Friday, February 29, 2008

finding the magic in unexpected places

lately i've been super inspired by the magic one can make using photoshop. layers and textures are making me swoon. i'm digging back into all my old images and i'm amazed at how an image i might have overlooked before can be turned into something amazing. Like the image above....really its quite a boring image, grey skies, but not anymore!

yesterday i was aching to get out my old duaflex and take some ttv pictures. it had been a while. i went to a big beautiful garden near my home and went for a photo walk. but the ttv shots just weren't happening. i mean, they are ok, but they just didn't spark the magic that i usually find when i look through that old camera. mildly disappointed, i kept on walking around the gardens. this is a really amazing place by the way. it used to be a golf course, so its a great expanse of gardens.

right now not much is growing. i'm making sure i visit at least once a month as i want to be more aware of the changing season and witness as much blossoming beauty as i can! Last month it was the witchazel blossoming bright yellow. This month the rodadendrun is just starting to emerge. My favourite, the magnolias, are awaiting their emergence, still content in their fussy cases.

as i wandered the garden my eyes started to hurt when i looked through the camera. what? my whole new life plan is based on the need to be able to look through a viewfinder for the rest of my life! so i decided to just take the camera away from my eyes. with the holga camera they recommend this. shoot from the hip, let go, don't plan out the perfect picture cause it won't come out that way! just let the magic happen. so that i did. and it brought the magic back...that spark that differentiates simply just taking a picture from engaging in the creative process of photography. here's a few of them!

in this ever changing and growing world of making art through the viewfinder i'm being blown away, humbled, challenged and given gifts from the muse...all at the same time. on oprah yesterday she and marianne williamson talked about how when you are on the right path, the universe falls into place around you, to help you on your way. being someone who has spent most of my adult life feeling like i was not on the right path and not knowing how to get there...i agree with them. they also spoke about how important the challenges, the being lost, the confusion, even the depression is a part of this journey. i know i wouldn't feel so inspired today without going to those depths of sadness in the last few years. i think back on those times and now i can see how important it was to be there. there was magic there too. our shadow side is an important part of us.

this all makes me think...
how can i try something in a different way to re-invigorate my drive for it?
what patterns do i have that could use a change in perspective?
what is there in my life right now that feels frustrating but is really a part of the greater good?
what other exciting possibilities could be right around the corner?

how 'bout you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Love Thursday: love notes from a busy week

Well, its friday. But I still wanna celebrate love thursday! Never too late for love right?

Things I loved about this week:

~This amazing poem by Dancing Mermaid that makes you feel like she wrote it just for you and your precious heart. I read it a few hours after posting that last post...and it felt like such a blessing.

~This album by Rose Cousins has been on repeat on my ipod all week. I can't get enough of it!

~spending lots of time with my three red haired bestest buds (2 of the 3 as shown above). although it was mostly because 1 or 2 of them were home sick and I was helping out, we had some serious fun. i've know them all since just after the twins were born and they light up my life!

~making plans with my parents for their upcoming trip out west to see the sisters. they are flying into vancouver to see me and then we three are driving down to portland to see my sister and her hubbie. also included in this trip is a few nights at a beach house on the coast (how dreamy!).

~hearing super exciting baby and birthing news. two new gorgeous beings born to mama friends yesterday. news that one dear sweet mama hopefully will have the birthing experience she dreamed of.

~the decadence of eating crab (i'm getting better at crackin' em open each time i eat them. its hard work!)

~my photography class. such a great group of people. a room full of laughs and big learning!

~putting out my fears. feeling so supported in doing so!!! (you rock!)


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the stories we tell ourselves (its time to rewrite them!)

the layers of the onion, peeled back one by one
become thicker and more potent the closer you get to the core.

one of my mentors, phylis, teacher of my chakra courses years ago described healing in this way. she spoke of how most people can't just jump to the core issue that pains their souls. we need to start at the surface and work inwards.

i've been thinking about this lately, as i feel like i'm in a really good place. though i've had one of those weeks where that negative voice in my head is talking way too much, i'm generally feeling really really happy. i feel like i've emerged into that next step of my life, or at least i see the way there.

but i see that next layer ahead of me, and its not nearly as scary as it felt like even months ago.

this last big layer of my healing dealt with self care and boundaries mainly. it took a while to relearn and reformat the way i function in this world and to learn how to function healthier as an empathic person. though its constant relearning, i've set the groundwork to be a healthier me, especially with giving and receiving.

what is ahead of me are two 'stories that i tell myself' that really hold me back. it took a while to realize that these are stories, they are not truths. this is the stuff i save for my journal...and not really things i talk about with friends....but i feel like i want to put this out...that if i speak it aloud i know that it really is time to begin the healing.

so here it is. i have told myself this story. the story is that i am not beautiful and i am not attractive. ouch. i know its a common internal dialouge. as women in this society we are almost given this story to tell ourselves, while we are told everywhere we look what beauty is, in images and expectations we almost become numb to. but this story holds me back. it holds me back from being open to love. it holds me back from relating to men. it holds me back from loving and really accepting myself. it holds me back from really living the life i deserve to live.
i've said it.

when i look in the mirror i do see beauty. i'm not one of those people who thinks everything about me is ugly. i feel comfortable in my own body and have a good relationship to self love. i guess where this self-love stops is that i don't believe that other people (specifically men) see this type of beauty. really, i've fallen hook line and sinker for what society tells men to define as what makes a woman beautiful. believe me, i see that there are men out there who don't believe that hype. i guess i just keep them far enough away to retain that myth that i have accepted.

the other layer i'm dealing with is about food and my relationship to it. i don't even know the words for the story i tell myself in my relationship with food. thats how much work i have to do. but what delicious work it is.

i've known that its coming up to be the time to start actively trying to heal this relationship, especially as i've been reading lots of books these days with food as a common theme. amazing books:

gluten free girl
animal vegetable miracle
crazy sexy cancer
and now
in defense of food

i feel like this is the perfect way to start this healing. i don't want to diet. i am part fat activist and part emotional eater. its an interesting place to be, having worked hard to feel empowered in my body as is, but to also see the way that food and i are not a healthy couple. you wouldn't know it if you watched me eat my dinner tonight, a big bowl of lightly steamed veggies and some lovely protein source. so many assumptions relate fat with being unhealthy. so not true. i feel really blessed to have a community of folks in my life that are fat and healthy. i have goals to improve my body health, but i refuse to make the shape and size of my body the forefront of this changing relationship with food. its about so much more than that.

i don't want a quick fix. so i'm reading peoples stories about their relationship to food, reading information that comes from a place of kindness, not a desire to make money off of societies desire to make us all shrink. i'm talking with friends who have a healthy perspective on their relationship to food, people of all shapes and sizes. i'm reconnecting with the produce isle, trying new things and getting nutrients from their organic source. i'm not letting go of the pleasure of eating food, but redefining the choices i made around food. i'm at the very beginning of listening to what is really up when i decide to treat my body with disrespect (which for me is emotional eating. for others it may be deprivation or an excessive control of food). i feel like i have a lot of work to do here and look forward to what will come from this work.

so there it is. the stories that i'm rewriting.
i'm still not sure i'm going to actualy press 'publish post' but i feel like its time to be vulnerable and say it.
here we go....

Monday, February 18, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue (week three)

the widest blue skies.
it was the most gorgeous of days today. i headed down towards the water to work on a depth-of field and composition assignment for my photography class. could i have asked for a more perfect day. and today became the day that i fell in love with film and with taking pictures manually. ever since i got my SLR i've been a big fan of puttin' it on the P (the program setting) which sets the exposure for you. i love it and it generally does a brillant job. but once i started working manually today i realized its far less intimidating than i thought. especially on a bright and sunny day like today, i really didn't have to do much altering of the settings i had, as long as i was still in the sun. i could still have some degree of spontaneity, which i would never want to lose touch with. i'm looking forward to more of this learning.

i came across this amazing website recently and so love the videos. i watched one the other day about shooting manually that helped encourage me today! i definitely recommend checking it out if you love taking photos!

over at shutter sisters today there was a wonderful task, a belated valentines celebration of partners (mostly hubbies). i loved seeing all the beautiful partners of all the wonderful ladies that are part of the ever growing shutter sisters community. although i've noticed that my life is quite different than a lot of the ladies who's blogs i read and who are a part of this widespread network of photog-inspired-ladies, it felt really apparent today. i see pictures and read about loving marriages/partnerships and i feel like it has helped me focus my hope and intention about my love-future. that said, i felt compelled to comment and note that not everyone has a hubbie or partner, (and not everyone has kids or is able to have kids). i guess i'm just kinda havin' a poor me day (we're all allowed those once in a while right?) i'm trying to savour this solo stage. i think i do it pretty well. i'm in no rush to get out of it and i do see the amazingness of this stage...but part of me is looking forward to looking back on these days (thats actually a line of a mandy moore song!).

check out more blue self portraits at the Self Portrait Challenge website!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

superhero photo challenge: shoot into the sun

i took this picture last fall while sitting in my friend zinnia's back yard making art. i took about 50 pictures, obsessed with the way the sun was chanelling into my camera.

today was a rare sunny vancouver winter day. i'm aching for wide blue sky days. i took my bike out of hibernation and went for a super afternoon ride down random streets, through alleyways, taking it slow and then pushing myself. it felt so nourishing for my soul.

in superhero andrea's post at shutter sisters, she speaks of being told not to shoot into the sun. i've never received that advice...actually the only advice i've received is that which i've requested. also, i'm allergic to people who 'know-it-all' and avoid conversations in which people pile their 'expertise' on me. i'm really grateful that my photography teacher at the college is nothing like that!

here are a few more sun soaked pictures. find others at shutter sisters!

Friday, February 15, 2008

7 steps to (another) lovely solo vday

i had a lovely and amazing solo heart-day on thursday. sure, i have my days when its hard to be on my own. like this one...or this one... but most days i'm quite content being alone. looking back at last years vday, i'm so grateful for the last 365 days. i know i still found it tough to feel consistently happy then. now i do.

so this is how i made this heart-day beautiful.

1. wake up early, look in the mirror and say i love you!

2. take yourself out for the most delicious breakfast at the lovely tea shop in your neigbourhood

3. write yourself a love note in your journal

4. download this woman's beautiful album and swoon over it all day

5. call all your lovelies far far away and leave geeky yet love filled phone messages

6. take yourself out to see the new romantic comedy -Definitely, Maybe-

7. treat yourself with kindness all day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue (week two)

The throat chakra ~ represented by the colour blue.

"The Throat Chakra is associated with the color sky blue. This chakra is our will center. The healthfulness of the fifth chakra is in relation to how honestly one expresses himself/herself. Lying violates the body and spirit . We speak our choices with our voices (throats). All choices we make in our lives have consequences on an energetic level. Even choosing not to make a choice such as in repressing our anger (not speaking out) may manifest into laryngitis. We have all experienced that "lump in our throats" when we are at a crossroad of not knowing how to speak the right words in any given situation, perhaps even stuffing our own emotions. A challenge of the throat chakra is to express ourselves in the most truthful manner. Also to receive and assimilate information. Seek only the truth."

My intution speaks in my gut and my throat.

For years, as part of my wiccan studies, I took an amazing course called 'The Tree of Life' in which we spent 3 weeks studying, living, observing, being in each chakra. Over these many months it was so amazing to see what manifested or changed when working in each chakra. Each time we were in the root chakra I had serious pain in my lower back that I couldn't get rid of but would feel better once out of the chakra, lovin' happened in the heart chakra, either i spoke my truth or i didn't when in the throat chakra.

I feel like my whole depression last year involved a whole lot of work in the throat chakra. I had to learn how to say NO. Tough work, but vital. Each time I didn't say NO when i needed to, i would feel that horrid ball in my throat and ill in my gut. It became impossible to ignore.

The throat chakra also makes me think of singing. I miss singing and making music. Photography has generally consumed all of my creative energy. I have no doubt that the songs will return, but I miss them. I also believe that all engagement in creativity is for the greater good for my spirit!

This is an older picture, taken with the 'photo booth' on my mac and then altered by me. I was in Hilton Head at this time, blissed out by living a beautiful, slow, nourishing vacation life. The sun was streaming in through the window and caught by the camera in a way that represents that chakra to me.

Check out more Blue self portraits here.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Love Thursday: Written in the Sand

My sister and her husband were married on a beautiful cliff overlooking the ocean. After the ceremony we hiked down to the beach for a picnic. Once delicious treats and wine were had, I wandered to the waters edge with a guest alison and she drew a big heart in the sand with their names in it as I took pictures of the moment.

Once we packed up and walked along the beach towards the big hike back up the hill, we passed the heart we had made earlier. The waves had erased the bottom of the heart but not their names. So my sister's new hubbie stopped to re-draw the heart. This beautiful impromptu act added such a sweet moment to an already perfect day.

See more Love Thursday pics over at Shutter Sisters.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Self Portrait Challenge: Blue (week one)

This month's theme for the Self-Portrait Challenge is 'Blue'. Upon reading this i immediately thought about my hike up this beautiful big sand cliff during my sisters wedding weekend on the oregon coast. i wanted to pair the picture of me blissed out (and wind blown) with the big blue sky and a picture of why i was feeling that way. so here you are!

I have a lovely SPC story for you today too! I got an email yesterday from a long lost lovely and amazing friend and she said that she had been visiting the SPC site and looking at the pictures posted on the main page. she noticed mine as there were a pile of books in my picture with some authors she liked and then looked at the blurry person dancing in the background, saw the name ladyvivienne and thought 'could it be'? and it was! i'm so excited and thankful that we're back in touch and grateful that the self-portrait challenge was part of our wonderful re-uniting! so thank you SPC!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

music for artful bloggers

i have a playlist on my ipod called 'artful blogger' that i put on most mornings when i sit down at my computer with a cup of english breakfast tea, ready to have a daily dose of gorgeous ponderings from beautiful people around the world.

for a while i've been wanting to share this list of some of the most beautiful songs i know. i also want to give something to those lovely people who visit me here and to those bloggers who brighten my day. here is the can check out their websites or find them on itunes. but if you would like i'd be happy to make a cd of this collection and send it to you. just send me your snail mail info to and i'll pop it in the mail for you (i don't mind send this across the world to you by the don't be shy!)

i've always love making mixed tapes. remember the days of mixed tapes! i still love making them in that format but not everyone has a tape player anymore! these are some of my favourite artists, some of them friends. so, without further ado...

Music for Artful Bloggers Playlist:

breathe in now - george
bright morning star - kristin sweetland
eyes of love - mel watson
beautiful flower - india arie
constant - sarah noni metzner
misty mountain - toshi reagon
cherish - fruit
take the long way - po' girl
glory bound - martin sexton
happiness - the weepies
good morning starshine - serena ryder
mamma mamma - fruit
amazed - kinnie starr
nostalgie amoureuse - zap mama
release - george
you stay here - richard shindell
rain - patty griffin
calling the moon - dar williams
ain't life sweet - po' girl
praise -kinnie starr

p.s. i think you're great.

p.p.s. the above photo is one i took of sam lohs and lyndell montgomery. i think i may have posted it before, but it seems to suit this post!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

self-timed self-portraits

i had a sweet day at the beach yesterday, making little altars from shells and wood and taking self-portraits with my camera perched precariously on a rock. i came home to find that the new superhero challenge was self-timer self-portraits. doing these self portraits makes me so giggly...running back and forth between the camera and the chosen spot. i love 'em.

i still haven't posted my mondo beyondo part 2 yet....but its still developing. all week i'll see ideas that are way beyond what i've ever imagined my future would be. for example, i'll see a wall in my favourite restaurant and picture a show of my photos on their wall. its beautiful to have a way to think of these dreams...its helping me to not cut myself down from dreaming big.