Pat Pothier: Soul of an InterPlayer

April 27, 2012


Take a deep breath and let it out with a big purple sigh…

From 1926-2012, Pat Pothier lived with dedication, love, curiosity and enthusiasm. She dove into life as a mother, nurse, academic, activist, and in her 70’s found InterPlay. Wonders emerged as she danced in the deep end.

Sharon Pavelda says, “I liked the old woman from the moment I laid eyes on her. There was something in the way she moved that allowed her ageless curiosity and wonder to surface in her graceful intelligence. The twinkling eyes were welcoming, but she was no pushover. She had a center and she moved from it. From her clothes, I deduced she was an artist.”

At her memorial Pat’s wonderful paintings and collages revealed the soul of this 86 year old InterPlayer!

In her 80’s Pat midwived the Oakland Monday Morning Women’s InterPlay, traveled to Australia to perform with InterPlay, and danced at New Spirit Church. She learned to let spirit lead.

Practice: Where is your bodyspirit leading you? Could you too float, dive, or be carried by desire?

Take a moment to follow Pat’s spirit into dancing with the waves, slow and smooth, carried by buoyant love.

Sharon Pavelda imagined dancing in Pat’s memory.

“I would begin with swimming movements, as if I were a shimmering  Mountain Rainbow Trout, dancing with She Who Wields the Rod and Reel. I would do a backstroke, remembering my admiration for her swimming practice and her decision to stop fly-fishing as she became more and more one with the fish in every stream.

Practice: Do you suffer? Can you allow the dance to buoy you? This takes courage. Up to her last days Pat was learning to breathe in new ways to move past pain.

Says Sharon,

I would let myself feel the aches and pains in my body as I moved, touching my face and other places where age and trauma have left their mark. I would alternate with movements of freedom and ease, ending in a position on the floor where I could enter the memory of the puppy pile of nurturing we would create after Monday Potlucks that Pat loved…I do not know how I will move to honor the courage I witnessed in Pat’s being. If I could, I would climb small mountains and cross a scary chasm and then somehow plunge underwater like a sea turtle. I know I would surface smiling.”

Pat wanted InterPlayce in Oakland to work for the hearing impaired, so the Pat Pothier Memorial Hearing Fund was created to raise $3,000 for necessary changes. To contribute call the InterPlay office at 510/465-2797 to contribute by credit card or make your check to “Body Wisdom” and send to the InterPlay office at 2273 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA  94612. Put Pat Pothier Hearing Fund in the subject or memo line.

Make a splash!




April 20, 2012
  • We are air. Take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh!
  • We are water. Slosh around.
  • We are fire. Give your nerves a flashing shake.
  • We are earth. Notice gravity pulling you into the bosom of the earth.

This weekend in Oakland EarthPlayers will become an earth village, eating sustainably, moving in rhythm with the day and uniting with beauty of our natural home. InterPlay will support us as embodied and playful Earth!

Sustainability results from noticing and following the natural world, a transformative, high form of spiritual practice. An old InterPlay friend, Mark Liebenow, beautifully recounts this in his relationship to Yosemite.

What do you want more of in your own EarthPlay? What would make it easier to have on a regular basis?

A Practice: First Fall IN LOVE with where you are earthed! Try this EarthPlay practice! You too can “Be a Tree!”

Check the Be A Tree Facebook Page and add your tree to the forest!

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20100806 1331 - Cape Cod - North Shore - large oyster shell - IMG_2042 (Photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL))

Oakland InterPlay will honor the earth on behalf of you. We will Plant Ourselves in Love, Play with Each Other, Share our Earth practices, Eat, “Pway”, Sing, Dance, and Create Ritual.  Perhaps best of all, we will REST and hang out together creating more permission to use less and love more as we connect with the deep wisdom of h-earth and h-om-e!

 People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Raising a hand in blessing!

Shadow Fascination

April 13, 2012

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

Shake out the week.
Shake out one arm. Shake out the other arm. Shake out whatever you are sitting on.

When certain behaviors or substances get control of you don’t use instruments of interrogation. Use a black light!

Art, ritual, and performance rock as ways to honor the positive or negative shadows. Too good? That’s a shadow. Too controlling? That’s a shadow. Do you know when you rebel that your shadow is love?

We can’t eliminate shadows in life, at home, or in politics so we might as well Dance with them.

“Shadow Dance” from Dance– A Sacred Art by Cynthia Winton-Henry, page 90-96

1.     Raise a hand and find your shadow. Notice its shades and shapes.

2.     Follow your moving hand. As your hand rises, the shadow might get larger and more ethereal. As it comes down close to the surface of the floor, table, or wall, it may focus and darken

3.     Play around, making weird shapes with your shadow. It’s not important to make them into something, unless you can’t resist doing so.
4.     Dancing with your shadow, notice your shadow as a faithful accomplice and yet not exactly you.

“Casting a shadow is physically unavoidable. Yet when it comes to our “emotional or moral shadows”—anything deemed opposite of our lighter, loving selves; anything too emotional, weird, or dangerous—we do everything in our power to hide them. Those who value love and joy are often shocked by their feelings of hate, doubt, or rage.

What are some things you’re not supposed to do? Turn a few of these behaviors into ten-second spiritual “No-No! dances. The Divine knows and accepts you any way you are, so why not give a few of these a try?

Something you Shouldn’t Be or Do?

No-No! Dances

1.“You should be peaceful.” Do a ten-second ranting dance. Stomp around. Punch the air.

2. “You should be prim and proper.” Dance for ten seconds with your butt sticking out.

3. “You should be demure!” Dance sassy, hands on your hips or thrusting your pelvis.

Some people go big with all this. Check out this “drama!”

Others just put shadow toys on their altar. I do.

For more on Shadow Dancing email me at and I’ll send a pdf. on Shadow Dancing.
Share in the comments how you play with your shadow.

In the meantime, Taking a deep breath. Letting it out with a sigh,

Keep playing!


Open to Mystery

April 6, 2012


Shall we take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh? There are tears and laughter and great ee-gads inside. Shall we honor them with humble sighs or more?

To listen to the heart more deeply, moan or tone. Journey from tone to tone for a minute.

Shall we shake the tender nervous system so deeply impacted by this world? Nerves need to shake! This is more fun when someone drums.

Play is mystery’s mechanism. But, its easy to lose so I created this in honor of living and letting go. Enjoy.

Play goes sideways, just like Mystery. That’s why InterPlay is a sneaky deep  practice.

I invite myself to do things for no good reason and to let it all go in rest. The angels, ancestors, and spirits beg us to play. Great gurus and teachers implore us to rest and say, “do not look for happiness, express it! Play with it! If you meet someone who has it blow them a kiss.”

Raising hand to hand and heart to heart,