Portraits of Heather Hurst, Ontario (2017)
Personal writing by Heather Hurst (2018)
When moments in life have rich detail and luscious depth to their unfoldings, you may just happen to be falling in love. Oxytocin rushes past your receptacles of perception and puffs out the parachute of presence to slow things down round you, while butterflies settle within. Such moments become beacons of light where you can't help but linger in the layers and fibres of self revelation.
My photo shoot with Angela and László from Dukát Studios was just that: a world of inner and outer adventure.
If you've never heard how a photo shoot can be cathartic, come with me down memory lane and I'll share with you a snapshot of how my experience relived my own life long journey of personal transformation in one day.
First I'd like to ask you, what are some words that come to mind when you think of Love, Adventure and Revelation?
How about the feelings associated with these? Where do they fall in the spectrum of light and shadow?
Here is a list of words that I associate with my photo shoot journey of love, adventure and revelation:
awkward / nervous / doubtful / rigid / blocked / protective / defensive / embraced / encouraged / melting / relaxed / ignited / surrendered / fluid / empowered / present
August 27, 2017 was my first ever photo shoot.
I had booked a full day on location in Northern Ontario; Seguin Township to be precise. The photos were the visual face behind the development of my public profile as an advocate, author, speaker, and champion of human potential. I had my closest soul sisters on site with me for support and assistance, as suggested by Angela because she said "A full day takes a lot of energy", and I was excited to be in a place that held symbolic strength for me.
You may think that someone who chooses to put themselves in the public eye would revel in the spotlight of an 8 hour photo shoot and maybe some public figures do, but not this one.
Being a public figure for me isn't about having the light shine on me; rather it is about shining the light on others to empower them to shine themselves, and it is about shining the light into the shadows that hold us back from our potentials.
Being an advocate and a champion means I'm putting the focus on others. My role is about being an example, a voice in the back that says "I've been down the road to hell a couple of times and it pretty much sucks, but I can tell you this: I survived. Indeed, I've taken the muscles that hard road forced me to build over the years and I thrive. I realize where my power is. I'll talk about it, as truthfully as I can, and I'll cheer you on as best as I can because I know the power of transformation lives within each of us and I know we cannot heal the things we keep silent and I know we are greater than we have ever allowed ourselves to be."
This is what I do, I experience life as a continual opportunity to transform, shining light on the shadows and expanding the horizon.
So what happens when the focus is on me?
I come face to face with my own shadows.
"Who am I to..."
"What makes me think I can...".
I feel self conscious, vulnerable and exposed to all the insecurities laid down in the groves of my grey matter by chronic childhood trauma.
But it is to capture these thoughts and feelings and then ask:
"Who am I Not to." and "What makes me think I can't."
Personal empowerment is self talk work and it's been my life long path. I've spent decades reframing and rebuilding a fractured history into a solid foundation of growth.
That list of words up there that I associate with my photo shoot? They are a pattern, a cycle, a self contained journey of transformation; my lifelong work in one day of facing the shadows, seeing the misaligned self talk, switching gears, breathing through the resistance and consciously redirecting the thought currents to higher ground.
It makes me wonder how much of our personal experience is rooted in lifelong patterns, and how does our conscious attention to these patterns affect the overall ground work of our grey matter.
It also made me realize how grateful I was to be working with Angela and Lazlo, how love blossomed in my heart for them because no matter where I was on the spectrum, they met me. From levity to awkwardness, blocks to bursts of power; 8 hours is a long time to remain present, but present they remained in their professional expectations and personal respect.
It didn't stop at the end of the day either, it didn't even stop upon delivery of the final product. The fact that Angela asked me if I wanted to blog my own photo shoot is a reflection of the consistency in her mindful work. To honour the use of my voice for this blog post is poignant.
Poignant because it is precisely the power of our voice that my life work represents.
Heather Hurst (2018)
Advocacy for the Prevention of Abuse and Championing Human Potential are at the Heart of Heather's Life Mission. Whether it's researching Women's-only Gatherings, Celebrating the Men we want to see more of, Speaking to Empower, Writing books to uplift or creating Paradigm Shift Projects - Advocacy and Championing are there. You can find Heather at www.heatherhurst.org.