The following was originally posted to instagram, as part of the #artscapestoryteller #ruralcreatives challenge for the Rural Creatives Springboard.

An image of the author, Lauren Best. She is smiling and looking up.

My name is Lauren Best. My pronouns are she/her. I live close enough to Georgian Bay to hear the boats, on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibwe Nation. I’m a parent. I am a member of family and community.

I am a musician, poet, composer, and improvisor. I’m a community arts advocate and interdisciplinary facilitator, astist-educator, and coach. I’m an entrepreneur and creative. I’m a gardener and swimmer.

I love being outside. I love seeing the sun falling through the trees. I love snowflakes. I love clouds and the sky. I love conversations and cooking. I love movement, cozy blankets and imagination. I love words and plants and hiking. I believe in saving our planet. I believe in holding hands and singing songs. I want to smile at loving people every day. I want to breathe deeply. I want to love endlessly and laugh daily.

I move in the world with caring, creativity, and curiosity guiding me. My practice uses collaboration, self-reflection, and community building to spiral internal and external ripples of change. I create opportunities for people to enrich their lives, their relationships, and their communities and to explore as they learn. I help people gain and practice skills that are not only musical and creative but also strengthen their coordination, communication, cognitive skills and problem solving. I share tools for bringing playfulness to our lives and nurturing our wellbeing. I help people connect to themselves, connect to others, and connect to music. I help guide the learning journey and support the sovereignty of the soul on a quest for knowledge, enjoyment, presence, delight, challenge, satisfaction, purpose, pleasure and adventure.

I teach children piano in innovative online groups. I coach adults in voice, piano, and creativity. I facilitate workshops and professional development programs, and groups for parents with babies and young children. I direct the Meaford Children’s Choir.

I write and perform poetry. I was Owen Sound’s poet laureate 2017-2019 with a tenure focused on children. I write interactive poetry over at @holyhaiku

I write songs. I sing. I have a baby who wakes up every night. I have a body that needs care and it feels sometimes like my attention is needed in so many places. I am tired.

I keep making things. I keep helping other people make things. The more I learn the more I help others learn and the more fun I have, the more fun I see the people around me having. The more patient kindness I show myself, the more I blossom over time… and that is the gift I want to give those I coach and collaborate with. Noticing music and noticing themselves. Noticing themselves creating, growing, and blooming. Noticing how they sound and change and feel. Then, seeing their fellow musicians noticing too. Showing up for themselves and showing up for each other and showing up for the beauty of it.