Category Archives: Self-Care

rainyblog1

When you arrive at the garden just as it starts to rain but something draws you in.

Your feet lead you right to that flowering Camellia and you pick up a fallen blossom and take a photo. Knowing that you took nearly the same photo last year on an April Day, towards that same path, with rain falling in the background of that photo too.

And you take it all the same because these photos are like pinpoints in the visual map of your life. The kind that loops and cycles and brings you to the same points again to reflect on what has changed.

While you’re standing in the same place. In the same conditions, with a flower in your hand.

You are not the same and at the same time you are. You have answers you didn’t have then. Puzzle pieces now found and many left to find.

You think of how different (and also the same) things could be next year.

And you look forward to this future date with yourself. In the pouring rain, camera in one hand, camellia in the other.

I’ll meet you there.

***

Sometimes the photos are the catalysts for the words to spill out too…if a photo you take today feels like it has more to say and you let the words spill out too…tag me in it or use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag and I’ll be on the lookout for it. I’d love to hear what #thewordsunderneaththephoto are for you today too.

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yourselfie600

Your selfie is a claiming of space

Whether it’s the tips of your toes or your whole body

Whether it’s unfiltered or wildly creatively processed

Whether it’s your first one or your 5000th

Whether you took 1 in the moment or 50

Whether you share it or keep it to yourself

Whether it’s with a phone or a fancy camera

Whether you went out of your comfort zone or not

Whether you get likes or comments or not.

Even whether you like it or not.

 

Because the more we choose to be the narrator of our own story.

The more we choose to take back the reigns of the stories we let define us.

The more we open our hearts to the person awaiting us in the photo.

The more we show up.

The more control we feel over the camera.

The more we are able to stand in our power.

 

Every selfie, your selfie, is an act of claiming space.

It is a moment you choose to create where you are in charge of how you see yourself.

Where you choose self-connection over the worry about people thinking you are ‘self-centred’.

Because it’s not self-centred to choose to see ourselves with compassion.

It’s a choice to hear our own voice again outside of our inner critics voice.

To see and hear our own voice of inherent worthiness again.

Photo by photo, we are claiming our voice again.

Claiming ourselves back from unrealistic standards of beauty.

Claiming space for ourselves to be heard.

Claiming compassion.

Reclaiming.

 

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selfiestarter600new2

I’m super excited to share that the Selfie Starter Guidebook is here! I really wanted to create something for those folks who might be drawn to this work of taking selfies and seeing ourselves with compassion, but aren’t sure where to begin. Or have lots of questions that feel like they are in the way of beginning. Or are nervous to take a class but an E-Book feels like a more comfortable place to begin!

The E-Book Covers topics like:

  • What is a Selfie
  • The Gear you Might Need (and my DIY approach)
  • How to take your Selfie (all those questions you might worry are ‘silly questions’ answered).
  • How to Hold or Prop Your Camera
  • Types of Selfies (and tips for taking each kind)
  • 3 Selfie Activities for you to Try
  • Playfulness and Experimentation
  • The importance of taking LOTS of photos (and having outtakes)
  • Indoor and Outdoor Selfie Location Ideas
  • Letting go of worries of what others might think
  • My favourite resources and posts for you to continue exploring though!

And even if you have taken one of the classes already, this E-Book can be a great companion for your journey if you’ve already taken the Beloved Beginnings or Be Your Own Beloved E-Courses and a reminder of some of the technical and selfie approaches you’ve explored in class (plus different prompts than you’ll find in those 2 classes).

Head on over here to get your Selfie Starter Guide!

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selfiessocialmedianew

Often in conversations around selfies, especially those bashing selfies, the argument is that selfies invite people to be narcissistic, make them focus on getting other people’s attention and that we do them to get likes or comments.

And yes, I know selfies are defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media”. So, if someone hasn’t taken them, it’s easy to look at that definition and think that is all it is.

 

But that isn’t my experience. 

That’s not what I’m seeing around me or on social media itself.

That isn’t the way I approach it in my classes.

Quite the opposite in fact. 

 

When the term selfie emerged in 2013 with the shifting of the tools we were able to take selfies with, when most phones not only had a camera but a front facing one in which we could see ourselves, selfie culture emerged.

But that word ‘typically’ in the definition of a selfie is an open door, one I see so many people choosing to walk through. To not be typical, to actively change how and why we take selfies.

For many of us, taking our own photo is incredibly empowering. It allows us to take the power back into our own hands, to create our own visual media, especially when we don’t see ourselves reflected back in visual media culture. It becomes a truly different experience than having our photo taken by someone else. We are the photographer, the subject, the lighting director, the artistic director and the artist that takes the raw photo and adds a creative spark to it.

Not only that, but it is a doorway to our relationship to ourselves. I hear so many people say that they see a photo of themselves and it feels like a stranger. I felt that too when I started taking self-portraits. But I started to see her as someone I wanted to befriend, to get to know her, to not have pre-concieved notions of who she might be or how she might look in the photo.

The camera became a way to get to know myself and to create a relationship that was based on compassion, forgiveness and possibility. 

And it had nothing to do with social media.

I think it’s a big roadblock to people especially when they start taking selfies, to think that it needs to be a photo that is shared. Starting from this place of taking it for other people’s viewing will only take us so far. It leaves us thinking:

What will other people think?

Will anyone like it?

Will it be worthy of likes and comments?

 

But that is not really about selfies at all. It’s about our relationship to other people, our self-worth and our relationship to social media.

Selfies and social media are not the same thing. 

What about taking our selfies, for ourselves?

If we DO choose to share our selfies on social media, then I really encourage people to get clear on their own answers to those questions first and reframe it:

What do I think about my photo?

What about it resonates or makes me want to share it?

What do I like about the photo and what would I say to that ME in the photo if I were to comment on this image?

When we ground ourselves in our own power, in our own relationship to our photo before we share it, it profoundly changes the experience. And when you experience this, you’ll see that it’s not out of ego or self-focus, it’s about building a relationship to ourselves, to valuing our own self-perceptions with the same weight (or more) than we might hold other’s opinions.

Because we can never predict or control how other people are going to respond to a photo and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to ride the rollercoaster of other people’s opinions of me as my core information for my own worthiness. I want to define that separate from what anyone might think.

We have a right to be in our own visual story, to see ourselves reflected in the photos of our life.

And they are worthy whether we share them or not.

And yes, sometimes I’ll find myself taking a photo and will realize that I took it craving likes and comments from other people and it’s a wake up call. An invitation to return to those questions, that self-inquiry.

Then, when we do choose to share them, if we choose to share them, people’s encouragement becomes a bonus, not where we are deriving our worthiness.

Because we have already offered ourselves that.

And it’s a process, but I think often we don’t think of selfies as being separate from social media, but they are.

What photo would you take today if you weren’t worrying about what anyone else thought? How would you view your selfie differently if it was only you seeing it?

Let’s start there.

Let’s fill up our own well first and then choose to share if we want to.

Let’s reclaim selfies as an act of self-care, separate from the act of sharing it.

Try it today, take a selfie just for you…I dare you!

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bodypeace600

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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