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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. 

The Shadow

Sometimes I run toward the light. But sometimes I wonder if I’m running so hard because I am afraid of being caught by the shadow.

The shadow that consumes all of my light. All of my dreams. All of my joy.

The shadow that makes me feel small and unworthy.

The shadow that steals the words from my tongue.

The shadow that keeps me couch-locked, binging Netflix.

She is close today, but I am going to keep running.

As fast and as long as my heart can take me.


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I want to feature YOU and your HEARTstory #KeepingItRealThursdays

What if your mess was your message?

What if your mess was your masterpiece?

What if sharing your wounds publicly could set you free?

If you believe keeping it real and being vulnerable is actually a strength, then I want to connect.

I want to hear your story.

I want to share it with my entire community.

I want us to inspire people to take a leap and stand in their own truth.

If you have a story that scares you, but also feels ready to be let go, I want to connect.

Jovana Borojevic {Speaker of The Week}

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This is my friend Jovana.

She’s brave. She’s brilliant. She’s hilarious. And most importantly, she bought me Lucky Charms cereal! Why… I really don’t remember, but it made me laugh so hard.

Jovana stole my heart (and the Judges Choice Award) in May at SpeakerSlam. Her talk won second place in the competition and the video ended up going viral.

The courage and conviction from her story are still echoing in my bones today. No wonder she has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. I have never seen anyone share their weight loss and self-love journey with such radical honesty. It’s refreshing and also deeply inspiring.

Jovana is changing the world by sharing her HEARTstory.

She doesn’t hold back.

She doesn’t hide the messy parts.

She’s done playing in the shadows and has taken a giant leap forward into the light.

Keep an eye out on her. She is taking off fast!


Name: Jovana Borojeic

Professional speakers since: 2019

Total number of (professional) talks given: Two

What do you speak about?

I speak about the importance of meeting yourself exactly where you are now before trying to move forward, and looking internally for the answers you truly seek, rather than trying to “quick fix” the outside in search of instant gratification. I speak on my own journey to the realization that changing my outward appearance did not bring me the happiness I thought it would; it destroyed me and forced me to attend the the real issue—a lack of love and understanding for who I was.

6 QUESTIONS WITH JOVANA BOROJEVIC

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

    I battled with insecurities for a majority of my life. Even as a child, when others were fantasizing about what they wanted to be when they grew up, I remember just thinking about how I so badly wanted to be "like them"—whatever that meant. It was hard for me to pick a "path" because I was too concerned about validation and acceptance. The only dream I remember was wanting to be an actress; wanting the opportunity to at least ACT like the "others" and ACT confident, because I could never really BE that.

  2. Name one book that changed your life:
    The book Brain Over Binge changed my life. It talks a lot about the science of our brains and its two parts. It taught me that not every action you think of has to be acted upon. It taught me to recognize thought patterns and urges as HABITS that could be re-programmed into something healthier. It taught me that I was capable of just watching my thoughts, without acting on them. This book was a game-changer in terms of living with purpose and intentional action.

  3. What is the BEST advice you've ever received about speaking?
    The best advice I've received about speaking is to truly spend time meditating on your story, and spend time taking yourself back to that space. Connecting to that place, that moment that deeply impacted your life and connected that next dot that brought you here—that's the game changer. By taking myself back, I am able to bring that energy to my audience and take them on that journey with me. That's where the power, vulnerability, and emotion live.

  4. When do you feel most alive?

    I feel most alive when I'm able to connect to others and help them see that they've been hiding from themselves, without even realizing it. Connecting to a soul that hasn't even connected to its own vessel yet is so vulnerable and beautiful and makes me feel eternally grateful for where I am in my life. It took me years to connect with myself and realize, "HEY, YOU'RE ALIVE RIGHT NOW," and being able to help bring others to that same place lights my fire.

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

    I am really excited to keep connecting with others and helping them acknowledge, and then step into their own truth so that they can fully express themselves and live life as who they ARE. I am excited to continue learning to accept that I will never be perfect, but I will always be WHOLE. And I'm excited to see what magic will enter my life as I continue to live that truth.

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

    The biggest challenge I'm currently working on is staying present and connected to my truth.... I'm struggling with Imposter Syndrome. When I connected to my soul and my calling, I kept asking, "Yeah but, why me? Why would anymore care?" It has taken me a long time to realize that the "WHY" and what makes me special is simply that I'm me. And harnessing that energy in order to live by it FULLY has been my biggest challenge.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH JOVANA

Instagram: @jovanafit

YouTube: https://bit.ly/2HhOdcV

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Want to Take Better Selfies, Try This (#TipTuesday)

With my eyes closed, I can tell you how our photoshoot is going.

If I can hear you doing this one trick, then I know the photos are going to be great.

But here is the thing… 100% of the people I work with don’t do this when we start shooting.

It’s the most natural thing to do for humans, but place a camera in front of someones face and EVERY single person I have worked with SUCKS at this very simple thing.

So watch this video and remember how to instantly make the photos better. Every single time.

move

Take risks. Trust me on this one.⁣⁣

When I look at these photos, I remember a clear moment in a crazy ambitious project. It was for TEDxToronto, and the goal was to get 20 amazing photos of EACH speaker—in only 15 minutes! This was a long day.⁣⁣

What happened during this set of photos is the same moment that happens in every big shoot I’ve ever done. Once you get past the feeling of “What have I gotten myself into?” and then “This is too ambitious, this isn’t gonna happen.”⁣⁣

Past the chaos. Past the panic. And then somehow, at some point, you realize:⁣⁣

Shit. This might be really, really cool.⁣⁣

When I look at these photos, I see the moment that I knew it was going to work. And that risk, the promise of getting 20 photos in 15 minutes, somehow paid off.⁣⁣⁣⁣

Big risks = Big rewards

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…


6 QUESTIONS WITH 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.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH JULIE

Website: www.innercorecoach.com

Upcoming events: INtuitive Marketing Advantage

Link for Above: www.innercoreacademy.squarespace.com

Over 20 Years of Acne {Keeping It Real Thursdays}
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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. 

OR

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.

5 QUESTIONS WITH BLAKE FLY

  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.

HOW TO CONNECT WITH BLAKE

Website: www.blakefly.com

Instagram: @blakefly

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

Link for Above: www.NewYearsEvolutions.com


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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 -> www.dariusbashar.com/heart-shots

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.