Embracing Imperfection
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In the wise words of one of my spiritual teachers, Richard Rohr,

"There’s a darkness that we are led into by our own stupidity, sin (the illusion of separation), and selfishness (living out of the false self). We have to work our way out of this kind of darkness by brutal honesty, confession, surrender, forgiveness, apology, and restitution. It may feel simultaneously like dying and being liberated. We resist going through the darkness and facing our shadow, so we usually need help, as the Twelve Steps wisely identify. An accountability partner, spiritual director, or counselor can help us navigate this difficult, ego-humiliating process."

I could not agree more; as strong friendships, mentors, spiritual directors, and embracing the 12 steps have all been a large part of the medicine for embracing my imperfections and brokenness. Embracing imperfections is not just an individual concept, it can also be applied to a corporate setting, culture, art, and even politics. Yes, I just said embracing imperfections must move through the individual into these larger structures and systems.  

Embracing Imperfection is NOT

~replaying the actions (imperfections) of yesterday that you know could have been different (shaming) 

~reminding your friends, family and foes of what they did yesterday that was less than pleasant (an imperfection of theirs) 

~talking about someone who's imperfections that make you "look" better

~believing that the imperfections you are aware of are they only ones you have 

~creating or letting your identity internally or externally be hinged on your known imperfections

 

Embracing Imperfections could look LIKE

~choosing to read a headline or listening to a negative person rant and continue to be curious about their side of the story rather than assuming you "know" better or are "better" 

~choosing to apologize even when you feel foolish 

~looking at something you created with kind eyes, letting it be a part of the process rather than a "terrible" piece 

~taking a deep breath before you respond to someone who's imperfections are coming at you strong! 

~telling those you trust when you are not okay (depression, addictions, in anger/grief) 

~sharing (confessing) your deepest darkest secret you think people will disown you once they know 

~listen to your life; own your mistakes that have brought you to where you are 

~remembering who's you are;  that there is a force must stronger than your imperfections and they have the last word 

~believing that you have been made new

 

As I once heard admidst being lost in the shame of my imperfections; 

"The weight of your shame will never outweigh the weight of my Glory" 

May the grace that has not only embraced your imperfections but made a way for you to live in freedom from them be ever present in your body, mind and soul today. May the mercy of the loving Christ be what allows you to embrace imperfections around you and live to remind them of their present beauty. 

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Check out these other ladies perspectives on embracing imperfections;  Lauren ScruggsRebecca HajekErica Chen@juliengarman,

Brynna WatkinsTutti del MonteJackie Viramontez, as we are all apart of the lovely #therefinedcollective

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Environmental Sustainability and Ethics | Electronics

Continuing a series of posts breaking down the ethics and elements of a shoot, here are some tips on Electronics. 

How you produce a shoot is just as important as what you're shooting. 

We are not going for perfection, rather integrity. Below are my best practice guide as it relates to electronics. Comment below if you find this helpful or share it! 

ELECTRONICS 

● Turn off computers, printers, screens, and any other appliances when not in use. 

● Unplug chargers for cell phones, cameras, and other equipment when not in use. 

● Buy used equipment.  

● When renting equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR certification and ask for tips for using the machine efficiently.

● Unplug all equipment that features a stand-by mode, which will continue to draw energy when not in use.

● If shooting digitally, record to a hard drive, flash drive or other reusable media instead of film or tape.

● Use rechargeable batteries, solar panel charging stations or wind powered facilites if possible. 

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Holding Space

Holding Space

Let me begin with a very old poetic story written as a part of the Wisdom Literature in the Bible. 

Basically we find out that there is very wealthy nobleman, upstanding citizen of his time, Job who has just lost some of his children, his large home and esteemed career. On top of all that loss he also gets sick and has these painful sores all over his body. Then we read that 

11-13 Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him. 

These friends are his contemporaries, neighboring leaders / princes, thought leaders of their day who traveled cross-country to visit their friend. There is so much more to say about these 2 sentences but for the sake of time, lets keep reading- 

When they first caught sight of him, they couldn’t believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! …Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering.

This for me, is a picture of holding space. 

We later find out that each friend presents to Job their ‘seasoned’ advice which ends up being not really helpful at all, but before that, they literally lay down beside their friend in silence for a week! 

Do you have a friend who could sit next to you for a week and not say anything? Someone who can see how rotten the situation is? How horrible you feel? How deeply you are suffering? Yet not feel the need to say a word? Someone who would travel across the country to grieve with you? 

Are you that person for anyone in your life? 

Are you able to sit silently even for 5 minutes with a loved one? Do you find yourself trying to say things to make the situation better, but actually are at a loss for words? 

This might be because in suffering, in loss, in heartbreak, and death, Hope comes in the form of solidarity not solutions.

Solidarity often comes in silence rather than speech.

So how do we embrace silence?

How do we hold that type of space? 

We believe its held for us - we experience it being given to us. We find that when we seek God for solutions we are met with solidarity. We find that when we seek answers, we are met with silence. 

This disorientation allows us to meet ourselves in our grief. This disorientation allows us to meet God in our grief. 

This disruption serves to inform a new, more expansive way of dealing with our grief, our heartbreaks and losses. We find we are capable of trusting without solutions. That perhaps the words that were not said have said everything. 

That space actually can heal. 

That silence soothes. 

and that solidarity is more powerful than solutions.

 

Be sure + check out the other ladies in #therefinedcollective as they share their perspective on Creating / Holding Space today. 

@jackieviramontez

@gofitjo

@missdbennett

@laurenscruggs

@therealmichellekim

@rebeccahajekyoga

 @therefinedwoman

Spring to Summer Transition

SPRING - SUMMER 

TRANSITION 

Spring is March 20th - June 19th so in less than a week it will come to an end and Summer will officially be here in California. One thing I have learned over the years is that if you know something is seasonal, that it won't last forever - that its here today, gone tomorrow it gives us permission to live with both more abandon and more restraint. We savor the sour vinegar in Spring that gives way to the crisp cucumbers in Summer.

We learn that the ideas, prayers and seeds we planted last Autumn have geminated this Spring, only to see more mature growth come Summer. 

As we move from Spring to Summer here are some activations and ideas to move you through this transition week.  I find the ritual of saying goodbye cathartic. Sometimes it brings closure, reflection or perhaps gratitude. Based on a blend of the emotional, physical & spiritual invitations of Spring here are my ideas on 

Saying goodbye to Spring


Journal  

What have I learned?

What new opportunities have I been given? 

What area do I have a renewed Joy in? 

What was birthed or grown in me?

What have I learned to accept more like a child?

What new projects have I started?

What new actions am I taking? 

What beliefs have I shed? 

How have I experienced compassion?

How have I experienced patience?

How have I experienced acceptance?

How have I experienced benevolence? 

How do we receive Joy? 

 

Play | Choose a past-time activity/ game/ book / adventure that brought you joy in your early childhood. Invite your best friend or lover to play with you. Read your favorite chapter from the book to your kids before you go to bed. Simply enjoy, laugh and play until your heart is content. 

Once you feel closure, on or around June 19th / 20th transition to 

Welcoming Summer

Read this list out-loud (alone or with a friend / lover) 

I am eager to experience & practice equanimity

I will learn to savor the moment

I willingly choose changing connections

I walk by faith

I am letting more and more of my guards down

I am excited to participate in selfless service

I am expecting rewards

It all belongs

I will laugh often this Summer

I will walk this out

I will be healed through song / singing

I enjoy those around me

My comfort zone is expanding

I invite lightness

I am being invited into expansion & growth

Euphoria, passion and courage remind me Summer is here  

I am confident

 

Morning Prayer

Choose one of these that is most challenging for you and write it out on a post-it that you can put near your bed. Let it become a part of your morning prayers. 

 

Environmental Sustainability and Ethics | Lighting
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LIGHTING 

Environmental Sustainability and Ethics  

When Zanni approached me about producing their lifestyle images I was proud to work with a new small business using ethical fabrics proudly made in Los Angeles. They, like many brands have conscious products, made locally / ethically, however the production behind the images can be counter productive - using toxic make-up, single use cups and bottles, and styling with less than ethical brands. Its a journey to to realize our impact and make moves towards doing things with greater levels of intention.

I believe if businesses are educated on their options and innovative ways to lessen their environmental impact and increase their ethics the market will continue to move in this direction.

I am excited to share what I have learned and serve as a guide to conscious brands and individuals! I will be doing a series of posts breaking down the ethics and elements of a shoot.

How you produce a shoot is just as important as the product you are selling. We are not going for perfection, rather integrity. Below are my best practice guide as it relates to lighting. Comment below if you find this helpful or share it! 

LIGHTING

  • If an when possible shoot using the sun as a source of light.
  • Have H/MU team set up close to a window / door as to use natural light.
  • When renting equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR certification and ask for tips for using the machine efficiently. 
  • Use rechargeable batteries such as iPower 9-volts, Ansmann NiMH AAs, or Sanyo Eneloop AAs.
  • Unplug lighting set ups as soon as you wrap. 
  • Ask your photographer/ post production team to edit with natural light, during daytime to use less electricity. 
  • When looking for office workspace, look for options with available natural light, again to use less electricity.