28 Days of Connection: Vivienne McMaster

Welcome to Bonus Day One of 28 Days of Connection!

It is a delight to introduce you to Vivienne McMaster.

Here is an excerpt from Vivienne’s about page:

I discovered photography around the time that I was emerging from a rough patch (aka a depression) and a major part of this journey was turning the camera on myself.  I knew I was no longer the same woman, but I had no clue who this ‘new me’ was.  I felt like a blank canvas with no clue how to start the journey to figure out how to paint her image again.

My new love for photography was the perfect tool.  It allowed me to just start in the moment. With a simple shot of my feet that made me feel like even if I didn’t know all the answers, in this moment I was taking a photo that just let me feel like ‘I am here’.  So it began.

My love for self-portraiture blossomed big time and it became a regular part of my creative journey, so much so that I started to get a lot of questions from folks about how I was doing them.  It was around the time when E-Courses were just starting to appear and it seemed like an incredible format to share my love for self-portraiture, so I created You are Your Own Muse, a 6 Week Self-Portrait journey and these 2 years later I’ve been totally honoured to teach hundreds of women from around the world (Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, China, the UK, Iceland, the US, Canada and more) about finding their own muse.

Since 2013, my mission has become even more focused on helping people see themselves with kindness through their cameras and I am so honoured to be able to share this work through my blog and through Be Your Own Beloved!

I “met” Vivienne through Instagram. Her Instagram feed was full of beautiful selfies in light and reflection and dancing and movement and I was fascinated. Up until then, I wasn’t comfortable taking selfies at all (as in I would rather eat cow poop, for real.) I saw how much fun she was having and I began to follow her website and that, combined with the fact that my daughter turned thirteen and it seems to be the “thing” at 13 to take selfies, started me on this process. At first I was stiff and shy – now, I take a gazillion shots a day (including lots with my daughter) and I love it.  Within this process I found appreciation and love for my ‘self’.  Although I hadn’t taken any of Vivienne’s courses yet, I have learned so much from her and my heart is full of gratitude for all that she shares!


photo credit: Vivienne

Here are Vivienne’s answers:

1. What is your definition of love?

Its a big beautiful question! My present definition of love is the choice to be present with the energy of compassion & connection be it for ourselves or for others.

2. What does it feel like when you are connected with love?

To be honest, I’m presently single and have been for a while, so it can be easy for my mind to go to a place where I feel like “I’m not connected with love” but I absolutely am. Love isn’t just something we ‘receive’ when we are partnered…it is something we get to experience in our connections throughout our lives and maybe most importantly with ourselves.

When I am connected with love it feels compassionate and trusting. It feels like home.

3. In your opinion, why would one choose to close to love? From that closed space, what is one practice or step a person could take to open to love again?

I think we may close to love out of self-protection which in some ways, is not always a bad thing.

I know in my life, being ‘closed to love’ from external sources meant that for the first time I was actually making room to be open to love from myself. To be able to cultivate self-compassion and learn to build a loving relationship that is based on finding power from within, to loving myself first (not last) has been incredibly healing.

One of the most powerful ways I started to cultivate love again was to start to see the woman I am with kindness and compassion. For me that has been through self-portraiture, but creating a practice of seeing ourselves in the mirror with kindness is very powerful too.

4. How do you choose to cultivate love?

I choose to cultivate love every day. To create a life I love through engaging with the beauty & serendipity of the world around me through my camera. To turn my camera on myself to learn self-compassion & to find ways to see myself with kindness. I choose also to cultivate love by opening up to the way that we are all interconnected.

Some days that is as simple as saying ‘Good Morning’ to a kind stranger or smiling at people as I go about my day. Self-love isn’t self-indulgent…in fact filling our own well often allows us to give more to those around us.

5. May you share an experience of receiving unconditional love?

I feel so grateful that I feel like I’ve received unconditional love from family members. Its not about what I achieved or whether or not I have a partner or kids. I just feel loved, for being me. That doesn’t mean we don’t call each other out or have challenges…it means that at the core we are living out of love.

6. What would you like us to know about love?

I want to share that love isn’t something bestowed upon us, it is within us. Lets celebrate both the love that we have with others as well as cultivating love for ourselves.


Vivienne McMaster is a photographer with a great love for capturing diverse and authentic beauty and the healing potential of telling our stories through self-portraiture.  Vivienne teaches online and in person workshops that help you use photography as a tool to cultivate self-love and compassion.

Vivienne’s website: http://www.viviennemcmasterphotography.com/

The next session of Be Your Own Beloved begins April 1, 2014.

Thank you, Vivienne!

Dear Reader, Vivienne says *Self-love isn’t self-indulgent…in fact filling our own well often allows us to give more to those around us* (I *love* this!!!). What is one way in which you “fill your well” and is this something you do daily/weekly/monthly? (when you share, you inspire)

Thank you for your presence! 

(There are five ‘bonus messages’ in this series, so our journey together will continue a bit longer…four more messages to complete the series) 

Much peace and abundant love,

If you would like to join us for the full 28 Days of Connection series – you may register by clicking the title link – you will receive message one within 48 hours of signing up.

Personal peace and possibility sessions offer the opportunity to shift from doubt to trust, tension to peace, in this moment. For more information, and to schedule your session, please click the title link.

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Comments on: "28 Days of Connection: Vivienne McMaster" (4)

  1. Thank you Vivienne!

    I am drawn this morning to the synchronicity of the red shoes that you wore above and the red shoes of this poem I read just before reading this post. The poem is this weeks offering of ‘Rhyme & Verse’ in The San Diego Reader.

    Would you like to provide or anyone else provide their take on this poem?

    I am also drawn to your statement:

    ” I choose also to cultivate love by opening up to the way that we are all interconnected.”

    …*compassion*…is ideally what we want to transcend from ourselves to the world…is it not? And not to debase any gender by merely repeating former social patterns?

    The Manifest

    I love being a woman
    to be forty years old
    to be mistress of my life
    to fall in love with men
    to easily forget men
    to write my poems
    to cook aromatic dishes
    to fix exquisite traditional dishes
    to talk about hunger with my men
    to dress sensually with lace and silks
    to undress sensually
    to wear red shoes
    to grow my hair real long
    to paint my toenails
    to dream of the novels I plan to write
    to see movies made by women
    to listen as the rain collides with the air
    to listen to thunder
    to run the waves in my car inflamed
    and to give you the apple, Adam
    eat it, eat it.

    ~ Olga Nolla


    How do I ‘fill my well’?

    One question on the IATSE journeyman’s test for all men and women taking the test to answer is:

    What is conduct?

    The answer is:


    • I like the synchronicity, Rand!

      My “take” on the poem you have shared is that it’s an invitation to create from inner core – even if what one wants to create raises eyebrows. So many people repress passion and desire. There is a huge difference between commitment and obligation.

      • Thank you Joy for your ‘take’.

        I have been the hunter and the hunted in this world of passion and desire you refer to…and as you know was married twice.

        At this point in my life I am still using the poem ‘My Last Love’ as my compass for finding what is right for me after all these years. Being divorced now and not on any ‘hunt’ for 11 years this would be so wonderful:

        My Last Love

        for Clarissa

        My Last love lept into my life
        like a trapeze artist, flying across the air,
        arms outstretched, reaching toward me
        and I caught her, giving the crowd a scare.

        I took her quickly into my heart
        where she nestled in the soft loam,
        waiting, getting ready to play her part,
        and she did, my last love lept again

        and I took her into my home to keep
        and my last love lasted longer
        my last loved turned into a love so deep
        that it lingered long and our love grew stronger.

        Our lives blended easily, no bother, hassle or fuss
        a two became three, not one: a he, a she, an us.


        * I see it is the first day of ‘Renewal’…our photo class…better wipe the dust of the camera…

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