Wednesday, September 2, 2015

COMFORT IN: Returning to and loving the familiar after delving into new ways of being

COMFORT IN HEART. (art by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for COMFORT and finding COMFORT in the familiar! 

In recent months, I have been incorporating "new ways of being" in the fabric of my life, and these gargantuan changes resulted in my feeling a bit off kilter, hence few blog postings. Here in Hotlanta, Georgia, where I live (actually Decatur), my time in June was spent preparing for these events in July and August:

Teaching two English as a second language courses for three weeks in a summer program at Georgia Tech. I strove to weave a few InterPlay improvisational forms in my instruction and to be a "new" improved version of my earlier teaching self (ha ha ha, ho ho ho).
EMBODYING ENGLISH. This is the public speaking class I taught 16 students visiting from various Chinese universities. Incorporating InterPlay forms to my instruction was successful, producing energized and engaged students. Similar outcomes also occurred in the American English pronunciation course I taught. (photo by LI student)

One week was spent in North Carolina, learning about the arts organization, Alternate Roots, performing "Embody the Mother" there with Lynn Hesse, introducing InterPlay to members, and becoming a voting member of Alternate Roots. Each day challenged me, physically, mentally, socially, and creatively. Roots members are talented and social justice minded. The days were crammed from morning to night (all night) meetings, workshops, information exchanges, and performances. There was so much to learn and absorb and discover where I might fit in and serve the organization's mission.
EMBODYING THE MOTHER. How exciting to perform "Embody the Mother" at my first Alternate Roots week! Lynn Hesse and I were also paid for our performance! Yay! This was our fifth performance with a piece that we crafted over a period of months in a program called "Fieldwork." (photo by volunteer)

Then another week in August, I flew to Racine, Wisconsin, to attend my first national InterPlay leaders gathering during which I was celebrated with others for becoming a Certified InterPlay Leader during 2015. This was another week filled with all day meetings, workshops, play, and performances with many people I had met online but was meeting in person for the first time. The experience was profound and rewarding. InterPlayers are incredibly fun and deep human beings. The discussion we had concerning race, facilitated by our leaders of color, was rich and yet disturbing. I encountered my own feelings about the privilege of being white and learned in a deeper and more personal way how negatively impacted people of color are in our society. I will continue processing one of the most current pressing social issues in the United States right now.
INTERPLAY CELEBRATION. Oh yes! InterPlay co-founders, Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter, greeted all of us newly certified InterPlay leaders at the end of our celebratory march down the aisle through a cascade of feathers and ribbons strewn by other InterPlay leaders. What fun! We also had our toes anointed with green nail polish by Soyinka Rahim and graced with green glitter by Cynthia. Something to savor, something to have! (photo by Marty Redwing Roddy)
Then there was the weekend that followed the InterPlay leaders gathering! It was devoted to CathyAnn Beaty's facilitation of "InterPlay Way" back here in Georgia.  The InterPlay Way is designed to provide tools, ideas and practices from the InterPlay system that can support the work of therapists, social workers, clergy, chaplains, recovery coaches, life coaches and counselors, and others in closely-related fields. I truly appreciated the opportunity to go deeper into InterPlay and embody "self-care" during two-and-a-half days.
INTERPLAY WAY.  What is self care? InterPlay's Body Wisdom office has developed a program, "InterPlay Way," facilitated by CathyAnn Beaty that uses five InterPlay forms that addresses this question. The costumes were a bonus of the location--at Norcross's Lionheart Performing Arts Centre and not a part of InterPlay Way. (photo by Nona Johnson)
After the summer of dipping my toes into a life separate from my husband Chiboogamoo , who is my boon companion, and deep into the ARTS, I ask: WHO AM I?

Yes! I am back to asking this question--WHO AM I--again!

COMFORT IN. When asking this question, I find comfort in returning to the familiar. I AM in the center of this image (The Hallelujah figure is a symbol of my SPIRIT)....and I am "in" each of the images surrounding Hallelujah. I AM ALL OF THESE. I am the comforting wallaby. I am the Wandjina, strong and creative. I am the lotus flower with its feet in the mud, blooming nevertheless. I am HEART beating, growing, and aflame with passion. And the pink snake? I am her too with her infinite capacity to shed old skin that is no longer serving her. (Art by Hallelujah Truth)
As I allow my recent experiences to soak in to my entire body, I am in need of the familiar. I return to my drawing of Hallelujah, putting her in the CENTER, surrounded by other aspects of my psyche. Upon waking this morning, I knew I needed Mother Snake to be pink!
Hallelujah for resurrection! For return to self! To something familiar in the midst of all that is foreign because of its newness. That said, WHO AM I NOW?
I propose that I am the one who perpetuates, one who steadfastly roots herself in her uniquities and creates. I am the one who blooms easefully and joyfully....How about you? SOUL BLOG with me and tell me about your Coffee with Hallelujah!

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