Seems an odd title for a blog post, but stay with me.
I was recently presented with a gift. An opportunity arose for me to be a part of something that would empower me, motivate and validate me, ME.
When presented with such a gift, one should accept, and so a few months ago when an email popped into my inbox inviting me to a photography retreat, I signed up so quickly that immediately afterward, I panicked and thought;
“What am I do-ing???” Do I really want to be a part of this? I didn’t know anyone personally in this Instagram community, though I had certainly admired their work so I had a few misgivings.
Every once in awhile I feel the need to take a leap into uncharted territory and needing a shot in the arm I quickly signed up and paid my registration fee.
Within a few days, I began to feel less nervous about this upcoming retreat and I was able to connect in a Facebook group with the small number of women who were about to embark on this journey with me.We were all excited and with still-life photography in common,we forged a community prior to our arrival.
We met for the first time over dinner a few months later. We were 5 American and 6 Canadian strong and bonded immediately over our common goals; to nurture and support our innate creativity, to learn photography as an expression of self, to grow a community of women creatives, to support each other’s efforts and to stay connected in the big wide web.
And it was all that and more.
I had no idea that I would need the retreat as much as I did. I think all of us were blown away by the amazing Kim Klassen. She is a still-life pioneer and techie super-woman and simply the most lovely person I think I have ever met. She has the unique ability to make each person feel important and genuinely welcome. Not only were we allowed to use her entire prop collection, we were unrestricted in her space. That is generous.
The studio was an amazing experience in itself-a large room awash in white. White floorboards, white walls, white window casements, white sheer curtains, white ceiling all of which served as the canvas for our creations. Vintage pieces, antique tea cups, linens in abundance and a staggering collection of leaves, berry branches and flowers rounded out the loveliness.
We spent 3 glorious days and evenings with her and gentle -spirited Aeleen.
A quick overview of our days;
- Group meetings
- flower arranging
- Delicious meals
- Top-down photography
- Quiet time to Be Still, where we could still Play/Create!
- Special Guests
- Special gadgets for photography
- Lightroom tutorials
- Question/Answer Opportunities
- Genuine conversation
- Heartfelt connections
- A harp recital-Oh my gosh-intoxicating!
- Etc. etc. etc.
There are no words to describe how welcoming and purely happy you feel when you work and PLAY among women who support you, guide you, accept you, energize you, inspire you.
Three days later, it was time to go. Time to pack up the cameras and pick up the tissues. Time for sentiments, last words of encouragement. A a love-fest of sorts.
Though my personal goal was to find time to Be Still, I didn’t realize that that wasn’t the thing I needed most. Finding time for reflection is so very important but deep within me I craved acceptance among women who get-me. They get what I do, what I’m now passionate about. They get why on some days, I might not get anything else done. Why I scour vintage shops looking for just the right props for a photo. They get lenses and my interest in gadgets for photography. They get what a hobby can do for the soul and mostly they get my desire to create magic.
Finding Stillness, means that in that quiet, we acknowledge and honour our authentic selves and allow our true spirits to manifest.
Thank you Kim & Aeleen for teaching me that in order to create, we need first to Find Stillness.
You can find Kim’s classes and her amazing blog at kimklassen.com.