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If I touch that place where our hands meet

If I look you’re there looking back at me, with eyes of kindness.

Are we literally and visually falling down the rabbit hole of that much feared word ‘narcissistic’ and the myth of Narcissus?

No.

We’ve been told not to fall in love with our own reflection in both subtle and bold ways so often that we look away. Look as far away as we can.

We throw stones at the water to shake up and distort our reflection.

We hide from the waters edge, from the cameras lens out of fear of being called that 12 letter word.

Out of fear of being called self-centred.

Yet it has left us so far from our own centre and we look into the water and all we see is a stranger.

I was so tired of looking at the woman looking back at me with hate.

Tired of making her the enemy.

Tired of mocking her or never letting her be enough.

Tired of fearing that if I looked at her for too long I’d become fixated like Narcissus.

But that is a myth. It always was.

What isn’t a myth is that there is someone looking back at us in the mirror, in the camera, in the water…asking to be seen.

So I’ve been sitting at the waters edge visiting her, the one awaiting me in the reflection, in the camera.

Seeing her with love, despite the fear of what others might call building a relationship with our own self-image. Because I know it’s not narcissistic and how much that word has gotten in the way of connecting with ourselves.

I know it’s about reaching into the water and touching her hand, befriending her.

It’s about looking into the lens and not looking away in shame, not needing to be different but for this to be enough.

It’s about showing up for myself, for ourselves.

And the knowing that if someone else thinks it is narcissistic, then I’ll send them love into that space between themselves and their reflection in the water, in the lens and hope they turn towards themselves with compassion someday too.

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After seeing this photo the other day after taking the above one the same day, this post spilled out. I hadn’t realized until this point that this photo series I’d been doing with my reflection was woven with this reclamation of my own reflection, back from the hands of this story and into my own.

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If you’re wanting to make peace with your reflection, with your self-image especially through the camera lens, come join me for the Be Your Own Beloved class…we start February 1st!

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We’re reaching out towards the year ahead.
Open to the possibility of what may unfold.
Not demanding our self-love be perfect or fit into a box.
But instead, opening ourselves up to the camera,
to a new way of seeing ourselves, treating ourselves.
One that we might not yet be able to picture, or feel.
But one that awaits us.
All we need to do is show up, in front of the camera.
To show up in the space between the old stories leaving
and the new ones just emerging.
To be willing to show up for ourselves.
Arms wide open. 

The Body Peace Program starts tomorrow and we’re beginning with our first class of the year called Selfie Compassion. The Body Peace Program is a combination of 8 powerful programs throughout the year (with breaks in between so we can go at our own pace as well as to let the way our self-image stories are changing have space to soak in and shift).

I’m beyond excited that an amazing community of folks are gathering for this year long program. Both alumni and folks new to my classes are gathering together for this year of making peace with the way we see ourselves.

Today is the last day to get the Early Bird deal for this class. You can still join in tomorrow of course, but at it’s full price.

Class starts tomorrow, January 1st, but as soon as you register I’ll get you set up with a welcome post, worksheet and selfie activity…and an invitation to our community Facebook Group!

I can’t wait to see what this journey to create more pockets of peace for ourselves around our body brings the participants this year. Like with all my classes, I show up alongside you in the activities and participate too (and share realizations as well). The prompts are derived from my own experience making peace with my body through the camera and as I’ve been teaching Be Your Own Beloved these last few years these are the new activities and the deeper dives into what we sparked in the original beloved class that have helped me shift to peacefulness and ease being a new normal in how I see my body rather than critique.

If you have any questions about Body Peace or Selfie Compassion, don’t hesitate to use the contact form and connect with me. I’d love to hear from you and help you find the course that is the right fit for you.

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Every year for the past few years I’ve done one of these end of the year posts, a round up of my favourite self-portraits from the past year.

It can be mighty powerful to gather our favourite images from the past year together, to see the story of these individual images and the visual narrative they capture for us collectively.

You can check out the 2014, 2013 and 2012 posts here:

A Look Back at 2014 in Self-Portraits

Each year I like to make a point of pausing at the end of the year to look back at the visual story of the year thatView full post »

2013 in Self-Portraits

Starting last year, I’ve done a little end of the year collection of self-portraits looking back on the past 12View full post »

A Year of Self-Portraits

A big part of why I take self-portraits (and encourage others to) is because they help us create a visual narrative ofView full post »

One thing I noticed happening this year was an epic return to using my DSLR. It wasn’t something I had as an expectation of myself, but happened largely because it felt joyful and extra magical to use my DSLR again. I think a lot of that magic was sparked since my friend Sylvia showing me this app and using my iPhone as a remote and to frame photos. Being able to frame my photo that way felt like it opened the door even wider to getting creative with self-portraits!

These posts are also so important to me, to bring together the visual story of the year. As always, there are stories underneath what you as the viewer will see in these.

Some of epic moments, like the story of standing on those cobblestones street in Riga, Latvia sorting through the emotion of coming home to a place I had never been but felt connected to my whole life. Or the stories that you’ll see in the October of my travels in Scotland and Ireland and how deeply nourishing that trip was. I travelled abroad more this year than I have ever in my life (I’d only ever been out of North America once before this year, to Ireland). Or that day there was suddenly a beautiful and fancy chair just sitting right in the middle of one of my favourite photo spots and it turned into an epic selfie photo shoot, the kind I’d hope to offer to a photo client and that I had to push myself to offer to myself. Or that moment drinking a glass of Rose on the Oregon Coast with truly lovely friends staring out in the Ocean looking for whales.

Others, of simple moments like that moment before the sun set in the pinkish photo taken near my parents place. Or the regular photo walks around my neighbourhood standing in those beautiful pink petals or that last ray of light of the day. Or that day when my inner protector let her voice be heard.

An unexpected muse of this year turned out to be this small koi point in the community garden. I’d put my camera on the ledge on one side (carefully of course) and stand on the other side often with the photo focused on the lotuses that grew there. It wasn’t my intention, but the imagery of the lotus representing self-compassion feels so woven into these photos and into this year, moving to a place this year in my own body love and self-compassion journey where I was able to settle into a place where all the work I’ve been doing these years to let go of the old stories of self-critique feels more embodied, more a part of my new normal and opened up to a more peaceful place with myself this year.

If you have a draw to try this kind of post on your blog…I highly recommend it! It takes a bit of time to gather them (I organize my photos by month throughout the year which helps) but seeing them altogether is a really powerful year end reflection exercise. This year I’m thinking of gifting myself with printing each of these years out in a soft cover book like this one and be able to look back on these years and the stories they hold for me.

So here they are, my favourite photos of this year.

January:

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February:

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March:

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April:

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May:
may2may3may4may5may6may7may8may9may10

June:

june1june2june3june5june6

July:

july1july2july3july4july5july6july7july8july9july10

August:

august1august2august3august4august5

august6

September:

september1september2september3september4september7.2

October:

october11october10october8october2october7october6october5october4october3october1october9

November:

november1november2november3november4november5


December:

december1december8december4december5december7

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  • Susan Borrer

    OMG that app is SO! MUCH! FUN!

    (I may now have multiple shots of me tying my shoelaces!)ReplyCancel

  • Alison Miyake

    Oh, these are all so beautiful, Vivienne! I hope you do make a whole bunch of photobooks. I am thinking about doing the same. It really feels like a good way to wrap up the year and start thinking about new dreams. And thank you for linking back to the timer app post. I realised I hadn’t read it (remember we talked aobut it in Vancouver?). Will check it out today!

    Lastly, I would truly love it if you wrote a post about how you organise your photos. When you take so many, it must be difficult to keep up. I put mine in monthly folders, and upload some to Flickr, but don’t do any tagging or labelling or printing out. Need to do more printing out! A great idea I saw yesterday is to print small ones (like the little Polaroids, put them on carboard, add lots of washi and then hang them on your tree at Christmas. I am totally stealing this idea!ReplyCancel

  • All of my faves are in this post. I loved getting to know you through your selfies this year, and can’t wait to see where 2016 takes you.ReplyCancel

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I’m beyond excited to finally share what I’ve got planned for the Be Your Own Beloved workshops this year.

Introducing the Body Peace Program! This is a year long journey to make peace with your body using the tool of self-portraiture to shift from a critical to a compassionate relationship with your self-image and self-esteem. It follows up on the transformation and spark that the original Beloved has created in people’s lives and takes it a step further.

Made up of 8 powerful programs throughout 2016 and the compassionate community the Be Your Own Beloved programs are known for, the Body Peace program help you change the way you relate to your body and treat yourself.

The idea of doing a year long program was sparked a few years ago but took a while for me to settle in on the right balance of empowering activities combined with space to let it soak in, space to let ourselves go at our own pace. The plan was solidified about doing this program in 2016 after I noticed how many alumni of the Be Your Own Beloved were returning for multiple sessions even within the same year…it was clear that a more continued community experience as well as continuing to have selfie activities and encouragement was something folks who took these classes were yearning for.

The program launched registration last week and we just started to gather together in our community Facebook Group leading up to class and as folks join in on the program I’ll get you all set up and you’ll be welcomed with open arms into the community.

I can’t wait to see what this year brings and can’t wait to dig deeper into creating pockets of body peace with the folks who join in. This program isn’t about never having a negative thought about our bodies again, but rather building self-trust and our own voice about how we feel about our bodies to counteract what our inner critic might say.

Much like with all my classes, the activities are derived from my own practice of using selfies as a tool to heal negative body-image and make peace with myself through the camera. As I’ve been teaching these classes over the past 4 years, I’ve been noticing what changes when we continue this practice over a longer span of time and well, what I found was that life (and my relationship with my inner critic) just got a lot more peaceful. I’d been at war with myself for along time so this peace was a welcome relief.

So that’s a big part of why the program is called Body Peace. To give us space to make peace with our body and who we see it. To cultivate more spaces of peace from our inner critic.

The program is made up of 8 classes and you can find out about them all here! There is an option to pay in full or do 2 payments instead (and you can find them both on the Body Peace Page).

The first program is called Selfie Compassion and it’s actually starting January 1st! It’s our foundational program for the program as a whole and will help us root in tools of self-compassion and mindfulness that will carry us throughout the year.

You can also join in for the Selfie Compassion class on it’s own and find out more about it here!

While both of these were created with folks who’ve taken the original Be Your Own Beloved class, you don’t have to be alumni to join in! Though the original class is definitely something to be experienced so if you haven’t joined in yet, there is a new session coming up in February and you can sign up here!

If you have any questions about the classes (especially if you’re really nervous about taking a class but something is drawing you to none the less) don’t hesitate to connect with me via the contact form! These classes are naturally going to be outside our comfort zone and that’s who I created the for…the classes are designed to help us stand in our power, to see our own beauty, to cultivate our own voice about how we feel about ourselves and our body and that is all vulnerable work but that’s what makes it so transformative too!

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Last year around this time I had the honour of joining in on a super lovely offering from Hannah the of Becoming Who You Are website called Self-Care 101…it was such a lovely collection of E-Books and offerings and I’ve been savouring them throughout the year.

I get offers to join in on these kind of bundles every so often and its important to me that it’s one that I really stand behind and includes offerings that are in line with the work I do here at Be Your Own Beloved and Hannah has a way of gathering the kinds of books that feel like just the right fit. This one includes offerings from some beloved peers like Jennifer Lee, Mara Glatzel, Tanya Geisler, Kate Courageous, Molly Mahar and some wonderful folks who’s work I’m really excited to explore in these offerings. I hope it’ll be that beautiful mix of folks who’s work you already know and love and folks who’s work might bring new awakenings.

I’m excited to be including the Beloved Beginnings self-paced class in this bundle. You receive the class alongside 16 other ebooks, e-courses and programs for just $79 (a 90% saving!) starting todayMonday 7th December.

Here are the products you can find in Make 2016 Your Year:

– The Fierce Love Course by Molly Mahar (value $97)
– Beloved Beginnings by Vivienne McMaster (value $29)
– The Wanderlust Workbook by Sarah Von Bargen (value $15)
– Board of Your Life by Tanya Geisler (value $150)
– Living on Purpose by Jacob Sokol (value $97)
– Transition Made Easy by Ashley Wilhite (value $49)
– Homecoming: Take a Delightful Journey Back Home by Cigdem Kobu (value $99)
– How to Start Journaling for Personal Growth by Hannah Braime (value $31)
– Body, Mind and Soul Cleanse by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt (value $69)
– She Is Radiant: The Collection by Claire Baker (value $39)
– Rewired Workshop Bundle by Mara Glatzel (value $99)
– 21 Days to Declutter Your Life by Mari McCarthy (value $23)
– Playtime With Your Inner Muse by Jennifer Lee (value $27)
– The Journal Writer’s Guide to Staying Started by Nathan Ohren (value $79)
– Finding a Financial Advisor You Can Trust by Barbara Stanny (value $10)
– Be Your Own Hero by Hannah Braime (value $40)
– The Shift Plan by Kate Courageous (Bonus)
– A suggested lesson plan so you can work through each “module” of the course without feeling overwhelmed (Bonus)

The total value of Make 2016 Your Year is over $900, but for 72 hours between 7th and 10th December, you can get these products for just $79.

You can find out more here and get this amazing bundle of books to give your 2016 a beautiful boost of support through these powerful resources!

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