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Dwelling in the Doublebind Between Chronic Illness and Creative Vocation

I’m finally feeling ready to share a Patreon page to support the writing and research I am doing for my thesis project, Long Body Prayers. Also bubbling in near-future creative cauldron offerings are a drop-in animist playgroup, a mutual learning incubator for animist creative process, a workshop series on “Self-Regulation for Fractal Ecosystems,” and podcast interviews with animist practitioners on subjects such as connective tissue, play, nervous system states, and animist ritual. All this has been in the cooking and designing process for several months and now, as I’m slowly detoxing from the mold exposure and getting a sense of the life rhythm that supports my new baseline, I’ve been feeling momentum towards bringing these projects into reality.

But I kept getting snarled in the cultural doublebind between chronic illness and creative vocation.

I have a mental-“supposed to”-image that I have to choose between being a chronically ill person asking for help with basic life expenses or being a practitioner asking people to support me in creative vocation.

As I meet the Spirit of Scarcity in this situation, I've been oscillating between the part of me that says "you should do another health fundraiser" and the part says "you are ready to start bringing in income from your practice.”

My internalized capitalist says "YOU CAN'T DO BOTH!" and tries to force me to abandon one half of my context, asking me to pretend that one side or other of me isn't real.

So, in the spirit of animist practice, I’ve been playing in the fissure of this doublebind, and inviting both my chronic illness and my creative vocation to exist within a wider container of support.

As I’ve sat with the river these past few days, I’ve thought a lot about the Mississippi River meander maps, the 10,000 years of different shapes this body of water has made in subtle responsiveness to the ecosystem that embraces her. I’ve thought about the Original Peoples who have moved with the water of this river for even longer than that 10,000 years. Over the same durational span as that of so-called “western civilization,” this river’s course has continually shifted its pattern across the land and the indigenous people of Turtle Island have adapted their own movements in response. A question bubbles up from this durational sensing: What conditions would create the flexibility for people touched by colonization to allow our lives to also be reshaped by the movements of the water instead of trying to control the river’s flow?

One tiny way of responding to this question within my own life has been to begin to bring my writing to the water, to read aloud the words I want to share with people and let the river reshape them. This is what I have done with this sharing for the past several days. As I brought these words to the water, different tributaries of possibility begin to emerge. Bringing my writing to this wider body has changed the way that I inhabit “legibility,” inviting me into a shape-shifting reciprocity that blurs the edges between human and ecosystem.

As I have shared this writing with the river, I have felt also the holding of my deep time ancestors, rooting back into the time when my people were also in porous receptivity with a wider dreaming, when they too modeled their social structures on the ecological patterns that continually reshaped them. Weaving their voices with the song of the river, these old ones are challenging me to open up my creative practice as a place for the circulation of nutrients, opening channels of giving and receiving while learning the etiquette of titration.

So, from all of this, I’ve decided to create a very simple version of a Patreon where people can support me monthly at any amount they choose, so I can be sustained in co-emerging this practice through which the human bends and shimmers into other shapes of ecological perception. The Patreon will be a container in which I'll be sharing glimpses of my creative process around the thesis and will hopefully grow from there into a wider ecosystem of animist offerings.


More layers of the patreon will follow in the next weeks and months as I continue to learn the harmonizing of this dance between chronic illness and creative vocation.

I will also be welcoming larger one time donations via paypal ( or venmo (@ShanteZenith) if anyone feels drawn to support me in the specificity of my context around chronic illness and immediate survival needs as it’s currently a stretch to meet basic expenses.

Many blessings to you and your web of relationships!

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