Monthly Archives: September 2015

Joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart….


I have been thinking a lot about joy, ever since I came across these words by Henri Nouwen, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it.” So when I was driving home from my Zumba class this morning, feeling energized and silently asking my deepest self what steps toward my vision of teaching more InterPlay, developing Body Wisdom Groups and engaging more coaching clients and I happened to see this HUGE teddy bear on the lawn of a house I was passing, I simply had to drive around the block so I could stop and take a picture. All the while I was thinking “Gladys would love this!”

Now you need to know about Gladys. Gladys LOVES Teddy Bears. I mean she really, really loves Teddy bears; big bears, small bears, medium size bears, bears you can squeeze and cuddle, bears that adorn every nook and cranny of her home. She even has an artificial Christmas tree that has nothing but bears as ornaments. If you are thinking of buying Gladys a gift, it’s simple just go on a bear hunt!

While far too many of us have left our teddy bears and other child-like wonders behind, Gladys remains filled with the love, the wonder and the joy of a child as she shows you her bears. In fact I’d say that Gladys is filled with the love, wonder and joy of a child in everything she does and says. I think that’s why she had so many dear friends. To be in her presence is to be in the presence of JOY! Oh don’t get me wrong, she has handsome very tough times, times when I’m sure it was a struggle to continue to see the world with the wonder of a child. But even in those hard times it was clear to me that way down deep she chose each and every day to claim joy as er birth rite and share joy as her mission!

One of the ways she shares this joy is through her radiant smile. But the most wonderful way she shares it is through the most life-giving hugs you have ever experienced. In fact, when Gladys first came to the congregation I was serving in Brookfield, WI. she literally hugged us back to life. We had just gone through a very difficult time and I was personally questioning everything about my call to ministry, when in walked this woman with a smile that lit up the room, a hug that warmed you to your toes and a joy that was simply contagious. Plus she wanted to sing in the choir! It wasn’t long before we all smiled a little more and hugged a while lot more and started to feel the” joy, joy, joy joy down in our hearts!”

I think perhaps Gladys had so much joy to share because she choose to do those things that fed her spirit and kept the flame of joy burning in her heart. She loves to sing and so she joyfully shared her voice. She has a degree in Theater arts and so she joyfully shared her talents not only in the community theater, but by leading the children’s Christmas pageants at church. She loves to entertain and so she opened her home for meeting and parties and shared suppers. She loves people and so she goes out of her way to stay connected with people she has met along her life’s journey.

I doubt that Gladys would think of the things she does as consciously choosing joy. But because her voices come from her heart, I believe that her cup overflows with joy and the world is blessed!

Thank you Gladys for shinning the light of joy in my life!


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And a little child shall lead them…

Masters of Play!

One of my delights over the past 2 1/2 years has been living within driving distance of our first grandchild, Ben, who turned four this past May. One of the joys of being a grandparent is that you have time to simply observe your grandchildren at play. A couple of weeks ago  when I was at his house, Ben was so involved with what he was doing that I had an extended time to just sit and watch and learn from a master of play!

As I witnessed his adventure, I noticed his imagination and how every object held the possibility of being something new and completely different from what I understood it to be! I watched as he created stories, made up characters and occasionally gave me a part to play in his elaborate drama. I noticed how he slipped effortlessly and totally unselfconsciously from singing to a talking in a made up language and back to English with complete delight in just hearing the sound of his voice. It made little or no difference to him whether I understood what he was saying or singing; he did and that was all that mattered. I also noticed the joy he experienced as he moved about the room, making objects fly and dance and twirl. But I also noticed his delight in having me witness his play,  It seemed to matter that I saw him and watched him and delighted in him, because once or twice someone else came in the room and Ben was quick to call me back if I started to talk to someone else!

A few days after this amazing afternoon I was leading one of my InterPlay Classes and we were doing a back and forth form called “I Could Talk About…” One of the things I said was “I could talk about watching my grandson play…” Then later my partner invited me to do a DT3 about watching him play. (A DT3 is an InterPlay Form that involves moving/dancing then talking x3)  As I did I heard myself say how interesting it was that he did naturally all the things that we invite participants in an InterPlay class to do… he used his imagination, made up words, talked in a made up language, sang, moved, used his voice, told his story, connected with me and experienced joy and delight in simply being witnessed. How easy it was for him and how hard it is for us as adults! As my DT3 continued I came to a place of longing for all people -children and adults- to have the opportunity and the freedom of such creative, imaginative, play.

As I was noticing my body wisdom after I finished this form,  I remembered our recent InterPlay Leaders Gathering and the observation one of our leaders of color made that the things we do in InterPlay -movement, story-telling, having our voice, being still and connecting with others- these  things are birth-rite practices. They are part of what it means to be human, to be whole and I believe to be holy.  And I felt a deep sadness for those children who are denied any or all of these birth-rite practices. And I felt a deep desire to do what I could to create a world where all children and all adults can freely and joyfully move, have their voice, tell their story, find stillness, connect with others and be witnessed with joy and delight.

So if you have the good fortune to have children around, take some time and let these masters of play lead you back into the joy of your birth-rite practices and you just might discover the One who has been waiting to dance with you, sing with you, play with you, listen to you, delight in you and show you all that you might become. While you’re at it you might also check out the InterPlay website to see if there are interPlay classes happening near you or contact me to see about the possibility of playful on-line coaching that will empower you to lead joyfully and live playfully as you discover the wisdom of your own body!

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Finding Grace!


While I have a friend named Grace, I haven’t lost her, so she is not who I am trying to find! (Although seeing her right now would be a Grace moment in more ways than one!) What I am talking about is something I learned from my practice of InterPlay®; finding, discovering, experiencing, waking up to grace in the here and now…one moment at a time!

For most of my life “grace” was something you said before you ate, a somewhat vague theological term or something I sang about in songs such as Amazing Grace! I never thought of grace as something I experienced in my body; something as close to me as the air I breathe or the blood coursing through my veins. But in fact grace can be or in fact is as close as that. And it is not something we have to work for or earn. It is the birthright of every person; maybe even the birthright of the whole of creation!

So where do we find grace?

How do we find grace?

I began to awaken to this new way of understanding grace when Phil Porter -one of the co-founders of the system of practice known as InterPlay® was leading a retreat called The Secrets of InterPlay, and he asked us how we experienced stress in our bodies. The group was quick to name a whole plethora of things like -tight chest, shallow breathing, clamped jaws, abdominal discomfort, headaches and the like. Then Phil said, “OK, now shake that out and think of the opposite of stress…. what does that feel like in your body?” Although it took a little longer, the list was eventually just as plentiful -softness in the face, openness in the chest, deep breathing, relaxed shoulders, ease throughout the body, a smile on your face and the like. “This,” Phil went on to say, “is what in InterPlay we call the Physicality of Grace.”

So the “Grace Key” (a name coined by InterPlay co-founder Cynthia Winton-Henry) that which allows us to find Grace, is to notice what elicits these “opposite of stress” sensations. Another way of saying that is to ask: “who or what are our grace-makers?” Then, when we have identified our grace-makers, we can choose to do more of those things. or have more of those experiences. Each of us has our own rich tapestry of grace-makers. Here are some of mine:

  • dancing -almost any kind, but especially the improvisational just letting my body move to a piece of music kind of dancing
  • sitting by a body of moving water
  • watching a sunset
  • playing with my grandson
  • being with my husband
  • smelling a rose
  • walking through a flower garden
  • a heart to heart talk with a friend
  • connecting with others in movement, song and story-telling (InterPlay®)
  • breathing slowly and deeply and then silently naming the blessings in my life
  • touching the deep wisdom of my own true nature
  • hearing a song that touches my heart
  • walking a Labyrinth
  • laughing at something truly funny

What are some of your grace-makers?

One of the things I deeply appreciate about a regular practice of InterPlay is that I am reminded of my grace-makers and have the opportunity to reconnect with the grace that permeates all of life and dwells in the core of my own being. And the more I find grace in the simple ordinary bits of my life the more I am able to lead joyfully and live playfully whether it is leading a group or my own life. If you have experienced InterPlay, you know what I mean. If you have not, I would encourage you to contact me or check out the InterPlay website to find out about upcoming events  or if there are regular InterPlay classes near you.

Our bodies were created for grace, in grace, with grace and we all need to find grace in the ebb and flow of our day to day lives!

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