1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am a queer, Filipinx-Canadian multimedia artist, curator and movement and meditation teacher born and raised in Parkdale Village of Tkaronto. I hold space for gatherings that foster vulnerability as a point of connection, to Self, to others and all living beings, seen and unseen. I have been doing this under the name of WHOLE – Wholehearted (2012), Wholeearth (2017) and Whole (2018) which gather folks in intimate settings to exchange art, oral storytelling, and remembered and embodied knowledge. Each event acts as containers for journeying communally through forms of self-actualization, self-healing and care.
More recently, meditation and movement has become additional tools for me to bridge connection… for me, it is and act of remembering the intelligence of the body and its ability to sometimes understand and heal me in ways the mind cannot, or is not ready to comprehend. Meditation and mindful movement has become a huge part of how I know myself, and I have been so eager to share these tools for others to have on their own journeys as well. I am a teacher to experiences that guide bodies back into themselves, back HOME. I do this through Kundalini Yoga and a movement style that fuses dance~Pilates~Yoga created by Amber Joliat called the MISFITS METHOD.
2. What does feeling beautiful mean to you?
Feeling beautiful means embodying, speaking and LIVING my TRUTH. I believe (and KNOW in my body) that your Truth is something you can FEEL. Aligned in my intuition, and trusting in my spirit guides and ancestors, it happens when I feel my heart is forward. I can feel when my actions move THROUGH my heart, make my heart swell, tug at it and leave it so tender, so FULL.
When life is LIVED as an act of courage,
When COURAGE is held as an act of the heart,
I feel True.
This to me is beauty. This is when I RADIATE my own beauty.
A beauty that emanates through the way I walk, the way I speak, I hold myself and appear.
Renelyn wears the Luna Longline bra in Champagne/Ivory & Luna Seamless High Waist in Champagne/Ivory.
3. What do you like to wear closest to your skin?
Almond oil is the first thing to touch my skin after cold showers and dry brushing. (A Kundalini Yogic technique for waking up and daily holistic care). Then, a scent: mixtures of essential oils like lavender to soothe me, as a small act of self-nurture. Next, I wear lingerie that hugs me beautifully, that is, and feeeeels romantic also adds a layer of mystique and self-lovvvvin in the way I hold myself throughout the day..
4. What do you wear to feel most like yourself?
COLOUR – 1970’s psychedelic patterns and shapes. Electric blue eyeliner to see with extra wonder, to experience a more whimsical perspective of life.*
Sometimes, baggy linens and natural clothes if I’m processing a feeling, so my heart has room to breathe. Earth tones, inspired by Wes Anderson movies, and 1960s furniture – oh and dusty rose is my favourite colour! Vintage clothing to wonder about the life behind each piece, to remember a romantic era of clothing making before fast-fashion. I try as much as I can to shop local or at least independent brands to honour clothing as an art, to acknowledge that everything comes from a story, and to thoughtfully choose what stories I want to get behind, which I want to wear and share with others!.
Renelyn wears the Ivy Classic Seamless Bodysuit in Black.
5. When do you feel most confident?
When I honour myself as a WHOLE. Confidence is not just a state of happiness. I can feel sorrow confidently if it is an emotion that I honour with the same respect as I would joy. All my states are a part of me, informing and feeding one another – shadows & light. All emotions are alive and require room to live and leave us with what is necessary, and in time, relieve us of what is excess. When I am able to recognize whatever way I feel, and HONOUR it, give it time and space, trusting that it has something to teach me, I feel confident. I feel self-respect and conviction.
I was once taught to rethink the phrase “to feel proud of myself”, for pride is connected to Ego. Though Ego is one of my greatest teachers, I am experimenting with shifting this to feeling blessed or grateful instead. I feel blessed to be able to feel sad sometimes, to experience anger… so I can better know my joy. Recognizing and holding compassion for the WHOLE-istic makings of me, is confidence.
6. What makes a place feel like home?
Love. I experience a sense of home inside my body. When I move with, and in it, when I devote time to feel and listen to it, focus and give it love, gratitude and acknowledgement. I feel home in my partner’s arms when we’re both exhausted from trying to make something out of ourselves all day and meet each other with nothing left to say. A home feels like home when it can comfortably house an effortless, shameless, vulnerable sense of Love – which I recognize first in my body.
It should also have many PLANTS to mirror my own growth, to remind me that I need care always, because I AM ALIVE, not just when I am at my worse. It houses objects and memorabilia to recall stories, and all the people that make me who I am. It is a reflection of my life thus far, its cleanliness (and lack there of – teehee!), a constant collaborator of my experience, pointing out to me when I’m getting too busy, too scattered and need to make more time. My home is my comfort, my nest, my grounding.
7. Are there any self-care rituals that are important to you?
Learn from the senses. Walk on grass. Smell air…listen. Everything has a heartbeat. Leave room for nature to teach you… humble you. Walk to clear and hear your thoughts. Go to the waters. If you have a daily ritual of applying lotions or massaging yourself in an oil, look where you touch. Allow self-touch to be intentional. As if touch can offer a “I see you… or I love you” from yourself, to yourself as you feel your own body at this age, this point in your life experience.
If I don’t have time to meditate, I find a way to tap in, while on the go. I remember a Kundalini teacher guiding me to “Let breath breathe you”. I feel my breath. I stare at the moon. I like to think of all my movements, all my choices, every intentional breath as a GIFT to myself and take notice of how I act differently.
Most of all. I am constantly reminding myself to TRUST in the infinitely unknown, and to ENJOY. To laugh as HARD and as FEEL much as I can. Remembering that the days that I am living now are the ones I will be remembering when this lifetime comes to an end.