I don’t know about you, but where I live we are deep in the middle of the grey and rainy winter.

While I adore where I live, this part of the year gets tough.

When the days are so short and there is so little light to soak in during the day. Thankfully we’ve had a bit of sun here and there, but still…I feel like self-care is so pivotal right now and it’s been on my mind so much more.

Which is a big part of why I wanted to bring back the Self-Care Class this season. I’ll be sharing more about my own self-care tools with the class participants but one of my favourite tools is going for photo walks.

In the spring time I like to make a practice of going out for a photo walk in the last hour of the day as the sun starts to fall away.  A few weeks ago when I realized that it was starting to get dark at around 4pm I decided that as many days as possible I was going to pause from my work (I usually work at home in the afternoons) and get out for a short photo walk at around 3pm.

Some days, especially when it’s raining, it has been as short as walking the half block to the alley way, to the path around my house and back.  Which takes a total of about 2 minutes max.

Other days I’ll go a few blocks and sometimes even further.

Somedays I’ll come home with photos to post and other days I don’t. Cause to me photo walks aren’t just about getting photos. They are about making space to slow down, to notice, to feel engaged with the natural and human world. In this case I notice what light we do have as it is about to fall away. Even if there aren’t the rays of light that fall in the spring. Even if it is raining.

Because to tell you the truth. I didn’t fall in love with photography on a sunny day. It was a grey day when I jumped in a puddle and decided to try to take a photo of it with my new (now old school) flip phone with the super crappy camera and that moment when I felt myself fall in love with the potential to capture a moment.

It wasn’t the gorgeously radiant days only that helped this become a healing tool for me.  It was a multitude of rainy days when I’d go out when the rain paused with my macro lens to capture the water droplets.

And while I sure do love a radiant sunny day for capturing a self-portrait, largely because of the way it enriches the story…the light isn’t the only thing that makes a photo shine. It is gifting ourselves with the space to tell our story. It is us that shines too.

So while I’m feeling that overwhelm of this season with so much less light, it’s the time that I need to come back to tools I’ve been using this whole time. It’s about opening my heart again and again to the ways that the camera can be self-care and how even these short photo walks fill my well.

If you’re interested in digging deeper into self-care this season and and want to know more about the Self-Care class, head on over here!

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Lately I’ve been craving to revisit my self-care plan.  I have a collection of ways I like to cultivate self-care in my own life, and keep my own well filled up. Some things (like getting outside for walks) are still a thriving part of my self-care while other things have gone to the wayside (like my Monday Morning solo coffee & journaling date).

Plus, the new year feels like the right time.  In the past couple years I’ve committed more than ever to my own personal path towards body acceptance and with that, resolutions just don’t feel like the right kind of goal setting for me anymore. So I’ve been planning to revisit the tools in my Self-Care Policies Class starting January 1st as a way to reconnect and revise my own self-care plan.

But then I thought, why not invite you to join me and we can explore them together!

This is normally a self-paced class but I’m running it once in 2015 as a community class! We already have lots of folks signed up to join and I think it’ll be a mighty powerful way to get inspired to make 2015 the year we dig deeper into self-care and self-compassion!

Oh, and you may notice the title has now changed to Cultivating Self-Care. I still love the idea of creating self-care policies but it sounds so formal and almost like you’ll be in trouble if you don’t fulfill your policy! But that isn’t the case and if you’ve taken a class with me you’ll know that self-compassion and playfulness are at the forefront of everything I teach, so I wanted to make the title more gentle (in case you were wondering about that)!

So, you are invited to come spark the year with self-compassion and explore these tools that I hope will help you make more space in your day, week and your year for self-care! Oh, and did I mention it’s super affordable at only $39!

Come join us! 

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I’m having an EPIC 20% off site-wide sale to thank you for your support during this past year and celebrate the coming year ahead!

Enter the code: BELOVEDHOLIDAYSALE to get the discount!

Yes, the means the February Session of Be Your Own Beloved!
Yes, that means the Self-Paced Class you’ve been eyeing!
Yes, that means the Beloved Camera E-Book!
Yes, that means the Mentoring Sessions too (via skype).
Yes, you can even get 20% off of a Beloved Portrait Session (offered locally)! 

Gift yourself with the experience of a Be Your Own Beloved program and explore seeing yourself through a lens of compassion! If you’ve been a bit nervous to sign up for the class I hope this discount will help you say YES to the class and to your choice to see yourself with kindness!

You can most definitely use the code to buy a gift for someone else (just let me know if it’s a gift in the ‘Notes to Seller’ or use the contact form to connect with me about your gift)!

And thank you, truly…for all the comments, retweets, repins, likes and especially to those of you who got brave and said YES to seeing yourself with compassion this year! 

The Fine Print: The Sale Ends December 12th at 11:59 (no exceptions).  The only thing not an option for the sale are those workshops listed on the Workshops page (which of course are not hosted by me or not mine to offer a sale on)!

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During each session of Be Your Own Beloved there is a point where our inner critics start to get really shaken up. For most women who take the class, it is SO outside of their comfort zone to take a selfie, let alone a whole month of them.  I bet for those of you who’ve been on your own selfie journey you’ve found the same thing happen.

Our critic likes to tell us we are doing it wrong, likes to shame us with old stories and with the intention of ‘protecting’ us it is trying to stop us from out ‘outside of the comfort zone behaviour’, right?  At least that’s how mine is!

In our live call for class I shared this:

That our critics rise up when we do.

And do we want to keep small and protected. Or do we want to rise up?

Our inner critics are getting shaken up cause we are shaking things up. I know when I try to put it in these terms it calms me a bit when I’m having a fierce inner critic day…when we remember that we are indeed choosing to go outside of our comfort zones and that this is a part of that process, I find it easier to not take their words to heart.

You know what I mean?

As well, the process of making peace with our self-image doesn’t happen overnight.  The path (for all of us) involves ebb & flow, kind days and critical days.

But is indeed worth the work it takes to feel like we are released from at least some of our old stories of how we see ourselves!

I thought I might also share a few of the stories I’ve told here about coming face to face with my inner critic:

New Wheels and a Lesson in Confidence

Making Peace with my Body…In a Bikini

Outside the Comfort Zone

Choosing to See Beauty

When Your Inner Critic Shows Up You’re Doing it Right!

You know what else? Sometimes our outer critics rise up when we do too.  When we stop playing small in our own lives, often that can bring up the way others are playing small in their own lives too.  For example, people might be critical of you starting to share your selfies, making peace with your self-image and building confidence…because they  feel the way that they haven’t done that themselves! Here are some ideas for dealing with our outer critics too!

The good news is that our rising up outlasts our inner critics capacity to be mean.  Once we push past our inner critics…that is where change happens.  One BIG example of that for me was this time just before Be Your Own Beloved Came to be.  Everything in me was telling me to quit and that I wasn’t enough when in reality…I was just about to find the work that I feel I’m really most meant to do in this lifetime.  Of course I’d have the fiercest critics attacking me and telling me to quit before that happened cause I was indeed rising up to my own potential.

I really hope you’re having a critic-free day but in case you’re not…what are the ways you might be rising up in your life right now and not playing small that might be sparking your inner critic to react?

 Copy of Nextbyobeloved

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Each session of Be Your Own Beloved there is one prompt inviting you to capture your shadow.  I confess that it is one of those activities I have in there to balance out the ones that take people really out of their comfort zone, as a soft place to land after getting super brave with the prompt before.

Because for so many of us, shadow selfies are pretty inside our comfort zones as they aren’t an actual reflection of ourselves.  As the light gets later in the day, our shadows shift and change to be so very different from our actual selves.

I find that the more dramatic the get (like my long legs above) the less my inner critic can possibly be invited to the selfie-party and the more it makes me want to just get playful with my shadow.

In Be Your Own Beloved, I participate alongside with each session and each time there tends to be a prompt that I experience really differently even though I’ve done it so many times before.

This time, much to my surprise, our shadow activity felt like a spark to me.  Ever since then I’ve been noticing my own shadow more than ever before.

The thing that surprised me this time was noticing how much of the story of our day a shadow selfie can actually tell. Of where we were, of what we were wearing, how our body language shares a bit about how we are feeling.

I truly believe that one type of selfie isn’t more worthy than the other, be it a reflection, an arm’s length selfie or by putting the camera down and stepping into the frame.

For me the most healing happens when I put down the camera, set the timer and step into the frame, but this week is reminding me that there is storytelling and healing awaiting us in all types of selfies. If we choose to explore it!

Plus, taking our shadow selfie can feel like it’s embracing our childlike self too.

As I mentioned, part of why I have it in the class is as a soft place to land, an activity within our comfort zone that we can return to when we feel like keeping it gentle and playful.  And I guess what I’ve realized by taking so many shadow selfies lately is that maybe I’m craving that gentleness, that soft place to land.

Because taking selfies isn’t a competition or comparison game (at least it doesn’t need to be).  What if we were to gift ourselves the permission to take really gentle & simple selfies and take off the pressure to conceptualize or plan out a selfie.

What if we really just offered ourselves a simple way to say to ourselves “I’m here”?

Want to try it?  Keep watch for your shadow today and capture a photo of it! 

And don’t hesitate to use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag (anyone sharing their selfies are welcome to…you don’t need to be in the class to use it)!



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  • I love those shadow selfies you shared! They made me smile. :)ReplyCancel