They say we all need to be seen.
Therapist and coach Rebecca Wong says the need to be seen and feel visible is a healthy one. “It means we desire connection to others and the relationship, and energy shared between us matters.”
So, have you seen me lately? If not in person (been something of a homebody during this first year of my new baby girl’s life), then in the stream or the feed?
Every day of 2014, if you haven’t seen my smiling face, you’ve at least seen the groove between my brows or a glimpse of my hands or feet.
A few generations ago, offering a peek at my ankles would’ve proven me to be a wanton woman, bringing scandal down upon my respectable family. But we’re well past the age of Jane Austen. Modesty isn’t trending these days. We’re living in the age of the selfie. We’re living in the age of connection.
I’ve been connecting with my image, my lived experience, and my community thanks to my participation on the #365feministselfie project.
Veronica Arreola of Viva La Feminista launched #365feministselfie at the start of 2014 for a number of great reasons including, “I do not see myself represented in the media, so I’m making my own!”
I’ve been diligently making my own media and have discovered new, important reasons to keep doing it all year long. Quite surprisingly, I’ve also been in the process of making 365 “heart leaps.”
Medicine for the Heart
As part of Jeffrey Davis’s #Quest2015, author Pam Houson offered this prompt:
“Sit quietly and ask yourself, what in the last day or week or month has made your heart leap up? Not what should, or might or always had, but what did. Make that list. Be honest, even if it surprises you. Keep the list with you this month. Add to it when it happens. Train yourself to notice. Then ask your self today, how can I arrange my life to get more of those heart leaps in it?
Huzzah! I am already doing this! (My heart does a cartwheel to realize I don’t have to add something to my endless succession of self-care, wonder tracking “shoulds”!)
My “heart leap list” has taken the guise of daily Instagram images. Some of the pictures are a window into pure joy (deliciously easy to come by with little ones around). Other snaps are of the mundane “before I forget and fall asleep” variety.
Sometimes I took a picture to escape reality, I simply needed to look down at the phone rather than into the face of a whiny kid who always wants more from her mama.
Admittedly, those images and moments were more like heart limps. But, rather than chastising myself for sacrificing connection for connectivity, I can now look back at the body of work I’ve created with an expanded, compassionate perspective. Those momentary diversions were how I allowed myself to value my own movement through the year as an individual, not just as a mother with a dutiful, Pavlovian response to the endless “Mommy, look at me!” commands.
The act of noticing the moment, pausing to take the picture, savoring the creative impulse as I selected the font and wrote the caption, and then offering up this split second of life, of MY life…
Even if it was only a picture of an exhausted woman with bags under her eyes the texture of weary love, unending to do lists, and thwarted creative plans – even that was transmuted into stuff of the elevated, attentive heart.
I have offered what happens in the space of a heartbeat and the realization that I’ve done it – done anything besides brush my teeth – day after day without fail makes my heart leap and dance and smile. I did this, and I needed to do this, and I’m deliciously changed for having done so. And it’s far from over.
And the people ask “what’s next?”
Since around day 200 people have mentioned how they’d be sad to see 2014 end because they’ve come to love looking through the screen to glimpse the life I live in a 2” x 2” square.
I need the ritual of noticing, of claiming my experience, of connecting to my world to continue, but I’m going to turn the camera in many more directions besides my prominent nose and the increasingly obvious mole on my chin.
If you care to journey with me, “Sovereign Reality” is going to be a phrase that’ll come at you from many angles.
It’s the name of the in-progress trilogy of novels I’m writing (a magical quest story set one hundred years after a global infertility crisis has changed everything we know about the nature of life.)
It’s also foundational to Eleanora Amendolara’s pioneering healing system, Chumpi Illumination. I’ve been a student at her Sacred Center Mystery School for seven years and her teaching “the goal is to become sovereign in your own reality” has found its place at the core of my life.
And now #365SovereignReality a yearlong photo project.
What’ll I be taking photos of? The objects, the landscapes, the people who root me to this reality that is wholly and uniquely mine. And yes, there will be more than a few selfies too.
Often I’ve felt like a series of accidents and coincidences brought me to where I am. #365SovereignReality is a daily ritual of claiming this life and to becoming queen of my own experience.
Your Own Heart Leap-Promoting Daily Practice
I’ve been joking that in the last weeks of 2014 I’ll start posing for selfies with everyone I meet and extracting a promise that they’ll start their own 365 project.
I’m actually pretty serious about that.
Doing something that connects you to yourself and your community every single day is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your online presence (because yes, for us business artists and creative entrepreneurs soul enhancing practices that build the digital platform are essential).
Maybe this is your year for #365feministselfie. Maybe you’re intrigued enough by Sovereign Reality to explore this new project with me. Maybe a simple #365 tag is all you need to hold space for a public, daily photo or writing practice. Start looking now, some of your tribes are surely introducing hashtags and prompts that will enable you to step up and connect each day.
I promise you’ll see more of me in 2015. Promise I’ll see more of you?Doing something that connects you to yourself and your community every single day is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your online presence