Who do we practice for?
"What's it all for?" they asked, quite perplexed. "You practice so much yoga: why, what or who is it all for if you aren't going to share it?"
This was a recent question I was asked by someone I know as a casual acquaintance who likes to speak in sexual innuendo most of the time. I was cautious and aware of what they meant but was still caught off-guard and didn't have a snappy come-back. I knew that what they were insinuating was that if I wasn't going to share it with them, then what was the point, or who else was it for? It's not for them to decide what I hold valuable in my life or how I should spend my time, but it made me stop to think about different perspectives, and ponder how I should articulate why it's important to me to meditate, practice yoga and live mindfully. The most obvious answer is to be healthier so we live longer but that's a simplified answer. There's so much more to it.
Why do we practice anything? We have ambitions to improve at playing a sport or instrument, to attain a goal, to hone a new skill or achieve recognition. A meditation practice helps us become a better version of ourselves and fine tune who we are so we can take on life's challenges no matter what comes our way. We can't control what life throws our way, but we can affect how we react.
So who exactly do I meditate for? To name just a few....for my mom (who suffers from Dementia and Parkinson's Disease), for my dad who has had several strokes, my brother who has had recent health issues, for every person I come in contact with throughout my day (and for the people they know, that I may never meet). And yes, the reality is that I even meditate for the acquaintance who passes judgment on me, so I am aware not to pass judgment on them. It's rarely easy but that's why it's a practice.
Why do I create this type of art?
When I finish a new meditation design and I am able to share it through my website or my social media channels, I often get asked why I create this type of art. The simplest answer is because I want to help people establish a meditation practice so that they can become the best version of themselves to affect the world in a positive way.
A meditation practice can help in healing or coping with an illness, and assist with how we approach every day challenges in life. Knowing first-hand the positive effects a regular meditation practice has made in my life, makes me want to help others.
After completing my treatment for cancer, I wanted to find a stronger purpose for my art and find a way that I could help others heal. Creating art to help others establish their meditation practice so that they can live mindfully and help themselves heal does just that.
When looking for helpful tips on meditation, breath practice, having a focal point, being comfortable, and choosing a special space that you can meditate, are key factors in aiding a practice.
If you have a space that you want to spend time in, you are more likely to establish a regular meditation practice.
Why is my work round?
My designs are based on sacred geometry patterns (the key sacred shapes that are the building blocks of creation). I start with the seed of life mandala that is contained within a circle. The circle shape represents oneness or wholeness, eternity and cyclical movement.
My designs start with the mandala and grow from there. The flowers, colours and foliage represent growth; both physical and spiritual growth. All the elements together, exude an energy that evoke different feelings for different people. Usually the design or pattern you connect with, or are drawn to, is the one that you need the most.
Women's March on Washington D.C.
In contradiction to what I would typically do on my sacred Saturday morning, I walked with 150,000+ people in Vancouver, Canada, and millions around the world, supporting the Women's March on Washington.
I'm not a big crowd person and although being in a crowd doesn't bother me, I would just prefer to not be where "everybody else" is. I hadn't planned on attending the march, but a yogi friend of mind reached out and suggested I tag along with her and a few people she knew - so I went.
It was an impressive turnout - especially for a city that tends to be very non-committal. The event was peaceful, the people were passionate and many of the placards were good humoured and poignant. I did question the impact that I would have by attending, here in Canada, but seeing a young girl with a sign saying "Don't tell me I can't" made me think of my daughters and the empowerment I have always tried to instill upon them. Witnessing such a diverse group of people coming together, in such huge numbers, for a common purpose, quickly quashed any uncertainty I may have had.
So what did I get out of it?
It was a reminder about the good that adversity can bring. It's the proof that there is strength in numbers and good is a force to be reckoned with. If the intention was to send a message of hope to the frightened, the worried, the marginalized and vulnerable, then the message was clear. But it also sent a message to the passive, the lovers, the non-demonstrators, that this is a time where we need to pay attention and speak up. Love has always required action and that is more prevalent than ever.
As we live in a time of unpredictability, we can find strength in demonstrating messages of hope, empathy and compassion. It's the knowing that we aren't alone in our feelings of fear and vulnerability that will sustain us and help us rise up.