipal Church

The Hidden Monastery has a secret. It runs on the restorative power of Dance Chapels.

I discovered I need a regular space to be my best me. For this, I need my home prayer languages- movement, breath, voice, listening. Unfortunately, I found it hard to find a place to pray like this with others. I could teach, write, join workshops and praise the dancing way as I do in Dance–The Sacred Art: the Joy of Movement as Spiritual Practice,  but, what I really need is to pray and play with others in a ritualized holy time. It’s not enough to dance alone or on a rare occasion.When I move with two or more people, the body and soul switch turns on. 

Only then do I most gracefully touch
the depths of my soul
the truths of my body
the energetic web vibrating, near and far
and enter the sacred portal of collective imagination.

When others join I get to hear their wisdom as we engage our diverse Spirit Teams, receive guidance, transmit healing prayers to one another and benefit as others dance and pray on our behalf. Chapels feel effortlessly potent. Like our ancestors we travel and deepen wisdom by dancing with each other in ritual times.

Dance Chapel is the single most important thing I do for my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Because of chapel my soul is well. Of course, I want this for others. But, my leadership style and time isn’t for everyone. So, I support additional online dance chapel times and leaders. 

I encourage everyone to find something like a dance chapel. And, if you’ve been thinking about coming, please do.

Here is the Dance Chapel link  825 748 1773 The Password is wedance https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8257481773?pwd=R0c2dmN3dDhsbnMxYUh1aEpPNkZiQT09

What happens in dance chapels?

Entering the zoom room, each person is welcome to take time to light a candle, virtual or real and share an intention out loud or in the chat box. If you aren’t feeling well you can witness or participate in a quiet way.
Next, we warm up body and soul in a simple way. I lead a non-verbal warm up where members are free to follow or to move as they desire. This is about 7 minutes. I often conclude this meditative period by inviting people to move one hand and hum or sing as we warm up voice and hear the inner song of the moment. (We are all muted for this.) We pause afterward, soak in a little silence, and then affirm and notice what is present.

Each chapel is different! There are hip hop dance chapels, art making chapels, poetry based chapels. The middle section of chapel nourishes body and soul with poetry, music, and practices. I am currently invoking the art and wisdom of Meinrad Craighead’s Litany of the Great River. I share her image and prayer, then create opportunity for reflection using movement, writing or other media.

In the third and last section of chapel each person is partnered with another participant. We briefly tell our partner something we would like a dance-prayer for. Then, one partner dances on behalf of the other partner to music. We then change roles.

Chapel concludes with a deep breath, final word and blowing out our candles.

Here is the Dance Chapel link  825 748 1773

PW wedance


Monday at 4:30 pm pst with Cynthia Winton-Henry
Tuesday 4:30 pm pst with Monisha Mittal
Wednesday 9:30 am pst with Marla Durden
4:30 pm pst Dancing Hand with Ruth Showalter
Thursday 9:30 am pst with Nancy Pfaltzgraf and Jane Siarny
More information about chapel leaders at Hidden Monastery website.

There is no cost to participate. Many regular attendees financially honor the chapel and leaders through the Hidden Monastery via paypal.me/cynthiawintonhenry, Venmo @Cynthia-Winton-Henry or check to Cynthia Winton-Henry 4025 New York Ave 317, Fair Oaks, CA 95628. 

The Sacred Festoon!

Humans seem to always festoon themselves for sacred occasions. It’s high play to take on supernatural beauty. Within us is a Holy Otherness, as more than meets the eye! That’s why its good when ritual moments allow us to express something true yet often hidden.

I love ceremonial dress so much that I’ve made forays through thrift stores, collaging outfits that create sparkle, color, and texture. When I turned 60, one of my festoons made it into the book Beauty is Experience: Dancing 50 and Beyond! edited by Emmaly Wiederholt, To see some of the lovely elder dancers check out the article. 

Now that I think of it dance is a way we festoon divine beauty!

I need joy, beauty. and good humor right now. That is why I am inviting you to Festoon with me in a Solsticey Celebration: 

The F E S T O O N!! 

Mon. Dec 19th, 2:30-5:30 PT

Join me, Ruth Showalter, and special guests in a combo art retreat, credentialing ceremony, and end of year ritual.


If life initiated you this year we’ll credential you.
If you climbed a Mount Everest, we’ll ticker-tape you.
We’ll hoot for what you made and Boo the things that hurt.
If you barely woke up, we’ll support you to enter a new year.

You don’t have to get fancy or wild if you don’t want. Think paper chain prayers and dots on your face.

The schedule:
2:30 pm pst Gather
3-4 pm Creatively Festoon Yourself
4-4:30 Share and Pause
4:30-5:30 Ritual to celebrate what we created in 2022. 
Bowing to what crumbled.

$25 donation/
Free for Art of Ensoulment &
Dancing Center.



Things to know about wisdom, sensitivity, and the prime directive


“The soul loves the body.”- Meister Eckhardt

As a dancing theologian seeking a theology that dances, I’ve been researching and teaching the body wisdom of soul for ten years. That doesn’t include the decades I dedicated to InterPlay: an active approach to unlocking the wisdom of the body. 

I’ve never been clearer. New, yet ancient premises are needed if we want to live from a healthy theology or worldview, one that attunes to the dancing, dynamic, embodied, and spiritually intelligent Universe. This is where ensoulment comes in.

Last July I decided to reorganize my year long Art of Ensoulment course. At the same time I began prepping the playbook for publication. Writing and thinking are remarkable exercises. Wisdom loves order,  just so long as I don’t try to control it.  Along the way insights rose! I love that.

I am excited to supplant several underlying myths that prevent the dancing way and to offer the ground-shfting understanding that can better lead us into the sustainable, honoring, ensouled dance of life.

This Fall you are invited to sign up for a Free Introductory Course on  “Wisdom, Sensitivity and The Prime Directive.”  The wisdom isn’t unique. The way I put it together is. It’s all part of the Great Turning. And as a highly sensitive dancer, artist, and thinker, I am used to being on a pioneering edge.

I would love your input and tweaks.  Please come explore

1) The beautiful and powerful role of human sensitivity

2)  Why social change requires the body wisdom of soul

3)  The Prime Directive: Your Key to Free Will and Soul- NO TRESPASSING.


  • Wednesday, Sept 28, 230-4:00 PT
  • Thursday, Oct 6, 1130-1:00 PT
  • Wednesday Oct 26, 9-10:30 PT
  • Wednesday, Nov 2, 10-11:30 PT
  • Friday, Dec, 30th, 9-10:30 am PT
  • Monday, Jan 9th, 2-3:30 pm PT

You are welcome to attend more than one. You can also request to receive a recording of the material I will share. Tell your friends. Make it a bigger conversation!

Snippets and Murmurs: Making Sense in Times Like These


Dear Embodied Hearts and Dancing Souls, 

Monisha Mittal, Tuesday Dance Chapel leader shares her body wisdom with those who attend her Divine Poetry and Movement Chapel. Email minicunning@gmail.com to receive her weekly invitations. I am so inspired by her offerings. Love, Cynthia

“What kind of times are these, Adrienne Rich asks. Interesting times, at least in my American world. Whatever is moving through me comes in murmurs. I reach out in my usual way but all that comes back is snippets. Snippets of poems. Nothing whole. Maybe it a time of snippets only. These murmurs feel like plaits of hair but I’m not sure how they want to be weaved.

Snippet 1: My husband’s core wound has been triggered since last Friday. The wisdom that has come up is the Pause in between our inhale and exhale. It has to do with Power. We’re also processing Power from External Authority since the Friday Suprement Court ruling. The question of Power and Powerlessness has come up to my awareness. And its lead me to this Pause. In the middel of our breathing. Its so funny how we much we (humans) think we need to Control ….everything. And yet in that Pause we surrender over to a Higher Power (different power?) that breathes us. What manna is this? Its in this surrender that we are nourished, sustained, empowered. Its in letting Go of outcomes that we are magically supported in them. We can affirm this in our bodies.

Snippet 2: I need this nourishment. But as clear as I am that I am now living in a different reality I also notice….I have an instinctual response to fighting the Power of External Authority. Its cool. I love this about me. But I have lived long enough to know this is Not necessarily sustainable depending on the Shape this fight wants to take. I need sustenance. From this Pause I get to Ask, What is Mine to do?  Without expectation or control. This is the only way to Stay in my Body.

Snippet 3: and somehow this takes me back to the Simple. How radical it is to be ourselves. Just Emanating our Being,  in the now, aligned between inner and outer action…maybe I don’t need to gird my loins (which is how I lived EVERY DAY great goddess in my twenties). Maybe my Power is expressed Simply, in every moment of my expression. Maybe this is true for each of us. Maybe I give up on the Government. Maybe I turn to you and you turn to me. Maybe we just be extra Clear with each other. 

Snippet 4: And this brings me to a feeling of Savoring. Of being on top of a hill looking at both halves of my life. Breathing in Gratitude for everything that lead me here and bowing with an open heart to what lies ahead. 

Today in Tuesday Dance Chapel, we will bow to this invisible process inside of us that sorts through our snippets and let’s us take our steps with a whole heart. I do not know exactly which snippets of poems I will share (ha ha ha) but I will lead a meditation for our Sustenance through it all.   

Come!  Allow yourself to dance, be danced for; hold something with love and be held with love;  and BE with whatever is unfolding for you. What might you notice, feel or receive in this moment?”

I will read from the following:
Too Often Forget, Jim Johnston
What Kind of Times are These, Adrienne Ric

Special invitation to learn from Marla, Native American InterPlay leader, healer, and guide

Hi dear friend,

 There is a special opportunity this week with Marla Durden, a native American InterPlay leader whose family is of Choctaw, Blackfoot and Cherokee lineage. I am deeply moved that Marla trusts her ancestors and the Hidden Monastery to share her love and wisdom at this time. She brings fruits from her life-long study of sacred wisdom, subtle energy healing, shamanism, BioGeometry, integral spirituality, alchemy, circle leadership, facilitation, InterPlay and more. 
I will be attending her 7 week class on the Sacred Tree of Life: Dancing through the Wisdom of the 7 Chakras through the Hidden Monastery. June 1- July 27. Link for more info. 
Cost $175 with scholarships available

Meeting ID: 713 101 8998

Passcode: wedance

Wednesday May 25 9 pacific
I asked Krista Gemmel Harris about her experience in Marla’s Dance Chapels. She said, “I feel my heart singing, my body’s edges expanding, my sense of hope brightening.  Marla is a wise, caring bodyspirit who graciously weaves together her extensive and varied trainings and life experiences into a ministry of healing and love.  Marla takes me to deep, uplifting, and spacious places within myself self and in inter-connection with others.  I am excited about participating in her upcoming Sacred Tree and the Seven Chakras class!”


For More information contact Marla at modernrootwoman@gmail.com

Cynthia Winton-Henry