How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!”― William Shakespeare, The Tempest
TRP: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve never believed in the choosing between a glass that is half empty or half full. I believe the glass is always completely full depending on what you fill it up with. I try to look at the world with the same kind of novelty a child would so that I can do my best not to take anything for granted. I think life is about loving deeply, living bravely and taking risks that might scare the hell out of me. Why, you might ask? Why not?
TRP: What are the biggest challenge’s that have faced you as a woman?
One of the biggest challenges that I have faced as a woman is not feeling understood. I am a heart-centered, sensitive person and process things in my life through emotion and feeling. Sometimes this gets perceived as “weakness” when I am simply just trying to make sense out of something. Also, I live alone; I am a full-time graduate student and travel quite a bit for work. It can get really tough sometimes balancing all of that.
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to being female?
As women, I think it is vitally important to dive into the core of who we are and being authentic no matter what. I also think our gender has historically “trained” us to sit back, “be quiet” and play small. I think being a woman takes bravery, strength and a willingness to step far outside of the playing small edges. It’s time for women to play big, speak up and take risks from the passionate places inside of us. One of my favorite quotes is:
“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes” by Maggie Kuhn.
TRP: What frightens you?
The thought of not finding my true love…someone to share my life with, laugh with, love with and grow with.
TRP: What is your “Life Mission?”
My life mission is connecting with people, particularly women, and helping them step into the full, unabashed potential of who they are.
TRP: How do you keep yourself inspired by life?
I gain so much inspiration from nature. The ocean is at the heart of my soul and when I spend time there I am in awe at the force, power and beauty that drives the waves. I am inspired by the people who selflessly go out of their way to make a difference in someone else’s life. I am also inspired by the people who never give up despite unrelenting odds…the individuals who grind their teeth and clench their fists and say,
“I will not be swallowed by the misfortunes of my life, I choose to persevere no matter how many times I get knocked down.”
TRP: Have you ever hit “Rock Bottom?” Can you tell us about it?
Oh yeah, I have definitely hit rock bottom...a few times. In the aftermath of my divorce, when I was picking up the pieces of myself and trying to thaw from the numbness of untangling a shared life, I felt broken open. Sitting in my new living room in an apartment that felt empty and hollow, I could not bring myself to unpack my boxes. I sat on the floor with no furniture, looking around and wondering how I was going to rebuild my life. I called my mother and through wrenching tears, uttered something like, “I can’t do it…” An hour later she and my dad were knocking at my door, bags full of groceries, and slowly they helped me start to unpack and set up my new home. That was, by far, one of the roughest summers of my life.
TRP: What did it teach you?
Through two rough relationships since my divorce, I have been forced to look at some of the most broken pieces of my heart…and through those experiences, I have learned to breathe love into the broken places, which takes a kind of discipline I never knew I had. I learned that I truly can overcome anything if I can stay with the discomfort (and sometimes outright agony) of grief long enough for it to move through me. I’ve emerged stronger than I ever thought I could be and it is downright surprising and humbling.
TRP: Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea right now?
In reflecting on the journey I have been on my whole life, I just wanted to be witnessed in a totally different way, and The Revelation Project felt like the perfect place for me to come full circle with some of the parts of myself I have been getting really comfortable with. I have been on the precipice of significant personal transformation and I felt like TRP could help me with that…it definitely did and then some.
About the shoot:
TRP: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?
I thought the approach was fantastic. I honestly went in with a totally open mind and did not have any expectations.
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?
Wow. The shoot in and of itself was such a transformational process. I started out nervous and a bit shy in front of the camera. But then as the shoot progressed, I began to feel parts of myself sort of wake up. I literally felt awake and alive and confident. I felt full of love, light and joy and completely embraced my vulnerabilities in a totally different way. I felt more beautiful and more whole in the essence of who I am than I ever have before. Monica, Kim and Terry Lee had a lot to do with this as well. They provided such an awesome space and the amazing energy of each of their spirits was definitely infectious.
TRP: Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Nervous, unsure, open-minded.
TRP: Three words for after?
Beautiful, confident, whole.
TRP: Three words for when you saw the results
Awestruck, gorgeous, integrated
TRP: After you left but before you saw the results - did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?
On the drive home, I was literally on Cloud 9. I felt so much gratitude and could feel things shifting in myself around old belief patterns and stories that I would tell myself that just weren’t true. I broke some of my old, sabotaging tapes that day.
TRP: When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Just totally Wowed
TRP: Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?
The feedback I got truly touched my heart. I had a glimpse of how I am perceived by others and it was really fascinating. It made me look at myself in a completely different way.
TRP: What are some words you would use to describe how those comments made you feel?
The words and comments made me feel humble, yet poised; beautiful from the heart and also that I am fully capable of reaching my potential. The comments helped me connect into my inner center of power and truly accept my beauty, inside and out.
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
Similar to what I mentioned in the last question, I felt really empowered in a way that I hadn’t before. I learned that I really can create the things in my life that I want to and I should just go for it. There is nothing in my way but me…so it is time to step out of my own way.
TRP: Did you feel empowered?
TRP: Since the shoot happened - can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience? Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?
I can definitely talk about the lasting impact. I see beauty in a whole different way, in myself and in others. I see the center of my being and how I choose to show up in the world on any given day has the power to influence the way I experience my life. There is pause for deeper reflection and anytime I hear those old tapes start to try to role, I can more easily switch them off.
TRP: Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?
Jennifer: This was absolutely an important and valuable experience for me because it enhanced the healing journey of self-discovery I am already on…and it did so in a way no other experience could have helped me achieve.
TRP: Do you think it's relevant for other women? Why?
TRP is definitely relevant for other women. Each woman is a gift this world and has something to offer. TRP can help make that clearer for women who participate
TRP: How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?
I honestly haven’t even thought about that yet, but probably a combination of personally and professionally.
TRP: What is your favorite song and why?
These Are Days by 10,000 Maniacs (Garden of Eden). The song just lights my soul…reminds me that life is precious and beautiful, even when it is tragic, and how we make meaning of what happens to us makes all the difference. The song is just really inspiring to me.
TRP: Why do you think this project is important?
It is important because I feel like it allows women to be authentically who they are with no judgment, no boundaries and total possibility.
TRP: If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
I would say that TRP is worth it on so many levels. It is much more than a photo shoot and the process is like holding up a mirror to yourself…but this mirror tells the truth of both the inner and outer beauty that we all possess. And Monica, Kim and Terry Lee are amazing to work with—they are a huge part of what makes the TRP process so powerful.