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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. 

Julie Veitch {COACH OF THE WEEK}

I need to genuinely feel connected to the person I am photographing for HEARTshots to work. I do this by creating a space where the two of us feel comfortable to chat and dive in deep together.

A space where we can laugh, tell stories, listen to music, and most of all: PLAY.

Once I came to terms with the amount of time and leisure involved in making my photography process work, I made a decision to work with the most interesting people I could find.

I figure, if I am going to spend 4 hours with someone, I want to make sure they are awesome humans.

The result is that now I focus my work around heart-centred thought leaders:

  • Often coaches, speakers, healers or badass entrepreneurs

  • People who usually had an unquenchable curiosity and hunger for growth

  • Generous leaders who dedicated their lives to positively impacted others

  • People who where ready to show the world the REAL them

My dear friend Julie is a perfect example of such a person.

I will never forget our time together. We laughed, we meditated, we cried and we had such an incredible conversation that I took notes at several moments, as she dropped so many juicy nuggets of wisdom.

So without further ado, here's a little snapshot of my dear friend Julie Veitch…


  1. Describe your coaching approach in 2-3 sentences.

    I've used INtuition to grow my online business withOUT traditional systems, funnels, methods or scripts, and tripled my income. I show others to do the same. I teach the mechanics of energy, intuition and magnetism, and how to use these to make quantum leaps in accelerating my clients' businesses.

  2. Who is your favourite type of person to coach?
    Someone who is right brained, creative and totally invested in alchemizing their fear based shadow at the cellular level to create potent MAGIC.

  3. Name one book that changed your life:
    The Dark Secret, by Lorna Johnson

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

    That radical, sustainable transformation happens by disrupting one's limited paradigm rather than entertaining it. That fear alchemy dissolves shadow for good, unlike shadow management which merely tames or soothes it temporarily... until the next trigger happens.

  5. Where are you most at peace?
    Definitely in nature, close to the elements of wind, water and green!

  6. Name one thing that you are super excited about:

    I'm super excited about launching my program "INtuitive Marketing Advantage" to teach entrepreneurs the metaphysics of energy, intuition & magnetism SO THAT they can accelerate their INcome quickly. They'll learn to get to the CORE of their vision and message, create their offer, and EARN from it.



Upcoming events: INtuitive Marketing Advantage

Link for Above:

Over 20 Years of Acne {Keeping It Real Thursdays}

It’s hard to see my acne scars on social media, but in real life you can spot them fairly quickly. You may not know this about me, but for over 20 years I had really bad cystic acne. The type that was constant, painful and almost always left a scar. 

I went to dozens of doctors. Tried every treatment under the sun: antibiotics, expensive facial products, cleanses, detoxes, diets. You name it, I tried it. 

At best, treatment would work for a week or two and then things would often get worse. 

I eventually gave up. I failed so many times at “fixing” the acne that it hurt too much to continue to hope that it would go away one day. 

So I settled into the belief that I would have to live with acne for the rest of my life. 

I would never admit it, but I was deeply insecure about my skin and my scars. 

Hoodies, hats, soft lighting, and hiding out in the shadows was my way of coping. 

A part of me wanted so badly to play in the sun. 

To share. To laugh. To show up fully and to contribute

So much inside me was sick and tired of being muted. 

And over time I heard this whisper, growing and echoing from deep within: 

“There is more than this. There is more of you. Let it go. Let it all go D.” 

And slowly I began to take down my walls and let the world see me and my heart. 

It was scary. It still is, but like any muscle you work out regularly, it got easier. 

I have come to love my scars. 

Because each one gave me access to deeper empathy. 

Each one helped me love and accept others. 

Each one, a reminder of my resilience. 

We all have scars. 

Some are skin deep, but most are much deeper than that. 

These “messy” parts can hold us back from fully showing up in our lives. 


Our mess can become our masterpiece. 

You choose.

Blake Fly {Speaker of The Week}

I am so grateful and fortunate that I get to spend quality time with so many truly epic humans. Often, these are people who tour all over the world sharing their gifts and brilliance to sold out crowds.

Somehow I have convinced these remarkable speakers, coaches, healers and badass entrepreneurs to come to my home/studio and sit with me for hours as we get to know each other, prior to actually taking photos of them.

Most people are generous, and willing to share their most juicy life lessons, or a current book or podcast that has changed their lives. I walk away from every HEARTshot session with 1 or 2 new tools or tips that I can integrate into my life immediately.

My goal is to continually find ways to better fan the fires of these heart-centred thought leaders. By supporting them and the amazing work they do in the world, this will help me maximize my impact too.

So with that said, here is this week’s Speaker of The Week. My homie, the one and only Blake Fleischacker.

Name: Blake Fleischacker

Professional speakers since: 2010

Total number of (professional) talks given: 1,212

What do you speak about?

The leading reason why people drop out of school, quit their jobs and leave their relationships is a lack of appreciation. So... I have spent a decade talking about appreciation, recognition and how to use it as rocket fuel for better relationships on campus, in companies and life.


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

    I vividly recall writing 2 things in my yearbook around this age. “Happy” was the first one and “The Zamboner of Maple Leaf Gardens” was the second. I have always been a big-picture thinker and a bit of a black sheep. I figured those answers accomplished a bit of both.

  2. From all the talks you've delivered, which one stands out the most in your memory?
    The first ever “New Year’s Evolutions.” That was the first time I hosted my own event and I was the one responsible to get people to show up. It was terrifying because that was new territory for me as someone who usually speaks at events put on by other people (where they fill the seats). “Will anybody show up?” was the voice in my head that I was excited to quiet and prove wrong. That’s when people showed up.

  3. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about speaking?
    “Blend and lead.” This means that you must meet people where they are at and then invite them to where you want them to go with you in the speech. It’s kind of like bagpipes at a campfire. If someone just busts that out right after quiet, acoustic guitar songs, it messes everything up. If the bagpipe player acknowledges the guitar music, acknowledges the change the people are about to experience, and THEN plays... game on. Best. Bonfire. Ever.

  4. Do you still get nervous when you are about to give a talk? If so, how do you calm your nerves?

    Yes. One of my favourite musicians is Jason Mraz. Before speeches, I watch old YouTube videos of him playing secret shows at pubs in Holland. It shows him having the time of his life and creating a magical experience for the audience. It is all captured on the digital camera of an audience member. Low quality footage, but high quality look into the perspective/experience of someone in the audience loving every minute of the performance. These videos inspire me, anchor me and get me aligned for every speech.

  5. Name one thing that frustrates you:
    I have not yet felt the full range of my feelings. I feel frustrated about that. Ha. See what I did there? I know that consistently exploring my emotional range will elevate my abilities as a speaker, creator and performer. People want to FEEL someone on stage and know that they are human.



Instagram: @blakefly

Upcoming events: New Year’s Evolutions in Nov 2019. Year 4 of 55.

Link for Above:


You Are So MUCH MORE Than Your Niche

You are so much more than your niche and your social media content can reflect that. Don’t be afraid of showing your audience the real you! Here’s what I mean:⁣⁣⁣⁣

👉🏽 Bring them on vacation⁣⁣

👉🏽 Bring them into your family life⁣⁣

👉🏽 Bring them into your current challenges and the MESSY parts of your business / life⁣⁣

👉🏽 Bring them into your past mistakes and life lessons⁣⁣

👉🏽 Bring them into your PLAY and JOY⁣⁣

Because at the end of the day, when we show people the REAL us, we build trust. ❤️⁣⁣

PS: Want your pictures to show the world the REAL you?

Take a look at my HEARTshots promo this month ->

Summer of Yes

What would happen if you said YES to almost every project that was offered to you?⁣

Forget outcome. Forget what you did or did not do in the past. Forget what might be one day. ⁣

YES, to projects with new co-creators.⁣

YES, to projects that place you outside of your comfort zone.⁣

YES, to projects that could not pay you.⁣

YES, to projects that look impossible to complete.⁣

YES, to projects that you know will never be complete.⁣

"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives." - Lemony Snicket⁣

Thank you Kristen Saxton for the opportunity to collaborate on this project. ⁣

You took a risk and stepped outside of your comfort zone so that you could continue building out your portfolio as a Hair and Make-up artist. I love people who are chasing their dreams. ⁣

Also, a big thank you to Kim Foulkes for also saying YES. You were so easy and effortless to work with. Such a treat.

7 Questions With Jenn Mansell (COACH OF THE WEEK)
  1. Describe your coaching approach in 2-3 sentences:

    I work with the body to uncover the parts of you that have been hidden, suppressed, or ignored. We call these parts back into the whole of your being so you can access their joy, peace, pleasure and excitement for life.

  2. What's 1 training program that you can highly recommend to coaches looking to level up?

    Because I am such a big advocate for working with the body, breath and feelings I highly recommend Core Energetics and Radical Aliveness workshops and groups. You can coach from your head, or you can coach from your entire embodied self. There is a big difference in the impact you can make when you are able to trust your impulses and intuition.

  3. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be?
    Either a performer or a librarian lol. My extrovert and introvert both had their own agendas.

  4. Name one book that changed your life:
    A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson. I read this book when I was 20 and would say it ignited my spiritual path.

  5. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about coaching?

    “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” John Wooden

  6. What is the WORST advice you've ever received about coaching?

    Everyone is a coach. The market is oversaturated.

  7. Name one thing that you are super excited about:
    The interest, excitement and momentum I feel around Breathwork and its growing presence as a healing modality, especially in Toronto.


Instagram: @jlmansell

Upcoming events: My monthly Breathwork ceremony -


98% of Everyone I Photograph HATES The First Photo I Show Them

It's okay. I hated my first photo too. All I could see were my imperfections. It felt as if the rest of me was erased and only the parts that I felt most insecure about were left in the photo.

There are a couple of reasons 98% of everyone I photograph feels this way too. I get into a few in this video.

The good news is I have a process that is made to lovingly work through this incredibly common phenomenon.

I call it HEARTshots, which are the opposite of HEADshots.

My theory is nobody really trusts headshots in 2019. They are too stiff and often contrived. Nobody wants to get into your head. Half the time you don't want to be in your own head. Mostly people just want to feel your heart. That's how they decide if they can trust you and if they want to work with you.

My HEARTshots process is designed for people who are ready to step more fully into their purpose and power. This can sometimes be scary, but it can also be a boatload of fun.

Seriously, people are always so shocked at how much we play and laugh during our sessions. This is the only way I know how to take photos. The more genuine joy we co-create together, the better the photos.

So, if you are ready to take a big leap forward and continue down this path of sharing your purpose and power with the world, hit me up! This is my jam. There is nothing I love more than fanning the fires of HEART-centred leaders, just like you.

I have an awesome promo for this month. Have a look and see if you feel called to connect. ->

Parul Bansal is Bald AF + Bold AF (Speaker of The Week)

If I lived to be 10 000 years old, I will never forget this photoshoot with my dear friend @parulbee.⁣
She is a living example of what is possible when you step into your wound and then step through to your superpower.⁣⁣
She has already inspired hundreds of thousands through her Speaker Slam winning talk and is on her way to inspiring millions more by continuing to share her HEARTstory and her journey with the world.⁣⁣

How To Build Trust With Your Smile (Tip Tuesday)

Here is a quick and practical tip to help you instantly build trust through your smile.

It was inspired by hundreds of people who have expressed concern around not being able to smile on camera, in a sincere way.

This is probably the top complaint I hear from people prior to our shoot.

“As soon as there is a camera on me, I forget how to smile! I always feel awkward and fake on camera.”

I hear ya friends. This video can help!