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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:

No.

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.

vivienne6

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  • So much yes.
    Yes.
    Big love for every word, for you.
    xoxoReplyCancel

  • Alanna Jane

    You are so wonderful & inspirational. Thank you for your work, your words. I just love your authenticity. And also your your beautiful smile. Limitless love is definitely the way. I’m right beside you on the path …. Personal journey high-fives!!ReplyCancel

  • Vivienne, you do my soul good. Thank you. xoReplyCancel

  • Tina

    Mmmm…self-compassion is so so powerful isn’t it. I’m finding my way with it these days, learning how to hold myself so tenderly. It comes from a place of nourishing and in turn it nourishes me. So grateful I’m moving towards that self that can hold myself in compassion.ReplyCancel

  • Hi Vivienne,

    This quote showed up on my newsfeed tonight. Reading your article made me think that maybe it showed up, in part, for you…

    “When you are born in a world you don’t fit in; it’s because you were born to help create a new one.” -via Nicole DaedoneReplyCancel

  • […] Limitless Love » Be Your Own Beloved teronwol Teron Wolf is a gifted Counselor, Healer & Spiritual Advisor offering Integrated […]ReplyCancel

  • […] 70: My old friend, Vivienne McMaster. Even if I only ever see you on Facebook, I remain eternally grateful for your presence in my life, […]ReplyCancel

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Back in April I decided to share a selfie tip each day over on Instagram and the Be Your Own Beloved Facebook Page. Some were technical, some mindful, all full of love and inviting in self-compassion. Of course, I didn’t want to give away all the tips I share as a part of the Be Your Own Beloved class content but instead provide you with a supplement to it!

They are such juicy tips though, so I didn’t want to just leave them in my Instagram archives where they’d be hard for you to find. So I decided to make you an E-Book with every single tip I shared. 30 pages of fun tips for you to try out on your Selfie Journey.

It’s my gift to you when you join the Be Your Own Beloved Mailing List (and of course, it’s always okay to unsubscribe if it’s not a fit for you) and I’ll send you over a link to your copy of the E-Book.
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I so hope it’s helpful to you on those days you could use some selfie inspiration or a supportive boost as you turn your camera on yourself. If you take some selfies inspired by the tips, please don’t hesitate to use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag (which you’re always welcome to use) so I can find it and cheer you on!

If you’d like to have support on your journey to see yourself through a lens of compassion, come join me for the Be Your Own Beloved class, a 30 day journey to create a habit of seeing yourself through kinder eyes. Not only does it include daily prompts, it also includes a beautifully supportive community, a video resource centre with inspiring and helpful videos and tutorials and support from me throughout your journey.

Be Your Own Beloved starts June 1st and you can grab your spot here!

I know it’s hard to make the choice to see yourself through a lens of compassion (cause I’ve been there at that precipice of having to choose self-love over self-hate) but it is truly such a gift we can offer ourselves to simply begin the journey, to say yes.

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  • Question for the online class you are offering that starts June 1: Do you by any chance give instructions on using our iPhone for selfies that are more than holding our arm out as far as we can and turning the camera towards our own face? There surely is a way to do these like the settings on a regular camera. I have a DSLR but want to play with the iPhone if there is a timer that can be purchased in an app.

    Your class looks wonderful AND I really like your website and blog. I appreciate your newsletter signup idea of offering a freebie. I just got this idea from a blog consultant yesterday. You are proof that it works. Thank you.

    Marrianna in Flagstaff, AZ, USAReplyCancel

    • Marrianna, I took the session in February, and the answer to your question is YES. I used my iPhone for the entire class, and there was plenty of instruction/suggestions on using the self-timer and other methods of moving beyond the arm’s length selfie. (I got a remote trigger another participant recommended and it’s awesome!) The class was wonderful and I highly recommend it.ReplyCancel

      • Vivienne

        You’re the bees knees Leon! Thanks so much for sharing that here…I sent Marrianna a direct message to respond but thank you so much for sharing your comment so other people can hear about it from someone who’s taken its perspective! I adore you!ReplyCancel

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You don’t need to apologize for your selfie.

For posting one when you don’t usually.

For wanting to be seen.

 

You don’t have to apologize for being yourself.

For your wrinkles, your chin, your belly, your smile.

For your inherently worthy body, right here right now.

 

You don’t have to apologize for being unfiltered

Or highly filtered. Or even touched up.

It’s your story to tell the way you need to.

 

You don’t owe us an apology. And what would it feel like not to apologize?

 

When I have the urge to apologize for posting something I don’t usually or a photo I’m not sure folks will groove with I feel myself shrink down, worried what other people might think. In fact often apologizing does the opposite of what we might want it too…pointing out that thing we think we need to apologize for actually points out what you might not want the viewer to notice.

Sharing without apology feels like a way to ground myself in my own power, in my own right to be here and tell my story.

And if you can’t resist the urge to apologize (or if you don’t have that same experience of the apology feeling like it invites you to sit in your smallness rather than bigness, that’s totally groovy too of course).

Or if this feels really big to share a selfie unapologetically and you’re not sure where the Beloved Beginnings class is starting Monday and was created not for people who already love taking selfies, but for those who it feels really vulnerable or out of your comfort zone.

 

Tell your story.

Take your selfie.

Unapologetically.

 

Nextbyobeloved

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I’m sorry to say, but our cats don’t care about our selfies.

Recently when I shared a selfie with my cat, Ladybug, lots of folks on Instagram said : I wish I could get my cat to do that! But the truth is, while Lady and I might make it look like she’s into taking the photo with me, she isn’t. And really who’s cat is? Our cats just don’t care about our selfies.

Still we want them to be in our photos. I know I sure do. So in my attempts to get Ladybug in the frame none the less, I’ve uncovered a few tricks I thought I’d share with you!

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Take LOTS of Photos

This is a tip I like to suggest for any sort of selfie taking. Don’t stop at just 1 photo and assume we can’t get the shot we want. It takes everyone a lot of tries to get that shot they really love and this is no acceptation!

So whether taking a selfie solo or yup…with your cat…try a whole bunch in order to get that one you really love. Get a variety of them too, try some of the tips below or just give yourself the chance to get playful and creative and capture that sweet feline of yours alongside you!

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Your cat doesn’t care about your selfie…so follow it’s lead.

From my experience with Ladybug, well, she couldn’t care less if I’m trying to take a selfie. In fact its rather annoying to her. So how do we accept that fact and still get a great shot? That’s where we simply have to let go of trying to plan out a shot and well, do what works for our cat.

Often when I’m sitting at my desk, Ladybug will come sit right in front of me, in that space between myself and my computer. You know, where they are completely blocking your view. After peering around her for a while I often give up and then say “Fine then, we’ll take a selfie”! What works is that she’s sitting on my desk so if I bring my face near hers…selfie success!

Now, on the opposite realm, if I try and pick her up and force her into a selfie…it’s just not going to go well. The theme of the selfie will become her trying to escape from my arms (and you will see some of those below). Because again, your cat doesn’t really care about your selfie. But we want them in them none the less, don’t we.

So if your cat is sitting on the ground, get down on the ground too.

If your cat is looking out the window, look out the window too.

If your cat is sitting on the top of the couch, don’t ask it to move…move towards it yourself.

Follow your cats lead! I’m pretty sure it’s the only way to make it happen!

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Attract its attention

I think sometimes with dogs you can make them sit and then the person with the camera can call them, but with cats and with selfies…that just doesn’t work.

One trick I’ve been using lately to try and get Ladybug to actually look at the camera is while I’m holding it to kind of scratch on the back of it with my fingernail. Cat’s love noises so it drew her attention and I was able to get one that looked like she was looking in the camera.

Make it quick though as after a while she totally caught on and started ignoring me! Cause, well, that’s how cat’s roll!

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Get Silly

While I haven’t actually had a successful shot like this yet, the whole Cat Beard Selfie phenomenon…oh my gosh…I love it. I just can’t imagine my cat letting me do that!

But there are other ways to get silly with your cat too. Sometimes when Ladybug decides to sit on my shoulder I pull out my camera as it kind of looks like she’s photobombing me. Um, here’s some other cat photobombs that cracked me up (especially if you’re having the kind of day where you need funny cat photos…cause some days we just do).

Or I just go with the flow and follow the lead of what she’s doing and often they end up looking quite humorous. Have fun with it (and you never know you just might get some hilarious outtakes out of it too)!

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Use Your Timer 

My answer to so many selfie questions is to use your timer! My favourite app is called Gorillacam and it allows you take a whole series of photos one after another. I recommend setting the camera to take around 10 or 15 (or even 30) and find a place to prop it where you and your cat are in the photo. Then you have both hands free to be in the photo with your cat! It helps big time, especially to get more candid or even silly cat selfies!

You could also use the Gorillcam timer for an arm’s length selfie and not have to press the photo button each time as the app will capture the photos for you!

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Get Candid

Following along with the idea of using your timer, it can be so fun to let your timer capture candid moments with your cat. Does your cat sit on your yoga mat every time you do yoga? Why not set up your timer and capture it. Maybe even put your camera down on the ground especially if like me and Ladybug…she follows me everywhere around the apartment (when not sleeping) and I’d love to get a shot of her little feet following mine.

Or is there a spot you both sit? You could set up your phone and timer (or get a remote like the HISY Remote for your phone) and get cozy in that spot you always sit together. There are so many possibilities. Especially if your pet is a big part of your life and your day, why not invite them into the visual story too. I love how every session of the Be Your Own Beloved class, pretty soon after we start taking our selfies, there’s always a large portion of them that involve our pets just naturally!

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Think Outside the Selfie Box

Just like with our selfies in general, they don’t have to be an arm’s length face selfie do they? There are so many more options, many of which are wonderful ways to tell the visual story of you and your cat. You could aim downwards at your cat and your feet, capture the photo in a reflection or a mirror, put the camera on the floor and capture it from ground level.

Remember, following our cats lead is our best plan and thinking outside the selfie box is a way to make that happen!

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Get Creative with your Cat Selfie

One of my favourite things to do with photos these days is to take Double Exposures and it can be so fun to use this or other creative tools to have fun with our selfies, especially the ones we might not love as is. This image above was an example of that, where I didn’t really love the way the photo worked out originally but when I added a layer to it, I ended up loving it.

You could play around with making your cat selfies black and white or colour, combining a bunch of them to make a GIF or hyper lapse. You could make double exposures with images of you and your pet together or even combine a portrait of you and of your cat separately into one image, double exposure style.

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But Really…

I know that I’m gettin’ a bit silly with y’all here cause cat selfies doesn’t seem like a very serious matter, but I do want to share why it’s really important to me to take cat selfies. Because…I’m so darn grateful to have this little purring, kind loving little being in my life. These pets are a part of our families and the more photos we can have with them the better (even if they still don’t care about being in our photos). We care that they are in our photos.

This image above…while in a way it’s an example of how not to take a selfie with your cat because Ladybug looks absolutely terrified. When I shared it years ago, people laughed. And I see why…we both look like a deer in the headlights. But my other cat Elliot had just passed away and I had just found out that she had the same condition that took him. I was feeling like a deer in the headlights and she was probably freaking out at why I was suddenly making her be in a whole bunch of photos. But I thought I’d loose her any day. So this photo feels important to me after all.

Even the photos we might not like at the time, that aren’t destined for Instagram, they are important. Inviting our lovely felines (or canines too or pets of any sort) into our photos is not just funny…but of such value to us. I know I won’t regret taking a moment every so often when she seems patient enough for it, to get out my camera and aim it at her and when I can, get into the photo with her too.

What about you? Have you had any successful pet selfie moments or photos? I’d love to know your favourite way to take a photo with your beloved pet? 

Nextbyobeloved

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beyondarmsreach

Beyond arm’s reach there is so much more awaiting us than taking a face selfie at that angle we’ve perfected.

Beyond arm’s reach are our hands, free to move their own way, not held in position by holding the camera.

Beyond arms reach is that which we don’t know: the ways we could heal old stories, the potential for taking a of ourselves we really love.

Beyond arm’s reach is outside of the norm of what a selfie is perceived at, with a different perspective (potentially a kind one) awaiting us.

Beyond arm’s reach is that we can’t clutch onto, hold tightly to in fear. It’s letting go and trusting yourself as you open the door to seeing yourself with kind eyes (and trust that indeed, you will).

Beyond arm’s reach is that place beyond that wall we’ve been hitting with selfies, where we get bored or aren’t sure how to see something different day after day.

Beyond arm’s reach is outside of our comfort zone, where change happens.

Beyond arm’s reach is truly a whole other world of selfies we can take, when we step away from that small range of perspectives that our arm’s can reach to.

So how do we go beyond arm’s reach? It’s all about putting down our camera or phone on a bench or the ground or a tripod and stepping into the frame. Or perhaps putting it on a shelf just beyond arm’s reach and taking an arms length style selfie without having to hold onto the camera.

For me and often for participants in the Be Your Own Beloved class, this is the place where we step outside the threshold of our comfort zone of arm’s length selfies and into the empowering world of seeing yourself with a deeper kindness through your camera letting go of the limitation of only being able to see ourselves from that one perspective. For me, its where a deeper level of body image and self-love healing truly began.

Want to try it? I dare you! 

Indeed, you need to find your timer, right? iPhone users, if you don’t have a timer in your camera get Gorillacam and Android users you have a built in timer that is great and all other cameras likely have a timer included. Look around the outside of your camera for a symbol that looks like a clock or check your menu for the self-timer!

Go beyond arm’s reach!

Nextbyobeloved

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