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Lori Wynters

Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT

What is the life giving choice in this moment?  What are the infinite ways we each inhabit our body,  breath, song, radiance, knowing, the deeper wider center /truth of who we really are?

I am a theologian, psychologist, educator, mama, musician, performance artist and  mystic…not necessarily in that order. Play, brachot, love, work, connection, relationship and belonging matter most.  Our personal epistemologies and theologies, how we come to know what we know and how we listen with each other about how we know, what we know, intrigue me…I think our potential and “ruach” pulse in the ‘places in-between’, in that “liminal” space…the places where boundaries dissolve or blur as we stand on the edge of who we are, preparing ourselves to move across perceived limits of who we think we are, into that deeper wider being/knowing.

The practices of writing, language-ing, singing, improvisational music, dance/movement, story telling, theatre, yoga, aikido, teaching and other forms of contemplative art-making and somatic studies allow this place of “becoming”, inviting us to notice what ‘shows up’ and to follow that energy with our breath and full presence.  I am intoxicated with words and their etymologies, particularly Hebrew, Arabic and Aramaic. "Ayeh asher ayeh (Exodus: 3:14)", perhaps the most mistranslated response to Moses at the burning bush, is "I will be what I will be", when one translates directly from the Hebrew. There is movement in these words. If we are 'b'tzelem eloheim', made in the image of the divine, the mystery, LOVE, then we too cannot be confined to categories or known in advance…we continue to compose our story, breathe into our becoming…we take our shoes off, (like Moses) to our body as mishkan, sanctuary, for each of us are holy ground.

I have a particular interest in the voices of mothers, daughters and sisters, the songs, stories, prayers, relationships, and an ethic of care that can be cultivated from women's connections with each other, supported by men who love them.

My classical psychological, philosophical, contemporary dance, music and movement training finds comfort in categorization, yet my experience has been that we each are a divine mystery containing infinitely unfolding identities. Trainings and certifications in Psychodrama, Expressive Therapies, Gestalt methods, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Alexander Technique, Anti-Oppression workshops, Process Oriented Psychology, Body Mind Centering, Contact Improvisation, Rubenfeld Synergy Method, Amrit and Kripalu Yoga, Playback Theatre, rabbinical study, somatic and contemplative approaches and tuning to our creative process are some of the ways I explore this process/practice of 'becoming'. 

We each are teachers, healers and artists and can shape our lives through the process of creation.  I think our medium, ultimately, is humanity and consciousness. The form has infinite variations and Goddard can be experienced as a 'sanctuary in time' (Abraham Joshua Heschel) to explore our particular variation, compose/choreograph the score and play it.  "We are the ones we've been waiting for" as first taught to  me from Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock and whose origin comes from the Elders Oraibi Arizona Hopi Nation prayer, is our call today.  How we choose to use our energy, love, the stories we inhabit, the ones we tell about ourselves and the ones we compose and create collectively, inform our individual and collective story,  our re-evolution…and our day to day joy.

My work as an educator, psychologist, rabbi and interdisciplinary artist has taken me into elementary and secondary schools, universities, black box theatres, fringe festivals, museums, community mental health centers and agencies, psychiatric hospitals, women's centers and shelters, substance abuse treatment centers, prisons, a broad range of youth organizations and service-learning programs, numerous performance spaces, churches, synagogues, mosques, Buddhist temples, ground zero in NYC,  a ferry boat en route to Vieques and the US Navy test ground there, small villages in Cumunayagua, Cuba, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, places committed to interfaith dialogue and multi-racial coalition building, Black-Jewish dialogue groups, Muslim-Jewish engagement groups and more.

I've been privileged to teach and perform in the southern, northeastern, midwestern and pacific northwest regions of the United States, London, Vieques, Borinquien, Belize, Toronto, Cuba and Israel/Palestine, using Playback Theatre, an improvisational story-telling method, sociometry and Process Work (Process Oriented Psychology) as emancipatory practices for dialogue, deepening connections, healing and creating new models for leadership and social change.

Serving as faculty for graduate programs in Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, the Integrative Arts at Lesley University, Multicultural Theatre and Democratic Curriculum at Union Institute and University and teaching courses in 'Organizational Leadership', ‘Ethics’, Creativity and Imagination, Developmental Psychology and 'Multiple Literacies' at SUNY New Paltz has provided me with the opportunity to support diverse learners.

My work as an advisor is to support learners in calling forth their own wisdom, illuminating their awareness as reflective practitioners, researchers, scholars, artists and agents of change to bring their work into the world in meaningful and sustainable ways that inspire health, joy, belonging and thriving connection, experience learning as a spiritual voyage- a vehicle of transformation for both advisee and advisor. Several years ago, a graduate student of mine, also a veteran teacher and mother in South Carolina said, "You bring the God out in us." Perhaps we are here to be midwives for one another.

Educational Background:

Rabbinical Candidate, Aleph Rabbinical Ordination Program (Focus: Feminist Theologies, Hebrew Priestess Traditions, Muslim/Jewish Engagement, Music and Health); PhD in Educational and Social Psychology, Union Institute and University; MEd in Counseling Psychology, Temple University; MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts, Goddard College; BA in Philosophy, SUNY Binghamton.