“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.
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 Indian practice into an expensive ego trip.
Every human being has a story and a struggle
Your fancy schmancy shit does not put you above that
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…
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.
Dancing my F’ing Heart Out: 16″ x 20 Acrylic on Canvas
Live painting created during a house concert featuring Blankets at The Fireside
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.
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.
Compassion, Gratitude, and Love Cards: 4″ x 6″ Acrylic on Cold Press Watercolor Paper
For sale at Queen Street Commons Cafe in Kitchener, ON [$8]
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
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.
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: 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.
Flourishing: 12″ diameter acrylic on birch cross-section