Kate is a certified InterPlay leader, bodyspirit mentor, and professional licensed counselor. Here she talks about her love of InterPlay.
I appreciate the invitation to talk about my call this morning. It is a call that grew directly out of my participation here at Seekers. I particularly want to express my deep gratitude to Sue Johnson. I now know that “call” is not about what I am good at doing or even necessarily what I love to do but rather it is that thing for which I am willing to do all sorts of tasks and fulfill numerous expectations that I would otherwise avoid doing at all costs! It should not be much of a surprise for those who know me that InterPlay is fitting that definition of call for me these days. For those of you who don’t know what InterPlay is – it is part spiritual discipline, part artform, part community builder, and mostly fun. For the sake of InterPlay, I am juggling all sorts of details, trying to raise money, booking and finding space, recruiting participants, and getting in front of people to perform and lead. Recently, I organized and led a Symplaysium here at Seekers for therapists, spiritual directors, and coaches with Cynthia Winton-Henry. In the past year, I have performed with the Big Yes InterPlay Troupe at retirement communities and other venues. Billy and I have led the year-long InterPlay Leadership program for the DC area. With Kevin B., I am actively integrating InterPlay into my private psychotherapy practice. And at the moment, Rachel S. is helping me to bring InterPlay to N Street Village.
So what about InterPlay do I believe in so whole-heartedly? It brings me joy, a sense of connection, and a sense of belonging to the world. I am in awe of the wisdom of bodies – mine and others. I love watching the light in people’s eyes as they connect and laugh and discover that they can create a story, a song, or a dance that they never previously imagined to be possible. I love the physical touch, the body to body contact, and the physical sense of community that it all creates. Phrases like “the body of Christ” and “divine incarnation” have become living breathing words for me. Angeles Arrien said that a people who have lost a vibrant connection with their stories, their songs, their dances and their stillness have lost their souls. It is this refinding of soul that seems so compelling to me.
One of my earliest memories was when I was about four years old. It was a beautiful bright early morning and I was sitting on my favorite rock in front of my house. I remember the distinct thought that I was not connected to the world around me in the way that I wanted to be – and that it wasn’t because of me but rather because I hadn’t been born into a community that knew how to teach me to be connected. That sense of vague emptiness and longing has stayed with me for many years. I am beginning to understand it as a loss of soul, a loss of groundedness, and an inability to have my awareness to be fully in the present.
Last January Billy and I were so incredibly fortunate in being able to spend an afternoon doing InterPlay with the group of young people from Bokamoso. Energetically, their presence was powerful. They were rooted in their bodies through their songs and their dances. When Billy was leading the warm-up, it was intriguing the way they fell naturally into following him. At one point he was doing something that we call “fake tai chi.” He was doing intricate movements with his back to half of the participants. “Fake tai chi” is intended to be followed in spirit rather than in detail but with this group the whole room was filled with movers who copied each gesture with complete precision. They were truly moving as one body. It was beautiful and so different from what I had ever experienced before. That afternoon we ended with a form called “dancing on behalf of.” I ended up in a small group that included a young man from Bokamoso whose name was Becki. He danced for me on behalf of my son, Philip, who was having a rough time in that moment. I can remember all of his movements and the overwhelming gratitude and closeness that I felt to him when he announced afterwards to me that he knew from his dancing that everything was going to be alright with Philip. It was because of that special moment with him that I felt a connection with him and a particular grief a few months later when hearing of his death from lightening. With InterPlay I find myself falling in love all the time and it isn’t always easy.