Wednesday, September 26, 2007

step up and show up more

years ago, when i was in my peer counselling course at the esquimalt neighbourhood house, one of the leaders called me on 'not showing up in my life'. she hit it on the nose. i wasn't. i was there, but not giving much of myself. i was going about my days without really engaging in my life. looking back i can see that i had done that for a long time.

its been a year since i've been out of my depression. i remember last september feeling the cloud depart from over my head, but being left not really knowing who i was anymore. i was sorting through that all fall but once the new year hit i was full force emerging with my new sense of self. I feel like i have been 'showing up' in my life. in my creative life. not so much in my friendships with others, but big time in terms of my friendship with myself.

lately i've been feeling called to step up and show up more. in a number of ways in my life. in my worklife (as a postpartum doula) I have a few new and exciting projects happening. really big ones actually, that will benefit and transform my working self. but to make them successful i have to embody more confidence.
i'm supposed to be an expert.
i've never been big on experts.
experts tend to isolate others from being involved in the subject.
luckily this isn't academia.
and i feel like i can become the kind of 'expert' i wish from others.
the share the knowledge kinda expert.
but i've gotta step up and show up more.

i have been overwhelmed in the last few months by the support of others for my photographic endeavours. i've had more positive encouragement that i could have imagined. when i used to perform i would get similar support. simply put, people believing in me. but with music, i kind of left it behind...not really believing in myself enough to push ahead with it.

It feels different with photography. I don't have fear there. It feels so a part of who i am now. Its the way i see the world. I feel called to follow it. but once again, the 'step up and show up more' thing. I'm already getting requests for photo shoots. I feel like I need to clear the premesis of any reminants of self doubt and just go for it all.

i don't ever want to take being believed in for granted.
with music i feel like i did that in a way.
thank the goddess for second chances.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: the bathroom (week 4)

Earlier today I was feeling like I was kinda done with this months spc theme 'the bathroom'. My bathroom is pretty little and somewhat uninspiring. But on my daily adventures I snapped some shots that are my favourite of the whole month.

Here are a few outakes that I can't resist but post!

Check out more Self Portrait Challenges here.

I love taking pic's in public bathrooms. I rarely have the guts to take it outside the stall, but the above black and white were taken in at my favourite movie theatre after seeing a matinee of '2 days in paris' and the b-room was empty so away i clicked!this has been my second month of doing the spc's and i'm full o' gusto for the next month!

its taking a bit to get back in the swing of things after my recent travels. before i left i was in a great daily art making groove and i'm yearning to get that back. i'm also super glad to be back in the swing of things over at the visually lovely citygirl/countrygirl

artfully yours,

Monday, September 24, 2007

one wedding and a whole lotta joy

i've have been an absentee blogger. with beautiful reason.

i've been
watching the world from above (out the plane window)
driving to the oregon coast
basking in breathtaking beauty of the ocean
climbing sandstone cliffs
spreading my arms wide to the sky
snapping photos like the paparazzi
hiking to the most beautiful beach
deep breathing
hugging my sister

watching her wed her love

inspired by the potential of love

amidst lots of playful moments

around a very beautiful collection of people.

i will likely be sharing some of the revelations that i had this weekend. it was life changing in very gentle but profound ways.
i heart love and life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

beautiful birth!

I was sent this phenomenal birth by a colleauge.
it is no doubt the most beautiful birth i have ever seen!

Self Portrait Challenge: the bathroom (week 3)

With this last week of travel, there is no doubt that my weekly-sub-theme for this week would have to be public washrooms!
The above is my favourite and by far the most gorgeous bathroom of the week.

I won't stop there though. Here is a tour of vivienne's tour of the bathrooms of the pacific northwest!

on a train speeding its way from seattle to portland

fuel cafe on alberta st in pdx!

barbaties pan downtown p-town!

imo cafe in seattle

and finally back in vancouver! at pacific central station!

and to end favourite bathroom graffitti, found at the train station in vancouver

for more bathroom related self portraits go here!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blog Love

the train is stopped in olympia, washington for a few minutes and i've found some!
i failed to mention in the last post how EXCITED i was to have done a guest post over at Magpie Girl's website. Her website is packed full of inspiration....check out the Habitudes, Creative challenges, Reviews and most definitely the Spiritual Sunday posts (found under Priestessy Things). I check out her website daily and keep coming back because of all the richness Rachelle brings into the world!

another lovely blog related moments that happened this weekend was when at a farmers market a lovely woman named christine came up to me and asked if my bag that says 'dreamer' was a Jen Lemen bag! I love how widespread we are!

i also was super happy to get my hands on the new book from one of my fav bloggers keri smith called the Non-Planner Datebook. It is totally my dream datebook...full of spots for daily observations.

i'm mighty grateful for these three artful bloggers!

coastal love

i love that bikes rule the road here.
i love how comfortable i feel here without even trying.
i love how easy it is for me to find food i can eat here (without gluten).
and i LOVE
the coast.

yesterday we drove up to the coast. i felt completely nauseous the entire way there and back as i am so not used to being in a car on the highway. it felt much like a rollercoaster! but after arriving in the sweetest little town called cannon beach, some most delicious prawns and smoked salmon settled my belly just fine! this town has bunnies running wild everywhere, munching on grass. this one stole my heart:

we concluded it would have a much better life in this town than in a cage at home. we headed out to the coast where troy was going to go out surfin' in his kayak. sarah and i walked the beach and took pictures. i also took two rolls with my new holga (which leaves me breathtaken...i can't wait to develop them!

i'm heading out momentarily to take the train back home. i will be back in only 3 days. i ask...why am i even going back? well, a few commitments (two of whom are named ladybug and elliot and purr loudly). i'll be flying back for the weekend....for an event i must be secretive about for the moment but will be posting many many pictures of when it happens!

so, 8 hours on the train....taking pictures out of the window, journaling, napping....sounds like a lovely day to me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

i heart portland

is this place for real?
i've never been in a town that radiated such kindness!
i'm so grateful to know that i will be coming down here on a regular basis. i've never felt so at home in a town right away.

so, lets backtrack. two days ago i got on a fast moving bus at dawn, and then a long train ride along the coast.

and then the sisters were reunited once again

we went thrift store shopping for a super fabulous (and very important) dress in my sisters life. probably the most important.

we drank wine at a beautiful wine bar

The next day (yesterday) I headed downtown on a wee solo adventure. I wandered the streets, got lost, got found again.
I love these words that were on this art peice downtown. Go Love! Thats what I feel here. Love is vibrant in its existence and its potential. As a community, I've never recieved so many smiles just walking down the street. Not necessarily downtown, but alberta st (oh beloved alberta st) just feels like home.

Go Love Go!

I felt really blessed to go out last night to a dance party with my new friend here. Not only were people so sincere when they meet you, but they don't pretend 5 minutes later that the intro never happened! It makes me think about the energy I put out. When people are cold, it doesn't make me want to kill 'em with kindness (though i try sometimes) so I wonder how much I perpetuate the snottyness in vancouvs. In a community like this, we're perpetuating some serious kindness, smiling back and forth at each other! I think vancouver needs a little smile therapy.

I have a few more days here. We are heading out to the coast tomorrow (and i highly suspect my love affair for portland will get sufficiently deeper once i get myself and my camera on that beach).

Dear Portland.

I love you.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: the bathroom (week 2)

what would a bathroom-themed-self-portrait-challenge be without a little skin. just a little.

this whole turning the camera on yourself thing has a whole bunch of reprocusions. its been amazing to take beautiful pictures of myself. to acknowledge that thanks to digital you can keep takin' em until there is one you like. and i don't remember how many it took to get one i liked, or all the strange awkward faces i made on the way to a nice one, i just remember how it makes me feel to find my own beauty.

a long while back i did a wee nudie photo shoot (actually, 3 in total) and it was pretty lifechanging. to see my curves and chub being portrayed as beautiful was a-ma-zing. it was also a very playful, honouring experience. i've got pics of my toes, bum, breasts, hips, neck. all of it. as is. in all its unusual perfection.

more self portrait challenge pics here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

sun soaked

i feel like i have dropped one of the protective shells i wear (one of many)
and am letting things soak in through my cells
the moon is no longer my sole guide, i am no longer walking stubbornly alone
its time to let the sun soak my face
let connections fill me with a different kind of wisdom
between the dominant summer and preparing for the nesting to come
i am no longer fearing either the darkness or the light.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

painted on the bathroom mirror

Tuesday flew right by me (rather busy playing monopoly and such).

I'm shocked that I forgot too because I'm pretty excited about the new Self-Portrait Challenge theme 'the bathroom'. I'm a big fan of bathroom self-portraits. Public bathrooms, decorations in bathrooms, yes even on the throne, and most of the best pictures I've taken of myself have been in the mirror in the bathroom. So to start off this month's is a little bathroom mirror action.

It is very common for me to paint on my bathroom mirror. at first it was affirmations to encourage myself to have a better relationship with the person in the mirror, stating things like 'you are beautiful'. since then it has been poems, quotes, hearts, really anything with intention. plus its something to read while you are sitting on the toilet!

the most recent words are from this poem that i first read in a post at superhero designs. it goes like this:

Love after Love

The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other’s welcome,

And say, sit here, Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

~ Derek Walcott ~

for more bathroom themed self-portraits look here.


my heart feels so full today.

i spent the day yesterday with my lovely friend who is 9. I've known her since she was 2. Actually I've known about her since she was in the womb. We played monopoly for hours, went on a dog walk armed with cameras, laughed loudly at a movie and read books out loud. I had no concept of time all day and felt like that goofy vivienne that is a big part of my authentic self but often gets silenced by being an adult.

once her mom and stepdad came home we had the most delicious down home food and great company. today I am so filled up with gratitude for their friendships.

also, on sunday when i was hanging out with the lovely ladies making art, z spoke to me about her experience watching me emerge from my depression. about how each visit i seem more and more inspired about the world. i felt so witnessed by her words and her presence in my life. our friendship began when i had little to give, and she didn't ask much, but together along with the lovely j have made some beautiful art and growing connections. the art and the company is heart-healing.

i talk/write about the depression/spiritualcrisis i went through last year, i guess because i am so soon out of it and still interpreting it. i remember feeling so disconnected from friends. in their company i felt present and i had great love for them. but i don't know if it was protection or just disconnection, but i couldn't feel that know....connection. I see clearly now that I had to disconnect from just about everyone in my life to really deal with myself. and i think that was healthy, not self destructive (in my case).

i had to break all my ties, because in them were nearly undestructable threads of things I that I couldn't offer in friendships anymore.

i often pine for my friends in toronto. when i was depressed i would think of them a lot. all i could handle at the time were friends that lived far away and asked nothing of me. i had nothing to give to anyone but myself. have you ever felt this?
it was almost a mantra sometimes, to keep going. "i may feel more alone than i ever imagined possible. but hilary, lucas, alison, eliza and ashton love me". i knew i had a way bigger support system than that, but they were some of the closest to me, yet physically far away. very safe.

and now i'm not so scared any more. i still love my toronto crew madly and fiercely and still want to move there often. vancouver doesn't yet have my heart. but i'm finally starting to feel connection to this place. and to the people in it.

there is something about today that feels different. like up until now i've been trying hard to feel that connection, but today it has seated itself back in my soul. i knew that all the loneliness would be worth it. that someday it would lead back to this.
i'm so glad for both these tears of being with, and the tears of being without.
they would not be without one another.

i had to push a lot of people away to finally hear what I had to say.
i wrote i'm sorry in that last sentence but had to erase it. because belittling myself is something of my past.
i'm not sorry i had to push so many people away.
but i am so grateful for their patience, their love and their openness to our friendships changing.

so today i am soaking up the feeling of friendship.
yet going off on an adventure to keep connected with myself.
and am going to work hard to keep these two elements of connection in balance.
i don't want to lose either of those feelings.
ever again.

Monday, September 03, 2007

art is healing

it all started here. on a puddle jumping walk with my favourite 3 year old twins. i turned on my cell phone camera and randomly pointed it at my boot.

and then i fell in love
with the ripples in the puddle
with the way you can capture a moment
with the way i see the world

one of my former partners is a photographer. i had always just left the task to him and took the role of the subject of the photo. i enjoyed taking pictures, but was most definitely not drawn to explore it further. my form of art and connection to the muse had always been with songwriting and singing.

until i met the digital camera. there is something about having the freedom to try as many times as you like that opens the doors to this medium for me. and the more i work at it the less tries i need.

then i got my point and shoot. oh...even deeper love. at the time i was just emerging from a depression. no, i had definitely emerged. but i was at the point where i knew i had worked hard to change behavioural patterns, to make a commitement to make healthier choices, to self care...but i wasn't too sure who i was and how to function in the world without my toxic self-sacrificing behaviour.

so i started taking pictures of the subject i'd spent the last year in a deep study with. i tried to figure out who she was and how i saw the beauty in her. and find it i did.

it wasn't just self portraits, though they were incredibly healing. i started taking it everywhere. capturing the little bits of beauty i saw along the way. and life hasn't been the same since.

recently i bought my dream camera (digital rebel xti) and though i still take my little camera everywhere, the rebel has brought a whole new element to this art. it takes amazing pictures, but it has also brought me back to the roots of this medium that i've chosen (or that has chosen me). i want to know everything about photography, how this works, what does this mean. i ask a lot of questions of photo friends and spend hours on the net almost daily researching something photography related. flickr is also endlessly amusing!

some avenues that have me particularly smitten these days are ttv through vintage cameras and toy cameras like the holga or the fisheye. i've always been a messy sort of artist, loving the imperfection, so the unpredictability and playfulness of these methods have me over the moon.

i'm also feeling super grateful for two friend: miss j and miss z. last february we started getting together on sunday afternoons to make art. sometimes with a specific goal or medium, but often just with our own task at hand (j is a super fabulous zine maker and z makes goregous paintings). i often would just bring a canvas and start playing. beautiful things have arisen from it. we don't meet every sunday. we all are seriously committed to self-care, so some weeks that takes priority. we met yesterday after taking much of the summer off. it was so lovely to be in their company again, have lovely chats and get our hands all covered in paint. i feel so much gratitude for the way being in their company has opened me up to an everyday experience of living creatively.

so today i am so thankful for this growing world of being artful. reading artful blogs, making art daily, taking pictures everywhere i go. it has helped me not only emerge from a difficult time but it is transforming my life and helping me truly engage in it in ways i never imagined.

art is healing. thats one thing i know for sure.