Committing to the Economics of Grace

In 2021 InterPlay’s Co-Founder Cynthia Winton-Henry is graduating her role from Excecutive Director to Wisdom-Sharer. As part of celebrating Cynthia we’d like to share the story of how she (together with Phil Porter and others) built InterPlay on the ‘economics of grace”. Read her description below, taken from the Giving Wings Newsletter:

“Phil [co-founder of InterPlay] and I are on the same page about many things like art, grace-making, making a living, fun and changing the world. We are grateful that our collaboration ignited a kind of inspired pro-creation born of generosity. Generous, generation, and genius share the common root gene- “give birth, beget.” What a gift to have InterPlay as a legacy.  

Those who know us recognize how different we are from one another, gay and straight, shaping and swinging, interior and outgoing, emotionally level and and a bit wild. Phil and I are clear. Neither of us could have created or sustained InterPlay without the other. 

In the beginning, as artists and educational designers, we invented. We chose not to borrow from other systems or teachers. We gathered playmates, practiced, and performed. The photo above is from early “Wing It!” We hoped to “change the world,” to have an impact.

Performances messed with God, Sex, and Power, Fear and Abandon, and the Unbelievable Beauty of Being Human. We waded into deep waters, unearthing the challenges and splits in our bodies and socialization. 
What Einstein says is true. “Play is the highest form of research.” Improvisation as high play bonds people in a sacred way. It connects us to earth’s wisdom in human life. Phil and I added our particular genetic strengths of consistent leadership, designing repeatable practices, affection with heaps of affirmation, and a philosophy centered in the physicality of grace. The result? Magic. 

Generosity works because it’s a natural state. More creates more. To generate health, create health. Improvisation can be a hard sell so we seduced people through sneaky deep, affirming, and incremental steps. We found ways to follow the desires of our playmates and to include the wisdom of their body. We might be addicted to the joy we found. 
At the same time, we needed to pay attention to our financial lives. InterPlay grew through entrepreneurial strategies. For many years before InterPlay could pay us, we split our earnings three ways- 1/3 going to InterPlay.  

Since it was difficult to get grants for something hard to describe money-making had to come through teaching and a “product.” We began by creating ten principles of InterPlay, things we learned from the wisdom of our bodies. When InterPlayers from other parts of the country told us they wanted to bring our practice to their communities mentoring began. Eventually, the Life Practice Program and Training Program grew to provide a financial base for InterPlay. At each step of the way we had to hand things over in order for InterPlay to go where it wanted. 

Meanwhile, Phil and I worked other jobs. When outside work was no longer viable for me, Cynthia, I dared to find patrons to help me create InterPlay based–Body Wisdom Groups. I enrolled 100 people in a cycle of 10 groups each month that met for 9 months out of the year. Remarkably, the people I went to for support believed in my offerings and the InterPlay quest.  
Generosity creates generosity. Gratitude flowed in all directions.  

While taking care of himself, Phil remains the most generous contributor to InterPlay. His offerings and belief in our work are incomparable. His graphic art skills alone allow us affordable branding, professionalism, and beauty. Fortunately, neither of us mind hard work, meeting with people, or administrating as these play a huge role in entrepreneurial work. 

To this day, InterPlay is rooted in the Economics of Grace, in it being accessible to anyone who wants it, in supporting trained leaders to use InterPlay, innovate, and take InterPlay to people they think most need it.  

None of this would have happened, really without the generous, passionate band of people who regularly contribute to bring InterPlay as a racially equitable and transformative practice available to ANYONE!”

If you would like to support InterPlay through Giving Wings, click here