Category Archives: Self Portraits

2017 Selfies in Review

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It’s been a long time tradition of mine to do a year in review of the self-portraits I took in the past year. These days we can often do that by looking back at our Instagram feed, but I find that when I do this process at the end of the year, I ditch any pressure to pick images that others might like and really choose them for myself (though I try to do this all the time with social media too).

It’s really powerful to look back at the story the images tell together. To see the images you might have struggled with in the moment but wouldn’t leave out now because of the pivotal part of the story they tell.

Wanna try it? It can even be as simple as taking 2 minutes to look back at your Instagram or  or use this as a prompt for your own blog post and ponder things like:

Which ones feel like they tell the story of your year?

Which ones embody the ways you have grown/healed/changed throughout the year?

Which photos jump out at you?

What about this year feel important to be a part of the narrative you want to tell about this year (cause remember…we get to be the narrators of our own story)?

This year looks and felt quite different to me selfie wise, I think largely because I spent the year before and this year teaching the Body Peace Program. I’m grateful for the ways it has helped and changed folks who took part and it helped and changed me too as I was putting what I practice into action in an even deeper way than before.

There were some conscious things I was doing differently in my self-portraits and I definitely see that in these photos. Alongside the ways I usually like moving or standing in my selfies I challenged myself to step further out of my comfort zone and take a lot more selfies from angles that I was more unfamiliar with in my images.

I talk about how when we expand our comfort zone, our compassion grows to meet it and I most definitely felt that this year. The perspectives and images that I took photos from might be more ‘unflattering’ to someone else but to me they felt like I REALLY let myself see my body this year and the more I did, the more I didn’t react to these photos with any sort of critique. I can’t control what everyone else might think but I sure can control what I believe about my body and this year I chose to expand my own capacity to believe in my body and how I saw it.

In particular I felt like I had been taking photos that hid my belly. I took a LOT of sideways selfies this year as that’s the part of my body I wanted to invite in even more compassion for. And while I didn’t hide it so much, I wanted to see more of my chin, more of my arms, more of the signs of hitting 40, more unexpected and unfamiliar angles. I wanted to seek out the places I still struggled with seeing myself in images and make space for body compassion to sink in even deeper.

This became a practice. I’d catch myself taking the ‘usual’ perspective and challenge myself to go further. Some days I’d be up for it, others I wouldn’t. Sometimes the photos would REALLY challenge me (like the seated beach photo) but I’m glad they did because those are the ones that really changed me this year.

I started this year at a cabin I was renting with a friend and you’ll see lots of the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia in these photos. You’ll see the story of my love for my Vancouver Neighbourhood and Garden. I also fell in love and moved this year to Victoria, BC to be with my sweetheart so you’ll see that unique landscape and the process of connecting to place there as a theme in my images.

You can also check out previous years Selfies in Review Posts here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 (yes…I missed last year and I hope to go back and do it…which was why I wanted to make sure I got back to this practice this year).

And I’ve got to say this year might be my favourite year to look back on yet. Not because the pictures are fancier or ‘better’ because to a photographers eye they may not be. But that practice of getting more of our body, and SEEING our body from not just ‘flattering’ angles. Well, it works. Many of these photos are ones I didn’t post on Instagram at the time as I was doing the work of seeing them with compassion and took them for myself first and foremost (cause while it’s mighty powerful to share our images in our body acceptance process…they also don’t have to be seen and liked by others to be worthy…it’s okay to keep the process as a personal practice)!

So here is a look back at 2017 through my lens.

Januaryjanuary1january2january4january5january6january7january8january10
january12january13january14

February

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March

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April

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May

may1may2may3may4may5may8may9may10may11may12may13may14

June

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July
july2july3july5july7july8july10july11july12.2july13july14july15july18

 

August

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aug1.1
aug2aug4aug6aug7aug8aug9aug10

September

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sept8sept9sept10

October

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November

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December

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Especially if you have started taking selfies this year…what about gifting yourself with doing a post like this?  Look back on each month of the year and pick your favourites or pick your top 12 of the year as a whole?

Why not gift yourself with this time even if you just look back on your year and acknowledge what happened, what has changed and how far you’ve come with stepping into the story of your life through your camera?

Or if you’re wondering how to make 2018 a year where you get your camera out more and step into your visual story…join me for the Be Your Own Beloved E-Course, or if selfies aren’t your thing join me for the new Re-Envision class (a rare non-selfie e-course) or if the idea of expanding your compassion towards yourself sounds like something you are drawn to, join the info list for the Body Acceptance Selfie Series 2018!

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Join a Be Your Own Beloved E-Course

2 comments
  • BrianaDecember 29, 2017 - 12:12 pm

    Brilliant work, Vivienne! I do feel inspired to reflect on my year based on my selfies. Thank you for the idea!
    Blessings to you,
    BrianaReplyCancel

  • RosarioJanuary 8, 2018 - 8:46 pm

    I wanted to make it to the bottom to say yeyyy!! your blog and pictures really, first showed me in a crude way how much do I hide from myself!!!!

    and secondly they really invited me, from the deepest of your heart to the deepest of my heart to dare to see me in all my ugly looks.Thank you so much!  As soon as I have the money I will for sure take your courses.Thank you for so much!ReplyCancel

The Words Underneath the Photo

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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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Bye Bye BS – Hello Body Love Webinar

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Sometimes it can feel like we’re surrounded by images and visual media that tells us how our bodies ‘should’ look, how to feel about them and what is expected of us. It’s overwhelming, isn’t it!

But it doesn’t have to be. Reclaiming our power over the negative media imagery and replacing it with positive, reflective imagery was a pivotal piece of my own body love journey. It’s something that’s really important to me to spread the word about and encourage others to try too.

Not sure how to make that happen…well don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

This weekend I’m doing a 2-hour webinar with my fellow body-positive peer Victoria Welsby of BamPowLife on this very topic!

In the first hour of the webinar, Victoria will help you dismantle the negative media imagery that derails your body love journey and the ways diet culture permeates our daily life in this way. Once Victoria has helped you shake up how you see the imagery around you, I’m going to help you rebuild it again with positive, powerful imagery that has you feeling reflected and empowered. Of course, there will be some live selfie activities (cause why not jump in and try the tools in a community setting while everyone else is trying it too) and we’ll dig into how to feel more resilient around images.

Victoria and I are SO excited to share this webinar masterclass with you. I would love you to join us.

It’s called Bye Bye BS – Hello Body Love (Dismantling Negative Media Imagery and Rebuilding Photo Resiliency.

Yes indeed, in this two-hour webinar masterclass, you will be coached by two powerhouses in the body love industry and will learn how to tear down all of the negative media forces that lead you to question your worth and rebuild your confidence by learning to love your own self-image.

The details:

Reserve your spot in the webinar here!

Reaching Back Through the Lens

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Folks who join in for Be Your Own Beloved often have this instinct to plan out their photos for each prompt. And while this can help some folks thrive, for lots of us it gets us stuck in our heads (and amps up our inner critic) rather than getting us activity involved in the experience of taking our selfie and the unexpected healing and discovery that can happen there.

I approach my own self-portraits really differently than that. People are often surprised to hear I pretty much never plan anything out. There have been times where I’ve tried to but I soon realized that healing didn’t await me there, but it did await me in the unexpected and the unplanned.

I just take my camera out and see where it leads me.

Today I had one of those moments that reminded me of why I think not planning out our selfies can be a really important part of the process.

I took a walk down to Jericho Beach and took photos in a bunch of different spots before being drawn to the beach. I spotted this place where some dried Queen Anne’s Lace lined a small path to the sand. I’ve always been drawn to these kinds of perspectives as it reminds me of the beach town my parents live in. I took some standing photos before deciding to sit in the reeds.

It was there that it happened. I sat down and was flashed back to being maybe 4 and going on these walks after our big extended family dinners at my Great-Grandparents farm. We’d head up the long farm road towards the forest and back and as I sat there I remembered happily trailing behind everyone else (cause I was the youngest at the time) and finding a spot to sit in the tall grass. I remember seeing how tall it was around me and feeling so happy there and in that childlike wonder.

I felt held by those reeds and peeking out to see my family ahead on the trail. I remember my Great Grandmothers dog waiting for me, doing her job of herding me back to the rest of the pack.

And today there it was, that childlike wonder bursting through into a smile on the face of almost 40 year old Vivienne, drawn to places even now where I could feel the bigness of the world around me and feel held by it once again.

That’s why I don’t plan out my photos.

Because my intuition will guide me to these places. Because telling our visual story isn’t just about the present day story. Sometimes it’s about reaching out through the lens to a younger version of ourselves or even reaching forward to our future self who will look back at this photo.

And I couldn’t have predicted this today. I couldn’t have planned that I’d be reaching back to one of the happiest times, the most treasured places in my life, surrounded (or trailing behind) some of my most beloved family.

We don’t have to know what photo it is we’re going to take.

The lens will lead us there.

All we need to do is show up.

14 Days of Self-Compassion Photo Challenge

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I’m so excited to bring you something this February leading up to the start of the Be Your Own Beloved class on Valentine’s Day…a photo challenge!

Each day from February 1st-15th we’re going to take a selfie (or a photo in general if you’re easing towards taking selfies) inspired by the theme of the day.

You can see all the prompt below and join in each day taking a selfie of your choice. I encourage you not necessarily to try and plan it out, but instead to invite in the energy of the day’s focus and see what arises during your day as a moment you could tell your visual story and invite yourself into it in some way.

Or, come on over to my Instagram account at @viviennemcm each day where I’ll be sharing my response to each day’s prompt and giving some ideas and insight on how you might explore it!

As well, I’ll aslo be sharing the daily prompt over at the Be Your Own Beloved Instagram as well as featuring images of folks who are joining in!

If you’d like more inspiration to get you started on this journey, join the Photo Challenge mailing list (you’ll also receive my Be Your Own Beloved newsletters by signing up) and I’ll send you over a welcome post with more information about the 14 Days of Self-Compassion Photo Challenge as well as a free E-Book 30 Tips for Exploring Selfies (with Love) which contains 30 helpful tips to support you on your selfie path.

Join the 14 Days of Self-Compassion Photo Challenge Mailing List here to get your Free E-Book!

If you’re new to selfies but want to give it a try, you might want to get the Selfie Starter Guide where I answer all sorts of common questions that folks have when sparking the journey to see themselves with compassion through their camera!

Now without further ado, here are our themes for the 14 Days of Self-Compassion Photo Challenge! Keep watch on Instagram for some tips to get you started with our first theme on February 1st and be sure to use the hashtag #beyourownbeloved to share your response to the daily prompt!

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As well, be sure to check out the #beyourownbeloved hashtag on Instagram to get inspired by one another as we explore these prompts together throughout the first two weeks of February.

And this 14 Days of Self-Compassion is going to be a great warm up and way to dip our toes into selfies as a tool for self-compassion before the Be Your Own Beloved E-Course that begins on February 14th where we’ll dig even more into the process of using the camera as a tool to change how we see ourselves and I’ll guide you through the variety of kinds of selfies we can explore, tips for taking them and how the lens can help us reclaim how we see ourselves back from our inner critic. Come join in for Be Your Own Beloved as well as the free photo challenge!

I’ll see you over on Instagram where we’ll dig into the first challenge Feb 1st! Everyone is welcome by the way! Even if you’re not comfortable sharing your selfies publically yet (there’s no pressure to) you might invite a trusted friend to join you and text one another your daily selfies! Tag someone in the post that you’d like to invite to join you for the free challenge!

2 comments
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