Still willing to eat that shit sandwich!

It’s been a year and a bit since I came across this article by Mark Manson that asks 7 fabulous and profound questions re: finding your life purpose:

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I just LOVE his questions!  I really recommend you read the article and contemplate the questions.

As I read through them, all I did was nod, nod, nod- yep, yep, yep- without a doubt, I have found my life purpose.  Obvious.  Obvious.  My mission is pretty clear- to awaken creative expression– and that includes to continually awaken my own.

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To combine TRUST with pushing through, to SURRENDER along with doing what it takes.
For example, Mark asks:

1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?

Ah, yes. The all-important question. What flavor of shit sandwich would you like to eat? Because here’s the sticky little truth about life that they don’t tell you at high school pep rallies:

Everything sucks, some of the time.

Now, that probably sounds incredibly pessimistic of me. And you may be thinking, “Hey Mr. Manson, turn that frown upside down.” But I actually think this is a liberating idea.

Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable rotten days.

If you want to be a brilliant tech entrepreneur, but you can’t handle failure, then you’re not going to make it far. If you want to be a professional artist, but you aren’t willing to see your work rejected hundreds, if not thousands of times, then you’re done before you start. If you want to be a hotshot court lawyer, but can’t stand the 80-hour work weeks, then I’ve got bad news for you.

What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night coding? Are you able to put off starting a family for 10 years? Are you able to have people laugh you off the stage over and over again until you get it right?

What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually.

Might as well pick one with an olive. 

So I am willing to eat many more shit sandwiches.  Doing what it takes- to put a roof over my head, food in the fridge, to embrace my life purpose, to express myself and to help others do the same.  

Embrace embarrassment. Feeling foolish is part of the path to achieving something important, something meaningful. The more a major life decision scares you, chances are the more you need to be doing it. – Mark Manson

 

Recalling a declaration from “my future self” on July 25, 2015

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Working on my graphic novel, I pull out research and reference materials from my files and come across a journal entry from July 25, 2015 created during Peter Breeze’s Be a Star workshop.  This is truly why I keep everything for what an incredible reminder to myself that I am fulfilling my dream by whatever means necessary.

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Dear me,

You now stand fully naked, fully present, fully you.  Gone are the shackles that pulled you downwards into self-doubting, crippling anxiety.  No longer do you hesitate before expressing.  But most importantly, no longer do you collapse in shame and doubt after you expressed yourself.  

Speaking your truth used to cause you to feel like you were choking on amniotic fluid.  Felt like it came at a price.  

Now you can breathe in and breathe out with open mouth, open nostrils, open sinuses, open throat, open heart, open eyes, open mind without fear.  

You release your truth, your art, your work onto and into the world and receive back the conversations/communications with an open and fearless heart- a heart that is ready to dialogue.  

Your work used to require boundaries.  Your life used to comprise of self-imposed boundaries to protect your heart from rejection and loss.  But now you are boundless.  And so the work you have built on awakening creative expression in others- a gift you truly were born with and have worked so tirelessly to deliver- takes on a new level on a global scale.  You are not in need of accolades.  You are simply expressing, thereby allowing others to feel the same freedom.  It need no longer be frontline work (in person), it is a new principle and way of living.  

Full presence.  

You have taken all the heartache, all the joy, all the blood and guts of life and built a mission and vision that has created true abundance.  

You will never be anxiety-free and you will never not have heart-shattering challenges, but you now have a giant delicious toolbox with which to meet those challenges and easily process, die into them and rebirth from them.  You are truly living with ease.  

All is as it should be.  

Congratulations.  

Love, me 

Thank you, Peter.

Check out my daughter’s message to her future self:

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Three years ago, with shaky hand, I signed…

Three years ago, with shaky hand, but empowered to move my life forward, I signed bankruptcy papers.  And my grown children and I signed a lease for a magical apartment in the West End.  There have been dark moments since that have terrified me as I processed and struggled, but also so much lightness and so much joy.  SO MUCH GROWTH.

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. – Anaïs Nin

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I have found solace in journaling, in my art, my passion project, in my crafting, in my children, in my family, my friends, and in my trustee who assured that embracing my rights to clear my debts was the best decision.  She empowered me with her kindness and love.

There I was, three years ago, with my binder in order and signing those papers, absolutely open and vulnerable.  And I began the slow unfolding process of leaving behind one kind of living and moving into a kind that leans towards simplicity and focus.

I recall this poem I wrote three years ago:

I thought I was holding on to this ONE life I knew.

My heart feeling the weight of  having died a thousand deaths.

I thought I was the tree, whose roots dug so deep,

So deep that it was surely invincible.

I thought I was the tree that houses the egg,

the chick.

Providing a safe place in which to grow,

and from which to leave.

I thought my role was to grow deep roots,

and multiple branches,

and rich green leaves.

I thought I felt the a pain of my roots being cut,

my body toppled.

But I have died a thousand deaths.

And I know now that I am one of the birds.

And as the roots are cut, and the tree is toppled,

My leaves turn to wings,

the wings of thousands of birds.

And I fly.

I fly.

Love, Kat

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INSIDE OUT PROJECT- breaking the cycle of violence through creativity: Activities Report Summer 2015

Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was made possible by a generous grant from the Province of British Columbia – Ministry of Justice: Victim Services and Crime Prevention  Division

INSIDE OUT PROJECT- OWN YOUR JOURNEY: breaking the cycle of violence through creativity Activities Report

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Location: Mountainside Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Instructors:

Ian Powell: photography, digital media

Kat Thorsen: therapeutic art

Erin Ross: animation

The Inside Out Project Summer 2015 was a three-week intensive arts-based program for youth ages 13-20. Using therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation participants were taught skills in self-empowerment, peer-to-peer interaction, and how to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for the Inside Out Project was to help youth-at-risk address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression.

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Arts-based prevention programs allow for alternative experiences of what life can be like, helping at-risk students discover their own talents and creative energy and providing opportunities to develop their inner resources and explore new options for the future. Using a rich and creative curriculum around the themes of violence prevention, self-actualization, empowerment and creativity– facilitators of the Inside Out Project encourage participants to own their journeys.

The Inside Out Project engages participants with the arts, allowing for successful experiences on which to build the resilience and psychological hardiness as well as providing tools to be able to better meet personal and community challenges and to make healthy, non-violent choices.

Between July 6 and July 24, 2015, 11 participants completed the three-week curriculum.

Week 1 Highlights

• Chalk Talk: How does violence affect how people live their lives?

Photography introduction

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Vancouver Police Foundation Mounted Squad field trip

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• Art journals

• Discussion and reflection on Shane Koyczan’s Ted Talk: To this day- for the bullied and the beautiful.

• Animation introduction

Check out more about week 1:

Day 1

Day 2- VPD Horses

Day 3- animation and anatomical hearts

Day 4 and 5- digging deeper

Week 2 Highlights

• Journaling

• Public Service Announcement discussion

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• Project planning

• Animation project: Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson (individual and group projects)

Week 3 Highlights

• Film interviews

• Craftivism: Operation Sock Monkey: “200 Sock Monkeys for Nepal” (benefitting KYT Foundation)

• Animation completion

• #BESTYOUth Emotional Intelligence Workshop (with guest facilitator, Laura Mack)

• Celebration

LIFE SKILLS addressed during the three-week curriculum included:

o Anxiety tools

o Emotional intelligence

o Self-reflection

o Motivation

o Journaling

o Behavioral pattern recognition

o Teamwork

o Chalk talk

o Peer to peer counseling

o Project planning

o Mind mapping

o Interview skills

o Creative process and expression.

CHALK TALK defined:

Three groups of 3-4 students work on three sheets of large paper, silently writing on the topic: how does violence affect how people live their lives? Each group moves at regular intervals to each of the three sheets- adding their thoughts and reflections on existing work. A large group discussion follows. The discussion and subsequent key points serve as a starting point for the final group video project around the theme of violence prevention.

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FINAL GROUP VIDEO PROJECT OUTLINE:

Title: Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey

Subtitle: Breaking the Cycle of Violence Through Creativity

Chalk Talk: footage and audio (participant interviews)

Participant Interview:

Like nothing mattered other than drugs. Honestly, I didn’t even care about myself. I didn’t care about what I did. I didn’t care about going to jail. I didn’t care about dying. I didn’t care about anything. I just cared about using. And that is not who I am. It’s crazy how different it made me, like, I don’t think I would recognize myself I saw myself on the street like that.

Animation compilation:

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(interpreting and animating the poem “Autobiography in five short chapters” by Portia Nelson, ©1993)

I

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk

I fall in.

I am lost … I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place

but it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit.

My eyes are open

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

Back to Central Interview:

Well, like, I guess when I’m being creative, it lets me let out all my emotions and like everything that I’m thinking, just like, let me be crazy on a page or whatever… and like when I used heroin it would, like, take it into me again. It wouldn’t let it out. It would just shove it back down and make me feel better that way. Instead of expressing it. That’s why I think I should probably do more art. 

Tagline: Do more art.

Timelapse: youth artist portrait painting.

Credits

FINAL PROJECT LINK: INSIDE OUT PSA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-9R1pgxJHY

PARTICIPANT REFLECTION:

The Inside Out Project run by Kat Thorsen, Erin Ross, and Ian Powell this July truly changed my life. Two days before the program started I lost a friend to a heroin overdose. I could have chosen to fall back into my own heroin addiction but the Inside Out Project helped me stay strong throughout this hard time in my life. Honestly, I don’t think I would have made it through without the love, support and whole-hearted care everyone in the program gave me. The Inside Out Project saved me from myself. It saved my life. – Miko

PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS:

Vancouver Police Department Mounted Squad field trip: tour with Cst. Darcy Henkel, discussion on violence prevention and use of horses, as well as photo essay opportunities. PHOTO ESSAY LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAE1F99nQXM

Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) craftivism workshop: OSM is a volunteer-run initiative in support of humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil.

The 200 SockMonkeys For Nepal project: LINK

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#BESTYOUth- Growing Together (ViRTUS /TELUS ®): emotional intelligence workshop with guest facilitator Laura Mack.

Key learnings from #BESTYOUth:

o Get to know your best self

o You always have a choice

o Your values are your inner GPS

o You can learn how not to snap

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A SMALL SAMPLING OF PROGRAM MOMENTS:

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Wow- even though I KNOW, from years of experience, that art heals, art builds connections and art saves lives- experiencing it again and again never ceases to amaze me. I just completed a three week intensive with 11 amazing youth. (I am so honored to have worked with you all!) It takes a lot of courage to dig deep and these 11 youth certainly did that. Watching them develop and form connections in these past three weeks has certainly been a highlight in my career as therapeutic art facilitator. [Special mention to Miko Philip for bravely sharing her personal story on which we could build our creative expression.] Here is their final project video on the theme of “breaking the cycle of violence through creativity.” Huge thank you’s as well to Ian Powell,Erin Ross for developing and facilitating this program with me. And thank you’s to Lenore Kane and Laura Mack for adding significant enrichment to it. – Katarina Thorsen, July 24, 2015

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STAY TUNED FOR MORE ARTS-BASED YOUTH PROGRAMMING:

“INSIDE OUT PROJECT 2016”

AND

“EMPOWER YOUTH CONSULTING SERVICES”

Why receiving a NO from @writehedgebrook was a YES.

December 19, 2014:

Dear Katarina,
Thank you so much for applying for a 2015 Hedgebrook residency.
We received 1,466 applications for 2015 and are able to offer 40 residencies. Though your application did not advance into the final round this year, we want you to know that your work resonated with our reviewers.
Sending your work into the world is an act of bravery, and we appreciate the opportunity for our reviewers to experience your voice.
We’d like to share our selection process with you, so you know the thoughtful time and attention your work received. Two Hedgebrook alumnae, who take their role in this process to heart, read your application and collaborated to select applications to continue further into the adjudication process. All applications are anonymous, and any reviewer who recognizes an applicant will recuse herself. Applicants who advance are reviewed by a three-member committee of readers in cities across the country, and then by a five member selection committee in the final round.
We ask reviewers to consider the quality of the writing, the strength of the proposal, and clarity of answers to the ‘Why Hedgebrook, why now?’ question. We are committed to supporting a diversity of voices: cultural, generational, geographical, LGBTQ, by genre, published and emerging.
You are a member of Hedgebrook’s community simply by sharing your work with us. As our global community grows, we are offering more opportunities for women writers to experience Hedgebrook in other ways. If you choose to stay on our mailing list, we’ll share opportunities to write, network, take workshops and engage with writers from around the world. We are committed to advocating for all women writers to gain equal voice in the cultural conversation.

 

So why is a NO from Hedgebrook a YES?

Because I dared to apply for the 6 week retreat.

To allow myself even the possibility to focus fully on me shows me that my mindset is changing.  I am opening myself to opportunities.

I have worked on my project, Molly, since 2003 through all the blood and guts of life.  Working on Molly is my refuge.  Now I need to give myself the QUIET that she needs.

I was empowered by the application process- empowered by the NO, for it showed me that I am ready to allow myself to now strip away distractions in my life that do not serve me, that do not reflect my value nor feed my life’s work.

I want to give myself to the experience of Hedgebrook- but that need not be at Hedgebrook.

I am expanding my community.  I will eat well.  Walk.  Take time.

Retreat frame of mind.

Hedgebrook state of mind.

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My nephew, Henrik, and my dog, Tobey, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC
My nephew, Henrik, and my dog, Tobey, Stanley Park, 2014 Vancouver BC

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UPDATE June 15, 2016:

TIME TO APPLY AGAIN!!! Go to:

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Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey, Mountainside Pilot Project Week 5 of 5

Recall:

LINK: MOUNTAINSIDE SECONDARY: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey

Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of portrait photography and street art to learn life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

THEMES: Connection and Empowerment

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CO-FACILITATORS: IAN POWELL, KAT THORSEN

Pilot Project: September 30, 2014- October 30, 2014

INSPIRED BY OUR HERO, STREET ARTIST JR:

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The beauty of an art project is that you cannot always measure the impact, but one day it can become clear.
– JR

We just completed a school photo shoot and will be looking at the images tomorrow.  It’s been a glorious few weeks.  Creating art pieces, diving into photography, exploring self-empowerment, watching and discussing pertinent TED Talks, journaling, bonding, connecting.  The core team will now explore the option of creating a documentary about the project as we hope to build the program throughout the year.

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Art is not supposed to change the world, to change practical things, but to change perceptions. Art can change the way we see the world. Art can create an analogy. – JR

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The power of paper and glue… – JR

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Can art change the world? Maybe… we should change the question: Can art change people’s lives? – JR

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Art is not meant to change the world, but when you see people interacting, when you see an impact on their lives, then I guess in a smaller way, this is changing the world. So, that’s what I believe in. That’s why I’m into creating more and more interactions. – JR

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Inside Out: youth empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

I am so excited to be part of this incredible project inspired by my hero JR:

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MOUNTAINSIDE SECONDARY: Inside Out Project: Own Your Journey

Youth-run initiative using the vehicle of portrait photography and street art to learn life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction and community connections.

THEMES: Connection and Empowerment

CO-FACILITATORS: IAN POWELL, KAT THORSEN

Pilot Project: September 30, 2014- October 30, 2014

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Mountainside Secondary School (MSS) is the North Vancouver School Districts smallest and newest secondary school, meeting the Ministry of Education requirements for funding as an Alternative School (BCEDAlternate Program Policy).

MSS functions as part of the continuum of social/emotional/behavioural supports that are available to all students at all secondary schools in the NVSD, and targets students in Grades 9-12 (ages 14-19).
MSS aims to allow for varied and alternate pathways to graduation (80 credit or Adult) or School Completion, and beyond.

MSS Core Values

  • Mutual respect
  • Genuine relationships
  • Flexibility
  • Choice
  • Individual accountability
  • Community Connections
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TEST SHOOT, INTERSECTIONS MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH SOCIETY, 2013-2014 (including Mountainside students/alumni)

We are proud to be part of the global art initiative INSIDE OUT PROJECT founded by JR:

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 —

As mentioned, we are part of a global art initiative founded by French street artist JR, winner of the 2011 Ted Talk Prize.  Our project is called: The Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey.

As they work through the curriculum, the students will be gaining some valuable life and transferable skills.

We use TED TALKS to inspire and to induce dialogue and self-reflection around the theme.

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Student journal entry

When you try to be yourself there will be people who will put you down. You grow up looking up to people and not knowing who you are and being told what to do and what not to do. We all deal with pain in different ways- some do it in a sad way. Having to live in a world where judging a person we don’t even know is a good way to make yourself feel better, or even judging a person makes ‘cool.’ But in the end we are all on this earth for a reason ans we should all love ourselves the way we are and respect all of our good qualities and get rid of all the negative, cruelty thoughts. – student journal entry

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We are registering our project with JR’s site on Tuesday! And our unique angle is that it is a youth run project and that by addressing their own vulnerability by connecting w people/community through portrait photography, the youth, in turn, empower the subject to feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of the camera!
The project will culminate in a large outdoor installation in the Spring.  A documentary and a behind the scenes short film will also be produced!

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Co-facilitator Ian Powell and his dog, Finnegan!

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STAY TUNED FOR OUR FUNDRAISER TO HELP US WITH PRINTING COSTS AND PROGRAM EXPANSION!!!

Source: The Music Empowers Foundation
Source: The Music Empowers Foundation

Sock Monkey Life Skills Entrepreneurship Curriculum Development update!

Recall I am developing the following project:

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT SERIES 1:

THE @BY POSTSTREET

SOCK MONKEY

LIFE SKILLS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM

for youth groups, schools and community organizations

in partnership with OPERATION SOCK MONKEY

I am pleased that things are moving forward as intended!  Phase 1 is on track regarding community outreach and awareness.  I have confirmed that I am implementing a pilot project in the Fall in at least one local high school.   During the summer, I will be meeting with 7 local young women to work on the curriculum and product as well as discussing their participation as peer supporters in the pilot project.

The pilot project will consist of 10 sessions, at the end of which the participants will have created at least one sock monkey each as well as a group business plan based on Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan.  The business plan creation will allow the students to learn life skills and entrepreneurship skills in a creative and fun and project-based way and the business plan will be displayed in a celebration event.  The process will demystify the language around business and will garner the students valuable learning experiences around social media and online marketing.  The pilot project will allow me to develop the ultimate workbook/workshop series and allow me to document and evaluate the program.

PILOT PROJECT FALL 2014

Each session includes: journaling, mind-mapping, drawing, product (sock monkey) making, business plan development, debriefing, independent and group work. 

Each session addresses various life skills and employment skills while using a project based learning model

Outcome: At least 1 sock monkey per student, business plan (group project), resume update, website launch, photo and video documentation, exhibit

  • SESSION 1 The Big Picture- the mission and the mantra
  • SESSION 2 Visions and Values- what do we stand for
  • SESSION 3 The Marketplace- where does our business fit in?
  • SESSION 4 Marketing- social media, blogging, connect with customers
  • SESSION 5 The Financials- budgeting, planning, projections
  • SESSION 6 The Team- mentors and support
  • SESSION 7 Action Steps- goals and strategies
  • SESSION 8 Momentum- operations, resume building, implementation
  • SESSION 9 The Business Plan- the group creative vision
  • SESSION 10 Celebration- unveiling, exhibiting, debriefing    

Topics covered will include:

What is the project?

What is an entrepreneur?

Student engagement through the arts

Career development model for all creative fields

Role of social media in marketing

Self-advocacy

Transferable skills

Workplace readiness

Micro-industry and sustainability

Local and global impact

For more info on Phases 1-5 go to:

LIFE SKILLS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM

Re: Phase 1, I still need to raise funds to build the program, gather supplies, work with my summer team and to become a licensed RIGHT BRAIN BUSINESS PLAN facilitator.

I am funding the development of Phase 1 through my arts and crafts sales and through donations.  I am extremely grateful for the support so far!  Your name is added to the donor list with each purchase/donation.

Here are various ways you can help:

1. DONATE:

paypal

2. PORTRAIT PURCHASE: sale runs until June 30, 2014

AD

3. PURCHASE CRAFTS ON MY ETSY SITE:

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 4. I’ll be announcing more fun stuff soon!!!

 

Love, Katarina

The inspiring work of @GlobalSorority @passionteams and @g4gcharity in Cape Town

 I am truly in awe of and inspired by the powerful work being done globally by my friends at

The Passion Foundation

Global Sorority

Girls 4 Girls

And I am delighted to see our Operation Sock Monkey sock monkeys at work on the ground in Cape Town!

Photos courtesy of Global Sorority and Passion Foundation:

"Today the young women joined the @globalsorority community. As a sign of sisterhood they gave each other a bracelet with an intent of good will that they voiced to the woman as they placed the bracelet on." - Loretta Cella
“Today the young women joined the @globalsorority community. As a sign of sisterhood they gave each other a bracelet with an intent of good will that they voiced to the woman as they placed the bracelet on.” – Loretta Cella
"The young women loving their sock monkeys!! " - Loretta Cella
“The young women loving their sock monkeys!! ” – Loretta Cella
"These girls loved their sock monkeys!!! The squeals and excited was amazing!" - Loretta Cella
“These girls loved their sock monkeys!!! The squeals and excited was amazing!” – Loretta Cella
"@vrybalka leading warm up this morning for @globalsorority #southafrica" - Loretta Cella
“@vrybalka leading warm up this morning for @globalsorority #southafrica” – Loretta Cella
"Young women of @globalsorority #southafrica working on their communication skills" - Loretta Cella
“Young women of @globalsorority #southafrica working on their communication skills” – Loretta Cella
"Sock monkey love #southafrica " - Loretta Cella
“Sock monkey love #southafrica ” – Loretta Cella
"Another awesome positive me #southafrica #leadershipdevelopment" - Loretta Cella
“Another awesome positive me #southafrica #leadershipdevelopment” – Loretta Cella
"Module 5: Cooperation #leadershipdevelopment #women" - Loretta Cella
“Module 5: Cooperation #leadershipdevelopment #women” – Loretta Cella
"Amazing courage shown today as the group writes down all their limitations and works to create change in their emotional and mental beings" - Loretta Cella
“Amazing courage shown today as the group writes down all their limitations and works to create change in their emotional and mental beings” – Loretta Cella
"Positive me drawing from one of the girls" - Loretta Cella
“Positive me drawing from one of the girls” – Loretta Cella
"A jump for joy after releasing their limitations and creating a new way of seeing themselves in this world" - Loretta Cella
“A jump for joy after releasing their limitations and creating a new way of seeing themselves in this world” – Loretta Cella

 

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JOURNAL EXERCISE: Who am I really?

Inspired by moments of self-doubt and lack of momentum, I found myself looking at who I really am, to me.

JOURNAL EXERCISE: Who am I really?  

Write without hesitation.  What happens?  Who are you?

Peering into my childhood summerhouse for the first time in 25 years. Photo by Julian Bowers.  Ulriksdal, Mässvik, Sweden, July 2009.
Peering into my childhood summerhouse for the first time in 25 years. Photo by Julian Bowers. Ulriksdal, Mässvik, Sweden, July 2009.

I am many.

I am the 9 year old too frightened to use the washroom at school and peeing my pants when I sneeze.

I am the mom at home waiting for my kids, fresh sheets on their beds, listening for the sounds of their keys in the door, a fridge full of food, and ears that will listen gleefully, without judgement, forever.

I am the eccentric old lady in 8 layers of skirts tending my flowers in the garden out front of my little shed house, with a cat on my shoulder and 20 more in my house and my loom creates endless rag rugs and the coffee is always on.

I am the distracted monk in the scriptorium, rubbing my eyes by candle light, my hands flecked with ink stains, my skin ever itchy from the wool cloak, lost in imagery of reds and blues and golds.

I am the pubescent dancer in rose pink, alone on the stage, performing for no one but the ghosts of Balanchine and Stravinsky.

I am the lowly librarian, sorting through card catalogues and aligning the musty books in the shelves just so, pushing my glasses with a dart and and anxious glance.

I am the lustful twenty one year old, fearlessly grinding to the Kinks.

I am the recluse.

I am the leader.

I am the activist.

I am the restrained.

I am the New Yorker.

I am the timid.

I am the middle finger upping, Doc martens covered in shit wearing, obliterating chins that get in my way kicking, my life aggressively behind me dragging, yelling:

Come on!   Get up, you fuck!

There is no time to delay for the the time is now.

Your life is here.

Here, now.

TRUST IT.  TAKE IT.

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