Day 6: How Are You Doing by Kim LeClair – an Interview with Jamie about Self-Isolation

In the midst of the heightened intensity and information overload of the COVID-19 pandemic, how are we all doing?

That’s the question that inspired by dear friend Kim LeClair to start the How Are You Doing podcast, where she talks to ordinary people about their daily lives in this extraordinary time.

I was honoured to be one of her first guests and in our episode, we chatted about everything from the behind the scenes reality of the studio right now to what I hope will change when we come out the other side.

Listen in on our conversation here.

I am episode 3, the March 26 episode.

Day 5: Art Prompts PDF A Creative Care Package! (Free) from Carla Sonheim and Friends

I have so many good things to say about Carla Sonheim and her online classes that I honestly don’t know where to start.

Carla is the art teacher we all wish we had. She is welcoming, encouraging and kind while offering consistently interesting projects and prompts that move you forward in your art-making and help you discover your own voice.  I can’t say enough good about her and the roster of teachers she has offering classes at her studio.

In response to the current pandemic, Carla and 11 of her art teacher colleagues have put together a free PDF of art prompts appropriate for all ages.

Get your free Creative Care Package of art prompts here.

While you are there, be sure to look at Carla’s classes, which are currently 15% off (no code required) and sign up for her newsletter. You’ll be glad you did.

On the New Moon, I began a new blog series: 40 Days of Beauty, Goodness & Love, little moments of light to get us through a difficult time. If you get solace, peace and inspiration from this, please share with others who need the same. (And if you’re gathering goodness too, please share resources in the comments!)

Day 4: It’s Time to Singalong – at a Distance!

Yesterday in this series, I encouraged you to dance.* Today, I’m going to invite you to sing.

I’ve been attending Choir! Choir! Choir! events in Toronto for years now. Each week they host a gathering (or two) at a bar in Toronto where whoever shows up learns an always stellar arrangement of a chosen song. By the end of the night, the ragtag group of people that walked in the door are singing in harmony and having a memorable night.

Right now, as we isolate ourselves for the health of everyone, events like this are put on hold but with the creativity of Daveed and Nobu, who run C!C!C!, we can still sing together! They have been hosting live streamed Social Distan-Sing Alongs. What a joy to be belting out a tune at home knowing people around the world are doing the same.

I shared a recent recording at the top of this post and there’s another event this coming Sunday, March 29th at 3:00 pm EST. The theme is “springtime”

Join in and sing these songs on Sunday:

1. Here Comes The Sun
2. Walkin’ On Sunshine
3. I Can See Clearly Now
4. Steal My Sunshine
5. Tomorrow (from Annie)
6. Summer Breeze
7. Lovely Day
8. Easy (Like Sunday Morning)
9. 59th St Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

To join the live stream, “Like” Choir! Choir! Choir!’s Facebook page and at 3:00 PM EST you’ll get a notification about the live feed. Alternatively, you can go here on YouTube and singalong there! (I have been going to both and when I see which one is running more stably, I choose it). Choir provides a link to the lyrics on their Facebook page.

I hope you’ll come out. I’d love to know that we’re singing together on Sunday!

*BTW, I went to yesterday’s live stream dance event with The Get Down and it was brilliant! It was 2 hours of good energy, being connected to our bodies and in community. I recommend it!

On the New Moon, I began a new blog series: 40 Days of Beauty, Goodness & Love, little moments of light to get us through a difficult time. If you get solace, peace and inspiration from this, please share with others who need the same. (And if you’re gathering goodness too, please share resources in the comments!)

Day 3: In Challenging Times, We Can Still Dance

“It is now time for us to be as big as we are.”

In these times of purposeful social isolation, it moves me deeply to recognize that we humans love to gather. It is a part of nature, as is our desire to dance.  From the time we are little, we wiggle and stomp and bounce. Then somewhere along the line, sooner or later, most of us forget. We forget the joy our bodies feel when we move to music. We forget that dance sets us free. Instead, we get caught up in the idea that dance is a performance and we cast ourselves in the role of ‘audience’. We start to believe that dance is for the trained, for the young, for the lithe and the limber. This is not true.

Dance is for everyone. Including you.

We may not be able to gather on the dance floor together right now but still, we can dance.  Put on your favourite song and remember what it’s like to move.  It’s that simple!

Plus, right now amazing resources are popping up all over the internet. DJ D-Nice has been playing live sets on Instagram that will get you grooving. And today The Get Down from NYC is hosting a live dance party. There’s a sliding scale fee with a minimum. I signed up both to dance and to support their effort to bring dance, light and love to the world. I have never attended one of their events but they have values I can get behind: “We create dance floors that liberate, heal and unite through the power of music and community.” And hey, it’s been a while since I hit the club scene but now I can do it from home.

Here’s one of their playlists, including the way they set the tone and begin. Let’s dance together now!

And though we certainly can’t follow some of the prescriptions in this video, it’s still an inspirational reminder that We Came to Dance.

On the New Moon, I began a new blog series: 40 Days of Beauty, Goodness & Love, little moments of light to get us through a difficult time. If you get solace, peace and inspiration from this, please share with others who need the same. (And if you’re gathering goodness too, please share resources in the comments!)

Day 2: Turning to Nature – Let’s Walk in the Jardin en Cevennes

Connecting to nature, whether it’s going for a walk while keeping safe distance or watching from our windows is one of the ways so many of us are keeping ourselves nourished.

Here in Toronto the trees are still bare and I have been watching young squirrels traverse them with enthusiasm and ease. I’ve also been popping out into the backyard daily to see if anything is coming to life. So far the tips of tulips and narcissus are showing themselves. I am thrilled that they have made it through to spring, especially with the abundance of the aforementioned squirrels! (I have shooed more than one of them away from the tender bulbs!)

Today let’s go for a walk together through this beautiful Jardin en Cévennes, presented in this spectacular series of Great Gardens by Nowness. I often say, “Gardens are a gift to everyone” and now I am coming to see that so are the philosophies of gardeners. There is a certain way of thinking in the garden, like we can have a vision, make a start, give life to possibility and then we sit back and watch and see the way the garden itself wants to unfold.

On the New Moon, I began a new blog series: 40 Days of Beauty, Goodness & Love, little moments of light to get us through a difficult time. If you get solace, peace and inspiration from this, please share with others who need the same. (And if you’re gathering goodness too, please share resources in the comments!)

Day 1: An Astronaut’s Guide to Self-Isolation – Chris Hadfield

Today Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield changed something for me. During this pandemic, when there is so much anxiety and yes, risk, he reminded me that we can choose agency instead of overwhelm, that we can “thrive and be productive” even in dangerous situations.

In this short video Chris shares the four simple steps that astronauts use to stay safe in hazardous situations.

  1. Understand the Actual Risk
  2. Choose Goals. What’s your mission?
  3. Identify Constraints
  4. Take action

No, we cannot control the situation or the variables but we can do what we are able to do.  We can, as Chris so elegantly puts it, take care of our spaceship.

With today’s New Moon, I am starting a new series: 40 Days of Beauty, Goodness & Love an the blog, little moments of light to get us through a difficult time. If you get solace, peace and inspiration from this, please share with others who need the same. (And if you’re gathering goodness too, please share resources in the comments!)

Choosing Creativity, Connection & Calm


How are you holding up?

I keep reminding myself that stress and anxiety do nothing to contribute to my resilience, strength and resourcefulness during challenging times. Instead I am actively reaching for things that contribute to my calm.

What’s Currently Supporting Me

  • Listening to gentle music. Here’s a soothing playlist I’m enjoying on Spotify: Strings for Sleeping.
  • Tidying my home, particularly the studio. It’s become quite chaotic and I feel so much better when it’s at least a little orderly.
  • Cleaning with love and intention. From my hands to the countertop, from the light switches to our laundry, it feels good to wash away worry and dirt.
  • Frequent lie-downs. This is especially nourishing when I can curl up amidst the kittens and be serenaded by purrs.
  • Time in my Studio Yearbook, writing, doodling, cutting and pasting, washi-ing, colouring, generally messing around.

During this week’s Studio Yearbook kick-off, participants shared some of things that are helping them stay nourished and calm. There were so many great suggestions that I pulled together the common threads as a robust resource for us all.

What’s Currently Supporting Studio Yearbookers

Connecting with Nature. This was the major theme amongst yearbookers. Whether it’s stepping out into the backyard, going for a walk (wherever you are, no matter the weather, with dog or without dog) or listening to the birds through your window, tuning into the beauty and aliveness of the natural world is a balm. It’s reassuring how, as yearbooker Sabrina put it, “Everything goes on as usual in nature.”

Breathe. Throughout your day, simply pause and take a deep breath. Breathe with your whole body. Feel the difference it makes. Step outside or open your window and gather beautiful fresh air into your lungs.

Time with Furry Friends. If you have pets, they are such a comfort. As I’m writing, Scout is curled up behind me on my chair, leaning into my lower back. In a time of social isolation, it’s nice to have that physical connection!

Gratitude. This is always a powerful practice and even more so now. In the midst of this crisis, take some time to recognize the gifts that are present and available to you right here and right now.

Movement. We may be spending most of our time indoors but that doesn’t mean we have to stay still. Studio Yearbookers are stretching, dancing, doing yoga and Tai Chi to keep their bodies moving. There are lots of free resources online to support you in finding your way to move. For example, I know a lot of people enjoy Yoga with Adrienne and I quite like Yogamazing with Chaz.

Meditation. Even a 5-minute meditation will bring respite to your day. Again, there are many resources online to get you started, including the popular Insight Timer app. For a live experience, my meditation teacher Susan Piver is currently hosting meditation gatherings free online each day. Find out more here.

Filter. As I mentioned last week, I encourage you to stay informed and to also manage your input. You get to be your own filter and choose when, what, how much and from where you take in information. Trust your instincts. You are allowed to choose what is right for you.

Connecting with Loved Ones. Reach out to people you care about. Send a text or an email. Make a call. See if you can set up some family FaceTme, a coffee date on Zoom. Studio Yearbooker Susan is reading stories to her grandchildren across the country. What a great way to spend some of the day!

Be Present. Instead of spinning with worry about what might be, remind yourself of what is true in this moment. As yearbooker Amy says, “For now I am well. I am safe. I have plenty of food. That’s enough for this moment.”

Create. Studio Yearbookers are baking bread, making soup, painting, reading poetry, drawing, dancing, taking photos, writing, Many of us are finding ourselves with the gift of found time. Treat it like a precious gift and come to the work, the projects, the practices that have been waiting for you.

Creative Sharing

Not only are people doing beautiful things to nourish themselves but there are also so many finding ways to nourish one another!

Sing. This week my beloved Choir! Choir! Choir! hosted a Social Isola-sing-along on Facebook. For an hour, 9,000 people around the world sang together*. We couldn’t see or hear each other but oh, could we feel the togetherness! They will be hosting more of these events. If you want to participate, be sure to like their Facebook page here.

Attend. Also this week the ever-inspiring Indigo Girls held a live concert and Q&A on Facebook and Instagram. What a joy to be invited into their living room! It was so special to not just be with them but also, as I saw the comments going by, to recognize some of my dear friends in the crowd! Even though we live far from one another, we attended our first live concert together! Just like choir, the Indigo Girls have said they will be doing more of these events. Follow them here if you want to attend.

Listen. These things usually pop-up rather quickly so you have to keep your eyes open! One thing that I know that is available right now is that Audible is opening their vault of kids stories (including classics like Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, etc) whiles schools are closed. These are free to listen to here. (Thanks to my sister Shannon for the tip.)

Let’s all take exquisite care of ourselves and each other. Stay connected. Celebrate the blessings. There are good people everywhere.