POEM: Towards Tomorrow

Towards Tomorrow

Reflecting on my journey

I am walking each step

with my head held high

Ready to see the light ahead

What the future parts of the my path brings

One will not know – but the end

The finish line is in sight

The questions

The unknown

Are the chapters along the way

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Our end point is known, we are born to live knowing that the end is death. The fantastic part of living is what we do with each day!

Cheers, Chante

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Retreat to your Roots

What grounds you? What centers your entire being? When things are chaotic what helps you to stabilize?

For me it’s nature – it’s like the reset that my mind needs. And when you couple that with a traditional yoga practice it’s a fantastic experience. Recently I escaped the city life for a trip to the mountains with a few friends this past weekend. Incredible doesn’t nearly sum it up how the weekend went!

It was one of those things that you really needed but didn’t know you needed to do until you did it. My mind slowed down to a slow simmer so I was able to take it all in, rest and have fun while learning philosophies and pushing my physical limits. The fresh air of the wooded area gave me unfiltered moments as I walked, climbed and gazed out into the wilderness.

Each of us is in need of opportunities to reboot our lives to balance it b/c you cannot live in chaos forever. Find your safe space – seek it out! It could be a trip to a nearby beach, walk to a park, jog at the lake etc. Once you find it then make it a habit!!

Cheers, Chante

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Time for Happiness

Happiness is where you find it. It’s in the moments. It’s the opportunity you take to savor and reflect on those moments knowing that time is fleeting.

Time doesn’t wait for you to become wiser – it’s a continuum. I see it as something that evolves as you do.

It’s like music…. How I embraced music as a child, as a pre teen, as a teen, as a twenty something and as a woman in my forties varies considerably. And it’s because of time that I see music as a catalyst for change when used wisely.

Happiness, and what determines it’s level, changes from experience to experience. I say explore what invokes your happy space for today and feed it with positive thoughts and action.

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo

 

SPRING Forward!

On the eve of May how are you springing forward to achieve your goals for your vision that you’ve created for yourself?! Are you SPRINGING or are you simply existing?

It’s incredibly tough to look at oneself with all of the smoke and mirrors removed to reveal your truth. Let’s be honest, it’s easier to cast judgment on others than it is to say to yourself…”you are not doing what you should be doing“. That brutal honesty – that kick in the butt is what our spirit needs to push ourselves upward.

Yesterday I attended WomeneurCon and was completely in awe by all of the positive energy that surrounded me and their eagerness to take their visions to the next level. I needed to hear the harsh reality of being an entrepreneur but I also needed to hear the reward as well – to live in your purpose with a paycheck to accompany that to truly how I want to live! My resolve to be a successful photographer and an arts educator has been reawakened. And I won’t allow fear and anything else deter me from pressing forward. I know that it will be hard but it will be worth every essence of my blood, sweat and tears. I am ready!

The other day someone posted the SPRING acronym above that I will prompt me to examine where I am, where I want to be in the immediate future and what I can do better. It certainly is a powerful way to reflect and motivate oneself. I hope that you will join me in this exist and be sure to post your take ways in the comment section.

And remember….

What is Your Legacy & Be Firmly Committed to it!” Cheryl Wood

Cheers, Chante

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Transferring Enthusiasm

Just completed a morning of asanas and breathing techniques to start a brand new day! Lots of tasks ahead of me to complete but I can’t help but observe the infectious feeling that resides within me. I haven’t slept much as of late because this energy is beyond dreams and is becoming my reality.

My restless sleep is because I’m full of excitement and fear. When releasing something that you’ve been working on and conceptualizing for so long, it’s an indescribable feeling of inertia happening inside of you. Imagine leaning off of the highest cliff and taking in your last breathe before the epic jump? That’s how I feel!!

It’s a powerful flow of emotions!! And I know that I need to channel these feelings to places where it’s needed so I’ve been writing my business plan, sending emails to folks, chatting with strangers who reach out to me on my site and brainstorming about a future workshop.

So lack of sleep is not b/c of an overwhelming burden but I’m overflowing with energy and the “sleep thing” cannot (and will not) stifle it. I’ve been so productive these past few months that it has inspired others to gravitate towards my vision and breathe life into their own life long project/business venture.

It’s truly amazing how energy can be passed onto others, live and continue to transform lives.

Yes! Yes!

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo

Breathe In Breathe Out

The exercise of inhalation and exhalation is key to invigorating your body! Yesterday, at my 2nd home DeRose Method we spent the afternoon exploring different breathing techniques, testing our body’s limits and enjoying the sensations from each technique – a must try!

After weeks of working on my youth arts project, Blueprint to Artistic Excellence, I have been admittedly running on low energy.  Yes I rested. And yes I made sure I took my vitamins and ate my veggies but that’s not enough. I wasn’t meditating every morning and doing my breathing exercises as I should have been. This is my new daily routine – a healthy goal for the year to achieve. The excuses…oh I’m too tired and I can get an extra 30 minutes of sleep if I don’t do it. Well I suffered because of not doing my morning recharge.

This morning I rose up, did my asanas, my meditation and my affirmation for the day which is “to imagine, create and believe“. The “believe” part is for me to not forget to believe in my intentions for doing what I’m doing. For me, intention drives the bus of your life each day and if you don’t have a clear intention then who is driving? Where are you going? And why are you even on the road? Simple as that.

What a powerful way to start the week ahead. I have much to do today….plan the summer programming for my arts work with youth, scheduling my shoots with new clients and plan a vacation or two for the summer. My day has only just begun but I’m focused on the “why” for the day.

I urge you to take a moment in the day to slowly breathe in and breathe out! Here’s one example that you can try: Take in a deep breathe with a 5 second count, hold in that inhalation for another 5 second count, exhale for 5 seconds and sit without breathe for another 5 seconds then repeat three times. You should feel a sense of euphoria and renewal but please comment below on how this makes you feel.

Go forth towards a new week and don’t forget to breathe (with intention) 🙂

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo

Inspiration is Where You Find It

I received my recent creative inspiration from my youth… Well the youth from my arts project the Blueprint to Artistic Excellence. Yesterday, we all met up in the frigid temps and did an outdoor shoot at the High Line in Chelsea, NYC and it proved to be an enlightening experience for everyone including myself.

I absolutely adore capturing my subjects in vibrant color but to capture the same imagery in black and white was challenging for me. I started to internalize…“How can you see the brilliance of color that exists?”, “Will my viewers feel what I feel from that moment I decided to take that shot?” and so forth. I presented this theme to my students and it became a theme that we all struggled with, to be honest.

We started the shoot session in the studio to warm up our creative juices and our bodies over pizza (ha!). We were blessed to have have fun volunteer models to work with. My approach to my shots was less interaction with the models and more improvisation. Then I sought out a careful balance of light versus dark that filled the space as the models positioned themselves or as I squatted and contorted my body.

During this session, I shot using a wide angle 20mm Sigma lens which is reserved for special events (e.g., concerts) so this was the added challenge. The shots that came from this session impressed me. Each shot was different yet had a common theme of inner peace, confidence and introspection. For some of my “in living color” portraits, this feeling is emitted from the shots and I then realized its not just the color but diving deeper its my ability to encompass a feeling at the moment when I clicked on the shutter.

That’s what I do and how my artistry contributes something beautiful to this world. I can shoot in any way I choose as long as I hold onto that essential core of what makes my work so powerful. And it is because I am an passionate being that connects with her subjects in a meaningful way which shines through in my portraiture. Realizing that inspires me to continue to switch to monochrome from time to time during my photo shoots and keep shooting.

The youth from the meet up are currently in edit mode and I cannot wait to share with you some of their work in the next post. I know it will be an amazing collection of works of art!

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo

Self Care for the Balance

This past week has been a VERY busy one for me.  Between meeting up with my awesome mentee to play catch up and doing lots of editing from my recent photo shoots with several clients (check out my twitter or facebook for the updates), I realized that I needed a serious break.

So this weekend, I decided to LITERALLY check out! I put the camera aside for these past couple of days to rest my mind and body since I have a equally busy week ahead and needed a recharge.

You have to admit that everyone suffers from burnout from time to time. You cannot be your potential self when your fuel level is on “E”. You have to first recognize that you are barely getting sleep, working late nights and not eating the proper foods because you simply don’t have no time. At this point of your awareness, you need to take a pause and assess your mental and physical health. It’s crucial to maintaining your life’s balance which is the careful balance between the good in life (e.g., positive health, great outlook, inner peace and high achievement) versus the bad in life (e.g., chronic illness, unhappiness, anxiety and low productivity).

The buzz word nowadays is “self care“.  I started the year off with this on my mind and making sure that I don’t forget that taking time for me is just as important as capturing images for a client or achieving one of my goals. How can I be a great photographer or work towards completing my tasks if I’m exhausted?!

Have you given any thought to your self care plan? Well I devised my own self care regime this past January which is as follows:

  • Monthly Day Trip Retreats;
  • Monthly Therapeutic Sessions (e.g., acupuncture, massage);
  • Daily Meditation;
  • Daily Yoga;
  • Calling A Friend;
  • Surrounding Myself With Young People;
  • Daily Journaling; and
  • Eating Healthier Meals

My regime is still quite new to me and I’m not perfect. Sometimes I don’t want to do yoga before the sun rises, write in my journal when I think that I have absolutely nothing to say or eat that salad when I’m craving a burger. To stay on track, it requires plenty of discipline – this is an area that I’m working to succeed at more often than fail.

I think creating a regime that works for you will help keep your body and mind stimulated in the long run while those short term desires might be appealing they will only lead you to crash and burn sooner rather than later. I encourage you to comment your current self care regime, if you have one, or any questions that you have about where to start in order to add self care activities to your day-to-day living. It’s so important that we share and support one another on this path that is called life!

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo

 

Step Into That Door

“If the fuck don’t feel right, don’t fuck it!”

I’ve spent the past month reading the candid autobiography of Grace Jones that was recently published. I was completely blown away by her journey and believe me her artistic path is far from over.

I have to admit that wasn’t a true fan of Grace Jones throughout her entire career but her artistry could not be ignored in my teen years. I’m a late 70’s baby so I definitely grew up under her influence – hearing her music and seeing her be a trailblazer in fashion but I never knew the WORK behind the star. She is the original diva when the moniker had meaning and power. She turned the world on its head and refined what masculinity and femininity represented in music and fashion. She was (and is) beauty personified. She paved a way so that artists and models had a different voice to draw inspiration.

She exuded pride in her work. I’ve always loved that about her. I never had anything negative to say about her b/c how can you?!? Ms. Jones is not about compromising herself for the latest trend and doing this or that to keep her name in people’s mouths. She created her own rhythm and is beating her drum for others who are meant to hear will then do so and pick up their own instrument to make their own sound.

“I wanted to use my body to express how I had liberated myself from my background, ignored obstacles, and created something original, based on my own desires, fears, and appetites.” – Grace Jones

I adore her tenacity to open doors that others, myself included, would frown against b/c we fear the unknown. Now in her book “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” she takes you through her thought process at different events in her life as well as give you her years later hindsight on how she could’ve handled things differently. I believe that life is all about taking risks, undertaking a chance moment and learning from the experience.

My advice to you is to take that first step – quit that job, take that first photography gig, travel solo, etc. After that leap, you need to deep dive, head first, into your next chapter with confidence and eagerness. If you are unsure and currently debating a life decision, read this book, surround yourself with your team then make that move – grab hold of that door and just open it!

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo

Team UP – United (in Self) Progress

You are instrumental to setting and achieving your goals – that much is true! But your network of friends, colleagues and family who support your energy towards your goals are very important.

I take myself too seriously sometimes. I’m quite harsh and critical of me. The race I run consists of me, myself and I – it’s the hardest race that I’ve ever had to run. When I’m struggling with internal conflict and creative/mental blocks, I lean on my support system when meditation, prayer and solo trips fail to result in progress.

Who you chose to be in that “clique” is about strategy basically who will be that voice to pull you out of that rough time or spark that idea/insight that has been dormant for awhile. The members of your support system are those that will provide you with that inspiration that speaks to your soul.

These sources of strength can be a friend from your youth, your uncle, your teacher/coach, your coworker from a previous job etc. The range of folks is limitless but remember that these people should possess a few key qualities:

  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Positivity
  • Knowledge; and an
  • Interest (in assisting you).

Once you’ve identified who these people are, you reach out to them and keep them abreast on what your hopes, dreams, passions, difficulties and goals are. And be sure to reciprocate those same qualities and efforts to them. Being a part of their support system is not simply returning the favor but it enhances the connection for a longer lasting relationship.

Go forth and build your team!

Cheers, Chante

Thank you for your support for my “Inspired Visions” Blog series! Please comment and share this post! xoxo