The Ways of Kitésh the Dragon

ESJC 2023 final project: embodiment for youth in story form


As my final project for the 2023 Embodied Social Justice Certificate program, it brings me great joy to present a fantastical story based in nature that aims to deliver a fun framework for emotional awareness as well as playful embodiment practices geared toward youth. You are warmly invited to check out this video recording presenting the first episode of The Ways of Kitésh the Dragonand offer feedback. 

The Ways of Kitésh the Dragon, imagines a diverse cast of characters coming together to save the wisdom of the dragon from disappearing forever. Along the way, our protagonists increase emotional awareness, nurture embodied experience, and find working together amid differences to be vital. By the end of the story, the group has saved far more than just the ways of the dragon. 

The origins of this story are years of co-creation involving myself, my kids and others seeking more compassionate and engaging ways to understand and attend to challenging emotions. Recording this reading with my now adult son Jay, (who reads the voice of the dragon), uplifted the process in every way imaginable and solidified the idea that this is a work of reciprocity. 

My hope is to find folks who are interested in and may benefit from the content in this story. I open the door wide to any feedback offered. 

While this first episode introduces just two characters and presents only one of the dragon’s Ways, the story will eventually bring in a variety of lived experiences and many more embodiment practices. That’s when a heightened need for collaboration will kick in.

Characters are Black, Brown, disabled, very old, very young, queer, and gender non-binary. Focusing on identities that have been under-represented, less-heard, actively pushed down, and excluded is fundamental to the story. The richness of their varied experiences catapults the characters’ adventures into a realm of vast possibility. That a Black girl plays a key role reflects the way Black Women Leaders are illuminating emergent paths forward in our troubled world. 

All of the identities listed above (along with tech & social media savvy, male and other as yet unforeseen additions), are outside of my lived experience as a privileged, mostly-able and white-bodied, cisgender, 61 year old woman. This offering wants to both portray and bring rise to collective collaboration that centers non-dominant experiences. I cannot possibly do that alone, so I will continue to actively invite input from anyone whose interest and lived experience stirs a desire to offer suggestions. At the same time, I tenderly and respectfully acknowledge that many people choose not to teach other folks about their points of view. 

In an effort to break free from entrenched concepts of ownership, this collaborative project is not aimed at traditional publication nor any form of money-making. Instead, the intention is to freely share any possible contributions the content may offer toward well-being. 

If you are interested, please help co-create this story into existence. No contribution is too small, and continued involvement will be heartily welcomed in future drafts as well. Please also feel free to share with anyone you think might find this content worthwhile, particularly young folks who might resonate with the story. 

To collaborate:

  • [Click here] to access the video reading of the first episode of The Ways of Kitésh the Dragon.
  • If so moved, share your thoughts, insights, ideas, etc.
  • If so moved, share with someone else.
  • If so moved, join a live zoom discussion tentatively scheduled for July 30th.

My root teacher Kanjuro Shibata XX, Sendai once wrote this about cloud water people: “They have been thoroughly trained to move through time and space along the natural current of what is, rather than propelling themselves with the force of their own egos or personal desires.” May we find our way to being cloud water people together. 

With gratitude,


Aka Sue Kranzdorf