Isolation Day15: “Watch out for those cobbleypops, they’ll break your ankle”
“Watch out for those cobbleypops, they’ll break your ankle”!! That was a kid Kate PSA phrase about the dangers of cobblestones (that I truly did say to anyone who would listen), and today it’s also a useful phrase to remind ourselves that tiny hazards can cause big effects when we don’t take proper precautions....🚰🧼🚪...I’ve been saying it a lot lately. Though, that’s also probably because I’m on Day 15 of isolation and now all my usually-filtered kid Kate phrases are being set freee!! ALSO. Everyone should probably know Dhanish and I realized that this morning, from our isolation stations across the city, we simultaneously just happened to be thinking about the dangers of cobblestones. And I just think that’s the most random and beautifully strange #AloneTogether moment that ever there was. 💞😄🏡😄🏡💞
How the entire world looks from the indoor view of Isolation, Day 12 ...☀️🌈✨ 🌈🌿💫!Currently feeling a big burst of appreciation for the people in my life– and honestly, by big burst I mean it. Picture, like... “dog waiting at the door” type of bursting energy over here. Ya, THAT sort. The endless love type of appreciation. This is a photo from a time that never seems quite real to me in memory, because it also felt difficult to feel grounded and connected while I lived it. This was taken when I was 15 and for over 7 months, I wasn’t around people all that much (let alone anyone close to my age). The eventual result was a deep reaching sense of WONDER for all humans. It’s a feeling that always gives me motivation because it reminds me of how beautiful it feels to be just a little starstruck by ALL people, and to feel excited about listening to their stories, and ideas. It’s a feeling that presents a dose of wonder for people who are just being genuinely themselves. It doesn’t take something out of the ordinary for people to feel special. Right now, with the entire world in a situation that is out of the ordinary, it seems pretty clear that any form of “normal” connection can be incredibly special. Hey to you out there, fellow isolators, I know all things “normal” seem far away right now. I hope you have moments where you can listen to absolutely whatever feels genuinely right for YOU❣️That’s powerful and I love you for it!!!
With so much unexpected change, it’s been beautiful to watch people respond by being present and looking to each other. As strict distancing enforcements went into effect today, I noticed spirits rise over these barriers and instinctually connect in a place that reached above them. In downtown Toronto, security guards are limiting the number of shoppers that are allowed inside the few essential shops that remain open. In the long lines today, people were looking out for strangers and creating opportunities to cheer up the surrounding community. From the few interactions I’ve had this week, there’s always been an initial feeling of closeness that is added because of the strange, protective distance that we keep. The responses remind me of the way we look to each other when a rainstorm hits and suddenly everyone outside is soaked in the instant ocean of water that pours down. It’s a new current state for everyone out there and we’re all feeling the wildness of this new normal. In the type of storm where it seems like the air has been replaced with water, and there’s suddenly no choice but to swim through it– we‘re more likely to openly connect with each other through the shared experience. For me, the strangers who were joking and checking in with each other in the distanced lineup helped me to remember that humanity wasn’t shutting down, but opening up. As the atmosphere surrounding us grows more solemn, every encouraging smile helps. We’re all in the water together. And it’s together that we help each other breathe through it.
Isolation Day 7: Reintroduced to what "trapped" can mean
Isolation and the idea of being trapped are big themes that have caused big panic for me in the past. Though this week, the world has been helping to reintroduce me to new versions of these words. I started this week very frightened about whether I could handle a situation that made me directly confront my fears alone. I was thinking inwardly– I thought that would be my only option. However, the shared energy of care and hope all around the world is palpable. From inside, we seem to all be thinking outwardly and thinking together. It has been helping me find that there can be new safety within words that I thought could only be associated with feeling unsafe. Every day I think about how special it is to be turning my fear of being ‘trapped in a space’ into a new experience where I am acknowledging the old experience and shifting my perspective on what the meaning of “trapped” can be. In a time of distance, there is greater connection everywhere I look. Even when I’m inside alone, I can’t help but feel the rest of the world doing the same thing along with me, but with everyone doing so in their own unique ways and spaces. I hope every human is feeling the extra love in the face of fear. The extra love is most definitely out there and it’s absolutely strong enough to reach in to you wherever you happen to be sheltering, cocooning, hibernating or nesting. 💓🏡🏕🐣
Isolation Day 2: The 'singular' goal of protecting each other
I’m in love with the world for realizing that in this time of fear, we can choose to fight by globally focusing on the singular goal of protecting each other. I live alone, but in this moment, I’m feeling more united than ever before. 💓🌍💓 This is a photo from March 7th, the closing night of “Oh, What a Lovely War” (@hhtheatre) – a play that intertwined a digital existence with the devastation of WW1. As I look at this now, I think of a remark that an elderly audience member made during a talkback. They noted that it felt powerful to see young actors enlisting onstage because as their hopeful faces looked out, the audience knew what was coming for them up ahead in a future that is familiar history to us, but still unthinkable for the characters. In the new solemness that the world is feeling together, I’m thinking of how the digital avatars in this show reminded me of how valuable individuality is as a part of strengthening community as a whole. It feels very special to exist together with connection that holds power that is so extreme, it easily forges its way across no mans land and is felt from trench to trench as we shelter alone, together.
Hi. I’ve been getting all emotional because of plants again. 🤣This is the FOURTH day in a row that I’ve fully teared up in public while walking through the city, and seeing proof of Spring fighting its way forward. Also responsible, is the inner soundtrack that instantly accompanies this.... even the thought of a few notes of music from the Secret Garden easily unlocks a whole garden of emotions that are deeply rooted within layers of years. It’s a grounding sort memory that makes freedom possible. AH😌. Keep believing in growth, my friends! As this season transitions, we all get to see things that were left neglected grow to find the care that they need to emerge with colour from the withered grey ground. I don’t cry easily....but the thought of THAT GROWTH will get me every gosh darn time🌱. The Secret Garden is a story that has formed who I am. It has motivated energy from deep within me all my life and it has encouraged me to see hope when I’ve most needed it. This story sits with me every day in many forms. I’ve known all the music by heart since about age six. This music, and this story reaches from the roooots of who I am, and feeds strength all the way up to the tallest I can stand🌱☀️!!!! In The Secret Garden, characters who had withered from neglect and who had been left to turn slightly wild, start caring for an abandoned garden. As seeds find life, they learn that, with care, living things will grow strong– Someone just has to believe in them. As they let in hope and light to the garden, they unlock the barriers between each other as well🚪🗝. Then everyone starts seeing each other and connecting and finding a new understanding of ‘family’ and it’s just a great time all around😎
Meeting fellow grant recipients at Theatre Passe Muraille
Thank you,Theatre Passe Muraille (@beyondwallstpm) for support that has made my heart feel strong enough to beat loudly and proudly. Today I got to hear what TPM’s other grant recipients are working on and I feel extraordinarily honoured to sit amongst this group of passionate creators. Thanks Marjorie Chan (@magicalmudge) and Indrit Kasapi (@indritk) for caring about all stages of creating connection and for initiating a such a welcoming space. This was a space where we could share ideas that matter so intensely to us, that it makes the heart beat faster to both speak them and listen to them. For me, it is incredibly meaningful to have votes of confidence from TPM and also from Tangled Arts + Disability (@tangled_arts). Sending this story out into the world feels a bit like tucking my words into a carefully folded paper airplane and tossing it over a wall in the hopes it can reach someone. The process tugs at my core as I feel the fluttering of those words as they feebly try to find momentum up in the air. But it’s also an amazing process, because the words inside tell the story of times I’ve felt that barriers were too high to communicate what my heart needed. These grants are a powerful gift of connection and confidence. Thank you for helping me see a path of hope “beyond walls” 🛫💓😌💓
Thanks to the "Oh What a Lovely War" team. What a lovely battle to be a part of. I am so incredibly proud to have bumbled my way onto the stage as “The Ugliest Man in the British Army”🧐 (and I am truly thrilled that I now have the option to add that title, word for word, into my resume😆) This show packed a lot of punches, a lot of heart, and a lot of accents. And...that’s a lot to pack!!! Though, thanks to the lovely team it always felt possible to... “🎶pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile smiiiiile🎶”. Thanks OWALW team, for the gifts of confidence and thanks for the many reminders that strength of heart and care keep us pressing "play again" towards the choice of living vibrantly and as a team. 📷Scott Gorman Directed by Autumnd Smith Lighting: Ella Wieckowski Projections: Alexandra Caprara Costumes: Yasaman Nouri
Finding energy when it feels like you're ”fighting the right battle, but in the wrong way”
Thank you to every person who climbs toward what they believe in. These past few weeks have been asking people that I’m close to to battle for the right thing, even when there’s no energy left to do that. I’ve been seeing people fight when they’ve felt there’s no strength left to do so. I’ve seen people find momentum to re-start, even when they’ve felt they’ve tried all the times they could try. It prompted a really interesting conversation about what to do when you feel you’re ”fighting the right battle, but in the wrong way”. It can be heart-wrenching and energy-draining to feel that you don’t have what it takes for success. It takes hope and willingness to pursue action of any form and it’s frightening to feel that the required momentum is missing. So, while I’ve been seeking out reminders of what brings worth to the efforts of vulnerably fighting for change, I’ve been noticing what happens when I see others who speak up, try again, create, and believe in forgiveness. It made me more aware than usual of what I was specifically feeling grateful for. I was able to see themes in the way I was saying thank you. I’ve realized that lately, the “thanks” I’ve heard myself saying have been for gifts of energy and inspiration. I’ve felt that happen through theatre as energy was shared between the stage and seats, I’ve felt it through writing that is brave enough to say what weakness feels like, and through extra extents of kindness that build possibilities for acceptance. And often, It only takes really small things to share fuelling energy that changes another person's day.I bet YOU’VE gifted out energy yourself… So now that I’m aware of why I’m saying thank you, I’ll say it again and again. Thanks for spreading courage by showing your courage. It matters.🌱😌
This is a melody my mother made up when I was very young. This clips is a small section of an in-progress performance that I got to share two weeks ago. I got to step onstage and be as much myself as I could have the courage to be. It requires a fully fuelled heart in order to feel safe to be fully open hearted. In the theatre, I got to feel assured that support was surrounding me. After 10 weeks working with Tracey Erin Smith (💖💖!!!)and the Soulo Theatre family (💞💞💗!!!), I felt okay about speaking up. Because of the surrounding blanket of support, I got to feel excited by the energy I recieved back as I looked out to those looking at me as I was being veryvery 'me'. I got to share about my way of walking through the world from the vantage point of where I'm standing these days. It's a view and understanding that is very much in motion. This writing process challenged me to snapshot that ever-changing perspective and renew my appreciation for all parts of the creative process. — “...But in my home, I make a point of hanging unfinished art on the walls. Instead of walking away and leaving a blank, I do what I can and show who I am– in the middle of a continuous journey.” I am thrilled that with the assistance of a grant, this journey gets to continue. I am so looking forward to the growing of words, courage and connection. 💓 Please feel free to contact me for a full link to this video performance. There is also an extended segment available, here.
Visiting Akwesasne, Thoughts on Restorative Justice
Yesterday I got to visit Akwesasne and learn from brilliant leaders who are working to share their perspective on restorative justice. It’s encouraging me to think about the drastic energy that comes from isolation and how it can be compelled into a force of strength that seeks, and finds hope with a power unlike anything else. It’s a power ignited by a full understanding of what it feels like when elements like identity, credibility and connection are lost. That sense of lacking also shows us the empowerment that grows when we give freely, and find trust through forgiveness. This is a process that involves deeply layered acknowledgement. When we acknowledge that harm has been done, we are recognizing the truth in a way that goes beyond simply saying “sorry”—a word that might actually add to pain. With acknowledgement, we are saying: a problem existed, and its results, its legacy, continue to exist. The pain is heard, and it is felt. And, hopefully, it incites healing. In this way, acknowledgement is often put to use at the core of our human search for stability. Canadian theatremaker Yvette Nolan explores this in her book Medicine Shows: “Indigenous theatre artists make medicine by reconnecting through ceremony, through the act of remembering, through building community, and by negotiating solidarities across communities. The act of staging these things reconnects who we are as Indigenous people with where we have come from, with our stories, with our ancestors. The things we know and the values we hold that are manifest in the contemporary work that we put upon the stage make the Indigenous artist a conduit between the past and the future.” In Yvette’s description of “medicine”, I was reminded that forms of Indigenous legal tradition are closely linked with Indigenous theatre practice, as both are grounded in a ceremonial search for progress. Many forms of Indigenous legal traditions are fueled by the search for a sense of harmony. In this tradition, emphasis is often on the process rather than the outcome–and this may differentiate it from Western legal practice, where the emphasis is too often upon the search for an appropriate punishment for substantive infractions rather than a process of reconciliation or acknowledgment. Traditional Indigenous legal tradition is founded on righting the harm felt by those who were wronged, and this goal is sought through re-establishing an overall connection or relationship between all parties involved through ceremony. This ceremony allows acknowledgment in a way that is positive and progressive for the community. We see this core search for stability in the structuring of all legal systems. When we search for justice, even in the highest sense and dealings, it often all comes back to the very simplest form of reconciliation. When our pain is heard and acknowledged, we can begin healing. This concept is integral to our human understanding of law. This fact is reflected in the original creation of Indigenous Covenant Chain Treaties. Founded upon Indigenous beliefs, these treaties were intended to invoke vocal and visual condolence that brought amends to dispute. European forms of colonial decision-making would later overlook the agreements made through treaty practice; there was no acknowledgement of human or land rights. And now, the only way to address immeasurable amounts of resulting pain is to look back to the core that founded those Indigenous treaties that were broken, and this is, again, through a process of acknowledgement itself. A large element of the physical regulations laid out in the reconciliation act is that we must consult Indigenous practice in regards to the treatment of their lands when developing or making changes to the uses of those lands. This seems to circle in core to our idea-based approach to the ideal of reconciliation. When Canada sought amends by asking what was needed, it was recognized that in order to move forward progressively, we must look back to the original attitudes that created the treaty relationships in the first place, and use those ideals to recognize that, in breaking the treaty relationships, Canada caused suffering. Many forms of Indigenous legal traditions are fueled by the search for a sense of harmony. In this tradition, emphasis is often on the process rather than the outcome–and this may differentiate it from Western legal practice, where the emphasis is too often upon the search for an appropriate punishment for substantive infractions rather than a process of reconciliation or acknowledgment. Because traditional Indigenous legal tradition is founded on righting the harm felt by those who were wronged and this goal is sought through re-establishing an overall connection or relationship between all parties involved, this is done through ceremony. This ceremony allows acknowledgment in a way that is positive and progressive to the community. This brings a powerful opportunity to helps when there is lasting pain that has resulted from past actions that cannot be undone. For, similarly to the harm that it hopes to heal, there is also nothing tangible about acknowledgement’s existence. When we apply acknowledgement to these places of pain where the cause is not physically accessible, like with mental illness or the chronic effects of trauma, we are working to create a sense of understanding, connection, and kinship, hopefully offering comfort to those who have been harmed. It is here, through the purposefully created, mental space of consideration that we establish a new and valuable essence. This new essence of space is physically inaccessible, but it is a human creation that is powerful enough to ease the inaccessible pain of the past. Sken:nen (peace), kasatstensera (strength) and kanikonii:io (good mind)💓🌄
“🎶This is how we grow This is how we get to know This is family This is sacred” 🌱 A beyond incredible experience last night at the Downie Wenjack Secret Path concert. It was a space where ALL the best parts of care and love were celebrated. A space for hope to grow for Canada, for connection, and for reconciliation. The people in that room were special enough to give you hope just looking at them and feeling their strength. It is a strength that is SO strong it encourages the same in others. You must (MUST!!!) follow this link to watch the video– Buffy Sainte-Marie is inspiration itself💫.#secretpathlive It was an event to raise money for the Downie-Wenjack foundation. This is a foundation that seeks to establish connection and understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous communities. Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip worked with the Wenjack family to establish this route of hope after hearing of Chanie Wenjack. Chanie was a 12 year old boy who was placed in a residential school in 1966. He ran away. He tried to get home. He’d been taken over 600km away from his family. He wanted to be in a place where he was accepted and safe. So he began walking. He’d been taken away from safety and because of that, he walked alone through Canada’s wilderness and never made it home. When singer Gord Downie heard of this, he was sparked by Chanie’s resilience and bravery. Gord wrote 10 songs/poems to help spread this story. Here is a link to a song paired with images from a graphic novel about this journey. Canada has been sparked by this story and by this poetic expression of the will to find home. It is a spark of momentum that is essential for the future of our country. It is essential because our entire country must have the will to find a home where we all acknowledge the horrific history of tragedy on this stolen land. This momentum holds angerand energy and propells us forward into action. The action required involves active listening. Acknowleging the truth can effect change. This night held a core flame of hope at its heart. It's a hope that is weighted with the dense history that had come together to create a force of empowered, collective direction.