Mom’s Tiger Shrike: 16″ x 12″ Acrylic on Canvas
The tiger shrike is Vietnam’s national bird and considered a symbol of courage—that is, the persistence to face challenges despite the physical, psychological, and moral risks in doing so. It is a perfect descriptor for my mom, who never stopped walking the path to freedom for my family since sailing away on a deathly mission to her first refugee camp in Indonesia.
There she was, barely 24, boarding unknown waters, never knowing if she’d see her family again. Never knowing if she was going to make it to land. Never knowing if pirates were going to show up at her door. Never knowing when her next meal was going to be. Never knowing if the U.N. was going to find her. Never knowing if she was going to make it out alive, really. Yet still, never ceasing to give her partner (now, my dad) and the camp’s children all her love.
Flowers for Soon Chung Park, 74; Suncha Kim, 69; Yong Ae Yue, 63; Hyun Jung Grant, 51; Xiaojie Tan, 49; Daoyou Feng, 44; Paul Andre Michels, 54; Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33
Peace: 9″ x 6″ Watercolor on Cold Press
Power: 8.5″ x 8″ Watercolor on Cold Press
Love: 9″ x 6.5″ Watercolor on Cold Press
Prints available on Society6
Rest in peace and
the power we are taking back
the immense afterglow of love
you ignited in all of us
and these flowers—
they are for you,
with bittersweet tears and gentle light;
that will not be forgotten
(I’ll make sure of it).
I lost my language when
a thousand whispers told me it wasn’t worth keeping
The early Saturday mornings in class
were interfering with my weekends.
Now don’t get me wrong:
I am thankful for the priviledges I hold
my communication skills
my writing abilities
But something still makes me feel raw
when I could not describe to my grandpa
the great depths to which I loved him
on those heavy days preceding his passing.
And years earlier
when I could never assure him
I was eager to listen when he wanted to talk
about grandma after she had also gone—
maybe then could his tears flow a little more easily.
And it still doesn’t sit right with me
when I could not explain to my grandma
how much ill health it perpetuated inside me
when she’d criticized my body;
A stolen chance
to make amends
Instead lay a silent chasm between us
until she died and
I was on the other side of the country.
Great regrets hurricane through me
as I desperately grasp ruptured threads of
my ancestor’s resonances
All that remains is
an immense lump in my throat
words that got lost in transit or
arrived too late to be received
bereaved messengers that never fullfilled their purpose.
Yet I know my language isn’t too late to find again
because even though all my of grandparents have left
I could at least pray to them
in a way they’d want me to.
Meditating Women: 6″ x 8″ x 1.5″ Acrylic on Birch Panels (3 of 15)
Full series on display at The Nidra Nest
Be aware of this movement. She is growing and unstoppable.
Yoni Shakti is rising, and you’d best be accountable.
Yoginis and allies: spread the word.
The fire of survivors will be heard,
so that femmes may reclaim yoga in it’s original canvas—
a sacred tradition for healing and justice.
COMPILATION OF EVIDENCE [info]
A list of highly positioned yoga teachers who have enacted gender-based abuse unto their students, along with their supporting institutions.
THIRTEEN WARNING SIGNALS [info] [poster]
Cautionary indicators that a yoga teacher, community, and/ or institution may be perpetrating gender-based abuse.
NINE CALLS TO ACTION [info] [poster]
What we must do to effectively resist and dismantle industrial yoga’s structures of gender-based abuse.
WOMB-FRIENDLY YOGA MANIFESTO [info]
Yoga techniques to avoid or practice with caution throughout the womb’s various cycles and conditions.
The Birth and Death of Memories: 800 x 524 px
Golgi Stain of the Hippocampus by The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
peel away the layers
Take time to
nooks and crannies
Hold your wounds
with a quality of
Listen to your heart and
every beat it echoes as you
its raw exposure.
divine mass and
Love and be loved.
that mushy goo
out of every cell in your
Connect with other
and allow them to
beat beside you
all that is
across the sky.
Dharana: 11″ x 4″ Watercolor on Cold Press
Prints available on Society6
Focus on a single object. It could be anything. God or a mushroom. Whatever else is happening, whatever is swirling through your head… concentrate like its the most important thing in the entire universe. Grow acutely aware of every tiny detail of the object, as if consumed in a metaphysical dance with it. And when the chaos tries to steal you away—smile at it. Then, refocus.
On Friday nights when the weather is right, my partner and his friends will set up a portable floor and speakers in Uptown Waterloo and break dance. It’s a fun time.
Passersby will often stop to watch, with some admiring curiously from afar while others express their appreciation more directly. These are usually cheerful interactions.
However, there is another category of people who occasionally approach uninvited—White folks who actively believe that my partner and his friends (all racialized men) were there for the sole purpose of entertaining them. They will literally bark orders, “YOU! You’re up next!” “Do a head spin!” “AGAIN!” “Okay, now you go!” “Don’t stop, keep going!!!” basically as they would to circus animals.
It is truly a buzzkill. Thankfully, the crew has an unspoken protocol whenever this happens, which essentially involves sitting down and doing nothing. The entitled asshole soon gets bored and moves on. It works pretty well.
Though, I sometimes wonder if these people ever reflect on the situation. Do they ever consider the possibility that maybe my partner and his friends were out here to enjoy their art and culture—which is a street dance… on the streets? Or, that they were supporting each other’s creativity, training, and development?
Who knows… White supremacy conditioning can run deep. But, at least in these cases, the monster’s not being fed.
Sunburst: 24″ x 24″ Acrylic on Canvas Print
The plants that
inside my mother’s house are
all year long
She hasn’t read a single book on
used a special fertilizer but I think
they trust her.
Although they haven’t been around her whole life
I have a feeling they Know
all the meals she cooked for us
all the messes she cleaned up after us
all the dreams she made real for us and
all the nurturance she channeled to us
when we had fallen to the ground and could not get up
on our own—
I have a good feeling they Know
that she risked her life escaping chains for us
that she worked day and night to build a better life for us
that she breathed patiently throughout our reckless years for us and
that she loved us to the moon no matter what.
I’m fairly certain they’ve always Known
that their life was sown
more than enough
they needed to g r o w.
Love Grows: 11″ x 14″ Watercolor and Ink on Cold Press
Prints available on Society6
Maitri (loving-kindness) is not an uncontrollable force of nature, subject to the volatile highs and lows of the human mind. It is not something you just get persuaded into accidentally by the damned physical laws of attraction, for better or for worse. Maitri is an infinite energy, limitless and timeless. It can be grown like a tree, so tall and so strong, yet delicately sensitive and responsive to its environment; adaptive within a multitude of climates. Rooted in the fertile grounds of anahata (heart cakra), the practice of cultivation and care rests in your hands.
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