“These are your Three Directives”

Artwork by Alison Lee at an InterPlay Australia workshop

In my twenties, the great fear was a nuclear bomb. Humanity’s capacity to blow ourselves up assaulted basic confidence in life. A Hollywood movie was making the rounds, depicting what a nuclear holocaust would be like. I didn’t want to watch it alone.

Driving down the freeway to view it with a friend, the San Francisco Bay was to my right and the Berkeley hills were to my left. The sweeping view across the water took my eye to the Golden Gate bridge. Why would I want to imagine such a threat to all I love? That is when I heard a voice as if it was in my vehicle with me. In a neutral tone, this is what I heard, “These are your three directives: efficiency of energy, clarity of vision, courage to love.” Out of the blue. Just like that. That was 35 years ago.

So it is that fear and the Unseen Teacher is interwoven in me. Both the World and the Divine have my full attention.

At the time I was part of Body and Soul dance company with Phil Porter and Judith Rock. I was teaching dance in a seminary and already signed up for the whole ride. I loved God but I was learning that more than feeling love is required in leadership. Suffering freaked me out. I avoided it. On the other hand, I was discovering that to resist suffering seems to intensify and prolong it.

In my studies, I was taken with the hymn of Jesus, a gorgeous Gloria to the dance of creation recorded in the Apocryphal Acts of John. This ritual circle dance and song is led by Jesus and is attributed to the night he was betrayed, the Passover, not unusual behavior in Jewish life.  In the hymn, Jesus sings, “Learn to suffer so as not to suffer.”  As a dancer I’m tuned into bodies. I’m super sensitve and confronted by suffering when it doesn’t go away. As a spiritual leader, I’ve been asked to prepare to suffer in order to meet others in their suffering, like the time Body and Soul performed in a women’s shelter. After performing four dances for a small group of shell shocked women. I wondered what we were doing there. What was this place? I remember afterward, changing my clothes as shudders of truth went through me. I was awakening to the domestic violence in my own family history, just one of my many initiations into the role of violence and victimization in my own life. Years later, I choreographed Rachel Weeping, a dance that contextualized the role of violence in Latin America, the Holocaust, and in our living rooms by bracketing each scene with a portrayal from the biblical story of Herod chasing down firstborn Jewish males and Rachel’s Passover lament from the First Passover, with her crying out, “How long O Lord?”  

Today I see the three directives– efficiency of energy, clarity of vision, and courage to love– as areas of initiation for spiritual leaders who want to be of service. We are called to wise seeing, wise speech, to find stamina as we balance energetic highs and lows, and to navigate personal and collective life in courageous and transformative ways. We seek to make our living as passionate, purposeful beings with a full capacity to live in the joy and pain of shared humanity. Our quest requires a Spirit Team, people who support us through suffering and joy and share tools and stories about how to be artfully, beautifully who we are, every step of the way.

In addition to support, I need unique places where play, art, meditation, sacred conversation, prayer, and good humor nourish hope, places where others like me don’t have to explain how we hear, feel, know and abide in the great mystery of love. Many of these places are “hidden.” They aren’t in the grand institutions, but they are very very real.

Finding mentors and space can be tricky. Some of us give up. Some of us are so tired we just make do. But, more is possible. We only have to ask, Who is my mentor? Where can I play where I am understood? When we do Guidance will lead us.

Have you received mentoring as a creative, sensitive, embodied, soulful person? Do you have a Spirit Team, a wisdom circle who understands your gifts and upholds your dreams? Is it time to strengthen your spiritual practice?

This year I am offering Ensouled! Blessed Instructions and Initiations for Body and Soul. Groups are starting as early as January 25th.I will be providing monthly installments of my curriculum and ways to find accompaniment. You can get the curriculum with or without coaching sessions but I know from experience that the most beneficial path is to travel with a companion or a small circle. For this reason, I’m forming a number of circles in the coming months. 

I will happily comp anyone who brings 4-5 colleagues into a monthly group. Or I can place you in one of the groups I am forming. Let me know if you are interested. I will email you soon.

 

 

Ask Soul

“Grant that I may give thee choice gifts, three lighted and dazzling torches– my spirit, my body, and my soul.” Maronite prayer

Times are not easy. To be in my body can be excruciating when the land, our neighbors, beloved beings and sometimes we are under attack, out of balance, or made to act in ways that aren’t true to who we are.

How are we to live, love, and be beautiful in this life?

Let’s ask soul. Soul does not give up on us, nor does Love. Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya, knew this. She was a Sufi saint who grew up a slave. Having spontaneously achieved self-realization Shaikh Hasan al-Basri asked her how she discovered the secret, she responded:

“You know of the how, but I know of the how-less.”

What is the How of the How-less way?

How-less-ness is to go beyond skill, knowledge, and effort. It is born in a spacious grounding, a vital contact experienced inside and outside the body. It’s an invitation that undergirds all invitations.

When I was 15 years old I was paralyzed around my peers. I sensed something important in my destiny but didn’t know how to let it out. That summer on a church backpack trip my social pain hit a breaking point. Neither the alpine beauty of the Sierras or the congenial support of leaders helped me feel like I belonged. I felt locked up inside of myself. I hated myself.

One afternoon I retreated to my tent and picked up a thin little graphic book that had been given to each camper, Good Ole Plastic Jesus by Earnest Larsen. As I poured over the poetic text and images my soul drank in a message about a love that isn’t rooted in status, role, or money. Somehow the next day, hiking down the mountain, I felt different. Self-conscious struggling was nowhere to be found. I felt loved by something bigger. Was it a cosmic accident? I didn’t care. I was infused with grace for a whole week. When the self-consciousness returned I knew a Love and belongingness that is unconditional.

Sill, I struggled, unable to talk, think with clarity, or feel peace. I was often frustrated and awkward. My gifts didn’t correspond with what I was learning in school. My energy was erratic. I felt pulled to something but didn’t know what or how to express it. Dad was an engineer. Mom worked for the telephone company. Who was I? All I could figure out was to “be good” and “do what I am good at doing.”

What do you do when you desire the Way of Love and long to be guided by Love each step of the way for the rest of your life?

Could I unlock the full measure of Love in my life? Could I bring this to others and to the world? Could I live and be moved by a sacred energy in service to the sacred in all things? Can I do this in a world that appears brutal, money-centered, and energetically overwhelming? I wanted to try.

I soon discovered that anytime I mimicked or forced love, the gift of love veered away. Less so when body, mind, heart, and spirit were free to dance in the most organic way possible. In the arts, particularly in improvisation, I discovered magic. The lights turn on when I play with life; intuitively collaborating with whatever is around. If I accept my limits and possibilities it is a pleasure to move, breathe, think, and riff off of the harmony and dissonance of life everything opened up. Is this the How-less way?

The challenge is that culture, institutions and economic forces prescribe that people act in certain ways, ways that infect the fiber of my being. I can become anti-body, anti-love, anti-spirit. It takes great intention to stay attuned to the dance of life, to let my freewill interplay with the freewill of others.

I began to long for cultural wisdom that supports the dancing spirit in all beings, wisdom I found among first peoples, in rituals, and sometimes in the arts. Whenever I experienced the collective body move in a sacred way I took it as a sign that I was on the right track.

To do what we are meant to do naturally, to follow the hidden way that has no words, a way that is easy, fun and magical, requires community, tools, and support for our initiations.

The course I am about to offer offers a way to explore the wisdom of body and soul, what I can ensoulment.

What do you know of Love? What are you tracking with your body and soul? Who is your spirit team? Would you like to increase clarity, efficiency of energy, and courage to love as deeply as possible? Do you listen to your voice of guidance? How do we know what to trust?

Next time I’ll share my greatest fear and the answer that came from a Trustworthy Unseen Guide.

Learn more about my upcoming Course, Ensouled! Blessed Instructions and Initiations for Body and Soul starting January 25th. You get monthly installments of my curriculum with or without coaching sessions. Best yet is to travel with a small group and me. I comp you if you bring 4-5 others into your own monthly group.

 

 

 

Inviting you to be Ensouled! Blessed Initiations for Body and Soul

I am gathering people for a course called Ensouled: Blessed    Initiations and Instructions for Body and Soul, tools and community support for sensitive, creative people who identify as mystics or sensitives. I’ll be sharing 12 initiations, things that I pay attention to in my own leadership and life practice. Some of this is baked into InterPlay but, sometimes we need even more awareness and support. This is that kind of time.

The course is delivered over 12 months. You get my writing on how I discovered the practice. I offer a base practice for needed body wisdom along with a video to demonstrate this each month. I also offer one to one accompaniment or a small wisdom group with whom to journey. 

To explore the content go to my webpage at https://cynthiawinton-henry.com/ensouled/.  I’m setting up a few small groups starting January 25th and will initiate another round of groups in the Spring.

I’m deeply grateful to have recently received Francis Weller’s writing on initiations. I read it out loud at a Seattle Hidden Monastery retreat. I rarely read something this long to others that but this was so right on. Francis speaks directly and beautifully on why we need to recognize and teach the way of initiations. Check it out. He starts with Rilke.

        Again and again
                 Some people wake up.
                 They have no ground in the crowd
                 And they emerge according to broader laws.
                 They carry strange customs with them,
                 And demand room for bold gestures.
 
                         The future speaks ruthlessly through them.

As you know my particular approach maintains the need for creativity, playfulness, and body wisdom. I need to constantly remember……

Flowers do not force their way with great strife.
Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun.
Don’t be in a hurry about spiritual matters.
Go step by step, and be very sure.
– Grace Cooke / White Eagle

And from my book Move. “Instead of attacking problems…Play welcomes wounded-ness without making a huge deal out of it all.  Play concentrates upon and elevates wholeness rather than weakness…Play heals in part because it takes the pressure off what hurts.  Our bodies love to create.  Play activates the best in us for nothing but recreation.  In recreation, we are created anew.  Our creative energy, like a tide of health, sweeps our challenges in the direction of well-being.” 

Let me know if where I am going strikes a chord. Do email with questions.

 

“Shimmering” -my end of year thank you

The Shimmering

I don’t know how it happens.

And I don’t know why.

But when we dance

angels rise with

an unforeseen eloquence

 that’s normally hidden behind

dishes, dots, screens, and scrapes.

Who will make the angels a chapel?

Who will say yes to body and soul,

to flower and stem bending,

reaching, falling, swaying 

in prayers beyond words,

light transmitting flesh to flesh,

nucleus to nucleus, leaping, spinning,

shimmering, stopping, dying only to re-emerge?

I will. I will make them a chapel beyond walls.

I will befriend dancers,

singers, artists,

poets,

musicians, dreamers,

soul tenders, beekeepers,

teachers, doctors,

all who seek love’s

electric pulse.

And,

I will dance 

when I am new,

when I am ancient,

when I am crippled

and defeated

because angels and gods

must dance on earth

to keep the shimmering alive

in everything, everywhere, always,

especially inside of us lest we forget, lest we forget.

Yes, I will make a chapel again and again

right here in my soul.

 

 

To those of you who open these blog posts, who claim a dancing chapel in your heart, to those with whom I meet for soul tending, spiritual leaders in fierce times, you who InterPlay, to all whose soul is dancing, I bow like the flower above. Thank you.  

I especially want to thank Nancy Pfaltzgraf and Jane Siarny for tending the online dance chapel with me this year and to you who make your way there when you are able. Click the link if you need to call down the angels with us on a Thursday at 9:30 am PST or Monday at 5pm pst. See world clock to find your time.  Email me Cynthia@interplay.org for the link. It’s free. Don’t be too shy if you need the connection.

My efforts here are built completely on prayer. What a gift. Prayer for me is communing at the cellular level with our Divine Ground of Being. I call this our dancing ground as do many ancient people. It rises with rhythm, soul, and fire, and through our unique calls to timeless helpers. To support the way of ensoulment I will soon be offering A Course in Blessed    Initiations and Instructions for Body and Soul. I’m blogging about this in the coming weeks. But you can check it out now at https://cynthiawinton-henry.com/ensouled/.

If you were moved by the offerings of the Hidden Monastery this year and wish to contribute I humbly accept gifts as they help with tending the fires. Gifts could help me to hire some part-time help as my life takes on the dimensions of grandmothering and cohousing in the coming year. You can use a card here. Or go to my contact page for my address.

This time of year is a good time to release from connections or make changes for any reason. We all must go a way that is right for us. Unsubscribe at the bottom of the email with my love and blessings.

With Love (almost always) and good humor,    Cynthia

 

 

Ensouled! A Mystic School for Body and Soul

A Course in Blessed   Initiations & Instructions for Body and Soul

To be ensouled is to fully dance one’s life in the wise and wild beauty of the cosmos.

This dance is not an individual task. Divine Life, Earth, and people initiate us into our exact role in the dance. Body, mind, heart, and soul are all key.

To become a blessing depends on how we meet our initiations. How do I know? I couldn’t offer the following course without having been through the initiations myself. But, I had to patch the wisdom together. The wisdom school that dances in the way of ancient, indigenous wisdom is as hidden as that famous school for wizards, Hogwarts.

Hence I created this Hidden Monastery Wisdom School to make it a teeny bit easier to find a basic curriculum.

To begin we’ll get our bearings by attuning to the Tree of Life and three primal desires: to create, play and rest. Then we’ll evaluate our readiness to heed The Three Directives: efficiency of energy, clarity of vision, and courage to love.  Then, we proceed with a survey of 12 arts in the dance of ensoulment and how to practice them. I will be sending out the first communications in early January. Stay tuned and if you are not subscribed to my email list you can do that on the main page.

Learn why freedom and will are so important. And do get your play compass ready as soul, spontaneity, and synchronicity come center stage.

You can start this course independently at any time with monthly modules that includes a document with practices and ideas, a video, and options for single, multiple or group coaching. You’ll get fare more than what is written since all courses are customized to you. See below.

 


Before we begin let’s start with the end. 

Twelve Invoke Your Soul team– guides, muses, and companions even if you don’t know their name. Community and Teachers are key. Once you do you are on your way to initiate Divination. Practice opening to guidance.

 One  Initiate Your Purpose. Differentiate between gifts, calls, divine needs and your own purpose. Put on your seatbelt as you activate the poetry of your purpose and shine forth from your credentials.

Two Initiate Your Limits. Everything from this point forward fully embraces death and appetite, and body wisdom. Learn the art of bowing.

 Three Initiate soul sight: Play with your basketball brain that sees in all directions. Practice seeing from both your higher and your ordinary self. Activate your mystic gyroscope.

 Four Initiate your big and little body states. Detach from the myth of integration. Learn what can and can’t be integrated. Practice the art of savoring ordinary life. Activate the ability to let go into either state.

 Five Initiate your creative circuit board. Plug in the joy of your power to move, tell, voice, be. Activate which art form you need to listen in on if you want to learn from mystery.

 Six  Initiate body to body communication. Learn about mirror neurons, the necessity of shaking, breathing, and exformation. Practice neutralizing and savoring connections

 Seven Initiate your ability to affect your connections. Practice using your Heart Mic to connect and drop connection. Activate your ability to stream on the Field. Activate kinesthetic imagination to heighten sensitivity to the unseen.

 Eight Initiate Synchronicity’s 5 dynamics of sacred interaction. Practice synching up. Activate the art of changing, changing, changing. This is easier than letting go.

 Nine Initiate Your 4 power centers including the one beyond your skin. The Kundalini Driver, Belly Collaborator, Heart Organizer, and Crownstar Visionary. Activate Focused Energy Balance Indicator to assess powers. 

 Ten Initiate your time-space awareness. Experience time, space and energy in body. Activate your ability to slow down and speed up time, to expand and contract space. 

  Eleven Ground in the Play of Purpose, Awe, and Curiosity on Behalf of Higher Power. Practice the art of ecstatic following and how to know if your guidance honors your highest good.

 


To register for Ensouled! The Mystic’s Course for Body and Soul with PayPal here.
or send a check to Cynthia Winton-Henry at 339 Broadway #215, Alameda, CA 94501
You’ll receive an email with a document and a video each month
With a single coaching session, the fee is $185
With four one-to-one sessions, the fee is $360 (65/per session)
With an online zoom group starting late January it is $55/month with no charge for course materials.
To form your own ensoulment group with 3 or more friends email to inquire about my availability.

As part of this course, I can include you in the private Hidden Monastery facebook group where we can connect and share.

You can always bring questions and prayers to the online dance chapel at 5 pm pst on Mondays and 9:30 pst Thursdays.

In the mystic yet everyday dance, both hidden and revealed,