Friday, March 4, 2016

A wonderful week of InterPlay

Dear friends,

I'm sitting here with a cup of tea reflecting on the week and I realized what a full and satisfying week I had, in spite of some challenges, and I wanted to share.  

This week on Tuesday I was feeling blue (my dog Merlin, 16, is in the active process of dying) and I have to be honest I was contemplating not driving into town for a class I was scheduled to lead at the Pre-Trial Detention Center.  I checked in to see if one of the Inmates was still incarcerated and would be attending - she had been at the last 2 classes and was LOVING InterPlay and I knew that if she was going to be there I was showing up.  We usually have between 2-6 people on any given week in this program.  They are women awaiting trial, usually with limited funds to pay for bail and the charges range from D.U.I., loitering, traffic violations, etc.  

Atlanta Capitol Building 
It was a beautiful day to drive to Downtown Atlanta and I when I arrived we had six women who were willing to play!  It was one of those sessions where InterPlay magic happened.  We babbled, we moved our bodies, we played with Walk, Stop, Run and Following and Leading. We laughed, we cried and we connected.

Thursday, provided a double dose of InterPlay.  I started the morning co-leading with  +Ruth Schowalter at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church with friends participating in the Friendship Center who live with severe mental illness.  Ruth led the babbling and following and leading, hand dances and a beautiful group hand dance while I led the warm up and Walk, Stop, Run and toning.  Some of the noticing the group shared included feeling hope, joy, warmth, connection and love.  It was such a gift to connect and be present for this group.

Part of the group of InterPlayers who participated at Holy Comforter this week

From here I headed North to Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, GA.

Lee Arrendale is a Medium Security Prison
Here I had the privilege of co-facilitating a performance with +Jennifer Denning.  We met up with +Wende Ballew, director of Reforming Arts who escorts us and deserves a big shout out of thanks!  It started snowing big fat snow flakes when we arrived at the gym so our ladies were arriving wet and concerned about hair and warming up!  We have worked with this group of women since October in part thanks to an Artistic Assistance Grant from Alternate ROOTS, (The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon, The Kresge Foudation).  

After a quick warm up we started the performance and the theme was respect.  The ladies had an audience of 100+ other inmates (this prison holds over 1600 women)  and 2 guests we brought with us.  They started with the Pittsburgh form with following and leading and 3 sentence stories on Respect.  During the performance there were big body stories, side-by-side stories, solo-dances, foundation and decoration songs, another Pittsburgh form with made up language about being disrespected and so much more!  We finished the performance with a hand-to-hand dance with audience participation.  You could feel the connection and joy in the room.  Sometimes it's so powerful I have a hard time putting it into words but I think Jennifer did a great job when she shared, "It is always so affirming to witness the magical connections and aliveness that happen through the sharing of InterPlay. Grateful. Grateful. Grateful.."

Snow falling in Alto, Ga on Thursday

Gratitude is truly the feeling that moves in and through my body as I think about InterPlay and incorporating it into my work in the world.  I am so grateful for meaningful and powerful work that aligns with my values.  I have been a social worker for over 20 years and have worked in many different settings and with many diverse populations. Bringing in InterPlay which is founded on the ethic of play and yet is so sneaky deep is transforming for myself as a professional and those I work with.  I am grateful for my co-leaders at Atlanta InterPlay and their wisdom and playfulness they bring.  We finished out the week meeting together this morning to discuss Give InterPlay Day coming up on Thursday, April 7th where friends and family can help support this important work we are doing. We also talked about the upcoming Untensive Nda Ku Ona (I see U): From Fear to Promise! June 3rd, 4th and 5th which will be lead by Coke Tani and Masankho Banda.  So go ahead and register because it's going to by awesome!

In Peace and Play,


P.S.  As I fell asleep last night I realized I forgot to tell you about the two InterPlay events I participated in vs. led.  Monday night I danced my prayers with the online InterPlay class lead by Nancy Pfaltzgraf (and usually +Cynthia Winton-Henry  but she was prepping for the anniversary of InterPlayce) and it was a wonderful time of community with InterPlayers all around the world.  Tuesday, Jennifer and I participated in the Waking Up White Class facilitated by +Katie Hymans  & +Cynthia Winton-Henry  where we look at our piece of the race puzzle.  It was a class full of wisdom and awareness that continues to help me grow and learn as a human being.  Whew!  It was a full week!



  1. What a full life you have darlin' and Interplay is helping you navigate it with grace and wisdom. thanks for sharing

  2. So glad the performance at the prison was celebratory and punctuated by beautiful snowflakes.