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Canan's Notes #3:

Friday, July 19, 2019 

Art & Social Change Program

Oakland, CA

Cynthia Winton-Henry, InterPlay Co-Founder from Oakland is leading!


Cynthia Winton-Henry

This Friday morning, I had the honor to experience InterPlay Co-founder Cynthia’s leading for the first time. Cynthia has a regular Friday class, which is named “Gifted and Sensitive Bodies.” She is such an amazing woman - very sensitive, warm, deep, open and spiritual. I feel that one of Cynthia’s passions is learning more and more.


We started the class with a warm up by lying on the floor. At first, while I was lying on the floor, I felt that the Earth was my bed. During this time, all of my body was connecting and communicating with the Earth. It was so healing. Because we participants couldn’t see one another, I felt more free than I usually do. Sometimes, I feel distressed about not understanding the InterPlay leader’s directions (English is my second language :).  Then it helps to see the movement patterns of others, and I feel more comfortable. In the beginning, I was a little bit distressed and “missed” Cynthia’s directions from where I was lying on the floor. Gradually, I started to move according to “what my body wanted.” I let go of caring about the specific directions Cynthia was giving and found that decision to be so relaxing.

After warming up our bodies, Cynthia gave us a mini-lecture. We learned that according to the research, 1 person out of every 5 people is sensitive. I started to question myself: “Am I a sensitive person or not?” Cynthia said that when we think something over and over, that thought process is a consequence of being sensitive. Our bodies are also faster and huger than our minds, she explained to us, and that we are all connected to one another - body to body. This connection affects us in direct and indirect ways. 

For example, sensitive bodies are taking in a lot of information from other people’s bodies. If you are a sensitive person and take in a lot of another person’s information into your body, it is yours and you can work on releasing it. We don’t have the power to change others, but we can manage ourselves and how we feel. Wow! I agree with Cynthia! I don’t have the power to change everyone!

During this session, I recognized that I am a very sensitive person. I think so much about other people. I consider all of the details. Details that no one else thinks about. My skin is very sensitive, my head; in fact, all of my body is very sensitive. My complexion is often red, I have frequent headaches. What can I do for myself? These sensations resulting from other people’s situations are not mine to solve or manage. 


Cynthia said, “If you don’t know the tools, you cannot choose one.” Singing, painting, playing, shaking, dancing, walking, reading, or sleeping, for example, can be a tool for you to manage your stress. If you know what brings energy to you, if you know the tools, you can choose one. I need to think more about my choices! I know that I love walking in nature, water coloring, baking, doing InterPlay, and reading spiritual texts. What are my other choices?


Towards the end of our class, Cynthia said that we can hold onto an idea, project or a goal and see it as a dream. Even if it is something very hard to achieve. First of all, we can just be happy “to have” the dream and enjoy its presence in our lives. Because we are human and have a human system, we need to focus on what part of the dream is possible for us to manage.


Canan Arikan and her father Hamza Arikan

I remembered one of my dreams as we talked about our dreams. When I lived in Turkey, I dreamed about creating a productivity and art studio. When my father was young, he was creating the handmade wooden vases and decorative plates. After he retired from the furniture sector, he had more free time. I began dreaming about establishing a place where retired people could come with their grandchildren or by themselves. In this place, both elders and youngsters would have the opportunity to create handmade wooden toys together and communicate with one another.  The different generations would be able to earn some money and volunteer (like 4 hours payable, 4 hours volunteer). 

In this dream, these handmade colorful, beautiful toys would be distributed to the kids who need them all over the world. My father’s creative skills would merge with my management skills (I have a PhD in business, ABD), and we would work as a team.

In Turkey, creating this productivity and art studio was my dream. After coming to the United States, I felt that my dream was over, that it was impossible. After Cynthia’s inspiring talk, I started to dream again. I know that in the United States, there are many asylum seekers who are elders and don’t have jobs or activities to do during the day. Many are alone, bored, or don’t have friends to hang out with. These elders would appreciate a place to create, socialize, and have connections with the new generation of children. 


Handmade wooden art works,

made by Hamza Arikan


“Having” my dream, speaking about my dream, and writing about my dream, gives me the courage to pursue my dream! I can do it! Why not! I will dream about it more! Right now, I am making a promise to myself.  If I have a big house with a basement, I will make this productivity and art studio there! If I don’t have a big house, I will find a place in my community to make it happen. The answers will come to me! I have a dream (thank you Martin Luther King and Cynthia).

After a short break, Cynthia taught us about “Exformation” by leading us in a one hand dance, a basic InterPlay form. We can move the excess information out of our sensitive bodies in many ways! But the one hand dance is a lovely form to use for exformation! We need exformation a lot! 


As an asylum seeker, I carry lots of things in my body. I’m constantly taking in news about women with babies getting arrested in Turkey; information about my friends who are in jail in Turkey, and information from my family. As an asylum seeker, I am creating a new life here in the United States. I call it my “second life,” and it takes a lot of energy from my body. As a result, I love this “exformation” form. It helps me to release what I have in my body. After exformation, I feel ease, peace and light. 


Cynthia gave us the metaphor of a river as a way to think about exformation. Let’s say that there is a river. For us, it is good to know that there is this river. After knowing it is there, we can touch the river without taking a bath in it. We can visualize the river flowing fast over us. This river represents big data and information in our lives. When we become aware that there is a lot of information around flowing around us and into our bodies like a river, we can just connect with that data without dipping into it.  In this way, I can regulate the amount of information entering my sensitive body. 


NOTICING: At the end of Cynthia’s class, I noticed that as a sensitive body, I need more InterPlay, more Exformation. 

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