I’m currently at the Banff Centre as a participant in the Getting to Maybe: Social Innovation Residency and it has been a pretty awesome experience! When I arrived here a few weeks ago I was yearning for some space and time to reflect and integrate, and while the days and nights have been full, I have managed to explore some big questions: How do I want to live my life? How can I best contribute? How can I live a full life amidst the fear of the known and the unknown?
Specifically, over the last few weeks, I have been supported by faculty and friends to take some deep dives to explore myself, my work, and my engagement with the world. Through dreams, nature, forest art, improv, indigenous ways of knowing, storytelling, and systems thinking, I’ve developed a better sense of how I want to show up in the world and contribute, or more simply, how I want to be.
I’ve realized that what I am most passionate about is hosting supportive, reflective opportunities for people to connect, explore, and share their lived experiences, and I’m feeling particularly drawn to the young adult cancer community. Through conversations with young adults living with cancer, I’ve come to learn that each person’s experience with cancer is unique, complex and multi-faceted; however, I don’t believe the dominant narratives about cancer capture these nuances and complexities. I’m also curious about how a diversity of narratives about what cancer is, is not, and could be, could influence society’s engagement with cancer and could enhance our agency and voice as we navigate our own experiences with cancer. As a researcher, practitioner, and young adult living with cancer, this is how I want to contribute. This is one of the dreams I hope to bring to fruition in my lifetime.
I’ve also discovered that for this dream to take flight I have some big work to do. To create a safe space for others to share, I must first share my own story. The thought of this is absolutely exciting and terrifying, and yet I know it needs to be done. Now is the time… And so over the next year, I am making a commitment to myself (and all of you) to explore various medium to craft and share my own experiences with cancer. Specifically, I commit to sharing my story Reality Rescripted: Rediscovering Self Through Nature, Storytelling, and Disease and watching the magic unfold!
This dream now has wings! Thank you for witnessing its first flight!