“She acknowledged the need to simplify her life.” ~Deb
I stripped it down again this month.
Baring, bearing and acknowledging my truth.
And my truth is that I am trying to simplify.
My art studio.
My fabric collection.
My wine consumption.
My social media.
My travel expenses.
My desire for change.
It’s one thing to take on more than you can handle.
But it’s another to admit it out loud…and then say “No, I cannot do that, or this.”
And take the break you need to save yourself.
Somedays I feel like Super Woman with all the extraordinary powers and I get all the stuff done!
And then like a wave that rolls over me, I get knocked down. I feel like I just can’t keep up.
I shut off the phone, unplug from social media and neglect emails and phonecalls.
I break it down. I come undone. Shed a few layers (as in my photo above)
I slow down. I rest. I rejuvenate. I look inward. I re-evaluate.
Then like a Phoenix, I arise.
I rise above the raging current and begin to float.
I begin to manage my emotions, actions and connections with a clean, fresh slate.
I feel kinder and more patient. I soften. I feel the peace.
My friends and family deserve that.
I will continue to simplify as I acknowledge my truth.
“She acknowledged the need to have fun.” ~Jennifer
It took a trip to kindergarten for me to remember how important it is to have fun. On my daughter’s first day of school, my husband and I (and the other kindergarten families) rode the bus with her. We met the teacher and we watched as the children hung their backpacks in their cubbies and found their names at the tables. As I stood in the back of the room observing, I learned a great deal.
Gone are the days of chalk and blackboard. The teacher used a Promethean board connected to her computer to project the lessons. With a stylus, she colored in various shapes on the interactive white board. She showed how scribbling with no effort was not acceptable. Then as she was carefully filling in another shape, she “accidentally” colored outside the lines. It’s okay if that happens sometimes, she explained, as long as you try your best.
In the back of my head, I knew I had to take a self-portrait for She is Three when we got home that day. Neither timing nor weather nor inspiration had lined up for me to do it during the days prior. But after we got off the bus that afternoon, I just wanted to relax. I wanted to do my best for the photo, but I didn’t want to stress out about staying inside the lines. It was a gorgeous sunny day, so I took my daughter and my son outside to play. As we were blowing bubbles near the zinnias, I thought about the kindergarten lesson again. Then I told myself to forget about composition, clothing, and location. Instead of going inside to get my DSLR, I snapped some photos with my iPhone while my children were playing right in front of me. Then I put the phone down and went back to enjoying the beauty of the zinnias, the simple joy of blowing bubbles, and the giggles of my little ones. Both my daughter and I colored outside the lines a bit that day, but we did our best and we had lots of fun.
“She acknowledged all aspects of her strength.” ~Bella
There are days that I feel like I am a strong woman. On those days, when my head hits the pillow and thoughts drift in and out of my head, I think about what kind of strength it took to get through that day. Sometimes I give myself a little pat on the back thinking how tough I was to plough through the muck to arrive at this moment of rest.
In all honesty, it may be healthy to recognize our strengths and give ourselves some lovin’ when we make it through something difficult. But there is a strength we don’t often see or recognize until much time and thought process have happened. Do you know those instances when we wonder to ourselves how in the world we got through a difficult situation like a health crisis or a loss? We walk through traumatic events in two possible states: autopilot with our feelings below the surface or dazed in shock, unable to feel. Coming out of it on the other side, we recognize a strength we had no idea we knew we possessed.
I’m there right now. In the thick of it as I travel through a miniature health situation with my husband. And sometimes, the situation weighs so heavily I have no choice but to get down on the floor and move, stretch, and shake all the feelings away. I still put one foot in front of the other and I know that somewhere in my thoughts many months from now, I’ll wonder how I got through this. And I will see what it looked like from there. Until then, it is only onward.
There is so much to acknowledge on any given day. We have emotions, experiences, needs, and responsibilities that call for our attention constantly. It can be hard to acknowledge everything going on around us and within us. There are times when it’s easier to turn a blind eye or bury our heads in the sand, but that’s not what we aim to do here at She is Three. So we’re stepping out and acknowledging what is coming up in our days, our hours, even our minutes.
We invite you to come forward and acknowledge what is going on in your world this month. It doesn’t have to be neat and tidy. It does have to be you, however, just as you are right now. The truth is beautiful, and that’s what we want to see. We want you to see it in yourselves, too.
Please join us on Instagram by tagging your self-portraits #sheisthreedotcom #sheacknowledged (and feel free to post as often as you like)!
Do stop by here on the 14th, 21st, and 28th to read the quotes and stories behind our photos. For now, here’s a little peek into our process this month!
“She is ready for change.” ~Deb
My restless spirit is rumbling again.
I seem to be trying to get back in balance.
My self portrait this month illustrates myself out on the end of the bench, trying to make my way back to the middle. Or better yet, see the light in the left corner? I am teetering in the shadows. I am dressed up in my fancy little black dress, really wanting to be barefoot on the beach, skinny-dipping in the cool waters.
I planned my shot to include contrast. The funky painted bench. The solid black dress. The light and shadows. The balance I seek.
You see, I am an odd mixture of girly-girl and tomboy-hippie.
I love my social life, yet require solitude.
I am a sun worshipper, yet love a cozy rainy day.
The change I seek is inside. I have the choice to slow down, re-evaluate my obligations that seem to weigh me down. I am working my way back to center. A place that will become a calm balance for me. A familiar peace.
How do you get back to your own center? What practices do you use to maintain balance in your own restless spirit? Tell me. And if you chose to illustrate something YOU are ready for, please use hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #sheisready so we can find you and support you.
Here is my one minute video talking about my self portrait process.
“She is ready to lighten up.” ~Jennifer
I tend to take life too seriously, allowing myself to get wrapped up in duties and swept away by tasks. Since becoming a mother, my days revolve around my children’s needs. I think about practical matters like food, clothing, safety. I take care of transportation, activities, and payments due. But in the process of caring for my little ones, somehow I end up distilling life to absolutes. I catch myself thinking in black and white. We’re on time or we’re late. I’ve succeeded or I’ve failed. The answer is yes or no. Clean or dirty. Off or on. Right or wrong.
Gone are the in-betweens, the grace periods, the grey areas. Where did they go, I wonder? As best I can tell, they keep getting bumped aside by responsibilities. Life is still sweet, silly, rewarding, and exciting, but the colors fade from time to time. That’s when I know I need to lighten up. And so, when my husband invited me out to the garden, I set the dirty dishes aside. It was perhaps the hottest day of the summer, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It took me a moment to forget about the messes, the baby monitor, the sweat running down my back. Then I was drawn in by the vivid pinks and purples of the cosmos that my husband plants for me each year. They’ve been there all summer. I just hadn’t been paying attention because I was weighed down by everything I thought I should be doing. Enough of that. I’m ready to lighten up and enjoy the bright spots of this path I’m on.
“She is ready for new things.” ~Bella
I feel like August is my “shake it up” month. Having just come out of leading a month long e-course in self care means I am ready to move, groove, and welcome all new things into my world. The truth is, this has been a summer filled with so many new things because it is the first summer in a very long time that I haven’t worked at a nine to five job.
I have been craving space in the form of blank slates and purged closets. I have been organizing shelves and getting rid of all the old things like spices, dried up paints, and kitchen items I hardly ever use. I work, throw, move in a frenzy. The quicker the space is made the more calmer I feel. It’s like I know something big is waiting to come in and I am in preparation mode.
I don’t know what it is.
I’m not worried either.
I’m ready for anything.
Are you ready?! August is already underway and we’re moving into a new phase of the year. The summer is starting to wind down and students will be heading back to school in a matter of weeks. We all seem to be getting ready for something this month, whether it is school-related or not. What kind of change are you ready for? What are you ready to do? What action are you ready to take? We invite you to use our August prompt as a launching pad as you think about where you are heading this month. Try using self-portraiture to answer these questions visually. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #sheisready so we can find you on Instagram! We love seeing you and featuring you there, too!
We will share the quotes and the written stories behind our photos here on the blog on the 14th, 21st, and 28th of this month. Do come back then to get the full scoop! In the meantime, here is a little video of each of us sharing some information from the locations where we shot our self-portraits.
“She embodied her freedom when she got outside her body.” ~Deb
OKAY. Let’s talk about something uncomfortable.
As we age, we like and love our body less and less…RIGHT?
Are you listening to me now? We grumble and frown at the softening belly, the wrinkles and crinkles.
We notice our diminishing libido, stamina and effervescence.
So why not celebrate and embrace it? Let’s get out of our head and body.
Let’s do a cartwheel. Let’s wiggle our hips. Let’s sing real loud with the radio.
Let’s learn archery. Let’s try kickboxing. Let’s skip rope.
Let’s JUMP IN A POOL LIKE A CANNON BALL.
Let’s go back to when we were child-like and carefree.
Come on…I dare you. Let go. Rip it up. BE FREE.
Join me on Instagram and Facebook by tagging your self-portraits #sheembodiedfreedom
…and just in case you missed my one minute video from the pool…click here
“She embodied freedom amidst the flowers.” ~Jennifer
By now, it’s no secret that I love flowers. They are a part of my being. They are my attachment to the past, my link to everyday life, and the garland of dreams that connects me to the future. I feel a spark of inspiration when I see, touch, and smell flowers. I experience an amazing sense of liberation when I stand in a meadow blooming with Queen Anne’s lace, echinacea, aster, and cosmos.
Certain flowers remind me of life stages through which I have passed. To this day, lavender means freedom to me. Those spiky purple stalks take me back to my first summer study abroad and the lavender fields whizzing by the windows of the TGV as I traveled to the south of France. When it came time to go home, I filled my suitcase with dried lavender flowers in sachets of provencal fabric to give as souvenirs and to keep as fragrant reminders of my experiences.
In subsequent years, I would return to France for employment. Each trip was an adventure, sometimes frightening but always freeing. One summer I took a day trip to an island covered in lavender fields. Another summer, I stood in awe when thousands of lavender pots were placed in the Place des Vosges for a festival. Each time I returned to the US, my bags were bursting with lavender sachets and bottles of lavender oil.
Now that I am the mother of two small children, I don’t have much free time at all. And so, when I need a bit of solitude, I step outside. During the summer months, I am lured to our lavender bushes. They hum with the buzzing of bees and they sway ever so gently in the hot breeze. The majestic purple color and the pungent scent transport me to a time and place of freedom. They ground my physical self in the present, they conjure up fond memories of the past, and they ignite my imagination with thoughts of what is yet to come.