I’ve always been a positive and optimistic person. I am hopeful and adventurous and expect the best from people. I owe this to my parents, who raised me to trust the world and people around me. I am incredibly grateful to have had a happy and safe childhood. I see my role in the world as amplifying this light, this positivity, especially in the face of darkness or negativity.
Twenty years ago, I had my first solo photography show, called “Body Language”. It was about how emotion is communicated in the body, but also about the power of words.
I also used to run a creative shirt business where I block printed solitary positive words on shirts and sold them at music festivals. “fly” and “shine” were two of my favourites.
I believe in the power of a word – that identifying with an idea and thinking positively can help move internal mountains and make change happen. It all starts with a thought.
When I was in labour with my daughter I wrote out “yes” on a card and had it posted in the hospital room so I could feel that “yes” fully in my body to take me away from the pain.
When Yoko Ono’s show came to the Art Gallery of Ontario 15 years ago, I climbed a ladder to read a very small “yes” at the top. Yoko Ono is one of my heroes. She is an artist who never lost the ability to play and imagine. She reminds us that we are all still children and we all have the capacity to dream our own realities into being.
Also about 15 years ago I made a series of work about conjunctions (“and”, “but”, “while”) with dancers mid movement. It was about connectors and in between moments, moving between origin and destination, ideas I keep coming back to – focusing on the process, the movement of life, the in between moments.
These in between moments can be “Yes, and…” moments if we choose for them to be. Saying yes and being open to what ever might happen next is both scary and liberating.
Although I have never studied improvisation, I know that “Yes, and…” is the foundation of improvisation – to accept what another person has done and expand upon it. This could be a life mantra, really.
As a parent, it is challenging to remember to embrace these “Yes, and…” moments. Running my own business and being the parent that drops off and picks up my child from school means that I have to work hard to fit everything into the 6 hours I have available while my daughter is at school. Sometimes my busy-ness gets the best of me and interferes with my being present with my daughter. Sometimes I have to rally up to play with my daughter when I’m feeling too tired. Sometimes I wish I could just get these last few things done or get dinner made or write this blog post. But every time I say “yes” to her and we play together I feel myself letting go. Letting go of my own expectations, my desire for productivity, my focus on time.