Below the Radar Transcript

Episode 69: Singing Through the Dark & Other Pandemic Pleasures — with Vanessa Richards

Speakers: Paige Smith, Vanessa Richards, Am Johal


Paige Smith  0:01  
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the latest episode of our Below the Radar conversation series. Today we speak with interdisciplinary artist and arts community organizer Vanessa Richards. Vanessa speaks with our host Am Johal about the opportunities and challenges of making art during pandemic times. We hope you enjoy the episode. 


Vanessa Richards  0:18  
My name is Vanessa Richards, I was born in Vancouver, my family comes from Trinidad and Tobago and Vienna, Austria. My brothers and I are the first family born here in these territories. I have been shaped by this territory in a way that I've always been fascinated by and not entirely understood, because I find that it's a common conversation, particularly for first generation Canadians to feel like, "Where do I belong, and what is my place and where is home?" And I've always kind of marveled that this place, and I understood it better when I left, that this place is deeply imprinted in me. And so I'll say that as by way of an introduction, something of like where I've arrived from, and how I feel about being here. And I'm particularly committed to here, having been there, there, there, there and other spots. And I do my work in the world, through the arts. I'm particularly interested in how we shape, make and hold communities. And perhaps some of that has to do with being first generation and not having aunties and uncles and cousins in this extended village. I've been pretty interested in how to make a village. And my work in the arts is based on a foundation of music, literary arts, performance arts, a lot of collaborative arts, and I'm keen on community music, singing in particular, and the ways that singing, and songs can be an abiding force, an abiding resource, an abiding energy in common life. In a way that is more, would have been more familiar to almost everybody's ancestors, I'm really not aware of people who didn't sing. There's been some, you know even nowadays, there's some religious misconceptions that suggest to sing is not appropriate. But the human condition is one where we take great expression, comfort, solace, joy, and adventure in what the human voice can do, in communication with its own soul, but also the soul of everybody around us. 

Am Johal  3:02  
And in this way, this sort of human desire to sing, to be together, to be a part of community, you've been doing this for a long time here, in this pandemic moment where choirs are singing together in those spaces that have been identified as a place for the possibility of spread is magnified for people who are in community in that type of way, that brings us such joy to sing together with others. How have you sort of dealt with that challenge given the Woodwards Community Singers and now your group Van Van Song Society? How have you tried to still sing together? Or how did you think through that moment, that kind of problem that presented itself so suddenly?

Vanessa Richards  4:06
One of the things that I've learned through my arts practice, and one of the things that I think drives me to want to share different kinds of arts practices with a larger community of people who don't have professional lives in the arts. So through community music, through carnival arts, through the lot of teaching I do with young people around poetry and storytelling is that you learn to be adaptive. And to me, it's one of the most exciting things about having, well, tools of imagination is that you go "hmm, not this way. But what about that way? What happens if I look at it this closely through a jeweler's loupe, or what if I look up at the sky through a telescope, we're still in the same place" and the jeweler's loupe and the telescope as I mentioned to you before we started talking, it's something that I'm spending some time with right now, because I'm really interested in what Einstein says, you know, it's not that I'm smarter, it's just that I stayed with the questions longer. And I know that the way my eyes work and the way that that habit of my mind works is to think that I'm seeing everything, and that what I see is what's so and that is absolutely not the case. And I feel that my practice of music, poetry and performance, and community collaborative arts, social engaged practices, social arts practices, participatory practices, whatever you want to call them, like, but working with people working with that huge, unknowable factor, as opposed to, if I was a textile artist, embroidering tapestries, or something where it was all my own jam, I've really been paying attention to how people work and how to understand and how to get around challenges. And, and it's, it's handy. 

Am Johal  6:04  
So do you sing over Zoom or like, did the technology not work? How have you?

Vanessa Richards  6:10  
The technology does not work. No, no. What happens and it might even happen on this microphone. Is that the, yeah, what do they call it physics, of the sound waves, you know, the microphones are programmed to try and find the dominant voice and clamped down on everything else. Which is why when you have too many people speaking at once, on what used to be a party line on the telephone, or Zoom calls is that it clamps down all the other sounds. And it's also clamping down on this saw. 

Am Johal  6:48  
Exactly. It's just the music of the neighborhood. 

Vanessa Richards  6:50
Yeah, it's clamping down on all these other things. Hopefully, this microphone is going to pick us up and eliminate some of those other sounds. So the technology doesn't work. The technology works in the way that it's supposed to, in order to think about singular voices. The experience of singing with people is completely transcendent, and people like to sing with other people, and that's certainly not over Zoom. You miss the sound of other voices. So it's not an easy transition because when we sing on Zoom, myself and my confidence, our confidence, Martin, we sing together, and sometimes some other singers have come with us. So we have like three of us that you sing with us. And then the people on the Zoom will hear the three of us or two of us, but they will only hear themselves in the room. Just like you listeners, if you're singing to yourself at the moment or humming to yourself as you listen. You'll only so that's the part it will just get rid of.

Am Johal  8:04
You've also been dancing in the dark. 

Vanessa Richards  8:08  
Yeah, I want to finish though what happens on with what has been happening on the other end of the zoom from what the singers have been telling us. So we are still a drop-in choir. So Van Van Sound Society morphed out of Woodward's Community Singers which you know, started when the Woodward's campus at SFU was building and I was doing work similar to yours. As the university considered what community engagement might look like. And at that time, my practice was as a musician, who had done some harmonizing in my music life but I certainly wasn't a choir leader. But I understood at a point when I saw it in action, that this might be a way of bringing more people together in an equitable way that when you sing, you're creating something new.

Vanessa Richards  8:54  
And every voice is required. And so I was pretty excited about that. And I've had to rethink and relearn how to be a musician in a really different way. So when people are singing in our choir now through Zoom in the Zoom Room, looming in the Zoom Room, singing tunes in the Zoom Room, they get to hear just themselves, or themselves in relation to these other voices coming through. Or sometimes they're singing with their family. And that's been wonderful too. So we've got some of our singers have children and they've got elders in the house, who didn't always find it easy to get to choir, because it's dinner time or you know, all the demands of family life. So in some ways, it's made a huge, bigger availability, for the experience of seeing and being led through songs and introduced to new songs and to have an accompanist like Martin who plays beautiful guitar. He plays cello. He hasn't shared his trombone yet, and we've done his accordion once. But it's pretty great and it's also been really good for our relationship. Because previous and this is one of the things that I'm finding so exciting about the Covidien time is again, through adaptation, and reconfiguring and reimagining how we do our work. There's all these blessings that come. So in previous choirs, when we were meeting face to face, Martin and I, our energy would be out to the room.

Vanessa Richards  10:25  
How's it sounding? Is everybody with us? How to change the sound, how to keep the vibe alive. And we certainly did some of our own private preparation time. But it felt much more hurried. And now, it's funny because we actually probably, we probably always needed to do this and I didn't prioritize it in the way that I wanted to, as consistently. We meet a day in advance, we spent a couple hours hanging out talking music playing, getting to be with each other as musicians. And then we start like, way earlier than we used to when we were meeting live as well. So we've just been able to develop a really nice and meaningful repertoire between us and how to work better together. So I don't know that that would have happened in the same way, if we were meeting face to face. It was always a plan. But everything also was so much more hectic. And I felt like everybody, [exhale] you just read it. You know, and if I had long hair it'd be blowing in the wind, and as you, [wind sound] you know, it's just like so much stuff fast, fast, fast, fast. Arriving, sort of [panting] what do we do now? You know, and now there's just a little more pace. And I like it like that. Everybody likes it like that. And that's been hopefully one of the things that we can maintain. One of the things you mentioned is Dancing in the Dark. 

Am Johal  11:48  
Yep, dancing in the dark. I want you to talk about that.

Vanessa Richards  11:52  
I love dancing a lot. And I was taking a really great dance class with Laura Jun Albert, who's been thinking a lot about decolonizing dance, and looked at dance through a feminist perspective. decolonial lens, an uncluttered lens. And really, she doesn't prefer the term body positive, but we don't know a better one yet. And this is like so many things. We don't always have the right words. Which is why dance and song matters. And so she does a lot of work that I had found very liberating in my own experience of being in this body, and moving through time and space and moving through levels and understanding.

Vanessa Richards  12:43  
I'm forgetting now the words that she says, but the things that are radial, the things that are internal, like where What are you leading with? How do you fall? How do you get up? You know, how do you let velocity come into you and momentum. And so I missed our dance class. Plus, I would love to go to the African music night at the Anza and any other kind of reggae or Caribbean music night, and I love carnivals, and I love being outside. And then I went, oh I could dance outside. Oh, I know how it happened. Because I was walking in the morning in the early Covidien time with my earbuds in and I'd be listening and moving and I was like "Oh man, I just want to stop and dance but I feel a little bit self conscious." So I would just keep chipping, chipping, chipping down the road. We call it chipping in Trinidad. It's a way of like moving in the carnival. It's like kind of a dancing, stepping walk it's related to.... 

Am Johal  13:36  
can we feel you telling the story 

Vanessa Richards  13:39  
So, so it goes like this. You're just hitting your feet, I don't know if you can see my feet here, you just kind of hitting the ground with your heel.

Vanessa Richards  13:48  
[singing] Then you move your hips and let your arms be free and you can say. So we just like that I'd be rolling down the alleys going, "Man, I just want to keep dancing. Oh, nice."

Vanessa Richards  14:12  
So I thought well, I just want to stop and dance. I thought I should do that at nighttime when it's like less when I feel more discreet being a woman of discretion. And then I thought "Yes, how am I going to be like dancing out at nighttime with earphones on like that's not safe."

Vanessa Richards  14:29  
Because we still haven't figured out how to train our men to treat us properly when they see us in the dark by ourselves. Dancing with the headphones in. That's a big task that we still have to get better at. So I thought I'd invite some friends to dance with me. And I really enjoy the headphones. And that it's stealth and that nobody can hear you and so much of dance culture is loud and raucous and, you know, very invitational, which is good but again in this time where we want to be discreet and discerning about who's in our line of breath. I'm like, I'm not trying to have people roll up on my dance at this juncture. And so the headphones also let you be mindful of other people who are at home, and maybe they don't want to dance to Soca at one o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night.

Vanessa Richards  15:24  
And furthermore, it's not like a silent disco, which some people have compared it to, which is fair, so the silent discos is when you get these special headphones, and they're color coded. So you might have two or three playlists, and people can dance together with the same playlist.

Vanessa Richards  15:41  
You can tell from the color symbol on their ear. Apparently, I've not done it yet. But what's unique about our Dancing in the Dark that I'd advise is people get to take turns being DJ. So we have one shared playlist that we share on Spotify and you can add music to it on the spot or in advance, you can even make sets with it, you can do like, oh, I want these three songs in a row. We learned more about Spotify and how to manage it as the weeks went on. We're going into week 15 on Saturday. And it's just super great fun, because then you can say, "Oh, I've just heard this new artist" or "I'm loving this track right now." And you can share it with people and then I play a track. And then you might think, "Oh, I know, I know, there's a track on this that we played three weeks ago, that would be perfect after this." So we get again, it's very nice, collective energy. We're sharing, we're participating. But we've got one framework to work within. And again, having an arts practice, I love parameters, right. And I think this is one of the other benefits of unprofessionalizing the arts is getting people to see clearly how great restrictions and parameters can be, and how that creates another kind of freedom and flexibility. Because you don't have option anxiety. And plus, the dancing is really, really fun. 

Am Johal  17:07  
It is, yeah.

Vanessa Richards  17:10
Whatever you want. 

Am Johal  17:11  
It's just all of these things are opening up that people were already doing, you know having a drink in the park to whatever. There are things that are gonna remain after the moment goes away and there's something really nice about that. Just wondering in terms of your conversations with friends, other people working in the arts, how are they thinking through the moment?

Am Johal  17:34  
In terms of festivals are gone. But other ones are, there's, clearly people are needing to get through this time and moment, but also a lot of artists' livelihoods, as well.

Vanessa Richards  17:49  
So I would like to speak to that. But I want to circle back to Dancing in the Dark, because I think it's a really good tool. And what I want to say in closing about that is that so I live in Mount Pleasant. There's a park that's very popular right beside me. And what's interesting is only half of the park is popular. And there's a school and a school ground and a playground and big wide open fields that are empty in the night time. And so again, it's like, well, what happens if you pull yourself away from the bigger conversation, find a space where there's space, and reinhabit it in another kind of way. And I feel like some of the pain and suffering that people have had in the experience of isolation is because we've not fully considered the opportunity the options give us. And so it feels like well, if I can't do this, then I can't do anything. And it's not true. And so people who had said to me, "I really miss... I want to get back to the livelihood stuff. I miss dancing, I miss people." You know, we have been really fortunate in British Columbia, to have the kind of public health leadership that we've had. They've always said go outside. You know, part of my COVID experience and why I wanted to talk to you here is because you've been having friends at a distance small groups of people and we've been adhering to the protocols, but really, really massaging them right and allowing ourselves to be both safe and social. And I think that's not to be lost in the mix. Right and how important it is to work imaginatively within the parameters that we have. I certainly know a lot of people who've been impacted by the loss of livelihood through the cancellation of live music. And many people have been turning online, myself included in terms of what we did we do with our choir. I don't know how long that can sustain itself and I don't know how long CERB will last for anybody. I'm not confident that there won't be great financial hardship for many and most, all of us.

Am Johal  20:06  
Now, Vanessa, this is also beyond COVID. It's a heightened political time protest happening in the United States around racial justice, black justice, around policing. And also here in Vancouver, there's been giant rallys. Really important groups of young people mobilized and we've been involved with Hogan's Alley, with the Black community on many, many fronts with different organizations. I'm wondering how you read this political moment and, and how you think about in terms of the community here in Vancouver.

Vanessa Richards  20:46 
One of the things I believe COVID did is sensitize people to our interconnectedness and to our vulnerabilities to what feels right. And what feels completely inappropriate and no longer useful and needs to be kicked to the curb. I think this has had an impact on the receptivity for people who are non black people to say, "Yeah, this whole system of anti black racism is a mistaken problem. And we need to get right, we need to get right with the territories where we live on and that where invaders, we're an invasion." We're an invasive species, and myself as a stolen person on stolen land, I still have a perspective of myself being an uninvited guest here. There's different conversations around the role of black people on Turtle Island. My personal opinion is that I'm, I still hold the responsibilities as a settler being here. And those responsibilities are written in blood. So this moment, which Vancouver is a part of, which Canada is a part of, is a reckoning. And I think it's a particularly interesting one for Canada because we've excused ourselves, accused ourself from this conversation as being irrelevant to our history, and our current and contemporary lives. And people of African descent, African descent people will always tell you, well, that's not true. Nova Scotians will tell you that's not true. Black people in the North, will tell you that's not true. Anywhere we are we'll tell you yeah, it's not entirely true. So this is a great moment for seeing our collective efforts. And asking Canada to have the conversation with us now in a heightened way. The young people that are in action right now are so impressive to me. They're organizing capacity, their willingness, their fearlessness, their intergenerational connectedness and their capacity to get stuff done, and to work on all mediums. We have had in Vancouver. So as I mentioned, I was raised here, and I know what it feels like to grow up in a small, smaller Black community and I've seen this grow. But I've also been held in it as I was growing up. So when I was growing up, our family would go to Brockton Oval to play cricket with all the other Caribbean people and there'd be steel bands, and big pots of food, men in white clothes playing the very elegant and sonically fascinating game of cricket.

Am Johal  23:48  
That's right. 

Vanessa Richards  23:49  

Am Johal  23:50
There's a big Fijian community that plays there too. And yeah.

Vanessa Richards  23:53  
Yeah, right. I mean, it's a big Commonwealth game. Yeah. The colonial impact that I think we made our own. And when I came out of the experience with my family, you know, like childhood family black life, and into the broader world and finding a community of thinkers and other artists that I'm interested in, that Black community became larger internationally. And now I'm finding that the conversations on a global level are being had with my friends and colleagues here and us there. And I think the opportunity to talk about in particular, what Black History and futurity in the Pacific Northwest and in Canada generally looks like is, is developing its own, its own voice and its own value and its own contribution that is unique in the diaspora, as each of them are unique in the diaspora. Each one of them We can say all we want about American cultural imperialism, which is true.

Vanessa Richards  24:24  
And there's a lot of...hmm.. how do you say, we have, my father always says, rather, he has said often, if you knew another person suffering, you would keep your own. And I'm fond of that saying, because it's easy to feel isolated from a global black conversation sometimes here. And what I know about my own experience is that when I've left Vancouver, and I've seen what I grew up with, and what I didn't grow up with. And I'm not saying this is the case for everybody here, but I didn't even conceptualize that I was a light skinned black person until I was 30 living in another country. Now that might have something to do with light skinned privilege as well. And most certainly it does, but that it was subsumed in my experience of being black and I was black and somebody was darker than me it was black, something lighter than me was black, isn't to be sniffed that in a way, you know what I mean? Like I didn't have a whole bunch of people talking about what my hair should be like, I had natural hair, except for one play that I did at the belfry where I needed to be 1920s, and I needed pin curls. And so I hot combed my hair for that. But I'm in my 50s I've had natural hair the whole time. Happily. And I also know what it felt like to be a teenager coming in from Burnaby on the bus to Army and Navy, which seemed the only place that would sell Afro Sheen and getting there, the long bus ride, and the shelf was empty. I remember crying in that Army and Navy like "What's going on, how's this gonna work?" You know? Anyways, I got through that moment and I have to make my own haircare products nowadays, because of that moment. And plus, it is still nice to know that I mean, I know how to make my own products, but the naturalness to that I prefer but that has to do with trauma, as well. And I'm not even lightly I am taking the piss out of that word a little bit, but the experience of like looking at a whole aisle of haircare products, and none of them will work on your hair is a feeling of kind of fury, and really just being pushed to the curb. And so my own commitment to how black culture and activism and transformation and social power, and social joy, economic joy power and all the ways of being human in the city is shaped by those experience of being both held and dropped in the city by this territory. And I love our city and I want it to be good for all the people here. And I want it to be particularly good for African descent people and kin. As an example, just to talk a little bit more about hair, which is a huge topic for every woman, not just black women. But one of the things I did with one of my sisters, Barbara Chirinos, who is now the regional lead for Telephone Canada. She previously was the director of Granville Island cultural association. With that VIFF as well. We started something called Afro Hair Savoir-Faire, because I had spent a lifetime of looking how these non black mothers having black children and their hair is a mess. And sometimes I could talk to them about it and other times like they're on the other side of the street. And I'm like, you know, I don't know if that's, I should cross the road to tell that woman I can help you or do you know that there's a hair salon just down the road? Or like what do you need, your child should really not have neglected hair, it's not a problem, our hair is not a problem. Anyway, so we made this beautiful celebration of Black hair for Black History Month for about four years. And in particular, because I had a friend or a colleague who had a black child and the child's hair was a mess. And like if I do this event and I can invite her and then she can be with all these other moms and they can work it out and everybody else all the other black folks can come along and enjoy and celebrate our hair too. But the invitation being can we just learn to take care of each other not suck our teeth and say like "Oh dang, that person needs to like handle that" and be frustrated. Yes. But then say hey, I think we can do this together. Because I love your black child and I want your child to feel good.

Am Johal  29:57  
What are you excited about coming out of the COVID period, which could very well go on for another year kind of in this kind of zone, because we were talking before we pressed record just around the nature of time how some things have just moved on, as per usual, or the plans have been talked about in terms of the economy and opening up, it's sort of the same old voices in the back room, but in other ways, time has slowed down, and people are experiencing things in a different way. There's some positive aspects about this time that's been brought up, but it depends on how one is situated and kind of the different ways that the moment imposes itself because there's real politics, and it's certainly affecting people in different ways.

Vanessa Richards  30:50  
Yeah. Well, I don't know, I don't know how that's going to work out. I personally am sitting in a pretty privileged and blessed situation, I have enough money to take care of myself, I've got a house I really love, I've got friends that I love, I've got neighbors close by, my family in the scheme of things are well, and I know that if it were to go on beyond my own zone of comfort, I have no idea how I would be taken care of or how I would take care of my people. And I feel like I didn't answer your question. Can you say that question to me again?

Am Johal  31:31  
Oh, just in terms of things have, there's been a rupture in how we live that the pandemic, COVID, has kind of brought forward and, and it's a kind of this exceptional time. And so we're living it deeply, and new questions come up, new traumas come up. 

Vanessa Richards  31:52  

Am Johal  31:53
A whole bunch of things are exceptional that it's a kind of reflective time. 

Vanessa Richards  32:00  

Am Johal  32:02  
I don't have any answers, which is why I'm asking how you think about it? Because I think this comes up in conversations with people and friends.

Vanessa Richards  32:11
Well, it certainly seems like, I mean, it's clear, like none of us have the answers. But I do know that my own abiding philosophy of like, how do we take care of the whole is as true now as the first time I ever remember thinking about it as a kid. And what I understand is that if I can help support a culture, and a society and an economy that allows each person to make their contribution in whatever area that is, that's not necessarily what your livelihood or employment is. But what are the skills, capacities and gifts that you carry that each person carries, if we could all get to that place where we're able to share some of those things. That's part of what I'm working towards. I've been having the experience when we do our choirs recently, it's been a number of, so some of our singers work in disability rights and justice and access and equity. And some of them have been historically through the years bringing some of the folks that they work with some have developmental disabilities, and are coming through programs like kudos where they're building friendships and relationships with people different, you know, neuro diversities, and so now in the Zoom land, it's quite great. Some of my colleagues are teaching people how to navigate social relationships. So it's common in choir, we just finished, we did our last choir of the season yesterday, and then we take six weeks, so we go 40 weeks of the year. A lot of singing, right. And one of the things I love about drop-in is you don't know who's going to show up and I, I love the conversations and and that feeling of staying on my toes and improvised and so some of the people have been talking to us recently, are learning online etiquette, and also have a different filter for enthusiasm. So some of the folks will be like, Vanessa, I just want to tell you right now, I really liked that song. I didn't like the last one very much. I'm like, "Yeah, okay" or somebody will be like, one other person yesterday, they're like, Vanessa, they wrote in the chat. I'm really upset right now. I'm really upset right now. And, and then, and I'm wondering if you could talk to me, somebody could talk to me, right? So having chat on a zoom, like trying to do work, and then pay attention to what's going on in the chat and make sure because there's, you know, you say like, is there any song requests or how do you do this thing, and then you get messages like this and I'm like, "What is going on?" And then finding the way like, oh, then what we uncovered is that he's upset about how his computer was working, right. And then I don't know why I found that so kind of telling, but it's like, okay, we can do this, we can sing, and we can make sure that they're okay. And their worker wasn't in on the call yesterday, so they couldn't help manage that. But then what's beautiful is that our other singers were like, oh, yeah, they would write a note to them or when sometimes people will not, you know, they'll unmute themselves, and they'll want to talk freely about something and the rest of the singers are just like cool and easy. And we're always cultivating these ways of many different ways of being together and ways of being music together. And that's what I love. I really, I know, like, I, I'm not quite sure how to think about cleaving off the pain, the suffering, the deaths, the debilitated bodies, the crumbling economic infrastructure, education problems, all the issues with childcare and how we're taking care of our elders, like, it feels impossible to say those things aside, because they're not an aside. They're all intertwined. And inside of that entanglement, I think, is something so exquisite, and so collaborative, and flattening, and equity making and, you know, the civil rights lawyer and activist Valarie Kaur has a beautiful saying where she says "perhaps this isn't the darkness of the tomb but darkness of the womb." And I tend to sit on that side of the bench.

Am Johal  36:41  
Vanessa, thank you so much for joining us on Below the Radar. And just wondering if we can have some somatically based ending here, some movement to end our conversation.

Vanessa Richards  36:54  
Yeah, we can. So let's do this. Let's. We're just gonna stomp our feet again. Stay in the chipping mode and I'm gonna also ask you, we're gonna hum and let's hum, what's one of your favorite songs right now?

Am Johal  37:12  
I just listened to just the other day, I'll fly away. 

Vanessa Richards  37:16  

Am Johal  37:17  
I can't remember the words to the music. Hello, birdie.

Vanessa Richards  37:39  
[sings I'll fly away by Alan Jackson] So what we're gonna do, we're not going to sing it, we're going to hum it. And I want us to, [hums] if you will pay attention to how you're humming in your forehead. [hums] And then on your chest. And right here. So what we're going to do, as we're humming, what it does is that it massages your vagus nerve, which goes from top of your head down and circles your gut, which is the nerve that tells us when we want to flee, fight or freeze. Oh, just thought of another F that I've never heard equated with it. But that might be on the opposite side of when you feel safe. When you feel love and when it's good to stay. It's the same nerve and Resmaa Menakem the great somatic trauma therapist from Minneapolis also calls it the soul nerve. And it's the thing that helps us feel and lets our body know. So as an example like when we sigh we go [sighs] thank goodness that test is over. [sighs] You know, I got on the bus. That's the thing when danger passes and the body sighs out. That's telling our nervous system that we're okay, so we're gonna do two sighs and then let's stomp our feet and hum and then check in how you feel afterwards. So if you could just right now give yourself a out of 33 prime number Mark Bessie taught me this is this gradation system. Where would you say you feel right now in comfort and ease in your body and in your life?

Am Johal  39:21  
From 1-33? 

Vanessa Richards  39:22  

Am Johal  39:24 

Vanessa Richards  39:25  
Yeah, I felt about kind of like 23 right now kind of more than halfway there and checking. So to size in and then just do as I do with me please.

Vanessa Richards  39:38
[sighs] it has to be an audible sigh. [sighs] I'm getting all the EFT spots in [hums] now let's stop with the tapping and we're just going to see if we can go [makes sounds like junk junk junk] focusing the hum in those places and when we get into the guts see if we can [deep hum] [humming tune of I'll fly away by Alan Jackson] [sigh]

Am Johal  40:59  
Thank you so much for this Richards.

Vanessa Richards  41:02
1-33 now? 

Am Johal  41:05

Vanessa Richards  41:07  
I feel like 

Am Johal  41:08  

Vanessa Richards  41:08  
Definitely, I feel definitely I'm at 30 too. 

Am Johal  41:10  
30! 30! 30! [laughs]

Vanessa Richards  41:12  
See how simple it is like we actually have everything that we need.

Am Johal  41:16  


Paige Smith  41:17  
Thanks again to Vanessa Richards for joining us on this episode of our Below the Radar conversation series. Below the Radar is created by SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and is recorded on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. As always, I want to thank the team that helps put this show together, including myself, Paige Smith, Melissa Roach, Fiorella Pinillos, Kathy Feng, and Jackie Obungah. David Steele is the composer of our theme music, and thank you for watching. Tune in next time for a brand new episode of Below the Radar.


Transcript auto-generated by and edited by the Below the Radar team.
August 18, 2020

Stay Up to Date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.