Diverse//City

Photographs taken in El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico.

Humans could learn a lot from rain forests. In rain forests, hundreds of various flora grow together to create a mutualistic symbiotic society by which they thrive. Instead of boxing themselves into separate sections with all of their own species, they entangle themselves with species of completely different genotypes and phenotypes– Each of them contributing something unique to the larger system. By this, they all reap the benefits of Unity within Diversity. It’s too bad that us humans, much too often, don’t use this to our advantage.

Burning the seeds of suffering

In yogic philosophy, the physical body is a storehouse of samskaras– thought, emotion, and behavioural patterns– laid down and then reinforced through repeated experiences. These loopy chains may foster activities towards self-actualisation, neutral experiences, or self-destruction.

Journalling your mindsphere is one way to expose and observe patterns of thought. Though I recently looked to my own pile of journals which were written from age 10 onward, with a feeling of irritation and burden. For me, journaling has always helped release tension during moments of emotional distress. So, it really just appeared as huge pile of baggage I have been lugging around with me everywhere I moved, slowing me down from truly welcoming a new day.

I thought that enough was enough. I have come pretty far in trauma processing in the last year, and announced that it was time I burn this bullshit to the ground. On a sunny spring evening, close friends joined me around a fire pit with their own journals, and we watched the pages of our past turn to ash and smoke together. It was an exhilarating experience.

As I looked to the flames, it reminded me of the process of silent mindfulness meditation retreat – which involves an exploration of one’s own body of stories. It is a practice of meeting and greeting all thought, emotion, and behavioural patterns with an attitude of compassion… so many times, until they become so boring and redundant, they lose their original potency. At that point a weight is lifted, and the path moving forward becomes that much more clear and intentional.

The Blues

I swayed with them amidst the Armageddon.
– between meteors –
we held each other and
Moved our hips
in smooth synchrony.

For some reason,
the Lowly Blues
were the only thing that could move me;
Not walking to the grocery store or
to my own kitchen to say the least.

It was either
slow dancing
or
half sleeping
in a dissociative haze.

But I don’t think they knew how much our dances meant to me.
I don’t think they knew how important they were to me in that moment in time.

As we drifted in slow rhythms, our bodies so close
sung me calm.

Not flinching
or
screaming
as meteors stormed my head.

My head that retaliated,
and rightfully so.
My head that longed for these round, orange pills
my doctor used to give me.

I didn’t have a lot of friends around back then, but a
Community of blues dancers came
to my 26th birthday.
I made them a big chocolate cake as of to say:
Thank you for getting me out of bed last year.

I don’t think they knew this though.
I don’t think they knew how much our dances meant to me.
I don’t think they knew how important they were in that moment in time.

Kaede

Kaede: 12″ diameter acrylic on birch cross-section

Green grass covered in red leaves
Permanence is only percieved
This   m o m e n t   is ours,   my dear
and it’s all we need.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga NidraYoga Nidra: 20″ x 24″ Acrylic on Canvas

Year after year,
living blindly in loopy chains,
‘till Life pinned me so eloquently to a corner where from myself,
I could not escape.
She told me, “The architecture of your brain needs to change–
you can no longer run, skip, and jump far, far away,
from your internal pains.”
Meditate to medicate.
Day after day now,
my Heart leads the way.

Yoga nidra is a relaxation practice that allows the practitioner to gain deep insight and awareness into unconscious areas of the brain. It subsequently cultivates an ability to rewire samskaras (ingrained patterns of thought, emotions, and behaviours) in a willful manner which in turn assists a way of intentional living. This piece represents the process of yoga nidra: In the center lies deep, dark, unconscious samskaras– that is, outside of our awareness. As we practice, these patterns gradually flow into the light… such like training a skillful eye with acute abilities. The process is slow moving and not always pleasant; painful samskaras present themselves vividly. However, when awareness is established, change is possible. Positive intentions called sankalpas are planted and cultivated– such ones that bring liberation.

Cerebella

Cerebella: 20″ x 24″ Acrylic on Canvas

The cerebellum lies in the human hind brain and is most typically involved in motor control, coordination, posture, and balance. This beautiful flower-shaped structure contains over 100 billion densely packed neurons, that is, more than twice the amount of neurons in the entire cerebral cortex. It’s projections to and from the prefrontal cortex are what makes the wonders of moving meditations possible.