TRP: What are the biggest challenge’s that have faced you as a woman?
My biggest challenge has been believing in myself and my own value. I am still trying to grasp that what I contribute is valuable and important and worth doing. I'm trying to put self-doubt in the right place, as the voice to challenge me and drive me toward growth, to inspire the self-compassionate conversation that I need to have every day.
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to being a woman?
Questioning the status quo, doing things because you choose to, not because they are expected of you, being yourself when you believe your self is outside the realm of expectations.
TRP: What frightens you?
Losing my ability to take care of myself as I age.
TRP: What is your “Calling?” In other words, what does your heart and soul feel pulled towards?
My calling is simply living my life, and supporting others as they live theirs. Lending an ear, lending a hand, sending a prayer, sharing a different perspective… Helping others to find peace if I can, and if not, just listening.
TRP: How do you keep yourself inspired by life?
I do a lot of scanning of my environment (Pinterest, Zite [like Pinterest only in articles], professional and inspirational reading, NPR, other online resources). When something sparks my interest I either follow it or bookmark it. I have paper and electronic files of inspirations – photos, articles, quotes, etc. I need to acknowledge the value of that process for myself, and I also need to nurture it, to value the time I put into it and to begin to make it an honored part of my day. I also need to let go of the idea of those things as clutter. Whether it’s a photo or a thought or an article, I deserve the experience.
TRP: Have you ever hit “Rock Bottom?” Can you tell us about it?
My lowest time was when I had to begin to live alone when I didn’t know how I would take care of myself. And thank goodness it happened, because I learned that what I had in me was enough for me to not just survive, but to thrive.
TRP: What did it teach you?
It’s an inside job. (Pete Seeger?)
TRP: What in particular made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea at this time in your life?
I turned 60 and I thought I deserved the experience, and I wanted to honor and record the person I have become and am becoming.
About the shoot:
TRP: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there)? Please share what worked for you and anything that was lacking.
Prior to the shoot I was nervous, and I couldn’t imagine I would see the beautiful woman you all revealed to me. I just felt it was one of those big leap moments, and I would benefit regardless of what came out of it. On a practical note I’m glad I got my hair cut before hand!
TRP: How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?
I felt very comfortable during the shoot. When I first sat on the couch I sat in a symbolic pose of being closed and aloof to the process, and Kim started there, and I never felt that anything I did for the rest of the shoot was out of character for me. That is a revelatory statement. I was in my own character the whole time, but the process exposed so many natural aspects of my character and personality. I don’t think any part of my persona was neglected.
TRP: Please describe in three words the way you felt before we shot:
Excited, scared, destined.
TRP: Three words for after:
Proud, validated, embraced.
Three words for when you saw the results:
Beautiful, brave, worthy.
TRP: After you left, but before you saw the results, what were you feeling and thinking about the experience?
I felt special and deserving. There was much I wanted to remember and absorb. I felt very happy, and it was a beautiful day in Newport, and I walked and enjoyed. I remember feeling so grounded. I also had a massage scheduled a couple of hours later, and I had the opportunity to reflect with Laura Clarke, another TRP participant.
TRP: What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?
I was on top of the world. I kept repeating “Who I am is the possibility of serene exuberance, and that is who I am!” I didn’t want to lose those memories and feelings.
TRP: When you saw your images for the very first time what was your initial reaction?
There were shots that I loved and shots that I didn't like – I still struggle with my body image. But I also recognize that all the photos represent a whole package – ME – multi-faceted, interesting, attractive and humanly imperfect.
TRP: Please share about the reaction and responses you received from those who saw your photographs?
Many people used the word “Beautiful,” and that’s a wonderful word to hear about yourself. My sister-in-law told me my brother’s mouth dropped, and then he said it’s always been there, I just didn’t show it off.
TRP: What are some words you would use to describe how those comments made you feel?
Beautiful and WORTHY.
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
I was reminded of what it feels like to be in a totally trusting and trusted space. I need to remember how important it is to get there every so often.
TRP: Did you feel empowered? And if so, what was empowering in your experience?
I can put a little effort into my appearance and feel great about myself when I open my door and step out into the world. That is empowering! Also empowering was having a framework to really define who I am, through the first questionnaire and meeting Monica, Kim and Andrea (The Three Graces). You didn’t build my foundation, but helped me recognize and appreciate it.
TRP: What has been the lasting impact since your TRP experience? Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings? In what ways?
I am so grateful to the TRP tribe for continuing to be there and remind me of the experience. Connection on Facebook has been very important to me. Ten days after my photoshoot the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. I went from a very positive place to sadness and depression as I experienced personal and professional impacts from the events of that week. It’s now been almost three months since my photoshoot and I am glad to have this opportunity to reflect and write.
At the same time, I have remained conscious of the “beauty” lessons I learned – primarily that when I make an effort to look beautiful I actually feel it. I think we struggle with a conflict between beauty is what’s inside vs. beauty is superficial. Lipstick and mascara are not a mask, but a tool that invokes self-confidence. I’m both the canvas and the artist in telling my story.
TRP: Do you think this was an important and valuable experience for you? Why?
TRP has been one of the most valuable experiences in my life, a lot shorter than graduate school and not as painful as labor. It has been valuable because I dared to jump and I flew, and because I have found women who share my place in the world.
TRP: Do you think it's relevant for other women? Why?
There is a lot of soul-searching that comes as part of TRP, and you have to be in a good place for that to be most effective. It’s not just the photoshoot, the glam shots. The soul-searching has been the most important aspect. Well, that and the women. The photos are icing.
TRP: How will you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?
I use the photos as personal boosts. Whenever I get into that folder I study them and try to be more comfortable with them and to like them all. They are gifts to myself. I also use them on my Facebook page.
What is your favorite song and why?
Sails, by Orleans (“Sails are just like wings, you can fly from things…”) AND House at Pooh Corner – the song that Andrea knew would set off my harmonic vibrations during the photo shoot.
TRP: How would you sum up your experience in one sentence?
Let’s do it some more!