GLOBAL SIS: InterPlays with Guiding Words

Happy New Year to Global SIS: InterPlay! Fourteen of us women jumped into our first online connection on Saturday, January 18th, 2020. 

Four women from China, two from Japan, one from Italy met with those of us living on Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Still we were diverse - with one woman from Iran and my collaborator Canan Arikan from Turkey. We American women signed in from North Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, and Washington, DC.

Our specific goal for this 2-hour online global sister gathering was to find a guiding word for 2020 through play - storytelling, drawing, moving, and noticing. Of course, it almost goes without saying that we also have the goal to learn, inspire, and connect with one another; thus experiencing the warmth and sustenance of global sisterhood.

Using Zoom as the platform for our playshop (thank you to national InterPlay for the use of their Body Wisdom account), we dove into breakout rooms on three different occasions. Paired and placed in different online "rooms" with one another, SISters have the opportunity to get know one another in a one-on-one InterPlay activity.
“I found the online experience with SIS to be intimate. I was expecting to enjoy the connection, but I expected to feel, perhaps, a little removed. The interactions were fluid and natural. The breakout session was particularly engaging. It gave me an opportunity to know one of the participants from overseas a little better, and we formed a bond.” Liz Lescault, United States

A fun component to this playroom without walls is that we have the opportunity to "move" or "dance" in our home, classroom, or work spaces - an activity that we don't normally engage in if it weren't for online Global SIS. 

ONE-HAND DANCE. Once we had played around with word groups through storytelling in breakout rooms, Canan led us in a one-hand dance. We moved on behalf of the words we had chosen that we felt could guide us in 2020.

Before we said good-bye to one another, we spoke of the dreams we had for ourselves and for our communities. We acknowledged the civil rights work that Martin Luther King, Jr., did in the United States and the dream that he had for all of us - that we be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.

One of the surprises for me is that every SISter chose more than one guiding word! Below are some photos of these guiding words for that were chosen for 2020. I encourage everyone to write the words in their language and to post them in a living or work space where they would see them every day.

SPANISH GUIDING WORDS. - Diana, from Argentina, did not participate in January's online playshop received the word list offering guiding words and selected those you see above.

CHINESE GUIDING WORDS. -Yue (top) and Tianqi (bottom)
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Many thanks to all of the participants who succeeded in downloading Zoom and getting online with us. A special shout out to our Japanese SISters, who got online with us at 10:30 pm their time and stayed up to past midnight. Canan and I are grateful to Yue Can, who is such a supportive InterPlay SISter in her advocacy of InterPlay resulting in new SISters to play with. We feel blessed by our Atlanta "Wise SISters," who joined us - Sara from Iran and Rachel from Decatur. We were so surprised and pleased to have seasoned InterPlay Leaders Darlene from North Carolina and Liz from DC hop on and play. As always, thanks to the co-founders Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter for their support in multiple arenas.

Find out more about the work that Canan Arikan and Ruth Schowalter are doing with Sustaining International Sisters (SIS) and InterPlay at


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