“Once upon a time, when women were birds,
there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy.
The birds still remember what we have forgotten,
that the world is meant to be celebrated.”
― from the book When Women Were Birds written by Terry Tempest Williams
I've just completed my maiden voyage of Getting Naked: A photographic journey into Now. It was eight weeks of releasing perfection around my offering and just putting myself out there in a way I never have. It was eight weeks of witnessing women open their minds and hearts and celebrate their worlds in the most inspiring ways. It was eight weeks of sharing my heart stories and deeply listening to the heart stories of others.**
I hold such gratitude for this time we had together. It moved me in ways I wasn't expecting, so much in fact that rather than coming here and shouting all about it I took a couple weeks to indulge my introvert, getting really quiet and process it for a bit and sitting with all the emotions that surfaced around this.
I bow deeply to the women who trusted me enough to enter into this exploration of life landscaping together. The connections that were made, the breakthroughs that came, the love and patience given around my technical challenges, the naked bits - for myself as much as this circle.
I don't consider myself a teacher as I was learning so much more than I ever imagined in this course. I was the one being taught. I am forever a student of life. I lived the work which birthed the course, the work that has been gestating for years, and realized it's work that is never complete it simply shifts and spirals, revealing more each time.
To me getting naked is about revealing more of the rich layers of who we are at our core, stripping us naked of the masks most of us wear as protection in our everday lives and stepping into deep gratitude for all that is simply now as a means to create conscious daily choices for tomorrow.
Getting naked asks the questions: Who are we truly without all of our stuff? Who are we truly when we aren't identifying with designer labels, status symbols, putting on images of a picture perfect storefront life, the scripts we have written for those in our lives, and our long-held stories written by others? Who are we truly when we release the need to control and that which keeps us stuck? Who are we truly when we give ourselves permission to use our voices and speak our truths? Who are we truly when we put ourselves first and commit to the care and keeping of our whole selves as the way to commit to the care and keeping of others?
These are questions I am continuously exploring through this work and what I am discovering is the more layers I am able to shed, the more I am discovering my true voice... and more importantly using it.
I am also in gratitude to myself, for recognizing and allowing the always safe, well-meaning, and genuinely concerned voice of reason to surface as I was putting this course together. I was well aware of the inner voice we all too often hear, the one whose role it is to explain all the reasons why I shouldn't do it, why no one would care and how it doesn''t matter anyway.
My normal pattern would be to take this voice as gospel and allow it to quiet me, but this time was different. This time I was able to hear the voice of reason and its concerns, sincerely thank it for caring about my possibly looking like a fool, and it's need to protect... and then sending it on its way so I may, in fact, look like a fool.
Why? Because I believe our willingness to look like the fool is one of the most vital parts of the creative process, the fool is where our brilliance and light live and without risking showing this side of ourselves we simply fit in to a role that society created for us.
This was a breakthrough for me because let's face it, it's scary to look like the fool. But I no longer fear it because I know that what I create does matter. I know that what each of us creates does matter. And when women sing we heal the world through our joy. So I encourage all of us to remember what birds have never forgotten and to sing the song that is in your soul. You will be heard.
I have been blogging since 2006 my very first post inspired by my being laid off from a job I hated, yet through the years I have shied away from huge marketing efforts around my own heart centered business. I was of the mindset in my own business of not wanting to sing too loudly for fear of appearing somewhat schmarmy in my marketing.
But what my own course has taught me is that I bring something truly valuable to the world and that I want to reach out in bigger ways to my people; my mindset has shifted so much that reaching as many people as I can is something I am now wildly passionate about. What this course taught me is that I am not here to play small, none of us are.
My quiet time was vital but I am now ready to sing. Expect to hear a lot more from me over the coming weeks as I write my ass off. I have so much to say its hard not to put it all in one blog post, but I know now that each of us truly holds a well of wisdom that waters the gardens within each of us - this is why community and tribe building are so important. I know now that when we hide our songs, we all suffer.
As women we are meant to spread our wings, sing and soar high. The way we do that is through supporting each other and revealing the portals and possibilities that are already present.
Let us return to being birds.
I want to get naked with you and help you undress your truth, your voice, your dreams.
Some have asked if I will be holding another community based session of Getting Naked. The answer is Yes!... though not until January 2013 - registration details to be announced soon.
However, this October I will be offering a self-paced digital download and workbook of the entire course for those wanting to fly solo with some yummy bonus extras added that I can't wait to share.
**To read what others have expressed about getting naked I gathered some of the unsolicited comments here.
This morning I drove down Pacific Coast Highway to be with her radiant light and energy for the first time in the flesh. With giddy anticipation in my sights and the gorgeous view of the shoreline to our left, my daughter Isabella quickly noticed and verbalized that we weren't turning into our normal sea spot.
We're going to a new beach today, to meet new friends, I told her.
No, I don't want to go. I want my old beach. What if the new one is scary? She asked.
I observe this pattern in her often. She is afraid to try new things but once she does she of course experiences the world widening all around her. Interestingly enough, I also observe that even though she experiences these a-ha moments and says afterward each time that wasn't so scary after all, it doesn't make the next new adventure any less frightening at first.
When we arrived at the "new" beach and she met her new friends she was in absolute heaven, any trace of fear was left on the road and she couldn't wait to play in the waves where she spent the entire day.
I took this photo of her as she played, observing her running out towards the water and then running back to the sand as the waves crashed, laughing and screaming the entire time, exhileration in her every step.
I had no plans to post this particular photo until I came home and read your comments to my giveaway post late tonight. Somehow the visual of her dipping her toe bravely, yet somewhat hesitantly, into the water felt like the right pairing for these words. It reminds me of the conversation she and I had on our drive this morning and represents the bigger picture of this post as a whole.
As comments began to trickle in on my giveaway post I've been sitting with each one of them. My initial reaction is to want to reply to each one but there is also a huge part of me that is being guided by silence and simply wanting to listen, deeply, to all that was shared in each of your heart truths. I am just wanting to hold this space for each of us - my stories are your stories and I am just wanting to honor all that is being held here.
I thank you for finding safety here in your sacred sharing and I thank you for wanting to participate in this course and I thank you for widening my world today. If I had 30 spaces to giveaway I would, but the name that was drawn was.... Kristina Wingeier!
My reply to Isabella after she asked what if this new beach was scary was this: Baby, it's okay to be scared, everyone gets scared. But when you are scared and try something new anyway, that is where you find your courage. Your courage is where you will discover your most beautiful life. I will always encourage you to do something that scares you each and everyday and I will always be right there with you when you do.
Begin with Today.
*Speaking of doing something that scares you each day, registration will close at midnight tonight for Getting Naked: A photographic journey into Now. Tomorrow I Get Naked by sharing something I've lived, built and nurtured for a year - but have been living the lessons for years in hindsight.
I am standing at the intersection of vulnerability and gratitude and feeling the winds of change like a warm breeze wildly tangling my hair. Bowing to those who registered and are trusting and willing to come along for the ride. I'm ready. Let's do this.
Thank you so much to those who came over and left a love note from the Plant A Kiss blog party. It was so much fun to participate and even more fun to read your encouraging words and find your online homes.
Community is such a blessing.
I let the RNG do the work of selecting where my kisses will be sent to:
Congratulations! Please send your mailing addresses to me at cloverandsage @ mac.com The book pages will be chosen randomly - may you receive the one that speaks to you most.
I believe the drawing results for the big prizes will be announced tomorrow, I will update this post as soon as I receive them.
Speaking of the blessings of community, I am so honored to have guest post up in the beautiful online home of Catherine Just. After a couple of stressful days here it felt really good to simply spend a bit of time reflecting and writing about my personal relationship to photography. I do hope you stop by.
"When I am in a state of presence the world becomes my lover. We see each other in the vibrancy of a moment where it reads to me its poetry, in the art of nature so beautiful it brings tears, and in the light that sends shivers all the way through me."
I was lucky enough to bring my iPhone as my guest to the wedding of Tiffany and Jason Bird when I shared that I was having a fantasty about shooting a wedding with my iPhone camera and she answered with an excited YES.
My intention going into that day was to stay more on the fringe as I was sensitive to their talented wedding photographer who was hired to document their special day. The last thing I wanted to do was get in her way at all as I imagine everyone with their cameras out at a wedding playing photographer is a professional photographers worst nightmare.
Turns out she couldn't have been lovlier when I told her my main job would be to stay out of her frame and get this... she knew who I was having purchased a Bella Wish necklace from me last year! Small world I tell ya.
These two beautiful souls couldn't be more well suited for each other - they are both magic makers and creators. Literally. And are you kidding me with that dress! Gorgeous, right?
Thank you Jason and Tiffany for the gift of allowing me to witness and document moments of your breathtakingly beautiful and loving union. You both are truly magic.
These images were all taken with my iPhone and edited with the Cross Process, Bleach Bypass, PictureShow, Cameratastic and, of course, Instagram apps.