Magic Hour

These past few months, I have been patiently (and anxiously) “waiting” to feel myself…whole again…within the growing and rebuilding of my life.

As my dear friend Clint reminded me the other day: “I’m starting to think that the moments that are the most screwed up in life when we forget who we are…are the middle parts of letting our old selves go and embracing then new. Much like a snake skin. It’s a life of transition we all forget we need to go through.” Did I mention Clint is brilliant? ūüėČ

It got me thinking about living with grace and patience within the “in-between” times of¬†life. I have the¬†power and the ability to view circumstances, events, and moments in this beautiful life with new eyes. I can actually transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Perhaps not even new eyes, but open eyes.

I see, but do I really SEE?

Every single day there is a sunrise and a sunset. I’ve missed seeing many of them as I knew there would be another one the next day. I have, at times, become numb to the extraordinary and have viewed it as ordinary. ¬†But there’s magic there. That’s why in the photography world it’s called “Magic Hour”. ¬†It’s that time of day when the sun dips down or up beyond the horizon and the world is lit up¬†in the most magical way.

Shapes come alive…

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Silhouetted trees dance against amber skies…

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Clouds float along a vast canvas of pinks and blues…

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Morning dew sits delicately on soft leaves of green…

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You can actually see individual rays of the golden sun…

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Spider webs sparkle like tiny diamonds

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There’s beauty in the¬†every day…

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And within nature’s remarkable: lunar eclipses, northern lights, and blood moons…

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Am I opening my eyes to all of the beauty around me? Are you?

Maybe there is magic within the transition.

The in between.

The breakdown.

The rebuilding.

The letting go.

The moving forward.

The average.

The scars.

The healing.

The right this second.

Eyes wide open.

It’s also why I love people. It’s fascinating the stories people have locked away in their hearts. Stories of wisdom, strength, unrelenting determination. Are we sharing those with others walking similar paths of struggle/victory? Are we hearing¬†those who can teach us something if we simply stop talking and listen with intent? Move beyond the surface with those who cross your path in life. There’s a reason for it.

I hope you see life a little differently this morning. Slowing down at times does not equate to lazy. ¬†It’s about honouring this very stage of life you are in right now and going one step further…celebrating it. Letting go of control and just be. We are all perfectly imperfect people who have grown into who we are today as a result of our ups and downs. Both are equally deserving of respect.

I want to encourage you today to open your eyes, ears and heart to things you may have missed by viewing them as ordinary. Oh no my friends…there is extraordinary in this very moment.

Have a magical day. From my heart to yours,

Christine

P.S. I am inspired to start picking up my camera again for personal projects. To be continued…

 

Shifting Focus: a Letter of Love to Women

Women, we are too hard on ourselves my friends! As a photographer, I am acutely aware of this fact. ¬†You see I photograph families. I am beyond excited when I capture an image that portrays the love that lives within the everyday. The kind of natural exchange of love that lies within a look, a gentle swipe of hair off the brow, an embrace, a shared laugh with locked eyes. I share this lovey dovey image with my client and she tells me she doesn’t care for it because her thighs look big, or her arms look chubby, or her stomach looks saggy, etc. ¬†Rather than focusing on the love, she focusses on her physical body.

I understand it all too well. There was a time in my life, more predominately when I was at my heaviest, when I refused to be photographed. I saw a camera and I ran for the hills. If forced into a photo, I opted for the “Gopher” pose. You know the old hide-behind-everyone-in-the-back-row-and-poke-your-head-up look.¬†Looking back on it, I now realize I took years of printed memories away from my children.

I had a revelation the other day while I was trying in vain to fall asleep. A memory popped into my mind from a few years ago that happened while I was visiting my little sister Brenda. We woke up on a lazy Saturday morning. Brenda and I poured our coffees and sat in the filtered sun surrounded by our children who were in their glory to wake up and play together. The girls were playing dress up and skipping around the house filling the room with laughter. My son Lucas was composing his very own piece of music on the piano while my other son Ty laid on the floor playing with his iPod. Brenda’s daughter banged her chin on the ground and ran to the reassuring arm’s of her Mom so she could be inspected for injuries.

Click….

Click…

Click…

As Brenda talked to my Dad on the phone, my niece ran over to me and asked for an airplane ride. I laid down the camera, and my shutter-bug son Lucas picked it up.

Click…

The reason I have this memory is because of these photographs. Had this moment not been captured, I would have never remembered this hour of everyday life. Through time, this seemingly insignificant everyday life moment has transformed into an extremely significant memory that tugs at my heart-strings every time I look at it.

Here’s a weird fact: If I see something I want to remember and I don’t have a camera, I hold up my hand to where a camera should be and click the air with my right index finger. Yes, it’s weird but I swear it forces the image into my mind.

Moms: our children don’t look at our physical body. They just love their Mom. They see ¬†our spirit, our heart, our love…not our body. I think about how I love my own children, purely, wildly, and with all that I have. It has nothing to do with aesthetics, yet I hold so many judgements when it comes to my body.

Those self-deprecating thoughts that play in our mind about our body are damaging, not just to ourselves, but to those who love us. ¬†Can you imagine saying any of those things to a loved one? ¬†Imagine telling your sister, or your mother, or your girlfriend, or your child: ¬†“Great family photo, but your arms look huge.” ¬†Yet, we accept this as our own truth. What does that say to our children? What are they learning from us?

My sister Janice is unable to walk without support because of MS. Can you imagine if I said to her “I hate my jiggly thighs.” ¬† The thought of it makes me cringe.

To all you Women out there…

Appreciate your bodies. Your legs allow you to walk/run/dance, your arms allow you to embrace, your smile lights up a room and exudes warmth and joy.

Be good to yourself, children are listening, watching, and learning from you.

You are not defined by your physical body, it’s a part of who you are as a whole but it’s merely the vehicle for the spirit.

Let’s stop trying to be something that we are not but rather shift our focus to all that we are!

We can blame the media for our focus on the physical, but we buy into it.  To change it, we need to take responsibility for feeding our insecurities.

What would be so wrong with loving ourselves the way our loved ones do? The person we are as a whole. The generosity we show, the love we give, the energy we put into making the world a little brighter. The raising of spirited little children into confident self-assured adults.

When you wake up in the morning, be proud of the person you see in the reflection of the mirror.

You are beautiful.

You are amazing.

You are loved.

You are different!

Just be you with confidence and pride.

Treat yourself with the same level of love and respect as you treat those you love most.

And the next time someone asks to take your photo, remember that photo will produce a memory. Your loved ones need those.

From my heart to yours,

Christine