Creating Light photo adventures & inspiring stories.

Practicing Surrender

{ Portrait 43 }

We see strength as an ability to stay in control, unfazed. To not let things get to us, to put on the mask of braveness everyday. To push on and march forward, ignoring the whispered voice inside is telling us to stop and pause. 

We see weakness as being soft, and when our range of emotions surging inside overcomes us. When all that anger, and sadness, and frustration spill out of us. When we're hurting and not able to control our actions. When things are messy and the front of perfection crumbles. 

But I'm learning to find the art in surrender.

To let go of the labels and the compartmentalizations.

To know that we don't have to be feminine all the time to be a woman. That we have more strength than we know and it's okay to show it, sometimes through vulnerability. That we can express our fears and our sadness, and that it doesn't make us lesser. And allowing ourselves to take up space in our own lives, and the lives of others. 

The surrender is a softness. A practice in listening, truly listening. To what's inside. 

To allow for imperfection and embrace it.

And I saw that same act of surrender in Vivian. Amazed by her courage and inspired by her choice to start a new chapter, stepping away from that which no longer served her. To rediscover her passion. Embracing the struggle and beauty of it all.

Vivian portrait

Vivian originally ventured into online entrepreneurship because she was looking for more freedom. Prior, her soul and spirit felt like it was being more and more stifled as more and more of her time and energy was spent in a cubicle.

She left her cubicle job in early 2014 to fulfill a deep desire to see and explore more of the world, leaving for Southeast Asia and Australia with a one-way ticket, two backpacks, and a lot of surrendering. 

"For the first time, I felt like I was truly calling the shots on my life (and not just doing what was expected of me from others!) I felt free, finally. Every day was a new adventure, never really knowing what was next. Every day was filled with this child-like wonder and awe, meeting new and inspiring people, and see confirming what truly matters most in the world for me."

After the trip she knew she couldn't go back to a regular 9-5, it just wasn't right for her. She needed something that would allow her to be location-independent, as well as provide more flexibility in what, who, when, and how she did her work. 

"Ultimately, I wanted to base work around the lifestyle I wanted for myself, and not the other way around."

Vivian portrait

When I asked her why she does the work does she said:

"I've realized that connection is what ultimately fuels me. I want a life where I have time for what matters most to me - connection with self, others, loved ones...and a greater power - we're all one. I have also gotten to connect with a lot of people from around the world with my work - which is always so nice! The work I do now is a great coming-together of my skills, experience, personality, interests, and creativity. Funnily, it's come back full-circle to the creative realm, which I loved as a child, but lost along the way. But it makes sense, you follow your gut, trust with all your heart, and it comes together."

Vivian portrait

I also asked her how she makes time to connect with her well-being and world around her...

"I'm such a planner by nature, so I try to make sure I schedule time for myself to journal, reflect, and plan, and time with loved ones so I can get out of my head - having an online business means sometimes not seeing real people for days!  When I neglect to make time for this, I'm knocked off balance and it affects me physically, mentally, and emotionally. So, I don't really have a choice, because I feel like everything starts going wrong and it forces me to stop and re-connect! Honestly, it's a practice, and there's (lots of) periods where I'm completely off-track. The last few months have been all on building my business and I can feel the unbalance."

Vivian portrait

"A big piece of it is figuring what I want and don't want, and creating boundaries for myself."

"The relationships in my life are important to me - so I schedule time to make sure I re-connect with myself, my partner, family, friends, acquaintances, and even time to meet new people and check in regularly. 

In connecting with myself, dreams, and desires, I journal a lot. I keep close to my feelings and hone in on what is working and what isn't; and if it's not working, how to fix it. I try to regularly practice asking myself how I want to feel (inspired from Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map) - and the logical part of me also likes to break things down into smaller steps/goals. Purging of things/people that do not serve me is also something that helps me make space for things that do. 

In the spring and summer, I find every excuse to just be outside and soak up the fresh air and sunshine. Hammocking amongst the great big trees is definitely one of my favourite past-times. It's calming, grounding, and humbling. 

Otherwise, it's seeing the opportunities in every moment to connect, and that comes from being present. That's something I'm working on moment-to-moment!"

Vivian Ngai  | Creative virtual assistant

Providing business + design support for holistic entrepreneurs and changemakers: 

{ A wonderful big thank you to the Yoga Sanctuary on Danforth Avenue for opening their beautiful light-filled studio for our photoshoot. }


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