I thought you had to fit a certain mold to be a "good" photographer. In many ways, I also thought you had to be a certain way to be the right kind of person. You had to hold so much of yourself back and mask the parts of you that were too much or too strange. It's the only way to navigate this dystopian-type world...or so I thought.
At the turn of 2020, I had a mental breakdown where it all broke down. My therapist likes to refer to this as a "spiritual breakthrough", and I have to agree with her now. But at the time, it was the most excruciating tipping point of my life. I removed myself from society, from everything I knew.
I chose, what I referred to as, a Radical Healing Journey. My only purpose was to heal, recover, and reevaluate the patterns that continually led to pain, abuse, destruction, and all-things-inauthentic. In the past few months, I've spent a lot of my time focusing on this physically felt energy coursing through my body- chakra healing.
The only thing I could feel in my heart chakra was fear. Old traumas contributed to flashbacks that sent fear racing through my heart space. If I thought on things that I loved, my heart constricted. All energy moved to my third eye and crown chakra and translated as fear. I was blocked from love entirely. Afraid of feeling love for my charcoal-colored-fluffball-dog. for my wintered-plump-cat, for my ever-inquisitive-hopeful-for-a-morsel Madeye (our first dog). Afraid to feel love for the plants that call to me every morning whispering little tunes, singing, "Water, moonlit water give us love we'll give you so much in return...drink us up and flood us with life. We feel your love even when your spirits rise or fall."
When the fear-filled flashback lifted by means of tender-loving care, a certain phrase caught my mind's attention and has been repeated ever since, "If not love, then fear. If not fear, then death." If the meaning is lost on you, that's okay. It's reminder grounds me in the reality that I was designed to love. If that love has been denied to me and I denied it, then it gnarls into fear. Afraid to love. Afraid to feel what naturally exists in my body and with that fear comes a certain death of my spirit, my vital life force denied it's design.
As I released this constricted energy, I began to feel love moving through my body....
discovering all that my body loves without effort. without interference. without trying. Able to be present with all that I loved.
And from this place of deep surrender, a blooming naturally unfolds.
This blooming of love flowing through my body and into my heart chakra overcomes the fear that so often pervades the space and tightens my heart into a ball of twisted incapacitated wire.
I dance with what makes my heart sing and from that place of dancing, my style evolves and expands and I fearlessly tread on water for the first time. It's always been there just waiting to emerge.
My heart sings when I see life erupting all around me. My camera becomes a sort of vehicle expressing this magic that resides in a deep heartfelt place in my body. I love being a wallflower and documenting people and their natural lives because no trend can compete with this experience of lived-in-aliveness. It's surrounding us every moment of every day just waiting to be seen, released from it's constriction. Waiting for our presence, our gratitude, our felt embodied expression.
This photograph was the moment for me. The moment that the world of my editing bubble dissolved all around me and a shot of light flew through my heart chakra so much so that I had to lift my hands into the air, scream, then cry. so primal.
So primal is this love. so-in-this-moment-and-forever. A mother, a son, and a garden. This photoshoot was not designed for social media. Those sorts of shoots are wonderful in their own right, but this was something ethereal and everlasting.
This is a moment where a son grasps his little pudgy, dirty, curious hands on a mother saying, "I'm so glad I can fall on you. The world is so wild and interesting. Can you teach me everything you know?"
And the mother's open palm, receiving all that falls into her grasp and more saying, "However you need me, I will be. However you need me, I will be. However you need me, I will be."
Even now, tears in my eyes. My throat chakra and heart chakra lighting up.
This is the Radical Healing Journey. Feeling this. Expressing this. And finally having the confidence to say, "This is my voice. This is what I see, what I feel, the ground on which I stand. My garden. My love."
For you, I hope this aliveness radiates through you. That you are able to move through all of the human experiences, emotions, and feelings. That you have support to heal what needs healed. To love and be loved. To see and be seen. I hope you know the garden on which you stand and that both bare feet can root down into this loving mother earth, and you get a chance to Express it All.