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Carmel Futures

CLOSED: The Sugar House: A Creative Community

CLOSED: The Sugar House: A Creative Community

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During this time in North America, after the bitter cold of the winter months, a season of restraint, the maple trees are tapped and the sap begins to flow. Heating and boiling some 40 litres of sap yields a mere litre of pure, delicious maple syrup.

Throughout the same period of time, from March 1-19th, Baha’is around the world will fast from sunrise to sunset, a period of spiritual recuperation and restraint. Of course, this time isn’t only about not eating and drinking, it is a time for making adjustments to our “inner life”, to “refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces” in our souls. In one Baha’i prayer, we learn that the Fast also produces heat. This heat may fuel our Faith, transform or generate shifts in our capacity, perception and understanding.

And while this is certainly a time for going inward and simply being, it can serve as a time to commit to some small or large project we have been longing to tend to. It is a marker of time, a chunk that allows us to advance something. Whether that project is to: read a particular book, memorize a prayer, take care of your health in a particular way, develop a creative project, or refine a particular habit, this is a powerful time to take those steps. To then taste that sweet syrup, in some form, nineteen days from now.

But, we weren’t built to take big steps without support and without community. The sugar house requires many hands and the right tools.

This is an opportunity for you, if you:

  • Yearn for community and companionship as you strive for your own goal
  • Have a sense of something you’d like to commit to doing for 19 days *this doesn’t mean you have to be crazy intense. I will accompany you in creating a goal that works within your circumstances.
  • Don’t currently need or have time for a full-on course, but need a ‘container’ and some structure.
  • Want to explore the deeper connections between nature, the life of the spirit and your own capacity to create.
If you’re on the fence, I get it. It can be hard to dive into something like this when we already feel our plate is full, and when we are already generously giving our time and energy in many other directions. It can be hard because a little voice inside our head hopes we’ll do it perfectly and also fears that at this time, we cannot even dare to hope to do anything well, let alone perfectly.
There are many reasons we don’t make the time and space to create, I know them well too. Don’t sit this one out if there’s a little voice beckoning you to take a tentative step. We’ll look at these challenges together. They are important pain points and openings.

As someone who has been striving to align my life with cycles of nature and creation, as well as deeply understand the dynamics of the Fast and its place in my own growth, I would love the opportunity to move through the challenges of the sugar house together. I thrive when I am assisting others to develop their stories and projects.

What I bring:

  • Fifteen years of experience creating, guiding and facilitating creative processes and circles with youth, women and seniors from diverse populations and backgrounds.
  • Fifteen years of experience carrying projects from that initial spark, through the messy middles into the vulnerability and triumph of sharing work in the world.
  • Five years of partnership with teachers throughout the Toronto District School Board, two years of teaching communications at George Brown College and developing e-learning courses for international clients.
  • Experience accompanying creatives to develop their own passion projects, from documentary and narrative film to children's books. Developing programs alongside communities that have been marginalized, with the support of the Toronto Arts Council, Artreach Toronto, the Indigenous Screen Office and the Canada Council for the Arts.
  • Formal education: I hold a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance (Concordia) and a Master of Arts in Education (OISE/UofT), which has led to a forthcoming published academic article in the UK-based Research in Drama Education Journal.
  • My own creative practice of daily writing and drawing, and the challenge of carving out time amidst work and motherhood. This practice is informed by both my professional training as an actor and writer, as well as by my staunch belief that everyone is here to create in some form. My work is informed by the cyclical nature of the seasons and the female body, my role as a mother, my insatiable curiosity for all things spiritual, the nobility of young people, the potential for collective community creation and the role of intergenerational trauma and healing.

Included in this package:

  • 1 group session over Zoom to look at inspiring content together, unearth our blocks and make commitments to ourselves. This will be: Thursday February 25th, 2021, at 8:00 pm EST
  • Two check-in calls over Zoom on Thursday evenings: March 4th & March 18th also at 8:00 pm EST
  • Access to an online community over What’sApp, infused with regular uplifting quotes and check-ins, where we can share our progress and encourage one another.

Your participation is confirmed when you sign up here.

I want this course and community to be as inclusive as possible. As such, it is offered freely.

Donations are gratefully accepted, a suggestion for this course is 50.00.

When you donate 30.00 or more, I’ll be thrilled to mail you a 5x7 giclee art print on gorgeous cold pressed watercolour paper.


“Esther is a visionary and an inspirational educator.”

-Liam Moore, Documentary Filmmaker

“Esther has a magical way of creating a safe, exciting, creative and nurturing environment.”

-Laura Friedmann, Executive Producer at Wrapped Productions

“Esther gives courage to those who work alongside her, helping them make the most of their best attributes and contribute to their world.”

-Maya Wong, Montessori Teacher

“Esther always brings her experience, wisdom, open heart, and listening ears. She deeply values the principle of learning in community.”

-Kyle Schmalenberg, MA, Counselling Psychology

“Her encouragement always held a rare kind of faith that we were capable of more than we imagined for ourselves… Learning with Esther has ultimately shaped the way I engage with media, and has had a profound impact on the way I understand myself, my abilities, and my potential.”

-Mariyam Salmanzadeh, Writer, Editor & Communications Strategist


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