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A self-portrait

In the age of selfies, the art of the self-portrait is a drowning art. Like an anchor. It sinks to the bottom of the clear lake to remain as a foundation, while cell-phone portraits float at the surface by the millions each day.

What constitutes a self-portrait? I'm hardly a versed artist, but I can say this: a self-portrait almost always includes

thought & intention planninga message or subject& an audience.
Recently I took a series of portraits to tell a story. I wanted to show what it was like to have schizophrenia through emotion, fabric, highlight and shadow.

I chronicled through portrait my journey with schizophrenia:

Symptomatic but not medicated or diagnosed.Diagnosed but not medicated. Medication trial and error through hospitalization.Isolation out of fear and shame.Despair because of that isolation.Accepting my diagnosis. Coming public with my diagnosis.Advocating for others with the same diagnosis.

I know that the term schizophrenia is hardly praised, so I want…

But I Never Did


Hello, again.

Earth Day this year was quite the buzz.

I'd like to share insight that is near impossible to convey on such a limited social media platform.

When I was a teenager, my mother worked as a medical assistant and hydrotherapist in a holistic wellness clinic. The doctor she worked for dedicated her research to healing men and women from the inside out, focusing on the body's direct needs and improving lifestyles so they could live a long, healthy life. Everyone in the clinic was a fascinating character.

They each had their quirky fascination with some earthy hobby. Gardening, cooking, drumming, painting, etc. They each were religiously dedicated to recycling, earth-friendly cleaners, and natural products like soaps, makeup and the like.

And you would have thought that Earth Day was Christmas.

In fact, this very same doctor started the local Earth Day festival that not only celebrated our little blue planet but educated the community at the same time.

One summer I was paid to clean the office once a week, and I would purposefully speed through the cleaning and paper shredding so that I could pour through the books and medical journals on the shelves that quickly grabbed my attention.

In those books, I learned about the mind-body connection, human behavior, healthy sexuality, spiritualism, Eastern philosophy, body language, etc. It was an intense summer of quiet insight and self-discovery. I told no one.

In those moments, I realized how hungry I was for a life different than that of a western female conservative.

At the time, I was dedicated and covenanted to Mormonism, after all. I had taken oaths with "eternal consequences." And even though what I read in those medical & holistic books made my soul burn with such intensity, they directly conflicted with teachings I was given every Sunday at church, and even some of what I read in scripture study every morning.

To maintain my reputation and not disrupt my place in my community, I tucked away all the information, images, and ideas I grasped that summer and tried to forget.

But I never did.

In fact, as an adult, in 2016 I began climbing. When studying the psychological processes of the "climbing brain" I came across the same ideas I read that teenage summer more than a decade prior. This time, it was cloaked in the philosophy of Taoism, and I became entranced.  

I began, once again, to consume principles of intuition, efficient effort, and my level of Maitri (eastern equivalent of loving-kindness) began to grow, and I awakened to my own self-sabotage.

With bravery and self-respect, I finally left Mormonism in 2017 and am still learning what life is going to be like for me without all the constructs of that society.

But one thing is for certain- my intense connection to the planet I live on is a vital element to who I am. I've taken great effort and study to place my own internal rhythms and cycles to that of the Earth and moon, and it's been such a purifying, simple thing.

I'm not perfect at it, but to have my sleep/wake cycles in pattern with the seasonal sun, and my menstrual/fertility cycles in pattern with the seasonal moon has helped my body rest from the craze of modern society.

This past winter, I let life and "busyness" catch hold of me, and I lost grip of the cycling rhythm, and I'm beginning to grasp it again and can already feel the effects: better sleep, calmer mood, and clarity of thought.

I can hear my inner voice again.

I believe in the power of a compassionate human. I believe in the power of a creative human. 

And when I say power, I mean influence. Influence for good, influence for change.

I decided to put this to the test.

I have been blessed to have compassion seeded deep in my heart from intense childhood struggle. I have been blessed to have creation, in music, and even in childbearing. I have given birth to four beautifully bright babes that I now am raising. Motherhood is not all roses and does have it's thorns.  

But there is deep self-love and respect that I've been able to have as a result of living through this natural human process in a complex modern society.

Because of my striving for connection to the Earth, when I celebrate the Earth, I celebrate myself and the experience that the planet has afforded me. And when I celebrate myself, I celebrate the Earth too.

Never one without the other. All of us are made of the same star stuff after all.


When Earth Day came this year, and in all my bravery and with no warning, I shed the principles of false modesty and humility of western conservative principles, societal stigma, and denounced the religious baptism of my childhood. As a witness to that, I shared a public glimpse of this little human body that I so gratefully live in every day to my followers on Instagram, to live on the internet forever. (Everything created and published online can never be fully digitally deconstructed, FYI.)



Wearing a shawl of my favorite color: the rich deep blue of the ocean at dusk, my hair freshly painted with a platinum crown, surrounded by the ecosystem of a self-sustaining forest reminded me that I too can be provided everything I need if I live in respectful harmony with my surroundings.

Finding that harmony and balance is a life-long journey, I believe. It requires constant input and output, adjustments, tuning, and listening more than speaking.

No doubt, the pictures I displayed stirred up conversation, shame, and surprise among many who viewed them. I learned a lot that day of what could be shared publicly and the vast spectrum of reaction that it produces.

Displaying those pictures of my Earth Day resonated many different "notes" if you will. It struck a chord consisting of:

  • Celebration.
  • Empowerment.
  • Shame.
  • Excitement.
  • Prejudice.
  • Surprise.
  • Jealousy.
  • Admiration.

The resonance in each individual that viewed the photos amplified their own internal voice.

And many felt uncomfortable.

When I saw that the dissonance could actually be detrimental, I quietly archived the photo album and removed it from the public eye of my little Instagram following.

And so, just as before:

To maintain my reputation and not disrupt my place in my community, I tucked away all the information, images, and ideas I displayed on Earth Day. But this time:

I'll always remember. I know I can never take it back, and I would never want to.

If you would like to learn more about some of the human biological cycle concepts I've mentioned in this post, start here.

I would love to read any input or ideas you have on this topic. Feel free to join the conversation on Instagram or in the comments below.