Sonia Osorio. Photo by Nasuna Stuart-Ulin.

Throughout the Creative Resilience series, we explored the ways in which stereotypes around artists’ labour ⁠normalize harmful practices by creating a sense of inevitability around burn-out, sleep deprivation, and over-work. In turn, neoliberal self-care narratives put the onus on the individual artist to just “be less stressed”. Through the Creative Resources: A Mindfulness-based Approach for Self-Care workshop, facilitated by Sonia Osorio, we explored the ways in which, by suppressing stress and exhaustion, our bodies become landscapes of tension. To emerge out of this, we can develop a transformative agency over our own emotional responses through mindfulness practices like meditation.

Sonia Osorio has a Master’s level training homeopathic medicine and naturopathy. She is also a massage therapist and a certified yoga instructor and meditation practitioner with over 20-years’ experience in mind-body approaches to health and well-being. For several years, Sonia worked as a writer and editor in medical and health care publishing, and she has also helped develop and facilitate teaching curricula for various organizations. She has worked with individuals in areas related to physical and emotional trauma, addiction, women’s health, and gender issues. Her work is individualized and collaborative, encouraging us to broaden our perspective of what constitutes well-being for ourselves and for our communities.

Through the workshop, we explored the ways in which we are always telling stories to ourselves about what we feel, and in this way interrupting our own thoughts. Through meditation practices, Sonia guided participants through what it means to give attention to emotion and reaction, and not ascribe qualities to what we feel. At the heart of this practice is developing compassion, for others and for one’s self, which Sonia describes as the intention to meet things as they are. By understanding how stress is a symptom of disconnection, it becomes possible to stay with the problem observing it, instead of ignoring it, and in this way changing it.

“We are working in a hyper-distracted society, and asked to create,” Sonia described. Under social conditions that work to disperse attention, artistic creation is an extraordinary act. As we discovered in Sonia’s workshop on mindfulness and meditation this past weekend, these forms of care are necessary not only to balance our minds, but to affect deep change, from the parasympathetic nervous systems of our bodies, to the interconnected fabric of our societies.