I felt a range of emotions since I booked my session.  I went through denial that it was happening at all.  Literally ignoring all of the emails pumping me up and prepping me.  About one month out from the shoot, I started searching on Pinterest for ideas.  I began getting a little excited and a little scared.  I began ordering different outfits.  When they came in, I just put them aside, knowing that I would have to try them on at some point.  I finally created the space-emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically-to try on the lingerie.  It had been YEARS since I bought any type of sexy underwear.  I had come to realize that my sensual and sexual part of me has been stuffed down and inhibited for years by none other than myself.

 

My experience breaks up into three sections of learning:

 

Passion

 

I had been taught throughout most of my life to fear my passion.  I have always felt intensely.  I am a sensitive, loving and passionate person.  I love fiercely.  I work in my purpose with inspiration and passion.  I speak with conviction and immense love. My Passion was, and still is, too much for most people.  It scares them.  They don’t know how to handle me and I scare them because Passion is not meant to be rational.

 

When I was recently explaining to someone that I feel into decisions and situations, they asked in all seriousness “how has that worked for you”.  I quickly replied “ It has never led me wrong.” As I have had more time to contemplate this reply, I have found my truth.  I was born to lead with my heart.  It is a gift.  Others might identify it as impulsive and irrational.  They don’t understand it, and maybe they are not meant to.  My choices led from Passion do not make sense to the outside world because they are not created from the head (logic), they are created from the heart (feeling).  My heart has led me to so many beautiful experiences.  It led me to experience life to its fullest when I have not been afraid of it.  It’s allowed me to love passionately and intensely, traveling from coast to coast to experience this love.  It has led me to beautiful places around the world.  My travels to Fiji and Tonga were created from Passion. My move back home was created from Passion.  My Business was created, and continues to be created, from Passion.

 

It is when I ignore my passion when it hurts me the most.  I was taught that logic outweighs passion.  Each and every time I allow strictly logic to run my life, it ends in suffering because I know I am not following my soul’s desire.  Ignoring my passion has led to depression and unfulfillment…years of this heaviness.  When I think my way into situations, I ignore an integral part of myself.  I ignore the unending possibilities of love, joy, excitement, fulfillment, and the greatest adventures.   I vow to lead with Passion.

Sensuality and Sexuality

 

This part of me was riddled with shame.  I am a very sexual and sensual being.  This has gotten me in trouble in the past.  I hurt people.  I hurt myself.  Others hurt me.  I suffered and created suffering.  Because of this I had believed that I had to keep this part of me “under wraps” and “under control”.  It was either feast or famine.

 

I continued this cycle for most of my life…so afraid of myself and the intensity of my passion.  I love deeply and passionately.  Not only with my heart, but with all of my being.  I believed that if I could just turn it down, I wouldn’t create so much turmoil in my life and others lives.  I have come to realize that instead of turning it down, I turned it completely off.   Which created a different kind of suffering.  It snuffed out my light, my joy, and my passion in one fell swoop.

 

Physical Body

 

Not only did I begin reflecting on my sensuality and sexuality, I also began looking at my relationship with my physical body.  This body has been used and abused by myself and others.  I abused it through self harm, bulimia, crash diets, and extraneous exercising, just to name a few.  I gave my body freely to others in hopes of finally feeling “good enough” to be loved. My body was also taken from me at times without permission, which left me feeling even more broken and empty.  I always had this love-hate relationship with myself and my body.  I loved the attention it received from others.  I also hated the attention because it left me feeling even more empty.

 

The month leading up to my shoot, I began reconnecting with my passion and my body.  I touched myself in the most beautiful and gentle ways, both sensually and sexually.  I indulged in delicious perfumes and makeup.  I let my guard down with my husband and opened my heart again. I allowed my passion to come forth and guide me.  It lead to beautiful connections and experiences with myself, as well as with my husband.  It allowed me to reconnect with people I have loved throughout my life.  It allowed me to connect with all my relationships on a deeper level because I wasn’t trying so hard to hide parts of me.

 

As I was driving to the shoot, I began reflecting on all of my progress throughout life, specifically with the way I show up for myself and love myself.  Tears of joy began welling up.  My heart felt like it was overflowing with love and joy.  I allowed myself to be proud of who I am today.  As I was putting on my first piece of lingerie, I noticed how I began judging myself-my stomach, wrinkles, dimples, legs, breasts.  It brought up another well of emotions.  I began connecting with all the parts of me that never felt good enough.  Those parts who believed they were never pretty enough.  Those parts who believed they were never thin enough.  Those parts who believed their thighs and hips were always too big.  Those parts who believed their breasts were too small.  All the hurt parts of me were flooding back.  I took a deep breath, looked at myself in the mirror, and told all the parts “You are magnificently beautiful. Every. Single. Inch. Of. You.”

 

Today, not only did I embrace my body, I embraced all of me.  All the parts that were hurt, or filled with shame, or doubt, or self hatred. I embraced them all.  I loved them all.  I showed up in the most powerful way for all of me.  I healed all parts of me.  I am filled with gratitude for the photographer-for holding such beautiful space for my healing and experience.  I am filled with gratitude for all my experiences that led me to this point.  I am filled with gratitude for all of the strong and beautiful women in my life.  I am filled with gratitude for myself and the way I continue to show up for all of my selves.  In this experience, I have healed myself, past generations, and future generations.

 

My Declaration 

 

Today and every day, I am declaring:

 

I will no longer make myself smaller for others to feel comfortable. I will no longer apologize for my passion and love.  I will no longer turn it down.  I will embrace it.  I will nurture it.  I will share it.  I will allow it to turn up as loud as it wants.  I love this part of me.  She is beautiful and meant to be seen, shared, and experienced.  I see you. I hear you.  I love you.

 

Thank you Jillian Barrile, Buffalo Boudoir Photographer for creating a safe and beautiful space for me to embrace myself fully. I am so grateful you have aligned with your Purpose in life so I could heal myself and expand into my Highest Version of myself today. I am eternally grateful.

 

If you are ready to Connect with your Passion and Personal Power, join me at The Awakening Retreat: The Path to Your Most Empowered Life from September 21-24th, 2023.

 

Jillian will be presenting and photographing during this Retreat!!

 

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This article was re-published with permission from the original blog at Essentially Zenful.