Posts tagged ‘self-nurturing’

February 4, 2011

Loving You.

by Hannah

I’m over on The Creative Mama today, with some thoughts on self-love…..

January 14, 2011

Well, Hello. {This is me.}

by Hannah

If you follow my photography blog, you saw these two photos there this morning:

I am participating in a 52 week photography project with a group of 16 other amazing photographers, and our week one theme was self. I encourage you to click over to my other blog and follow the links to each of their self portraits from this week.

I am challenging myself to also take more self portraits this year. Doing so feels awkward at first. Raw. I feel that every artist must do this. I connect with the people I photograph in a totally unique way, and I think connecting with myself in the same way will be important. It may teach me more about myself. It might even be healing.

So here are a few others I took this week–

{So this is me.}
shy. quiet. unsure.
and yet, I am learning
that is who I made myself,
but not who I really am.
I am, truly
fierce, stubborn, a warrior-woman, mama lioness.
unyielding, determined, refusing to give up no matter what comes my way.
tell me I can’t
and you’d better believe that I am going to.
yes I am introspective.
but if I’m not talking, it’s probably because I am listening.
in my bones and blood
is creativity and salt water.
in my heart
is freedom and adventure
and love.

December 11, 2010

I am guilty…

by Hannah

…of knowing that I need to slow down, stop worrying, eat well, rest more, counter stress with exercise… but not actually doing those things.

I know the importance of taking care of myself- I even write about self-nurturing here sometimes. I know that my family needs me to be healthy. I know that if I am emotionally balanced and physically strong and rested I’ll be a better mom and wife.
But I will be honest with you- I have not been practicing what I preach lately. I stay up late working, I forget to eat lunch, I forget my vitamins, I allow worry to consume my thoughts and allow myself to stress over everything far too often.

This has been at the back of mind constantly. You need to chill Hannah. You are stressing too much Hannah. Just get some sleep Hannah… But I tell myself, I’ll relax when things slow down. This is the busy season. Sleep is overrated. And if I’m really honest with myself, worry makes me feel like I’m not giving up on situations that I can’t control.
So it seems my body is going to make me take it easy and take care of myself,  rather than just waiting for me to get around to it. I am currently fighting shingles for the second time this year, which is a painful form of the same virus that causes chickenpox. Once you have it, the virus lives in your nervous system, and can present itself in times of stress or decreased immunity.
I am trying to take it easy, and finish the editing work I have left as soon as I can. Within the next week or so I should be done, and am planning a few weeks’ break to focus on my family and get healthy again. I am very much looking forward to relaxing for the holidays, and greeting the new year with a fresh perspective and enthusiasm for my business and for life. And I am hoping that I can get in the habit of dealing with stress in healthy ways that prevent it from wreaking such havoc in my life. Back to the yoga mat, I think…


October 20, 2010

Be still.

by Hannah

I over at The Creative Mama this morning talking about the importance of taking time alone to quiet your heart and mind. Won’t you join me?

October 19, 2010

The thing about balance…

by Hannah

It’s a process. A journey. A practice that you must approach with the knowledge that you will most likely never actually feel that you’ve “arrived”, and if you do, it will probably only be for a few minutes.

I always feel like some aspect of my life is suffering. If I am giving my family all of my attention, my business to-do list becomes overwhelming. If I spend a day focusing on getting the house completely cleaned, then Seth gets cabin fever and everyone is irritable. If I am keeping with all of my work, then the dishes and laundry seem to pile up and Seth has watched far too much television for one day. It can be so, so frustrating to feel like there is never any balance. And I tell myself that it is my fault- that I should be handling it all better. I think I know that is not true, deep down. It is the image of super-mom that is highly esteemed in our society, but is it anyone’s reality? I always wonder if anyone has truly found the balance and maintained it.

But maybe it is my definition of balance that is actually off. Maybe balancing it all would be accepting that I will lack in one area while focusing on another, but each important part of my life must be given its time and place. Maybe I need to stop beating myself up about where I am lacking, and focus always on what I have in front of me now. Maybe balance is more about my mindset than how I actually do anything, and the fact that no area suffers for very long is proof that I’m doing alright after all.

Be kind to yourself. A balanced mind leads to a balanced life…

October 14, 2010


by Hannah


{This is something I have never really shared publicly, but for some reason I felt led to today. It feels so strange to be putting it “out there”, but I hoping that my transparency on this subject will be somehow encouraging or helpful to someone out there.}

As I sit here eating my quinoa and green beans for lunch, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with food. It’s an odd thing, the emotional connections involved in what we eat. My attitudes about food have changed drastically throughout my life.

As a teenager- studying ballet and coping with the constant pressure within that craft to be lithe and thin- I had quite an unhealthy view of food. I even feared it. I dabbled in liquid fasts and veganism (not saying being vegan is bad, at all, just at the point I was doing it for all the wrong reasons). I restricted my calories, counting them obsessively, while dancing and exercising for hours each day. I lacked energy to the point where I frequently felt light-headed.

My dancing came to a halt when I began to get intense migraines on an almost daily basis. Maybe it was body’s way of forcing me to begin healing. I no longer felt quite as much pressure to stay skinny, but my perspective on food and my body had been damaged. I fluctuated between overdoing it with very unhealthy foods, and not eating enough. I did not feel whole and healthy, and frequently berated myself for lack of discipline.

My mind and body have healed so much since that time in my life. I saw a counselor for a while I was college, and I finally reached a point where I felt comfortable in my skin. I celebrated by getting the word “victory” tattooed on my ankle in Hebrew- the language of some of my oldest ancestors, and of the book that helped me to get through it.

I got this tattoo knowing well that I still had a long way to go, but I wanted a permanent reminder of this victory over self-loathing and depression.

Now, my relationship with food has shifted from being about weight, to being about health. I still have weeks where I go crazy with the refined-sugar domino effect (the more you eat, the more you crave), and I know it makes me feel sick but it is hard to stop. Dairy is the same way for me- I like it, but if I eat too much of it I feel awful. Yet too often I eat a lot of these things anyway in the name of “indulgence”- I always pay for it later though in the form of stomach pain, headaches and fatigue.

On the flip side, I have learned that whole, living foods (like to today’s lunch I mentioned) give me energy and make me feel fantastic, and yet I am not always motivated to prepare them for myself. There is a domino effect here too though, because if I get in the habit of eating a lot of veggies, fruits, and whole grains for a while, I do actually crave them.

I am hoping to get to a truly balanced place, in which moderation rules and nothing feels restricted or deprived. I want to make food decisions on a daily basis that really nourish my body and make me feel good, because that is a form of self-care as well. I want to want to make these decisions. And so the journey continues…

September 16, 2010


by Hannah

I have been quiet around here this week. I have been so busy, always either working or (more often) soaking up time with my two boys. I have been spending less time at my desk, more time playing with Seth, eating picnics in the park, talking with Manny, and making meals to eat together as a family. It’s been sort of a forced break, but one that I needed. As Seth gets older (and he is- sometimes I look at hi and am just awestruck that my baby is now a little boy!), I don’t want him to remember always trying to pull mommy’s attention away from her computer screen. I am intentionally engaging with him all day, and saving work for specific, set-aside times.

Now I am in the bookstore with my laptop, and I have been sitting here wondering what to post about, or really where to start, because there has just been so much going on in my head and heart and life lately. I feel a shift that is practically impossible to describe, as it is still taking place.

Still, in the true spirit of me, I will try to describe it anyway. (After all, I’m pretty into attempting the impossible.)
I feel that I am becoming more myself. I am feeling more confident and more purposeful. A few days ago, the phrase, “less thinking, less planning- more doing” popped into my head. I suddenly realized that I spend an awful lot of time thinking about the things I want to do, and not enough time on action. So I am focusing more on action, and I suddenly feel more in control of my own life and career than I ever have.

Another shift…
I wrote about beauty and self confidence recently, and I want to tell you, I have struggled with those things. I have experienced pain and brokenness that, at a young age, left me so very unsure of myself. I did not see any value in myself. I hated and tried to hide anything that was unique about me, because I wanted to blend in. I became shy because I would rather be invisible to others, and fade to the background, then to draw attention that could lead to rejection. And I was so sure that I would always be rejected, because I thought that all the things I saw that were wrong with me must be so obvious to everyone else as well. I have experienced so much healing and renewal, and while I still struggle at times, I have come so far.

Lately I feel like I discovering who I really am in a way that I couldn’t before. In the midst of all the inadequacy of my past, I could never get in touch with my true self. I had no foundation, so I flitted from one thing to the next, relying on others’ reactions to determine so much about how I lived my life. The process of healing my thoughts and my heart has allowed me to know what my true passions are, and get in touch with my true self. From that healing, my writing flows, and my photography career was born. And I am learning to live from that healing every day, to reclaim myself, to dig a little deeper. I have never felt so solid in my entire life. I’m not saying I’ve “arrived”, I am just on the right path now. I am moving in the direction that my life was always meant to go. And in learning to live every day in a way that is authentically me, I know that my writing and  my photography and evolving too. I am really excited about my business becoming more a reflection of myself and my uniqueness rather then a reflection of what I have observed is working for others.

I’m not even sure if those were all the right words. But there it is.

I have to say that knowing that you read what I have to say, that there are people who enjoy my work and are inspired by it, means so much to me. Thank you for reading. I am so encouraged by online/blogging community- what a phenomenon this creative, authentic part of the internet is. I am honored to be part of it. Where once online friendships may have been laughed at or discredited, it is a real thing now. It is amazing to me how many deep, lifelong connections are made between people through blogging and other social media. It is the positive side of the internet age, and it has changed the way people interact and the way they do business and the way they learn. Anyway, that interesting subject is one for another post entirely.

Have a beautiful day friends, and love yourself a little more today.


September 2, 2010

A journey of self-confidence

by Hannah

Recently I, along with thousands of other photographers all over the world, tuned into CreativeLIVE as renowned wedding photographer Jasmine Star shot a real wedding as part of a live online photography workshop. It was pretty cool to watch, and from the pieces I was able to catch, I learned quite a bit.

At one point, when she was taking portraits of the bride and groom, she was talking about how her goal is always for the bride to feel 100% beautiful and confident on her wedding day. She mentions that the majority of women do not feel confident in themselves on a daily basis. That statement made me so sad, because it is true, and it should not be that way.

It seems to be one of the biggest issues in any woman’s life. We struggle to feel that we are beautiful, or smart, or “enough” in any given area of our lives.

When we are very young, we feel like beautiful princesses or ballerinas, and we know that we can be anything we want to be when we grow up. There are no limits in our minds and hearts.
But as we grow up, we look back on that and laugh at our naivety. We begin to believe that we are just normal, and incapable to doing anything extraordinary. We see only our imperfections when we look in the mirror, only our shortcomings when we examine our lives. We limit ourselves because we believe our true dreams are too big and that we are unworthy of them. Often we even believe that we are unworthy of love.

Why does this happen to us? Why does this self-doubt seem to be an almost inseparable part of the female psyche? I think that it is partially a societal thing- our culture does not nurture confidence in young women. Rather, it teaches us not to be too proud, because then people will think we are arrogant and conceited. If we being to believe we could go after our dreams, and have anything we want, often there is a voice (whether it be from another person or in out own minds) that says we are being impractical and have our head in the clouds.

But isn’t it better to have your head in the clouds then to be laying on the ground in defeat?

The women I always admire most are the ones who have chosen not to listen to the negativity, who have fought off the doubts in their own minds and embraced the woman they truly are.
They are totally comfy in their own skin, because they recognize that their beauty is from within and it is real.
They chase after their dreams with confidence and determination, because they know that every single success story that has ever been, started with just another “normal” person, and that dreams are not realized my chance, but by fervently working towards them. (And also- that it is better to be truly happy and doing what you love, than to be miserable and have money. It’s about redefining “success”… but that is a topic all on it’s own.)
They find real love, because they know that they deserve it and they refuse to settle for anything less, ignoring the voice in their head that might them otherwise.

And because they have fought their insecurities- faced them, and worked through them instead of submitting to them- they have a lightness and a freedom that is recognizable. They are more beautiful, because they believe in their beauty. They do reach their goals, because they refuse to give up on them. They have a presence and a solidity that people fell when they are around, and they have more to offer others because they are not preoccupied by self-doubting thoughts.

That is how I want to be, and I know that getting there is a journey. It is about daily choosing not to believe the lies, and to walk in who I know myself to be. I think that any of those confident women I am thinking of would agree that the struggles never go away, it is just a matter of daily choosing how you will deal with them.

Sisters, you are beautiful and you can do anything. Own it. Choose freedom.

July 14, 2010


by Hannah


No, really, just….

do. not. move.

Take a moment to breathe with me. Really breathe deeply.

How many times have you done that today?
I know for me it hasn’t been very many. I’ve just been too distracted.

I went to see a doctor last week, because I have been experiencing some random things like dizzy spells, shaking and nausea. After bloodwork and a full evaluation, he told me that my body is simply reacting to stress that I am not giving a healthy outlet to.

Wow, what a wakeup call. Yeah, I knew I’d been under some stress. Who isn’t? -especially with a young child and a business and a home… right? I figured I was handling it. Or at least I was always striving to. But when physical symptoms keep me from handling it all as well as I could, the striving becomes hugely counterproductive. It is hard for me to accept not being able to just do it all- I’m a striver by nature.

I know I am not alone here. So many of make ourselves sick with all the striving. And while I know that I need to take time for myself, etc– heck, I preach it here on my blog all the time– I don’t really practice that often enough. I always feel selfish if I try to.
But it isn’t selfish. We are better moms, wives, and friends, and more effective and creative in our businesses or jobs, if we regularly take time out to nurture ourselves- to really rest. I challenge you, and myself, to do this, to be good to ourselves and just stop sometimes.

Be well, my friends.


p.s.~ Check out my recent posts on my photography business blog– I’ve been keeping busy lately! {lol…}

May 14, 2010

Balance in daily life- some observations.

by Hannah

There are certain elements in my life that are necessary in order for me to feel centered and at peace. If there is balance, then I am happier, and my son is happier. If I don’t include these elements into our day, it is usually a hard one.

1. We have to get out of the house. Sometimes I feel like I have too much to do at home, so we stay in all day, but in the end I get less done because Seth and I both feel trapped and restless.

2. In connection to the above, we have to spend to in nature. Sometimes it’s just our backyard, or maybe the park or beach, but when I make sure we get outdoors and explore the natural world for a while, there is so much less stress in the day. Seth thrives on time spend outside, and I think I am realizing that I do, too.

3. At least every few days, we need interaction with others. Specifically, I need time with friends every one in a while in order to feel less isolated and more understood. This is something I am trying to work on making a habit, because right now it is too infrequent. We mamas need other women in our lives.

4. This is probably the biggest one for me: I have to make times to be creative. Taking pictures, making art-  and sometimes blogging, dancing freely in the living room, or baking something does the trick. If I haven’t created or allowed my artistic mind to take over in a while, I feel lifeless and frustrated. Taking that time makes me a better mother and wife, and a happier person.

5. Finally, I just have to take care of myself, physically. If I am not sleeping enough, getting enough good, nourishing whole foods in my diet, and staying physically active, my mood is very much affected. If I am taking the time to nurture myself, I feel much more balanced emotionally.

These are the things I am making an effort toward right now.

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