I enjoy many types of photography. But my deepest heart offering is the magic that happens with women in Portrait Journeys.
Every woman goes on her own journey based on the intention she sets for herself and how this manifests. There is no agenda, shot list, or expectation to meet. Instead, these shoots are an opportunity to reconnect with our deeper selves, to remember how our wisdom feels when we allow it to run through our bodies, and ground into an experience of trust with our inner knowing.
My role with this is as a soul midwife, or a shaman with a camera, who is also a sister-ally, intuition whisperer, encourager, co-creator, as well as sherpa, stylist, and comedian. Together, the woman and I find our way as the journey of listening, expressing, and discovery unfolds. And in the process we create beautiful images that reflect back to her, and inspire those who see the photos, the beauty of being in our light.
What you are about to read is this woman’s journey, that actually spanned several months. It has opened her to a a new chapter of trust, adventure, and understanding of love.
When I initially contacted Robin to explore doing a shoot with her, I knew there was something that I wanted to learn and experience in my body around feeling whole, complete, and at ease regardless of external circumstances and conditions.
For years, I have been without a partner and though I enjoy solitude, independence and meditative time, and though I live a vibrant life full of people and activities I love while doing work that is meaningful and creative, I still felt like something was missing. I felt a longing and a lack; an itch I couldn’t quite scratch, a fantasy of an experience that I sensed would make me and my life finally feel whole and complete.
Immediately after I decided to do the shoot, I entered into the most significant relationship I have had with a man in years. During this time, I could not seem to complete the steps to prepare for the shoot. I felt blocked. In retrospect, my relationship with this man and, more importantly, my relationship with my heart and self were the preparation for the shoot.
Though my connection with this man was beautiful, deep, erotic, and full of love and healing, we were not in alignment. We did not want the same thing and instead of feeling complete and empowered, I often felt small, tense and conflicted in the face of this great love and beauty; my love was too big for the small container this relationship provided.
I learned invaluable lessons in this relationship. I grew into the full-fledged woman that I am. I found in me the woman who… is vulnerable and strong and can take care of all parts of herself; doesn’t need to defend against anything because she’s whole and at ease in herself; whose love is as big as the universe; loves wildly, fiercely, deeply, with abandon; who wants everything and will give everything for love; is solid and secure in herself and doesn’t need another person to agree with her or have the same experience as her; and feels no shame for her desire, even if it’s fullness and intensity is not matched by the other person.
And most importantly, I found the woman who first and foremost desires, chooses, and claims herself.
The relationship ended and I did the shoot a month later. In retrospect, I knew there were valuable and powerful lessons I learned about feeling whole and complete, but I did not connect this to my original intent for the shoot. All I was aware of was that I suddenly had the energy and motivation to prepare for the shoot and everything came together beautifully.
When answering Robin’s questions about what I want to invoke, breakthrough, and heal, I found I wanted many things. Such as: to invoke trust, surrender, gratitude, appreciation, wholeness, beauty and radiance with what life is offering me now in this very moment without knowing what the next moment will bring. And to trust that I am being held by a grace that is vaster than I can possibly comprehend.
Robin suggested I come up with one word or phrase to hold my desires. On the morning of the shoot, deep in meditation, the words came… “Open to love.” I had no association, simply a deep curiosity of what this prayer might bring.
Throughout the shoot, no matter what outfit I wore or part of myself emerged, I felt embodied, in flow, in beauty. I felt in love with myself, my female body and the entirety of who I am as a woman.
My experience of loving another is becoming curious and fascinated by them and finding ever new and expanding experiences of enjoyment with them. Like intimately looking at the facets of a diamond and taking in all the shades of delight, beauty and uniqueness and pain, darkness, shame, uncertainty, fear, failure I see in them.
No matter whether I was engaging the dark feminine, the sexy seductress, the direct, assertive woman, the innocent, playful, soft woman, the woodland fairy nymph, the many different flavors of my eroticism and all of the above at once or in different combinations, I felt open to myself in each moment as the embodiment of love.
More powerfully and potently than I’d known before, I understood how it feels to give myself the endless fascination, curiosity, mystery and love that I have given and craved from the other.
I learned that love is found everywhere and in every situation, experience and circumstance there’s an outpouring of love and gratitude. Opening to love means genuinely opening to love in all its forms.
Opening to love is opening to the truth of What Is in each moment and receiving it all as an expression of love. Opening to love is letting go of my beliefs and attachments and releasing into the great mystery of beauty that continuously expands my perspective and vision. It is letting go of the belief that love is found in a limited experience.
Since the shoot, I see and feel love everywhere and naturally open to it; in the sun’s radiance shining down on me, standing on a cliff at the edge of the vast ocean breathing in the salty, moist air, looking into the eyes of every woman in my women’s group and feeling the truth in their hearts, in the midst of a difficult process with my housemates realizing we are not the best match, in the experience of feeling heartbroken over a man I fell deeply in love with, in a moment of despair and hopelessness, in the play and banter of a hot makeout with a man I just met, in my body when I’m dancing in ecstasy or writhing in pain.
Love is found in the experience of each moment whether or not it matches the condition I think I want or the feeling I want to feel. I am learning to receive myself with endless enjoyment, curiosity, compassion and love, because it is all love.
I still have a powerful and beautiful prayer for partnership (and children and family). This prayer and ongoing practice for my life now arises more fully from a place of wholeness inside, contentment and love for what is, grace, divine mystery and, most importantly, as an offering of love and for love.
My prayer is:
Spirit of the land, everything that wishes me well, consciousness which is made up of love and is what everything in the universe is composed of, please open me to feel and receive love.