Tonight the golden light drew me out of my house, camera in hand to stroll a few blocks around the neighbourhood and I found my way to stand and soak in that light. I always bring my camera but there is no pressure to try to get ‘the shot’ anymore. I just let intuition guide me towards the story that needs to be told that night through the camera.
This night, in an alley I love to pause in the quiet and take photos in, I lifted up my camera to take a photo, arm’s length style.
Then another, and another. The clicking rhythmic, pulsing.
Until a voice, an old one, rose up in my thoughts and said “Isn’t that enough?”
It didn’t stop there. “If people were watching they’d think you were your own personal paparazzi, wouldn’t they?”
Before I even had a second to realize that old inner dialogue was happening another voice in me rose up. This one, my own personal inner mama-bear.
It fiercely said this:
There is no limit.
You can take as many as you need to. For as long as you need to.
Every day for the rest of your life, if that’s what it takes.
You can take as many photos as it takes to heal.
There is no limit.
I found myself shocked at the words I just heard in my own head, fierce and true. I got choked up at this play between my inner critic and my inner protector.
My inner critic trying, as it usually does, to keep me playing small, even or perhaps especially in healing my relationship to worthiness, to enoughness, to how I see myself.
My inner protector the opposite. Claiming expansiveness.
That my inner protector, like a mama (or auntie) to a child saying “I love you to the moon and back”. It felt like that tonight. That the room I am willing to give myself in this time to heal and find my way back through the layers of learning I still have to do about worthiness, of being lovable, of letting myself be loved by myself and by others, of seeing myself and my body with deep abiding love.
There is no limit to my love that voice said and I will let you keep finding your way back to it.
We may have different tools to find our way to that love. Somehow, 9 years ago I found my way to the camera and realized it was the tool that would lead me home. Yours might be on the yoga mat. Or through pen to paper. Whatever brings you that respite, let there be no limit to when you’re ‘supposed to have it all figured out’. Let in expansiveness, limitless to our self-love, of how many times you might need to meet yourself in child’s pose or put that pen to paper. Let it not be a task, but a doorway to that love, one you look forward to meeting with.
Or maybe the camera could be a tool for you too?
That voice, that inner protector. Hearing it today choked me up because in so many ways, this is what I’ve been working so hard to hear. Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain the work we do in the Be Your Own Beloved class, the work that I do every night on these photo walks year after year…is about taking our own photo, but it’s about so much more.
It’s about turning the camera on ourselves and yes, knowing that inner critic is probably going to rise up. But we don’t stop there. We cultivate our own voice, choosing to not listen to our inner critic when it tries to make us stop and put away the camera in shame. We take another photo. We reclaim that voice and our personal power back. It’s a conscious choice to choose self-compassion over self-critique again and again until it our critic isn’t our go-to response.
Just like tonight, it’s not about our inner critics never rising up again. We can’t control that.
But it’s about building that self-compassion up so that when it does, we have the words to find our way back to ourselves. Sometimes, the words we didn’t even know we needed to hear.
I hope you hear those words today too, from my inner protector to yours.
There is no limit.
Take as many selfies, write as many poems, spill as many journal entries, meet yourself on the yoga mat as many times as you need to…there is no timeline you need to ‘achieve’ as we find our way to healing how we feel about our bodies, ourselves.
There is no timeline, no one path, no roadmap.
You can take as long as you need to.
Let your love be limitless.