I recently felt to participate in a ‘Before and After’ Project that Universal Medicine (UniMed) is creating, which involved having my photos taken. Part of this includes people submitting photos of what they have looked like in their life before they started attending UniMed workshops and presentations, and how they look today.
I have never been a fan of having my photos taken and was usually the person on the other side of the camera taking the pictures, hiding behind the scenes – which is a common practice of mine in life in general. I have often heard people saying they want to be the one taking the photos but prefer not to be in them… Could it be it is not that we do not like having our photos taken but that we do not like what we see in our photos?
Yesterday I went to have some photos taken which I was not bothered about – well, that’s what I thought until I had to actually stand in front of the camera. My body became quite tense and stiff and I just could not seem to let myself go. The photographer was extremely supportive and did an amazing job, but it was not until I was in my car about to drive away that I realised just how tense I actually was.
Why did I have such an issue with having my photos taken, or looking at photos of myself?
Then I realised it was not about having the photo taken, but about what I saw in the photo in the end result.
I had never accepted myself or my body, and looking in the mirror was one thing – but having a photo, which is a constant reminder of where I was and am at, is a lot more ‘in your face’, so to speak. A mirror you can choose to walk away from or not look in, but a photo is there forever as a reminder.
I remember going home after an esoteric healing session one day and sitting in front of the mirror and looking at myself: it would have been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I felt awkward, continually looking away at whatever I could then bringing myself back again to the mirror. I had never actually truly looked at myself before and I did not like what I could see. My reflection was looking back at me but it felt like it was not all of me – there was a part of me I was holding back and did not want the world to see.
I could feel how I had created a façade to hide behind, a front for the world, and looking in the mirror made me realise just how much of the real me I was still hiding.
Usually, looking in the mirror was brief and really only while putting on make-up or doing my hair which all supported the facade really, creating another face to present to the world. Some days I would not use a mirror at all.
Even though I myself have changed a lot over the years and there is now more and more of the real me shining through, I discovered yesterday that there is still so much more of me to come out.
I have now realised that photos can also be a tool for allowing us to see, feel and appreciate how far we have come and how much we have grown, rather than to be afraid of or disappointed in what we see.
I can now have my photos taken and look at them and appreciate that I have come a long way… the hardness of the past now replaced with tenderness, my eyes no longer dull and withdrawn but alive and clear, willing to let the world see who I am without fear of being hurt; the stare of vacancy now replaced with gentleness.
And yes, they may not reflect the true me or all of me… yet. But day by day, these photos taken can be used as a reflection of me, supporting me to appreciate how far I have come and where I am going.
Through the support and sharing of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon and fellow students of The Livingness, I have been able to look at what I used in my life to hold me back from being and expressing who I am today. I now enjoy a life of simplicity as the way I choose to live, and a body of vitality which is able to support me in all that I do… something I have never had before, and for that I am eternally grateful.
By Nicole Serafin, Age 41, Tintenbar, NSW