At the River Park Guest House in Tel Aviv, 15 strangers from all over Israel came together to for a preparatory workshop for our annual boudoir mini-sessions in honor of Yom Ahava. I like the idea that a day about love, such as Valentine's Day or as we call it in Israel, Yom Ahava, encompasses all aspects of love, including the relationship we have with ourselves.
As the women came in, it was amazing to think that if it weren't for this workshop, some of us would never even be in the same room! There were people from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, East Jerusalem, the North, the South, singles and married women with 8 children, secular, dati and everything in between. The openness to a inner process that we would be experiencing together was a beautiful thing to see.
We chatted over Karma Kream, superfood "nice" cream, before we began the workshop, and I don't think anyone could get enough of the sweet, healthy goodness.
The workshop led by Jamie Faye, a millennial life and relationship coach, incorporated meditation, photography, dancing, writing and even burning our disempowering beliefs about our bodies. My main goal for the workshop was for women to take time to connect with themselves and their bodies before diving into a boudoir session. Since boudoir sessions can be very vulnerable and healing, the workshop was a way to recognize that beforehand and work towards being in a healthy, positive head space when their time came.
We spoke about how we felt in our skin and how our bodies serve us, we spoke about the things that we don't like or disappoint us about our bodies. We spoke about our families and the cultural pressure to look a certain way. Even though these are things I think about on a daily basis as a boudoir photographer, it really helped me slow down and focus on my own internal dialogue I have with my body.
One thing I had never given much thought to before was the ways in which I was connected to my femininity and masculinity and how that transpired in my life. Yes, I am proud to be a woman and a self-proclaimed, "feminine feminist." I am a mother, a creator in all senses of the word, and my body helped me bear children. I am sensual and passionate. I am able to offer comfort to my loved ones. I love beautifying myself, my home and the world. This, to me, is that feminine energy that I'm always tapped into. Yet, there is a side of me that is connected to the more general stereotypes of what masculinity may be. I can be extremely competitive, protective and stubborn in many aspects of my life. I enjoy being strong, both mentally and physically. It is actually something that has become very important to me, and of course, is not ever limited to men. When I thought of these two feminine and masculine forces colliding into one, beautiful woman, I began to create my personal mantra.
My mantra is still on my fridge, and whenever I look at it, it inspires me. It may seem simple, but to me, it has so much depth.
"My body is connected to strength and light."
Thank you to Jamie Faye and everyone else involved for creating such a beautiful experience for myself and my incredible clients. I think that it was a wonderful opportunity to bare our souls before baring our bodies. It made the whole process so much more meaningful.