Τρίτη 31 Μαΐου 2011

A meeting in another dimension: in memory of my father

I woke up with a sudden jolt.

I had been having a nightmare.I thought I was in a mental hospital and doctors were experimenting on me.I remember experiencing in rapid succession the terror of the nightmare,the relief of waking up and snapping out of it and the perplexity of realising there was something off.I found myself in what looked like a place (dimension?) where it was not dark,there was a pleasant daytime-like light.And yet I had this weird feeling that I hadn't moved an inch from my bed .

At first I thought I was about to have an astral travel experience.I remember thinking to myself that this was unusual,as I 'd never had an OBE (Out Of Body Experience) if I went to bed tired.And boy,was I tired the night before!I had been working my butt off for months to get my new business going.Having back then (8 years ago )3 young kids to take care of and a husband away abroad all summer working as a tour guide,I had a lot on my plate.Next day was to be the opening day and I still wasn't done with the preparations.(I had yet to master the fine art of delegating of which I am now an expert,just ask my teachers!!) So I had gone to bed exhausted,feeling lonely and sorry for myself.

But there I was,wide awake in the middle of the night,in a space within space(I can't describe it any other way,because it felt like I was still in my room and yet not quite there) and my late father was standing right in front of me.

My father died in his sixties when I was fifteen.I was his youngest child,he had me in his early fifties.We shared a special bond.As he was a pensioner he had lots of free time and he used to spent it with me.He would practically take me everywhere he went when I was a child.

I was devastated when he died (in his sleep),more so because I didn't get to say good bye.I was in summer camp which I hated,I only went there to please my mother.On the day before his death he insisted to my mum that they should pay me a visit in camp.She thought it was a bad idea because it was not a visiting day and I would be back home in a couple of days anyway.

I didn't shed a tear in front of other people,not when I was hastily summoned home,nor when I sat right next to his open coffin at home for hours(this is the customary ''grieving time'' here),nor during the funeral.But for years afterwards I would obsess about what it was that he wanted to tell me on that last day before he died;was it a goodbye or more?I never got to tell him how much I loved him,I was too much of a typical teenager to do that!I would dream of him often,sad,confused variations of the same dream:him going off to some place,me imploring him not to leave or at least take me with him.

But this was certainly not a dream,my eyes were wide open and I was staring at my father.I immediately noticed a few weird things:

-I was looking at a much younger version of my father,not as I remembered him,not even as he looked like in old pictures of his youth.He was in his prime,somewhere around 30 to 35 I guess,a really dignified version of him.Though I've never seen him like that before,I instantly new it was him and I was overwhelmed with joy.He was wearing an off-white,yellowish suit and unusual shoes.I paid particular attention to those because he seemed to be standing a little higher than me,just a few feet only,not floating,just higher up.

-We started talking to each other not with words but through our hearts.It wasn't telepathy and I can't really explain this but it seemed that there were no actual words involved ,more like feelings that can be translated into actual words.I asked him why he looked like that.He said:''Here we can be and look whatever we want''.

-He also 'told' me that he was there for me and that he would stay with me for as long as I wished.To be sure our time together seemed to last for many hours.I remember basking in the warmth and comfort of his presence to my heart's content.When it was over and he left I felt like we've been together for hours and hours on end.I don't know whether in that dimension time lapsed differently or he made it last longer or the quality of the experience itself made it seemed so.All I do know is that he left when I felt content and full and happy.

When I was back to normal I realised that in terms of our time no more than a few minutes had passed since he first appeared to me.Of course I didn't get to glance at the clock on the wall-it was pitch dark-but being awake the whole time meant that I did have some sense of time,a weird feeling really,like being aware of both timelines at the same time.

-The thing that made the strongest impression on me was the fact that I couldn't see my father's eyes.He had beautiful blue eyes,always half smiling,always full of kindness.But on that night I could not see his eyes no matter how hard I tried.I could see his face,I even inspected his chin (looked like when one hasn't shaved for a few days) but not his eyes.It was as if there was a kind of soft fog deliberately there to prevent me from looking into his eyes.

For many years to come I kept wondering why that was so until I recently stumbled on this site(I can't for the life of me find the link) about a well-known 19th centurty yogi that used to cover both or one of his eyes;he was so enlightened that his body had aquired its glorified state while he was still alive.The light in his eyes was so strong that when he uncovered them his disciples could't bear the blinding sight.This makes some sense as eyes are windows to the soul.My father was certainly not an enlightened yogi but he was the kindest,most warm-hearted and considerate man you could ever meet.

-Wherever we were at the time,we both had a body,something that could be felt and touched or at least something that was perceived that way. He wasn't a ghost or an apparition,of that I am 100% sure.When he was about to leave,he leaned over and hugged me for a long time,one tight,full-body hug that made me feel more loved than ever in my life.

- When he did leave,he didn't walk away or disappear or vanish,I didn't even leave myself,he just...went up,for lack of more suitable words.It was something very subtle,like when a frame from a movie changes.I realised I was still in my bed and had been the whole time,as if I was watching some kind of movie but I somehow managed to get into that movie and take part in it and then I got back to normal again.

-Just like my astral travel experiences I was left with a feeling of inexplicable joy when it was over.I sat up in bed,basking in that golden understanding of what had just happened to me,reliving it for a few times and then I went back to sleep feeling euphoric.Our opening day sure was a success the next day!

Looking back I now realise that it was my feeling lonely and helpless at a particularly important moment in my life-my dream of having my own business finally coming true-that attracted my beloved father to me.He was the most compassionate of men,forever doing small and big acts of kindness for friends and relatives,even total strangers.Even death itself could not keep him from turning up when his own daughter needed some comfort.

Ever since that divine encounter with my father my perception of life and death and afterlife changed forever.Funny thing is,I don't even need to convince anyone of afterlife or convert people to my way of thinking like I used to before this happened.I am just happy and relaxed in that special knowing,humbly realising that it is a knowledge available to anyone,anytime.Just the ways and the time of coming to this realisation differ for each one of us

photos from here

                                               Love,Peace and Divine Light 


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Σάββατο 28 Μαΐου 2011

The Fine Art of Bougatsa Eating (recipes included,vegan variety too)

Yesterday was bougatsa day out with my two youngest sons.

(What is bougatsa)?

They had minced meat bougatsa, and cream bougatsa washed down with chocolate milk.I had spinach and cheese bougatsa washed down with french coffee.
In between each mouthful my kids played and helped each other put together a puzzle-like thing.

(Tip #1:If you want younger kids to behave in public cafes and restaurants,bring along a new toy or game to keep them happy.It needn't be anything expensive,I bought this one in the local thrifty shop for 1 euro).

I just relaxed and watched passers-by from the window pane.
I pretended they were aliens disguised as humans and I was trying to guess which planet they came from.I had to limit my imagination to only six planets though, for simplicity's sake.I must say,most of them looked like they came from Despondent Planet,compared to only one guy coming from Sexy Planet.

(Tip #2:If you are bored shitless in a place where there isn't much for you to do (and there's no iPod in sight),use your imagination to keep yourself occupied and happy).

My hometown Serres is famous for its bougatsa (pronounced with a soft g,as in 'yeast').

Actually,the best bougatsa you can find is made in Serres.The worst you can possibly find is made in Athens.(It's true.Even my husband who comes from Athens agrees to that statement).Even worse,they don't even know that bougatsa comes in many varieties there.Ask for a serving of bougatsa in my town and the next automatic question is ''What kind "?Ask the same question anywhere else southern than Thessaloniki and they'll automatically serve you cream bougatsa of a nondescript taste.

(Tip #3:If you want to try a local dish and get the authentic taste,best to sample it locally).

In fact Serres' bougatsa even earned a place in the Guiness Book of records for the largest bougatsa ever baked three years ago.

You can have bougatsa anytime in the day,but it is usually served for breakfast with coffee at local bougatsa-cafe shops on the streets

                           or eaten as you are walking on your way to work or school

or wrapped up as a takeaway.

(Tip#4:Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.There is no excuse whatsoever for you not to have any,even if you don't care much about preparing it yourself).

And here's a recipe for vegan bougatsa by a nostalgic greek expatriate blogger for the more health conscious among you.

I can probably say that bougatsa is my comfort food.I remember craving it like mad when I was pregnant with my firstborn.Immediately after getting married off we went (me and hubby) for a 5-week honeymoon to northern Italy.Week four into our vacation and already a week and a half late I started experiencing ongoing nausea symptoms alternating with cravings for certain foods.Imagine being in a gondola in a venetian canal and the most romantic thing you could think of your husband doing for you at that moment was either making that damn boat stop rocking you sick or finding you some decent bougatsa to eat!

(Tip#5:If you are pregnant and travelling away from your country be sure to have a handy supply of your comfort food with you or at least a good recipe for it)!

Love,peace and delicious food


pictures taken from all the above linked sites and from here

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Τετάρτη 25 Μαΐου 2011

How to feel sexy all the time at all ages

The desire to radiate sex appeal,in and out of your clothes,is a universal one.

Although most people believe that youth and physical beauty are prerequisites for sex appeal,it is a fact that sexiness is not limited to the young and physically attractive.Studies have shown that people change their perception of someone's attractiveness without any changes happening to said someone's physical appearance.The sexier one is perceived,the more attractive they are considered to be. 

Sex appeal is something within everyone's reach,regardless of their looks or age.The usual,run of the mill advice to revamp yourself,fix your hair,lose weight,plaster a smile all over your face,yadda,yadda to appear more sexy,rarely,if ever,works for anyone.Why?Simply because sexiness is a state of mind.

Of course putting some thought into your appearance never hurt anyone.Most people are superficial when they size others up,so good grooming and dressing cuts across all social groups and identities to help us make good first impressions.Also,it has been shown that we perceive people as less attractive when they are sleep deprived.Lack of sleep causes us to look tired and cranky,which is not a sexy or attractive trait at all. 

But other than being properly groomed and rested sexiness has little to do with our physical and everything to do with our mental state.All sexy people have one thing in common;they radiate this inner quality that turns heads everywhere they go and attracts potential sexual partners with an irresistible force.

Nothing new here,of course.You've been told a thousant times that sexiness is all about loving your body, accepting your imperfections and oozing confidence.Yeah,right.Easier said than done.For a small minority of people this comes about naturally.For the rest of us,women in particular,struggling with some form of insecurity or other makes it really difficult to project a confident,sexy persona all the time.

The ''fake it till you make it'' approach doesn't always help either.If your self consciousness issues are deeply rooted you can repeat affirmations like''I feel sexy'' all day long and you still won't change a thing.Your subconscious will keep negating it by whispering to you''We both know you don't believe that!''

So what's the secret?Simple really.Here's the equation:

-To be sexy,you have to feel sexy
-To feel sexy,you have to be in a sexy frame of mind
To be in a sexy frame of mind,you have to either do sexy things or think sexy thoughts!

Look at the pictures of the two girls below.In terms of physical attributes they are pretty much alike.But:


                      Isn't the first girl the personification of nerd awkwardness?

Isn't the second the personification of sexy suggestiveness?You can almost hear her thoughts:''Come over here and make my glasses go misty with your hotness!''

What's the missing element in the first girl's image?You've guessed it!Sexy,suggestive thoughts that instantly give the other girl a sultry,foxy look.

Think about it for a moment.Whithin sex appeal is the word sex,after all.In order for you to appeal to anyone sexually,you have to show off your sexual nature to them. Feeling confused,disgusted,ill-at-ease or prudish about yours and other people's sexuality will not help  project a sexually appealing image of you.

The lustiest,most pasionate,most irresistible and most sexually satisfied people are the ones so comfortable with their sexual nature that they project it unashamedly to the world with their thoughts,words and actions.When you think,talk and act sexy,your state of mind automatically kicks your confidence and sex appeal into high gear.That frame of mind,in turn,can literally transform your physical self from plain to hot in a matter of seconds.And the more you use the technique,the more effective it becomes. 

Seeing,however, that there is a fine line betrween sexiness and sluttiness,it is much safer for you to share sexy words and actions with sexual partners only.Thinking sexy,naughty thoughts is a more appropriate and just as effective way of inducing that state of mind that makes you instantly hotter in all social settings.Your imagination is yours and totally under your control,no laws or restrictions there.Since no one else has access to your thoughts,why not let your imagination loose more often?

Now I can almost hear your objections,especially if you are a man;I have thoughts about sex all the time,but it doesn't seem to do the trick for me''.The thing is,by sexy thoughts I don't mean the''I need to get laid right now'' attitude.Neediness is just as off-putting as insecurity.Revel in your sexual nature and thoughts,enjoy being eye-candy,be self-conscious free when people check you out.Mentally tell yourself:''I like being ogled at''.And don't hesitate to do the checking out yourself. 

Why stop here?Inject your routine activities with some sexual imagery of your choice.Can't for the life of you remember your pin number?Let's say it's 8719.If you think of an 87 year old having sex with a 19 year old you are more likely to remember it,aren't you?Stop compartmentalizing your life into 'serious' stuff and 'fun' stuff.Be a sexual being in all aspect of your life!

Think more about sex;your everyday routine will get so hot you'll start smoldering.Flirt more.Flirting is fine even if you are already happily committed to a partner.Nothing can boost your self esteem and your sexiness quotient more than a little innocent flirt.In fact it might do wonders for both you and your partner.Remember the ''if you don't use it,you lose it'' saying?If others stop seeing you as sexy,you'll probably stop seeing yourself as sexy as well and it's very likely that your partner will follow suit.

Sex appeal as a state of mind has longevity too,because unlike youth and freshness you don't lose it after any particular age.From book to film characters it is obvious that older men are considered sexy.And if you think this doesn't apply to women,look at Helen Miren below as an example of how sexy older women can really be.

The older you get, the less afraid you are to be your real self.You are through with pretence and so you become more compasionate,accepting and giving in bed than your younger version.If you consciously choose to appreciate and radiate those qualities,you have the potential to become even sexier as time goes by.If sex appeal of youth is full of eagerness and energy,mature sex appeal is all about skill and experience.

Think and act sexy all the time,be sexy all the time!

Now I suppose you want me to give you an example of sexy,naughty,dirty thoughts that can help you release the sexy siren or beast within you?

NO WAY!Go have your own!!!

 photos from here

Love,peace and sex appeal


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Πέμπτη 19 Μαΐου 2011

Why I won't hire you in my business unless you are attractive

Yes,I will only hire you in my business if you are generally perceived as attractive.Yes,I discriminate.Yes,I know it is not fair.And no,I am not the only employer who does that.In fact,most of us do it,exept we rarely admit it.Not to your face,at least.I have no problem admitting it and I can tell you that not employing unattractive people is part of my hiring policy.

So what's the deal?Am I only hiring good-looking employees because I enjoy looking at attractive people?Of course we all prefer looking at attractive people and I am not the exeption.But  my choice of attractive employees goes beyond personal preferences.Actually,good looking staff makes more money for my business and seeing that I run a business for profit and not for charity,it is easy to understand the connection.Attractive people in my staff=more money for my business.Here is why:

1.Good looking people are more inelligent

  As concluded by some studies,good-looking people have higher IQs and so they are more likely to attain higher status and higher paid jobs.In this physical reality we're experiencing,like it or not,beauty rules!In fact,even beautiful things work better than ugly ones!Of course,I'd rather work with intelligent people than not,plus my line of business has to do with imparting knowledge,so intelligence is obviously high on my list of  employee requirements!

2.Good looking people are happier

Of course they are,they have every reason to be so. The happier the employees,the more productive they are,the link has long been established.And students learn more from happy teachers,that is a fact too.In every business people buy more and more often from happy people,why should mine be the exeption?Plus,one of the perks of being a business owner is that you get to choose the people you work with.I don't know about you,but I'd rather work with happy people that can make my (often) trouble-ladden workday a little brighter than with a cronically depressed or moody lot!

3.Good looking people make other people pay more attention to them

Because we are irresistibly drawn to good looking people,we tend to pay more attention to them as well.I run a foreign languages school which mostly caters for adult students.Now adult students are notorious for dropping out of classes as abruptly and as inexplicably as they enrolled in the first place,so a very effective means of retaining them is to have attractive teachers in their classes!It sure works like a magic spell! 

If you think all the above are true but unfair,because attractive people did nothing other than showing up in this world to deseve all the breaks they get in life,consider that life in general is not fair.In fact,she's a bitch herself.She makes some people clever,even geniuses and some as dumb as can be.A  higher than normal IQ will certainly give you an advantage over many other people in life and,come to think of it,this is even more unfair than the advantages of physical  beauty.But somehow everybody would bitch about how attractive people have it better in life than about how clever people have more doors opened for them.

Get over it,people!Any and every gift we are given ,physical or not,in this life is an unfair advantage over somebody else who lacks it.So what?Let us use the ones that we have and forget about the ones that we don't.Life is too short to wallow in bitterness and  regret.

But if you really insist on good looks being the thing you want most in
this world,here are a few tricks on how to feel beautiful.And if all fails, there's always plastic surgery!  

all pictures from here


                                               Love,peace and beauty   


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More money will only make you more of what you already are

So you think more money is the answer to most if not all your problems?You are obsessed with 'making it' big time and the sooner the better?You are not alone in this.Most people subscribe themselves to the common belief that more money equals less troubles.Yet every time you find yourself on the side of the majority in terms of thought,it is a good time to pause and reflect on those assumptions.
Here is a piece of interesting news to all of us:

Money is not the solution to any of our problems,financial or otherwise!

Money only makes us more of what we are already!What we have (either good or bad) in our lives comes about because of what we are. If what I am stays the same,what I have is also bound to stay the same,no matter what amount of money flows into my life.

We've heard time again and again that money is just a form of energy.So think of it in terms of this analogy:You take a couch potato who spends most of his day glued in front of a TV or computer screen.Because of his sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise he feels flat and almost lethargic most of the time.If this person was miraculously given the energy and stamina of a world-class athlete for a month or so,what do you suppose would happen?Would he use his new-found energy to change his ways,exercise and be active more?Doubt it.Most likely he'll do more of what he always loved doing,namely being a couch potato (which in its turn will make him even more of a lethargic couch potato)!

Money is only a tool.And like any tool,it needs a good handyman to use it.In a way it's like a car.Most people think they'd be better off with a faster,more expensive car instead of the one they own now.The car though,just like money,can take you anywhere you wish,exept it can't replace you as a driver.If you can't drive,a Ferrari is just as useless to you as any other car.If you are a reckless driver,you will remain that,no matter what make of a car you drive.

And just as a fast car can be dangerous in the hands of an incompetent driver,so is a lot of money in the hands of a person who is incompetent with money.

There are literally thousands of cases on the Internet of people who suddenly and unexpectedly came into lots of money and practically either ended up losing everything or ruined their lives or both.

Your problems won't go away if you hit them in the head with enough money.Money always acts as a magnifying glass to both your blessings and your woes in life.If you are a happy,healthy,loving and lovable,spiritually connected individual,an abundance of money will greatly add to that.Conversely,all your problems and inadequacies will greatly expand with more money and your reality will seam bleaker than ever.

-If you are always broke brcause of your shopaholic habits and your lack of saving habits,you'll end up broke sooner or later no matter how much money passes through your hands
-If you are debt-prone,more money will gradually make you accumulate more staggering amounts of debt
 (read this if you don't believe me)
-If you are insecure with less money,you'll be more so with lots of it as you'd be constantly worried  about  people in your life being there for you or your money
-If you are greedy with less money,a lot of money will land you in a nightmare of greed and cruelty of your own making
-If you have little money because you don't feel worthy of it,you'll feel more unworthy if you get your hands on a big sum and you'll lose it quickly and spectacularly
-If you think it would be so nice not to have to worry about money,guess what: more wealth will multiply your worries (how to protect and invest your assets,avoid scammers and all those that will feel entitled to it or will try to extort money from you etc)

More money complicates things more.The only way for us to overcome certain challenges in life,lack of money included,is to evolve to higher levels of consciousness and leave behind us the pettiness of ourselves that created them in the first place.

Any time you move outside your comfort zone with money,this magnifies the circumstances of your life.Period.

What about money as a solution to mandane and practical problems?Like a really serious health problem or disease that requires lots of money for treatment.Or what if you want to go to college and there's no money for that.Wouldn't a  handsome amount of money solve those problems?

Actually,no.For one,all diseases are not just physical in nature.They are a cluster of physical symptoms that stem from deeply seated beliefs and traumas (read this interesting take on why nice people get cancer). Can money cure that?Certainly not.Only the patients themselves can do the inner work required to heal their psyche first and then hopefully their bodies as well.

As for practical matters like tuition fees for college and the like,money is not the solution here either.It may seem so at first but in the long run  it might prove quite the opposite.There is an absolute spiritual law that states that in order for you to receive anything you have to give something first.You always- always-receive in proportion to what and how much you give.

If you receive without giving first,you create an imbalance both in the outside world and in your conscience.This imbalance will have to be corrected sooner or later.The initial euphoria of having received unexpected money will soon be replaced with losing wealth or other things in your life to compensate for what you got for free.Both your subconscious mind and the circumstances in your life will see to that.The more you received without giving anything in return,the greater the corrective measures taken to rectify that anomaly.Now that doesn't sound very fun,does it?

So what's the solution?Do I advocate to seek Nirvana and give up on all our financial and material goals and aspirations?For most of us this wouldn't do!There is a better plan .

First repeat to yourself:

"To have more money in my life I need to tap into the energy of my higher self first".

In other words to become one with the best version of yourself regarding money.Here'the actual plan:

1.Look at your financial situation and mentally give thanks for it

Why would you want to be thankful for your financial problems?Because they are litterally life-saving.Here's another analogy.Suppose your dream is to swim across the Channel but you can't swim or you are horribly out of shape.Would you be able to accomplish this goal if you were somehow thrown right in the middle of the ocean one day?Probably not.You'd end up drowning instead.

Same with money.If more money magnifies everything about you,then it has the potential of drowning you into those very same problems you are trying to escape from.

So thank God/the Universe/your higher self for arranging practice time with less money,until you get better at managing your life and your finances and you can handle more financial abundance.

2.Identify your financial shortcomings and correct them in anticipation for more money to come

Honestly and brutally identify the causes of each and every one of your financial problems or difficulties.What you need to improve in your financial life will come into sharper focus this way.Then take corrective measures.Make a list.Call it your money management plan.It should be something like this:

My Money Management Plan

Problem                        /Cause                              /   Corrective measures  

Hone your money skills now to be able to receive more.An American friend of mine,an ex-soldier, told me about an inscription in his training center that read: "The more you sweat here,the less you'll bleed in the battlefield'.

Likewise,sweat with what money you have now,so that you won't have to bleed when you finally get that big salary/fortune of your dreams.Go ahead and correct your self-sabotaging  money habits.Action is the key.Good intentions alone won't help you here.

3.Provide more value to the world in exchange for more money 

It's simple maths really.The more value you give to the world,the more money you'll get in exchange.You can't take shortcuts.A crappy employee=less value to the world. Business or service that sucks= less value to the world.Providing more value is the only viable way for you to not only achieve your financial goals but also to be able to keep the money you'll get and enjoy it as well.

Don't pray for more money.Pray for more wisdom first.Wisdom to appreciate what you have,wisdom to identify and change the wrong financial patterns in your life,wisdom to expand your ability to create and distribute more value to the world in exchange for more wealth.

                                                        photos from here

Love,peace and abundance


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Δευτέρα 16 Μαΐου 2011

Why those who like you always take the best pictures of you

It is true,we always take the best pictures of people we like and those who like us always take the best pictures of us.Go through your photo collection and prove me wrong if you can!

Why is that so?Because a picture is nothing but a moment frozen in time.A fraction of time,a frame captured in digital form and preserved into eternity.But which moment,which frame is going to be preserved is up to a great extend to the photographer and,to a lesser extent,to the subject,be it animate or inanimate.

When I am taking a photo of someone or something,I get to choose the exact moment that I 'll push the button and that corresponds to my idea of how my subject(s) look(s) like not just at that given moment but also in general as well!And my idea of what my object(s) look like is,in its turn,influenced  by my very personal thoughts,ideas,prejudices,preferences or likes and dislikes about my subject(s).

 In other words I simply capture in my camera a frozen version of what I believe my subjects look like!Even if I am an amateur photographer and I don't know the first thing about photography,even if I am an unsuspecting passer-by obliging to a stranger that asked me to get a  picture of themselves in the street,I still,consciously or subconsciously,get to pick the exact moment in time that corresponds to how I see my particular subjects at that particular moment.

There is nothing objective about taking a picture,any picture.If I like you,admire you,think you are pretty and cute,I'll get to pick the right moment when your facial expressions,stature,pose,look in your eye or whatever confirms my idea of how attractive you look.If I believe you are too tall or too short,I'll get a picture of you that shows just that.If I am attracted to you,I will most likely get a sexy picture of you,even if you are in your sweatpants,have a bad hair day,or it is first thing in the morning when you are barely out of bed.

Likewise,if I don't like you,think you look boring,old,unattractive or plain,my portrait of you will depict those things that I see in you.If I dislike you but still think you look nice,almost in spite of myself in a way,all those feelings will be in the mix and will influence my digital version of you.

Of course,like a student of mine cleverly pointed out when I was explaining this theory to him,the subjects themselves influence the photographer with their ideas about themselves and with how they feel about the photographer.The most photogenic people are the most confident ones or the ones that somehow believe themselves to be pretty or at least pretty in pictures.And whether you feel fine or uncomfortable in my presence is gonna show in the picture I'll take of you.

How you project yourself to me is going to influence my way of seeing you and that is going to show in the picture as well.If you feel happy,radiant,relaxed,attractive,in a great mood,I subconsciously pick up those signals,even if you don't utter a word,and my picture of you comments on that.

I was a very self-conscious child because I was stick-thin and people kept telling me that,so I invariably ended up striking unnatural,self-conscious,unflattering poses in pictures.In hindsight,I clearly see that I wasn't a bad looking little girl,in fact my family tells me I almost looked angelic with those big pale blue eyes,soft golden hair and all.I was just convinced I looked horrible and I have quite a few pictures to prove that!

I began feeling attractive well into my late teens when male attention started boosting my self image.What made me feel really attractive,though,was meeting my future husband when I was a little older than 17.Before making a career for himself as a tour guide he used to work as a freelance photographer for certain newspapers in Athens in his early twenties.Photography was his passion.And I became his favourite 'model'.

Because he was sexually attracted to me he thought of me as sexy,attractive,fabulous,yummy and he kept telling me that.What he felt about me clearly showed in those early pictures he took of me! I,in turn,was flattered (of course) by how he saw me and internalised this flattering picture of myself.(A model can't help feeling attractive when the photographer's crotch bulges sensuously under their pants at any given photo shooting!) Then other people started seeing what he saw as well.

This experience of mine taught me a valuable lesson in both photography and life:we are constantly influencing each others' self image by how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us because of that.Taking a nice picture of someone goes well beyond giving them a nice keepsake.It can be a powerful tool in our hands to boost people's self confidence.A nice picture is a nice compliment.No one is too unattractive or too unworthy of that.

I love taking pictures of people,friends,relatives and family (kids and dogs alike).My older kids,in their teens now,are going through a Don't-invade-my-privacy-or-else phase so they won't let me get as many pictures of them as I'd like.They'll even delete pictures if I don't comply with their wish.I try to respect that.As for the rest of the world,my poor friends, teachers and students at my school are constantly subjected to a compulsory :) ) lesson in self acceptance through picture taking.

I am certainly not a professional photographer entitled to give advice on how to take great pictures. I can give you a few hints,though,on how to get people to bring forth their best self,which is a prerequisite for any great picture:

1.Don't attempt to take pictures of people when they are feeling low,cranky or just not in the mood
Believe me,it's gonna show!

2.Don't attempt to take pictures of people when you feel angry,hostile or critical towards them
Believe me,it's gonna show!

3.Identify by observing or simply by asking your subjects the image they want to project

The wish to look attractive in a picture is,of course,universal,but what other positive characteristics do they want to show off?What are the things they are proud of in their physical selves?Those are the ones you should focus on.And by focus I don't mean a conscious effort on your part,just simply keep them in mind when you are taking that picture.Ignore physical flaws,even blatant ones.Just focus on the positive,that should do the trick!

4.Add encouraging words when taking pictures of people or pets

 This is going to make them feel great about themselves,put them in a good mood and bring forth their best selves.Also,it is going to reinforce in you the positive image you hold of them because spoken words are very powerful tools in evoking the right thoughts.Say things like "You look gorgeous today",'You are so beautiful'',''Think some happy thoughts for me''!

5.Always take as many snapshots as you can and let people choose the ones they like best

That's what digital cameras are for.Show your subjects the pictures,let them decide which version of themselves they like best and simply delete the rest before making them public property.Everyone will be happier this way.

All the above holds true for self-portraits as well.Want to gauge your self love?Take daily pictures of you.Whenever I look myself in the mirror and I'm like ''God,what do I look like?I'm so...(old,haggard,tired,you name it)'',I know it's time for me to grab my camera and start working on some happy thoughts.Being aware that my happy,self-loving thoughts are going to show in the picture is giving me a great incentive to root for some good old-fashioned self acceptance.I usually start by remembering a few of the best compliments people ever gave me or a passionate experience in bed and that gets me going.Then,when I get to take a nice pic of me,I feel better by looking at it and that in turn brings on more happy,self loving thoughts.Try it for yourself,it really works!

Go take some great pictures of yourself first,then of people and pets you love and like.See the Light and Beauty in everyone,let your camera catch that and give it back to them like a rare,packed-with-your-loving energy gift.And be sure to ask only passers by that you feel attracted to to take your picture in the street,because chances are,if you feel attracted to them,they'll be attracted to you as well.And that,my friend,is gonna show in the picture! 

all photos from here

Love,peace and a great pose


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