5x physical form

Our physical form. The inescapable vessel we navigate this life through. The easily perceived creative expression of ourselves as we exist in this moment.

I am very fortunate that I have had a peaceful relationship with my body from an early age. This was supported by the fact that society had a peaceful relationship with my body as a white, cis, able bodied, thin, traditionally feminine person. I have never had a serious injury or illness that has given me reason to doubt or mistrust my body. My gender identity, although sometimes limiting or discriminated against, is generally perceived to be aligned with my physical body which protects me from a lot of harm. I have experienced great pains and great pleasures but neither has caused me to lose my connection to this living breathing vessel. Because I have such a peaceful relationship to my body it does not seem fair for me to reflect on the limits of my relationship to it. There are others that struggle everyday for what I have. And yet it is precisely because of that I feel it is still important to reflect that I am not my body.

I am not body, and in a blink of an immortal eye my body will break down and fade to dust. All of its quirks, concerns, and candor are fleeting at best. This inherent flaw renders all else mute in its shadow.

So how to live a creative life in this temporal form? Here are a few things I have been contemplating.

1. Rae Spoon’s latest album Bodies of Water they explore how like bodies, water is heavily regulated and increasingly commodified, despite being fundamental to life.

2. Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong via one of my heroes Kimya Dawson who had this tender Instagram post on the subject

3.Our Sister Becky: What If The Doctors Had Listened to Her By Kate Beaton via The Cut

4. Shon Faye interviews Travis Alabanza about their new theatre piece BURGERZ via Alok Vaid-Menon

5. Music Video for Sea Dragon by Covet


5x any good to act?

How can I act in accordance with the greatest and highest good for all beings? I am only one person so does it do any good at all to act? Will my actions speak louder than my words and are they in alignment with my values? Where do we go from here?

There are many things I would not like to read about in the news cycle today. Here are some things have stirred my desire to recommit to the power of creative transformation today. I hope you also find some time to rest and nourish your heart wherever today finds you.

1. This Interview with Allan Yu on The Great Discontent the title of this collection came from one of his Mars Maiers sketches #694 (above)

2. Louisiana is set to overturn their split jury law and the LA Times provides some context for the white supremacist roots and impact of the law via Myrtle May

3. Vulnerability, intimacy, and Spiritual Awakening Part One with Tara Brach

4. Wildlife (INIW) River Lot 11 Indigenous Art Park transforms the valley in Edmonton via David Garneau

5. Molly Burch – Wrong For You via Spotify


Anti-Racism Reading List 2018/19

As part of my commitments made in the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge I created this reading list to re-educate myself on racism, white supremacy, and my colonial roots. This list is by necessity of time is incomplete, and represents only a stepping stone in a lifelong path of learning. I’ve done my best in the last two weeks to research books on anti-racism work that speak to my personal context of a spiritual white woman living as a settler in Saskatchewan as a self identified “progressive”. There are specific traps of thought, learned cultural beliefs and attitudes, and programmed behaviors that are related to this context that I have only just begun to explore. Therefore starting the reading list from this knowledge was a strategic choice on my part, and mileage may vary for others working from a different starting place. I’ve chosen to release the list as a monthly reading list in order to encourage others to join me on this journey. Because as Layla F. Saad pointed out at the beginning of the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge, it is much easier to do this hard self reflection work in community. I will be doing my own personal reflections related to the book each month here, but I also invite anyone moved to read along with me to join the conversation with their own reflections unpacking their relationship to the material in order to deepen our learning and hold each other accountable.

September 2018
raised somewhere else.jpegOhpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh (Raised somewhere else): A 60s Scoop Adoptee’s Story of Coming Home by Colleen Cardinal (available here)

Synopsis: During the 60s Scoop, over 20,000 Indigenous children in Canada were removed from their biological families, lands and culture and trafficked across provinces, borders and overseas to be raised in non-Indigenous households.

Ohpikiihaakan-ohpihmeh delves into the personal and provocative narrative of Colleen Cardinal’s journey growing up in a non- Indigenous household as a 60s Scoop adoptee. Cardinal speaks frankly and intimately about instances of violence and abuse throughout her life, but this book is not a story of tragedy. It is a story of empowerment, reclamation and, ultimately, personal reconciliation. It is a form of Indigenous resistance through truth-telling, a story that informs the narrative on missing and murdered Indigenous women, colonial violence, racism and the Indigenous child welfare system.

October 2018
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (available here)

between the world and me.jpegSynopsis: In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

November 2018
The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter (available here)

the history of white people.jpgSynopsis: Telling perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, illuminating not only the invention of race but also the frequent praise of “whiteness” for economic, scientific, and political ends. A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes a huge gap in literature that has long focused on the non-white and forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed as it has been driven by a long and rich history of events.

December 2018
Split Tsplit tooth.jpegooth by Tanya Tagaq (pre-order here)

Synopsis: From the internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer who has dazzled and enthralled the world with music it had never heard before, a fierce, tender, heartbreaking story unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them.

January 2019
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (available here)so you want to talk about race.jpg

Synopsis: In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape–from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement–offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.

February 2019
When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by asha bandele, Patrisse Khan-Cullors (available here)

Synopsis: Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in LosAngeles,

when they called you.jpg

 Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and pe

rsecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a

hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.

March 2019
Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis (available here)

women race and class.jpeg


Synopsis: A powerful study of the women’s liberation movement in the U.S.,from abolitionist days to the present, that demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. From the widely revered and legendary political activist and scholar Angela Davis.

April 2019
Stolen Sisters by Emmanuelle Walter (available here)

stolen sisters.jpg


Synopsis: In 2014, the nation was rocked by the brutal violence against young

Aboriginal women Loretta Saunders, Tina Fontaine and Rinelle Harper. But tragically, they were not the only Aboriginal women to suffer that year. In fact, an official report revealed that since 1980, 1,200 Canadian Aboriginal women have been murdered or have gone missing. This alarming official figure reveals a national tragedy and the systemic failure of law enforcement and of all levels of government to address the issue.

May 2019
Contesting White Supremacy: School Segregation, Anti-Racism, and the Making of Chinese Canadians by Timothy J. Stanley (available here)

contesting white supremacy.jpeg

Synopsis: In 1922-23, Chinese students in Victoria, British Columbia, went on strike to protest a school board’s attempt to impose racial segregation. Their resistance was unexpected at the time, and it runs against the grain of mainstream accounts of Asian exclusion in Canada, which tend to ignore the agency of the excluded.

Contesting White Supremacy offers an alternative reading of the history of racism in British Columbia, one based on Chinese sources and perspectives. Employing an innovative theory of racism and anti-racism to explain the strike and document its antecedents, Timothy Stanley demonstrates that by the 1920s migrants from China and their BC-born children actively resisted policy makers’ efforts to organize white supremacy into the very texture of life. The education system in particular served as an arena where white supremacy confronted Chinese nationalist schooling and where parents and students rejected the idea of being either Chinese or Canadian and instead invented a new category – Chinese Canadian – to define their identity.

June 2019
Separate and Dominate: Feminism After the War on Terror by Christine Delphy (available here)

seperate and dominate.jpg

Synopsis: An examination of how mainstream feminism has been mobilized in support of racist measures.

Feminist Christine Delphy co-founded the journal Nouvelles questions féministes with Simone de Beauvoir in the 1970s and became one of the most influential figures in French feminism. Today, Delphy remains a prominent and controversial feminist thinker, a rare public voice denouncing the racist motivations of the government’s 2011 ban of the Muslim veil. Castigating humanitarian liberals for demanding the cultural assimilation of the women they are purporting to “save,” Delphy shows how criminalizing Islam in the name of feminism is fundamentally paradoxical.

July 2019
Colorblind by Tim Wise (available here)


Synopsis: Following the civil rights movement, race relations in the United States entered a new era. Legal gains were interpreted by some as ensuring equal treatment for all and that “colorblind” policies and programs would be the best way forward. Since then, many voices have called for an end to affirmative action and other color-conscious policies and programs, and even for a retreat from public discussion of racism itself.

Bolstered by the election of Barack Obama, proponents of colorblindness argue that the obstacles faced by blacks and people of color in the United States can no longer be attributed to racism but instead result from economic forces. Thus, they contend, programs meant to uplift working-class and poor people are the best means for overcoming any racial inequalities that might still persist. InColorblind, Tim Wise refutes these assertions and advocates that the best way forward is to become more, not less, conscious of race and its impact on equal opportunity.

September 2019
Structures of Indifference: An Indigenous Life and Death in a Canadian City by Adele Perry (available here)

structures of indifference.jpg

Synopsis: Structures of Indifference examines an Indigenous life and death in a Canadian city, and what it reveals about the ongoing history of colonialism. At the heart of this story is a thirty-four-hour period in September 2008. During that day and half, Brian Sinclair, a middle-aged, non-Status Anishinaabeg resident of Manitoba’s capital city, arrived in the emergency room of the Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg’s major downtown hospital, was left untreated and unattended to, and ultimately died from an easily treatable infection. His death reflects a particular structure of indifference born of and maintained by colonialism.

McCallum and Perry present the ways in which Sinclair, once erased and ignored, came to represent diffuse, yet singular and largely dehumanized ideas about Indigenous people, modernity, and decline in cities. This story tells us about ordinary indigeneity in the City of Winnipeg through Sinclair’s experience and restores the complex humanity denied him in his interactions with Canadian health and legal systems, both before and after
his death.

October 2019
The Good Immigrant Edited by Nikesh Shukla, Chimene Suleyman (available here)

the good immigrant.jpg

Synopsis: An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it’s like to be othered in an increasingly divided America.

From Trump’s proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as “lively and vital,” editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be here is under attack.

November 2019
Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel (available here)

uprooting racism.jpg

Synopsis: In 2016, the president-elect of the United States openly called for segregation and deportation based on race and religion. Meanwhile, inequalities in education, housing, health care and the job market continue to prevail, while increased insecurity and fear have led to an epidemic of scapegoating and harassment of people of color. Yet recent polls show that only 31 percent of white people in the US believe racism is a major societal problem; at the same time, resistance is strong, as highlighted by Indigenous struggles for land and sovereignty and the Movement for Black Lives.

Completely revised and updated, this 4th edition of Uprooting Racism offers a framework around neoliberalism and interpersonal, institutional, and cultural racism, along with stories of resistance and white solidarity. It provides practical tools and advice on how white people can work as allies for racial justice, engaging the reader through questions, exercises, and suggestions for action, and includes a wealth of information about specific cultural groups such as Muslims, people with mixed-heritage, Native Americans, Jews, recent immigrants, Asian Americans, and Latino/as.

December 2019
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde (available here)

sister outsider.jpg

Synopsis: Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature.

In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde’s philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.



5x eye on the world

I haven’t posted one of these lists in a while. I am preparing to take a three day social media cleanse, but wanted to collect some things rattling around in my brain first.

1. Rest In Power Esra al-Ghamgam via Shia Rights Watch

2.Mitski – Nobody music video

3. White Feminism is White Supremacy in Heels by Rachel Cargle

4. Dani B’s stunning neon artwork via @sighswoon on Instagram

5. Ghost of A Podcast Episode 7: Career, Feminism, and Agingby the ever insightful Jessica Lanyadoo


Me & White Supremacy final days

My journey with the #meandwhitesupremacy challenge is complete. Of course this work is really just beginning. A deep bow to Layla F. Saad for shepherding us through this journey. Subscribe to her mailing list to find out when the book will become available.

Day 26: Me & My Values

What are my values?

I value self reflection and self study. Completing this challenge has been living in alignment with this value and desire to know myself. Devoting a dedicated amount of time to do the work and dig deep. However as is apparent from the past days I have not been regularly engaging in anti-racism work in this way. I’ve been guilty of spiritual bypassing, I’m already part of the choir so this work is not for me, I have other areas to work on right now so I dont need to show up for this work in this way. I have missed opportunities to know myself better because I was deflecting my energy into other concerns. Workaholism. Parties. Relationships. I always come back to my writing as the key back into myself and this value.

I value honesty and integrity. Living in alignment with this value one hundred percent of the time is impossible for a mere mortal like me. However it is a good measuring stick to come back to and hold my actions against. When I look at the writing from earlier in the challenge I am aware that my actions have not measured up. Radical truth speaking requires so much vulnerability to hold space for what is outside of the narratives I have created about the kind of person I am. Speaking truth to myself about what is in my mind is the first step to acting with integrity. I also acknowledge that my white silence is deadly, and to act with integrity means to speak to white power within each other not speaking over BIPOC as another white saviour.

I value compassion and loving kindness. I know that the actions, beliefs, bias, attitudes, and words described in this challenge are not in alignment with this value. I know that paralyzing guilt and excessive self flagellation is also not in alignment with this value. Kindness that come from a desire to appear good and not to spread love is not in alignment with this value. The desire to only see love and not look at the hard ugly truths is not in alignment with this value. The desire to center only self compassion, only my own experiences of compassion at the expense of others, is not in alignment with this value.

I value creativity. Living a creative life is the ability to look at how things are and imagine them differently. The difference between dreamers and artists is those that put actions behind their imagination. There is an incredible amount of responsibility as such for artists to spend time pushing the limits of our imagination and unpacking our unconscious bias. Because the narratives we tell collectively matter. The stories we repeat to each other. the jokes we tell. The songs we sing. They shape our collective conciousness, and without taking personal responsibility for the baggage that we are dragging into that creative realm. My creative practice has not always been engaged in anti oppression work. I have not done my due diligence to do my own anti racism work when working with BIPOC collaborators. I have not fully taken responsibility for my actions. Which relates to the next one…

I value justice. This is a value I have been personally grappling with of late. Justice looks at right versus wrong, good prevails over evil, fighting for what is fair and right always and absolutely is. This is an idea I have inherited in my blood. I can’t name where I learned about it or why it lights such a fiery ball of rage in my core. But I don’t think it is a helpful value. That much repressed anger leaks out in all the most ugly violent ways. The world has never been just. Mercy is the value I would like to welcome in its place. Mercy opens the door on forgiveness. Perhaps that is a selfish value to wish for in light of the writing I have done, the justice that should be dealt my way. I dont have an answer to that right now. Currently I still think I deserve that justice in my heart of hearts. And yet I pray for mercy.

I value selfless service. I believe we are on this planet to serve. A higher purpose. Survival of the species. Cosmic collision course in destiny. Doesn’t matter what it is attributed to. Acts of selfless service are love incarnate and are the motor beneath life itself. In the context of white supremacy I have not been of service to dismantling these powers of oppression. I have put my self interest ahead of the greater good. I long to do better.

I value community and accountability. Again writing these reflections has been in alignment with this value. I appreciate all of the people who have reached out to talk about the challenge with me. To hold me and each other accountable. Doing this work isnt about getting a cookie for having the right answer, but it is so rewarding to hold each other up in this hard process of learning and reprogramming.

I value respect for all beings. I have never lived fully in alignment with this value. Not in the context of white supremacy, not in the context of environmentalism, not in any context of life. But it is something to work towards. It is something to hold to be true to shine light in the darkness.

I value the interconnected web of life. This challenge has illuminated this so much more deeply for me. We are connected by years of socialization that I wasnt even aware of. That socialization has wide spread consequences and realities for all of us. I want to continue that work of understanding how deeply those connections run. The world is my classroom; learning all of the time.

Ultimately, I believe in the power of creative transformation. I have the power to transform these attitudes, behaviours, bias, and actions. You do too. Collectively we can evolve past this moment in time and write a new chapter together.

Day 27: Me & Losing Privilege

I am a white settler in the Western Canadian bible belt. I have been given many privileges directly, indirectly, inherited, and newly bestowed because of the skin I was born in and the way I was socialized. I have actively participated in protecting these privileges at the expense of BIPOC. The extent of which I was not fully aware of at the beginning of this challenge, and to which I may never be able to fully fathom. However I can begin by taking responsibility now to learn to let go of these unearned privileges. Even while making the decision to consciously act to lose privilege I must acknowledge that on some level it is going to be impossible to lose all white privilege. I can work towards dismantling the systems that make this true, but it also runs incredibly deep and will not disappear in my lifetime. I can still work towards that goal. Some privileges that I can begin giving up right away are the privilege of silence and apathy on matters of racism. These are both predicated on my own personal comfort inside of white supremacist society over the greater good. I can begin to let go of those privileges by knowingly stepping into the uncomfortable knowledge of how racism is implicated in daily life. I can begin by making more time to stay informed with current events and the hidden histories that have created these conditions, and reflect on my personal role in each. I can speak up when I am in white only spaces including family gatherings that are encouraging white solidarity and complacency. This is the bare minimum sort of effort to show up in conversations of race not just when people are watching (optical allyship) or to turn performing the bare minimum into a martyr situation where I’m here to save the helpless and be validated for my efforts. The small sacrafice of comfort and complacency is the easiest place to start. The second way in which I can step outside of my white privilege is in the access and accumulation of wealth and resources. I regularly make a point to donate to kickstarter campaigns, charities, and advocacy organizations. However I don’t feel that the occasional contribution is doing enough. I don’t lose any privilege, and a lot of the time it is a token gesture to assauge white guilt and for optical allyship points. I need to look more deeply at the ways in which I earn that money, what I prioritize spending it on, and how those things may be supporting white supremacy. Right away I can make more efforts to research and support small local businesses that are owned and operated by BIPOC, or at least not ones that are actively displacing or erasing BIPOC. I can seek out other ways to be materially of service to BIPOC activists and advocates in their work that accept more personal risk than financial contributions, although not to say I will stop contributing either. I will not apply for any further public funding as a white artist that has already been given a stable financial position to build my practice from. I will not accept sponsorship money from businesses and organizations that up hold white supremacist values. I will seek ways to support BIPOC collaborators better materially in my creative practice that doesn’t end in offering them a pay cheque to tokenize their work for my project or goals. This brings me to the third privilege that I want to step outside of, my assumed white superiority and white centering in leadership roles. I have seen myself as a leader and actively pursued leadership roles since a very young age. I need to reconsider my need to assume this role or what I think that means, and do the work to be leading by example not by leaning on white privileges. Affirmative action has most benefited cis white women like me, and I can’t ignore the impact that has had on me directly. I need to work harder to take responsibility for my actions in order to escape this sort of white feminism brand of equality. I’ve got by being a well spoken white person that understands Roberts rules of order and can lean on the existing dynamics of power to use to my advantage, but I want to A) unlearn these colonial principles of hierarchical management and B) make a point of following more BIPOC leaders rather than bemoaning they dont exist from where I stand. Following Layla’s leadership through this challenge taught me so much, and I know there are countless others like her including many local activists and advocate and teachers. Choosing to seek out their work and follow their lead instead of creating another project that I am at the centre of is not just a nice change of pace but an important part of letting go of privileges that centre my white experience.

Day 28: Me & My Commitments

3 concrete actions undertake in the next 2 weeks that will put me out of my comfort zone and continue the work started. I’m tagging Sarah as my accountability buddy but pls everyone is invited to check in with me if you are interested.

1) I’m committing to reading authors I’ve been “meaning to read” and get serious about learning more about the foundations of racism this country is built on. In the next two weeks I will be putting together a list of books (an unschoolers curriculum if you will) for the coming year. I invite white friends interested in reading along with me to join me book club style so we can discuss and hold each other accountable. If you have suggestions of books for the list lmk.

2) I’m going to support Layla, Leesna and Rachel on patron to continue to support their work financially in gratitude for the learning I have received from them. I’m going to continue to write once a week reflections to continue to hold myself accountable. I will continue to find ways to show up for the work that they share on their platforms.

3) I’m committing to visiting the Justice for Our Stollen Children camp and finding a way to materially support their work. I’ve been bystanding this work in my own backyard liking & sharing on Facebook, but this is not enough.

4) I’m going to follow up on the creative project that has left me feeling most uncomfortable with my colonial creative practice in light of this challenge. I’m going to write letters acknowledging and apologizing for any actions or words that may have done harm, and commit to changing how I approach this kind of work in the future.

5) finally I’m going to commit to re-reading what I wrote during the challenge. I took a long time to finish this work, and some of those earlier posts were over a month ago. As the second part of this prompt is about identifying how I can commit to change in a more on going way I want to revisit what I wrote to highlight the patterns.

These are the concreate goals that I am committed to completing by September 10th 2018. The other more on going commitments I am going to be meditating on and will share at the end of this 2 week digestion period. The first one is that I commit to not looking away from this work. I am committing to making anti-racism work a central pillar of my self development, and an on going practice. I can’t unsee what I have learnt about myself over this challenge, but it will be easy to slip back into old habits. I commit to the vigilance required to hold myself to higher standards, and to cultivate the support in my peers to do this work so that BIPOC do not need to bare the brunt of my ignorance. Along with the areas I have highlighted yesterday, I will continue to add to these commitments as a life long practice.