Toronto’s “The Move” collective gets it right

It’s Friday morning .

I’m already counting down the hours.Tonight I’ll hop on my bike, ride over to Dovercourt House, climb to the second floor, flash my membership card, pay my dues, take off my shoes, and enter the space where I can be most myself: at the weekly dance event called “The Move.”

The formula for the Move seems simple: No talk, no shoes, no step-by-step instruction, no strings attached, no alcohol, no chit chat, no phones, no internet,  no expected form or technique, just an oddball mix of music with an eclectic group of dancers for two solid hours.

This simple formula works. Enough structure to create safety. Opening and closing rituals are quick and to the point. I’m sure there’s more hard work behind the scenes than I’m aware, but for me the organizers got it right. The Move’s been going strong and growing in attendance for longer than the five years I’ve been attending, and is now busting at the seams.

At The Move I’ve done it all: I’ve crawled and squirmed; I’ve waltzed and tangoed.  I’ve mourned and giggled: I’ve prayed and pouted. I’ve taken risks, ridden roller coasters, I’ve dived in deep. I’ve flirted and  fallen in and out and in love a thousand times. I don’t feel like I have to hold back at The Move. With all the other weirdos and wild things who attend, I know I can be as weird and wild as I want to be. Without words I can speak my truth.  It’s the only public place in my life where I feel that free.

And so, I just want to say to The Move and all its dancers: thank you. I can’t wait to see you in just a few short hours.

On a side note: I almost don’t want you to read all this about The Move because if you do, you might go. And if you and 90 or so other people get in line before me, the organizers might close the doors and I might not be able to get in.(This happened to me once. I’ll never be late again!)

Another side note: Wouldn’t it be great if The Move added a second night?  Keeping my fingers crossed that the growing pains won’t hurt too much.

Visualizing a Future: A personal card deck

I finished work on another installment of a deck of personal vision cards for founder of Butopia and dancer, Maureen Freehill, and I’m now working on a deck for performance artist and process geek,  Heidi Madsen.

Here are a few of Heidi’s cards drying in my studio.


I love this process!  I get to interview the most fascinating and inspired people–artists and movers and creators with big visions for the future. Using the images and metaphors of their choice, I create a set of cards that visually represent their stories, their visions, and their values.

This is the insert that I included for Maureen’s cards that I mailed off yesterday.

Your Personal Vision Cards

Welcome to the next step in your Journey

May this Deck of Cards help guide you on your way.

Before we get started, a few FAQs

  1. Who made these cards?  We did. You and I. And we made them just for you!  Seriously.  Nobody else has a deck quite like this one because it was made with your intentions, your chosen metaphors, your words, and your images (as I imagine them).
  2. How might I use the cards?  Lots of ways! Carry one or two around with you for inspiration or reminder. Use them as book marks. Collect them over time. Create cards from scratch and add to the deck. Use them as prompts for journal writing. Use them as inspiration for movement. Make up a game to play with them. Just be careful with the deck, as the cards are created from your intention, your vision, your imagination.
  3. Some of the cards seem incomplete.  Why is that? The cards that seem incomplete are waiting for your intervention. Feel free to add color, collage, or write on your cards
  4. Some of these cards seem scary and don’t represent my intention at all. Why are they in this deck? Scary cards are there to represent the challenges, changes, or dream images that came up during our interview. The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.
  5. What materials are these cards made of?

Post-consumer cardstock

Acrylic paint, inks, permanent and water-based markers

Oil pastels

I cannot guarantee that they are non-toxic, so please keep from the mouths of babes.

6. My cards came wrapped in paper. Do I have to keep them that way?

The covering is just to keep the cards from sticking together during shipment.

7. I want more cards for my deck. How do I get them?

Arrange for another session with me. New cards will be added to your deck.

How to use the cards

 This deck of cards was made for you with your stated intention in mind. During an interview I had with you, you talked about what was important to you: your hopes and dreams, your experiences, your  and I recorded these intentions in picture and word.

The result is this deck.

There are lots of possible ways for you to use this deck, and I hope that you play around with them and enjoy the images, and perhaps even gain some insight into your life and what you want to do with your life in the future.

The point is to create what you want from these images, just as you can create what you intend with your life.  You create the meaning. You follow through.

A Few Ideas for Using your Cards

  1. The Morning Pull.  Pull a card (or two or three) each day from the deck to clarify an intention for the day. Pull a card at random or be selective and pick a card you want. Keep the card with you as a reminder of your intention.
  2. The Storyteller. Move all the cards around in orderly stacks, rows and columns. Make these categories mean something. Create a logical narrative sequence. Tell your story based on the arrangement of your cards.
  3. The Divinator. Ask the cards a question. Pull cards at random. Let them speak to you.
  4. The Reader. Read as you would a tarot deck. Arrange cards pulled at random into the shape of a classic metaphor: tree of life, mandala, vesica piscis, seasons, or some such archetypal configuration. Create meaning from your placement of the cards in the arrangement.
  5. For Gratitude. Pull a card at random. Allow the word and image to remind you of what you already have in your life. *
  6. If you pull a card that scares you, acknowledge the challenges, the pain in the world as related to the image or word on your card. *
  7. Create a vision. Using the cards, remind yourself of the vision for our future you are creating with your intention.*
  8. Take action. Choose a single card or a combination of two or three cards. Create an action plan for taking next steps toward concrete, measurable results toward fulfilling your intentions.*

*The last four ideas inspired by Joana Macy’s  “The Work that Reconnects.”

Brian Eno on imagination



To create a new reality we must first imagine it. Understanding that the role of our imaginations is pivotal to our ability to ‘turn’ things around is therefore a key leadership skill.

 Humans are capable of a unique trick, creating realities by first imagining them, by experiencing them in their soon as we sense the possibility of a more desirable world, we begin behaving differently, as though that world is starting to come into existence, as though, in our mind’s eye, we are already there.  The dream becomes an invisible force which pulls us forward.  By this process it begins to come true.  The act of imagining somehow makes it real….. And what is possible in art becomes thinkable in life.  – Brian Eno


In this spirit, a few select slow learners and I are continuing to create “slow learning plans” for ourselves as  visual plans of action for lifelong learning.

We call on the visual imagination of what’s possible to inspire us.

We draw, we move, we paint. Sometimes we sit and listen.

We speak about what we envision for our selves and for our futures.

We speak about our desired futures using carefully selecting metaphors.

We create a call to action for our selves and our visions. We make commitments to our visions. We get out our calendars, and we follow through.

We act.

But first, we imagine.






another personalized card deck in progress

I’m making this deck for friend and mentor Maureen Freehill of Butopia and the MomoButoh Dance Company.

When complete, this will be the third personalized deck I’ve created for another slow learner. The images are inspired by an interview I held with Momo regarding her intentions, focus, and spontaneous imagery

More about the creation and use of these card decks here.

Thank you Momo for being a slow learner and allowing for this opportunity!