Last night, I had the honor of attending the unveiling of a wonderful heart-driven organization called The Lalla Project. (please check them out) Brought to life by some amazing people in my life, The Lalla Project was developed to bring forth the poetry translations of the ancient poetic teachings of 14th century Kashmiri mystic Lal Ded, also affectionately known as Lalla. In Lalla’s spirit, the collaborators are aiming to bring awareness and raise money for global non-profits such as Girls Not Brides, The International Center for Research of Women, and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), all of which are working to help people of all genders and ages find protection and freedom.
The Lalla Project evening was emotional and beautiful with a sense of serenity.
For me, it became my “aha!” moment. While listening to my friend Carol, one of the founders and primary photographer, talk about the whole process of pulling this project together and the emotional healing that occurred for her, Jen and for the women being photographed, I realized my “Photography and Healing” had legs and was farther reaching than I thought. Their story is part of my journey, my witnessing, documenting, or developing (whatever I am being led to do) of the fact that photography can be a powerful tool to help people heal and find a greater sense of well-being. This is exactly what was occuring in Carol’s photoshoot.
Photography, in many ways, brings to the forefront our weaknesses, our damaged parts, our hidden emotions and misperceptions but it can also bring greater awareness of our strengths, our beauty, and those parts or beliefs that just need some tweaking in order for us to be our best selves.
So, I came home late and got up early with this epiphany that there is more to my theory than I realized. I have more concrete plans and ideas that I thought. I have my introductory class or seminar “Photography and Healing” that was well-received on it’s debut and a teen version which is still in the brew phase because I am too busy to take it live this semester. I have had my experience with individual portrait sessions that included and evolved into some emotional breakthroughs. I have some ideas brewing in my head about a larger project that combines my “Photography and Healing” with a process called “photovoice” for teens and adults in underserved communities or populations. I also helped some friends learn how to shoot photos manually this summer just by going on a brief nature walk. What is more healing than a walk in the woods? Lastly, through photography, I love sharing, receiving, and bringing a greater awareness to all the hearts in nature and the love that is all around us. #heartsinnature.
Not only is my theory starting to take form but my journey is starting to make sense. I have already taken the foundation course for mindfulness and will, at some point, take a follow-up course to learn how to more formally bring mindfulness to children in a classroom setting. I am in a teacher training program…I am learning how to teach. I am learning how to share information in way that is interesting, engaging, and progressive. I am developing my stance, my voice, and my confidence. I am learning how to teach teenagers, how to engage with them, and to understand their world and their plight. I am already a Certified Health Education Specialist and with that comes a certain set of skills, knowledge and access to many interesting continuing education programs.
The only catch…I really don’t want to take this leap full force right now. I am not ready and it is not the right time (not today), this I know in my heart. I want to do all these things but without the management, marketing, and other business administrative features that will go along with it. I did that with my little photography business and I am not interested today. I have kids headed to college so there is a practical money issue. However, I know in my heart, when I take this jump, it will all work out but my instincts are telling me I have a few more things to learn. There is still more for me to do before I can pull all this together. Me and my Photography and Healing are still in the growing and gathering information phase. But last night, it started to take form. All those swirling ideas started to come together and take shape.
I know putting this idea out there is quite a risk but I have never been so sure about something in my life. I don’t know how I will get there but I know that I will when the time is right.
The stars are aligning but are not in alignment.