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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. 


As many of you know, at some point in life most of us will experience trauma or significant emotional pain. Darker moments in life can bring us back to these feelings. The experience is very intense and often overwhelming.

One way to respond to intense feelings is to suppress them—I’ve got lots of experience doing exactly this. We ignore or deny these feelings in an attempt to feel better. And in my opinion, this is the cause of most emotional suffering.

Short-term, this strategy might actually work at helping us feel better. But the irony is that in an attempt to move away from those unwanted feelings in the moment, we actually end-up bringing them infinitely closer over time.

Long-term, this attempt to suppress what we feel may slow us down drastically, and even dims our light.

When we deny our feelings, we begin to close off. This slow-moving, dense energy inevitably becomes an emotional blockage. Like a wall surrounding our hearts, we end up trapping those heavier feelings deeper inside us.

It’s kind of like asking a roommate that you loathe to sign a 20-year lease with you.

That which we are trying to push away ends up owning real estate inside our most precious possession — our hearts.

For me, healing happened when I realized that darkness is not evil or a bottomless pit. The pain I was feeling was merely a giant emotional wall, between the light of my heart and the rest of the world.

These blockages living within each of us prevent the magnificent beauty of our light from shining out into the world. And for some of us, the walls are so sophisticated and clever that we don’t even see them. 

I think Michael Singer said it best in his powerful book The Surrender Experiment:

Pain is the cost of freedom.

Stepping into the pain can feel scary.

Every step you may feel darker, because it’s closer to the blockages.

Every step may feel isolating, because you’re further away from the surface and its many distractions.

But remember:

With every courageous step you take into the depths of your heart, you are also stepping closer to your light and joy. And even though it seems darkest as your approach your own emotional wall, know that just inches behind that wall is the most beautiful light in the Universe. The light from your own heart. 


I Don't Want To Do Anything

It’s been 4 days since I posted on social media. It’s been 9 days since I’ve been to the gym.

And despite feeling rested, well fed, and full of quality time with my loved ones, I’m also feeling overwhelmed after the long weekend.

My inbox is a mess, my digestion is way off, and a part of me wants to isolate myself and give up.

This is the feeling of a lack of forward moving energy.

A lack of MOMENTUM.

Can anyone else relate? If so, this post is for you.

Anyone caught in that heavy, slow, sluggish, depressed energy this morning. 

Anyone having a hard time finding #motivation or #hustle. 

Anyone who hasn’t posted on social media in a while and is feeling the pressure.

Anyone feeling isolated and alone as a result. I want you to know that we’re in this together. I feel it too.

I know how much it sucks, and how helpless it can feel. I also know how magical it is to ride the wave of momentum energy. Honestly for me it’s the greatest feeling on earth.

So for today’s Tip Tuesday, I don’t have any clever shortcuts for you. Because the only way around it, is to MOVE. 

-> movement
-> creates
-> momentum

It sounds overly simplistic and obvious. If that turns you off or irritates you I get it, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Because movement creates momentum. So let’s take the first step together.

We can start slow. It doesn’t matter how big the first step is, it just matters that we take it.

And as my friend Sal said this morning, the train feels heavy when it first starts moving. But it’s also impossible to stop at full speed.

Got any advice for restarting momentum after a few down days? If so, please share your experience in the comments, and help the rest of us ride the next wave of momentum into the sunset.

- - - - - - - -

Shoutout to Alex Charfen and Giovanni Marsico for giving me so much clarity about the power of momentum. I’ll never forget Alex’s short but wickedly powerful talk on the topic at Archangel Academy last February in San Diego.

Momentum was something I could always feel to be true, but didn’t have the language to describe. His talk honestly changed my life by validating my experience as well as providing me with that language.

7 Reasons To Quit Sharing Your HEART on Social Media

You’re probably expecting me to talk about the many benefits of social media—to grow your business, and the benefits of authentic self expression. 

But right now, I want to talk about the many reasons I do NOT want to make and share content. 

Specifically, I’m referring to my new, long-term social media strategy: which includes creating DAILY content.

You might not know this about me, but I wake up at 5AM from Monday to Friday. I meditate, I ground myself, and then create the new content for that day. And whatever I create, I release as a new social media post.

There’s also a bigger strategy around my content, involving the categories of what I focus on. But that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is there are MANY days when I DO NOT want to make content. 

I’ve had countless conversations in my head, where the parts of me that feel insecure try to convince me to quit.

So… seeing how today is Thursday, and Thursday’s content is all about keeping it real, I wanted to share some of these thoughts with you. 

Here’s a snapshot of what goes through my head when I’m trying to convince myself to quit sharing on social media. Maybe you can relate; maybe you can’t. I’ll be honest, today’s post is mostly for me. I need to let go of these fears. And the first step to letting them go is acknowledging that they exist.

I bet it’s not just me, and I wanna know if you feel the same. What’s YOUR biggest fear when it comes to sharing content on social media? Leave your answer in the comments or send me a DM.

Lisa da Rocha (COACH OF THE WEEK)

What I love the most about being a photographer is getting to ask people questions.

My photography sessions often feel like podcast interviews, because I get to dive deep into the magic of the person I’m shooting. Sometimes I think I unconsciously designed my HEARTshots process for this very reason: to deeply connect with some of the smartest and most driven people on the planet.

These are people who take big risks, often leaving a stable, well-paying job in order to follow their dreams.

People who decided to step out into a life that was new and undiscovered.

People who are driven to have a positive impact on the lives of others.

People who stop at nothing, until their life is totally aligned with their values and passions.

People—like Lisa Da Rocha.

I learned so much from Lisa in the time we spent together, and I am still inspired by the experience. And I am so grateful that I get to use my time on earth supporting wonderful leaders like her. 


  1. Describe your coaching approach in 2-3 sentences

    I combine leadership, neuroscience and coaching principles in my work with executives. Leaders find purpose, build presence, strengthen relationships in order to have a powerful impact on their world.

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

    I work with business executives that lead with heart and courage. Leaders with a lifelong commitment to personal growth and having a positive impact on their teams and communities.

  3. Name one of your favourite podcasts:

    Coaches Rising (

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

    To be a phenomenal coach, you must be coached by phenomenal coaches.

  5. Where are you most at peace?

    In nature surrounded by mountains, trees and the sounds of Mother Earth.

  6. When do you feel most alive?

    Dancing pretty much anywhere there’s a good beat and some space to move.



Instagram: @lisa.darocha



How To Find Your Dream Clients in 90 Seconds (or Less)

Here’s one of my favourite and most effective secrets.

I use it to help people quickly find their dream clients before I photograph them.

What I love about this process is how simple it is. It cuts through all the overthinking and paralysis, and within minutes helps you get crystal clear on who your audience is for our photo session. And also for your overall brand and business too. 

Who knew that a simple tool could help you laser in your focus on the people you are most capable of helping? Which of course, will also help you bring in profit faster. 

PS:: I can’t say if this tip is effective across all industries and all business models. But I do know that it works for heart-centred thought leaders. So if you are a coach, speaker, author or entrepreneur, then this is for you.

Do you guys have any other tips on how to find your dream clients? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. 

Thank You Instagram

Instagram is amazing. 

Yes, I know there are haters and trolls.

And yes, I know there’s plenty of toxic content that sucks us in.

But today? I don’t care about ANY of that.

Today I’m focused on how incredible it is that someone like Leesa Renée could find me, even among the 100 million other accounts on Instagram. 

Through the miracle of the internet and social platforms like Instagram, Leesa discovered my page. And the next thing I know, she’s at my studio. 

We instantly connected. We got to dive into several heartfelt conversations. We laughed. We talked about some serious topics. We even shared our dreams with one another. And Leesa generously enlightened me about how pervasive unconscious bias is in the workforce. (This is a subject matter that Leesa is an expert in.) 

And then, just like two art school kids, we got to play and create something brand new—together. Something that did not exist prior to our meeting each other: photos of Leesa and her radiance. 

When our playdate was done, we hugged and smiled and said goodbye, “Until next time.” 

Tell me that isn’t freaking cool. 

Thank you Leesa for shining so bright. Thank you for trusting me, thank you for showing up, and thank you for sharing your passion and your fire so generously with the world.

And thank you Instagram, for bringing someone like Leesa Renée into my life.


Darius BasharComment
Julian Brass - Author of The Week

I first met Julian over 10 years ago when he was running Notable Life. This dude was hustling hard, building his start-up into what would one day become a multimillion-dollar social platform.

Who knew that all these years later, that he'd also become a best-selling author on the topic of anxiety.

Really proud of you Julian for taking what you know and what you have, and using it to be of service to other humans.

If you're dealing with anxiety—which is basically all of us—and looking for a fresh take with lots of practical tools and tips, check out Julian’s new book, Own Your Anxiety: 99 Simple Ways to Channel Your Secret Edge.

You can grab a copy here:

(You might even find a few of our photos from Julian’s HEARTshots session inside the book!)


PS: When you are ready to take your coaching, speaking, writing or healing business to the next level, I am here to help.

More than just beautiful photography, I designed my HEARTshots process from the ground up in order to help heart-centred leaders grow their IMPACT and make more money.⁣⁣

Here is a link to my October Promo page (spots are limited) -->

PPS: If you are a CTI coach, trainer, or student, I have an extra $200 promo for you for this month only. (⁣Expires Nov 01)


Want to Use Social Media To Grow Your Biz? Let Go of Your Friends and Family

On Tuesday, I took a risk and shared a story that I’ve never shared before. It’s about how I generated over $20,000 in September through booking photoshoots with only my dream clients. 

After sharing this content I was deeply triggered. You see, growing up I was told to NEVER talk about money. Especially specific numbers. I was told it’s impolite, it’s egocentric, and will attract toxic energy. 

Then you guys jumped in. The comments, the feedback, the text messages, the phone calls, the DMs—ALL of which absolutely blew me away. 

I felt my brain expanding. The old ideas and narrative crumbled, and some completely new ideas and questions began to form.

I asked a few people what resonated with them about Tuesday’s video. What was the big difference? Here’s what you guys said:

  1. I spoke in specifics. $20,000 is very specific.

  2. I spoke on a topic that had clear value to their lives. They also were interested in generating $20k from dream clients.

  3. I shared something very personal and very real. Not to show off, but rather to say here’s what happened and here’s what I learned. 

So, with today’s Keeping It Real Thursday post, I want to continue down this new path and see where it takes me. I want to share 1 more powerful tip that was instrumental to helping me generate dynamic and focussed content on social media.

And just in case you didn’t know this 100% of my leads come from social media. 

Have a watch and let me know what you think. 

Charles Sue-Wah-Sing (Coach of The Week)

In the last year alone, I’ve worked with over 20 different leadership coaches from the Co-Active Training Institute (formerly Coaches Training Institute). And it has been a tremendous honour.

I'm not sure why this particular program is so compatible with my HEARTshots sessions, but whenever I get a booking with someone who’s gone through the CTI program I instantly know we are going to have an amazing experience together.

So when I got the introductory call from Charles, I couldn't help but have a giant smile on my face. We first started talking about CTI and then the people we have in common, and then eventually dove deeper into his own coaching business and where he’s ready to level-up. I knew I was speaking with a human who is serious about growth and motivated by helping others.

And the added bonus?

I got to photograph his amazing, brilliant, and beautiful wife Dawna MacLean the next day. And let me tell you, Dawna is a powerful and effective leadership coach as well. 

Thank you brother for leaning into the experience, and for bringing your fullness to our session.

See the photos from our session below and a little snapshot of Charles with a few quick questions.


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

    Coaching is not about solving problems, so relax and screw up often!

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

    Coaching is about the HUSTLE!!

  3. Where are you most at peace?

    There's this mountain-like rock in the Ottawa Valley that looks over Golden Lake.

  4. Name one book that changed your life:

    The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying



Instagram: @suewahsing



How I Generated Over $20,000 Last Month From My Dream Clients

Last month I generated over $20,000 of new business. 

Maybe for some of you out there this is all in a day’s work / not a big deal.

And maybe for others, $20k is a whole lot of money / an exciting goal.

For me, I’m really proud of myself. It was a lot of hard work.

What’s more important is that 100% of it came from people that represent my dream clients. 

While there were many factors that helped me achieve this milestone, there is one in particular I want to share with you today.