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Upcoming Retreats: InterPlay for Body and Soul

SpiritPlay: Three Summer Mini Retreats

Hold sacred the Wisdom of Your Body: Come for one or all

Fridays June 7, July 12, August 9 10:30-3pm at InterPlayce in Oakland

Please register in advance.

Gather into the summer months by listening to what your body wants.
Are you weary? Bring that. If you are cranky bring that.
InterPlay practices provide a place to be YOU
in body, mind, heart, and spirit, with more joy and grace. 

The bonus? Restored sense of human goodness.
Reground in the core power of creative, playful body wisdom.

The mini-retreat schedule

10:30-11:00 warm up meditation
11-12 SpiritPlay Movement, Voice, Story
12-1 Bring or Get Lunch
1-3 Creative Practice Focus

    • June- Creative License Poetry Art
    • July- Heart Bouquet Collage
    • August- Story Shrines- Bring a Book

3pm Closing

Cost: $20-$80 sliding fee, work trades available
Registration/Information: Register with info@interplay.org 510-465-2797


Coming This Fall

The InterPlay Life Practice Program for Spiritual Leaders 2019-2020

Opening & Closing Retreats in Oakland, CA: Oct 7-10, 2019 & Feb 17-20, 2020
8 online weekly wisdom teachings: Tuesdays 3-5 pm PST October 15, Nov 5, 19, Dec 3, 17, Jan 7, 21, Feb 4
Three one to one sessions to explore InterPlay tools and practices in your own life either in person or on Zoom.

$200 off when you register by Aug 30.

Register through the InterPlay office (info@interplay.org).
This program orients and guides you through the paradigm shift that puts body wisdom and creativity back at the center of personal and group spiritual life.
  • Affirm your body’s intrinsic spiritual intelligence.
  • Increase fluency in the creative wisdom languages of soul: movement, voice, word, stillness.
  • Embody healing, prayer, speaking, discernment, celebration, justice, and ritual.
  • Recoup the path of joy and play in a reflective, easy-going community.

Why Body Wisdom?

Physicality is basic. Racism, gender, class, ability, politics, religion, climate change, animal care, and culture are all body realities. A great transformation is possible when we put the body and our earth body at the center of spiritual intelligence. Our bodies know how to honor and affirm everybody as distinct and as part of a distinct community. Do we honor bodies? If not, how can we honor souls?

Gifts of this Program
When we honor the body we can reliably, playfully, and authentically

• Access voice, movement, stillness, and stories to connect to self, others and the Divine.
• Build communities that empower marginalized people.
• Find a deeper connection with earth, people, and spirit.
• Practice resiliency techniques.
• Adopt improvisational skills for working with complex situations.
• Risk new skills for speaking and presenting.
• Bring artful ritual to bedside, one-to-one, small and large groups.
• Cultivate intergenerational bonds among children, youth, and adults.

Why Creativity for Spiritual Intelligence? Soul comes alive through voice, story, and stillness, whether or not we are proficient in these areas. Each form of creative expression provides a unique route to revelatory knowledge and healing. To embody one’s full spiritual inheritance depends on engaging our birthright practices: movement, voice, story, stillness, as well as visual, musical, written and spatial arts. 


The Process

Opening Retreat: The Secrets of InterPlay for Spiritual Intelligence: Body, Mind, Heart, Spirit (Oakland, California)

Start your journey in the creative diversity of the Bay Area and in the artful sanctuary of InterPlayce. With time to explore the balance of creative practice and body wisdom teachings, our journey unfolds through elegant moments of movement, voice, story, and stillness, which open up the parables of our lives. You learn tools to help people orient to the wisdom of their body: Easy Focus, Body Data/Knowledge/Wisdom, Internal Authority, Physicality of Grace, Exformation, Spiritual Disciplines, Incrementality, and Affirmation. You’ll gather into grace, ease, and spontaneous health as body and soul yield refreshment, connection, and guidance. Along the way, we’ll take in the beauty of the bay area.

This workshop uniquely introduces the body wisdom of spiritual practice.

• The Soul Loves The Body: Recovering Lost Soul Languages
• The Architecture of Soul as Bigger Than Our Body: Bodyspirit as Bigger Than Our Skin
• Spontaneity as A Signature Of Soul
• Transformation and Healing as A Creative Process
• The Need for Different Art Forms To Create Different Ritual Outcomes

Online Sessions: The October retreat is followed by eight online wisdom trainings (two hours each). In these interactive, live, video sessions, participants deepen their body wisdom around aspects of the creative spirit, the art of truth-telling, the nature of being a body intellectual, how to play with challenges, healing and wholeness, and how we encourage creative prayer and service in others.

These sessions will be on Tuesdays from 3-5pm Pacific Time: October 15; Nov 5, 19; Dec 3, 17; Jan 7, 21; and Feb 4.

February 17-20 is the Closing Retreat: “Collective Peace-making and Ritual” (Oakland, CA)

Having formed bonds of play and deep story, we open new vistas for creativity in communal life. What does it mean for peace and for the communal soul to be embodied? This retreat culminates with a graduation celebration.

Continuing Education Credit

50 CE credits (Life Practice Program) and 15 CE credits (Secrets of InterPlay) for various healthcare and allied healthcare professions are available for those practicing throughout the U.S. and for educators only practicing in Illinois. CE preregistration is required at least 2 weeks before the start of your event. Notify the Body Wisdom office (510) 465-2797 at time of registration that you are requesting CEUs. A fee of $25 per program will be due at the time you register. CEUs are offered through Continuing Education Institute of Illinois.

Online Information Sessions by appt. cynthia@interplay.org
Email Cynthia for more information.Frequently Unasked Questions about InterPlay for Spiritual Leaders.

Cost: $2,250 (does not cover room and board for Oakland retreats) – Payment Plans, Trades and 2 scholarships available.

Registration/Information: Body Wisdom, 510-465-2797 or info@interplay.org



A Holy Woman Icon: Anne Marbury Hutchinson

The Hidden Monastery first emerged in 2008 as a sanctuary offering spiritual support for mystics, artists, and activists. I believe that there is an oft-hidden stream of grace and love that is fed by those who are sensitive, gifted, and awake to the lineage of divine reality. Whether or not we are seen or approved of we call attention to the sacred source of life. 

This hidden monastery is dedicated to feeding the mystic stream. There are free dance chapels, affordable one to one support, inspiration, letters and wisdom sharing, retreats, and online groups. I am excited about the ensoulment initiation tools offered in monthly small groups. 

For my birthday May 28th on Memorial Day weekend, I’m hosting a Hidden Monastery Shrines show at InterPlayce. It will feature the Holy Woman Icon of Anne Hutchinson commissioned from Dr. Angela Yarber who researches, writes and paints remarkable dancers, activists, mothers, and women. She gives the commissioned painting to the recipient and places the icon in a canon of holy women in an online gallery and store.

On this memorial day, I invite you to consider a holy woman in your life to lift up.  Send her name and at my shrine show on Monday, I will attach their name to the shrine I’m creating for Anne Hutchinson. Put it in the comments.

I also invite you to contribute to the Hidden Monastery to honor Anne as well as my birthday. I see this ministry continuing to blossom. If you would like to pour some water on the garden I welcome it. Paypal link here.

Why Anne?

We share a common grandmother, Susanne Marbury. My great grandfather was part of the controversial protest against the work ethic “Puritans.” As proponents of grace, our extended family fought non-violently against the land-grabbing, genocidal, judgmental, class and gender biases of men in power.

Anne is a spiritual midwife of American Democracy, the one we still labor to birth. Like Mary Magdalene, the male Puritan leaders of her time demonized her and turned her into a harlot of her faith. Her crime was speaking while being female as a lead advocate and theologian promoting a free grace vs. working to prove one’s worth to deserve God’s love. 

Anne was a happily married mother of 12 and a close friend of Mary Dyer, a Quaker. Both were midwives and herbalists. They knew the body. In the early 1600s these well-read teachers saw women as wise and connected to the Divine. Anne spoke out against the male clergy and the Governor, was put on trial, kept under house arrest, excommunicated, and with others banished from Massachusettes. These “Antinomian” rebels had their guns removed.  Antinomianism relates to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law. This movement included 60 young men who signed a protest and boycotted the leaders of the war on the Pequot Indians. In a later season, Anne and William Hutchinson helped create the document to separate church and state.


About Angela: Angela holds a Ph.D. in Art and Religion and is the author of books that address the intersections among gender/sexuality, religion/spirituality, and the arts. An ordained, queer clergywoman, she served local churches and taught graduate and undergraduate students since 2006. After a decade as a professional dancer, she now finds creative fulfillment and spiritual expression by fusing painting, writing, and embodiment through the Holy Women Icons Project. Her partner in life and in this project is Dr. Elizabeth Lee who holds a Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory and is a certified Health Coach who has taught ethics, philosophy, and religion. 



Release! Embodying the Enneagram

Do you want to shift the way you work, but find it almost impossible to do it? Check this out.

InterPlay & The Enneagram July 25 (26-28 Conference) July 25 9-5pm, Oakland, Marriott. 
Cost $210. Register through the International Enneagram conference online.

On Monday & Tuesday, July 29 & 30 Andrea Isaacs workshop The EQX-LIVE, in Oakland
The schedule includes lunch both days, Monday, July 29 8:30 am – 5 pm; 7-9:00 pm, Tuesday, July 30 8:30 am – 5:00 pm


When I discovered the Enneagram I needed help with my passionate anger. Reactivity is a hard nut to crack. Fortunately, the Enneagram diagnoses hard inner nuts and was created as an ancient tool for use with spiritual initiates.

One day Helen Palmer’s book on the Enneagram fell off the shelf into my hands.  I honed in on a number between 1–9. Then an Enneagram teacher stayed at my house. She watched me interact with my family where hard nuts take center stage. She said, “Darling, I wonder if you might be an 8.” Ach. I that put me on my knees. 8 is the boss! What I never wanted to be. My friend offered to pray for me. For 24 hours I felt the stunning absence of reactivity, just long enough to get hungry for real peace.

The Enneagram has allowed me to navigate, apologize, research and lighten up on this sympathetic nervous system pattern that is so hard to see. No other tool has helped me as much.

How wonderful then to be invited to co-lead a preconference on Embodying the Enneagram with Andrea Isaacs this July 25. It comes just before the International Enneagram Association Conference.

Andrea created EnneaMotion, using movement to embody the Enneagram, and Somatic Focusing, her coaching method, and shifted her own painful shyness to confidence. She has guided people in 25 countries back to their wholeness so they can live in integrity, have thriving relationships and greater fulfillment. She was co-founding editor-publisher of the Enneagram Monthly, a founding faculty member for the Enneagram Institute Professional training program in 1994, and has hosted numerous virtual programs on happiness and emotional intelligence.

When Andrea interviewed me for her keynote, I discovered her background in modern dance and spirituality and almost immediately signed up for coaching. I am so happy I did. In a few sessions, I’ve made key shifts. She offers the creative designs of an artist and the wisdom of a spiritual teacher. 

I can’t wait to hear Andrea’s morning keynote, “In Every Cell of Your Body: Somatic Work and the Enneagram.” She’ll share video of pioneers working with body wisdom practices and the Enneagram, and teach about somatic work as a doorway for using the body to shift our inner state, replacing patterns that no longer serve us to empower patterns that support living our life as our best self. In the afternoon I’ll teach InterPlay body wisdom practices to allow participants to continue to learn and play with the amazing resources hidden in our body.

You can take Andrea’s EQ Quiz in just 5-10 minutes at EQQuiz.com. It gives you an idea of your core type (which you may already know) and a picture of how much and how little you have of the gifts and the challenges of each type. You also get an Emotional Mastery Blueprint, a pdf of your results, immediately after clicking the <Submit> button.

If you want to Play, Gain Tools, Change, and Glow I would love to have you join me at these opportunities. It is always good when InterPlayful people can be at a workshop or conference together!

InterPlay & The Enneagram July 25 (26-28 Conference) July 25 9-5pm, Oakland, Marriott. 
Cost 210. Register through the International Enneagram conference online.

On Monday & Tuesday, July 29 & 30 Andrea offers her own workshop The EQX-LIVE, in Oakland
The Schedule includes lunch both days, Monday, July 29 8:30 am – 5 pm; 7-9:00 pm, Tuesday, July 30 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Another taboo—Why I don’t like Easter

Drag a body through hell.
Wrap them in rags of love.
Lay them in a hole.
Bury them with a boulder
the size of the moon,
Then tell the body
“No peace for you.”
It’s Sunday. Get up.
Get back to work. Rise.

It was Easter morning. I was 34 at the only church I’d ever pastor. An unexplainable tension grew after just three years. I was their first woman minister. No one would talk to me directly about their concerns. Consultants didn’t help. 

The worship planners put a chicken wire cross in the center of the sanctuary, ready to be adorned with flowers. The choir would sing. The story would be told. I hated the cinder block walls and brown linoleum floor, but appreciated that we could move the chairs around. This Sunday they were all set in rows, ready for the Easter homecoming crowd.

That did not happen. My last Easter as a “traditional” pastor was a tomb. Half of the regular people did not show up. Not only that, they never returned. 

How is it that those who’ve been spiritual friends for decades could abandon one another on the day of Love?

If I look to the story of Jesus, to any religious break up story— that of Francis, Joan, Anne Hutchinson or the countless people who are rejected by churches it’s no surprise. I know many women ministers who were run out of the church or chose to leave. The shunning was painful. We don’t really tell that story. We just keep coming back with greater intensity. That is transcendence.

I don’t like Easter because it trumps Passover. Grief needs to remain for all the ways we kill each other. That needs to be in the middle of the story of transformation. It is not a thing that is past. Jesus does not subvert anything if we make Easter triumphal.

I do not like ending in major keys. That’s not complex enough for me artistically or religiously. Eggs? Rabbits? I love them. But pastels? I don’t wear them well.

I was asked to dance at church on Easter morning. I said no. Easter is the one Sunday I do want to dance.

But, I did dance on Passover and the day of crucifixion. In fact, I needed to dance. I needed to rip up social contracts that dehumanize and depreciate any of us for any reason. I needed to dance with the rebel love that asks me to go deeper than I thought I could. I needed to dance with a love that does not allow me to let go of anyone. And I’ll tell you what…it hurts.



Resurrection of the body only happens when we marry our hurt with healing. And not just personal healing. Its got to be a collective bodily resurrection.  Otherwise, our poor individual bodies have to work too hard. 

I will go to Easter services. I will do what I call my pew work. And you know what? There will probably be dance. Things are changing. The old ways are dying. Some even say Christendom is dead. 

What is not dead is the body. The body lives…..with all of it. Fortunately, the people I hang out with both inside and outside institutions are wise to this. This wisdom carries me.







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 me and my family, I live a white middle-class lifestyle. Everyone who does is made responsible for a little empire. This ‘wonderful life’ is modeled on that of kings, queens, lords, and ladies who had to hire lots of help. It is work to manage the stable/cars, the books, the housekeeping, the nannying, the property, AND go to work.

Today 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 land or the naturalness of bodies caring for one another. In my world it is normal to pass for days without a dance, song, or kiss from the wind. In my world an individual gets relief by running away from home.  You have to spend money to get a break.

And what if you are sensitive and need to care for your 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 who 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.”