A set of 7 cards with hand-drawn illustrations on them. The largest in the centre has a drawing of an open book with blank pages showing
Navigating with Kindness by Lydia Bevan

Navigating with Kindness series – a reflection from Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth

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19 May 2020

The latest piece in our series of responses to prompt cards from our resource Navigating with Kindness comes from Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth.

Stacie is a Kent-based, Yorkshire-born Artist-Researcher and PhD candidate, specialising in performing arts and creative digital technologies. Her work explores the relationship between choreography and moving image through performance and installation art.

Stacie previously worked as part of the People United team as our Digital and Communications coordinator and she continues to champion and advocate our approach and methodology in her own work.

Stacie chose the card “Reflect and Evaluate” to respond to (pictured above), along with the following prompts:

With fewer external demands to measure and evaluate, how are you building in the time to do this? Have the changing circumstances shifted your perspective – for example, are you reflecting on different things, learning to measure success in different ways?

Have you noticed/experienced changes in how public bodies/funders/businesses are defining outcomes? Might it make a difference in the future – a shift to a more human approach?

Stacie produced the following spoken word/visual piece in response. We hope you can find a few peaceful minutes to watch/listen to her mindful, considered piece…

Navigating with Kindness by Stacie Lee Bennet-Worth

“Can you imagine my delight of seeing the first shoot of spring?
knowing that I’d turned the earth and sown the seed
and nurtured what was to be
the most beautiful bloom I’d ever seen
beauty still grows in a crisis, I thought

Not like that cactus, that I left quenching for thirst
and watching the rain, pouring from the wrong side of
the windowpane
as its dehydrated spines dropped out slowly over time

Turns out even the hardiest of plants can perish in harsh conditions.

I remember decades ago when the spring sunlight would dapple my nose
and my mum would say, if you stand in a bag of compost, you’ll grow tall some day
like a magnificent oak, so I decided it best not to play too much in the mud
as I didn’t much fancy being the tallest women on earth
although I could often imagine it

It’s funny reminiscing about what occupied my mind back then.
what mattered and the things I didn’t choose to love but I just did.
finding moments of absurdity and joy at every turn
hopscotching down the street chanting ‘if you stand on a crack you will fall and break your back’ and not caring who heard

I’d connect and collect coincidences in my head, convincing myself that what someone had said at the same time as something had happened was some unknown forces at work saying hello.
I‘d find patterns in all directions faces in objects, maps on the walls and dot-to-dot spots and lines making rhymes on my skin all offering directions to something
an adventure I could get lost within

These days, like then, I’m lost in thought for longer, looking, noticing and searching for surprise always trying to decipher a code that doesn’t exist to anyone else’s eyes
chasing moments that feel somehow, extraordinary or perhaps extraordinarily ordinary
to help pass the time, or just occupy my mind in a way that feels right
to an ever-curious kind

I chipped my front tooth when I was nine, I was catapulted from a seesaw, so high
and my school friends couldn’t believe I could land a fall like that and only cry for a moment.
I remember spiralling through the air, in slow motion, the sounds of the earth a low-pitched hum, before the crash-bang commotion a bump and my lip was numb
from where the tooth had pierced the skin.

It felt good to have a story and to know it was mine
something that I could keep unlike the scar that faded and healed over time.

I realise now, that life is just content for daydreams.
if you just look up there’s a silent beauty in the way the clouds, whip, swish and plume, cast shadows in a room and they can look like the ocean if you try hard enough.
From dawn till dusk, they traverse the sky making patches of shade for us to lay or play or seize the day in whatever way we can
and let’s just say, some days that’s harder than others
That’s why you don’t always have to put on a show or be your best
or put yourself in contest with those who surround you
There’s necessity in mess and muddle, like jumping in a puddle
the fun outweighs the irritation of splattered trousers.

And unkempt hair and ketchup stains on your top, don’t make the world stop, change the clock or indeed matter a jot, really

I guess when we are dealt a new hand, we respond and grow as best we can trying to hold firm and not be blown over by the breeze. We take solace in the trees and grass stained knees reminding us that there’s a world beyond the glass
Faces that we know and trust and skin we can touch of the people we love
are all waiting at the other side.

I don’t know about you, but my dreams are askew, and my thoughts are flickering through phases of life; being a sister, a daughter, an auntie, a wife and seeing the world through the lenses of their eyes sometimes. Perhaps it’s just a way of feeling connected in a time that has rejected our existence as we once knew it.

But just writing these words, while I listen to the birds sing louder than I’ve ever heard before I recall the things that I’ve lost, that I did not want, nor foster in a way that was healthy or kind sometimes at a cost, to my clarity of mind
So perhaps letting go, saying no, thinking small and laying low might be a saviour of sorts
It seems some good can come from spending time alone with your thoughts.”

Funded by

Arts Council England
Paul Hamlyn Foundation