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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!

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summerblog

This fall I had the total pleasure of doing a photo shoot with Body Image Coach Summer Innanen.

We had such a blast. Body compassion is such a pivotal part of ALL the work I do both in my classes and photo sessions and most often my photo sessions focus on creating safe space for you to feel supported and empowered in front of the lens. To help you feel like you are standing in your power in your body right here right now, and have that reflected back at you in images that let you shine.

It was such a treat to get to do a photo shoot with someone else who also lives and breaths body acceptance and who really practices what she preaches. She radiated the same kind of compassionate body confidence that she helps other people find in themselves. It was such a delight to get to capture Summer through my lens.

She’s as kick-ass, empowering and authentic in person as she is through her work!

Summer had also brought along a scale to smash for her photos and it was seriously exhilarating to photograph the sledgehammer breaking a scale. I had broken my scale accidentally years ago (and took it as a sign to never get one again and step full force into my own ditching-diet culture path) but hadn’t had the chance to smash one and so I said “Heck YES” when Summer passed the sledgehammer my way too!

I wanted to share the photos with you now, as Summer just launched her brand new website and all of the images used on the site are from our shoot. It’s SO amazing to see the images used in this way and to see her empowering photographs all over her site.

I also wanted to share them today in particular because right now on Summer’s site she is giving away the audio version of her best-selling book, Body Image Remix, for FREE. It takes you step-by-step how to feel more comfortable in your body and stop caring so much about what other people think Get your free audiobook and check out Summer’s new site here!

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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.

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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!

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toyoublog

Picture yourself this time next year. You are the same but so different. Because something you never thought possible has happened. Those critical thoughts that have followed you through your life have shifted.

They are not fully gone (they never do) but now, you hear a different voice, your own voice of compassion that believes in you. And you see your body differently, especially in photos. Rather than seeing someone where with elements that are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (depending on the day) you see well…yourself.

You put those ideas you had about body acceptance into action and here you are. You feel it.

You realize you finally just get to be yourself, not someone who is failing or succeeding at fitting any certain standard of beauty or worthiness. And you put your hand on your heart and take the deepest breath of your life.

Because you didn’t believe this was even possible. You couldn’t have pictured this a year ago. But it is here.

And it wasn’t always easy. You showed up in the prompts that kept arriving in your inbox. Some days you really didn’t want to pick up that camera and show up for yourself. And some days you didn’t. But you built resilience. You kept showing up. And slowly but surely it felt more peaceful to see your body in photos.

It was as though someone came and cleared the lens you were seeing yourself through, and they did…you did. And what you now see is yourself, awaiting you there saying “You were always enough. I’m so glad you see that now”.

And you do. You see it. You see yourself without the layers of expectation of what your body ‘should’ look like. A metaphorical weight has been lifted off your back.

This act of resiliency, of reclaiming your power back has created a ripple effect beyond the camera too. You are more visible in your own life. You are more present in your own body. You are showing up for yourself and your life in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

You feel this tingle of excitement because now that you know that what you thought was impossible, that you could see and treat your body with compassion, you wonder what else you believe that isn’t true. You wonder what other possibilities await. Because you always knew that you weren’t put on this planet to spend your life hating your body and you know now that all that time you spent focusing on your body hate now gets to be put towards something else. And you can’t wait to see what unfolds.

You have left a trail of old stories that no longer serve you behind you and your feel the excitement of possibility.

So you pick up your camera on this day, a year from now and look into the lens with love, step in front of the camera with ease. With gratitude. With deep pride in all the photos you took but not just cause they look amazing (which they do) but because they tell the story of the past you becoming the present you and they remind you that nothing is impossible.

That you truly are resilient and powerful and worthy.

And if you ever forget again, you have these images. To bring you back home to yourself. Again and again and again. To come home.

*

Today I’m standing between this past year and the one coming ahead. I’ve had the absolute honor of spending the past year guiding an incredible collection of folks through the Body Peace Program, which is a year-long program made up of a series of classes (with breaks/rest time in between) inviting you to explore and cultivate body acceptance through your camera. Oh, and take photos you’re deeply proud of too. That’s a fabulous side-effect of doing this work.

But here I stand this journey to a close and I’ve been thinking of the folks who joined this time last year and wanted to write them a love letter to remind them of how far they’ve come. And to write a love letter to the folks joining in right now for the 2017 session of Body Peace who are probably deeply nervous yet are feeling drawn to this program. To stand on the other end of 2017 with a trail of old stories left behind them. To stand on the other side of 2017 and look back just like the folks this year are, and realize you did what you thought was impossible. And in a way it’s a love letter to a part of myself too, the part of me that deeply believed for most of my life that these stories would be with me forever and while they had been left behind me before this year, I’ve been changed by this work too and feel a body neutrality I never thought possible.

So this is for you, a love letter for this time next year.

When you’ve rewritten your old stories into a new love letter to yourself, visible in the images you see before you. The story of you, re-written.

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