Radio LUMI

302: Rest

May 23, 2023 Luminato Festival Toronto Season 3 Episode 2
Radio LUMI
302: Rest
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Radio LUMI will explore the theme of “Rest” as part of Luminato 2023. 

In “Grounding Conversations, Part 2: The Jumbies of Capitalism,” Dev awakens in the present  to see the insidious gnarled roots of capitalism that have grown to have a tight grip on Toronto—which are haunted by the jumbies (malevolent spirits) of the past.

Then Ramya sits down with audio describer Rebecca Singh, of Superior Description, to explore the “Art of Storytelling in Immersive Art" before diving into “Worth Noting” and their connections with Rest and Ian Kamau’s production of Loss.

Ramya Amuthan:

How do we connect with ourselves through rest? Rest can ease the pain. How do we make the difficult conversations of our lives digestible through rest, through storytelling? How do words, characters, settings of stories connect threads of our realities into the fantasy?

Dev Ramsawakh:

This is Grounding Conversations with Dev Ramsawakh for Radio LUMI. This six part segment series will lay the groundwork for the conversations that'll be happening on our broadcast during Luminato 2023 and provide a background on the frameworks with which our audio experiences attempt to engage. Many performance shows and arts festivals begin their programming with your typical land acknowledgement. However, many indigenous peoples have criticized the practice for relegating their relationship with the land to the past, which does more to alleviate settler guilt and discomfort than to demonstrate real solidarity and progressive action. In my relationship to Radio LUMI, I want to acknowledge these criticisms as a way to use my platform responsibly. I don't want to just acknowledge the trauma indigenous peoples from all over have had inflicted on them, but to address how our society collectively is hurt by the mechanics of colonialism, I want to try to offer a demonstration of ways to actively engage with decolonial concepts in a practice to move forward on an interconnected journey towards collective liberation.

In grounding conversations, I reveal myself as a time traveler, as I embark on a journey that weaves in and out of the past presence and futures that are rooted in the festival's programming and our city's arts culture. Tying them to the themes that the host here at Radio LUMI will be addressing from their own perspectives. This journey will be created using excerpts from my body of work to address the ongoing impacts of colonialism on our collective society and the underlying principles of disability justice that the San Francisco based disabled arts collective Sins Invalid, imbued into the term when they coined it in 2005 in order to teach us how to resist our interlocking systems of oppression.

It's now time to embark on the second part of our journey, the Jumbies of Capitalism.

My least favorite part of sleeping is that split second after you've woken up when you're trying to open your eyes for the first time. No matter where I am, it's dizzyingly unfamiliar before my brain is fully let go of whatever dreams have been entertaining during my slumber. This time is no exception. If anything, it may be the most terrifying I've ever experienced. I'd fallen asleep, tucked under the towering dense canopy of trees, different kinds of ash, cedar, oak, maple and other trees, most of which I'd never seen before, not far from the banks of Lake Ontario, taking deep breaths of not just clean air, but air filled with a sense of earth and life. When I wake, the air is still thin, dry, and acrid, and I feel myself wheezing. I'm back in my present day home, dampen sweat under my comforter. I reach urgently for my inhaler and take two quick puffs as deeply as I can and hold it.

I feel aches in my joints most prominent in my right knee, ankle, and hip, and between the discs and my surgically closed spine. And remember that I'm several stories higher above sea level than where I'd fallen asleep. I'm surrounded by mementos and souvenirs of relationships, accomplishments, hopes and failures, a setting that usually serves as refuge and haven for me, but I can't shake a sense of dread that chills the sweat still clinging to my skin and clothes. I look at the large uncovered window that spills light across my bed. I usually hold a lot of gratitude for it in the large balcony that lines the street facing perimeter of my apartment, having spent years virtually confined to a cramped shadowy walkup until a couple years ago. But as I rushed to my balcony to confirm the site from my window, I suddenly feel a hang of resentment for the view, I breath in dust and fume filled air as I stare in horror at the familiar bustling Toronto Street below me.

The world is just as I remember it, but now I can see some kind of hazy organic hologram of the gnarled and tangled roots that have grown from the seeds of capitalism I've watched gets sewn like a forest in itself. And to my horror, I realize that this forest is haunted. Looking between the shadowy knots of industrial roots are hungry and malicious Jumbies is a Creole word from mostly English speaking parts of the Caribbean that encompasses all spirits and demons usually used to refer to monsters that evolved from the mixture of indigenous West African, Indian, Chinese, and European peoples there. But other parts of the Caribbean colonized by the French, Dutch and Spanish may say Duppy. Zombie or spirit instead.

My father once told me about a Jumbie called the moon walker, a tall, pale, lanky spirit that roamed the land gazing at the moon. But the intergenerational connections that held the origins and motives of many Jumbies from my family's culture had been interrupted. I needed to carefully and intentionally research the Jumbies back home to understand who they are, but the Jumbies that leer hungrily from the shadows here are almost instantly recognizable to me. These ghosts and monsters are the remnants of a past that's caught in the purgatorial competition to be buried in an earth seemingly forever. They take the forms of policies, institutions, and cultural values that persist to this day.

My colonially informed and educated language. We refer to them as legislation, bills, laws, systems, or any number of other words easily found in English dictionaries. But as Wiidaaseh, an alternative hiphop rapper, writer, producer, and engineer based in Toronto and from Wikwemikong First Nations reservation made me realize in an interview recorded in 2021, they may be called many different names from any of the hundreds of languages and cultures that can be found in so-called Canada.

Wiidaaseh:

The version that we would have here is probably the Windigo that's more local to Canada because it's popular in the Great Lakes. The planes, the word wendigo go comes from an Ojibwe word, which is a part of the Algonquin languages. So it has a huge history there. The wendigo story, another malevolent spirit that feeds on a weakened soul and a weakened soul is usually a soul that's been corrupted somehow by things that actually came with colonialism. A lot of ways to weaken the soul was like greed or starvation or gluttony, any kind of thing that we really did not partake in or we looked down on a lot, especially greed or a sense of isolation or putting yourself above someone else or above a group of people.

That wasn't something that we practiced a lot. We obviously had a very strong sense of community, and the way the Windigo story was phrased was like, if you were to become isolated, like let's say just to tell a child, right, like an urban legend, don't go out into the forest when it's cold and you're alone because you're away from the safety of the community and the windigo might get you and your soul's weakened out there.

Maybe you're hungry and it's a spirit that when it takes over you, you just want to eat and feed and consume and you just want to keep going and going, and no matter how full you are, you can always eat more. I feel like we never used to really think that way. We always used to be like, please do not consume more than you need. So it was a good way to just tell kids to be grateful and whatnot. But obviously when colonialism comes over and it's a huge big issue and we get introduced to all of these greedy practices and stuff like that, it becomes more relevant.

Dev Ramsawakh:

As I peer at the phantom route. They wrap their strangling reach around every structure. I can see. Some of the slavering Jumbie faces are so uncannily familiar. I can instantly recall their names and stories. Scarcity is a Jumbie that tricks us into believing our survival hinges on the demise of others so that we'll rip each other apart for it. Individualism is a Jumbie that isolates us by trapping us inside mirrors that obscure our visions with images of ourselves. Eugenics is a shape-shifting Jumbie that'll take whatever form it needs to infect us with an apathy or even a hunger for the eradication of groups based on how we feel about them. Binaries are twin Jumbies that eat away at nuance and multiplicity until all that's left are two cages they force us to shove each other into. White supremacy is a powerful Jumbie that erases history and wisdom to create whatever narrative is convenient for its purposes.

And there are others still that I could continue to name. They cackle and howl and snarl as they rollick on and through the lecherous roots of capitalism and colonialism like some kind of demonic jungle gym. Some are hulking and undeniable while some are deceptively small, hard to find, scattered around like specs of dust until they're corralled together in indistinguishable packs. And some seem like mirror wisps of smoke on the wind until you realize their microscopic spores have attached themselves to everything. They work alone and together and breed with each other to create specialized hybrids capable of evading detection. I see another that I recognize from my conversation with Wiidaaseh, alcoholism.

Wiidaaseh:

Growing up there. You see it all the time. It's totally normalized. It's sort of like it's not a part of our culture at all. Obviously it was used for trading and that's where it got introduced to us. Also, there's stories that were being used to manipulate native people, right? Because you'd get us drunk and you get a little loose, things happen. So there was trading. There was that allegedly. And so it's always been not a part of our culture, especially now. We have certain practices and certain ceremonies that you're supposed to be completely sober. You don't smoke, you don't drink or anything. But it's still such a huge part of our culture like it's not supposed to be at all, but it is.

Dev Ramsawakh:

I recognize it. Alcoholism is a family of Jumbies that haunts and feeds on so many people's, like the Indian indentured laborers that were lured or banished to the Caribbean to work the sugar cane fields or manufacture the subsequent products from them, such as my own ancestors. They were promised privileges. They undermine labor movements from the Africans that liberated themselves from enslavement and were paid with bottles of cursed rum made from the molasses, harvested from sugarcane. It's a curse that doomed them to such extreme poverty that they'd rather drown themselves in liquor to escape from, even as it lets loose the violent demons that have anchored themselves deep formative corners of their beings. It's also a curse that can be inherited, some pridefully and others shamefully by their descendants even when they've climbed on the backs of their ancestors and community to middle and upper classes.

It's a curse that you can't just break. You have to exercise the Jumbies over and over again. Other Jumbies like trauma and individualism will taunt you into releasing the curse again and again. It's a curse I have to choose to break every time I take a drink. These Jumbies love to work in cycles. As I learned in an interview I did with Trevor Stratton, a board director for 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations in Toronto for an article I wrote for Vice earlier this year titled What the Fight Against HIV Can Teach Us About Surviving The COVID Era.

Trevor Stratton:

In all of our generosity in the West, in pharmaceutical producing countries, we pride ourselves on our official development assistance and we support the global fund to fight HIV, TB and Malaria. So most of that money goes into buying the drugs to treat HIV, which is paid to American, Canadian, another western pharmaceutical producing country. So it's like the leaves fall from the tree and they rot and it's a cycle, most of the money comes back to our country. It's actually an investment in our own pharmaceutical companies which are charging exorbitant rates for the drugs.

If they cut the drugs in half, like the HIV drugs, we would have enough to treat everybody in the world. Those intellectual property rights are really hurting us, especially after it's often government, not always, but often government money that goes into the initial research and then we hand the profit over to pharma to control, and then we try to negotiate with them to lower the price. It's not sustainable. And from an indigenous perspective, the whole idea that this world economy is dependent on continual growth and we have a finite world and that is not sustainable, and now we're seeing the effects of that. They're looking to indigenous people going, "oh, you may have something there about protecting mother Earth, about thinking of the seven generations into the future before you make any decisions in your community and your people." That's not happening.

Dev Ramsawakh:

I can hear the echoes of the grinding gears of the disability-poverty cycle under his words. It's simultaneously disables the poor through unhealthy working conditions, access to clean water, nutritious food, and attentive comprehensive healthcare, while it also impoverishes the disabled with higher healthcare costs. Even here in Ontario, as OHIP fails to cover most ongoing medical supplies, higher rent for accessible housing or expenses for retrofitting homes to make them accessible and exorbitantly high price tags on accessibility devices or services that suddenly become affordable when non-disabled people create the demand for mass production, like Text to Speech Technology and weighted blankets, or as demonstrated in the early months of the pandemic, food delivery fees and virtual conferencing software, each Jumbies origin is connected to one gnarled root or another that traces its whining way back to the seed of capitalism it erupted from. This is why when Sins Invalid defined the principles of disability justice, they demanded, we adhere to an anti-capitalist politic. Capitalism sees our bodies and minds as righteous sacrifices and tributes for its proliferation.

Equating our worth with the profits we're able to exploit off of each other, any of us not able to keep the invasive growth alive are labeled as disabled in body or mind, and systematically eradicated. We have to dismantle and destroy capitalism, set fire to the very roots of it, to build a truly just world for all disabled people on its scattered ashes. It's also why they remind us to build on a foundation of sustainability, not just ecologically speaking, but along with our own bodies. We must rest and recharge, physically, mentally, emotionally, creatively. This is why Audrey Lorde coined the term self-care as a reminder to black women to include care for themselves as part of the caregiving responsibilities as often placed on them by family, partners, employers, coworkers, and their own community at large. These core practices are integral for resistant capitalism, as a trans led grassroots organization, QTPoC Mental Health, details on their website, and is called Rest for Resistance.

And the rest of the most marginalized of us should be prioritized and woven into the very fabric of our movements instead of burning us out to prioritize the comfort of the most privileged. Fear and anxiety can take as much energy as action, which I feel now as I retreat from my balcony view of a parallel haunted Toronto, I must rest before I can take action. So I slide back under my plush purple comforter to fall asleep, hoping that I'll dream up whatever I need to do next to slay the monsters that wait hungrily outside my window.

That was part two of the six part segment series, Grounding Conversations, the Jumbies of Capitalism. This segment was produced by Dev Ramsawakh for Radio LUMI as part of Luminato 2023. This segment included audio excerpts from interviews with Wiidaaseh recorded in 2021 and re-released in 2023 as part of the Remastered podcast, Jumbie: Colonized Monsters and Trevor Stratton recorded in February, 2023 as part of research for an article for Vice published in April. Links to these works and other resources for those interested in expanding their own research into these topics will be available in the show notes for this episode of the podcast, as well as through the Access hub, which is available on the Luminato website. That's luminatofestival.com. The music used in this segment is by G.R. Gritt. Sound effects were either from freesound.org or fully produced by Dev Ramsawakh. But don't turn us off yet. We've got lots more conversations between our hosts and Describers coming up on Radio LUMI.

Ramya Amuthan:

You're listening to episode two of the Luminato Toronto podcast series titled Rest. I'm your host for this episode, Ramya Amuthan, and joining me for this conversation ahead is audio describer Rebecca Singh. Let's get into the first part of our conversation together, which we're calling the Art of Storytelling, all themed around rest.

One thing that comes to mind right away when I think of connecting storytelling and rest is this transformation of reality to fantasy. So releasing what goes on in real life or in your actual situations in actuality, and then saying, I'm going to a place of better head space, more relaxed head space, a restful state by going into stories or audio experiences. And sometimes that includes music or other things like this. I think environment can also make a difference. Does this resonate with you in any way? So connecting rest with fantasy or outside reality?

Rebecca Singh:

Yeah, I think you can get to a place of transcendence and I think something happens to us when we... There's sort of this maybe liminal space, this sort of opening, and things shift and I feel like that creates possibilities and the idea of a dream world or an alternate reality, whether it's happening in a dream or daydreaming, all of those things become possible through a process of slowing down mindfulness and the focusing that we do when we rest or when we prepare to rest.

Ramya Amuthan:

And the prepare to rest is actually an interesting part because how often do we allow ourselves to prepare to rest or to even identify and acknowledge that, hey, we're in this state, that rest is the next step. So I'll give you an example. Sometimes I get so caught up in the to-do list of the day or the calendar of the day, and often, even if I know that my body is craving it, my headspace is becoming quite stressful. I will still continue to push through and power through and think, rest is for later, rest is for nighttime. Rest is for when all the stuff I need to do is done and I don't really check in with myself. And now I'm trying to get better at this to be personal, but it is something that is kind of difficult because we live in such a demanding lifestyle sometimes, and I guess people who play various roles in life have to think about fulfilling those roles before fulfilling the self-rest part of it.

Rebecca Singh:

Yeah, I feel like the whole idea that takes a village is one that is not my at fingertips. And especially as a parent, you miss out on a lot of rest. And if you have the help of others, if we're all taking care of one another in this sort of proverbial village, we have access to things that allow us to rest when we need it. And we also have access to different forms of care. Also, just to be able to recognize when you do need rest, when it's time to stop, I personally have that challenge because sometimes it takes somebody to take something out of your hands and sit you down or turn on a Netflix movie or something like that to kind of compel you into joining, agreeing. At least for me, that's definitely the case for me. So this idea of people also around that can help take those steps that can and help prepare for a restful time.

Ramya Amuthan:

So is a part of what you're saying, this idea of everybody understanding that rest is crucial or it needs to be implemented in our day-to-day? Because sometimes the resistance is how we feel about rest. I can feel this way about how much time I need to take to rest and replenish my energy and somebody else, let's say, who lives with me or who's part of my deeper support system doesn't feel that way. And I think those perspectives can maybe clash in how much rest you end up getting or receiving or being able to offer somebody else.

Rebecca Singh:

I really feel like this almost loops back around to things like toxic masculinity and the idea of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And I mean, that's part of our culture, that's part of the culture that we, or many of us anyway are living in. And the reminders are around you all the time. It's also kind of ideas around beauty, ideas around toughness that you can power through. I was reading a really interesting article about lack of rest in medicine, the ideas of, it's just normal for doctors and nurses to continue just working these really, really, really long shifts and that they somehow have a superpower that allows them to function really well, even though they haven't had any sleep.

And in other industries how they would regulate that. I mean, they don't allow truck drivers to go without rest, but doctors are somehow forced to continue working and nurses, and it's so odd as well because it's the care industry. So I think there's something really at odds in our culture, and I'm hoping that with more discussion around, even just around care, that the idea of rest and the ability for people to rest will increase and become much more of the norm. And I think we'll become healthier for it as well. That's not to say that it'll be easy. I know it won't be easy for me, but it would be ideal, really, I think.

Ramya Amuthan:

Yeah, of course. I mean, if the discussion and the premise around the discussion shifts and we are all more accepting of what is rest and why it's important, and I talked about lifestyle a bit earlier, but really when the pandemic hit, there was this huge shift for me and that I was understanding what quiet felt like, what silence or time to myself or just restful days, what that actually felt like. And honestly, if it happens for long enough, it just becomes the norm.

I found that after a week of just taking relaxing walks in quiet neighborhoods or trails and appreciating less traffic on the streets, less noise level, actually saying good morning and good evening to other people who were walking by, all these different ways of interacting with the world, that just felt more peaceful, more serene. That felt great. And then as things started to shift back, I felt myself resisting a little bit and thinking, oh no, now I'm going to have to go back to the daily grind or the do this extra, do that extra because that's the norm. And I understand that not everybody was in that privileged situation as I was. I didn't have to shift my caregiving or any of these other roles, but I just wonder what it would feel like if most slash all of us could appreciate that side of it, the quieter side, the less to do side, the hanging out, because we have time to do that kind of mentality.

Rebecca Singh:

Yeah. Well, I remember thinking, will we ever go back? Why would we go back?

Ramya Amuthan:

Right.

Rebecca Singh:

Yeah. And the word you used, grind is totally what it is. It's a grind. Our lifestyle that we have set up and we've completely fallen back into is a grind.

Ramya Amuthan:

I love hanging out at home. I'm very comfortable in my space. So that's the place of rest for me. Hanging out at home, listening to music or an audiobook, just something very soothing in the background sound helps me so much with rest. And that's even if I'm taking a walk in the trails, that sound of the rustling of trees and leaves and hearing my own footsteps or the breeze, these kind of things really make a difference. Does audio play a big part for you or any part at all? Can you describe during periods of rest?

Rebecca Singh:

Well, maybe it's a bit, because I'm a bit of an audiophile, so I mean, I listen to books and I was just thinking as you were talking about states of rest, and also this question that you asked, what is rest? Is rest sleeping? To me, I don't know. It's not, on the face of it, okay, yeah. Sleeping, yeah. But also then it also to me somehow means focus. There's this back to this connection with sort of a transcendence. Putting yourself in a place where you can focus just on one thing or where life is less frenetic.

And for me, that's the kind of thing that I actually do with audio in that sometimes I will just sit myself down to listen to a piece of music or an album from back in the album days and enjoy how it's been put together, enjoy how the album has been produced, and it's a journey or something like a symphony or something like that where I get to really relish the transitions and the beats from movement to movement or song to song, what have you. So yeah, I don't want to be listening to that kind of stuff in the background as I'm doing dishes and laundry. So I think there's a special pleasure that I get out of having restful time with audio.

Ramya Amuthan:

That is so intriguing to me, because what you're talking about is just very mindful. You're talking about being present with your audio, whereas I will have the complete opposite experience, just toss on whatever you literally search on Spotify, background music, and then just play whatever needs to put me in the head space of feeling relaxed. But what you're talking about is, and you mentioned the word focused is really tuning in and tapping in, but you still, just to clarify, you're still talking about feeling rested in that experience.

Rebecca Singh:

To me, I feel like it's putting, I don't know how to describe it, but dampening or putting to sleep or letting my other senses just take a back seat and surrendering. I think there's this aspect of surrender and I'm thinking right now of this ideal temperature, like outdoor temperature where you don't have to wear a jacket. Where it's room temperature, you don't have to sweat, you're not shivering. That kind of a place where it's just kind of like, okay, I am just receiving and I'm not working at it at all. So that's sort of, to me, a form of rest, I think. And maybe it's a comment on how frenetic our lives are that just simply focusing on one thing somehow constitutes rest.

Ramya Amuthan:

You're tuned into the Luminato Toronto original podcast series, and this episode is entitled Rest. I'm your host, Ramya Amuthan, joined by audio describer, Rebecca Singh. Let's continue embracing rest to understand ourselves more deeply. During the next part of our conversation, we share our thoughts and headspace around what rest means to us, how we rest, where we rest, why we choose to or not choose to rest. Does rest make us restless?

Because now we have so many opportunities to extend to external sources to get to a relaxing headspace, I think of people who love to play video games just to crash at the end of the day. Or as you and I have been saying podcasts, audio content, music, that kind of thing. Do you think that there is toxicity around some of the concepts of relaxation? The thing that I think about, just to put things into context, is doom scrolling, which is a word used to describe how you can get into a serious warm hole on social media.

And I think expanding on that, we can scroll for hours now because videos are two minutes long and articles are really headlines, and you can go for hours and hours and hours on end. And most of the time, for me at least, if I'm going on social this way, at the end of the night, it is with the premise of relaxation, which if I'm being quite honest with you, I don't think is a healthy way to relax. And I think is actually quite overstimulating most of the time. But yet next day, same time, same place. I'm back on social thinking, Ooh, I'm going to wind down now. Let's get on TikTok.

Rebecca Singh:

Yeah, I mean, the thing about it is it can be fun, and that's nice. That's a nice little lift, but I feel like it's all just really designed to make you stay on there as long as possible. And that's not healthy. There's never enough, and that doesn't bring closure. Imagine if Facebook, if you were scrolling or TikTok or whatever, and you got to a point and said, yeah, goodnight.

Ramya Amuthan:

We need to implement that feature.

Rebecca Singh:

It was like, it's your bedtime now. Goodnight. Even as an option, it would never happen. But yeah, that's it. It'll just keep going and going and going. And yeah, I mean, you're not satiated, you're never be full. You'll always be, either you have fear of missing out or you can't even put a finger on it, but you just kind of keep going and going and going. And then I don't think that's restful, even if you have little bits of moments of joy and enjoyment.

Ramya Amuthan:

And that distinction is actually quite important because like I said, it's with the guise of, I'm winding now and I'm hanging out now and I'm going to get on social. But it's really not the same as resting, right? Because you're just kind of mindless scrolling. So maybe it's back to that question of, or what you stated earlier about focus, and you don't feel that you need to focus as much, and therefore you're just numbing yourself of focus and having to pay attention, and therefore these things feel like it could be restful, but there's definitely something hidden in there that is not okay for us to think of these things as rest. At least that's my perspective on it. Do you think that the anxiety of needing to rest could make us feel restless, like the pressure of having to rest? I think of episodes on TV where people are forced to take vacation days and forced to take days off or go home and rest. Or in reality, there are circumstances like this where people are trying to use up rest by the end of the year because they have to. Things like that.

Rebecca Singh:

Well, I think that unfortunately our society doesn't always treat us like humans. I think there's part of it there that is about being a worker and productivity and ideas about productivity. And of course, I mean, it's just a pretty complex situation. Life doesn't always flow according to what your boss or your company might have predetermined or even according to some kind of agreement, collective agreement or something like that. So I think that does put things into a tricky situation. But at the same time, I think we have to really examine this idea of rest. And sometimes for sure, it can just be physical rest, just staying at home on the couch or going for a walk in nature as opposed to battling through traffic in the city or on the public transportation just to exist in space without being in anyone's way or even in transit.

But ideas of rest that currently exist I think are really connected to, it feels prescribed. It feels like, you have been prescribed this amount of days of rest in a year, therefore, that is your allotment and it should be enough. But then you have people, I was just thinking about people who suffer from insomnia, for example. And no matter what they do, they just simply cannot get the rest that they need. So there's this intention, but then whether you actually get the rest you need, whether your body actually is rested or your mind is rested, is something altogether different.

Ramya Amuthan:

And actually that can take us on a whole different path where people who end up turning to alcohol or drugs or other states to be able to feel rested or I guess maybe this is a parallel to the social media conversation where you feel there are needs to feel rested or unfocused, but that's a whole different kind of situation all altogether where I think that we can get into very dangerous territory. And especially if I go back to what you said earlier about the societal norm of, do we need rest or toxic masculinity and all these other concepts that are just weighted in society and how do we go around that?

And substance abuse and all these other things, I think can come into context there. Not always, and not necessarily, but I think that there is a place for it. And I guess sometimes I wonder if, what do we rest for, the intention of rest? What is it around? If you have a hard day tomorrow, a long day, if you are in the middle of a long fight, if you have to rest to prepare for something bigger, for something that you need to be very strong for, these are all kinds of things that maybe determine how much you need to rest or could put you in that mindset of, I need to relax before this exam. This is small scale and big scale. But do we always give ourselves that permission? Do we say these things to ourselves or do we say, forget it, I need to power through, I need to fight through, there's no time for rest through this?

Rebecca Singh:

Right? Yeah. And I think that that's the complex equation where it's like, well, what is actually healthy. On some level also, our society has completely accepted things like having a drink before bed or just doing things to sort of, I mean the expression, take the edge off. That's supposed to be good. It's supposed to be good not to have that edge, to just be more, I guess, relaxed. But those things are not necessarily healthy. So I think in many cases, there's all these intersections where it's like the things that we do partly undermine our ultimate goal. We're imperfect creatures. And it kind of makes me think of the village, who in their totality or who can be able to both honor themselves and also see themselves? It's sort alone, and what I mean by that is, when I say see themselves, I mean recognize themselves, to be true to who you are without having any feedback. That helps define a context and-

Ramya Amuthan:

Perspective. Yeah.

Rebecca Singh:

We are aided by things like context and by having others.

Ramya Amuthan:

It's very true. And I wanted to close off the convo with this question of transitioning between rest and wake, and what we find there in that space. I'm thinking physically about that state you're in right before you fall asleep or the state you're in right before you're fully awake and back into reality. And lately, I've been really enjoying that space. I'm not sure exactly how to describe, I'm enjoying it, but I've been really tapping into noticing and recognizing this deeper space of relaxation. Sometimes people talk about power naps this way, 10 minute, 20 minute power nap, and you get into this, you are resting but not fully asleep. You're not going deep into REM mode. And I'm curious if you have had this experience, Rebecca, or felt something interesting in that state.

Rebecca Singh:

Okay, I cannot power nap.

Ramya Amuthan:

Oh.

Rebecca Singh:

But, I do know the state that you mean in terms of waking up in the morning, and I mean, I don't know how close that is to what you might experience dipping into a power nap, but I do enjoy that space where I'm conscious and I haven't thought yet to ask myself where I am.

Ramya Amuthan:

Yes.

Rebecca Singh:

Or what time it is or even open my eyes even a crack to see if I can tell if there's light or listen for the birds or do all those sort of morning check-in things where it's like, for me, it helps me determine what time it is and what I need to do now. But the space before that, the space where things are just floating and I often can't remember what they are afterwards.

Ramya Amuthan:

That's exactly it. You don't necessarily remember what it was like after. It's kind of trying to recall a dream, but there's something really appreciative about that state where you know you're resting, rested or coming out of rest. But it's valuable, I think, and I don't know what it is. In the last couple months, I've been really paying attention to how I feel during that state, and I think it helps me lean into feeling rested throughout the day. Even.

Rebecca Singh:

I feel like this is sort of a calling for us to go to a spa. Like-

Ramya Amuthan:

Yeah-

Rebecca Singh:

Do something restful together.

Ramya Amuthan:

Exactly.

During this incredible chat between myself and Rebecca Singh, I learned a lot more about practicing rest than I knew before, and I learned it through perspectives that Rebecca offered that I hadn't even considered before. The joy of rest is I'm understanding something very special, if and when we allow ourselves this honor and this necessity and the surrender and the support of rest. So let's give ourselves that permission of self-care as Dev stated during the introductory segment of this episode, we must rest and recharge physically, mentally, emotionally, and creatively. This is why Audrey Lorde coined the term self-care as a reminder to black women to include care for themselves as part of the caregiving responsibilities that's often placed on them by family, partners, employers, coworkers, and their own community at large.

All right, then let's rest before the fights that we take on and before the days that are still to come.

Subscribe from more Luminato Festival Toronto podcasts for your listening, leading up to the 2023 Festival and a project on that note being showcased at this year's Luminato Festival, connecting to many of the themes that we tapped into on today's episode is Loss. Loss is a deeply honest live retelling of an intergenerational family story written by Ian Kamau and his father, Roger McTair. This multimedia performance begins as a mirror into a winter of depression and slowly unravels the mystery surrounding the death of his paternal grandmother, Nora Elutha Rogers. An orchestration of memories using live music, video, and storytelling. Loss is an exploration of grief in Afro-Caribbean communities, and an immersive experience towards healing shared with the audience. During this year's Luminato Festival, we have live Radio LUMI broadcasts coming your way, including conversations with festival artists, live, audio described art and performances, music and more. So stay tuned.