It’s the 21st century and a global world we are living in.
Greed, fear, power, poverty, hearts and hands.
Ignorance and Identity, interplay.
Tonight, I finally sat down and watched the documentary 'True cost', all about the fashion industry and its impact. My whole life I have loved image making of all kinds and especially the exploration of identity. I firstly explored experimenting, as a child, with my own image through dressing up and down and feeling in to the possibilities of self identification. I then grew up, became more self conscious and played with conforming to peers and pushing boundaries and radical perception. In art school, I pushed it as far as I could and at the same time I became fully aware of my actual physical body under the clothes, the skin. I began to pierce my skin at age 14 (much to my dads horror) and find other ways of expression on and below the surface. A year later I stumbled upon yoga and began to connect with the idea of the self and image in a very different way. In direct correlation to deepening my yoga practice, I left home and began university where i learnt the skills to create images in Fashion, its promotion and in illustration. i became a dab hand at creating messages through image, at taking images, as well as styling images. I then wrote 10,000 words on Identity in my dissertation and looked in to subcultural therory and our attachment to how we look and feel. I became a strict vegetarian at age 16 and began eating only organic from age 20. At the end of this intense period of going deep in both arts of yoga and fashion image making... my heart sang for healing from the inside out as a priority and yoga more and more, but my desire to continue to experiment in the industry of fashion and popular culture was driven by my curiosity to explore this surface value deeper. to remove the ignorance and to understand our relationship to the choices and its values, the ego, the driving forces within it all. I spent the next 7 years immersed in the world of fashion, brands, the music industry, video and promotion. But... it didnt take me any less than a few seconds, to know that I wasn't there to add to the negative impacts I experienced, but to allow myself to get in to a position that I could make a positive change. I finally landed Oxfam as a client and spent 2 years launching a re-use project for them, where I re-invented their London Camden store in to a meca of 'Slow Fashion' and re-use hub, targeted at youth culture. Encouraging them to buy secondhand or better yet, hosting workshops with a Global Fashion Designer known for her creations that reinvent items in to new and outstanding bespoke pieces, tailored to the individual and how to do it themselves. The likes of Kylie Minoque's white hooded catsuit, Madonna and The Killers 'Day and Night' tours doned creations and became advocates of this way of creating fashion back then.
It educated and inspired my personal actions, as well as understanding what drives and creates the global affects that identity has on the World at large, for people to find themselves through consumption, to lead towards a sense of identity and happiness!
With all things in life, as I wake up, I ask back to myself the questions that arise from these realisations I uncover, through my direct experiences and observations. i question it all!
After touring the projects with Oxfam, I helped innovate it further at major festivals, as this time, this idea of eco fashion was hitting the mainstream and popular culture in a big way again and yet for me it was over already! it wasn't new, something had to change. I exited even my contributions in this way and I looked to explore more, in a new way. To stay ahead of the game and think of new ways to connect and explore the affects of identity upon the world.
This led me to Japan, one of the Worlds most forethinking countries in technology, in fashion and yet also, routed in tradition and spirituality. You name it, i did it all. From the lights of Tokyo to the rural Islands off the south cost, I observed, questioned and saw much impact of a suppressed and open tribe of people. As myself and my partner at the time, documented the homeless community there, we became aware that most 'men' on the streets arrived there because of shame of loosing their identities, through loss of jobs. The economic breakdown led to their self poverty and physical loss, sadness and lack of identity. A ghost was born, yet living and breathing still upon the earth. a community of Ghosts lost in a world based on success, money and image to define the self.
Back in london, I rebelled and immersed myself in voluntary work in yoga studios, practiced in Buddhist Centres next to the 90 year old yogis, away from the egos that fed these values and I equally worked styling and producing in music, film and TV, so i could continue my awareness in all realms.
I tell you all this, as I look upon this now with reflection...
I became tired of working endlessly, volunteering selflessly and meanwhile falling pregnant with my first baby and yet the reward was very little in terms of basic needs being met. I had no time, no money and a failing relationship - a disconnect. I was alive and enlivened by my insanely wonderful community of artistic and yogic friends, yet when on my mat and praticing motherhood in the very present moment, that becoming a mother offers us unconditionally, I felt the need to simplify all. i realised that living in a contributing way was not beneficial to the planet, to the real mother earth!
To make a change, to exit the known in to the unknown. to trust the movement, uplift the negative, learn to listen to the longing for more of a connection with mother earth itself, I took the twists, the turns, the trials and tribulations in equal measure and i moved. Both in physical body and mind, I shifted.
These times were poignant.
I arrived in Bristol 5 years ago, coming back to my West Country homeland and it was here i found my tribe again. My daughter was nearly 2 at this point and with more piercings, yoga trainings now in action and a tattoo of a Mother Earth, a Labrinth on my wrist, I arrived.
Yoga i-D was born. My roots down deep. But my voice feels tiny and maybe your does too, but put us all togther and make a mighty Roar! Resilience and trust of the movement, as we show up again and again and again to what is needed, as we continue to listen. We can make these twists, turns and changes. The exploration of yoga and identity is founded.
What does it mean to be a human, to live, and how do you identify with it all??
I felt sad after watching the film tonight that led me to map my story above, as all we do is chase the day, lie and wait, feel the fate. I've been upside down, I don't wanna be the right way round, I find paradise on the ground... but as we surrender and accept where we are, what ya gonna do about it all??
When we live to make other peoples lives better, we can find a sense of purpose, it is said. it matters how you live. Morally, ethically and spiritually and to be more reflective about what we do, you are not alone at this!
But... what do you have to say in this 'one' life? What meaning do you want to channel, that serves others and nature and everything???
'be the change you wish to see in the world' a quote by Ghandi, was what I intended to live by since 2016. Yet, as we chase the day, how do we spend these precious moments? We all have a story that we can tell about times gone by. But as I watched myself loose my rag with my boy this morning, I heard myself say to him that 'every breath is an opportunity to start again'. So as you take your next breath, start now.
Who do you want to be beneath the surface and what action do you wish to take on the outside? Don't let people go in your life, give in and say 'be here to', with me. Find yourself, loose yourself and find yourself again, knowing that we never go anywhere, really.
I continue to love clothes, my identity and experimentation of that is important, i enjoy aesthetics of all kinds, but with an awakened consciousness I know i have the choice to choose how I engage, consume and become, what my contributions are and what they can be.
As you step out in to the sun, lift up and carry the love, As you walk solo, dreaming of a future, be part of creating the good life.
There is an Environmental and Social impact of the fashion industry that is a reminder to each of us to wake up!
Yes, we communicate who we are through clothing and throughout history this has been the same. It’s our personal communication and how we wish to personally communicate with ourselves that can begin to 'be the change'.
A way of producing now only looks after big business interest, its fast! Fast fashion. (There are now 52 seasons a year instead if 2 spring/summer and autumn/winter- Something new every week to shift more products).
Yes, the price has dropped and the way of making a product has completely changed, making it cheap enough to throw it away without thinking about it. But does that mean the price of life has dropped to?
What is the impact??????
Well firstly clothes gets sourced out to places where wages are low to keep prices low, but yet as everyone and every brand begins to compete, that brand switches to another place that is even cheaper to produce and a cycle is created.
People flip in to survival mode.
As a result, we cut corners and disregard safety methods. All is 'fine' until it all goes wrong. (For example a factory collapsing and workers loosing limbs and 931 deaths such like in The Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, where workers earn 2 dollars a day from a 3 trillion dollar annual industry). This is justified by economic benefits being generated that tell a narrative that sweat shops are part of process raising living stands and wages overtime, physical capital, technology and human capital are increased and that is ok then?! This narrate that it’s safer than gas mining to make clothes, it is true but.... this story has become the narrative that puts a veil on over all major issues we face.
Isn’t there a better way?!
Companies like 'People tree' are exposed as a fair trade fashion brand that starts with skills and designs collection up, developing a direct network with workers and production and puts women, the environment and social, at centre of what they do. I was sooooooo proud to see my dearest friend and partner in crime from japan (uni days) Io Takemura taking centre stage in change making with them, as part of the film. But it cant rely on just them!
We can take their inspiration to found new ways of being, thinking and raising awareness to conscious living.
Over 85% of workers are women in poorer countries where we outsource productions and they've been known to be attacked by staff for giving a list of their rights and asking for these to be met, including wages and exposure to harm to be reduced. Organic cotton farmers in Texas, the biggest cotton producers in the world, most of it genetically modified and sprayed now, are suffering as they now fall ill, drop dead or commit suicide. The agriculture has been intensified and land reconsidered as if it’s a factory. Nature heals itself in small pockets but struggles in mass. The impact on soil, people in communities- where is the cost on that? Activist from Delhi India, Vandana Shiva, discusses Nitrogen fertilisers starting being used after the war and then a whole system redesigned itself to take on new chemicals. Patterned by Monsanto they now own the seeds!!!! and generate modified crops that farmers now have to purchase on demand and get in to debt from fertilisers and pesticides they rely upon, which contaminate soil and so become dependant on it. In the Punjab region, it is the highest users producing leather and it’s now so badly affecting the locals health. Cancer has grown, as well as physical handicaps and the families can’t afford treatments, so await the death of their children that fall ill or are born with the after affects of this industries neglect. The suicude of farmers is over 50, 000 recently, which equates to one farmer every 30 minutes!
WHY AM I TELLIN YOU THIS ON MY YOGA BLOG??????
Well, cause yoga is not just about the body - its about an embodiment of life!!!!!! it's where we remove the ignorance and identify with the truth, from the inside out.
The pursuit of possessions to make us happy? Propaganda is all around us. Advertising is tying the consumption of a product to a message that your needs will be satisfied by buying this thing. The basic message then remains, that the way to solve problems in life is through consumption.
But the things we need like a home, education, healthcare and so on is super costly, whereas the fast fashion and things we don’t need has decreased in price!!!!
What’s the consequence?!
Consumptionism- Treat the things you use, as the things you use up.
Landfill- Clothes and textiles are thrown away on mass and yet we still keep producing more and more disposable stuff!!!! Non biodegradable items are producing deadly gases, as it sits for over 200 years in landfill.
Charity - Although we might give to charity, even the journey of that tshirt donated to charity is a disease in itself.
Limitations - People now may learn a skill but can’t find a job and make a living after learning, as its too fast!!!!
Careless production - and endless consumption, as consumers we are all part of the problem.
Can we make a reduction and feel True happiness?
Partner, oneness and find creative solutions together with all workers, all humans. A trading system that looks after people’s rights and the environment surely is one way...
Be a catalyst for change!
Air, world, planet, people. The world at large.
What’s the true cost?! Human health and the environment?
If the Water is contaminated and any food produced there, thats our fuel, what happens next?
Step back and think about it.
2nd to the oil industry, fashion is the biggest industry that is affecting the world.
Nature’s economy is where our lives rest! Then the people’s economy.
Water, land and chemicals are 'inputs' to make clothing and they cost something and as a result have an 'output' that have very different kinds of costs.
Blood makes the clothes, blood gives us life but which kinda blood do you wish to expose or contain.
'Deal with the system' was the line that stood out to me at the end of the film. As this is the exact correlation that i still live by, as I now make it my life work to 'deal with the system' from the inside out, in yours and my body to the skin and beyond.
It makes me think more and more when i reach the skin how precious it is, so what i put in and what rests on my outer shell matters!
I had to really passionately explain the differences in ‘wanting’ and 'needing' to my boy this morning as he melted down. This is because, I believe in the future generations being the change makers and i believe in me, in you and all of us that may have found all this out for ourselves and yet not be ignorant and shy away from our awareness now, but to use the facts we accumulate, the experiences and observations we make, to formulate our next move.
Watching mothers leave their children to work so hard and provide better conditions is heartbreaking yet we do it here too! i do it every time i work, but its a reminder we are in it together.
To rise up, try hard, raise well. The survival mode. It can be shared.
What happens to the body? The spiritual heart?!
Organic isn’t important, it’s imperative!!!!!
We have to change if we care.
The beginning of a turning point is here.
Twists and turns. A revolution of values.
Treat ourselves and others in a real and a human way. Celebrate the creative power we have as human beings.
Mother Earth is the basis of our lives.
Slow down! It’s harder but it’s bloody worth it.
Happiness, will you be satisfied with a system that makes us feel rich but develops a very poor world?
All the problems that are bigger than us and beyond our control, where can you start in yourself to make a change?!
My whisper makes not a sound, but all our whispers make the sound of the universe, so speak up, take action towards a world you wish to live in.
As patanjali says, 'ignorance is the root cause of suffering'. This is Kriya yoga, the yoga of action! In the art of living they explain it beautifully...
“Tapaha-swadhya-ayaeshwara-pranidhana-kriya-yogaha”. (II Sūtra 1)
Even while doing an activity, see that you are not doing it. Be a silent witness. There is a depth in you, a silent corner in you, a silence in you and that is the truth. The whole space is silent. In that silence the whole activity is happening and every atom is revolving around the nucleus. The planets are going round the earth.
“Samadhi-bhavana-arthahaklesha-tanukarana- arthascha’’(II Sūtra 2)
The purpose of this is kleshatanukarana, to reduce the suffering or misery in life. Samadhi bhavanartha ha to bring about samadhi, harmony equanimity in life. What are the root causes of misery in life?
“Avidya-asmita raga-dwesha-abhiniveshaha-kleshaha’’(II Sūtra 3)’
Asmita= oneness with outself;
Raga = craving;
Abhinivesha= fear of unknown;
Ignorance is the root cause of suffering. What is ignorance? You think that which is not permanent as permanent. You think that, understanding that which is changing as not changing. That which is not joy as joy, which is not self as the self. I am not the body but thinking that “I am the body”. I am not the thoughts or emotions, but thinking that “I am my thoughts and emotions”.
You feel that the body is not changing, but the body is changing all the time. Everyday your body is changing. In 24 hours the blood changes. In five days the lining of the stomach changes. Doctors say that in a whole month the skin changes.In a year every cell in the body changes. You never thought or understood that your body is like a river. It is undergoing change all the time. Your body has completely different cells in one year.
In a years’ time all the old things are dead and gone. You have new cells. Your body is new. Your mind is new. As you are awakened to this truth, you can identify your old fears or yourself.
Ignorance is holding on to the past. Holding on to this, to that. Having an idea of who you are. People think that it is a very complimentary sentence to know who you are and having an idea of who you are. I tell you, if you have an idea of who you are you are gone, finished, you are stuck. You do not know who you are, that should be the right attitude. You are changing every moment and you have kept the possibility of change open. A fixed idea about who you are destroys you totally. It stops your growth and brings a limit to your possibilities.
“Drig-darshana-shaktyor-eka-atmata-eva-asmita’’(II Sūtra 6)
Drig= the self, the intellect;Darshana= the instrument of perception;Shaktayoho= of both these powers;Ekatma= as the same;Iva = appearance; Eva - Asmita= ego.
“Asmita or ego is thinking that the self or the intellect and the instruments of perception are one and the same.”
Asmita is oneness of the intellect and ourself. Have noticed that in a meeting some people say a point and stick to that point? They are totally stuck to that point. Most of the people go on arguing and arguing meaninglessly and it leads to senseless argument. This senseless argument comes because they are so stuck and think their intellect as themselves, their thoughts as themselves. “My thought, my opinion, me, me”, inability to see the self and the buddhi or the intellect and the instruments of perception as separate. This is asmita.
So on the mats this week we shall explore twists, turns, ignorance and the oneness we can experience in it all.
Lets get real!
This weeks classes:
TUES PM 19:30-21:00 Matter Wholefoods, BS5
WED AM 10:00-11:30 Yogasara, BS6
SAT AM 10:15-11:15 Matter Wholefoods, BS5 (i'm covering cleo's class)