Emily's Breathless Kauai Experience

Guest post: Emily joined Kerri and I on our Breathless Kauai Retreat scouting trip.  The following is her experience.

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Beautiful.

Why has that always been an unattainable adjective for me? Beautiful is a descriptor that has always been reserved for a different type woman. A woman who’s put together. Who is seen and not heard- not because she lives up to that old southern mantra, but because she has the type of beauty that will silence a room. She’s the embodiment of grace and elegance that is perfectly balanced with strength and confidence. She’s the type of woman I have always been told I should be and the kind of woman I could be, if I really tried. As a result, most of my life has been spent stuck in a vicious cycle of dieting and disappointment. I’ve been drowning in an endless supply of the latest and greatest beauty products, only coming up for air when someone would acknowledge my efforts. My quest has kept me constantly searching for approval from colleagues, friends, family members, and partners- eagerly waiting for someone to tell me that I’m beautiful, starving to hear someone use that adjective to describe me. Yet, those words never seem to come. I’m still nothing like the image of that beautiful woman I’ve always aspired to be. Instead I’ve had to settle with adjectives like “cute”, “pretty”, “hot”, “sexy”,“fuckable”…but never beautiful…. because it’s impossible for me to be beautiful.I’m just not that kind of woman. I’m more of a mess, with wild hair and coffee stains on my wrinkled shirt. I can silence a room, not with my looks, but because I usually enter a room like a hurricane, tripping over myself every step of the way. I’m the opposite of “put-together”. I’m all over the place. Some days I’m confident, but mostly I’m waiting for the next words of affirmation from someone else to reinforce my fake confidence. That’s not the description of a beautiful woman. Not even close. It is, however, the description of a woman who has mana. Mana that is visible in my photos. That’s why I immediately broke down into tears when I saw Jen’s photos of me- I could see it. I could remember it. I could feel it again. I could believe that it was there and it all finally made sense-I immediately knew why beautiful wasn’t my adjective, why it never will be. It can’t be.

Kauai is a special place. You can feel it as soon as you step off the plane. As a dear friend explained it - the island has a unique energy. Volcanic energy. It has its own power. That’s what mana is- a spiritual force and energy. I even wrote in my journal “the mana on this island is palatable” after he described it. Farther down the same page I also wrote:

"Each time I hear a rooster crow on this island it’s a reminder that I need…that this trip is a transition. I’m calling light into all of the places of darkness I’ve been holding onto. All of the hurt and the pain that’s been inflicted by me (i.e. to myself). All of the self- criticism. All of the things I’ve done…or not done. Said….or not said."

So, what did Kauai do for me? It closed some chapters in my story and opened some new ones. I accepted that I will never be that beautiful woman I imagined while I was there. I stopped berating myself for not becoming her. I accepted that I am a mess and always will be, because I’m not beautiful and I don’t want to be anymore.All it took was a wild island and a talented photographer to immortalize it in a way I that I could finally see it for myself…see that I’m a wild woman who is “the power of the elemental forces of nature embodied in an object or person”.

I’m not a beautiful woman, I’m a woman with mana.

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To read more about our Kauai Adventure or to join us on our boudoir | yoga | meditation | adventure retreat in June 2017, CLICK HERE!  There's still room!

Seven minutes in bamboo heaven!

Ever since I first laid eyes on the bamboo grove at our new property I knew I was in love.  I was going to make incredibly art with that bamboo!  The vertical lines, the way the light seeps into the grove, just so delicious!  That was THREE whole months ago!!!  I finally got around to photographing someone in there when Max (my wonderful husband who is also a photographer) had a model, Willa Prescott, over for a photo shoot.  Willa was so amazing and was totally cool with me jumping in at the end of their shoot to do a couple of photos in the bamboo. As a creative professional, it's SO important to do things for myself every now and then that get my creative juices flowing.  This shoot, even though it only lasted 7 minutes, inspired me beyond belief.  I'm now formulating a new branch of Breathless Boudoir that allows every day women to become a work of art!

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Want to join me in my exploration of art?  Fill out this form and I'll get in touch with you to brainstorm!  I'm so excited about this new endeavor!

 

Virginia Nature Boudoir with waterfall

*BEEP BEEP BEEP* My alarm started going off at 4:30am.  Heavy with sleep, all I wanted to do was shut it off and roll back over to continue sleeping, but I had a mission to complete: create amazing fine art nude photos in front of a waterfall.  So I got my ass out of bed begrudgingly, it was still dark outside.  We counted 13 deer in the misty morning light on our hour drive to begin our hike.  We were the only car in the parking lot, save for the car that belonged to the campers who stayed the night before, and that was the whole point of waking up before the sun.  We wanted to get out there before anyone else did so we had time alone with the waterfall.  And we did, and it was so glorious! I was nearly *DROOLING* over what I saw on the back of my camera!  The light, the motion of the water, the grace in Laura's nude form... GAH!  Photographic ecstasy I tell you!

Photographing someone in a waterfall is no cakewalk.  For one, there was a waterfall directly behind Laura, so we had to communicate by yelling over the roaring water.  Not to mention the water was quite chilly.  Laura was a trooper though, she held very still for the 2 second exposures, even though there were things crawling on her at times.  The photos were definitely worth it though.  Laura is a photographer as well and has been on a mission of creating stunning waterfall photos.  She has done a series of self portraits, but wanted to have a chance to just be the model in the photos.  And now, she gets to be forever immortalized as fine art suitable for a gallery wall!  Just look at how the light flows across her skin like silk... mmmm.... sooo much love.