“She said goodbye.” ~Bella
I’ve been thinking about endings and how they are gateways to new beginnings. What a gift it was to receive the invitation to join She is Three from Deb and Jennifer. The idea of exploring topics through self-portraiture scared me to death, a sign that this was the next right step on my journey.
Goodbyes beg of us to pause and reflect. I have looked through all of my photos and outtakes from the three years of self-portraits I have taken for this project and I am in awe of what they reveal. I see a woman, at times strong and at other times she’s held together by a thread. I see in this woman sparks of joy married with tears of grief. I see her commitment to showing up even when she’s feeling resistant. She is constantly becoming her next best self.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this project with you and alongside you. Goodbyes are gateways to new beginnings. I am standing in the doorway, saying goodbye to one great thing and welcoming the next.
“She is Wild and Reborn.” ~Bella
There are stories I carry. These stories were passed down to me from my mother and father who took on these same stories from their mother and father. By default, I should live out these stories and see them trickle down into my daughter’s hands.
These stories live in tradition and convention. These stories are what people expect of me. They are safe. They are vanilla. They are not in alignment with the part of me that is free, feral, and wild. And I can no longer carry them.
And so I sit in the forest. I burn my palo santo wood, and I ask my guides to help me break free of the old, molded ideas that no longer serve me. I seek ideas and vision what it would look like to face my days from a place of no boundaries or restrictions.
It is new, this wild me that is emerging and being born. And I really like who she is.
“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.
“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.
“She embodied freedom – even in the simple moments.” ~Bella
It used to be that I would rush through my mornings in an effort not to be late for work. I simply breezed through my morning routine without pause with one goal in mind: get to work on time. Oh, how things have changed.
At the beginning of June, I quit my job. I had been thinking about leaving for a while but had yet to gather enough courage to leave for good. There is also a healthy amount of fear I have built up around being in the market for a new job. With my husband’s support, I would spend the summer at home while searching for a new and perfect to me job.
Not having to hurry out the door meant I could hit the snooze button and sleep a little longer. I could indulge in a nice long stretch before getting up to pour myself a cup of coffee. Oh, and the coffee! I could savor each sip and have a second cup if I chose to. There is freedom to breathe inside of these choices.
I wonder if when I get a new job I should wake up an hour earlier to enjoy these rituals that provide me a sense of peace and calmness. The sacrifice is little and the gain is huge. These mornings truly make me feel like I’m embodying freedom, and it would be a disservice to move through the day any other way.
“When she noticed life as it was happening.” ~Bella
I am entering this season of warmth and light with a new sense of clarity. Friends, it feels refreshing. It is a very soft landing after months of internal disorder.
What is different about now? So much. My senses have come back to life and my nerve endings tingle with admiration, anticipation, and enthusiasm for even the most mundane experiences. I greet everything / everyone that comes into my orbit as if it were our first time meeting. I’m noticing life as it is happening around me, and oh is it ever exhilarating.
I live in the suburbs of New York City, the biggest and brightest city in the world. It is easy for me to hop in the car or to catch a bus and a short 20 minutes later, I’m in Manhattan. The city pulses with life and excitement. With that much energy flowing so close to home, it is a joy for me to visit once or twice a month for no reason at all except to roam and explore different neighborhoods.
Recently I shared with a friend how I love to visit the city. This friend lives closer to the city than I do but confided in me that he doesn’t ever go because he is not familiar with the streets or how to get from one place to another. I thought about that for a while. I thought about how I need those doses of energy that city life gives me to balance the peace I experience from living in suburbia. I thought about how every one of my senses comes life by inserting myself into a new place and how good that is for my soul. I thought about how stimulating the senses helps me stay aware and mindful of the world around me.
And then I made a connection. If I were to live inside of fear, I would lose my sense of wonder and curiosity. Fear is a huge inhibitor. It paralyzes and stifles. I understand that we all live with fear on different levels and truly, I am still stunted in areas because of fear. (I’m working on it). I also view it as an invisible barrier and once we break through it, we level up to our next opportunity to greet life in a whole new way.
For a very long time I allowed grief to swallow me up and consume all of my thoughts. I prolonged a dalliance with pharmaceuticals because they masked and dulled all of the feelings. That was fear. I found the courage to work through those feelings and the end result has been clarity, wonder, and curiosity for all the experiences. Now, I am living and noticing every detail of my everyday. It is a practice in presence. It keeps me thirsty for so much more.
P.S. If you feel like awakening your senses is what you need most right now, join me this July for The Holy Hush where we will explore self care through journaling, meditation, photography, and sensual rituals. You can read more here: creativesensual.com
“Does she walk her self care talk?” ~Bella
My favorite time of the day is when the light begins to fade just before darkness sets in. The sky becomes a masterpiece of pastels and I am left breathless by its beauty. It feels quiet, like the rest of the world is ready to rest along with me.
I share a lot of stories about self care. What does that even mean? For me it means taking a little bit of time each day to care for myself. Even if I only have 10 minutes to spare, like the day I took my photo, I will take it.
On this day, I was feeling quiet. Truthfully, I was really emotional, almost on the verge of tears. My soul is extra sensitive these days. I’ve been working out and planting vegetables in the garden in the hope of expelling some of that sad energy. But sometimes we have to make room for the feelings – good or bad. On this day, I knew I needed a moment of rest. I knew I needed to let what I was feeling settle in and be. I poured myself a cup of coffee and relaxed into the early evening just before getting a good night of sleep. It was exactly what I needed and so good for my heart.