Perhaps you too got to experience the recent exhibit “Disguise” at the Seattle Art Museum?! I was surprised once again by both the poignancy and playfulness of what the element of a mask can conger up in the imagination. Children are easily drawn to the imaginary realm of pretending, and masks can be like keys to transport us to a totally different place and time, and way of being.
Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry, Co-founders of the community, arts- based system of ideas and tools called InterPlay, share that many of us have grown up in a culture of critique and are actually accustomed to having our shortcomings pointed out. We have become used to recognizing and naming what’s wrong with this thing or that in the world around us. As a result, we believe that to improve things in ourselves and in the world, we need to name and fix what’s wrong.
“What if, instead, we practiced naming the good that we see in others and our own experience?” It seems strikingly spare and simple. This is what Affirmation is about in the InterPlay system. “We consistently practice looking for the good.”
When I started practicing, ‘looking for the good,’ I felt like a phony. I couldn’t just stop seeing what I thought was wrong in front of me. What happened over time was that I began to notice more and more what I felt drawn to and what inspired me, and what inspiration felt like in my body. I began to want MORE of what it felt like when I noticed the good. I then began to practice speaking more authentically about the good I was noticing. This takes practice for it to feel natural.
In early October, we will have the opportunity to experience the ‘art-making’ of others in our faith community during the Creativity Expo. We will have chances to practice noticing how we feel inspired by another’s creation, noticing what we’re drawn to. Looking for the good as a spiritual practice changes how you experience your self and others.
Harriet is teaching the 9 month-long InterPlay Life Practice program here in Seattle beginning this fall. InterPlay is an active and creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body. Learn more at www. Interplay.org.