I have to take time to grieve.

As a woman and a mother I know of hidden cruelty. But to see it publicly endorsed?  Action is needed, and so too is emotional and spiritual grief support for those of us too familiar with this reality.

It’s a hard thing to be still, to breathe, or to even want to join in spirit, yet it is also the most elegant and supportive way through hard times.

This Hidden Monastery invites you to bring body and soul into community and to share wisdom and solidaity for the time we are in. Movement and voice are often the most effective forms for doing this.

  • Nancy Pfatzgraf is leading the online dance chapel tomorrow 9:30am- 10:30 am PST.  If you are familar with zoom Just click on  https://zoom.us/j/258680712  
  • Friday I will be leading at InterPlayce at 10:30-12 for respite and self care.
  • Saturday morning 10-12:30 I will lead a session at InterPlayce to share body wisdom for our times. This is part of a larger Hidden Monastery Retreat.
  • Thursday June 28th I will teach an online session for Gifted and Sensitive Bodies.You are welcome to consider any of these offerings.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center, offered a list of actions today- and wrote about The Lightning Flash that Reveals our Hidden Cruelties and Lights our Way to Compassionate Action–In it he says, ”

Isaiah (10:2) cries out, “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.”

Out of exactly that Prophetic outlook, Jesus broke the law, nonviolently.  That’s why he was crucified. Does the fact that the Roman Empire crucified Jesus mean that it is legitimate for the United States Government to destroy the lives of children and parents? Or does it mean exactly the opposite?

There is a reason that one of the key moments in the story of Pharaoh is when he orders babies killed  (Exodus 1: 15-22 ). And in the Christian story, one of the key moments is when Herod orders children killed in the “Massacre of the Innocents.”  (Matthew 2: 16; imagined below). Those are the moments when a tyrant becomes monstrous.

Outrage at these actions comes from a very deep gut level. The “prime directive” for every species, including the human species, is to make sure the next generation thrives. The children! You can only rip children away from their families by dehumanizing the people you are facing. Down that path lies genocide.

The cruelty we are witnessing is being blatantly exposed as intrinsic to racism and militarism. All societies face the dangerous impulse to exalt only their own culture as fully human and treat others as sub-human. Indeed, for centuries, American policy has ripped the children of enslaved Africans, African-Americans, and Native Americans away from their families. 

But the vision and hope of the Bible, the Quran, and other sacred wisdom is summed up in the Bible’s teaching,  “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 22:39)  and  the Quran’s teaching (49:13):  “O humankind, We have created you from a single pair of male and female [as one family], and appointed you diverse cultures and communities, that you may get to profoundly understand one another [not to despise one another].” 



Something Happens—The Visionary Practice of Improvising with Spirit

InterPlay began with Wing It! Performance Ensemble, our lab for performative community creativity. Wing It! continues to this day. Elders and youngers play at a high and honest level, exercising all of our personal and collaborative faculties in voice, storytelling, dance AND in body, mind, heart, and spirit.

In Wing It’s very first theater performance, God, Sex, and Power (1989), our friend Elaine Kirkland as the musician created a chant that opened the show. Two lines overlapped

Something. Nothing. Maybe Everything. Wild Holy Power.
Leaping, Laughing, Dancing, Prancing, Fly Away!

It’s no longer surprising to me that thirty years later Interior Mythos Journeys interviewed us and titled Module Two Something Bigger Happens.

Michael May and daughter Mary Ellen interviewed Phil and me before Michigan’s Secrets of InterPlay Untensive. Then, in an incredibly philanthropic gesture they gave us all 11 modules of our interview as part of their StoryWarrior Project to freely share. Link here to the page to see the titles and all videos.  We share eerie overlaps with these Hidden Monastery Hoosiers, strangely making our way toward each other. If you sign up at InteriorMythos.com video’s will come every couple weeks

Susan Pudelek, gifted Inter-religious way-finder, InterPlay leader and part of our Hidden Monastery was also interviewed by Mythos Journey. She works in the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Archdiocese of Chicago. Susan helped to bring Buddhist and Catholic Dialogue to the Vatican. Her Interior Mythos Journeys interviews are on point and beautiful. We have her to thank for connecting us to Mythos Journey.

Here is Module Two on Something Bigger Happens, eight minutes where we talk about Experiencing the Something Bigger, Tiptoeing Back In – Awakening Traditional Institutions and Awe- the Foundation of Community and Creating Something Good for the World.






Gifted and Sensitive Bodies- Next Online Offering June 28 9am PST

Are you a Gifted and Sensitive Body? Know someone who is? We often feel like misfits, have abilities that some call weird, get “diagnosed” for being both too big and too small, and struggle with balancing energy. 

In this hour-long training we shift from labeling people as overly sensitive to getting recognized as members of the “One-In-Five” Club, Those who are Gifted, Sensitive and potentially Body Wise People. We will meet on zoom, an easy to access visual, live internet meeting space. You can zoom in live or view the recording at your convenience.

Go one step deeper with a group focus session from 10:15-11:30 to explore your own gifts and sensitivities.
Or sign up for a one-to-one focus session. I’ve worked with sensitives of all kinds as a teacher and am one myself. 

In all of this I Incorporate tools from InterPlay, a framework for creative body wisdom, I’ll share supportive strategies that make sensitivity understandable, manageable and fun. I’ll highlight the need for initiation rituals for senstives and explore “How You Can Be Credentialed to Serve.” 

Registrants receive my 24 page Spiritual Instruction Module, Credentialed as Mystics: How to Honor Gifted and Sensitive People. It covers

• What are Your Soul Credentials?
• You’re Not Sick, You’re Sensitive! Recognizing the 1-in-5
• How to Make Sensitivity More Fun
• Playing with Initiations
• Initiated by the Nature of Life
• Initiation Inventories for One-In-Fivers
• How You Are Credentialed to Serve

This offering is through Cynthia Winton-Henry, not Body Wisdom.



Workshop, recording and pdf $25 Total
Add group focus session  $55  Total
Add an individual session $75 Total

Are you an InterPlay Leader? I can coach you to lead this material, including for sensitive parents and/or kids.  $195                         

All offerings are available at lower prices. Just ask.

To register just

or send a check to Cynthia Winton-Henry
339 Broadway #215, Alameda, CA 94501

See more information about hidden monastery offerings at cynthiawinton-henry.com


Explore the Hidden Monastery

Hidden does not mean inaccessible. In fact, love loves to be generous. This is one of the most astounding facts. “Ask and ye shall receive.” Yet who asks? “Knock and the door shall be opened.”  Yet, do we knock?    

One thing I have learned about being embodied is that the more open I am, the more I have to self-regulate. My system can’t manage all that I sense.  Then the challenge is that I may stop asking and knocking on the door for divine help. Each day I pray that above all I will remain open to flow and support of Divine Intelligence.

Blessings on you if your cup is full. And Blessings if you are seeking you know not what. The Hidden Monastery supports both.

My website is one of the Hidden Monasteries. What you see below are hidden under the tab called Hidden Monastery Arts. Each tab is a secret door unto itself. You can easily overlook it if you are drawn to the “drop down” menus. I’m hiding all kinds of resources on my website. You could take an hour sometime when you are resting and make a pilgrimage that supports your mystical spirit and imagination.  Need something to support a retreat or spiritual offering? Come to the Hidden Monastery.


Click on the Hidden Monastery Arts Tab and this is what you will see.

InterPlay Dance, Voice, and Storytelling
The Four Movement Patterns
The YouTube Channel
Poetry and Prayer

We all have keys to the Hidden Monastery. As real in one’s heart as any space, people know the Hidden Monastery as a place whose foundation is Love, whose rooms and vistas are found round the Earth.

While anything ephemeral causes suspicion which leads to overthinking, don’t miss the door to the hidden monastery. Enter it and you may find sheer play and visionary encounter, those golden forms of intelligence that open the doors and windows of Holy Mystery.

Our storytellers, dancers, singers, and artists know. As told in Kazakhstan,

“It was the seventh day.  God had finished making the world when he realized he had forgotten to give human beings their brains.  So he filled a jug with brains, called an angel and said,’Go and give human beings their brains!’ The angel flew down to Earth and found so many people that there were not enough brains to go around.  So the angel gave each person a drop of brains.

When God looked down on creation he saw war, jealousy, hunger, and tears. ‘Human beings have only got a bit of brain each,’ he said. ‘I need someone with a whole brain to sort them out.’ So God made one more person and filled that person’s brains right up to the top. He filled those brains with stories, songs, poems, and sparkling words.  He sent the storyteller down to Earth, to tell, and sing wisdom into foolish human hearts.”  (Utne, Mar/Apr ’04)

Imagination gives you a whole brain and body to unlock the relationship with Divine Presence. That Realness is never imposed. It arises spontaneous and free. This is why any practice that promotes healthy spontaneity is so beneficial.

To enter the Hidden Monastery you need to open your heart. How do you do this?


It helps to look for an inspiring friend.
Friendship turns on the lights.
Wherever Two or More Gather
the hidden arc and open field of love arise.
Your friend could be an animal, a loved one, an ancestor,
a tree, a guide, an impassioned throng of disciples
or a direct encounter with the Ineffable Hand.
This is why they say Love Your Neighbor.
Its your way to the Gift.

Another way is to notice any sacred space you discover.
Bow to it when you leave and each time you arrive.

Once initiated by Love you will see life’s turmoil more clearly.
You may feel a restless desire.
You may go in search of Love’s many rooms.
Or you may sit on your own stump and meditate.
Why not devote yourself to silence, song, practice,
teaching, study, and acts of joy and service?
Curiosity will lead as you walk or sit.
It is vital to keep your spirit of play alive.

Don’t be distressed if Great Love causes you aches of
loneliness, confusion or debasement.
Nothing compares once you eat from the Monastery garden.
You may feel crazy from this,
occasionally unconsolable and even depressed.
Remember that love arises spontaneously.
Keep your heart room ready and open.
Keep making room.

One day the Way will grow easier.
You may decide to move right into the Monastery,
to tend it with care, at one with its everydayness,
forever amazed that just by wandering down a hall,
into a garden, or under the night sky you’ll
suddenly find yourself lost in Glory.

I did.

The Jingletown Shrine Workshop


As many of you know, I’m a curator of a Hidden Monastery and love to support you in yours! I’m a student of the dance of life and studied theology and the arts in grad school. I am lucky that my day job is being an art based teacher, performer, author and speaker. I still consider my greatest achievement to be cofounding InterPlay, a decades old community improvisational movement and story-telling practice used around the world as a community building folk art, therapy, education, and spiritual practice.

I adore making altars, ritual play, humor, and theater. In my forties I assembled my first complex “shrine” to honor fairies. Then, in 2012, alongside my playmate Diane Storm I unexpectedly rented a tiny art studio at Redux, an art coop in the Bay Area. This was a social enterprise of St Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores and it offered a back room river of cast-off treasures that I began to upcycle into shrines and display in the front gallery. Here I was in my fifties and suddenly enamored with visual life. Bit by bit my shrine practice grew.

Last year I moved to Jingletown Art Studios where I curate a long wall of whimsical containers designed to uplift ordinary and sacred images. Things are happening!

I gleefully open my studio on Second Fridays including  June 6th! 6-9 at 3001 Chapman Street Oakland. Derby is the cross street.

I have several pieces including my Doll House Shrine in Concord’s B8 Theater Gallery for their show The Doll House. I’ll be at the art reception Saturday June 16 after the matinee!  Shows are  June 7 – 23, 2018, 2292 Concord Blvd (@ Colfax), Concord, CA, a 5 minute walk from Concord BART / free parking at theater.  I’m particularly excited because this production asks “How does a black woman find self-fulfillment in a country dominated by white men? This adaptation of Ibsen’s controversial classic sheds light on issues of racial equality and gender equity that continue to pervade our society today.

June 22 I will host a Shrine Workshop as part of my Hidden Monastery Retreat. If you are interested the program includes 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, Reflection, 5-6 Prayer Circle.  Contact me if you are interested. You can select a Single Time on Friday Morning ($10-15) Fri Workshop $65 (includes materials) /Saturday only $95.

To see some of my shrines head over to that page or like Cynthia’s Jingletown Shrine Workshop on Facebook.