Thursday, August 18, 2011

super nancy and ilan

these portraits were taken on a warm july morning, with the assistance of the great dc photographer stacey veath. stacey, who is also a yoga instructor, generously offered to spend her morning showing me some of her favorite couples portrait methods. photography, just like yoga, is an endless education process. as soon as i learn something, it shows me how much more i have to learn. it takes a lot show up and trust that i'll find the right scenery, right light, capture the right moments. it can be a very humbling process. yet no matter how much i am learning, what i have going on in the moment always seems to be enough.

i leave tomorrow morning for costa rica. oh my it's already here! just like everything, there have been ups and downs in the process of bringing this trip together but now that it's here i couldn't be happier with how our group has come together. i still don't quite believe that i'll be doing yoga overlooking the ocean in a couple of days in the country that taught me to love traveling.

my intention for the week is embrace wholeness. this means loving any parts of myself that are less than patient and grounded (they always come up when i am traveling) just as much as i love the strong goddess qualities that have brought me to where i am in life. because i know when i hold a space for my own wholeness, i hold a space for the wholeness of those around me and love them even when they are messy, which is what we really all need.

honestly there isn't a day that goes by where i don't question whether the pursuit of yoga is selfish and ignorant of the harsh realities of life. i look at people starving in somalia and feel silly instructing the proper shoulder position in downward facing dog.

but what i am realizing again and again is that it's not about the postures, but rather it's about the process of showing up for myself and when i do that i know deep in my core that i am calm, peaceful, open as the ocean is deep. the stress and the fear and the jealousy can cover that up but when i really look, i know who i am. from what i've seen in my life, i don't think change happens until we can really know ourselves and stop the internal struggle, which slows the external one. but it's not as easy as that. we must realize this and then continually engage in the practice of reconnecting to it often as we can for the rest of our lives. this to me is the best definition of peace that i can think of right now.

so i travel down south the only way i can imagine--which is wholeheartedly, imperfectly and the best i can. i am so truly honored to be fostering a yogic experience for the six lovely people on this retreat yet i know that i will learn my own lessons along the way. it goes in and out that way--the teaching, the learning, the remembering, the forgetting, the inhale, the exhale all for our finger tips brushing against the whole, splendid truth of right here, right now, exactly as it's supposed to be.

Friday, August 12, 2011

jess and brett and a beautiful belly.

aren't jess and brett the most glowingly beautiful pregnant couple? i photographed them while i was in chicago this summer. it was one of those shoots--beautiful couple, scenic location, and the perfect summer evening light. basically it was all a photographer could dream of, but it was more than that. something felt really special about our time together, like the love got super turned up. thinking about it afterward, it felt to me like the life force of this new baby was already shining through. i am so excited for jess and brett and so honored that they had me document the last weeks of their first pregnancy, an uber special time for them. jess is due on the 20th and i can't wait to see their first baby pictures!

things that have been lighting me up this week...

spending the weekend at deep creek lake with adam and his family. he had four nieces and nephews there and it was an awesome opportunity to be silly and play. acroyoga with them was a big hit, as was tubing behind a boat and all-you-can-eat fried chicken and mashed potatoes at this mennonite village down the road.

i made this delicious no-bake chocolate cake from leftover cream and melting down a chocolate easter bunny that was really past it's prime. recycled leftovers at it's best.

this song by riceboy sleeps during savasana.

photographing jay and lisa's tiny wedding at the collingwood museum and library on the potomac. it was the smallest wedding i've ever seen and one of the most heart-felt. check in soon to see pictures...

i've had some really excellent teaching moments this week where i felt this deep relaxation yet ability to hold healing/growing/strengthening space for my students. i also took carolyn blueme's incredible level 3 class at unity woods and got my ass kicked. that 10 minute headstand is so challenging! i made it to 5 minutes and then came down and marveled at the other 40+ year-old students as they held strong til the end. it felt good to be such a student again.

this idea in chicago about revamping muncipal buses to become portable fruit and veggie markets, serving "food deserts" in inner cities

love in the time of cholera by marquez. he's incredible, the story is rich and is sticking with me already.

midday happy hour pedicures at mimosa in dupont circle. i only do it a few times a year so i like the best. they have awesome massage chairs and give you champagne and i leave feeling so pampered.

eating popcorn with my brother and best friend ricki last night, who just moved to dc. it's good to be close to the people i love.

Friday, August 5, 2011

baby parade

sophie and sadie hold nothing back when it comes to cuteness...

so my friends have started having babies in the past couple of years. to my relief, they are really cute! you see, i'm not really a little baby person. i can get into a kid once he/she reaches a year and can make eye contact and giggle but not many babies really do it for me.

maybe it's because i love my friends so much, but i really see so much charisma in their wee ones. for example, i got to spend the first part of my midwest trip with my six best college ladies plus two. sophie and sadie both take after their mamas in that they are lovely, have great smiles and are full of fun and good energy. i have met sadie a few times before (she is always one of my favorites to photograph) but it was my first time meeting sophie. aside from being fun to look at, she likes to swim in the bathtub and swing in the rocker chair and tolerated sadie's curiosity with a lot of patience. i already see good things in her future.

i'm off for the weekend to go to deep creek lake for some relaxation, time with good people and more summer eating. i have a feeling that things are going to get real busy before costa rica and keep on going through the fall which is full of weddings and my 300-hour training. it's already gotten busy (why does everything good want to happen at once?) and i've had to pull together my self-care skills again. i'm getting slightly better at saying "no" to things, which is helping. i also know when to escape, which is when i stop feeling optimistic and a general happiness about life. i did this this week when i took my laptop to spa world so i could soak it up between emails and photo editing. i felt much better about everything when i walked out of there.

for me, it's really hard to remember to take care of myself when things are not going well around me. it always seems more logical to me that i fix the outside problems first and then after all that is well and done, i let myself relax. when i listen to the news and hear about fears of another recession, it makes me want to do something. i need to book another photo job or find a "real job" or help the people i love to make a plan so we can protect ourselves from some dark, ambiguous fate. but i know better. i know that things will work the way that they will work in the larger scheme and what i do have control over is staying calm, staying positive and enjoying the smallest parts of life that i possibly can (such as the key lime pie i made yesterday out of the lime juice and egg yolks leftover from making pisco sours this weekend). i think it's a bold statement to say that i trust in goodness to come my way, but i think that making that statement is what will guide me through harder times with a sense of connection to myself and a willingness to be of service to other people.

i remember listening to a "this american life" a while back that had some older recordings of people talking about the great depression. they talked to this one lady, who was a girl at the time, and she spoke about remembering how much fun she had being silly with her friends while waiting in a soup line. i've always thought about that, how attitude and resourcefulness can transform any experience into a good memory and a chance to spread positive energy, if we are willing to change the way we see it.

i don't know what's going to happen, in my life or in the world. i know lots of things are happening that are sad and hopeless-feeling. if i thought change could come from more people being scared and upset or feeling sorry for people, then i would advocate that. but i think that real change comes from a place that is deeper and inspired and takes a little dedication to sit with. it's hard to explain but when i find the feeling place of it, it sings to me and i know that is where i need to be coming back to again and again.

good thoughts on creativity

Thursday, August 4, 2011

cincinnati's finest

adam and his very wonderful parents

adam's first skyline cheese coney in a long time. this picture wasn't posed at all.

we only spent an hour on the kentucky side of things but that was enough time to play skeeball and win a set of wind-up chattering teeth.

adam likes to make friends.

the sloth, yet again, was the most relaxed of us all.

i had such a great time in cincinnati which is a good thing because adam had talked it up a lot. his family lives in this gorgeous older home in clifton with stained glass windows and hardwood floors and it was in walking distance to just about everything we wanted to do. adam got to show me all of his favorite parts of his hometown (his high school, the zoo, clifton's skyline chili) and i made us go back again and again to my favorite part. the highlight for me was really when adam's parents took us out to a delicious and perfectly-served dinner at la poste, in the old post office building in clifton. we got dressed up, sipped our cocktails and took the evening to enjoy ourselves in our favorite way--having a great conversation and eating some seriously good food until it got dark outside. just thinking about it makes me want to go back again soon,