Category: Wisdom

Ancient tale of the hidden monastery

An old story is told about the beginning of time. The universe was in the process of being created, and not everything was yet in order or fully functioning.  Before the universe could be totally engaged, the Creator had one final task to complete.  To help me complete this task, the Creator summoned an angel.

The angel came. The Creator told the angel that she, the Creator, had one last job to do in the making of the universe. “I saved the best for last,” the Creator told the angel. “I have here the real meaning of human life, the treasure of life, the purpose and goal of all this. Because this treasure is valuable beyond description,” the Creator continued, “I want you to hide it. Hide this treasure so well that human beings will know its value to be immeasurable.”

“I will do so,” said the angel.  “I will hide the treasure of life on the highest mountain top.”

“The treasure will be too easy to find there,” said the Creator.

“Then,” said the angel, “I will hide the treasure in the great desert wilderness. Surely, the treasure will not be easily found there.”

“No, too easy.”

“In the vast reaches of the universe?” asked the angel. “That would make a difficult search.”

“No,” the Creator said, pondering. Then His face showed a flash of inspiration. “I know. I have the place. Hide the treasure of life within the human being.  He will look there last and know how precious the treasure is.  Yes, hide the treasure there.”

(source unknown)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Come to The Dying to Live Tour and Cabaret

Come to the Cabaret

What good is sitting, alone in your room?
Come hear the music play!
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
Come to the cabaret!

What good’s permitting some prophet of doom?
To wipe every smile away
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
So come to the cabaret!

Start by admitting from cradle to tomb
It isn’t that long a stay
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
And I love a cabaret!

I was in Scotland on the isle of Lismore the night Mairi Campbell called her neighbors to join a ceilidh in her living room. It was late. There were a couple of fiddlers, some jokesters, a piano, some singing and some spirits. Everyone knew that in sharing folk music, singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling some people would naturally step up. Some would be cajoled. Like their ancestors they improvised an evening that circled around the fires of love, life, hardship and death to find hope, belonging, and sometimes wisdom.

It was a homegrown informal cabaret where musicsongdancerecitation, or drama included food, drink and some content of an adult, underground nature. We could use more homegrown cabarets.

Like the song says, “What good’s permitting some prophet of doom to wipe every smile away? …Start by admitting from cradle to tomb, it isn’t that long a stay…Life is a cabaret old chum, so come to the cabaret.”

With our parents, family members, friends and some of our idealistic dreams dead are dying, where do we play with the rough edges of life?  It’s hard to tell our real stories in a death-phobic culture. A cabaret could be useful as a form that includes death as a norm of life. Embracing sister death allows us to live with a little less fear and maybe be a little wiser. 

That’s why me, your interplayful cabarista, and Rev. Stephen Winton-Henry, a grief educator with countless hours sitting in the mystery of death and dying, do hereby inaugurate the Dying to Live Tour and Cabaret.  We’re practicing “bad Ukulele” and songs that honor life and death. And Boy, could we use some help! We don’t have folk dances, but we can improvise a move or two. Stories? Oh yeah! We have em both made up and real.

As Lord Buddha said

Lord Buddha: How many times do you think about death?

Monk Number 1: I think about death every day.

Lord Buddha: Too little. How about you?

Monk Number 2: I think about death with every bite of food.

Lord Buddha: Not enough. And you?

Monk Number 3: I think about death with every breath in and every breath out.

Lord Buddha: Perfect.


You know things. We want to hear. This will require some levity, honesty, and practice if we want to get real and really live!

Interested in a Dying to Live Workshop-Cabaret evening or day long retreat? 

Rev. Stephen Winton-Henry, hospice chaplain and grief educator and Cynthia Winton-Henry, cofounder of InterPlay are dying to live.  With decades of helping people get into and out of their bodies, in the Dying to Live Tour and Cabaret they honor the lessons and questions of community around the biggest dance we do: Live and Die. Through reflection, music, stories, and movement, we’ll toast one another, write our names in the book of life, and touch on

  • Death’s role at the sacred center of life
  • That death is no solo dance
  • Our need for a fear troupe
  • The holy obligation to die well
  • and more…

all with playful, creative reverence.  

If you are invested in conscious living, wondering about conscious dying, seeking peace in the midst of change, someone who doesn’t plan on living forever, invite us to lead a cabaret! We’ll get you started on leading your own cabaret, if you like.

This is perfect for anybody, including grief educators, health care professionals. family and friends who might be ready to lift up life and death when they see it. It includes Friday 6pm Dinner, introductions and orientation
Saturday Sessions on The Dance of Death, The Poetry of Life, a Happy Hour on The Art of Legacy, A Cabaret of Community Stories, Songs, Dances,Tellings, and on Sunday the Song of the Soul.

OK, off to make Dying to Live Tour and Cabaret T-shirts!  YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE!

 

Catch the Mary dance i did 30 years ago

Phil and I are theologians. Our thoughts and wisdom embrace a spirit and power greater than ourselves. We coined theokinetics, bodyspirit, and the physicality of grace, to claim the essence of this experience as dancers.

During the sermon time Phil shared a video of me and my colleague Judith in “A Merry Meeting choreographed to a Brandenburg concerto, referencing the biblical story of the pregnant Mary going to see her older cousin Elizabeth. When they met, it seems, their babes, Jesus and John the Baptist, leapt in their wombs.  Now that’s kinesthetic identification!

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the dance and Phil’s reflections on the power of Motherhood. (My body still remembers this three decades later!)

Bored and Tired? Do a Time Off the Clock Dance

Ready to dance with wholeness?  Try this Off-the-Clock Dance: From Chronos to Kairos

Secret:  enter deeply into time or learn how to lose it.4be7d31e1be967b72ecdd707f3e22ab7

  • Do you know what time it is? Notice the clock.
  • Walk in any direction, moving in serpentine fashion. As you count to sixty, move to a steady beat for 
about a minute.
  • Keep moving in cadence if being in this kind of 
chronos time feels like dancing.
  • Now put on some music. When you are ready, 
switch to some “t’ai chi-like” moves (slow, smooth 
movements).
  • Glide through space. Open, extend, and stretch your 
limbs as you play with the space. Imagine dancing with the stars or a loved one in a far-off place.
  • Let this meditation stretch out for as long as you like.
  • When you come to an end, take a deep breath and 
let it out with a sigh.
  • Squirm around to come back to the present
  • Notice the clock again.
  • Does playing with time and space expand, limit, 
or connect you to a bigger reality?

 

Monday 5pm pst

MOVEMENT PATTERN TEACHING!
March 9  How to Lose your balance to Allow More Movement with Four Movement Styles: Drive, Hang, Swing, Shape.
March 16  Tired of holding back? Embrace The Fall. Get personal with Gravitas to learn how to fly.

March 25  Dancing for Healing begins!!!

Restoration, Exformation, Confession, Soul Retrieval to address Trauma, and Dancing on Behalf of (Intercession). Understanding what the body wants for healing has been one of the great wisdom’s I’ve received.  I would love to share it with any of you who are reading.

All sessions are an hour long and provide live coaching and community that helps us move into conscious contact with the Divine and affirms each person’s experience in our shared practice. Start any week and end when you want. 49.00 for four sessions. Email me at cynthia@interplay.org if you are interested in playing and praying.