How do you start your day?
I just hired a babysitter to come to the house at 6am so that I can slip out of our family bed and do morning yoga and meditation. I just started this a week ago and feel amazing allowing more help in than I think I need or deserve in order to really give myself a nice start to my day. I take Max to school and head directly to the beach, which is just 5 blocks from his school, for some quiet connection to the ocean. I don’t love getting IN it but I love the sound and love being in nature. I either grab some green juice at the local raw food restaurant in Venice Beach, or I head home and start to work from my dining room table with some tea, a candle and incense burning.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
What I am prone to doing is grabbing a bag of chips and eat them all. If you must know, I love Kettle chips. Unsalted, Salted, and BBQ. But then the stress is still there so I reach out to friends for feedback through text or Skype or phone. What I am working on is re-connecting with my breath, asking for help, Setting myself up with the morning practice of yoga and meditation so I have something in the “bank” when life happens to feel like it’s squeezing me. I have a list of spiritual teachers and healers that I work with regularly. On speed dial.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
Being present with my son Max. Watching him be himself. Listening to him sing. Listening to him Laugh. Playing with him. Snuggling with him. Love expressed outward towards him is blissful. Looking through my camera is bliss as well. Especially when I’m looking at another human that I find inspiring to me. The connection makes my heart explode. And being in the process of my art making. Losing myself in it. Forgetting the time. It’s just me, my cameras and whatever other energies are unseen but felt. It’s a bliss factory.
What are you currently reading?
- Recovery 2.0 by Tommy Rosen.
- Money, Master the Game by Tony Robbins.
- Divine Alignment by Guru Prem Singh Khalsa
- Diego Uchitel Polaroids
What are you listening to right now?
Aykanna's “Beautiful am I.”
What is your go-to simple recipe?
Quinoa with peas, garbanzo beans, coconut milk, dried cherries, blueberries and strawberries. All made in a rice cooker. Takes 15 minutes.
What are some simple things you do for self-care?
Yoga, meditation, photography, incense, candles, sage, Aykanna Music and other quiet soulful music, dancing with Max, laughing with Max, going to sleep early, not scheduling my days up, allowing for empty space, A LOT of empty space. Creating my artwork. Eating foods that heal. Bubble baths with candle light. Saying no. Saying yes. Permission to change my mind at any time. Lots of Quiet.
What does nourishment look like to you?
All of the above and learning to ask myself that question in any moment throughout the day. “What would feel nourishing right now?” “Does this aligned with my core desired feelings?” If not I give myself permission to shift. Creativity is extremely nourishing for me. Giving myself room and space to dive into my art process without a goal in mind. Connecting with my friends on Skype or in person. Watching my son be himself and giving him space to be who he is. Practicing not taking ANYTHING personally.
How do you make space for play?
Max MAKES me dance at times when I am buzzing to get to my computer and WORK. This helps me a lot. He is the instigator of play in my life.
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
Right now I’m working on the mantra “Sat Nam” when doing certain yoga practices. It helps me stop the thinking train. I also love the mantra “So what, who cares, why not, Big deal.” I learned that one from Miguel Ruiz who wrote the Four Agreements.
Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.
I must listen to myself deeply. In this way I can align with what is true regardless of what the “shoulds” are. Trusting myself is a life long pursuit and practice. Trusting others to be there when I need them and asking for help when I need it has been a long lesson for me as well. My motto is “don’t leave before the miracle happens.” When life gets really hard. When the loneliness feels like it’s eating me alive. When the stress of being a single parent and running a full time business catch up to me. I have to remember to hold on. Something is on the other side of this discomfort. If I wait and see—it’s usually much more incredible than I could have ever imagined or created on my own will. Discomfort is a teacher that has something to tell us if we lean in and listen. I choose to process this through my photography practice and it helps me shift my perception and attention to what’s true. Finding a practice that helps me detach from the mind is key for me. Connection is another piece to the puzzle I cannot live without. Connection with myself, like-minded people. Raising my frequency and connect with something higher than what’s seen with my eyes. Learning how to find the spaces in-between my thoughts. Being of service in some way. All of this helps me keep moving forward and not leave before the miracle happens.
About Catherine Just
Catherine Just is an award winning photographer, artist and mentor. Her photographs have been published on the cover of National Geographic Magazine, Oprah.com, Photo District News Magazine, The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte, on the websites of DanielleLaporte.com, Taragentile.com, KateNorthrup.com, MiguelRuiz.com, AnnapurnaLiving.com, and in dozens of online websites and blogs worldwide. Catherine has a 5 year old son named Max Harrison, who happens to have Down syndrome. She advocates for him through photography, sharing photos that focus on the similarities rather than the differences. She posts photos of him regularly on Instagram. Visit her online at CatherineJust.com.