I just completed the Beloved online course the second time around. The first was a couple of years ago when Beloved was new to me. Before my two amazing Adventure Always experiences, before I started journaling, meditating and mindfulness practices, and before I really knew who I wanted to be as a photographer or a person.
To say I was in a different space back then is an understatement.
Back then, the idea of Visual Insight and Impression, of creating a clear space for me and my clients before I picked up my camera, well it wasn’t only something I found hard to connect with, it was plain scary.
I had seen Jesh demonstrate Beloved with couples in that zen-master-like way that he does and was moved to tears. But I wasn’t Jesh. And I just couldn’t imagine how my skittish, fast-talking, high-energy personality could ever settle down enough to get anywhere near close to creating that kind of atmosphere of calm that seemed to encourage such vulnerability and genuine connection in the people in front of the camera.
And anyway, I was a family photographer, I dismissed. Try inviting a 5 year old to a clear state!
What a great excuse to hide behind that was.
So I hid for a couple of years.
But when something is calling to you, it finds its way around your excuses and your fear, doesn’t it? When something has touched you and impacted you in some significant way and once you’ve seen another way of being, a different way to show up… there really is nowhere to hide. You can’t un-see or un-experience. In fact, the opposite.
All of a sudden you start meeting and having conversations with people that remind you of who you secretly want to be and are too afraid to admit to yourself. You slip and mention something to your friend and uncover a deep well of untapped wisdom and acceptance you had never experienced in that relationship before. Without realizing it, you’re Liking Facebook pages that post messages reinforcing that impending transformation, and buying books that seem to be saying the same things over-and-over in a multitude of different ways.
Finally, at some point, after you’ve journaled-out all your lame excuses and tossed aside every psychological rock that provided a safe hiding place, you find yourself saying something like, “Alright already! I’m ready. Ok!? Let’s do this!”
Which is how I found myself back in class this May and back in front of the same couple I used for my final assignment two years ago.
Two years ago, I scheduled a family session with them and their then 3 year old. His energy and inability to sit still for longer than ten seconds provided a great excuse as to why I couldn’t possibly even contemplate sitting down and talking about listening to breezes and feeling earth beneath our feet.
This time, however, I invited them into their back yard to celebrate their upcoming anniversary and sent their son packing to my mother’s house for a play-date with my own daughter.
Excuses safely put aside, I physically sat down on the grass in their back yard and closed my eyes, inviting them to do the same. I put aside my fears of sounding ridiculous, said goodbye to the self-imposed concept that Michelle saying any of these things was so out-of-character that nobody would buy it, and I listened for the breeze. And when I heard it and felt it brush against my skin, it all came together.
Post by a dear friend and Beloved photographer, Michelle McDaid, Owner/Photographer/Creative Director at MbyM Photos.