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Writing + Photography

Memoirs and musings of Darius Bashar. Toronto portrait photographer and writer, in pursuit of all things real, raw and intimate. 

Masai Ujiri For TEDxToronto


When I photographed Masai Ujiri last year for TEDxToronto, I had no idea that the Raptors were going to become world champions.

Masai is the President of the Raptors, he is insanely busy, and he probably gets his photo taken weekly if not more. Knowing this, I had to adjust my process. 

And when Masai first arrived it was clear that our window to “get the shot” would be short. 

He was friendly and attentive, but I could also feel that he was not so thrilled to interrupt his day and take a break for photography. 

Things started off stiff and slow, which is almost always the case with every photo session. But the difference was that I did not have warm-up “get to know you” time like I do in most of my portrait sessions. We essentially started the shoot in the 4th quarter with 2 mins left on the clock. Crunch time! 

I took a deep breath. Grounded myself. And let my heart lead. 

This is when I had two game-changing instincts…

  1. I asked him to pick the music. Suddenly the room was flooded with vibrant tunes from his home country Nigeria.

  2. I looked around the room and found a basketball. I picked it up and tossed it over to him.

The moment the basketball hit his hands I could see his energy shift. His face lit up and I could see his inner-child come out. So much joy. So grounded. Masai was instantly transported to his happy place. 

I could also feel our trust and connection grow. 

He originally had a 10 minute “hard stop”—but he ended up staying for almost an hour. And what an incredible human being to photograph.

So grateful to Jeff Lohnes, Afshin Mousvian and the homies at TEDxToronto for this amazing opportunity. And of course, a special shoutout to Masai Ujiri.

In 18 Days, HEARTshot Prices Go Up

Hello beautiful humans.

I have an amazing promo on my HEARTshots package. The promo end in 18 days, just over 2 weeks. I’m offering more than $500 of savings and an experience like no other.

If you are on the fence, trying to figure out whether you should jump, this message is a loving nudge. It’s time to take your digital presence seriously, and attract ideal clients with professional portraits that show your audience the real you.

If you work in an industry focused around PEOPLE and you are ready to LEVEL-UP your professionalism, then this message is FOR YOU.

Have a look at the following page. → www.dariusbashar.com/heart-shots

You will find my HEARTshots gallery and everything you need to know. There’s lots of detail, including how much HEARTshots cost, the current promo pricing, what’s included, what to expect, and quotes from previous clients.

Spots at the special promo rate are limited. I am over 50% sold out for 2019. Payment plans also available.

Let’s make something magical together.

In 18 Days, HEARTshots Prices Will Be Going Up.
If you want to save over $500 this post is for you.
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My Acne Scars Are My Superpower

I’ve never shared this story with anyone.

Because I was too embarrassed to admit my truth. So I ignored it and looked away.

And looking away was surprisingly easy.

Our society is set up for us to continually look away and ignore our deepest inner truths.

But these inner truths often require courageous conversations; with ourselves and with others, in order to be set free.

These courageous conversations are not easy. They are also very uncomfortable. We essentially poke at our own emotional wounds and that shit hurts.

There is an upside though. In fact, it’s a really powerful one, especially if you believe life should be full of PURPOSE and IMPACT.

Have a look at this video and let me know if there is a courageous conversation you are ready to have. The world is ready for your truth.

Trudi Sigfusson {Coach OF THE WEEK}

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This is Trudi. She is a magical human being that radiates warmth and kindness.

Which is something that makes Trudi very special. Because here’s the thing…

As most of us go through life, we encounter many reasons for us to close down and protect our hearts. Breakups, betrayals, illness, death, divorces, bankruptcies and a million other pains. And if we allow it, life can really harden us.

So when I run into humans like Trudi, who have been around the block and still feel radically open, I can’t help but marvel.

I know that it takes courage to stay open and soften with every passing year. And it takes tremendous courage to let your child-self roam free and stay wild. Yet when I’m around Trudi, everything feels possible. I can see and feel her glowing when we’re in the same room.

Trudi my friend, I honour and celebrate you.


7 QUESTIONS WITH TRUDI SIGFUSSON

  1. Describe your coaching approach in 2-3 sentences

    Through curious questions and engaging conversation I lead my clients on a journey of discovery and activation. We shine the light on your unique gifts and how you can bring them forth into the world, to live the life you’ve always known was possible!

  2. What's one thing about you that would surprise people if they knew?

    My story is a “rags to riches” one.... and when I was 4 years old, a spirit came to me and re-assured me that my life would not always be this way. Even at the tender age of four, I knew there had to be MORE!

  3. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?

    A flight attendant

  4. How would your mom/dad describe what you do for a living (their words, NOT yours)

    Oh this is a funny one—my mom would say that I have a lot of people that are always calling me or buzzing me on my phone! She would also say that I fly places to talk to people! As she asks, “Where are you going now?”

  5. When do you feel most alive?

    When I am sliding across my hardwood floor “jamming out” to my favourite tunes!

  6. Who is your favourite type of person to coach?

    My favourite person to coach has an inner knowing that their life can be MORE! They are open to new concepts and possibilities!

  7. Name one book that changed your life:

    Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza

HOW TO CONNECT WITH TRUDI

Instagram: @trudikim

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trudi-sigfusson-a4274191/

Any new and exciting things coming up that you want to share?

I am offering 30-minute Activation Sessions at $130 CAD or packages of 3 for $350 CAD. I also have openings for interviews in October, if there are any fun and relevant podcasts looking for a guest.


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The One Tip That No One Will Tell You To Help you Take Better Photos

No one else will tell you this. Are you ready for this week’s #TipTuesday?

On the surface this tip sounds ridiculous and you might have a strong reaction against it.

Also, it only applies to people who DO NOT enjoy having their photos taken (so pretty much everyone I work with).

But hear me out, because this is a game-changer for so much more than photos. It works for essentially anything that scares you.

This tip is also easy to dismiss, but if you are willing to actually observe your feelings when you take a photo (or do something that scares you), you will see just how VALUABLE this tip is.

Enjoy!

My Obsession: Hiding VS Being Seen

(If you’re interested in learning how the black and white portraits came to be, click here to read the full story.)

—> Every single person I photograph has two things in common.

Sure, on the surface we’re all unique. Different ethnicities, ages, genders, body types, upbringings, occupations and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

But there are two things that show up in every shoot I’ve ever done—no matter what the person looks like.

  1. Every person has a piece of themselves they desperately want to hide.

  2. Every person, to varying degrees, has a desire to be fully seen.

The contradiction between these two parts of ourselves creates a tension.

And that tension is my obsession. Because it exists in everybody.

My process as a photographer plays right at this crossroads. The part of us that wants to hide and be safe. And the part of us that is so sick and tired of hiding. This is where the magic happens.

And if you’re willing to take a risk, sit in the discomfort, and let people see you in a place of vulnerability and sincerity, you’ll walk away feeling stronger, lighter, and able to access more of yourself.

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There Is No Such Thing As Confusion

Are you ready to hear a controversial, mind-blowing concept?

Take a deep breath. Open your mind.

And when you’re ready, I want you to consider the following:

—> There is NO such thing as CONFUSION.

—> There is ONLY absolute CLARITY.

If you’re scrolling or just skimming through, slow down for a sec. Read that again and see if it lands.

What would it mean if every time you thought you were confused, it was just your unconscious mind trying to convince you to back down as a coping mechanism?

What would it mean if confusion was your unconscious mind wanting you to move AWAY from the unknown and step back into what is familiar? (Even if the familiar is harming you or holding you back from your true potential.)

Game. Changer.

This idea was shared with me during my Archangel MBA coaching call yesterday with David Neagle. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of David before our group call, but this man fully blew my mind. He is a best-selling author and a veteran mindset coach who helps frustrated, worried and overwhelmed small business owners be confident and in control of their results. David’s promise is that he turns people’s yearly income into their monthly income. BOLD claim right!?

I’ve heard so many experts speak on the topic of money and breaking through limiting beliefs, but there was something totally different about David’s approach. It cut through my walls and vibrated through every cell. I took away so much from this 90-minute group coaching session. 

David shared so much wisdom and so many practical tips, but none more powerful than this radical idea:

That there is NO such thing as CONFUSION. 

All day yesterday (and even in my dream last night) this pervasive idea worked its way through me. 

Who would I be if I always had access to absolute clarity? 

What would my life look like if I could confidently step into the unknown, and didn’t need to exert any “panic energy” when I was attempting something new and bold? 

Do you buy it? 

Is it possible confusion is a totally made-up human concept?

Let me know what you think.

Keep Going
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Sometimes I get to my computer in the morning to write a new social media post and I don’t feel anything. Or more accurately, I feel anxious and unsure, because I have no clue what to write. 

In those moments, my commitment of sharing valuable and REAL content 5 times a week feels impossible.

A part of me has resistance to this kind of writing because this part of me remembers what it feels like to flow. Those joyous moments when the words just pour out of me. 

This part of me revolts. 

“I hate this. It feels forced. It feels fake. People will know. No one will like this.”

And of course, what that part of me is really concerned with is no one will like me

He wants me to take the day off. To rest. To do anything else, besides this uncomfortable task. 

Today was one of those days. 

I struggled. I was full of uncertainty, doubt and frustration. Then, I looked at my whiteboard that sits 2 feet away from my desk. There is a picture of my dream client on that board and a few sentences on how I want her to feel when she interacts with my content.

One of the sentences on my whiteboard states: “Darius is honest and REAL.” 

And so with that, I decided to share this REAL post on how it can be a struggle to share some days. A part of me wishes it was juicer and attention grabbing. A big breakthrough or deep wisdom. But it’s not. It’s just me sharing how challenging it can be to stay consistent. And sharing with you that there are days when I just want to stay in bed and keep to myself. 

But I know momentum is a wonderful thing. It takes time to get the train moving in the right direction. Especially if it was standing completely still. So when it is moving forward, even if at a slow pace, it is important to keep going. Even on the tough days when you feel uninspired and unfocused. 

Maybe I needed to release this energy and this post to help make space for something else. Maybe tomorrow will be just as difficult. 

Or maybe, just maybe that wonderful and effortless flow will find me and we will dance once again. 

Regardless, I am going to keep going. 

Do you have any tips for how you keep pushing through on days when your parts are not feeling it? I know I am not the only one that experience these days. 

𝐒𝐔𝐌𝐌𝐄𝐑 𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐌𝐎 𝐃𝐄𝐄𝐓𝐒:

For anyone who feels called to working together, now is the time to do so. Follow the link below for all the details on my amazing promo this month while it’s still up. --> www.dariusbashar.com/heart-shots

PS: Payment plans also available. :)

Daniel Goodman {Speaker of The Week}

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I have only officially known Dan for 53 weeks, but I can say with absolute certainty that I love this man. 

Yes he’s creative, and smart, and uses the fanciest words I have ever heard.

But that is not why I love him. 

I love Dan because his eyes sparkle pure love every time I see him.

I love Dan because he teaches me about what it means to be a conscious man in 2019. 

I love Dan because he challenges me to explore my own privilege. 

I love Dan because he says YES to my crazy ideas, like Artist Warrior King or even SpeakerSlam.  

I love Dan for way too many reasons to list, but for now, here’s a bit more on my brother from another mother, Dan Goodman. 


Name: Daniel Goodman

Professional speakers since: 2019

Besides speaking what is your main gig? Creative designer, writer, music producer.

Total number of (professional) talks given: 2

What do you speak about?

I speak about the intersection of creativity and wellness, vulnerability, and the blurring social dynamics between professional and personal lives. As a creative person living with cerebral palsy, I’ve always been handed labels and expectations I’ve fought to resist. That’s why I called my company The Hyphenate, because it’s ultimately about acknowledging that people are more than just their labels and they can transcend these barriers.

I focus on changing your narrative so your creativity isn't hindered by limiting beliefs, either those handed to you externally by society or those internalized by yourself, and instead finding practices and beliefs that empower you and propel you in what you want to create.

8 QUESTIONS WITH DANIEL GOODMAN

  1. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?

    I wanted to be a professional musician and tour the world like a rockstar! Whether that becomes true is anyone’s guess.

  2. Name one unexpected thing that people might not know about you.

    I used to train as a Paralympic athlete-in-training for wheelchair track and field with Athletics Canada.

  3. Name one podcast or artist you're currently enjoying listening to:

    Music is pivotal to my process. But one artist? That’s rough. Right now, I’m listening to the ambient electronic soundscapes of Four Tet while I write. I’m also a podcast fiend! Currently on deck? I’m enjoying Feist’s Pleasure Studies, On Purpose with Jay Shetty, and Revisionist History.

  4. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about speaking?

    Oddly enough, from my oracle brother and the author of this interview, Darius Bashar: “People don’t want to understand you. They want to be understood!” This kernel of wisdom is key to what I do, and drives me towards what I love: human connection.

  5. Name one thing that makes you feel vulnerable to talk about that you feel others should know:

    I’m very self-conscious of how I look and navigate through the world. I also struggle with social anxiety, despite many people telling me I have great charisma. Truthfully, I get very nervous speaking to groups of people, which is why speaking on a stage is so cathartic!

  6. What is one common misconception people might have about you?

    Usually people think I’m more serious based on my social media presence and business tact, but in reality, I love being playful in work, my personal life, and any social setting. This year has been about pushing my edge and owning my space by being authentic to myself. Some of that transformation has only came once I started to loosen up a little and run the risk of seeming a little silly.

  7. What is the biggest challenge you are currently working on?

    Expressing anger healthily. I used to be a massive people pleaser. This resulted in a lot of difficulties in establishing boundaries and expressing when I felt hurt or misunderstood because I felt like I didn’t deserve the space or couldn’t take up that amount of oxygen in the dynamic. Because I felt misunderstood and disempowered growing up, I now strive to hold space for others in teaching them how to do it for themselves.

  8. When do you feel most alive?

    I feel most alive when I express or share my art publicly and see how it positively affects others. Seeing my craft and communication style open others up to empower themselves, to elevate their own art and take the leap, or look at the chaotic calculus of life from a different angle, is a really rewarding aspect of my work. I always like to ponder if we looked at positive impact in the same way we looked at financial influence, that instead of possessing a million dollars, what if we changed the lives of a million people in some way for the better? That would be extraordinary!

HOW TO CONNECT WITH DANIEL

Newsletter: The Hyphenate

Instagram: @bydanielgoodman

Something New And Exciting Coming Up For Daniel:

Later this year, I’m revealing a fresh brand identity and relaunched website for my freelance media and creative management business, The Hyphenate, alongside an accompanying blog & podcast on the creative process, flow states, and meaningful conversation called Making Matter. Stay tuned for the development of that, and if you’d like to be involved, please reach out via email!

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Chasing Summer

Summer is not gone; summer was never here.

You see, summer is just a belief. And like all other beliefs before it, summer is at best a made-up concept.

All beliefs are made-up and therefore all beliefs are bullshit. But all beliefs are also true, if you put enough energy into them.

So I choose to believe summer will continue in my heart for as long as I can remember…

  • the warmth of my beloveds morning kisses

  • the sounds of the farmers market

  • the rejoicing and tears from the pews, as we celebrated their forever love

  • the smells of the pine trees at the cottage

  • the floating in the trees as we watched the sunset

I know I can’t hold onto summer forever, but I also know that today will not be the day I let her go.