Gather for HER
During this global transition, the need for leaders who can operate within a different framework and capabilities is clear. An up-level of perspective with a responsive skillset and a clear process to make decisions is required for this new terrain. These are our wisdom gathering conversations following our PowHERhouse FireCircle model of group listening for HER.
Welcome to Gather for Her.
ARTISTRY OF IMPACT #2 A Gather for HER Conversation with Dr. Kasia Wilk
The Artistry of Awareness
Gather for Her welcomed Dr. Kasia Wilk, a Counselling Psychologist who has worked in the helping profession for over fourteen years with a pluralistic approach, tailoring therapy to meet the unique needs of her clients. She helps people overcome their inner limitations, break out of unconscious patterning and step into their highest potential.
Her passion for elevating consciousness has led her to develop a film production company with a focus on films that entertain, educate and empower viewers. She is currently working on her first feature film: Unseen Scars.
Our moderator Christina Benty is a Systems Engineer and Strategist, retired politician, facilitator, governance coach, athlete and jazz singer. Christina’s focus is human systems within governance and organizational systems.
Our story tracker is core-communication specialist Tina Overbury. Tina works in story, guiding individuals and organizations to bring their authentic narrative to the surface for human connection.
Our graphic recorder is Sharon Marshall, an Indigenous entrepreneur of Cree and European ancestry, Skills Development Trainer and Facilitator, and the founder of DEVA Training & Staffing Solutions.
This is our Conversation:
CSJ Charlene SanJenko: Good morning and welcome to another episode of Gather For HER. I'm Charlene Sanjenko, and I'm the founder and CEO of PowHERhouse. We are an impact media platform and intentional organization that gathers on and offline to harvest collective wisdom and strengthen ourselves as women leaders for impact.
Before I introduce our special guest today, I am lucky enough to be joining you this morning from the traditional lands of the Squamish First Nation. And I live in Gibsons bc on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I ask you to reflect for a moment on the lands which you call home.
Joining us from Manchester in the UK is Dr. Kasia Wilk, a chartered counseling psychologist, transformation coach, speaker, the founder of Choice Point Productions and the producer of a film currently in development, Unseen Scars. Good morning Kasia. Thank you for joining us.
DKW Dr. Kasia Wilk: Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really honored to be here today and to be joining all of you. I see such beautiful faces here. Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be part of this conversation.
CSJ: We're excited to have you. We've been gathering this month with the intention of exploring the theme: the artistry of impact. I'm wondering if we could start with a broad brushstroke by asking you what that phrase means to you and why you think it's important to be talking about it right now?
DKW: It's a beautiful phrase. These are very interesting times where the opportunity for impact is available to everyone. Collectively we are all able to step into becoming change-makers and create an impact in our own unique way. It is calling us, and I too have been called to step into that role as a change-maker. It’s been quite a journey. I think we’re called to do amazing things right now.
CSJ: Tina, I'm wondering if you have any reflections specifically around the last two conversations we’ve had with Dramaturge Nicolle Nattrass and Filmmaker Naomi Douglas Jones, and how to thread them into this one. I’m curious if anything's coming up for you this morning around that and this phrase the artistry of impact.
It is calling us. -Dr. Kasia Wilk
TO Tina Overbury: When I think about the different conversations we've had and I listen to you Kasia, I want you to know, I'm intrigued by you because your presence is very different. And when I reflect on art that way, that's how it works too. Naomi MacDougall Jones has a very forward presence. Nicolle Nattrass has a very invitational, yet a step back presence, and to me, Kasia, your presence feels very wide and open. So when I think of artistry for impact and this idea you’ve offered to us about how it's calling us, I have this recognition that each of us are very, very unique with how we are called for impact, and how we’ll make it happen. The artistry is how it all intersects. We don’t get to be in charge of art, we just bring our piece. To me as I watch this month unfold, the artistry is showing up in the uniqueness of each voice.
CSJ: I encourage our guests this morning to reflect on this phrase: the artistry of impact. What is coming up for you around that? For me, a couple of things come up to mind, one is when you're embarking on a creative project, like a painting, and you don't exactly know how it will transpire, but you have a vision and you purposely try not to control the flow of it because you want to access the creativity and innovation as an innate ability within you. It’s kind of like being part of an orchestra. You know what you want the performance experience to be like, and you know what you will bring to the collective action and the collective consciousness and then you let go. What might be possible if we came one by one, each player in this orchestra, all ready, tuned up, practiced, and ready for showtime? What might be possible? How we might play together at a higher level.
My second question Kasia, is about what called you to start a production company? You're a practicing psychologist and counselor with a thriving practice in the UK, so what on earth, called you to embark on making a film?
DKW: Yes. I love that question because I didn't plan to be running a production company when I was training to be a psychologist. If you had asked me five to ten years ago if I would be doing what I'm doing now, I would say no way, but I went through an interesting period of time which brought me here. As I began working with clients, I noticed I was able to facilitate a process of powerful transformation by bringing in each client’s self awareness to support making better choices in their life. Essentially anyone who comes to create change is looking to uncover the answer to why is it that I'm stuck? Why is it that I can't move forward in my life?
The power to transform begins with becoming aware of the choices we make by asking:
- Where did this choice come from?
- Did it come from a past trauma?
- A past pain?
- Is anger fueling some of my choices?
- Is fear driving what I do?
It's this beautiful discovery, a journey that we go on to bring in that self-awareness and then to provide the opportunity to make different choices, ones that come from courage, from faith, from love, and really recognize that all the power is within us no matter what's going on in our external circumstances. I get really inspired when I think because so many people don't know they are living inside a reality that maybe isn't serving them, and they are co-creating that reality. Awareness and choices will help them.
We can make choices from courage, from faith, from love, and recognize all the power is within us - Dr. Kasia Wilk
I began to ask myself, what could be a bigger platform to reach out and bring in that level of self-awareness to the world? What if we understood we can completely change our reality based on making different choices. I don’t have to be on autopilot, doing what I've always done because of past programming. Maybe we could create a huge transformation in the world.
I had no idea how to do that, but I began to ponder what might be a platform for that, and then I received this vision during a meditation. I was looking at film, because film is something most of us can access. Film doesn’t just entertain, it also educates and empowers. So I started thinking, okay, this can be really interesting, maybe we could create films that are slightly different to show this awareness process. Maybe even give people an experience of being a choice maker in the film.
My original vision was to create interactive films and have two different endings and put the viewer in the driver's seat. But I wasn't sure where to begin. I thought to myself, I'm a psychologist not a filmmaker and this is a crazy idea. Then a few years ago I went through a series of events that pushed me to take the leap. Something bigger than me was saying: the time is now. One of those first experiences was losing my dad quite suddenly in 2017. It was really unexpected and my own process of grief woke me up to the fact that our time is quite short. We never know how much we actually have here. It made me realize if there is something that I'm thinking about doing, maybe I shouldn't wait ten years, maybe I should just do it now.
Something bigger than me was saying: the time is now - Dr. Kasia Wilk
The next thing that happened was the 2017 terrorist attack in Manchester, the city where I live during an Ariana Grande concert. That was incredibly traumatic for everyone who lives here because of such collective grief and I worked with some of the victims as well. It made me question what was going on for that young man that made such a choice to cause so much destruction? That young man was probably coming from a place of pain or anger or fear. Because when you're hurting on the inside, you're going to hurt others on the outside. He didn't have the awareness or the tools to know he could have made a different choice. Anytime we're going through something internally and we feel like there is no way out, there is always another option, another choice. That's when I thought okay, so this is the time to do it.
It's incredible what happens when you make a choice and commit to it without knowing how all of the pieces come together. Synchronicities and the right people begin to show up and join you. Collectively we can choose courage every day as we step into the unknown and do things that are different.
Because when you're hurting on the inside, you're going to hurt on the outside - Dr. Kasia Wilk
CSJ: I want to reflect a couple of things back and ask Tina to do the same. It's about the artistry of impact. The three things really came out for me are:
- You were called by something bigger than you and the message very clearly was the time is now.
- You choose courage every day.
- You're embarking on something different.
Tina, I'm wondering what came up for you?
TO: Kasia, I want you to know that when you said beautiful discovery, it's like my whole room lit up. That was powerful. From a tracking lens, I couldn't help but hear that the unexpected is a common thread through every conversation we've had this month. I would love to hear more about that state of ‘unexpected’. As well, as we choose to move away from a dominance model which shows up in the way we consistently believe and say: I know, I know, I know, and transition to a new frame of reference where we recognize: I don't know, I don't know, I don't know…, it made me think, how does a therapist make a film about a process that happens in that emergent space? I'm really hungry and curious for what you're discovering in this process.
Collectively we can choose courage every day as we step into the unknown - Dr. Kasia Wilk
DKW: It's really inspiring for me to hear you share those things as well because I feel like the unexpected is where the magic is. I personally feel if I knew every single thing that was going to happen on this journey, it would take away some of the magic. I want to be part of this co-creation. We can work through things bit by bit and see where it takes us. How big is this going to get? Following allows me to have faith and trust and not let my ego try to control it because then it can get very stressful and the intention doesn't feel as meaningful. This process of dealing with the unexpected ties into surrendering to something bigger than myself.
It's a surrendering process, being open to the unexpected and open to the magic.
CSJ: There’s a quote that I heard this week that this brings up for me: You can't strategize inspiration, because as soon as you do, you’re limiting what is possible within infinite possibility. This goes back to my belief that we access only 15% of what is really possible. If we're willing to be brave and to play in the magic that sits at the periphery, every day, we are practicing the artistry of impact.
You can't strategize inspiration - Charlene Sanjenko
DKW: From a psychological perspective of what I get to witness when I work with people day to day, I really hear the deepest, darkest things that go on for them. It’s a privilege to witness people that way. We need to share and bring those kinds of stories onto the film platform. Stories influence us as we are consuming them. If we watch the news every day, we consume negative stories. That's the reality we are putting into our consciousness. We are not aware how over time those kinds of messages, repeated over and over and over again can continue to feed us the same narrative. These stories begin to form a particular subconscious belief about the world and what we think is possible. Stories are powerful and film is such an effective platform. Most of the time we're consuming content that isn't serving us. A lot of times the content we see makes us fearful, or believe that the world is a dangerous place, or we can't trust people. Our younger generation has a greater vulnerability of being influenced by these things because they're still developing their sense of identity.
During this pandemic we're in, I think we have to be mindful of how much news we're consuming because it begins to influence how we feel, which affects how we show up in the world and how we respond to things. Let’s use these platforms to positively influence consciousness and raise our consciousness to know we can see positive messages, so over time, influence our sense of feeling safe in the world. What if we believed everything is going to be okay because we can do anything we choose? I feel really passionate about this. If we only see the bad stuff, we begin believing the world is like that, and maybe I really should panic, and I should be fearful, but it's just not true.
Use these platforms to positively influence consciousness - Dr. Kasia Wilk
TO: I am really jazzed about having more therapists using this platform of film, because therapists know how to hold complexity. From my own lens, what I can't help but notice is the theme of grief, and when I think about your film ‘Unseen Scars’ I am grateful. Therapists are the sacred holders of complexity so I'm curious what your thoughts are about telling those stories of complexity so there is more permission to bring our whole selves to the table and know that we're safe.
DKW: I think you've nailed it on the head. It is about understanding what it means to be human and absolutely knowing that complexity and suffering are part of it. Can we be okay with not being okay and choose to find ways to navigate our darker places and return to wholeness? We are not taught this, nor do we have the tools to cope with all we go through. How do we navigate unseen scars? How do we make choices to help our recovery from those places? How do we ask for support when we’re afraid to look weak or we’re afraid it will look like we can’t handle it. We really want this film to have this conversation.
It's a story of a military veteran who comes home from war and struggles to reintegrate back into society. He doesn't know what to do with his scars, his inner wounds, and so he makes some not very good choices about how to cope which sends him on a process of learning how to navigate and make more empowering choices. It speaks to understanding that the first thing is to accept that these feelings are part of being human and we don't have to feel ashamed for having insecurities.
These feelings are part of being human and we don't have to feel ashamed for having insecurities - Dr. Kasia Wilk
CSJ: I'd love to ask you a few questions about the process and the logistics of being a filmmaker. I want to actually turn to the process that you're in right now and the more technical part.
DKW: Absolutely, we're in early pre-production now, specifically in the finance seeking stage, which is always the hardest part of making a film. We are working to find the money we need to get it off the ground. We're offering the opportunity to invest in this film and we have other opportunities for those who want to help us find investors. We want to create a movement in a step by step way.
I am learning every day through the various challenges how important it is to have the right team of people around you. My partner in crime is my writer and director, Carl Mackenzie. Together we wrote the script and he's become my wingman, tackling the day to day decisions that come with the different stages of film production. The finance seeking stage is one of the most important pieces, and I’m learning how a film becomes marketable and it is distributed. It's a lot to take on, and we have a few actors attached plus we are partnering with a charity called Combat Stress in the UK which supports veterans with mental health issues. A portion of the film’s sales supports them. Our plan is to go into production later this year with the release of the film next year. We’re hoping to do a cinema run across military towns in the UK with a Q&A panel at every screening. We are really hoping to create some change not just within the military community, but for men who sometimes struggle to come forth to ask for support.
CSJ: I want to reflect on one one comment. Not to put you on the spot, but it's a question I ask every woman I am with. If there was one person or opportunity that you could get in front of in the next 90 to 180 days that would most likely shift the trajectory of your film and the impact you're looking to make, who would be a great example of that person? I'm just curious.
DKW: What comes up for me right away is finding an impact investor. Someone who wants to make an impact and is looking for a place to channel their resources.
Closing Circle Offerings
From Charlene SanJenko - CEO/Founder of PowHERhouse:
I want to thank the women who are part of this call today, who are witnessing what you're up to in the world. I know that as we bring our energy and clear intention to what matters to the stories that matter to us, we can change the trajectory. There is hope.
From TinaO - Story Tracker: In my filmmaking days, I remember my Director of Photography saying to me while shooting my second short film “You know it's a good thing you didn't go to film school, because if you had, you wouldn’t be asking me to do the things you are.” To me, that's what artistry is. Take the wisdom from knowledge, and the structures that exist but don’t give in to them.
From Dr. Kasia Wilk: When it comes to impact media and making a difference in the world through elevating consciousness and creating stories, we need you to join us in this movement. This is such an opportunity to collectively create change because everyone has different pieces of the puzzle. It is calling us for impact and we can be a change-maker.
Chi-Miigwech (Big Thank You)
To watch the forty-five minute interview in its entirety click here.
Learn more about Kasia and the impact she is making here.
Gather for Her is a series of wisdom gathering conversations with women who lead. Each recorded session follows PowHERhouse’s FireCircle model of group listening, witnessing and harvesting to support the leaders of today through the fire of our time.
Today’s conversation was moderated by Christina Benty, Owner of Strategic Leadership Solutions, story tracked by Core Story Specialist Tina Overbury, graphic recorded and Indigenous informed by Sharon Marshall of DEVA, and hosted by PowHERhouse CEO and founder, Charlene SanJenko.