Earlier this spring I returned a call from someone that was interested in having me join her as part of her work addressing the multitude of issues women face in loving their bodies. What was intended as a quick phone chat turned into an hour of gushing, agreeing and both getting goosebumps – and further phone calls with the same amount of passion. Because that is just how it is with Gillian.
Gillian is a kinesiologist and fitness leader with a multitude of accolades. Together her and I share a history of finding peace with our own bodies, and the experience of working with women on their journey to self love. Gillian has invited me to join her and the amazing clinical counsellor Kathy in a workshop they will be offering in 2018. Yes, you got it – I couldn’t say yes fast enough, and look forward to using photography as part of the journey their attendees will be taking in changing their relationship with food, fitness and the way they see their body.
Kathy, Gillian and I decided the right first step in forming this relationship was for them to step in front of the camera. What a beautiful experience it was to be out in nature with these two – well, to be honest it was also a bit terrifying because these were shot during fire-season, which meant the smog resulted in the evening becoming darker earlier than we had planned, and the challenges with the light kind of had me panicking. But being with them, getting to know their reasons for doing the work they do and seeing how they balance each other was phenomenal.
They have a retreat coming up called Shift the Process Nov 3-5 in Nanaimo that includes accommodation, meals and full days. It sounds amazing, and ideal for anyone who struggles with body image, is frustrated with finding the right place with food and fitness in your life or just want to move towards a healthier lifestyle and self image. Both Kathy and Gillian are experienced professionals. They are also warm, passionate and funny (super important, right?) You can see more information about the workshop here: Shift the Process.
Kathy and Gilli
Here is what Gillian had to say about her photo experience (I couldn’t edit this down.. because so much love for this) :
“My photography experience did not disappoint. I cannot wait to see the images (yes I’ll be sharing!). But as much as I’m excited to see them, the coolest part was how the experience made me FEEL. I felt strong, empowered, joyful, playful, peaceful & happy. That is how my body makes me feel on a daily basis and it was such an incredible experience to express that. We took the photos in the woods & on the shores (and in the water!) of Comox Lake in Cumberland as the sun was setting. It was truly magical – both the experience & the surroundings.
As we drove home Kathy and I both remarked on what a brilliant experience it was. And what perspective it gave us. We often see our bodies through such a critical lens. We focus on what we wish to change instead of focusing on what we love. And for many (including me for MANY years) this occupies so much of our energetic real estate. But, here’s where the magic happens… when I embraced the practice of letting go of that self-criticism and began holding a space of deep gratitude for my body….wow, my world opened up! #magic
Because when you’re not squandering your energy on things that don’t really matter…I think your capacity multiplies. #unstoppable
So grateful to Karen and her many gifts – as a human and as an artist.”