Saturday, July 31, 2010

Me before & after

Reflection of my profile forming "a vase"
As human beings we are constantly evolving. Why would we be in this life unless it was to transform and be transformed—ideally in ways that are beneficial to ourselves and others.

I had an interesting experience/conversation Friday evening before last, as I waited for a friend in a yoga studio. As I sat on the couch, two people came to speak with me. One had met me more than ten years ago, the other had met me within the last ten years.

The woman who has known me over the course of ten-plus years told me that she found I was more fun "back then" (i.e. when I used to smoke, drink, party, etc) and that now I'm not fun.

The other person, who met me about two years ago, was open-mouth shocked. "Wow! I think she's a lot of fun!" he said. (I think I am too). He was also shocked to know that I used to drink and smoke. People who know me now usually can't put the two together. (I can't even put the two together!) They see me as being very 'clean'. They see my early bedtime, early yoga mornings, lack of interest in loud music and crowds as the way I have always been. And I guess it is who I always was, under the smoke.

The time I automatically wake up now to do yoga (sadhana) is the time I often used to be going to sleep after coming home early in the morning or being up late doing whatever-I-was-doing.

My desire to not be out socializing in loud/crowded pubs, clubs, etc is not because I never did. It's because they feel empty and false to me. How can you really get to know that person you are shouting at over the music, clouded by smoke and numbed by intoxicants? But more importantly, how can you get to know yourself?

When I started practising Kundalini Yoga ten years ago, I changed and so did my life. On the morning of 8 January 2001 (3 months after starting Kundalini) I awoke and, as I sat up in bed, a clear voice said: "You will not smoke again." I can't explain the experience beyond that. It was very simple and it was not my imagination. The thought of questioning the Voice did not even occur. Clearly I was ready and the Voice knew it.

From that day on, I never smoked again (I used to chain smoke), never even had a craving. On that same day, coffee drinking (I used to have a few cups a day) and consumption of alcohol (social beverage) also fell away. I did not have to try to give up anything ... and I have not looked back. I do not miss them for one second. That day was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Probably saved my life.

I'm not being judgmental when I say this, because I understand on many levels why smoking happens ... but now when I see people puffing away, it looks like an illusion, like some mirage behind a veil (literally and figuratively). It hurts to look at it. I see packs of cigarettes in the grocery and feel my stomach churn.
When will they package a few deep breaths in a box?

I remember once driving through Manzanilla with a friend who was visiting and, on one particular inhalation that went very deep, I said: "Wow, I feel like I just smoked myself!" In that moment I realised: maybe that's why people smoke - to inhale so deeply (even though that breath is filled with toxins). We are so subconscious about our breathing. We breathe shallowly, we hold our breath for long periods, we take it for granted. Yet each breath is what keeps us alive.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


May your words have projective power, may your face shine like the moon, may your body radiate like the sun, may your brightness be acknowledged by those whom you touch, feel, speak to and befriend. May you learn all the faculties of God– totality, reality, infinity, kindness and compassion. May your prosperity shine through you to serve those who are in need and may you extend your hand of friendship to those who are lonely. May your essence flow, may you be recognized by your best qualities, wonderful manners and your livelihood. May this day bring you all these blessings plus more, so that you can live healthy, happy and holy. May your nine holes be under your control. And may you give your heart to that one who is like God to you, so you can find your infinity forever. Sat Nam.

(Yogi Bhajan)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Vagina Stone

The Vagina Stone

Spent the night on the coast (Balandra) with two friends. Woke up early this morning as always and did yoga. By the time I was done, it was still dark and the others were nowhere near waking. I waited until dawn cracked and walked to the beach - about one minute down the little road.

It was the first time I had seen this cove and, for a while, I felt like I was in a different country - a different world or dimension, even. It had rained the day before and the atmosphere was still slightly misty, mystical, with grey sky, silver sea and glistening stones all around me. I stood looking out to the horizon, projecting thoughts and visions of things to come, as the sky began to streak pink with sunrise.

At one point I glanced down and there at my feet was what looked like a vagina. I picked it up and cleaned the sand out of its hollow. The shape of the hollow reminded me of a keyhole in a secret door. Very fitting for the vagina - the portal through which we all pass to come into this world.

Later, when I showed my friends the stone, they also saw it as a vagina and agreed that it has a power to it. It's the kind of stone that you can whisper wishes or questions into, then hold to your ear to receive guidance and answer(s).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Near future dream date

Cover of book similar to one in dream, which I have in 'real' life
There was a point in last night's dreaming when I woke up and thought "Wow, I have to write this down." But I was feeling too drowsy to open my eyes, get out of bed, get a pen, get paper. I lay there thinking I would remember the details when I woke up again.

I drifted off and, some time later, woke up with the same feeling - to get up and write down the dream. Again I didn't bother, telling myself I would remember when I got up for sadhana.

Now, several hours later, I don't remember all of the details, but the main part is somewhat clear. I was in a large colonial style house with wooden floors and old furniture (but it was nowadays/the modern day). I was visiting someone. At one point, for reasons I can't recall, I wrote my name on a piece of paper, along with the date 29-07-10 (which is next Thursday, 29th July 2010). Why that date?

Later in the dream, a woman came to the house to gave me a gift. It was a hardcover blue book, brand new and sealed in plastic wrap. I opened it and all of the pages were blank, except for one. It contained (in my handwriting) my signature and the future date 29-07-10 ... just as I had written it on the piece of paper earlier. The only difference was that there was a sentence written between the date and my signature. Now that I'm awake, I can't remember what the sentence said - and I'm not sure it was in my handwriting. Perhaps the woman had written it and I had signed in agreement.

I remember (in the dream) being awestruck by the sentence and the fact that my signature was in the book without it having ever been opened. The woman who had given the gift to me never said anything - just stood by my side smiling at my how-did-you-do-this amazement. Overall, it was a positive experience. Never was there a feeling of resistance to the sentence/agreement - only a sense of wonder. Even though I never got up to write the message on paper, it must be written in my subconscious.

In "real" life I have a blue book like the one in the dream. I haven't looked at it in ages, but pulled it out this morning out of curiosity. Hardly anything is in it - just about 5 pages of sparse writing - more like notes. What resonated most is what is jotted down on page 5, dated 09-09-09 under the heading YOGA BUSINESS. Simple reminders.

I wonder what it is about the 29 July 2010 ...

Side view of book

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A KIND day

Yesterday I went to take photos of underprivileged children on behalf of KIND. The images will be used for huge posters and photographic panels - decor for a major fundraising concert KIND is having toward the end of this month to raise money for services - specifically the Sponsor A Child to Learn Programme.

The family I visited is made up of five children (eldest 11), two parents and one baby due next month. Their abode is very humble - a small, one-room wooden shack on top of a steep hill. Their view is one that people would pay hundreds of dollars a square foot for: panoramic expanse of the plains, the capital and the ocean. Next door to their wooden home a small new house is being built for them.

The children are warm, bright, well-mannered and friendly. We took to each other immediately. It was clear that, despite being disadvantaged, they are loved. Their parents do what they can to provide for them: food, shelter, education, clothing, attention, guidance. Organisations like KIND help make this possible.

The children were intrigued by my camera, so I let them take some shots of their own. They did a great job even though the camera was a bit heavy for them to hold. My favourite of their photos is the one below. Either Jesus or OJ took this one. N.B. The red orb above their mother's head.
Click here to read more about the upcoming concert and KIND's mission to provide for underprivileged children.

To contact KIND for information or tickets, please call:
485-1260 (Dominique Galt)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hearts for Recycling

Heart(s) formed from rolled up opaque garbage bags for collecting plastic for recycling

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ten year old signature

I recently came across the Little House on the Prairie books I had as a child (I had the whole series). It's funny to see the little signature on the opening page of each volume and to think that I was ten when I wrote it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nun Karma Repatterning

Image on the front of the e-book
In the most recent issue of the free e-zine Prosperous Healer, there was a link to a very interesting 46 page book (free download): Nun Karma Repatterning.

The subject may not be of interest to everyone, but it's worth downloading, reading and doing the exercises in the book if anything in the below extract resonates.

Extract from the e-book's Introduction:


Old Karmic experiences can be fruitful and beneficial, or they can limit us today as we evolve our inner divinity and prosper in the world. Most Karmic patterns are not held at physical, emotional and mental levels. They're held and activated at the Lightbody level---the subtle soul level that exists beyond our physical, emotional and mental bodies. These Lightbody patterns include the residual imprinting from solemn vows we have taken in other lifetimes. They can also come in with our holographic family lineages and generational patterns. The more we grow in conscious evolution towards the higher frequencies of light and spirit, the more our old spiritual vows are reactivated. So the more we clear these old patterns, vows and ties from our subtle levels, the more effective we become in our present day life and work (and so do all others).

Also, mp3 downloads of recent sessions here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You Are Calling - insight into the making of the video

Karishma, my camera.
Karishma means "Miracle" in Sanskrit. True to her name, life-changing miracles (reaching a wide range of people) have come through the work that I've done with her.
The decision has been made to not show any snippets of the You Are Calling video or post any of Carole Anne's images until the night of the launch later this month of Irukandji's new CD: Beauty In Destruction.

Over the past week, interviews with Irukandji and Carole Anne were featured. They spoke about the music/CD and some behind-the-scenes photography respectively.

Now I will say a few words on the video, which I directed/shot/edited.

I was at Irukandji's studio one day and he offered to play me a track from his new album-in-progress. From the moment he started to play "You Are Calling", the hair on my skin rose (the sign for me that something is 'right') and images started to flash in my head ... although, it wasn't so much of a physical seeing of images as it was a sense of something in the music that wanted to be translated visually.

How I work is that I rarely start with anything concrete. I prefer to go with what I sense until it becomes concrete. It's as if there is something already there and I am facilitating and creating the space for it to unfold in the way that it is meant to - rather than me forcing it to be what I think it should be. This involves constantly surrendering to the process, letting go of what does not serve it and moving on in synchronicity with what flows. The more the 'product' materializes, the more I am able to see it and help shape it consciously into what it eventually becomes.

There are some videos/films for which the process of creation doesn't feel like just "shooting a video/film". There is something else going on - symbolic, energetic workings on various levels. It's as though creating the video is creating life. Editing the footage is editing life. This video was definitely one of those. The process of shooting and where it took us, the process of editing and what was cut out to allow what was created - all along, I felt that these things were happening for all of us on our 'real life' physical plane as well.

This call for twenty women for the first part of the shoot (which I called "the Magic Shoot") was the first element that got the video moving. There was a definite female energy - largely inspired by the abstract female voice which calls throughout the song. There was something flowing, sacred and elemental about it - collectively giving birth to something bigger than we are. When I saw it unfolding before me as I edited, I thought "Wow ... something magical really happened when we did this."

Each person who sees the video will get different messages from it. Among other things, I see female power, magic, freedom, rebirth, the shedding of the old to enable the new, flight, a coming together, synchronicity, a blooming, the microcosm moving the macrocosm ... and vice versa.

STAY TUNED for details on the launch of Irukandji's CD: Beauty In Destruction. Also featuring:
* Soul-stirring electronica grooves by DJ Kasaya

* Screening of You Are Calling Video by Elspeth Duncan
* Music-driven slide-show of behind-the-scenes images by Carole Anne Ferris

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interview with Carole Anne Ferris, photographer

Photographer Carole Anne Ferris
A few days ago I featured an interview with Irukandji about his new album, Beauty In Destruction and the upcoming launch party (end of July 2010 - stay tuned for details). The launch will feature:
(i) A soul-stirring opening electronica set from DJ Kasaya
(ii) Special Irukandji DJ set featuring tracks from the long-awaited Beauty In Destruction
(iii) The screening of the video I created for You Are Calling (one of the tracks on the album)
(iv) A slide show of behind-the-scenes production stills from Carole Anne Ferris who was present on the first of the three video shoots - aka "The Magic Shoot" (although they all were magic)

Having interviews with some of the people who were involved is just another way of promoting the event and giving those who are interested some more insight into thoughts behind the scenes. The short interview I did with Carole Anne (below) gives a glimmer of insight into her involvement:

1) Tell us about the kind of work you do as a photographer.
Photography is just one medium to create imagery that draws my attention and to somehow reflect whatever that moment inspires. I also do illustration/art/graphic work and initially, that was where I began using photography, as a visual database. I love the immediacy of photography and the way we now have all the facilities of a darkroom at hand. I also see the moving image as an extension of this and that the two disciplines are and will be very much intertwined as technology now can give us an opportunity to switch between the two. The still image and the moving image combination is something I find very interesting.

2) How did you become involved as the photographer for the "You Are Calling" video shoot?
From the publicity you sent regarding participation in the shoot I just thought it would be a lovely opportunity to take stills and work with you.

3) How does the phrase "You Are Calling" translate for you personally?
You are Calling - to me implies a desire to communicate and be heard.

4) What moved you to shoot the images you shot on the day of the first part of the shoot?
I am not sure I even think about this - in fact apart from deciding on some angles and light and possible settings I pretty much have to stop thinking too much. Every now and then a thought will arise to try something and I just follow that.

5) Anything else you'd like to add re this particular project?
I enjoyed the ambiance, the people involved, the merging of creativity of the music, the dancers and your inspired visual sense inspired me also.

Stay tuned for details on the launch of Irukandji's Beauty In Destruction

Hindi's 5 star Canine Restaurant

(Years ago, I had done a series of these animal images & quotes
to raise money for AWN)

I met Hindi in 1999. She was a ratty little pup, sitting on the steps of the Temple in the Sea, wagging her tail at me and saying "What took you so long?" She then proceeded to follow me as I walked around the Temple, wagging her tail, gazing up at me and claiming me as hers. I named her Hindi and, because it was Independence Day, the day became: "Hindipendence Day."

In the above shot, she was about five years old. These days she is eleven - i.e. approximately 77 in 'human' years (according to whoever decided that you multiply a dog's age by 7 to get the human equivalent).

In her later years she developed an allergy, resulting in thinning hair and severe itching and scratching (also causing little patches of bleeding skin).

Many things recommended by the vet were tried unsuccessfully: soaps, shampoos, creams, change of dog food. The only thing that ever "worked" was when the vet put her on a short course of steroids - but this only masks everything. As soon as the dog is off the steroids, the symptoms flare back up.

Lately I've taken her completely off of commercial dog food and have been preparing her meals from scratch. She gets a mix of of pearl barley (sometimes potato, sometimes yam), with sardines and finely grated, sometimes slightly boiled vegetables (like carrot or pumpkin). Sometimes I will also add a cooked egg. She loves her new 5-star meals and goes wild with excitement when it's time to eat - leaping, twirling, barking and wagging her tail non-stop. Her hair and skin have improved and the itching appears to have stopped.

In the course of changing her over to completely home-made food the vet prescribed a short course of steroids, to quell the itching while she adjusts. Now that the steroids are done, I will see if the cooked food is actually responsible for her improvement - and that the allergy won't flare back up.

Then, just a few days ago when I was wishing we had holistic vets and holistic dog food here, I unexpectedly met a man who is a distributor for a new holistic dog food (!) called Earthborn (the Ocean Fusion variety). Its basic ingredients are white fish, sweet potato and barley or rye. He said he will deliver to the vet this week - and both he and the vet agreed that the brand would be ideal for Hindi. The ingredients are about the same as those I use in the food I prepare for her now. I wonder if she'll like it as much.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Like this ...


This morning I'm heading out early to KIND's headquarters. I'll be going with them to take photographs of children from some of the families - to be used in the decor for an upcoming event. I'm sure it will be interesting.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Be a Flower

You don't have to exert extra energy by going searching. Be a flower. Stand rooted and patient, effortlessly emitting the unique scent that only you possess. Your scented vibration draws who and what is for you to you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Something new is coming

Early this morning after yoga, I headed out for a walk. One of the first things that caught my eye was a brown dove sitting on the overhead wire above the front gate. A few steps on, I looked down and saw the top of a newly-hatched bird's egg (not the above photo). My first thought was: "Something new is coming."

When I reached back home, I looked behind the hedge at the side of the driveway to see if Jasper was there waiting for me. He was not, but I saw another piece of a newly-hatched bird shell (above photo). Again, I had a similar thought: "New things are coming." This piece of the egg looked like the part that would fit with the top of the egg I had seen earlier. Could it have been? They were so far away from each other. Far away yet connected.

Those of you who read this blog will know by now that I'm always noticing animal totems and the messages they bring. A few days ago, I read something which advised us to particularly pay attention to animals in this month of July.

Is there anything else the Keepers want to tell us about this month?

Yes. There seems to be something about animals this month that is important for many of you. The animal world is communicating with the human world in all kinds of ways right now. The animal world is very much involved in all of your Enlightenment process and they are giving you messages both by representing themselves as metaphors, but also there are personal animals appearing to you on an individual level to get your attention.

It is important this month, especially if you feel connected with animals, it is important to pay attention to what animals come into your vision. They might come physically like physically in your presence. They might appear on the television or they might appear in your dreams.

Research the totem meaning of any animals that appear to you. Consider in your heart what that animal represents to you. Look for messages and meanings in the animals around you because the animal kingdom has kind of stepped it up a notch. They have all together, increased their contract with humanity, made it more potent and they're working more or showing themselves more to you in an effort to help you wake up to yourselves. Pay attention to animals this month. Do not ignore them or disregard them -- even the insects that come into your house or crawl across your desk. They have a message for you, so pay attention.

(Source of extract)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This Play Whe dream thing really works

Because of my dream the other day, I had suggested to those who play Play Whe to play Big Snake today, Sunday 4th July. Then Luna had commented on this post:

Hi Elspeth,
Funny thing is, I'm not sure Play Whe is played on a Sunday. Perhaps your mention of 3s today, means Saturday 3rd July would be the day for the Big Snake :)

I agreed with her valid point ... and she was right! When I checked the papers today to see what played, it was King (in the morning) and Dog (in the afternoon). Big Snake is also King and Dog!

I remember (from when I used to work in advertising and we had to do Play Whe ads) that each mark also has 'spirits' (I think that's what they're called) - i.e. other marks that could play instead of them. So someone who felt that their dream of a Big Snake was powerful enough to warrant betting on it would also play Dog and King.

I think that's how it works. But ... how do they know which one plays when (morning or afternoon)? Does it mean they bet on Big Snake, Dog and King in the a.m. and p.m.? That's a lot of money to put out. But then again, if they win, I guess it's a lot of money to win.

I am just fascinated by the fact that my Play Whe predictions based on that dream came to pass.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Interview with IRUKANDJI: Beauty in Destruction

Lately I have been working on a video for a song from Irukandji's soon-to-be-released album: Beauty In Destruction. The video, You Are Calling, will be screened at the CD launch later in July.

My first collaboration with Irukandji took place last year when he contributed to my song Raindrops on Skin, which I half created in Toronto and half in Trinidad. Working with Irukandji is always a pleasure. In addition to totally trusting me and what I do creatively, as a person/artiste, he's cool, laid back, talented and serious about what he does, giving his best and stopping at nothing short of high quality.

Below is my interview with the man himself.

1. What's special about this new album, Beauty In Destruction?
It's special to me because it signifies a period of change in my life both artistically and personally. It is also special because electronic music and its creation hold a place in my heart like nothing else can.

2. What inspired the music?
The music is inspired by living. Living every day with the ups, downs, disappointments and wonderful experiences alike. As parts of us are destroyed, parts of us are newly created. The music came out of a lot of destruction and re-creation in my life. I believe this process in inherently beautiful.

3. Tell us a bit about the hardware and software you used to create the music.
Hardware and software: I use whatever sounds good and comes across the way I want it. Ableton Live is my main software platform along with too many software instruments to mention. And, there is always place for the electric bass and guitar in there, sometimes though not instantly recognizable due to severe electronic processing.

4. How do you see your work fitting into the Trinidad & Tobago musical landscape?
This question is an interesting one ... This type of music in T&T is in its infancy, if even. My goal is always to educate, to show people the possibilities of electronic music. Globally, electronic music is not only classified as "Techno", as it in known erroneously in T&T, but it is a valid form of art. This is where my music would probably fit into our landscape.. Art, pieces of sonic sculpture. I enjoy the club and dance style of electronic music (EDM), Dj'ing it brings me great pleasure, but that is not all what electronic music is about. To the artistic-minded, my music has a place here among all our other local creations.

5. Ideal scenario: what do you see happening for this album?
I would like to see this album touch people in the way it moved me during it's creation. To bring a smile to a face. Other than that, I think the music is well suited for film or other theatrical performances. I would also like to promote it abroad, where there is a market for this type of electronic music.

6. Where will the album be available for purchase?
The album will be available both in digital and physical CD formats, at the launch event (to be announced), and shortly after that, online at various online stores.

7. Any words of guidance from Irukandji to electronica hopefuls?
Create, Create, Create. Do not be discouraged. Do not be competitive. Create from your heart. Create with whatever you have. Electronic music has no parameters, use this to your advantage.

8. What is the process of music creation like for you?
It varies a lot, I may wake up at 3AM with a melody or rhythm in my head, and go into the studio and put it down. I may start with nothing at all and build a whole song around an ambient texture from a software instrument. Creating a song can take hours, or months, depending on how I feel or whatever else I'm doing. But I only work on one song at any point in time, that particular piece always gets my absolute focus. I master my own music, so that once I'm satisfied with the mix, the mastering then gets done.

9. How long did it take you to make this album?
Eight, probably nearly nine, months.

10. Tell us a bit about the video created for one of the tracks: "You Are Calling?" Why that song in particular?
"You are calling" came from a dream, and that song had something "special" to it. The decision to make a video for that song was mostly done by you! I thought it was a great idea, and everything happened from there. I think "You Are Calling" has a special significance to both of us.

11. Do you have a 'favourite' song on the album? If yes, which one and why?
If I have to pick my "favourite" then it would be "Petal". This was the first song written on the album, and the emotions associated with the song come across strongly. The album got its context from "Petal".

12. How did you go about naming the songs?
My songs have no "song" lyrics, so it's all about what I was feeling when they were being written. They could be about the beauty of nature : "Petal", the power of the Female : "Ribbons" or me just being light-hearted and whimsical : "Fluting Debris".

13. IRUKANDJI. What does it mean and what inspired you to choose it as your name?
The Irukandji is a tiny, transparent, jellyfish found off the coast of Australia. It's responsible for a few previously unexplainable deaths of swimmers. I saw it on a National Geographic Documentary and was intrigued by the fact that something so tiny and invisible could be so powerful. So that became my DJ name: DJ Irukandji. I'm not only a DJ though, so now I'm just Irukandji.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lucrative Dreaming

I don't play Play Whe, but if I had played "snake" (to be safe - both Big Snake and Little Snake) on the day I wrote about this dream, I would have won some money. Out of curiosity I checked the results for that day's draw and Little Snake played in the afternoon.

So, maybe (as I suggested in that post), the 4th of July will also be a day to play Snake. Perhaps this time it will be Big Snake - just like the biggest pencil in the world which will be unveiled that day at the Queen's Park Savannah.

Years ago I was with a friend at Long Circular Mall and we kept noticing the number 3 everywhere we turned. Or the number 30, which adds up to three (3 + 0 = 3). Or numbers like 12 or 21 which add up to 3 (2 + 1 = 3). So bombarded were we by threes or numbers that added up to three, that we decided to play Play Whe and place the little bit of money we had on us on #3 to see what happened. Three was one of the winning numbers that day and, if I remember correctly, we won $60. We were so thrilled, you would think we had won a million.