“She found freedom inside her stolen moments of solitude.” ~Deb
Remember that feeling as a kid when you were building tents in the living room with bed sheets and card tables,
Sitting inside that soft womb of safety,
Nestled in your own tiny world of make-believe,
Dark and quiet and cozy?
That is what my self-portrait is all about:
Taking a moment to be alone;
To create space for comfort and solitude.
I captured this shot early in the morning, just before the noisy first day of Kids Art Day Camp I am teaching this summer.
Here I sat, with myself, inside a refrigerator box which would later be transformed into a children’s “prehistoric cave.”
Just me. Silent. Peaceful. Calm.
I was reminded that as much as I adore creative gatherings, I also require moments of seclusion.
I thrive on the peace of privacy;
The moment to enjoy my own company,
And the freedom to be at one with myself.
“She found freedom from the noise.” ~Jennifer
Life is noisy. The alarm clock buzzes. The security alarm beeps. Horns and sirens go off in the distance. Cell phones ring and vibrate constantly. The floor creaks. The water runs. Children whine and cry. Animals near and far bark, meow, huff, screech, and howl. Appliances hum. The radio blares. Adults raise their voices to communicate over the din.
On any given day, these are the sounds I hear. They can feel like blows, hitting me from all angles. Of course there are also lovely sounds to behold in my midst: the children giggling, the cats purring, the rain falling, the wind chimes singing, my husband whispering to me. Sometimes it’s hard to tune out all the background clatter in order to appreciate those soft, sweet sounds, though. I need a break to step outside and clear my head. I stand in the field, letting the summer breeze blow around me. My skirt flutters and my hair flies about. I hear the tall grasses rustling, the goldfinches warbling, the red-tailed hawk calling, the locusts chirping. As the calming sounds of nature wash over me, I find freedom from the noise of everyday life.
“She found freedom when she stopped looking backwards.” ~Bella
There is something I’ve learned through the years, along my travels, and from my many experiences.
Never look back.
Would. Should. Could. None of that matters.
It is what it is? Nope.
It was what it was.
The present is my “what is” and in this moment, I choose only to look forward.
You know why?
You can’t go back.
You can’t change what happened.
You can’t take back the actions or the words.
You can’t relive a moment.
I choose to stay here, in the present, with my eyes fixed on the horizon.
Barefoot. Forward. Free.
There’s nothing like the feeling of freedom: the lightness, the expansiveness, the opportunities, the bliss. This month, we invite you to express how you experience freedom. Be it physical, emotional, spiritual, verbal, or otherwise, let July be a month of creative liberation to proclaim your freedom(s) alongside us.
We’ll be back on the 14th, 21st, and 28th to share our quotes and the stories behind our photos. In the meantime, join us here, on Instagram (@sheisthree), and Facebook with your self-portraits depicting the ways you have found freedom. Remember to use the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom and #shefoundfreedom. Even if you haven’t found it yet, may you allow yourself this month to explore the possibility of freedom.
“She went to the water to revive her Soul.” ~Deb
I live on a barrier island in between the Banana River and the Indian River.
Seven minutes from my front door is the Atlantic Ocean.
I am surrounded by water.
Salty, brackish, calm, choppy, wavy.
I see water every single day when I leave my house.
I wish I had a water view from my bedroom, yet I can walk to the river in five minutes where the sunrises are amazing!
When I see that pinky-orange sky I leap out of bed and go to the water for a soothing start to my day.
Sometimes when I am feeling a bit frazzled and crusty, I drive straight to the beach and lay it all down; literally on the sandy beach at the water’s edge and allow the waves to wash over me..soothing my Soul. I don’t even bother to change clothes. I am instantly transformed and softened.
I go to the water for a refreshing swim where I frolic in the waves like a Mermaid. Leaping and laughing. Floating and drifting.
There are so many fancy toys for water play such surfboards, kayaks and kite sailing.
But for me, I don’t have a need for speed.
I go to the water to slow down.
To “get right.”
“She went to the water that called her home.” ~Jennifer
There was a time not all that long ago when going to the water meant walking a few blocks to the Aegean Sea. I could see it from the balcony of my apartment, that swath of deep blue to the east. It floated on the horizon beyond rooftops covered in solar panels and balconies shrouded in laundry hung out to dry. I never took the sea for granted, especially because I never knew just how long I would be living by it. Months turns into years. I had walked away from my career in the US and didn’t ever plan on returning, so I did my best to deal with the local problems. Being surrounded by corruption, crumbling buildings, jealousy, infidelity, fickleness, animal cruelty, and gossip were all part of the trade-off for living there, or so I thought.
I experienced some of my darkest moments in the blinding midday sun. I wore sunglasses constantly, but they couldn’t shield my eyes from the truth. It was art that saved me. My clearest, happiest moments on that island were spent behind a camera. Looking through the viewfinder enabled me to isolate bits of beauty on which to focus. I underwent my very own version of phototherapy. It wasn’t the exposure to sunlight or the vitamin D that made me feel better, it was the act of taking photographs. I began to develop a relationship with light. Part of that process was seeing the shadows in my midst. I finally chose to face them and move on rather than turn a blind eye any longer.
Photography brought me back to myself and back to the water I call home. It is neither turquoise nor cerulean nor cobalt. The water that called me home is the fresh water of ponds and lakes. As a child, I often rode my bike to a small pond down the street in search of ducks to feed and tadpoles to catch. Now things have come full circle. Surprising as it may be to some, I gave up the azure blue of faraway seas for the brown and green hues of domestic pond water. When I am feeling upset, confused, or disconnected, one of the places I go to is the dock. Sometimes I stare at the way the water sparkles in the sun. Sometimes I listen to the hum of dragonflies and the croaking of frogs. And then there are the occasions when I go to the water for a cathartic cry. I gladly trade the salty water of tears and seas and high tides for the sweet and soothing stillness of the pond.
“She went to the water to satiate her thirst.” ~Bella
It is the element that sustains life. A wilting plant, born from the earth, stands tall again when nourished with love and water.
A soul, dried from lack of care, bounces back with vigor when hydrated with the purest liquid known to man.
Before we existed, there was land and there was water.
I am thirsty. I have written articles listing reasons why I go to the water. I have written blog posts expressing how connected to the water I feel. But still, I am thirsty.
In these dry seasons, I forget things. My creativity vanishes. My plants suffer.
I have to remind myself daily to drink up. My energy channels feel clearer and my body becomes one with the flow of my day. I pick up a watering can and nurture my plant’s thirst. My head becomes less foggy. I am hydrated and in my lush green, forest-surrounded home. The roses are blooming because I sing to them and give them the shower they crave.
And like the roses, I come back to life when I allow my thirst to be satiated.
As the June days get longer and hotter, we shift into our summer rhythms. In one way or another, we each turn to the water.
We invite you to join us this month by going to the water in whatever way you feel called. From ponds to pools and from sprinklers to seashores, we encourage you to explore this concept.
How will you go to the water? Share your images with us on Instagram by tagging your self-portraits #sheisthreedotcom and #shewenttothewater so we can find one another.
We’ll be back on the 14th, 21st, and 28th with our quotes and the stories behind our photos. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to seeing you in the Si3 community pool on Instagram!
“She regained her strength one step at a time.” ~Deb
I got lazy.
I wasn’t showing up to the gym.
My springy step was losing its bounce.
My yoga mat was lonely.
I felt slow and sad and sluggish.
So I bought a fun pair of shoes.
And some colorful workout duds.
I renewed my membership at the gym.
I started walking at the neighborhood park…five. miles. every. damn. day.
One step at a time, one mile at a time, I am getting stronger.
I am standing taller.
I am lasting longer (giggle)
I am breathing deeper.
My legs are leaner.
My belly is flatter.
My back is firmer.
My heart is happier.
And that’s truly what matters.
My 57 year old body is still squishy and curvy.
My saggy skin encases some brittle bones.
But oh that heart…my happy heart!!!
That’s what really matters at the end of every single day.
“She regained her strength by listening.” ~Jennifer
Life doesn’t have to be a struggle. I want to live mine motivated by bliss rather than fear. I want to feel ease rather than pressure; flow rather than resistance. I want to be strong in the softest of ways.
I’ve come to realize that I need to listen in order to fulfill my purpose. I need to tune out all of the external noise and keep following my inner compass. I need to take note of the sights and sounds along my path, for that path is unique to me, just as yours is unique to you.
Sometimes I lapse into old beliefs about scarcity. I worry that I have to act fast and push forward no matter what or else I’ll miss out. I still have days when I doubt my own rhythm because the rest of the world appears to be moving at an impossibly fast pace.
At the beginning of this month, my family’s schedule was especially full. Each day there were either appointments, home repairs, classes, injuries, or mishaps that made accomplishing the household basics a challenge. I couldn’t keep up. I felt tired and uninspired. I withdrew from the online world and focused on my home life.
Just as I was wondering how on Earth to meet deadlines and squeeze in time for creative projects, I came upon the perfect message. We had just pulled into the driveway at my mother-in-law’s house. While unloading the car, wrangling little ones, and exchanging kisses in the front yard, I saw two small black and white feathers right there on the ground in front of me. Somehow, I was the only one to notice them. I carefully picked them up and took them home with me that night.
Although I’ve never seen woodpecker feathers before, that is what I believe them to be. How appropriate that I would find feathers from a bird that pecks so distinctively and so rhythmically. They reminded me to keep listening to my own rhythm and trusting what I hear. I feel strong again, and all I did was lift those two tiny feathers. It was no struggle at all.