Our Bodies as Art

Friday Morning Virtual InterPlay: Our Bodies as Art

Painted feet and painting with feet

Painted feet and painting with feet

  • Masks of Expanding Light body poem by Chicago InterPlayer Mary Susan Chen
  • The Omo People visual musical meditation
  • Big Body Story by Australian InterPlayer Lillian Rodrigues-Pang  written DT3
  • Decorate yourself! practice
  • Raise A Hand in Blessing move to music of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Fences”


Take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh….

Masks of Expanding Light body poem

by InterPlayer Mary Susan Chen, Northside Valley, St. Croix, Ill.

I have come to tell you all that each of you is a healer.
You have within you the powers of the heavens
and the powers of the earth.
These powers come together within you.
Within your body, within your life.
As your spirit takes action in the world,
Divine creation continues to evolve.
Keep growing, keep creating, keep being You.
The original wonderful beautiful You
that has been born into this world as a blessing to All.
Sometimes you may be afraid.
Keep showing up.
Sometimes you may want to hide.
Don’t hide for too long.
You are necessary, precious
and oh so valuable.

The Omo People visual musical meditation

sent by InterPlayer Devi Whetterer, Kansas City

Watch the YouTube video of some incredible body art.


Big Body Story by Australian InterPlayer Lillian Rodrigues-Pang

I stood looking into a concrete enclosure housing three echidnas. The
enclosure looked small, the sand and dead trees fake. It all seemed like a
depressing attempt to cage an animal in an ‘appealing’ manner. My kids
always want to look at the echidnas, whenever we go to a zoo it’s the one
exhibition they have to see.

Zoe and Oscar climbed as high onto the walls as they could and then
flung themselves over – hanging half their body into the echidnas space,
laughing, giggling, pointing. One of the smaller echidnas came trundling
forward. In hunting mode, it ignored my children’s noise and all of our
stares. There were ants to be had.

As the echidna advanced the ants scattered. Left, right and some straight
ahead up the wall and out of the reach of that deadly snout. Good move I
thought to myself. Surprisingly the echidna did not divert and chase the
ants that scattered to the side. It made straight for the wall. Pushing its
snout and head as close to the wall as possible it stared to climb. Those
little side paddle paws scraped away at the concrete till this little hunting
beast was standing parallel to the wall.

With her tummy up against the concrete barrier the echidna stretched its
little snout and neck as far as it possibly could along the wall. She
paddled one extra time, stretching even higher. She stood suspended in
mid air standing on two feet for at least two tenths of a second …
Zoe, Oscar and I held our breath…

And then it fell…

Ka plonk

Straight backward onto its back. Looking too much like a turtle.

Zoe, Oscar and I screamed with laughter.

The echidna kicked hard and turned herself over. “Well you don’t see that
everyday now do you?” I laughingly stated to my kids. Movement from
the echidna made us quiet down. She was on the advance again. She
walked straight to that wall. She lifted her snout, bent her neck up and
started to paddle. Up the wall she went again.

Zoe, Oscar and I were stunned into silence.

Paddle paddle paddle. She was upright again. One extra stretch, one extra paddle and she was standing on two legs AGAIN. One hundred, two hundred


She went straight backwards again. Zoe, Oscar and I stayed for 15 more
minutes. She made two more attempts. She seamed to have a lot of gun.

We experienced one of the best-shared memories of our lives.

I am an Australian born female with blood that is the colour of the world. My mother is a mixed blood born in El Salvador. Her mother is a native Pipil Indian. She learnt to speak Spanish as a young child but Nawat was her first language. She married a Palestinian man. You see when the fall of Palestine was imminent the boy that was to be my grandfather got onto a boat. There were eight boys from the one family all with their youngest uncle. All set sail with no firm destination other than freedom. They found land on the coast of Central America. The found freedom and forged opportunity love and life in El Salvador.

My father is also a mixed blood. He was born in Australia to a Scottish mother and a Portuguese father. Don’t ask me how that happened at the time!

I suppose I see myself as the result of world politics. All these people moved, floated and lived as a result of world tension and political opportunism. And here I am.

I speak Spanish and English. When I was younger we faced a lot of racism. My brothers and I all have dark olive skin, dark eyes and dark hair. My mother and two older brothers have all been hospitalised from racial beatings. At a young age we started martial arts. As a result of that I now speak a fair bit of Japanese. I married a Chinese man and took lessons in Mandarin.

Is it any wonder that I went though a bit of an identity crisis!

So how do echidnas in a zoo and my confused sense of self-identity have
anything to do with InterPlay?

InterPlay has encouraged me to move my body, to dance, sing, make
music and play. Interplay forms allow me to move a concern or an issue
out of the whirlpool of concern within my mind. I do not have to speak it
to another. I can dance the delicate nature of balance for myself, on
behalf of another, speak it in gibberish or simply watch it in someone
else’s story/dance.

I had a tendency to take myself too seriously. I have now integrated play
into my every day. Like the echidna – not everything has to be viewed as
a trap!

Practice: Decorate yourself!

A deep sigh, a painted toe, a scarf, a tattoo, a pen on skin doodle. Let the story out!

Raise A Hand in Blessing

When we dance hand to hand we often practice opening the space between us. We can often feel that connection even when we aren’t right together. Raise a hand in blessing. Put the YouTube of the Omo people on again. Let them be your muse as you move to the music of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s “Fences.” Turn in a full circle (or not) and know that others are sending blessings to you too.

Take a deep Breath and Let it out with a Sigh……

Visual arts a challenge? Want to doodle your prayers? Get Memphis InterPlayer Sybil MacBeth’s Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God.


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