Beautiful, Wild, Searching Naomi

“All of us are wild deep within.” A Wild Woman Project

What can I say about you, sweet Naomi?  Meeting you changed my life.  You ‘saw’ me. you ‘heard’ me, you ‘knew’ me.

You witnessed, named and honoured my deep sharing and vulnerability.  You thanked me for my tears, and cried with me at our first gathering together, and in so doing cracked open a space in my judgement:- haha, I thought you were perfect, young, beautiful, partnered, happy.  Our meeting, the time, conversations, and visioning we’ve done since has contributed so much to my understanding of A Beautiful Mama Project and A Wild Woman Project.

Walking down to the river to pray, play, cry and work through shame, fears, lost dreams, deep desires, and new hopes and visions with you…hands and feet in the mud, searching, probing, the constant trickle of flow, the rich earth, Cedar growth and death, constant.  The rich, rich smell of it all, loamy, wet, so incredibly female….thank you for your vulnerability, thank you for you questing, thank you for your gentleness with yourself and with me, thank you, Naomi, for helping me understand my wild craft, my wild photo wanders.  I can’t wait until the next time we create together, we hold space together, we cry and love and love together.

I love these words you have written on rewilding.

“Rewilding to me is a remembering, a tuning into the Earth & her sacred, ancient ways & energy.  Of beginning to match our nature with Nature.  To allow ourselves to listen to our heart beat & the heart beat of the earth, air, water, fire & begin to bring balance back within ourselves & so then without us as well.  To allow there to be seasons within our lives & to allow shame & guilt to melt away as we listen to our inner knowing & learn from others who are walking this path & who have walked this path before.  To unlearn all that does not serve & begin anew.  Being mindful with our choices, our words,  our food.         But also being gentle with ourselves in the unfolding.

I find it amazing that now rewilding is a movement.  Yet I have always felt that deep connection to be connected with the earth & it is always there.  All of us are wild deep within.  We have just forgotten the old ways.  The most basic of ways.  To flow with our own seasons within the seasons.  To be unwavering in our strength & to above all be connected with all beings.

By slowing down & spending time in nature, gathering food, preparing our own food. Remembering that all food is living & that we must take life to live and yet we can give back and so the circle of life continues.  That, in the end our own lives will end and if we allow return to the sacred circle.  We all need to be humble and we all need to accept and embrace our innate power and light as beings who are here to protect and live as one with this earth.  We are here to create a new way.  Together.”

Rewilding photographic wanders take us on a  journey through a wild and natural landscape that we love or are drawn to, and in so doing we travel inwards, searching for lost or broken parts of ourselves, our wild selves, “collecting the bones” of our personal stories so to speak.  The forest, trees, roots, rivers, shoreline, caves, stone, sand and mud draw us towards them.  Perhaps we tune in to one or another element more, the river forever running, bringing life and taking it away, a babbling brook of women’s voices, tears, laughter, wisdom of ages, perhaps the mud, rich and mucky covering our hands, feet, bellies….there is healing here, on this journey, this process, of wandering over the road, away from the garden, towards that untended self, tracking a wild woman hiding in the shadows, foraging for sweet berries, sweet truths of self, delicious intuition, flashes of realization, there is release here, in casting off domestic shame, slowly peeling off layers of preconception, and allowing Mother’s embrace, Mother’s example embodied in Tree, Flow, Root, Soar, Release, Compost, there is love here, self love, self embrace.

Thank you for your courage Naomi.  Tender Love, Belinda

Naomi and her partner Dante and their two children live in a beautiful, semi wild setting on the land in Sooke, BC, where they offer, facilitate and hold space for rewilding, community, healing, play, spa and wild food events.  They are an amazing, inspiring couple.  I have learned so much from them, recieved so much love and hope. I am ever grateful. <3 Belinda

#awildwomanproject #abeautifulbodyproject #rewildingphotography #bodypositive #downtotheriver #wildwander #rewild #innertracking #wildwoman #collectingthebones #remembering #unlearning #forage

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into the depths

a wild woman project

What does it mean to stand there at the brink of the chasm, the very edge of our own shame, our terrifying personal stories of pain, neglect, abuse, loneliness?  We don’t go there, do we? or only very reluctantly.  We have been cast out of our land of knowing, taught to become afraid of our wild intuition, our deep connection!

Let us reacquaint ourselves then with this perceived underbelly, what is dark, murky, unknown, it has been cast for far too long as dirty, evil, something to  be tamed and held back.  What is this mystery that smacks of female depths?  It is all that is fertile, fertile within it’s cycles of rise and fall, struggle and emerge.  It unequivocally vulnerable, shivering at the edge of the lake under the full moon.  It is wildly intuitive.  It is simultaneously gentle, wide-eyed with wander and fierce and bold with protection!

Each wild wander, either through forest, into the river, down by the sea or up into arid climbs takes us step by step in to an inner tracking, and encounter with a forgotten, lost or hurt part of ourselves.

Beautiful S. here stands still for a long moment of encounter with herself and the river, deep, dark, so cold, yet welcoming, cleansing.  I love her tender entry into her own intimate process, tentative at first, and then plunging down to reemerge with a shout of joy on the other side

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It seems so much is of what is unnecessary, hindering, dampening of desire and creative potential is discard by this plunge into the river of trust. And, so much is gained, an immersive thrill that invigorates the body knowing, the belonging, the should connection to a source.  Unfettered from domestic conditions of thou shalt not, wear this, wear that, hide your shame, cover up your scars or breasts woman! do not dare defend your cubs or wail with sadness or shudder with pleasure, woman!  Unfettered,  a wild woman, howling like a wolf scampers up the far side of the river into the thick Cedar at its edge.

I am honoured to be growing through my wild woman project in the presence and trust of some incredible women, who grace me with their vulnerable beauty, their undressing and casting off of outdated shrouds, for some easier than for others, each opening and vulnerable, bold and wild in their own way.  I am grateful to witness their desire to rewild their connection to their own bodies, and to the land body of our Mother, and in so doing become part of this process myself.

with a wild heart full of love,

Belinda

#rewildingphotography #awildwomanproject #wildhealing #wildwander #abeautifulbodyproject #intothedepths #wildedge

Poppies

Spring Mini Photo Play Sessions
Yay, I’ve had the chance to witness and capture some sweet Spring Portraits.

Spring is such fantastic time for family photos with Mama nature’s burst into life, warm sun, fresh breezes, and excited return to outdoor play after Vancouver’s grey rainy Winter.  I’m grateful for all the lovely families, large and small, each one unique, that I get to meet and photograph. The fast, fun pace, tied in with the invitation to play, run, jump, brings us all together and at ease  and offers some pretty delightful images. My aim is to capture you and your family at ease, having fun, naturally close, and engaged with each other in a way that is more natural rather than posed. I hope you like what you see. If you are interested in capturing some lovely memories like these, contact me at http://www.facebook.com/applestarphoto


What makes a great candid family portrait? I feel that its more than just a nice picture of the whole family, with everyone smiling and looking their best. Who are you as a family? How to you connect to each other? How do you who love? What if one of you feels awkward in front of the camera? Or what about if you have many family members, or your child is shy or won’t sit still?

I feel that a good family photo session allows for the family to express itself naturally. In short 15 to 20 minute sessions how can that happen? How can I capture a genuine sweetness and natural togetherness of a family small or large? For me space to explore is needed, a beautiful and inspiring setting, and freedom to move, especially for the little ones or shy pre teens to approach and gain trust or ease in a way that suits them. Play is important, using your body, moving away from your family, doing your own thing, regathering to hug, play, joke around. I sometimes try to explain that I’m like a wildlife photographer who specializes in the human animal, with a special fondness for children and youth. I have worked with children as a nanny and tutor as well for over 20 years. I have learned from both research and many hours with kids and families that we all thrive when we’re having fun, whether thats learning, trying something new, or getting over some fears, shyness or hurdles. Photo Play Sessions are all about this! Working with children over the years, one of the things I have loved most is watching them shine, watching their eyes sparkle as they come alive engaged in something they love, watching them gain trust as the adults in their life really listen, really show interest in what they care about….all this has added to my photographic style. I hope you like it.

What happens after play is a more relaxed pose, where, hopefully each member of the family can really sit comfortably with who she or he is, and the family bonds show up naturally.  Everyone feels good, and therefore looks good too.  Beautiful, natural, candid shots, as well as some sweet stolen treasures!

#applestarphoto #springmini photoplaysession #play #candidphotography #shiningfromtheinsideout

Announcing:

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Spring Mini Photo Play Sessions

This is what I love to do.

Celebrate Spring!

I do mini sessions as a way of offering accessible, affordable, gorgeous, pro family portraiture to all. No one turned away fro lack of funds. :)

$20 for a 10-15 minute mini session and 2 pro-edited digital images from 8-10 or

$35 for 5 pro-edited digital images from 12-20.

Contact me at http://www.facebook.com/applestarphoto, or call 604 441 6913 to get details on the next Mini Sessions, bring three other families or groups, and get yours FREE!

Ask about arranging another Mini Session in a location of your choice.                        Warmly, Belinda White, Apple Star Photo, Shining from the Inside Out!

#Springminiphotoplaysession #Springminis #Naturalphotography #Familyphotography #Funphotography #Applestarphoto

forage

At first I wanted to call this ‘food porn’, but then I had to pause, why ‘porn’?  What is it about my / our relationship to sensuality that causes me / us to debase this incredible fruit of the sea?  Why not honour and celebrate this luscious, miraculous, delicate and delicious gift from our Mother Earth, or Mother Sea instead?  And so here she is, hand-picked and photographed by me, Belinda White of Apple Star Photo and steamed, shucked and presented by Andria Green of Real Good Food, an oyster naked and glowing for all to see.  This is where Rewilding revives and reconnects our intimate entwinement and sensual bond with the our giving Earth, our nurturing Mother.  Rewilding excites us, invites us to bask in beauty and in bounty, reminds us who we are  and how we belong.

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#rewild #wildfood #foragetofeast #awildwomanproject #sensualoysterphoto #wildfoodphotography #applestarphoto #realgoodfood

Spring

Death-in-life, Life-in-death

A personal exploration into grief, loss, and gratitude

“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.”

from ‘On Love’, The Profit, Kahil Gibran

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This is a photo of a drawing by Lori Ann Latremouille https://www.facebook.com/loriann.latremouille

Not long ago, I found myself at a resting place on journey to understand love.  I had found companion like no other, a friend and lover with whom I could share anything and everything.  He held me like no other, he accepted me, he sheltered me while I collapsed after years of longing, fighting, loneliness. The love I feel for this man still, is indescribable.  I am trying to make sense of all that has happened.  It is over now.  He is gone so completely from my life, it is as if he had died.  I am stunned, and groping through the mud of my devastation trying to make sense of it, trying to find the gift…trying to find the lesson.

 

During a walk on Filongley, Denman Island / Salish Sea in the company of a great friend, I walked back through time sifting through the rubble, the sand, the stones, the branches, looking for treasures: why do we cleave to each other?  Why does the Love that brings so much joy, so much life, such richness, also tear us apart?
“As he is for your growth, so he is for your pruning.”  Why is that cleaving so good, so good that we never want to let go?

This is a sacred time of year, a time of death and rebirth.  Much has been torn asunder. What can be sourced form all this death?  On my walk, I noticed the buds, the new life, the young eagle circling above, gulls feeding on herring row, the boys carving spears, and running hollering through the woods, life abundant emerges, doesn’t it? out of the hubris of death….and there, suddenly, at the edge of the clearing, a young dear, felled in its young-just-budding prime, just barely alive, and now already food for the circling young eagle above.  Wow. “Spring is here, why doesn’t my heart go dancing?” by Nina Simone, plays now on my radio…Spring is here indeed, with all its newness, its excitement, its birth.  But death is close by.  I am trying to source gratitude for the gifts, even the dead baby dear.

We went in the cold rain to harvest the fruits of the land, nettles, clams and oysters. Always, paying attention to these gifts of food, we acknowledge that we are taking life, like the eagle, finding life and nourishment from death.  Death-in-life, Life-in-death.  Its the way it is, right?

I am so very grateful for this chance to walk, to wander, to sift through it all, to bear witness to the gifts, the sacrifices, the losses, the transmuting of life force.  But I am struggling with it all, my friends, I really thought I had found a resting place.  Is there ever a resting place?  Why has this man, to whom I gave so much trust, so much energy, all of my love, and tenderness, and forgiveness; why has this man forsaken me?  It may take me a decade to unravel this one, to grow from this destruction.  Friends please be patient with me, I am hurting, I am in pain, so much pain…but I will find a way, I will keep looking, keep treasuring, keep sifting.  I will continue to open my heart, though the North Winds have laid waste my garden.

#deathinlife #lifeindeath #wild #sift #griefandloss #personalhealingjourney

Family

Family is not always simple

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You fall in love and you become a couple, perhaps you marry, perhaps you don’t.  Are you a family?  You make a baby, now you are a family of three.  Sometimes you break up, and so you become a smaller family, a family of two.  Or perhaps someone dies.

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In all of these cases though, Mothers are made and Fathers are made, and in that miraculous process, new families emerge.  My focus for now, are mamas, beautiful mamas.

Being a mama  is not always simple.

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Sometimes you start with the wrong guy, or without a guy at all.  Having a child cracks you open literally.  Sometimes, you wait too long, sometimes you start too young, sometimes there are miscarriages.  Then you watch a baby grow inside your miracle vessel, you have this gift to bring life from other dimensions here to Earth, you are a Star Ship Mama.  The joy is intense that first moment you hold your baby, right?  Of course it is.  You are empowered, your are humming with vitality.  Or sometimes you’re numb with exhaustion.  But, you have been transformed!

Here your baby is, a gift of life to cherish and hold.

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And you do, of course.

But it’s not as simple as that, is it?  The intense love is simple, the intuition to protect is simple, but sometimes the breast feeding doesn’t work, sometimes the caesarian doesn’t heal well, sometimes exhaustion and post-natal depression set in for the long haul.  Sometimes the marriage starts to fade away as the family bed takes over, or the need for a working dad or mum means separation and rifts in communication and life-style.

Don’t get me wrong.  Becoming a mother is the greatest gift, the greatest transformation, the greatest learning I have ever experienced, and I believe most mamas I know would say the same.  But I want to tell the other stories.

Its easy to picture a beautiful happy family, the love and belonging are there shining out of the eyes, the tender embrace, the play and smiles.  We all have those glorious days, they are many and life-long for most.  But what is hiding behind?  What stories are harder to tell?

Motherhood literally cracks you open, like the earth, you open to give life, and through that emergence, a lot of tough stuff, rough edges, past injury, family legacy, emotional hurdles, financial struggle, deep need to be honoured, valued…woah, a lot of shit, comes out from that dark underbelly.

Motherhood is a gift, and also a loss.

What is lost? Is it ok to talk about it?

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Yes!  We must talk about it!   That’s what A Beautiful Mama Project is about.

Too many of us a stuck in fear or shame, or not feeling good enough.  We watch  parade of happy photos flow by on Facebook or int he media, and we wonder why our lives don’t measure up. We put enormous pressure on our partners to support us and fill our needs, when what we need is a village of support.  The intense miracle of bringing a baby to term, and tun raising her through the first 7 years, is a profound sacrifice for most women, we don’t talk about this sacrifice much, do we?  We don’t talk about who the body is leached from breast-feeding, how the back aches from carrying, how the heart yearns for love, recognition, honouring, holding…Perhaps though the emancipated women can leave her child at one and return to work, and so not ‘sacrifice’ so much.  I can tell you, that for my friends who do that, it isn’t simple either.  There is another loss, a loss of attachment.

In any case, Family is not simple.  Motherhood is not simple.

There are plenty of murky areas, plenty of losses, confusions.

Where does sex fit into Motherhood?  Did you hear a lot of that story before you had your first child?  What about money?  Duty? Autonomy?  Hhhhmm

There is one truth that I am so grateful for though, one amazing truth.  And, that is that becoming a mother cracks us open for sure, and through the cracks the light gets in.

Even through some of the most intense family struggles you can imagine, there is light, their is learning, their is growth, their is forgiveness.  But it ain’t simple, thats for sure.

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I’m here to tell these stories through the voice and hearts of Mamas like you and me.  To tell honour and  celebrate those cracks, a hold a space for radical vulnerability.  Through stories we can heal, we can share experience and wisdom that has gotten lost a long the way,smothered by shallow consumer depictions of perfect families, perfect mothers, perfect lives….family isn’t perfect, but its gloriously beautiful even on its ugly days, isn’t it?

“There’s a crack in everything, thats where the light gets. Forget your perfect offering, ring the bells that still can ring.”

So I’m happy that you are here to share this journey with me, and stay tuned for some interviews with beautiful perfectly imperfect mamas ringing their bells.  We can tell the stories that will weave a blanket of support.  We can do it together.

Because, you know what?  Sometimes Family is bigger than you thought.  Just when you were feeling like you couldn’t get through another day, and you’d throw the baby out with the dishwater, you reach out and find there is someone their to honour your rough edges, to hear your story of joy tinged with loss….

This is a call to action, together we can support each other.

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It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a tribe to honour a Mama.  Family is never simple, but its so much better with a community of support.  I am so greatful for the families, friends and community that I have had the pleasure to witness and photograph.  Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do this.  You are bells along my own journey of healing.  Thank you for helping me find my voice and my calling.  You are my Tribe, my family.

Lets open our hearts, be vulnerable, tell our stories!! Much Love, Belinda White

If you’re interested in being featured as a Mama or family in A beautiful Mama Project, please contact me, I’d be honoured to help you tell your story.

Firemaker,

Filling the Myth Gap,

and  The Importance of Story-telling

I’m editing Firemaker photos finally. I’ve been asked to use some on the website. As I go through them, my heart singing with beauty and belonging, I am greatful for what i have encountered about myself and how I fit in this big picure. Slowly, but surely, I am circling in, weaving my own tale of me: I am a story-teller. I use my gifts of sight of watching, observing, gathering, my passions for life-long learning and honouring our unique gifts, and my voice to share storeis like this with the world. This is my job, my greatest yearning. This is how we fill the Myth Gap, tell the stories that count, and the stories that bind us together. Thank you Firemaker for holding that space for me, for linking hands around the circle and allowing me to stand firmly with an open heart in this beautful space, and give my gifts.

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