Familiar Faces

Familiar Faces

I've been thinking a lot about reflections lately - family, friends, relationship dynamics, co-creation as well as the simultaneous beauties and dangers of interdependence. It's fascinating to me how easy it can be to slip into taking people, things or one's own existence in general for granted, over and over and over again! Sometimes we can access states of bliss or harmony and for periods of time (however brief or extended) we are able to remain in complete awe, gratitude and reverence of the vast wonders in this LIFE... but then a single blow to the ego, whether it resulted from a new desire, some unmet expectation or just the fluctuation of subtle but ever-flowing energy waves that can leave us feeling temporarily bored or dispassionate, and BOOM, we forget it all! The more we can remind ourselves of the truly precious nature of our reality, in which each and every person we meet is an opportunity to evolve and grow; bringing with them a whole new set of lessons- unique to that individual and your shared connection, the more we will experience it as such... 

This is a series I did in a portfolio class at SCAD, for which I dressed up and posed as stereotypical characters inspired by my closest family members and friends at the time. Using myself as the canvas, with exaggerated personality traits and over animated facial expressions in my portrayals, the photographs became caricatures rather than portraits, mocking our tendency to unintentionally (or intentionally) label those around us. The playful nature of these pieces is intended to dispute the value and accuracy of these silly boxes we try to place people in... especially since we are essentially just reflections of each other - manifestations of the same nature.

"The beauty you see in me, is a reflection of you."
~ Rumi ♥ 

 

A Path Of Yoga

 

“I am now a yogi on the path too spiritual enlightenment... By letting go of all attachments and meditating on the bliss of universal oneness I will one day be transformed into the person I want to be.”

If you’re anything like me you may have thought something similar to the sentiment above. It’s a beautiful idea but for one thing- it turns life into a means to an end, an idea that trips a lot of people up on their journey. Many of us get caught along the way in this belief that enlightenment is some sort of perfect state, but there is no final destination and the only place to get is HERE, NOW. The present moment is all that ever really exists, in which duality and unity are two facets of the same reality, existing simultaneously. There will always be darkness, at every level of consciousness, because there is always light. And where there is light, there is shadow.

Enlightenment, rather than a state of perfection, is a state of expansion- all encompassing. The only way to get there is from being exactly where you are. Accepting where you are doesn’t mean that there is nowhere to go or nothing to do. It just means that you are a being moving through time, rather than a being trying to become something or someone else. It means that you stop the comparison game, break the cycle of self-doubt and tap into your natural gifts.

“If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” The concept illustrated by Yogi Bhajan in this quote seemed fairly obvious to me... until I realized it included me! Seeing “God in all” doesn’t just refer to recognizing the divinity in all that surrounds us but acknowledging the infinite divine wisdom inside ourselves as well. Maybe some of us avoid this part for a while because it means we can’t depend on sacred texts and teachers for direction anymore. It means we must learn to quiet the mind, develop our intuition and listen to our own inner guru. It means finding the strength in precisely what we are and trusting that we know what we don’t yet know we know. It means having faith in the universe within and without and once we are aware of that inner guiding force, each decision we make becomes an opportunity to get us either closer to or farther away from our Sat Nam. It means taking responsibility for our life, which can be scary but also SO LIBERATING!

We are teachers, seekers, lighthouses- devoted to the manifestation and constant evolution of God in all forms of life. Our primary interest is not in security or being liked, it is in awakening. So we do asana, we chant, we practice the yamas and niyamas and we call on our Buddha, Dharma and sangha when necessary. We do everything we have to do to be able to anchor ourselves in certainty, in faith, and in love- because it’s contagious! Wahe Guru ☺