What does it mean to be yourself? How do we break free from the fixation over our physical body and focus more on who we are as individuals & what we have to contribute to the world. I had a chat with two of the most beautiful women I know about their personal experiences living a beautiful life.
A story of inspiration: When I first met Heather I instantly started looking up to her for guidance and inspiration. She was like a big sister that I was slightly intimidated by. Once I started truly being myself around Heather, I discovered how we connected on an authentic level. I eventually learned that Heather also looked to me for advice. Being genuine with Heather taught me that we are all on our own unique journey that requires support from others, and we are all so alike - one being experiencing different parts of the universe at the same time. Remember, our strengths may be someone else's weaknesses. We all have something to contribute to others.
Q. In your work you capture women in their true essence. How are you, as a woman connected to your true essence?
A. First, it would help to go into what the word "essence" means. The common definition of word is 'the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual feature or features.' Another source defines it as substance, spirit, lifeblood, heart, principle, soul, and core. So, in that case, there is a never a time nor place when we are not connected to our inherent essence, we just forget that we are.
This can happen for a variety of reasons. Many of us become lost in work, an addiction, or even another person. We also often forget the truth of who we are as a whole on a more spiritual level. The oneness, connectivity, and love that we are and have for one another has been numbed by our ego, our pain and the illusory nature of life.
For me, connecting to essence is purely an act of Self remembering. To recall the truth of my being, my existence, and to become fully present in that awareness. It is through that act that I feel connected to myself, and to the interconnected web that involves every other being on the planet.
There various ways to "Self remember", the more popular of which being meditation, conscious breathing and acute awareness of your environment. I apply many different methods on a regular basis to achieve this.
Q. As a photographer you must notice a difference in your clients who are aware of their self and connected to their oneness and when a client is defined by otherness. How do you support and encourage women to be themselves?
A. For the most part, all of my clients are interested in personal development and expanding their spiritual experience. Within that space, there are definitely moments where we all 'forget' and become more attached to individuality, this happens to all of us at certain phases in life.
From that, I've observed how important it is for my clients to feel heard and understood, no matter what phase of growth they are in. One of the greatest gifts I can offer in my position is to listen to my clients, and reflect back to them the beauty of what they are sharing. Also, maintaining a sense of compassion and enthusiasm for another's growth and expansion can be highly encouraging. There are also moments where a bit of tough love can go a long way, but this must be done carefully and with permission.
One of the most effective skill sets I use in my practice is powerful communication. The more effectively I am able to connect and communicate with my client, the more likely they are able to open themselves to me. We all just want to feel safe and loved, that is when connection, or oneness can really occur.
Q. Looking through the photos you have taken over the years, what do you see when you a capture a woman being herself?
A. All the women I've photographed have inspired me with their raw beauty, good nature and unique qualities. One of the most inspiring of those qualities, which seems to show up across the board when a woman is being herself, is a feeling of openness.
The feminine nature, when it feels safe, becomes open and receptive. From that open place a stunning vulnerability arises, and from that vulnerability exudes an immense power. I suppose it's in those moments that I really see a woman as herself, no longer held by her ego or fears, but released into love, compassion and joyous oneness. She allows herself to be seen fully, and sees others as reflections of her own divinity.
It's really quite magical to be in the presence of a woman in this state!
Q. How do your clients inspire you?
A. I could never recall all the ways in which my clients inspire me, but as an artist I'm constantly looking for inspiration - it's my 'life blood!' However, I would say if I had to pick one thing it would be courage. The courage to stand up, be seen, be vulnerable and share themselves with the world.
Being photographed, as well as creating a successful brand, is not necessarily an easy process for everyone. It's quite in-depth, and requires a lot of inner searching and emotional awareness. I'm always honoured by the women who show up to get my guidance and support in stepping into this place of deep empowerment.
A story of trust: I met Krystle mid "leap of faith"- a solo journey with an intention to meet like-minded individuals who shared my passion for music. The connection was instant, but little did I know Krystle would be an essential part of my spiritual journey. Krystle opened up to me. Her self confidence gave me space to trust and be my true self in our friendship. Krystle is an extension of me - When I ask her a question or go to her for guidance I feel as if she is speaking to my own inner conscious being. The trust we have formed is a result of being who we are, to our full potential. Krystle and I recently met up in Hawaii and I was challenged to break free of my programmed lifestyle. Krystle helped me see my potential, and let me tell you...it is endless.
Q. When did you discover how powerful it was to be yourself?
A. As a young girl, I was acutely aware of how my energy and emotion effected the world around me. I moved often as a child, and each new school presented the unique opportunity to be whomever I wanted - perpetually the 'new girl'. Looking back, I am grateful to have attended 12 schools in 12 years, as there was never any preconception of my character, allowing me to fully express qualities that may have been gently conditioned out through the continuity of school mates, community, and tradition. Namely, my independence, confidence and ability to make friends easily. So I suppose I have always observed and been drawn to the power of authenticity. There were a few uncertain years during puberty, but we all have bad hair days.
Q. Did this change the way you viewed yourself? Did this change the way others viewed you?
A. Having this awareness early on in life, there is no defining moment when I saw myself in a different light. As for others, I have never cared much for what people thought of me. It has been my opinion that what other people think is none of my business. Everything we experience on Earth is based on perspective. Much like a hologram, the image can change from angle to angle but the core data remains the same. I just keep smiling and hope that my intention and love for others shines clearly.
Q. How does being yourself help you connect with your true beauty?
A. I feel true beauty comes from connecting with yourself on all levels: physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
Q. What makes a woman beautiful in your eyes?
A. A woman who honours her soul, and the temple in which it resides. Someone who is on the path of discovery, striving to share her authentic brand of love with the world. Whether that is through art, music, nurturing, teaching or various outlets, she knows she has a purpose and she intends to live each day as an example. The process of re-discovering our innate gifts endows each being with a divine confidence, faith that everything is unfolding exactly as it is meant to.
This kind of woman glows, and others are drawn to the light. This usually means she has a huge heart, open mind, quick smile, warm hugs, listening skills and sees the silver lining in every situation. She is spiritually sexy.
A story of dreams : I met myself for the first time on the streets on Brooklyn, NYC. I had a metro card, an apartment near the projects and a voice inside saying "this is your moment to shine". Not one person in NYC knew my name - I was alone and ready to become the person I had always dreamed to be. I let myself be me, no hiding. I began living without fear and judgement (slowly but surely) and things started happening for me - things I could only dream of. A little under two years later I embarked on a solo trip to the Big Island of Hawaii with a backpack and zero plans, zero expectations - just a few mental notes (and requests from the universe) of what I wanted and needed from the trip. I expanded, attracted, experienced and felt everything I needed in that two week period. I believe all of this happened because I was being authentic and true to myself. Being genuine translates and trust can build trust instantly - I tell you this from experience. Be yourself, be free.
"Just be yourself". An idea women hear quite often. "You will land the job" "you will steal his heart""you will appear more beautiful". What is the secret to being ourselves - the formula we need to attract things, people and positivity. Let me tell you, there is no 5 step system. Don't be disappointed, but no one will be able to tell you how to be you, except you - it is a journey, honey.
I am not here to tell you how to be you, as I am still trying to figure out how to be me. I am here to show you the benefit of being you, the beauty of being you and the power of your life essence.
*We want to strive for oneness - the quality of being one, unique, the state of being united. over otherness - focusing on who we think we are, how we want to be seen by other and groups to which we belong.
Not only will you FEEL these things when you are living as one, but you will just BE.
Feeling powerful is exhilarating, and being powerful is even more so. You will attract respect, kindness and honesty. When you are yourself you take up more space by expanding into a bigger soul. You will reach your highest potentials. Being bigger is powerful in all areas of your life.
The secret to true beauty? Embracing what you have. Give the world your beauty by owning it and authentically being you. No one else in this world looks like you - how powerful is that? When you own your beauty you believe it. Your beauty becomes your truth - and there is no denying your truth. Remember, beauty is not the way you look; it is the way you present yourself, the way you interact with others and the way you view yourself. Your beauty will have an impact on others.
You will only ever be you when you are connected to yourself. Finding your life essence will make this easier. What do you "get lost" in? Is it dancing, singing, volunteering? You will know what it is because it will feel like you are in a full body armour - nothing can tear you down. You are in it with all of your being. It is so important to do the things you love to do. You will shine brighter and brighter with each passing day.
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