Here’s to an Inspiring Year…

Dear Friends,

What a year it has been. Highs, lows, joys, and sorrows. A full spectrum of life in the span of one year. I hope you had some time to reflect upon 2015 & your wonderful achievements (personal and professional), magical moments, memories, and challenges that will remind you of what you need to let go of (and hold onto) in 2016. As my dear mentor Paula Wing said,  “Your broken heart is your greatest asset”. People often assume that broken hearts only refer to broken relationships, but I believe brokenness can be a result of many experiences & challenges. It limits the heart to suggest that it can only be broken by a “failed” relationship.  Here’s to acknowledging brokenness in all its forms, and letting the light shine through the fragments.

I want to thank you for your support, encouragement, inspiration and presence in my life over the past year. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable, and giving me safe space to experiment with new ideas & ways of creating. I’ve been able to sharpen my focus on what brings joy and magic to my life and the lives of those around me– and it’s because you have shared your advice, passion and talent with me. For this, I am deeply grateful.

Instead of writing paragraphs, I thought I’d make a list of SOME of the wonderful, ordinary and magical highlights of my 2015. We focus so much on the ‘big’ moments that we forget about the simple, delicate ones. Here goes!

– Curating Spoken Word Series at Aga Khan Museum

– Having a dog named Karma pee on my sleeping bag (no joke)

– Facilitating Creative Writing with Mandalas workshops at the University of Toronto, Scarborough

– Receiving a stack of brightly decorated Thank You letters from grade 6 -7 students I taught in February

– Discovering vegan salted caramel chocolate ice cream bars

– Flying from the Toronto Island Airport for the first time in my life

– Figuring out how to make my own posters/social media promo materials

– Joining Soundcloud & figuring out how to record poetry (listen here)

– Completing my Arts Education Certification at the Royal Conservatory (and receiving the Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Scholarship in Creative Teaching to complete it)

– Getting to colour every day for 2 weeks in June (see above)

– Facilitating my first Community Mandala ever at the Aga Khan Park & watching my dear friend Whitney French busk her heart out (she wrote custom poems on her typewriter and got ambushed)

– Performing with incredibly talented musicians and poets (the list is waaaay too long- I’m lucky that I have too many poets-musician collaborators to name!)

– Having a self-care/creative day with dear friends, including the remarkable Nadiya Virani (who created my custom-made colouring page) and York Region Art Council’s Exec Director Samantha Rodin

– Facilitating a Creative Wellsprings writing workshop/nature walk at Evergreen Brickworks, and bearing the cold with a smile on my face!

– Making new friends & reaching out to old friends

– Watching workshop participants create their own nature mandalas at Trinity Bellwoods Park as part of my role as Teacher-in-Residence at Artscape Youngplace

– Hosting a reading for the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront

-Giving Pir Zia Inayat Khan my poetry books & hearing him speak about Sufism

– Laying out a gorgeous spread of snacks for my Tasting Poetry Workshop at the Markham Public Library

– Watching one of my dearest friends get married (Anita Majumdar, you were the most stunning bride I’ve ever seen)

– Offering the “Mapping Ourselves” workshop series at the Varley Art Gallery (Fred Varley happened to be the name of my invisible boyfriend, who I named after a street I saw when I was growing up- little did I know that he was an artist and that I’d be teaching in a gallery named after him 20 odd years later)

– Reconnecting with supremely talented/intelligent cousins, having vegan Thanksgiving dinner with family

– Making a nest mandala by the lakeshore and having a friend I’ve never met discover it by accident!

– Having a picnic by the water with Shiv, and making an underwater spiral mandala together.

There are so many more, but enough looking back. Now it’s time to look forward!

What are your highlights, and what do you hope to create in 2016?

I’m excited to offer wonderful creative programs in 2016 including a tailored workshop program inspired by the League of Canadian Poets’ 2016 theme, “The Road”.  Stay tuned for details!

Let’s co-create. Let’s make this year the most magical yet!

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