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Filtering by Tag: self-portrait

standing in your light (again and again)

liz lamoreux

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

- Brené Brown

Self-portraits are part of my self-care; they're one way that I help myself feel deeply seen in the world. I've been taking them for 10 years now, before we lived in this time where people debated the merits of a "selfie" on CNN. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you see the ways I work things out through taking a photo of myself, usually with my arm extended. I look into my phone like it's a mirror and I capture the realness of the moment. From joy to silliness to exhaustion to confusion to hope. My Instagram selfies are like a tiny peek into the pages of a journal that one might hide beneath a mattress. Taking these photos and then reflecting on what I'm feeling and the ways I can hold beauty and grit at the same time become an exercise in seeking evidence of the ways I'm living my life with my heart open.

And sharing the photos invites you into the conversation with me, either literally through a comment or in a quieter way where you perhaps reflect on the beauty and realness in your world.

It's another way I try to remind us both that we're not alone in our corners of the world.

I'm currently taking my friend Vivienne's Be Your Own Beloved ecourse. This is the second or third time I've been in the course, and each time I'm reminded of the power of other people's stories as I read Vivienne's words + see the self-portraits from other participants.

This weekend, she gave us a prompt about claiming space in our lives, in our photos. I read her words and felt deeply moved by the story she shared about her own relationship with claiming space. For a moment I thought about going outside to take a photo but then I let the to-do list pull on me.

Later, when my daughter was napping, I remembered the prompt and pushed myself to stand outside and prop my phone up against the side of the grill on the backporch, set the timer, and take a few photos. 

After the first one, I realized I was getting this gorgeous flare from the sun lowering toward the horizon.

Then when I saw this one, I heard one of my favorite phrases inside me: You are standing in your light honey.

Looking at this photo, I felt powerful, open, determined, and even beautiful. One of the words that keeps crossing my path lately is "rise." And this photo felt like a moment of rising. Yes.

Even though I take self-portraits in some form or another almost daily, I seldom take full body shots. I can list so many reasons, from not wanting to take the time to prop the camera and use the timer to not feeling up to it to feeling frumpy to not feeling like my photo will be interesting or unique enough to not wanting anyone to see the mess of my house or the overgrown weeds in the backyard.

All reasons that take me far away from the woman who knows she can claim her space in her world.

I'm so grateful to Vivienne for this prompt and for the ways she shares her stories so others can remember to make the choice to love themselves. Yes yes yes. She has a wonderful on demand class called Be Your Own Light that I recommend you dive into.

This self-portrait experience led me to Hand to Heart's March theme of Standing in Your Light. Hand to Heart is my free private Facebook group for women who want to be in conversation about self-care practices and how we can hold the beauty in one hand and grit in the other. Each month we explore a new theme to add to our current self-care practices, and this month, I'm sharing weekly stories about my own journey of learning to stand in my light. You can read more about the group and request to join right here.

self-portrait as meditation

liz lamoreux

Taking self-portraits has become a meditation in the midst of whatever a new day unexpectedly brings. #wateryoursoul

Phone in hand, I extend my arm, let my face relax, and focus on one word: here. Then I snap the photo. Usually I take somewhere between two and ten photos. Taking 30 seconds to maybe two minutes depending on the moment.

I am capturing me, here, right now. This moment. The realness of it all. From joy to contentment to just being still. The photos reveal new pieces of me every time: beauty and truth and so many stories.

Somewhere in the last few years, taking self-portraits has become my daily meditation. This is the way I know I'm not disappearing in the midst of whatever the day hands me. This is how I remind myself that I can choose in each moment. 

I know it can seem overwhelming to even begin to turn the camera on yourself. Many of us spend a lot of time in a sometimes intense negative inner dialogue about how we look on the outside. And we fear the camera will show the list of flaws we insist we have.

But here is what I know: Capturing myself through my camera lens is helping me to shed the ways I have been talking to myself since I was about eight years old.

The layers of "wishing I looked like" and "believing I would only be happy if" and "maybe I would have more success if I was skinnier" and so many other stories stacked up since third grade when I needed to wear a bra two years before all the other girls in my class.

Now when I look in the mirror and look at self-portraits, I almost always see myself with softness, with compassion. Even when the circles are heavy under my eyes. Even when I am hitting my limit of what the day holds. Even when I have let myself down. The mirror and the camera help me to feel less alone. They help me find space inside me. They help me find my breath. They help me to trust that I am finding my way. 

***

You can find more juicy self-portrait prompts in my book Inner Excavation: Explore Your Self Through Photography, Poetry, and Mixed Media. I'm delighted to share that I'm selling copies again, this time at a special discounted price of $18. Read more about the book and order it from me right here.

 

this is me

liz lamoreux

This is me. #wateryoursoul #startingmoments

this is me.

tired, hair needs washing, no make-up can't you tell because of those circles me.

the me who stumbles and thinks she knows and then has to just sit still to really trust me.

the me who seeks more sensuality, more space, more ease, less clutter, less spinning me.

quiet for the first time in days, calmed by her snoring dog, missing my mom so much my heart feels lost, me.

the me who keeps coming back to her own pace, to her own story, to her own way of being

me.

yes.

this is me. 

***

Over here, I'm sitting in the truth again of needing to go at my pace. Of needing to actually find that pace right now and wear it like a favorite decades-old t-shirt. This is nothing new really...this need to remember my pace is the only way. But when you are the CEO (plus every other possible position a business needs) of your own business that is run out of your home, it isn't easy. And no advice or words of wisdom that says differently is of interest to me.

And finding our way and stumbling and reaching out for a hand and hoping someone will be there and realizing that if no one is there we can actually still stand up on our own while we keep moving forward holding our flashlight. And then someone else will appear with a headlamp on and say, "Want to walk the next few steps together?"

And in that moment we find friendship and the reminder that we aren't alone.

Then we keep going and that person stops off to look at something shiny and we keep going and stumble and end up sitting right where we fall next to someone else who says, "I'm not sure what to do." And we give them the gift (but really give ourselves the gift) of saying, "This has worked for me. Want to try it?" And that person nods and we both get up and sit side by side on a bench for awhile and tell one another stories.

And it all repeats again and again in its twisty turny beautiful crazy way.

All of the truth nestled in these words is why I'm taking a few moments each day to stand in front of the mirror in my bathroom and check in. To choose love when I look at myself. To listen to the wisdom waiting in the quiet. This is why I'm taking more self-portraits of the quiet, tender-hearted, yes even super tired faced me.

I'm feeling a longing to be deeply seen for who I am and who I want to be, and I'm coming back to the truth that I'm the only one who can really give myself that gift in the deepest way that I need it.

I've hinted that I'd love for you to come along and join me in this adventure of looking in the mirror each day. Tomorrow, I hope to come back to this space and say, "Hey, this worked for me. Want to try it?" as I share more details about my next ecourse Water Your Soul :: Being Seen, which will be all about the mirror meditation and taking self-portraits in the quiet spaces. And then we can sit down and talk some more...

Today, I'm taking some time to sit in the stillness and go at my pace as I recalibrate after having house guests, an in-progress studio reorganization, a long to-do list, and the flu that has visited our little house. 

Sending light and love to you wherever you are on your path today,
Liz 

PS that necklace you seen in the photo is a little sterling silver sloth. yes, sloth. i found her last week on etsy (you might have spotted her on my adornments pinboard) and bought her as a talisman to remind me to keep going at my pace (even if that pace might seem slow to those looking in).

seeking truth one photo at a time

liz lamoreux

At some point today the exhaustion of the last few weeks knocked loud enough for me to hear...listening. #wateryoursoul

Oh truth...

You arrive and sometimes puddle at my feet. You push and pull at me. You sneak in like fog and wait for me to find you when the sun comes up. You confuse me and nudge me and invite me to stretch further than I think I want to.

Just washed kitchen and laundry room floors. (Noting evidence because rarely happens.) #usuallyleaveittothedog

And the truth is that you feel intangible and hard to find at times. You mingle with another's truth and mirror and hide and sometimes seem to laugh.

Just (really) happy.

But I can't turn away.

Sometimes it feels like I can touch the space between the exhaustion to come and the exhale of rest.

I will keep sifting through your layered ways as I take photo after photo trying to find you on my own face.

***

About five years ago, I was talking with a friend and said that I don't tend to take photos of other people at gatherings, but I always take several photos of myself. "I guess I'm a self-portrait photographer" came out of my mouth before I could stop myself. This was before it was "in," before I wrote a book about it, before Instagram, before one easily admitted such things. My friend and I laughed at the time, but I couldn't stop thinking about the incredible, vulnerable truth I had just said aloud.

Taking self-portraits is one vital way I make sense of my everyday. It is how I look for the truth. It is how I check in with myself. It is how I seek confirmation that I am not alone. It is why so many of my Instagram photos are of me, my hands, my feet, my neck, my face, me.

Meeting my own eyes makes me feel deeply seen every time. And when I pair the photos with words pulled right from the guts and make the choice to push publish, I trust that maybe just maybe they will invite you to feel less alone too.

Try it. Take a photo of yourself. I dare you.

may 24

liz lamoreux

may 24

sometimes movies (and television and books) pull us out of our real lives in a way that can distract us from living deeply.

but other times, they give us just the tools we need in a moment to help us open up and feel and move through and be right here.

each time i watch the last movie (or read the seventh book) as harry potter walks through the forest with his parents + sirius + lupin believing he is walking to his death, and sirius points to his chest and says, "we're here you see" (in the book he says, "we're part of you"), each time my heart heals a bit more because i choose to believe he is right...

*** 

(as the tears began to fall as they always do when i watch this scene, i was inspired to pick up my camera in this moment by this week's prompt in Meredith and Kristin's Now You workshop.)

compassion and love (a self-portrait)

liz lamoreux

 

as the light faded wednesday evening, i took a few self-portraits...playing with different angles and looks into the camera. i was having a lot of fun. but then, when i looked through them on the camera, i was so distracted by my arms and my tired eyes and...how the list goes on. so finally, i put my camera straight in front of me, closed my eyes, and focused on filling my whole body with love and compassion. i took several breaths just imagining this compassion and love moving throughout my body. then, while the timer beeped, i looked into the camera imagining i was looking at someone with only love (imagining the look my heart needed in that moment). 

later, looking through the photos, my thoughts were softer. i saw beauty and a woman taking the time to just be in her life. i saw truth and realness and some wild, maybe even gorgeous, hair. and then i came to this photo and saw a woman choosing to love herself.

interesting how all the other stuff melts away when you let love fill the cracks.

(whispering now): i dare you to try it. 

sending blessings across the miles,

liz

PS would love to see the photo you take.

an invitation to see {self-portrait challenge}

liz lamoreux

 

see

Two years ago, my daily practice, for two months, was to look in the mirror for a few minutes everyday. I began this practice after reading an article by Elizabeth Gilbert in Yoga Journal (read more background about my previous experience with this meditation here and here).

A few weeks into this practice, I realized I had stopped just looking at me and instead had started seeing me. I began to see the beauty in the curves of my face and how my eyes sometimes seem to smile and the fullness of my lips. I began to see wisdom and truth. My internal self-talk began to soften.

For a few months, I have been thinking about starting this practice again. After a confusing couple of moments while on a trip this summer, moments that brought up that harsher self-talk, I found myself standing in front of a mirror and pausing.

I stood there and looked myself in the eye and felt myself begin to crumble a bit. I was honest with myself about the feelings that had surfaced and could feel that invitation to simply "lose it." In that moment, I took a deep breath, and looking eye to eye with me, I felt an invitation to seek some refuge within this meditation I had spent time with two years ago. So much emotion knocked inside me as I looked at myself, trying to see beauty. I didn't want to give into that internal pull to lose it, as I needed to exit the bathroom at some point in a manner that seemed pulled together. So I stood there watching the shadow of my earring that the light from the skylight was creating…I just watched the shadow on my face and how light seemed to dance around it. I took in that moment and found my breath.

The next day, I found myself standing in front of this mirror again, and I focused on the way my bangs brushed across my forehead. The day after that, I focused on the slight curve of my lips right before a full smile spread across my face. And on and on. For about three weeks now, I have spent a few minutes each day just looking at me…trying to see me again.

Earlier today, I stood eye to eye with me and felt that self-talk soften just a bit.

This reflection mediation has become my practice yet again.

I am trying to see me…to see more than what someone else might see when making assumptions or judgments…to see more than what I see when doing the same. I am looking at the shadows and the light and trying to give myself permission to crack open a bit more.

I am standing eye to eye with me and trying to let the shadows dance their way into the light and shine just a bit.

I am giving myself permission to see beauty.

I am giving myself permission to see me.

(read Elizabeth Gilbert's full article here)

*****

updated in 2011: Self-Portrait Challenge (SPC) was a website and community that encouraged people to take and share self-portraits. I loved this project! However, I am sad to report that it no longer has an active website, so I have removed links that appeared in the posts connected to my participation in this project.