"For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." - Dag Hammarskjold

Sunday, September 1, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: vivienne mcmaster

I first "met" the beautiful spirit that is Vivienne McMaster through her online presence.  I registered for one of her online courses and was introduced to her gentle instruction and guidance.  This past June, I had the pleasure of meeting her in person and got to experience the full effect of her loveliness first-hand.   
Vivienne is based in Vancouver and describes herself as a "photographer with a big heart and spirit of playfulness".  She invites us to cultivate self-love through self-portraiture (something I stayed away from for so long!).  Her series of workshops and online classes provide an amazingly supportive environment for creative exploration and self-expression.  I have just completed her Be Your Own Beloved class and I am so grateful for the experience!

It's been such a pleasure meeting you, Viv - thanks for bringing your powerful story of healing to *the gratitude project*! 
What PERSONAL EXPERIENCE are you most grateful for, and why?
One of the things I’m most grateful for in my life is photography, but not just because it feels like something I’d like to engage in every day for the rest of my time here on the planet, but because of the way I discovered my love for it.

Years ago, I went through a depression. The way my life was going wasn’t feeling okay and while I had no idea what else my life could look like, I knew the way it was going felt mediocre. I felt burnt out and empty and like I had no clue where I was going in life. So I surrendered to it. I cried for months, I let myself feel the emptiness and know that it couldn’t be filled by anyone else be. So I followed the breadcrumbs of things that felt like they might fill up that empty well.

At that point cell phones were just beginning to have very basic cameras in them and I started to take photos with mine and I felt something, a filling up of that well. So I followed the trail of the joy I felt when taking pictures and 7 years later it has become my life’s work but not just that, it is still the way that I fill up my own well, still taking daily short strolls around the block to notice bits of beauty.

So, I’m not just grateful for the way I found photography and photography found me, but I’m grateful for the lost too. Without being lost I wouldn’t have woken up to the feeling of being truly at home in my life. Life does take extra twist and turns of course and I learn from that big experience that when I feel lost again, to hold on because there will always be a feeling of found somewhere ahead and that it is worth it to show up for ourselves in the rough patches as well as the beauty.

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