Cynthia is the cofounder of the international arts based community practice, InterPlay. A theologian, teacher, artist and mentor, she’s authored books on somatic spirituality and taught at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and Sophia Center in Oakland. Known for her love of life and playfulness she is guided by 3 directives, Clarity of Vision, Efficiency of Energy, and Courage to Love. Her purpose is to foster freedom and to witness others as beloved and whole.
” Thank you for checking in here. I live along Cum Mayo, Roundhouse River, (the American River) in Fair Oaks near Sacramento. I live in community with my husband, adult children, granddaughter Liddy, and a thirty household Eco-housing neighborhood. This is a grand experiment in what it means to share life, meals, labor, and resources. I financially support the local Nisenan whose land is unceded.”
I am a sensitive artist, theologian, designer, writer, teacher, and spiritual guide. In 1989 I co-founded InterPlay with Phil Porter, an improvisational, art-based community-building practice designed to unlock the body's wisdom. InterPlay fundamentals creatively reinitiate people into their birthrights of movement, voice, story, and stillness. As people regain their basic artistry, I've enjoyed curating InterPlay performances around the world, like the Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human.
As a woman, I take my whiteness upon myself as a condition of my liberation. I'm determined to counter the harm done to people across cultures as I partner with Black, Indigenous, and marginalized guides on behalf of a healthy, earth-centered way of life. Examples of my commitment include renouncing my ordination in the Christian Church as I cannot hold holy vows where systemic racism and patriarchy prevail. I honor my Christian lineage, understanding that nobody can renounce their history.
The InterPlayful Ensoulment Arts that I teach are countercultural, earth-wise practices. In my commitment to racial equity and transformation, I’ve served on the YES board to support young activists, catalyzed Waking Up White workshops, and toured a workshop called Changing the Race Dance with Soyinka Rahim to share understandings and misunderstandings of socialized systemic racism. I co-developed the InterPlay Art Responder Practice to realign people to the beauty of a place after trauma.
Finding my alignment to body, soul, dance and art is the key to my research. This can never be an individual endeavor as body, soul, dance, and art interplay in social, energetic, and even cosmic ways. Along the way my studies allowed me to receive UCLA”s President’s Fellowship to study in Sierra Leone, an M.Div at Pacific School of Religion, doctoral work in “Theology and the Arts” at the Graduate Theological Union and advanced studies in Multicultural Education at the Western Institute for Social Research. I’ve been honored to receive Pacific School of Religion’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the Center for Art, Theology and Education Arts Minister of the Year award.
Highlights in my experience include pastoring a church, choreographing and performing with Body and Soul Dance Company, co-directing Wing It! Performance Ensemble, and teaching students at Holy Names University’s Sophia Center, Pacific School of Religion, Spiritual Directors International, Spiritual Directors of Color, University of Creation Spirituality, the National Chaplains Association, the International Expressive Arts Association, Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, the United Religions Initiative, and the Parliament of World Religions. I am blessed to have been in the presence of indigenous peoples in India, Africa, and the United States and to bear witness to teachings that transcend anything we know in the west.
My books include Chasing the Dance of Life: A Faith Journey by Apocryphile Press, Dance: The Sacred Art: Discovering the Joy of Movement by Turner Publishing, and Move: What the Body Wants by Woodlake Press. “Grace Operatives: How Body Wisdom Saved the World” in Phenomenologies of Grace edited by Marcus Bussey by Paraclete Press. I self- publish The Self-Care Playbook for the Art of Ensoulment that accompanies the year-long course.
My holy bows go to The Tree of Life, the living wisdom of first peoples, my ancestors, the Archangel Metatron, and Jesus. My guidance includes Ruth St, Denis, Thomas Merton, Doug Adams, Phyllis Magal, Katrina Browne, Sheila Collins, Carla de Sola, Barbara Elliot, Jake Empereur, Ruth King, Robert MacAfee Brown, Connors McConville, Roberta Meyer, Soyinka Rahim, Judith Rock, Ginny Whitelaw, Flora Wuellner and teachers at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley Psychic Institute, friends of Lois and creators of the 12 steps, Operation Crossroads Africa, and more friends than I can name.