Could you tell us the story of how the Resiliency Moments Series came to be?
Resiliency Moments is the virtual extension of You & Me, an immersive theater performance that was originally created in all the rooms of my house with one-on-one performances with one artist and one guest at a time. It was modeled after an emergency room where guests had appointment cards and a map and would go to different rooms in my home at different times to meet and interact with different artists.
During COVID, Resiliency Moments morphed into virtual one on one experiences with artists and health care professionals from around the world. Resiliency Moments takes many forms and I am excited about this new form of offering short videos that provide time and space to see resiliency in action, as an invitation to watch and join in the moment. It is a radical act to slow down, to listen, to listen to ones own heart beat, to be comfortable and grateful in ones body, to swim around in our feelings of sadness and grief, and to howl in pleasure, pain and joy. Resiliency Moments disrupt the everyday busy and creates new synapses for our brains to get curious and allow our bodies to take the lead and to think about things differently.
What were the circumstance or actions that brought the project forward in your mind?
You & Me the origin of Resiliency Moments came about after I had just spent 4 months caring for my sister at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital after she had been in a coma for many months and was trying to recovery her voice, eating ability, and movement. It was during COVID however that Resiliency Moments came about in their virtual form in order to create a safe space for healthcare providers to feel seen, heard, and cared for as they were experiencing some of the most difficult times in their lives. It was through Mara Mogenson Flahertey Lectureship I was awarded from the Oncology Nursing Foundation that I was able to continue my relationship with them and was asked to create Resiliency Videos for their month of wellness. I wanted to offer a work of art that was inspiring and beautiful on its own, that could stand along and impact nurses just by watching it. This is why I chose Superbloom because they have an incredible way of storytelling in beautiful and creative ways. I believe the videos we created stand on their own as pieces of art and the interactive prompts augment the experience and open up another avenue to think about wellness and resiliency.
What was your “aha” moment for wanting to create the series?
Caring for my sister I had many “aha” moments including remembering the incredible gift we have to be able to move our bodies. I know my gift to share with this world is movement and dance, and it was when I was caring for my sister I learned never to take the ability to move my arms, to reach for something I needed, to rise up on my toes to see further for granted. My sister is a quadriplegic and she cannot speak. She lost her ability to move or speak in 12 hours, it can happen so quickly. Every moment we have is precious and sacred, yet fear keeps us from being in our bodies, moving in freedom and joy. At night I would dance in my sisters room to “Party in the USA” by Hannah Montana and she would laugh and laugh. Although she couldn’t speak, she could laugh and cry and they both sounded the same. I felt if I could be free in my body in some ways she may also be able to feel this freedom.
Another aha moment is the shifting of my relationship to the word and definition of resiliency. Many times we think of resiliency as bouncing back stronger, better, and able to take on more and more and I would like to redefine resiliency as softness, slowing down, vulnerability, presence with oneself, compassion with oneself, honesty, boundaries, and collectively caring for one another. I still struggle with the word resilient and I think many do because as a nurse, and many healthcare providers would say as well, we are tired of being stretched so thin, and we don’t want to know how to take on more and bounce back quicker.
…I know my gift to share with the world is movement and dance.
What was your process for deciding on themes for the Resiliency Moments series?
They are the themes that I see over and over again in my life, and they all stem from one central theme, to tell the truth about how I am feeling. This very complicated theme of honesty with oneself brings me back into my body to check in, what am I feeling, what do I need? Can I offer myself more compassion? Can I slow down to hear the true longings of my heart that so often get run over by what I am being told I should be longing for? From this central place of honesty I can then look at my grief, I can see I am suffering and then offer myself compassion instead of covering it up and moving forward. Covering up our suffering and just moving forward is not resiliency. That is lying.
What was the journey you wanted to take your audience on? What impact are you hoping to make in their lives?
I think the best way to take others on a journey is to go on the journey yourself and that was what was really great about this process wIth Superbloom, we were able to collaborate in the moment and not have all the answers at the beginning. The filming process really did feel like a journey together and this allowed room for the art to unfold as it desired. I think the journey I went on was insecurity, trust and hope. Recognizing all the beautiful moments that are at my finger tips to remind me of collective care for myself and others. The impact is opening our eyes to what already exists in us and right around us at our fingertips. When I dance I am living out my calling, I know this in every part of my being. I have known this since I was a little girl. I hope that others are inspired to live out of their calling as well.
Dance is a reoccurring creative outlet that has a presence in every episode in the series, and also in a large body of work that The Clinic engages in. What is it about movement through dance that plays a role in healing from Compassion Fatigue?
Movement releases trauma and heals in ways that words cannot. Movement is vulnerable and vulnerability heals us. Our bodies don’t lie. When we move, we are silently telling the truth and the truth sets us free from guilt and shame. I create spaces where people can experience freedom in their bodies which simultaneously creates freedom in their hearts and souls and minds. Freedom in ones body opens up new worlds where the binaries can be released and self-compassion, contentment, gratitude, and love can shake hands with our anxiety, our perfectionism, our fear, and rejection, bringing all parts of oneself together in love and allow healing to occur.
What is next on the horizon for The Clinic? What workshops, projects or performances do you have coming up later this year?
We are excited to continue our partnership with the Oncology Nursing Foundation, and myself and co-director Alison Waldman will be offering Creative Caregiver Workshops to the chapters of the Oncology Nursing Society this Fall. We have in person workshops planned for Children’s Hospital of Denver, Rose Medical Center, and The Medical Center of Aurora. We are doing a multi-site research study with over 30 hospitals Nationwide implementing Resiliency Moments and what affects it has on burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and self-compassion. I will be working with Denver University Prison Arts Initiative implementing arts and play based resiliency workshops inside our prison systems working with residents who work as care aids for those who are dying inside the prison system. I will be partnering with Superbloom for workshops for nurses who are part of the Kentucky Nurses Association and I have the pleasure of speaking to others about this work in multiple upcoming speaking engagements.