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I’m SO excited to share some news with you that I’m finally able to spill the beans about today.

I’m the Keynote Speaker at the Nourish Conference.

It’s a body-positive event being held in Saskatoon this November 21st.

The describe the conference as: an event where people of all sizes, shapes, genders, abilities, and backgrounds can gather to celebrate all bodies, support one another as we work toward body acceptance, and build a more inclusive community that values all people.

I’ve been chatting with some of the incredible folks behind this event and know it’s going to be a wildly empowering day and one not to miss. Plus, it’s in Canada. While there is the Body Love Conference happening in the US, there has definitely been a void here that I’m so glad these folks are going to fill this year and beyond.

But of course you don’t have to be in Canada to come! I’ve always wanted to go to Saskatoon and I’m glad it’s located fairly centrally in this big beautiful country (North Dakota, Montana…just a bit north of you).

You can find out more about the event at their website and you’ll find them listed on my events page too. I wanted to mention it today in particular as it’s the last day to apply to be a presenter so if that is of interest to you, you can find the presenter application here!

So, wanna meet up in Saskatoon in November?

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  • I am excited for you! If I wasn’t all the way down here in California I would love to attend. I can’t think of anyone better to be their keynote speaker. You and Be Your Own Beloved have been key for me in my journey!ReplyCancel

  • How wonderful, Vivienne! I know those in attendance will be blessed by your presence, your wisdom and loving spirit.ReplyCancel

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There will be outtakes.

All of us have them. The handful (or dozens) of photos it takes for us to get that one we really love.

If you don’t have outtakes…you’re probably not taking enough photos to make room for the ones you love to appear. Or you have one type of selfie that you take that you know will work and aren’t going out of your comfort zone. But pretty much everyone I know has outtakes, myself included. And if we just take one or two photos, judge ourselves on that one image and quit there, we’re making assumptions of ourselves without really trying.

We all have outtakes.

I have lots of outtakes, every time I take selfies. Some are me having SO much fun that the photo gets a bit ridiculous, some are ones that hold old stories about how I see myself (aka they might feel unflattering and still hold judgement for me) and some are simply the ones it took me to warm up for that one I end up sharing or like the one above, me trying to get the remote to work! It’s a part of the process and the more outtakes you take, the easier it becomes to not judge ourselves by them.

And most of us probably don’t have room on our cameras for ALL the outtakes we’ll need to take to get the ones we love. So we delete them.

But the work of deleting comes in not judging ourselves in the process. Not completely deleting ourselves out of the visual story of our lives. We all have different stories that bring us to want to make peace with the person in the photo, so I definitely don’t want to define what an outtake is for anyone else. What I’m happy to share might be an outtake for someone else and vice versa. Thinking of outtakes as ‘the photos we take in order to get the ones we love’ helps it not be a shame-based relationship to outtakes and makes deleting just a part of the process, not an act of self-hate.

But however we define them, everyone has outtakes.

And let’s choose to not just judge ourselves by our outtakes.

Instead let’s value our perseverance, our resilience and the way we try again even if that outtake brought up an old story.

You might even find that your outtakes surprise you. That they feel more candid, more real than the final selfie you choose to share and hold powerful stories for you. I know that has been the case for me many times. Your outtakes might be a vital part of your visual story.

You can also check out a few of my favourite outtakes shared on Instagram here here and here and both this blog post and this one share outtakes that I’ve taken in the process of getting the one I finally shared on social media.

Yes, it’s easy to think on Instagram that everyone takes that one photo and posts it, easy peasy.

But that’s not the case for me. Nor do I want it to be. Be Your Own Beloved (that starts tomorrow by the way) wasn’t created for folks who find it easy to snap a selfie and post it online. I created the class for folks who like me, find being in photos tender and vulnerable and perhaps a place where old stories of how we see ourselves await.

But it is because those old stories reside there that it is a place where we can choose a new story and reclaim our voice of how we see ourselves.

We’re already gathering for Be Your Own Beloved and the first prompt arrives tomorrow.

Come join us!

And now, for some outtakes from a recent photo adventure where I ended up sharing the photo on the top left on Instagram and the rest are the outtakes it took to get there (cause if I’m asking you to take more photos and be willing to have outtakes, I’d better share some of mine)!

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I dare you to share an outtake today…not the photo you’d end up taking but another one that was a part of the process of getting to that one you really love! And share it with us using the #beyourownbeloved hashtag (which of course you’re welcome to use for any selfie). I can’t wait to see your outtakes!

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This is what I’m learning about folks who join in for the Be Your Own Beloved class.

They are amazing, vibrant, radiant.

They are wildly multitalented, creative and are often healers or artists or creators themselves. 

They have been doing their self-love work already. Through various modalities they have been healing their relationship to self.

They are slowly and surely looking in the mirror with more kindness, even reverence for themselves.

But, as they tell me, there has been this missing piece.

They haven’t seen that self they’ve been working so hard on letting emerge into the world.

Photos feel like a danger zone, visible proof of the old stories they held or the person they thought they had grown out of being.

Photos have felt like a story they no longer feel resonant with.

So they have tuck the photos away, avoid the camera and settle into the experience of being rather than seeing ourselves in this way.

They have tried taking selfies but aren’t sure (maybe even skeptical) how this tool could be a doorway to healing, but they are open to trying.

Through what we learn about one another through our photo sharing, our discussions and the one-on-one mentoring that is an option when you sign up for the class, I’ve been learning more and more about how much folks who are drawn to this program are incredible. Truly. Sometimes their stories absolutely take my breath away.

But I hear from them how much this missing piece has been a struggle for them.

Because we give it weight. 

Because we tuck that piece away, the energy around it has grown. We might even fear being in front of the camera. We try not to think about how much it feels like photos have power over us, but it does.

I created the Be Your Own Beloved class because I see these amazing women speak negatively about their images, about their bodies. Deeply powerful folks handing their power over to sources outside of themselves when it comes to their self-image, especially the way we see ourselves through photos.

And I’ve gotta tell you, this class isn’t just about swinging to the other end of the pendulum and immediately creating epic stunning images that you LOVE. Of course I hope that you DO get those image during the class so you can see yourself and can’t help but smile, but the change is what happens in between.

It’s not just about the photo.

It’s about the power we give it. The power we give other’s opinions and judgements.

It’s about cultivating our own voice of how we see ourselves through the camera.

And reclaiming that power back.

And once we’ve reclaimed that power, it’s also about letting photos become something neutral too. Not a question of will we love a photo or hate it. We’re creating a new normal for ourselves where we get to see the person in the camera not as worthy or unworthy but simply ourselves.

We are seeking a lens to see ourselves compassionately and clearly through.

But to get there, we need to begin. To risk seeing photos that will bring up old stories and to make room for the new ones of reclamation and renewal.

That’s what I hope the Be Your Own Beloved class will be for you, a playful way to open the door to that new way of seeing yourself, to reclaiming your own voice through the camera.

Class starts September 1st (this Tuesday) but we’re starting to gather in the class community space over the weekend and joining in for a pre-class activity I have to spark your journey.

If you haven’t experienced the Be Your Own Beloved class yet, I hope that now feels like the right time to choose to let go of those old stories of how you see yourself in photos and open the door to a new story…

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Remember to breathe?

Breathing is pretty inherent, right?

You might be thinking “I’m pretty sure I’m doing that when I’m taking a selfie” but next time you take one or when someone aims a camera at you, check and see if you’re holding your breathe. Cause it’s very likely you are.

Here’s why.

When we take a selfie, often we may be even just a bit tense. We’ve got so much running through our head: Am I going to like this photo? Should I stand somewhere else? How should I pose or stand? What if I don’t like it? Maybe I shouldn’t do this. Is the light okay? Is the camera setting okay?

These thoughts and so much more. The more we take selfies, the more we build that trust with ourselves that if we don’t like it, we can just delete it. We also build a relationship with the camera and the light and learn what light and camera tools help us shine.

Especially if we’re new to selfies as a tool for self-love, worries (or our inner critic) appear.

And when we see the photo, we are probably seeing that fear or concern or ‘is this going to look okay’ on our face.

Taking a simple deep breathe (or a few) helps calm us, centre us.

It helps us ground and feel connected to our bodies. It helps put us at ease.

And these things shine through in a photo the same way our fear or worry might too.

Try it and see if your photo look different when you do.

So it’s simple but important…remember to breathe!

If you experiment with this or any of the selfie tips I’m sharing each week, use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag to share it with me and be a part of the Be Your Own Beloved community!

P.S. The Be Your Own Beloved class is starting next Tuesday!

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  • i love this! I actually hold my breath any time I take any picture – lol. But this is such a great nudge to breathe – sigh! Thank you!ReplyCancel

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When I first picked up a camera (and fell head over heels in love with seeing the world through it) I wasn’t in the place I am now. I felt like I could only see my life in one perspective, tunnel vision, and that perspective was solidly rooted in my self-doubt and critique. Life was pretty mediocre and somehow I had convinced myself that was what I was deserving of.

But then the point came where every cell of my body started screaming ‘No…you’re wrong…this isn’t the only path your life could take”. What if it could be different? What if you could see yourself differently.

So, terrified, I let go of the tight grip on that perspective of myself and my life and let go.

But doubt still awaited me…who was I to want more? And what in the world might more look like? What was this new paradigm I was hoping to shift to and how in the world was I going to get there.

The camera became my guide.

I realized I didn’t need to know the answers. I knew this as soon as I picked up a camera and started seeing the world through it. It blew my mind how the same old street that I had walked down hundreds of times suddenly looked so different.

I realized that every day I could take my camera out and see something new, see beauty I would otherwise have passed by. To see the world from endless new perspectives.

And I did. There was always beauty to be found. Always a new angle to shoot at. It still feels that way even 9 years later.

That there is always going to be a new perspective, a new way to see through these same eyes.

I didn’t need to know how to ‘figure out my life’. I just needed to keep open to a new perspective and let it unfold.

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So many of the people who join the Be Your Own Beloved class have a very a fixed vision of how they see themselves in photos. It seems set in stone.

“I’m not photogenic”

“Photos feel like proof of all the negative self-talk I have”

“I can’t get a good photo of myself”

I hear these kinds of statements all the time, the sureness of one perspective that to them, has always seemed true. I know that feeling well, as I have felt similarly. I had no expectation that the camera was going to help me heal my relationship to my self image. It was truly outside of the realm of possibility in my mind.

Plus, really, why would I think that? I had seen no clue through photos that the camera could capture me in any other way than the usual way that I could only see with critique. I was sure that I wasn’t beautiful. I saw it in my photo-story and I believed that is what other people saw too. I had proof in those photos. Or did I?

But then it all changed. The more I saw the world around me from brand new perspectives be it a flower petal or feather or taking a portrait of a friend. I approached them as though they were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, because now they were.

When I started turning the camera on myself, somehow a glimmer of that energy broke through the tall walls of self-doubt.

What would happen if I looked at myself in that way?

What if I approached myself as a photo subject and looked for beauty? I could find it everywhere, at any moment. Why not in myself? Why not in ourselves?

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Do you, or did you have a fixed perspective of how you see yourself in photos?

What if you could break that one perspective wide open and see yourself through a whole new viewpoint, a whole new perspective?

And I know it’s scary. I know because I’m not just teaching this, I’m living this work. Because I still can still remember that feeling of believing that there would be no way, ever, that photos could be my ally. I was sure they were my enemy and proof of all negativity my inner critic launched at me.

But it wasn’t. And it doesn’t have to be the only perspective for you too.

I’m deeply passionate about helping people see themselves with kindness through their cameras not because of how much I love myself now, but because of how much I hated myself then.

I spent far too many years with that tunnel vision of self-digust.

I spent far too much energy critiquing myself and stubbornly disbelieving that there could be another way.

I spent far too much of my life worrying about how other people saw me above how I saw myself.

And I don’t want you to spend any longer there either. Because there is a new perspective awaiting you. One the camera will help you see. One that simply needs you to choose to see it. One that is available to any of us if we let it be.

Let’s choose to see ourselves from a different perspective (even if we can’t imagine what that would look like). Let’s trust in ourselves and invite in the camera as our guide.

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