Look Closer

“Look Closer” is an ongoing collection of photographs I’ve taken on mindful walks since 2015. During these walks, I make a deep conscious effort to focus solely on my natural surroundings. This effective grounding practice brings me a lot of contentment and awe. We only realise there is beauty everywhere when we unveil our blindness to it.

Photographs taken in Waterloo Region, ON, Canada
Prints available by request

You are not allowed to be an asshole!

You are not allowed to be an asshole
I don’t care if you’re running for local office or president of the United States
You’re just not allowed to be an asshole!

Even if you are a back up dancer for Beyonce or
look like Jennifer Lawrence or
Orlando Bloom or
any other gorgeous celebrity who can shoot arrows like a boss.

Even if you won sixteen trophies from wrestling, football, rugby, and squash
I don’t care if you ran nine marathons or can successfully stick your ankles behind your head…
Oh and by the way, namaste to you too, betches
Thanks for turning a beautiful South Asian tradition into an expensive ego trip.

Every human being has a story and a struggle
Your fancy schmancy shit does not put you above that
sex worker
homeless man
pregnant teenager
or person with addictions
You are not allowed to be an asshole to them

Even if you own a 1000 leather bound books or your apartment smells like rich mahogany
Even if you can tell me precisely how old this wine is or know the entire history of Pablo Picasso’s paintings.

You are not allowed to be an asshole
Even if you can regurgitate social justice rhetoric while juggling knives on a unicycle or work for the U.N.
In that case, you need to stop being a hypocritical asshole

And to be frank, I don’t care if you single handedly prevented a pandemic or discovered a cure for premenstrual cramps…

well…

I guess if you found a cure for premenstrual cramps,
you might be allowed to be an asshole…

Though until then,
STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE.

Diverse//City

Photographs taken in El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico
Prints available by request

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 can be a practice of meeting and greeting all painful thoughts, 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.

Kaede

Kaede: 12″ diameter acrylic on birch cross-section

Green grass covered in red leaves
Permanence is only perceived
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.