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“You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.” – Unknown.

Warm golden light begins crawling across the covers as the sunrises, your body begins tingling into wakefulness. Even though morning is here whether you want it to be or not, you have two choices. You can seize the day and everything it has to offer of you can scurry back into the warmth of your blankets, burrowing your head till the sun don’t shine. Many of us have experienced these moments when it seems almost impossible to face the day.

Whatever our reason, grief, pain, fear, we all have the choose. Either wake with a mindfulness that we will do the best we can under our current circumstances or simply hide and feel even more overwhelmed, scared and ashamed.

We’ve created daily routines for a reason.. The simple act of getting up and making our bed is enough to make us feel more “normal”. To ground us. Remind us that this is only a temporary status.

There is some irony to the timing of this post, I can only imagine what’s running through this beautiful woman’s mind, the fact she’s getting up each day and making her bed and opening her store is well an accomplishment in itself. But even tougher is the date, the eve of dreaded #2 chemo session that will cause these beautiful luscious locks to fall so gracefully at each turn, twist and touch. They have been growing for just over 6 years and in a matter of a day they will be no longer the same. Each person has a different experience when there body is pumped with the chemicals designed to kill the cancer cells, but more often than not hair loss is pretty much guaranteed. Some of the other side effects can be: sore mouth, diarrhea, constipation, pain, fluid retention, fatigue, bed wetting, nauseous, vomiting and the list goes on..I am sure most of us can’t even imagine what this would be like.

What I’ve learned personally and through many of my clients stories is when we are facing some of the biggest challenges in our lives the most incredible things can happen if we are paying attention. Its usually at the moment when you feel like your physical and emotional body can’t take more and BAM, you receive a gift of relief, good news or someone special that steps into your life in a way you couldn’t have described before entering this journey through hell.

I mean who wants to ask for HELP? Who wants to seem like they need help? How many of us hide, pretend we are okay when really what we crave is just someone else to take over even for a moment. To lessen the burden that seems unsurmountable. How many of us would jump at the opportunity to help another person? We probably wouldn’t even think twice..

So this post is dedicated to ALL the beautiful people who’ve stepped up to the plate even when they were told “no thanks”, I’m okay, I got it, that stood by, waited, leaned in and were the rock you couldn’t even have imagined ever needing but at the end of the day couldn’t imagine getting through without. Here’s to you, thank you!

Lets send Cathy some big love today and support her through this next step.

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  • Lynne - Your a beautiful girl inside and out!! Thinking of you through this journey!! Would love to see you!! LynneReplyCancel

“The only person you should try and be better than, is the person you were yesterday. -Unknown

Ever gotten caught up in comparisonitis?
You know that compulsion to compare our accomplishments to another’s to determine relative importance or level of achievement. We can win, delight in a triumph or receive rewards for our good deeds and still somewhere niggling in the back of our head we discount it, brush it off as nothing or even luck. As soon as we learn of another’s success were often driven into a tail spin.. I’m not good enough, worthy, mine doesn’t count.

I know we all suffer from some comparisonitis, even if its with ourselves sometimes. This great quote summarizes it best: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If you are on Pinterest I’m sure you’ve seen it come across your feed numerous times.

What a ridiculous notion that we’d compare our achievements, accomplishments or success to another’s or even ourselves. Imagine you’d never be “good enough” “worthy” or perfect. We simply need to be better than the person we were yesterday. To learn, love and forgive ourselves. To know that each second we get a second chance to be the best we can be.

I’ve been photographing people for 5 + years now and have a lot of photos in circulation. It always brings a smile to my face when I see my photos on social media from years gone by, the fact people still feel that its a worthy photo to put in the rotation is AWESOME! What isn’t always awesome is when I start critiquing said photos and judging, analyzing and assessing my processing, composition etc. Don’t get me wrong the people always look fabulous but the “perfectionist” in me can’t not think it could be better now.

After all the years learning, exploring and oodles of training I of course have gotten better. Honed my skills to a level that I can (and should) be proud of. What doesn’t serve me is beating myself up over the photos from 3 + years ago… thinking I should have done this or that.. why did I over process it, etc.

Today I had an epiphany after looking for something else I came across my first ever BOUDOIR session from 2011! I had recently seen this beautiful woman (Shannon too) re-post a photo from this session from 3 + years ago. Of course it always warms my heart to see she still uses it because she LOVES the photos we captured. But of course being my first ever “boudoir” session I now see what I could have done a little better, one being the “editing”. Not that it was terrible 3 + years ago I’ve just refined my style and prefer a little cleaner and timeless look.

So it got me to thinking.. hey why not a “do over” why not re-edit and re-post. Just to show the world what it looked like and well the difference in some respects to now. Maybe this will be my thing every 3 years with these original photos from my first boudoir photography session, my guidepost to keep me on track, to enjoy the journey.

Either way enjoy this “comparisionitis free” then and now!

R E W I N D: Original edits

Have you been caught up in COMPARISIONITIS? What did you do to get over or past it? Would love to hear so drop me a note at shannon@discoversessions.com or leave a comment.

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“It feels good to be lost in the right direction” – Unknown

What are you waiting for? For summer, for Friday, for someone to fall in love with you, for 10 more lbs? What blocks have you set up that stop you from living a life of bliss?

What if I told you to find the magic and live a more fulfilling life you only have to step out of your comfort zone once a day.. would you do it? Could you stand in bravery and expand your scope, step into things that don’t always feel comfortable at first to come out the other side better for it?

Maybe its simply connecting with someone you haven’t in awhile or doing an activity that seems foreign but you’ve always wanted to try like pottery, fitness class or signing up for a cooking class. It could even be that one thing that you fear the most.. like being photographed and truly seen or standing up and giving a speech somewhere.. whatever it is are you willing to step up to step into the person you were always meant to be?

This is the summer people.. BE A WARRIOR not A WORRIER.

I would love to hear what brave things you are doing this summer and of course will be more than happy to work alongside anyone who would like to get over their fear of being photographed, just send me a message to shannon@discoversessions.com!

Now on to this beautiful soul who stepped out of her comfort zone.. can you believe she was nervous? She rocked her photoshoot from start to finish, with dignity and grace!

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Just like Oprah I have a list of favourite/inspiring/go to things that have changed my life in some way, shape or form. With summer holiday’s just around the corner I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share! When possible I have provided links for you to check out for more info!

BOOKS

books-cuba-photo
{photo from my trip to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba 2010}

Reading, one of my favourite past times, I don’t know about you but I can’t sleep until I’ve read a few chapters of my latest good book. In random here are my top fiction favourites! (links included)

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

Bridget Jones Diary – Helen Fielding

Lamb - Christopher Moore

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Mercy Among the Children – David Adams Richards

Memoirs of Geisha – Arthur Golden

Kay Scarpetta series – Patricia Cornwell

Summer Sisters - Judy Blume

Phillippa Gregory – you can’t go wrong with any of her series

Here are a few of my favourite non-ficton books:

Money a Love Story – Kate Northrup
Sign-up for her newsletter on amazing tips to be enrichen your life: http://www.katenorthrup.com/

The Big Leap - Gay Hendricks
We all have an “upper threshold” that holds us back from living the most fulfilling life.. learn to crack that ceiling and overcome the barrier.

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
RESISTANCE – who hasn’t felt this on a daily basis. From doing mundane tasks, to getting started, to making big decisions, we experience RESISTANCE. Steven helps us get mindful and win the war against resistance.

Love Does – Bob Goff
Recently I met Bob, he was the keynote speaker at a conference, after giving me a huge giant hug I knew that everything he says, wrote is true. He lives his life from a place of LOVE. Look him up.. you won’t regret it.

 NEWSLETTERS

Newspaper

I resisted newsletters for a long time, simply because I didn’t want them to clutter my inbox. Then a bright idea struck me..I created an email account just for newsletters. This account is a stand alone, doesn’t get routed to mobile devices or even my computer. I have to actually login to view. This allows me to enjoy the newsletter’s on my own time and archive and save my favourites!

 
 
A few of my favourite newsletters that I find inspiration from all the time:

Seth Godin

Danielle Laporte
From Desire Mapping, to her daily truth bombs, musical playlists, this woman ROCKS on many levels! She is definitely a GAME CHANGER

The Brand Alchemist
If you’re a solopreneur I highly recommend Cerries newsletter. Everyone else should take the FREE test, find out what your archetype is HERE. I guarantee it will be mind blowing!

LEARNING

ted4TED Talks are devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). Everything they do is based on this one question: How can we best spread great ideas?

 
 
Here are a few of my favourites:

Brene Brown – The Power of vulnerability
I would also recommend her books, they are all fabulous! Click here for a list.

Amy Cuddy – Your body language shapes who you are

Simon Sinek – How Great leaders inspire action

 

FOR DOGS
labrador-retriever-photo
The boys’ certainly have exquisite taste and have tried and tested many companies over the years for various products and their top picks are as follows:

Favourite everyday collars and leashes are from – Dublin Dog
Favourite classy and elegant collars are from – Houndstooth Pets

Favourite life jackets – Ruff Wear

Favourite balls (indestructible and float) – ChuckIt!

Favourite treats – Zuke’s Healthy, natural and tons of flavour!

 

CARD READING

10429457_289379261245812_8326795832774921321_n
I know ancient wisdom isn’t for everyone.. but I invite you to try Anne Hayman weekly readings. She offers up 3 cards every Friday and around 8 pm EST she shares the reading. I’ve been doing this for about 10 + weeks now and there was only been 1 week that it wasn’t freaking bang on! She also offers a free guide to aromatherapy, oracle cards etc. Checkout her website here.

WORKSPACE

ommwriter-logo-mainHighly recommend Ommwriter to anyone who needs their own private writing room where you can close the door behind and focus on writing. Ommwriter offers a beautiful distraction-free writing environment where your authentic voice is free to go where it is meant to go. Check it out here.

 

 

 

PINTESREST

Screenshot 2014-06-25 11.48.08How did we live before Pinterest? I have been on since 2011! With over 8,000 pins, almost 1300 followers, this amazing inspiration tool is invaluable!
Follow me at SHANNONVIEW

 

 

INSTAGRAM

Screenshot 2014-06-25 11.51.58
Instagram! What an amazing tool to capture moments and share instantly. This summer I am committed to photographing the boys’ everyday.. so if you love dogs as much as I do follow us at SHANNONVIEW to see what we have been up to!

With all the great photos captured on instagram we like to create magnets too! Who doesn’t like magnets? Checkout Sticky 9, they rock!

NX_camera_dslr_sktch

 

CAMERA STUFF

My favourite camera gear is…

Canon 5D MKIII

85 mm 1.2 L-series lens

50 mm 1.2 L-series lens

35 mm 1.4 L series lens

Editing software: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Actions/Presets: Favourites from Totally Rad

Now that I’ve divulged a few of my favourite things and stuff that inspires me, I would love to hear about yours? Leave a comment below listing anyone of the subjects above and your favourite/inspiration/go to..

P.S. Are you in need of an authentic and fabulous headshot? I am offering a promo this SUMMER between July 1st and August 31st! Email shannon@discoversessions.com to book or for more details on group rates!
rock-the-shot-PROMO

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  • Michele Mallen - Well isn’t this a great wealth of information! Can’t wait to visit the card reader’s site! Thank you for the great idea of using a special email address for newsletters! That rocks!ReplyCancel

  • Michele mallen - Hi Shannon, I was so excited about your topics, I forgot to mention some fun things that inspire me!

    I love to create, I make mixed media canvases that are mostly inspirational to women. I enjoy getting all mucked up with paint and gesso and seeing what comes out the other side.

    Thank you!ReplyCancel

“If we would only see that all limitations are self-imposed and chosen out of fear, we would leap at once.” – Adyashanti


Why is it most of us bristle at the sheer idea of being truly seen? We dream will have a better figure, be happier, more connected. Gone are the days when we can delight in our own appearance.

A couple of weeks ago I had to opportunity to face a current fear. Well I didn’t HAVE to, but knew it could be a game changer. I stood in front of the camera. Not because I lost 10 lbs or felt beautiful or even just to celebrate something. I booked a session just because the mere idea made me crazy, it caused me to feel fear and doubt myself.

You see this past year I shifted priorities in my life and as many of you know when we change our focus and drop the very things that matter the results can be dire. I would liken my year to riding a roller coaster, as I rode the waves of highs and lows and occasional bumps I let the very thing that would keep me going slide. Food. Yes food. The very fuel that is required to keep us healthy and strong. As time ran out of my hands I didn’t prioritize what I needed and ME. Now months later that food that was eaten out of convenience and not with thought have added a few unwelcome pounds.

Of course we all have an ideal vision of ourselves. We set the bar that we stand by regardless of our age, status or situation. So when we deter from that bar it can have devastating effects of not feeling worthy, good enough, beautiful. So here I am outing myself that yes I too struggle.

These photos are the beginning of the next chapter in my life, a chapter about focusing on self-care. As time goes by, my body will shift with the nurturing foods and exercise I supply it and I will have the experience and photos of being truly seen to remind me where I stand and what I stand for.

Big thank you and shout out to my friend Trina, from Trina Koster Photography in Guelph, Ontario for capturing these moments for me. It was a wonderful evening standing in front of the camera and being truly seen.

Ready to gain a superpower and learn to delight in your own appearance? Or even if you aren’t, I invite you to contact me. Let’s talk! Shannon Nicholson, Cambridge Kitchener Waterloo Guelph Portrait Boudoir photographer.

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