Thursday, September 22, 2016

Celebrating Al Lingo - 2016 Spirit of InterPlay Award

Dear Friends,

Next Saturday we gather at the Alternate Roots office for our 2016 International Day of InterPlay.   In addition to celebrating with InterPlayers around the globe for this FUNdraiser we will be recognizing Al Lingo with the "Spirit of InterPlay Award" for the creative gifts of peace, play, connection, advocacy and heart that he brings to multiple communities in the Atlanta area. 

Al Lingo - 2016 Spirit of InterPlay Awardee

Al is a lay Dharma Teacher in the Buddhist tradition of Plum Village and a Protestant Minister.  He facilitates the Breathing Heart Sangha in Decatur, Georgia.  Al has presented retreats for mindfulness practice combined with the psychosynthesis program, "Unconditional Love and Forgiveness" in the United States, Europe and India during the 1990's and into the first years of the twenty-first century.  In the 1960's he joined Martin Luther King Jr. as field staff in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference civil rights campaigns in Florida and Alabama.  In the 1970's and 1980's he served as a faculty member of the Ecumenical Institute and the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, Bombay, Manial, and Nairobi.  

Al is a faithful participant in Atlanta InterPlay events and is also a terrific performer with the Soul Print Players.
Al at a recent "Protection not Protest"
finding ways to "Get in the Way" for Justice
I had a great conversation with Al this morning and wanted to share with you some of the things we talked about:

Why are you an InterPlayer?
It Liberates my creativity.
For me it gives confidence in doing something together with other people that's new.
I've Observed how it liberates individuals in a group who otherwise wouldn't have that benefit.

How did you come to InterPlay?
Gretchen Wegner, a friend, decided to do InterPlay out in Oakland and my daughter is one of her best friends.  Gretchen inspired us including my daughter, who at the time was a nun, doing work out in Oakland with people in prisons and other settings.   I met the Atlanta InterPlay group when my daughter was going through leader training and then I attended my first InterPlay session with the co-found, Phil Porter and I saw dignity and beauty that came quickly.

What inspires you?
Releasing wisdom with spontaneity out of myself and recognizing my joy when I see spontaneous beauty being released by and with other people.

What are your favorite activities?

Being quiet, Being engaged with nature in plant, animal and human forms.
Finding ways to communicate unconditional love.
Finding gratitude again and again for my friends and enemies.

J.T. Johnson & Al Lingo 

How did you become an activist?
I became an activist in my late teens when I realized that people in need required attention whether they were in a Polio hospital or dying of MS as a young person. or when I identified oppression of racial prejudice in me, in my society and at my University of Texas and when I discovered how naive my idea of activism was and that it required a greater discipline and community cohesion in order to be expressed in a better way.  All of it was a reflection as a reaction to growing up in a conformist society with all its lies about consciousness.  This catalyzed me and my life into an adversarial and advocacy for a few of the severely oppressed people in the world - especially American black folks who symbolized the possibility of me participating in not only their liberation but my own. What inspires me today is being a resister to a war on deep human consciousness that is being waged in our society by the very few to dominate the very many.

If you could sit down to dinner with 3 people who would they be?  
Jesus of Nazareth
Shakyamuni (Buddha)
Mother Theresa

What recent story do you have to share?

5 things I gave to a young black teenager going off to college for the first year that I'm also writing down and sending to my grandson:
Some guidelines from an elder:
May you always smile regardless of circumstance of happiness or sadness.
May you strengthen and relax your own being before you address another.
May you practice saying NO again and again- thus protect your integrity and preserve your power!
May you practice saying YES first of all to the good in yourself, secondly to the good in others and thirdly my you practice saying YES to situations in life where you have to struggle to see the good.
May you practice a time of quiet in your life on a regular basis and ask yourself the questions:
What have I learned? What I have left incomplete or undone?

What does the InterPlay Spirit Award mean to you?
It means that perhaps my friends will recognize in their lives the gifts that they are to others.

We hope to see you all at noon on October 1st to celebrate InterPlay and the Soul Print Player's performance:  "The Art of Play:  A Civil Right,"  Al Lingo and the power of play in making a difference in our world.  Please RSVP to or at the event page and let us know you are coming since lunch will be provided.

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