What You Don't Always Notice About Sri Lanka

It's been almost a week since we first landed in Sri Lanka. To be honest, I never really had a desire to travel here until I set foot in Colombo. I've always been more drawn to India, per say (which is our next stop, to celebrate Holi in Mumbai). Sri Lanka has totally exceeded my expectations and brought a whole new wave of inspiration and insight. This country is extremely enlightened and the people put a smile on my face everyday. 

I WROTE A RECENT INSTAGRAM POST ABOUT WITNESSING THREE SRI LANKAN MEN BATHE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN. THEY WORE THEIR TOWELS LIKE SARONGS, AND WASHED EACH OTHERS CLOTHES AS A GROUP. SMILES WERE SPREAD ACROSS THEIR FACE LIKE PEANUT BUTTER ON TOAST.  THE PERMANENCE OF THAT MOMENT, AND THE FULLNESS OF LOVE THEY EXPRESSED TOUCHED ME PROFOUNDLY. 

 

I sat their writing in my journal, trying not to be a creep, and they caught me, smiled and waved and continued on with what they were doing. Amazed at the simplicity of the moment, they didn't care that a woman watched, they were enjoying each other's company in the heat of the day.

There's something about that that brings tears to my eyes. Being so present with that moment, and feeling the love they emitted affected me. They were incredibly enlightened and living the divine. 

 

 

I've mentioned a few times on Instagram how the men carry a sense of femininity - and I mean this in the best way. They're emotive, present, and vulnerable with each other and foreigners like myself. All I see are smiles for days, incredible politeness and a general curiosity that isn't invasive. They care but they don't care at the same time, if that makes sense.

This is what I want to catalyze at home. Yes, my work as predominantly focused on women and I'm changing that. I want to work with men, women, and gender-fluid/trans individuals. It's not about living into gender ideals and what we perceive society has reinforced. It's about tuning into the different energies we all carry. All genders/non-gender binary individuals carry masculine and feminine energy. 

 

This whole wave of women empowerment is definitely something I support. However, what I find to be the truth is to encourage everyone, non-exclusively, to tap into that feminine energy. That feminine energy allows us to be empathetic, lovers, care-givers, and powerful individuals who do not judge others for the sake of what they look like, who they should be, how they should act based on what they were born with.

That being said, is also the source of the divine masculine. Knowing when to tap into the masculine energy of tenacity, power, strength, motivation and creativity is how we can find that perfect equilibrium. That equilibrium is part of being enlightened and connected to the divine.

That equilibrium that we're constantly in search for is exactly what I've found here, in Sri Lanka. Being your unapologetic self, following your heart even if it means disappointing others. Being real and vulnerable with what your heart desires and going after it. Detach yourself from what others might think of you, because you're living this life for you, not for anyone else. Practice seeing others in their divine light. When someone is angry with you, or you feel their anger, it's a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself, not them. They're simply lighting it up in neon lights as an opportunity to work through it and grow.

 

The loud noises, smells, clashing of bright colour walls, chaotic street markets and stores that make no literal sense to us Canadians, because as hard as we try we just don't understand what it's like to live here. The generosity, presence, and love that is given to you here by the locals. The honks from the tuk tuks every time their pass someone on the street, the scary driving, the laughter and most of all the smiles - no matter if it's monsoon-ing or shining bright. This is what is inspiring my work.

Being able to witness moving moments on the daily isn't something we wouldn't necessarily see in Vancouver, reminds me of the work I do and the importance of encouraging this way of being. I'm so thankful I was brought to Sri Lanka to experience this and to share with my artwork.

xoxo Tori

Tori Swanson