Creating Light photo adventures & inspiring stories.

Nurture & Heal

{ Portrait 46 }

There is a visceral call from deep within to come home. To our bodies. Our spirit. Our ability to be with our selves. With presence, with honestly, creativity and compassion. 

We get caught experiencing our lives at a distance. Taking up a detached residence in the room at the top of the tower. Locked in for protection.

However, not realizing that in fact we're trapping ourselves. That through neglect and disrepair of everything below, those tower walls and their foundation, the very structures holding us up can and will come crashing down. 

Sonja portrait - eyes closed, hands on heart

And I've been there amongst the rubble. The devastating and messy result of not paying attention to the disconnect & the distance. Pushing too hard, too fast. And not taking the time and intention to care for myself in a nurturing sustainable way. I know what it's like to pick up those shattered pieces and put them back together. To laboriously, and tenderly re-lay the brick and mortar. Differently this time. Stronger. More aligned. And taking responsibility for maintaining it's strength and integrity.

Throughout this process, I've quested to define what self-care and self love mean to me. And it's involved a lot of listening. To my own physical body, creative being, and what brings me the most joy.

Realizing that it's not something that another person can tell me, or that I can find solely in an article or book. That it's something I need to choose and define for myself. 

And I was so very grateful to meet a beautiful soul creating a space for exactly that.

Sonja Portrait

Sonja and I met serendipitously a few months ago. And since then I've been able to be a part of the magic she's creating in the world. 

She is the founder of Nurture: A Retreat. A soul-filling weekend in the most peaceful oasis, Loretto Maryholme Spiritual Retreat Centre north of Toronto. A place and experience that encourages this personal growth through the art of loving self care. The retreat is attended by female entrepreneurs and creative/care-giving professionals and supports each of their unique journeys through a series of delicious, delightful and gorgeously hands-on workshops. It teaches some amazing skills, like gorgeous hand lettering, intuitive body movement & dance, and how to create healthy and nourishing delights in the kitchen. I was also personally honoured to facilitate the LANTERN workshop, helping women to celebrate the creative light within by making foraged flower crowns and getting them in touch with their inner goddess. All of this giving the participants the space & ability to choose, and create lovingly for themselves without judgement. 

Nurture Retreat - Dining table
Sonja in kitchen stirring pot.

Sonja let me photograph her in her kitchen. But this space is nothing close to ordinary. It is a room like many others, except true magic happens here. Love is infused and manifested through food. It is within this space that this inspiring woman comes alive. I felt so honoured to capture her in her blissful element. Creating wonder, stirring warmth, roasting deliciousness and folding layers of rich and light freshly whipped creme (a video included below of all said delightfulness).

Sonja's kitchen

Sonja shares what it means to truly care for herself. And how she incorporates these very meaningful practices into her life.  

"Self care means embracing it ALL. That my discomforts, fears, guts and darkness be met with acceptance and love. When that happens, it diffuses their power to run my life or keep me from my soul's purpose."

Sonja making food
Kitchen + Blackberry Pie

"I believe creativity is a way to foster this love. The relationship between myself and my darker parts must be nurtured and stoked and listened to, and I find the way has been to do the things I love, intentionally bringing them, like offerings, to the parts of me or my life I might not love yet."

Her go-tos are cooking/baking (obviously!) ....and also singing.

Roasted Coconut
Sprinkling roasted coconut onto blackberry pie

"I've folded difficult things into pie dough, or crafted lines of a song to sing like a balm to old wounds.

When the resistance inevitably showed up, I reminded myself of my intention: bring love to this! Bring love to this too! And that has been my mantra.

Since adopting this approach, I am seeing changes in my life I never imagined possible. It's what moves and motivates me to want to share this process with others."

Kitchen table + home cooked meal

Her advice?

"Start with doing something creative you know you love. Do that. Keep doing it. Follow the beauty in your life and ingest it daily, like vitamins.

Create and surround yourself with beauty intentionally in the spirit of building a foundation of lovingness that you can draw from and eventually face the unloved with it. Then, when something uncomfortable arises (and it always will - it REALLY helps to expect that), bring your chosen art to it.

Also know: that if the CONTAINER is love, then anything that happens or arises within it is acceptable to be loved. Any feeling/emotion/circumstance/instinct, etc. We can be that container, because we ARE, intrinsically, unconditionally, love."

She has another retreat coming up in the fall, just sayin!

Tiffany - 100 Portraits

Getting Messy ~Tiffany~

Vivian - 100 Portraits

Practicing Surrender ~Vivian~