Following the election in 2016 I looked around and wondered what I could possibly do amidst the collective Waking Up. As this coincided with our funky gallery/barn living space transitioning to my own bakery & studio I was faced with an empty bedroom and bathroom. It felt silly to let this fertile ground sit idle and slowly the vision, greatly inspired by Hedgebrook and the Have Company residency, of creating a space to host artists, activists, and sensitive people of all stripes emerged. In February the Woodland Keep artist residency was born. For one year we hosted people from all over the country. We met people processing the political, spiritual, and emotional climate in all kinds of ways and each person held the space in dramatically unique forms. Some ambitiously accomplished every hike on the island, another created a zine about Anger, a series of oil paintings, another managed to meet so many in the community while delving into floral pigment making, some hunkered down and worked on their books, and another investigated every mushroom they could find on island. Knowing that personally, creativity comes in wide open, unrestricted spaces, I left the opportunity for workshops, learning, or sharing, but ultimately the space was theirs, with resources and help given for whatever they needed. There was a zine library, a residency alter, a journal of everyone's experience. Everyone left something special behind that made the space fuller, and while the residency is on hold for now - each offering is locked in a small trunk for when this project has a permanent space to be brought back to life again. I'm so grateful to everyone I met and for what was left behind and now I'd like to share some of that all with you.
So, to begin this residency series - meet Kate Weiner. Kate, the founder of the environmental arts print Loam Magazine, is a soft powerhouse with a refreshing sense of humor, and most noticeably an impressive dedication to awakening resiliency and empowering others in a hopeful approach to sustainability and climate action. A fellow Capricorn, her gentle nature houses an indomitable spirit and commitment to her mission, and I have been so impressed as I have continued to watch Loam grow and connect within the short time since her residency. Here she shares tips for cultivating resilience, what she did in the space, and a little about herself with book recommendations and more...
EVERYDAY ACTIONS TO CULTIVATE RESILIENCE
by Kate Weiner of Loam Magazine
In the face of political instability, social injustice, and climate catastrophe, cultivating resilience within ourselves, our communities, and our ecosystems is critical. As important as our grief is to honoring the heaviness surrounding us, our willingness to rise up—to continue to seed beauty and grow food and give love and find abundance–is necessary. It's the gift that we give to our wild and wondrous world.
Resilience is a perpetual practice. Here are a few everyday actions that have helped me build my resilience. I hope they can be of help to you, too!
- Cultivating Rituals for Resilience: Integrating ceremony, ritual, and celebration into our lives helps fine tune our capacity to notice and to cultivate abundance, and in turn, to nurture our capacity for resilience. Every morning, I draw a Tarot card to help set my intention for the day. I wake up early before work to give myself a sweet, tender hour (free from tech!) to stretch, moisturize with nourishing body oils, journal, and give thanks. Doing these rituals everyday—especially on those days when it's freaking hard—has helped me learn how to thrive in the face of uncertainty and instability. Find a ritual for resilience that will make you feel beautiful in your body, present to our world, and grateful for our planet that you can bring to life everyday.
- Seeking Discomfort: Part of growing our capacity to be resilient is learning how to weather discomfort. Being present to pain helps us recognize that our grief, our discomfort, and our fear isn't static. Seeking out and sitting with discomfort—like taking a naked polar plunge on a winter morning or being alive to a hard conversation—shows us that we can move from suffering to joy. We are truly wired to be resilient.
- Embracing Multiplicity: We can mourn the devastation in our world and we can continue to find joy in staring at the stars. We don't have to choose to suffer all the time. For me, embracing multiple ways of perceiving, living in, and healing our world means honoring that we can feel a whole lotta things at once and that's okay.
- Grow Something: Plant a tree, seed an herb garden, grow love, give love. Our resilience is rooted in our ability to nurture someone(s) and somethings even when there is no guarantee of what will come.
5 word memoir – Go!
Happy to be here, man!
What does it mean to you to be a writer & artist?
I’m still figuring it out! For me, however, growing into my role as a creative is about showing compassion for my process, striving to live a beautiful life, and being present to my becoming. I don’t always write or draw everyday but I do try to make one beautiful thing— even if it’s as simple as a batch of golden granola or as small as a fallen leaf mandala on the sidewalk—that nourishes my need to create. And I deeply believe in the power of collaboration. Writing is very solitary work so I love teaching workshops and making art with my beloved friends. Co-creation is a real gift.
What did you intend to create during your WK residency?
During my residency, I worked on a book that interweaves the personal, the political, and the poetic to explore coming of age during the climate crisis. It was a really painful and really healing book to work on and I’m so grateful for the residency for creating a welcoming space to be with that pain and wonder and hope.
What is one unknown fact about you?
Can’t think of anything! For better or worse, I’m an open book.
What are struggles or challenges you face in your work and how do you manage them?
When I am in the flow, writing is this totally soul-lifting experience. But sitting alone with my laptop or notebook for hours on end is very isolating. Significant screen time drains me and given how much I thrive on collaboration, it can be difficult to be by myself, typing and tinkering, for very long. So I really strive to fill my day with opportunities to interact and co- create. I write early in the morning when it’s really juicy for me have those soft hours all to myself to make, and then I get to work with friends, dreaming and scheming and teaching together.
What is your favorite thing about your work and do you have any visions for the future?
I love how writing guides me from fear to hope. I love when something I wrote to help me helps somebody else find the words for their own struggles and dreams. I love when I’m teaching a workshop and I feel in community with the class and full of hope for the future.
Moving forward, I want to continue to write—that’s my heart—but I also want to teach more than I do now. Teaching is truly embodied work and I want to better be in my body when I make and co-create.
What do you see when you look out your window?
I’m very lucky that my window looks out onto our big backyard. Our neighbors are permaculture teachers and we share a beautiful stretch of grass. From my blanketed bed I can see a compost pile, a tangle of squash, and a painted shed where my neighbor’s cat loves to curl up in the bright Colorado sun.
Who (human, plant, animal etc.) inspires you?
I am deeply inspired by my friends. I have so many amazing sisters in my life who are wildly creative and wonderfully silly. I love to watch my friends at work and am perpetually transformed by their passion for their pursuits—be it as dancers, environmental stewards, scientists, writers, teachers, or healers.
I am also inspired by my plants! I love tending to my plant babies and learning from them as they grow. My snake plant has taught me so much about resiliency, my bodacious heartleaf philodendron about beauty, and my lemon balm about love.
What advice would you give to an aspiring creative/artist/activist?
Read “Big Magic” by Liz Gilbert; “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer; and “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown. These three books speak so beautifully to activism, art, and creative living. From “Big Magic” I learned to not make my art my sole pursuit. From “Braiding Sweetgrass”—my very favorite read—I learned how to be in joyous love with this world. And from “Emergent Strategy” I learned how to cultivate activist practices rooted in pleasure. That’s so important. For your work as an artist and as an activist to be sustainable, it has to set your soul on fire.
I have also discovered several rituals for regeneration in my life that have deepened my work as an activist and strengthened my creative passion. Collaborating with others is a big one but so is taking walks in my neighborhood where I wander for hours with my notebook and old Polaroid camera, searching to archive beauty right where I am. Being disciplined about living a beautiful life—by searching for, celebrating, and sharing beauty with others—helps you feed your creative fire even on the days when you are working thru writers’ block or struggling to make.
Is there anything you would like to share – recipe, ritual, meditation, spell, prayer, poem....... ?
My friend Kailea Frederick of Earth Is ‘Ohana, shared her beautiful planted prayers during her Artist-in-Residency for Loam and it’s a ritual that has really transformed my own life. Check out her prayers for Loam—I hope it will provide you with a blueprint for offering your own prayers to the world.
Happy Equinox ! ! <3