Illustrated poem — Nayyirah Waheed

Happy New Year folks 🙂 Have you all written New Year’s resolutions? Personally, I’ve had a bit of a rough time with a few things that are making me feel less like 2016 changes much, so I’m holding out until the Lunar New Year to formally make my resolutions 😉 In thinking about pain, fear, and sorrow, I found the following piece by Jiddu Krishnamurti to be useful, and in particular the following part:

“Sorrow has to be understood and not ignored. To ignore it is to give continuity to suffering; to ignore it is to escape from suffering. To understand suffering needs an operational, experimental approach. To experiment is not to seek a definite result. If you seek a definite result, experiment is not possible. If you know what you want, the going after is not experimentation. If you seek to get over suffering, which is to condemn it, then you do not understand its whole process; when you try to overcome your suffering, your only concern is to avoid it. To understand suffering, there must be not positive action of the mind to justify or to overcome it: the mind must be entirely passive, silently watchful, so that it can follow without hesitation the unfolding of sorrow.”

I’m learning how to watch the way my sorrow unfolds. Last week when I was crying and crying about some small thing that triggered a larger reaction to all the things that I perceived to be difficult in my life, my best friend Alex sent me a photo he took while we were visiting The Natural Bridges Beach in Santa Cruz along with the following poem by Nayyirah Waheed:


the ocean
can calm itself,
so can you.
are both
salt water
mixed with

It was a deeply moving poem to read as I let out some heavy tears. I was so moved that I decided to watercolor the poem so that I could put it up and remind myself of the ocean in me.

My hope is that it will help others too when things feel overwhelming.



About Miyuki Baker

Miyuki is a resident of the place where many circles overlap. They’re a queer, multi-racial/lingual artist, activist & academic passionate about using common or discarded objects, stories, zines, and performance in public spaces to make accessible art. Their research examines how we practice “hope” and meaning through space, architecture and the environment. They’re currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 2012, where they were involved in queer Asian activism and making art, they received the Watson Fellowship to travel the world in search of queer artists and activists and made 8 zines highlighting what they learned under their publishing house Queer Scribe Productions. From 2014-2015 she lived in Ecuador and traveled by bicycle from Ecuador to Colombia cataloging traditional textiles, music and food. After returning, they built and lived in a mobile tiny house for a year (until selling it in May 2016).

One comment

  1. Beautiful illustration!

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