10 Things To Know Before Going To A Pyschic

1. What does it mean to be psychic?

Everyone is psychic, we all have that innate ability to connect to our intuition. Perhaps you have had "visions" or a strong "knowing" about a foreseeable future and it panned out just like you thought it would. We can develop these techniques, like a muscle, that are readily available to us to tune in.

In fact, we always have the answers within ourselves, our ego and conscious mind block our subconscious knowing and it takes time to be able to witness this, and remove the blocks from years of experience and pent up fears that guard us from being our true selves.

Naturally, a psychic is clairvoyant (see), claircognizant (know), clairsentience (feel) and clairaudient (hear). When you're starting to develop your intuition, you may notice that you are stronger in one or the other, over time they will all develop equally.

2. What's A Session Like?

The psychic reading sessions are 60mins long. They are hosted over skype/zoom/facetime. 

I always prepare with a deep meditation prior to the session. During my meditation, I receive signs, symbols, messages, and I can feel into aura as to where there may be energetic blocks in your body. 

During the session, I will discuss the messages that have come up for you to know. It's important that what is coming up in that session is all you need to know in that moment. Sometimes we're not meant to know everything, and that is the divine universe in it's making. We must give up the need to control and instead witness. 

I will read your aura, and describe an analysis of it. We will go over any questions you may have. I am merely a reflection of you, and mirroring back the answers you have within.

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3. Should I prepare ahead of time?

It's not necessary to plan ahead of time, like I mentioned, what is meant to be brought up in the session will be brought up.

If you have certain questions and would like to focus on a topic, I'm more than happy to spend time on that, because you have identified that as a need.

4. Should I record the session?

I do not record the sessions for you, however you're more than welcome to record them for yourself.

I have done this in the past and funny enough, I have never listened to my recordings myself. 

I encourage you to let go, and just be present, when we enter into a divine state of being, we're not always suppose to remember everything, that is part of the human experience. 

5. Who do you connect with?

I connect with the universe, spirit, guides, ancestors, and animals to provide a clear channel, and message for you. 

Just like you, and I, the universe is made up of matter and energy, we provide identities to the energies that we work with to help connect. However, it is a higher source of energy, in common, that we are connecting with.

6. Does it mean it's going to happen?

No, I strictly stay away from "fortune telling" because If we are not aware of our minds, we can easily attach to whatever is said in the session and take it as the truth. We are always in control of our own destiny, and you, at any time, have the free will to choose the path you walk down.

I am merely showing you examples of what "could happen". I stay away from "fortune telling" and instead create the space for you to learn how to listen to your own intuition, and lead with our hearts - for we always have the answer. I coach you on how to find that answer within yourselves. Fortune telling aspects come out during our sessions, but in a more softer approach.

7. Is 1 session enough?

That's the question for you to decide. I have been working with intuitive/psychic coaches for the past 2 years on a weekly basis, and it has changed my life for the best. Ultimately, we are all on our own journey, and 1 may be enough or you may choose ongoing coaching.

8. Why do I feel different after the session?

During our sessions, I am uplifting your vibration to a higher frequency than it's use to being. You may get really hot and really cold during the session - that is normal. I suggest keeping a full glass of water near you to stay hydrated and grounded.

I've had clients who need to nap afterward - don't be alarmed, that is how our minds process information, that is how we can receive the divine download of what just happened.

Until you get use to working with a psychic and uplifting your vibrational frequency, you may feel extremely light, or light headed, and I recommend just taking it easy. Most of the time, we don't get these symptoms unless we've removed a very large block in our auric beings.

9. What does ongoing coaching look like?

Working with an intuitive coach on a monthly or annual basis, is like knowing that that person is ALWAYS there, who has your back, your best interest no matter what happens. 

It's the coaches duty to hold you accountable, while chasing your dreams and achieving your accomplishments and living a full life. If you're considering working with a coach, reach out to me and I can share more information. We typically meet weekly for an hour.

Do not let money hold you back from working with a coach, money is energy and made up of matter and water just like you and I. We can attract money and spend money and there is never a lack of it. If you're looking to feel more abundant, contact me and we can put this into your coaching program.

10. How can I develop my own intuition?

If you're looking to work with me or a coach, we can teach you how to listen to your heart and your intuition.

If you're looking to build your intuition on your own, continue listening, I recommend meditation, and sitting with what comes up. Journalling every morning is a great way to reflect back what your subconscious is processing. 

Playing with tarot and practicing visualizing the card before you flip it over is a powerful way to connect with the energy of a being.

There are many other ways to develop your intuition too, contact me if you're interested!

Tori Swanson
The Power Of Law Of Attraction
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Flow is a concept that we're not always aware of. It has taken me years to understand what it means to "be in flow". Flow is something that we all experience naturally as human beings, yet we place some hard ass limitations on actually allowing ourselves to experience it fully.

What does that mean?

Let me break this down;

Remember that feeling when you're on vacation, and everything seems to be going right. The sun is shining, you're with your soul mates, and you're cruising around, maybe having a beer at a local bar or walking along the shoreline, in disbelief that you made this happen. That's flow.

- Maybe it's showing up for you in different ways.

- Maybe you're day dreaming about a change in your profession and you happen to receive a phone call that day from a friend who found the perfect job for you, with a higher paying salary in the exact field you're looking for and you just know you're going to get that job.

- That's flow.

Part of our human experience on earth is to change our belief about what we can and can't have. It's your human right to get what you want - "ask and it's given".

Based on the way we were conditioned, we can create "limitations" on what we think is possible which is a consequence of us believing what we were told, observed, or experienced growing up. Therefore we trudge through life thinking that we can only make an income through our salary, or we can only take 2 weeks vacation a year, or that it's impossible to get over a trauma that we're holding onto for the rest of our lives. These beliefs are not true.

What if I told you, that you can manifest anything you want in this life, and that you are the creator of your destiny. You hold the power to bring in that job, that house, that quiet neighbour, that life partner, and that vacation you've been dying to take for a few years now. It's all possible.

 

We are made of the same matter as the universe, as the money that is sitting in your bank account or pay cheque you're dreaming of, as this computer I'm writing this blog post on, and of the plants and ocean on earth. If the moon affects the tides, and human beings are made of 60-65% of water, explain to me how that doesn't affect our moods and psyche.

These limitations we place on ourselves are toxic. We sometimes question why we want to manifest certain things in our lives, or why we are drawn to certain activities, in my case being an artist. Why can't we make a million dollars a year? Because we were told you have to work super hard, you have to be lucky, or win the lottery - that the cards are just not dealt in your favour. It's wrong, I'm telling you this is all wrong.

MIRACLES DO EXIST, PEOPLE CURE THEMSELVES FROM CANCER, BEAR CHILDREN WHEN THEY WERE TOLD THEY WERE INFERTILE AND MOVE FROM RAGS TO RICHES.

 

My coach has taught me that it's not about the effect of having what you want, like $50,000.00, cash in my bank account, it's about the feeling it gives you. That's why we get excited about certain things in our lives. I get excited about elevating other people to high frequencies and living an amazing life through my art, through teaching, and coaching. I get really excited about having a lot of money in my bank account because it allows me to be generous with my money, treat my loved ones, go on adventures and live with security and freedom at the same time.

Let yourself really feel the effect of what "having that certain something" will give you. Connect to that feeling rather than the thing. That's when the manifestation starts to happen.

So, when we talk about day dreaming - do it, get really into the feeling of what it would be like to travel the world for a year, without any worry about money. Seep into the feeling of what it would be like to quit your white collar job for something unpredictable or quit your blue collar job because you know you can get that high paying job that everyone tells you is unrealistic.

Anyone who tries to tell you that it cannot be achieved is simply mirroring back to you, your doubts. Thank them for showing you where you have an opportunity to connect and build a stronger manifestation. This is the process of you mastering the law of attraction.

Doing the work may not always feel easy, in fact you may get bogged down by the hardship of it and want to quit. I'm telling you that it's your perspective and old behaviour we were taught growing up - totally fearful. Get excited about the possibilities that start to reveal themselves to you. Get present in your life and observe the opportunities, the people who are showing up to tell you it's happening.

 

These past few weeks Sam and I moved to Tofino for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we wanted to become bad ass surfers, and secondly, to really push forward this live/work remote and travel the world together. This is the life we want to live. Part of this law of attraction is to start living it now, even if you feel like you can't. Prove to yourself you can and you will instantly start to attract more of it into your life.

So, I spent the last few weeks in incredible pain and fear. I have a deep fear of the ocean that I'm willing to change. I was scared of the big waves crashing on me, getting engulfed into the sea with a deep fear of drowning. Having realized that this is a past life fear and experience. I really wanted to face this fear. I decided to see the ocean as a pool of healing powers, the great divine that is here to teach me how to surrender and allow myself to fully heal. As soon as I changed my perspective, so did my surf.

 

I'm telling you guys, there is no better feeling than catching a wave, and dropping in and surfing to shore... then doing it over and over again. Gliding on butter, is what Sam and I describe the feeling of sailing over a wave. Falling into a cushion of sea water and allowing the experience to just soak into my being. I am alive, and every wave I roll over reminds me that, that is flow. The tides are flowing. Being up there on my long board and doing something I didn't think I could do, and being picky about the waves I'm hitting is just the best feeling in the world. That's flow.

This came at a price. I committed, day after day, sometimes twice a day, through the pain in my arms from paddling, to the pain in my ego of being totally shit at surfing and being okay with wiping out in the shallow end until I was confident enough to get past the break. It only took a 10 days to feel like a badass out there.

  

Committing to what you want will come with it's ups and downs. It's the way you choose to see the ebb and the flow that will impact your manifestation. If you see the falls as a loss, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to see where you have room for growth, well it will be harder to level up. Seeing the falls as an opportunity to laugh and get back out there comes with time and trust. Sometimes you need to take a break and get back out there. When you feel that flow, when you've finally caught your first wave, or even just a small taste like surfing the white water gives you the trust, and that little taste of what's to come - get back out there. I believe in you.

WE'RE HEADING HOME TODAY, HEARTS FULL OF SEA WATER AND SUNSHINE, AND BACK INTO THE CITY. WE WON'T BE HOME FOR LONG, OUR HEARTS ARE ALREADY MANIFESTING OUR NEXT ADVENTURE. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE PLACES YOU'LL GO TOO.

xoxox Tori

Tori Swanson
A Letter To Myself
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Following your dreams takes SO much grit.

We need contrast to express light. It's part of the human experience.

I feel like I'm walking the plank. The ocean waves rolling beneath my feet. I can only see the horizon, and at least it's bright. I smell sea salt. If I spit my tongue out I can taste it. It feels so close. I look around me and I see my enemies waiting for me to fail, to fall face first into the ocean with my arms tied behind my back ready to drown to death.

The enemy is me.

I'm on a teeter totter. It's fucking hard. The only thing stopping me from achieving this is me. The only person who can achieve the dream, is me. I am the powerhouse, it's on me, nobody else. One flick and you're done, and fuck it, so am I. I can blow this shit up and destroy it, if I let myself.

 

I can create a long list of reasons why I need to quit today, because I've drained my savings and I'm in debt. Because of this ancestral lineage of beliefs. Because I'm afraid of being seen. Because I am afraid of failure, so if I just failed myself, then it's already done and nobody can do anything to stop me.

 IT'S SUPER EASY TO TALK ABOUT THE REASONS WHY I NEED TO QUIT NOW. THE ONLY THING STOPPING ME IS MY DESIRE, MY INNER FIRE, THAT'S COMPLETELY INEXPLICABLE AS TO WHY I WANT TO SHARE MY WORK AND TO BE AN ARTIST. THERE'S NOTHING ELSE IN THIS LIFETIME THAT I WOULD RATHER DO. I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU, I THINK ABOUT QUITTING OFTEN.

something stops me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

I'd rather starve, wear the same clothes everyday, and barely make rent if it means spending this life doing what I want and expressing what I feel like I was born to do. I can't imagine being stagnant, working at an office job for someone else, pitching, selling, and living someone else's dreams. What a way to sell myself.

I want to paint my feelings, I want to go deep, and let my heart unleash my darkness to bring light to this life and to yours.

 

I would say most people see me as a positive person, but I'm darker than I can even imagine in there. Cobwebs, spiders, bats, a never ending pit of fear. Years of built up turmoil that have crushed my soul. The way I've spoken to myself in front of the mirror. I'm not enough, I'll never be enough, and there's the whole thing of wishing I were someone else, born into a more fortunate position.

 I can play into that victim archetype, oh yeah, I play it well. 

I take a second to think further on this topic and what I find fascinating, is that the person who I want to be is me. Yet, I'm so afraid to become that person.

You know, the people you idolize the most have a piece of you in them, and you have a piece of them in your soul too. There really isn't anything keeping you apart or achieving what they have achieved. We're all made of star dust. Their success is your success. I imagine myself in the studio alongside the artists whom I admire deeply. Jamming. Helping each other and giving each other enough space and privacy to go there. To share the contrast in an inspiring way that makes me want to do it again, again, and again.

THE TEARS I SHED YESTERDAY, WAS LETTING THAT LOW HANGING FRUIT TAKE OVER WHO I AM. THE TEARS I CRUSHED LATER THAT EVENING, WAS THE SAME. WE ARE OUR OWN BEST FRIEND AND OUR OWN WORST ENEMY - I KNOW HOW TO HURT MYSELF WELL. BRUISES, BUMPS, SCRATCHES AND DEEP CUTS.

my fingers shake as I write this letter to myself. Choosing to think otherwise doesn't always feel like an option. Besides, it feels fucking good to sulk, to be down on me because it's comfortable, and it's all I've ever known. 

So, being positive, optimistic, and to expect the best feels icky. We're not allowed to think that because we've all been told at some point in our lives it's completely unattainable. Play small Tori, be small.

I refuse to be small. I know there's more to this life than the one I let myself play into. I know that not everyone is going to believe in me. I know that the energy, the outlook, and the way I hold myself will be how other people see me. Break through that old energy Tori, be bold, work through the yuckiness - you've done this before.

  

When I was recovering from my eating disorder, I had to choose to live or die. Looking back it was a no brainer, but it was so hard to choose to allow myself to experience pleasure. It was excruciating.

Why?

BECAUSE I ALLOWED IT TO BE. IT WAS SO HARD TO LET MYSELF ENJOY FOOD, PEOPLE, CONNECTION, EXPERIENCES, AND LOVE. BEING UNLOVABLE WAS MY THING SO I ATTRACTED MEN INTO MY LIFE WHO WALKED ALL OVER ME. WHO CAUGHT MY HEART AND STOMPED ON IT. I BROUGHT IN FAILURE OVER AND OVER AGAIN - I'M SURE YOU'VE ALL EXPERIENCED THIS TOO. 

So what's changing? I'm putting in the work, whether this costs me an arm and a leg in USD, my ego, and my dark side which I forever promise to give that up.

Dear Universe, this is what I'm bringing into my life.

  

TORI'S MANIFESTATION LIST:

I want this so badly it feels amazing in my body.

I want to work with the best, most vulnerable, and loving clients.  They look high and low for my artwork. They want to work with me so badly that they will pay anything. They are abundant, prosperous and rich. The experience of being seen, vulnerable, and drawn nude changes their lives forever.

They want to do the experience again and again as they change and move through different experiences in their lives. Their artwork takes on different shapes, sizes, colours.

MY art show is incredibly successful. The show coming up in June is all about being, moving through shit. It’s called ontology. The vehicle of expression allows people to feel what they experience from the paintings and in their own personal vehicle, they change too. The show is so successful that the artwork sells out within 1 hour. All the canvases sell first for 1800$+ each. I make $20,000.00 at this show. My illustrations sell like hotcakes. Nothing is priced less than $500.00

The show is so successful, art galleries in Vancouver, LA, New York, Mexico want to host my artwork. Because of the show being so successful, I host another one in the fall. I host one in LA in March, I host another one in NYC in October of the following year and in December in Mexico.

My artwork is colourful, vibrant, and contrasting. It makes you stop and think about what the piece is about. It brings out a different expression in others. Everyone sees a different story which inspires me deeply.

Every month I get a MASSIVE commission, at least $6,000.00+ Starting in May.

On top of the commission, I’m selling pieces , and I make $2,000.00 in sales a month.

I make $5,000.00 in private portraits a month too.

I am booked 3 months in advanced for portraits, I am booked 6-12 months in advanced for commission pieces.

My art exhibits are booked 3months - 1 year in advanced.

I am feeling free, happy, powerful, confident, calm, relaxed, expressed, loved, beautiful.

My relationship with my man is ever growing. We grow so close and strongly together. We have a lot of patience for each other. We love each other so deeply. We care about each other a lot. We are level headed, we don’t take things personally. We like to travel together. We make quality time for each other daily.

Tori Swanson
This is What India Taught Me

It's been my dream to travel to India. I managed to convince Sam to book an impromptu flight to Bombay before we planned to arrive in Dubai. We only had enough time for a couple of nights in Mumbai.

I'll definitely be back, and next time to explore the northern side of Indian and dive deeper into their culture

The moment we woke up in our hotel room I couldn't wait to hit the streets and explore. After we found the best organic, vegan breakfast (I know it's not Indian but I needed something fresh) we walked around Kala Ghoda and grabbed a taxi to the Chor Bazaar.

The Chor Bazaar is definitely touristy, yet it gives a better taste and idea of the reality of the city as oppose to the nice area of Marine Drive. The Chor Bazaar houses all levels of poverty. The houses and the streets are littered, and the narrow winding roads of the Bazaar are filled with antiques, old Bollywood posters, tools, clothing and more.

Sam and I definitely found treasures in the bazaar. An owner from one of the antique shops lead me down a very narrow hallway, which was packed from floor to ceiling of antiques from 100s of years ago. I felt like the building was going to collapse on me, it was very claustrophobic. I fell in love with two kama sutra the paintings I found in the very back of the building. Apparently, the owner purchased a trunk from an auction and discovered the paintings in the trunk that use to belong to a prince of India some time ago. Sam and I also purchased a few antique 1940s Bollywood posters to hang in our house. I was enthralled with the beauty of the market.

The first day opened my eyes to something more than beautiful things and food. I felt myself getting sucked into the depths of India, and wanting to expose a hardness about the people who walk along the streets beside me. They stare so intently at you, it's like being felt up emotionally. Being an intuitive in a busy place, I found myself susceptible to their energy and taking it on.

I got lost in victim energy which seemed to sky rocket from the streets. The class system really is  heavily in play in India. I found that some individuals carried the burden of past life karmic debt and therefore "deserve" the life they have now. The poverty runs deep, and the luxury flashes brightly. Mumbai is this beautiful complicated mix that I'll never fully understand. 

 

 

 

A few things I learned in Mumbai:

SURRENDER. Walking home from the Chor Bazaar, I felt myself a bit on edge. I was swimming with this heavy energy. I had to take a second and surrender. The stares, the smells, the sickness, the poverty, and yet the beauty in having contrast so brightly shined in your face. Surrender was the only thing I could do. As soon as I decided to give into India. I was more comfortable and calm, and confident walking through the different classes.

 

LOVE LIGHTS THE WAY. The beauty isn't always easy to find, trust and love. It's just as in your face as the garbage on the streets, the poverty and overload to your sense. There's so much beauty around the faded bright coloured walls that are surrounded by unkept sidewalks and garbage. The goats and cows that roam freely on the streets because animals are treated the same way people are. The food, oh the food. Made with love, history, culture, and home picked spices - it's incredible! After getting past the hard exterior, the people are just so warm and loving. The beautiful architecture that was created while under colonization of the UK and the dirt, plants and laundry that hang over the crown moldings now, means it's been well lived in by families and generations. It's been a shelter and home. The way Indians speak about independence day and how greatly it had influenced their artwork, architecture, and overall being and sense of pride and freedom is that glimmer or sparkle in the eye of a person you love.

 

The Colaba Market was filled with animals with Bindi's for Holie

 

 

EVERYTHING YOU ASSUME ABOUT INDIA IS PROVEN OTHERWISE. My first few days I felt that victim archetype, I felt the deep stares and I definitely noticed the hardship. Everything is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. I am no different than the children in the slums, or the parents who work 24/7 to feed their family. I am no different than the women wearing traditional saris. I had to surrender to India, and surrender to my own beliefs about myself and give into it.

 

Lots of street art in Bombay.

 

Stumbling through alleys, completely enamoured at the depth of the neighbourhoods and architecture.

INDIA IS LIFE CHANGING. We spent most of our time in the southern half of Mumbai. We enjoyed walking around the neighbourhoods and stumbling upon bazaars and slums. Anytime I entered a poor area, I could feel my body tense up and my senses were on high alert. I had to conicously recollect myself and realize, I'm okay. I envisioned the whole neighbourhood light up in glissenting white light and the tension eroded from my shoulders, my third eye relaxed and I was able to be still in a husstling neighbourhood where you literally share every step with someone else because it's too damn crowded. 

INDIA IS STILL LIFE CHANGING CONT'D. To see the smile in the eyes of the children running around and their parents sitting outside their homes laughing, sharing street food, and wearing those unbelievable colours could only put a smile on the faces of Sam and I, especially since it was Holi Festival. Mumbai doesn't celebrate it as much as they do in the northern part of India, however we still had a taste of it. The traditions are kept well. The evening before the festival, the communities build hay stacks of statues on the streets and watch it burn while they pray and celebrate it with their neighbours. It was so beautiful to witness. The next day, the streets are completely empty. I've never seen anything like it. It was so eerie, mysterious, yet calming and soothing at the same time. I'm fascinated that a city the size of Mumbai, with over 22million people could disappear within an instant.

 

Holi Festival 2018

 

Markets selling Holi paint

 

 

PRESENCE. The most important thing I got to witness in India was the presence within each individual. I got to finally look past the hardship within the eyes of some of the men and discover the love they carry. Men hold hands with each other, they're touchy, I even saw them clean each other's ears. There is no judgement, just fascination on my part. Imagine if the whole world adopted this way of being, instead of trying to one up each other? Imagine if the men in Europe and North America held hands, as a symbol of "I'm looking out for you". Imagine, if there were no gender constructs and men could tap into that divine feminine and make it okay like we have with women.

FREEDOM. The women have inspired me deeply as well. Their traditional sari's are stunning. Neon, bright, light colours seem to light the way through the busy town of Bombay. I couldn't help but notice it more as a uniform. At first, my interpretation was fixed and obsessing over the fact that they HAVE to wear it. Like the women in Dubai, foremost a muslim city, I see a lot of the traditional outfits on women, except here they're all black and In India they're every single colour of the rainbow. No matter what your size is, they're all wear crop tops with their skirts and sari's. It's beautiful, it really highlights the womb, reproduction, and femininity.

 

India, I love you.

xox Tori

Tori Swanson
What You Don't Always Notice About Sri Lanka

It's been almost a week since we first landed in Sri Lanka. To be honest, I never really had a desire to travel here until I set foot in Colombo. I've always been more drawn to India, per say (which is our next stop, to celebrate Holi in Mumbai). Sri Lanka has totally exceeded my expectations and brought a whole new wave of inspiration and insight. This country is extremely enlightened and the people put a smile on my face everyday. 

I WROTE A RECENT INSTAGRAM POST ABOUT WITNESSING THREE SRI LANKAN MEN BATHE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN. THEY WORE THEIR TOWELS LIKE SARONGS, AND WASHED EACH OTHERS CLOTHES AS A GROUP. SMILES WERE SPREAD ACROSS THEIR FACE LIKE PEANUT BUTTER ON TOAST.  THE PERMANENCE OF THAT MOMENT, AND THE FULLNESS OF LOVE THEY EXPRESSED TOUCHED ME PROFOUNDLY. 

 

I sat their writing in my journal, trying not to be a creep, and they caught me, smiled and waved and continued on with what they were doing. Amazed at the simplicity of the moment, they didn't care that a woman watched, they were enjoying each other's company in the heat of the day.

There's something about that that brings tears to my eyes. Being so present with that moment, and feeling the love they emitted affected me. They were incredibly enlightened and living the divine. 

 

 

I've mentioned a few times on Instagram how the men carry a sense of femininity - and I mean this in the best way. They're emotive, present, and vulnerable with each other and foreigners like myself. All I see are smiles for days, incredible politeness and a general curiosity that isn't invasive. They care but they don't care at the same time, if that makes sense.

This is what I want to catalyze at home. Yes, my work as predominantly focused on women and I'm changing that. I want to work with men, women, and gender-fluid/trans individuals. It's not about living into gender ideals and what we perceive society has reinforced. It's about tuning into the different energies we all carry. All genders/non-gender binary individuals carry masculine and feminine energy. 

 

This whole wave of women empowerment is definitely something I support. However, what I find to be the truth is to encourage everyone, non-exclusively, to tap into that feminine energy. That feminine energy allows us to be empathetic, lovers, care-givers, and powerful individuals who do not judge others for the sake of what they look like, who they should be, how they should act based on what they were born with.

That being said, is also the source of the divine masculine. Knowing when to tap into the masculine energy of tenacity, power, strength, motivation and creativity is how we can find that perfect equilibrium. That equilibrium is part of being enlightened and connected to the divine.

That equilibrium that we're constantly in search for is exactly what I've found here, in Sri Lanka. Being your unapologetic self, following your heart even if it means disappointing others. Being real and vulnerable with what your heart desires and going after it. Detach yourself from what others might think of you, because you're living this life for you, not for anyone else. Practice seeing others in their divine light. When someone is angry with you, or you feel their anger, it's a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself, not them. They're simply lighting it up in neon lights as an opportunity to work through it and grow.

 

The loud noises, smells, clashing of bright colour walls, chaotic street markets and stores that make no literal sense to us Canadians, because as hard as we try we just don't understand what it's like to live here. The generosity, presence, and love that is given to you here by the locals. The honks from the tuk tuks every time their pass someone on the street, the scary driving, the laughter and most of all the smiles - no matter if it's monsoon-ing or shining bright. This is what is inspiring my work.

Being able to witness moving moments on the daily isn't something we wouldn't necessarily see in Vancouver, reminds me of the work I do and the importance of encouraging this way of being. I'm so thankful I was brought to Sri Lanka to experience this and to share with my artwork.

xoxo Tori

Tori Swanson
Sawadee Ka Bangkok

 

 

Exploring new alleyways in Bangkok.

The moment Sam and I stepped outside the airport we both had a massive sigh of relief. We looked at each other with knowing smiles. We felt the same thing. 

Our drive to the Airbnb in Bang Rak was filled with giggles, smiles, and exchanges of stories of Asia. Some of our favourite stories included the chaos and yet this system behind the curtain that somehow makes sense.

This trip feels particularly special to me, because I get to spend it with Sam, who grew up in Malaysia and South East Asia for 15 years. He's spent the majority of his life here, so to him, this feels like coming home.

For me, well, I was here 6 years ago with my best friends and sister. We were 20 years old, and still discovering ourselves. We backpacked around the typical loop of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines for about 3 months in 2012, on a shoe string. Exploring the highlights of Asia is a little different when you have more than a $1 budget set aside for dinner each night.

Coming back to Asia, was like going back to New York for the first time. I'm a completely different person, same stomping ground, but more grounded with a clear idea of who I am and what I want. Just like New York, South East Asia was the tipping point of my eating disorder. This is where it started to spiral out of control -  to the point where I literally alienated myself from my tribe. Locking myself in my room in the Thai islands, depressed, heart broken, and couldn't bring myself out of the slum that not only ruined the end of my trip but my tribe whom I was backpacking with. Nevertheless, I have countless of amazing memories which we look back upon fondly. 

Isn't it funny how the good memories always seems to out weigh the bad?

 

Sam waiting for the royal family in Chinatown for Chinese New Year in Bangkok

So the minute I stepped outside of the airport and smelled that juicy wave of warm garbage I knew I was home (warm garbage has become a nostalgic because wherever I am, it reminds me of Bangkok and it makes me smile). Tears welled in my eyes because I missed my girl tribe and those moments yet overjoyed to share this new experience with my boyfriend.

I can't pinpoint this feeling; and I'm sure you can relate. There are places in the world which we cannot even begin to describe our energetic pull towards these places which we interpret as magical. Places that just seem to get us, without trying. Nothing feels like home, until you've been there. Sometimes this means we've spent pass lives in these places, sometimes it's just places we have visited and grew a lot as an individual in that country. Thailand specifically is like an old friend with a warm blanket who was expecting my return that only 'took long enough'.

Sometimes we feel so energetically drawn to certain places which we have never visited before. I personally have a strong pull to go to Egypt and Jerusalem. I'll eventually get there, when the time is right. Pay close attention to those places - it's not always a coincidence why we we want to go there and experience life outside of what we know.

Bangkok is only meant to be our layover hub, and we're rethinking how much time we're going to spend here. Our plan is to head to Sri Lanka, and come back to South East Asia for a bit before heading over to Mexico and Colombia, maybe Brazil. We'll be gone for a total of 6 weeks.

 

Picking Up Changs from the local 711 stores walking around with Sam's old friends from Kuala Lumpur.

Sam and I have decided to try out remote work/living. He's starting a new job when he returns, and I'm bringing my artwork on the road.

I HAD A LOT OF DOUBTS LEAVING VANCOUVER TO PURSUE THIS DREAM AKA THIS TEST RUN. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT DOING THIS SINCE WE MET 2.5 YEARS AGO, AND WE HAVE PLANS TO CONTINUE THIS FOREVER, MAYBE. 

The thoughts that cloud my vision is my focus on money. Having hired a coach to help me work through my old belief patterns and channel a positive law of attraction with finances, I'm starting to dig up some nasty conversations I've been having with myself in the closet, for far too long.

It's absolutely mind blowing the way we speak to ourselves, and the way we are programmed to naturally think negatively, without even knowing it. My biggest learning so far is that the Universe will answer your call. Doesn't matter what that call is - it could be I don't have enough of this or I'm fearful of that - it'll answer that call.

 

Now don't get hasty. It's simply observing our thought patterns and rewiring the way we think and speak and project. Being aware of the thoughts our ego jumps to for satisfaction and comfort in times of feeling out of the box.

So, mine starts with money. I'm allowing myself to be abundant, and be worthy of wealth. We are all beings of the divine and it's our natural right to be wealthy and pursue our desires. You can have it all, and yet we are told we cannot, or that's what we tell ourselves.

What do you think?  Can have what we truly and deeply desire, including being wealthy? Are you afraid it's coming off as greedy?

You're not greedy, and Money is just energy.

Now it's easy for me to preach this over a blog post, and it's taken me a month to even start to overcome some hurdles. One of those hurdles is actually trusting that the universe will take care of me, allow me to travel, work, and save altogether. 

 

The line ups were huge for Chinese New Year

I FIND MYSELF SPIRALLING DOWN, WHAT REALLY HELPS ME IS A TRICK MY COACH TAUGHT ME. ALL I NEED TO REMEMBER IN THOSE MOMENTS ARE TO SLOW IT DOWN, LOOK AT MY FEET AND GROUND MYSELF. LOOK AT THE WAY MY FEET ARE PLANTED ON THE FLOOR - NATURALLY I AM GROUNDED.

If this doesn't catch me, I open my arms and open my heart and say "I trust the universe" and feel as though I'm falling into the Universe's arms in a warm hug. I also take a few deep breaths and repeat my mantras to myself, I am abundant, I am worthy, I am the divine (the divine being source, universe, god, whatever your beliefs are).

We are such privileged beings and our minds are so powerful and yet we let them in the way of what our hearts seek. Trust your initial instincts and what you want/want to accomplish - it's your divine right and purpose. You did not create them, they were yours before you were brought onto this earth.

xox Tori

- writing you from Bangkok.

Tori Swanson
#Timesup & #Metoo
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So I'm a little late to the game, having JUST watched Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes. I was brought to tears with how much power radiated from her being on stage as she accepted the award. 

We are so fortunate to grow up during moments like these. Where we can witness anywhere from public figures to local communities to individuals we call our family or friends that stand up and fight for equality, for justice, even for a single breath of air.

I feel so strongly about this movement. Seeing a matriarchy rise and teach us what it looks like to be in power by simply embracing who we are.

I'm sitting here, in my bed, with tears welling in my eyes because I feel a passion ignite inside of me. 

What really spoke to me during that speech was when Oprah announced that "speaking your truth is the most important power we can harness". 

I got shivers up and down my spine and the waterworks flushed open like a tap. 

I'm sure you can all agree that there have been countless moments our lives where you didn't feel like speaking your truth was an option. In that moment, it felt that speaking your truth meant a form of weakness and being your truth was somebody who you did not want to be or nobody would believe you.

I've been there, my eating disorder sent me further away from the truth, in fact it sent me running away to different corners of the globe experiencing trauma after trauma all by myself. I was so far removed I could not tune into the red flags or "coincidences" spirit was trying to send me. 

We should never be ashamed for who we are or what we've done. We've been brought on this planet to be us. All those quirks and moments that you may consider a "mistake" are what makes you, uniquely you. You each serve a purpose on this planet, and whether or not you feel clear on what that purpose is, you can confidently rest assure that part of that purpose is being your truth and trusting yourself.

Our experiences are different but share the same "moral of the story", my body shame kept me on a path to death. Can you believe it, I hated the way I looked, and the person I was inside that I starved myself onto a path of death. From the outside, it was easy to judge and assume I was being selfish and vain. The root of the disease is far from that, it was about fear and depression. No matter what your situation is or how many times you tell yourself it sounds incredibly stupid and selfish, but when you're deep in that trauma, you have no idea how you got there or why you're even there. For anyone who is deeply experiencing a situation like this, you must speak up and seek help. 

 

I typically see a pattern - when we're that far down, it's because we're afraid of our own power, which by the way is tremendous.

Oprah also spoke to the #MeToo movement and I was called to share my experience with sexual harassment in the work place.

I was deeply struggling with my eating disorder, I was too quiet to raise my hand in class and I was definitely not participating in brainstorming or presentations at work. I kept to myself, I didn't ask for help, I just wanted to blend in with the background. I was in New York, and there was an older gentleman in the office who paid closer attention to me. I thought I was being brought under his wing, until he completely embarrassed me in front of a room filled with male executives. He then made a pass, about how he can't believe a girl like me studying fashion in a place like this. 

I kept my composure, and when I had a moment, I snuck off to the bathroom, let myself cry and fixed my makeup and returned to my desk. The following day, the same team (including that man who embarrassed me) went out to the Far Rockaways to hand out gloves, mittens, food to the communities who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. We were about to leave, and this man suggested we take the same car back into Manhattan. I jumped in the car and he started asking me questions about what I was doing this weekend. I shared that I was going out to grab drinks with my girlfriends when he blatantly asked me to call him at 3 am because his wife was out of town.

I can remember how fucked up that felt. I was so confused, and I hate to admit this but part of me enjoyed his attempted pass on me. I was so desperate for affection, attention and to be noticed that an older, seemingly attractive and well off gentleman was interested in me. 

How could I forget that embarrassment that left me feeling like a dud in front of a room full of male executives earlier that day. How did I not report this to HR? 

I DIDN'T SPEAK MY TRUTH. THIS IS ONLY ONE EXAMPLE OF A LIFE FULL OF INEXPLICABLE BEHAVIOUR THAT HAS MOST DEFINITELY AFFECTED ME. 

From what it looks like, almost everyone of you women have had an experience similar to this. 

It's our job to speak up, to be strong, powerful beings. If I could go back in time, I would've told 20 year old Tori to speak up and tell him exactly what was on her mind, and go straight to HR for justice. 

I am forever inspired by each and everyone of you who confidently shares their life experiences to help other women and to encourage the rest of us to do the same. It's so humbling.

 

Part of the reason why I am committed to my craft is because it allows me to create a channel for women to reclaim their power. They get to step into themselves. They stop running away for 30mins, they get to face what is exactly on their mind and our so called demons. I get to hold space for you to grow immensely in just a single sitting. These portraits I offer you are a chance for you to get rooted and connected to your purpose.

For me, I get to witness this almost daily. It's a breath of fresh air, it's life changing and seeing the long term effects solidify what it is and why spirit and the universe continue give me opportunities like this to inspire more women and men day to day.

Just like you I've been in your shoes. I've had my nude portrait done and it was the most liberating feeling I ever experienced. It's because I was finally in a position where I had to embrace myself. I had to stop running. Yep, the waterworks came on full steam ahead, but in that moment of sitting with my truth - enabled me to quit my job and pursue this full time and create the space for other women to experience the same break through in their lives. I can't wait to see what you will create and the masterpieces you will accomplish with reclaiming your power

xoxo Tori

Tori Swanson
My 10 Year, Vision & Goals
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Have you had a chance to start goal setting? I took a minute today to write out my 10 year vision:

It’s November, 2028. I wake up to my husband, Sam, who has rolled over and snuggled me in his arms. I look at the clock, and I'm wide awake after a restful sleep. It’s 7 in the morning. I kiss my husband on the nose. He is fast asleep and I don’t want to wake him up. I slide out of my California king size bed and fresh linen sheets. I open up the huge curtains in our master bedroom to a pane glass wall that hosts the view of the ocean. It’s a calm morning. To the left hand side, I see mountains. I like to lose myself in nature often, whether that’s backpacking trips with my girlfriends, camping with the kids on weekends, or take our 3 dogs for a run through our favourite loop.

The ocean brings calmness and serenity into our daily lives and reminds us of the ebbs and flows of life. We surrender to the knowing that we are not in control. It’s a beautiful vortex I get to witness daily. The ocean washes our worries away and creates a safe haven for my family to live.

I put on my exercise gear and head downstairs before anyone wakes up. Alas, as soon as I’m about to head downstairs to the main part of the house Sam wakes up and asks to join me. While I wait for Sam, I start to soak the almonds for a fresh almond milk latte for when we return.

My kitchen is the focal point of the house, it’s a beautiful mix of west coast design, exposed wood, concrete and mid century modern furniture. The living room is sunken in with a big fireplace. The kitchen overlooks the ocean. My appliances are top of the line design with  a BIG island for our epic dinner parties and kiddos play with arts and crafts.

Sam and I step out of the door and onto our deck, we’re deciding whether to surf, run, hike or ride.

I suggest hitting the mountains for a bike ride.

So, we hop on our bikes and ride to the forest, it isn’t close by, it’s probably 30 mins out. We ride for about 2 hours total, getting lost in the trails, enjoying the downhill and uphill climbs together.

I love biking, it’s one of many favourite past time activities. Since winter is approaching this will be one of our last rides for a few months.

Sam and I exercise together. Our lives are centred around leading an active lifestyle rather than forcing ourselves to hit the gym or classes daily. Plus it allows us to connect on a deep level.

It’s also our form of meditation.

We return to the house half past 9am. My family is staying with us for a few weeks. Mom and Dad are in the kitchen making pancakes with our two girls and little boy. Sam and I shower together in our master suite which overlooks both the mountains and the ocean.

Sam and I built a studio in our backyard It’s a loft, and completely white with concrete floor and paint splatters everywhere. It’s my safe haven where I lock myself in there for hours. I’ll often use my studio space for my clients as well.

We head downstairs to vegan banana chocolate chip pancakes and fresh almond milk lattes, thanks for finishing it up dad.

We eat mostly plant-based in our home, and we make most things from scratch.

I’m soaking in this family time because I’m heading out for a few weeks on a business trip. I’ll be in the states soon, painting murals, and stopping at Art Basel Miami. My work is showing there for the 5th year in a row. My paintings and mix media pieces sell for $50k a piece. It’s the biggest money maker of the year for me. This year I’ve been asked to display 15 pieces in a single exhibit. I know my work will sell out within days. Sam will meet me in Miami with the family, and then we’re heading to Vancouver to spend a month with our families for Christmas. Sam will pack our ski gear because we’ll be heading to an epic mountain for touring, skiing, snow shoeing, cross country skiing with our entire family for New Years. It’s a tradition we started 5 years ago.

My artwork has taken many turns on the way. My focus is still the human body. My artwork is displayed internationally. I own apartments in New York City, and Vancouver which tend to be hubs for my work. I also spend a lot of time in Amsterdam and Mexico for my artwork. I typically travel an approx. 3 months of the year for my artwork, whether that be exhibits, commissioned portraits, or murals.

I have started an intuitive emerging artist program, where I skype or meeting with my clients in person to help develop their art careers and introduce them to the right investors to catapult their careers forward. My spirituality and intuitive side is incorporated with my artwork. It’s where I connect to spirit. It’s also an offering I provide to individuals around the world. It’s so fulfilling.

I feel so connected to the divine, I have changed people’s lives long term, I am passionately in love with my soul mate, and my greatest accomplishment in life is being a good mother.

I am closer than ever to my family, they are my priority in this lifetime and my friends, my girl tribe who keep me sane. I give myself the space to attend 1 retreat a year, and I have ongoing coaching session with my mentors bi-weekly. Sam and I go on a backpacking adventure trip just the two of us for at least 2 weeks every year. The kids stay with their grandparents and spend quality time with them.

My sister is my best friend, and we prioritize annual adventures too.

I am currently writing a book about my artwork and the lives of the individuals I have changed. It will be a coffee table book that is the second part of my 2 part series. The first book launched in 2022. I signed a book deal with penguin random house for $36,000.00, this one is for $75,000.00.

So, the rest of the day is great, we head down to the beach and hang out with the kids, our neighbours pop by with their kids and we spend the day together.

We’re hosting a dinner party that night. Sam and I are cooking together. He’s in charge of the vibes, as he always is. I reflect back on our relationship. He has taught me more about myself and how to be a passionate and compassionate lover. I am so grateful. We have worked through many amazing and challenging moments in our lives that have brought us closer together. We support each other 100%.

The evening comes and we serve fresh, vegan food over candlelight on our deck, it’s a full moon and I always host dinner parties on full moons - it’s meant to be a bringing together of people we love. Whether or not my friends are spiritual they don’t even realize they’re attending a ritual. I love it. We play amazing music, the kids start dancing, the parents have too much wine and we connect our souls to creativity, love, and magic.

Tori Swanson
How I'm Learning To Live With My Shadow
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Two words: MERCURY. RETROGRADE.

Mercury hit me like a freight train this month:

- Unwanted bills, car malfunctions, miscommunication, taxes, the list goes on.

So there I was, sipping my coffee in Burnaby on a casual Wednesday morning waiting to have my car battery and oil changed. I was sitting in Whole Foods typing away sending emails and writing out a blog post I never got to publish. I reached over to grab a sip of my bitter coffee and boom - it spilt all over my computer. My computer did one of those weird glitches where the screen flashes white a few times and then completely shuts down. 

I've had my computer since 2012, and to be honest it was probably on its last leg (that ol' faithful). That moment brought up memories of all the clumsy times when I've dropped my iPhone on concrete and it's inexplicably fine. Yet, that one time I dropped it on a soft surface it breaks? So ya, I've spilt a lot of liquid on my computer in the past, dropped it, I've thrown it and it still worked. That 1 ounce of liquid I split caused massive trauma.

Naturally, I tried to get the computer fixed and I was bombarded with $700-1000+ quotes. I was faced with having to buy a new $2500 macbook and I thought to myself, what was the universe trying to tell me?!

This was the universe telling me I needed to take a step back. I've been pushing too much. I needed to just sit still in the comfort of not knowing what's next instead of trying to force something to happen.

Isn't that what being an entrepreneur is all about? Creating opportunities for yourself?

Didn't the universe know that sitting on my ass wasn't going to bring in my $1K cheque I needed to lock down by the end of this week, to pay my rent? 

"I don't care" - signed the Universe.

What I have finally realized is that, there needs to be a quality of tenderness and ease when creating opportunities for yourself. That's it, I wasn't channeling the divine feminine. I was letting my masculinity completely take over. I was out of balance.

So computer-less, and money-less I was left in the middle of the most expensive time of the year.

So I took the rest of the day off and I reconnected with what mattered. I picked up my paint brush and I wrote a letter to the universe:

 I needed another 1,000.00$ to just get by this Christmas.

I dropped it like a hot cake. There wasn't anything else I could do but to leave it alone.

It was like something took over, I wrote a letter to myself from the universe with exactly what I needed to hear. The universe told me to be easy on myself and celebrate my wins, no matter how big or small they are.

I was so in tune with the divine that I didn't expect my right hand to free flowingly write out two columns. The left hand side housed my "to-do" list and the right hand side spelled out "universe". The key with law of attraction is to write it down and then forget about it. It's like when you're brainstorming for ideas - walk away and leave it alone - and eventually the idea finally comes to you. It doesn't do you justice to over analyze how that $1k will appear - which it did by the way. 

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My New Routine:

Guys, I can't tell you how much this tactic has helped. Every morning before I get out of bed, I write 3 pages.

  • Don't let you hand stop writing and just spill everything that's coming out of you - it's your intuition and it's called automatic writing.
  • Do not read what you wrote.
  • When I'm finished writing what's on my mind, self criticism, what I need to get done today, I've officially opened by removing stifling blocks so I can be more creative and spiritually connected to the divine.
  • Optional: I write out my to-do list, and a list for the universe (what I need to manifest that day or week or month)

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This photo was taken by Wendy Shepard (@wendy.shep) at the Light Up Retreat In October, 2017 (http://chloescountertop.com/retreats/living-intuition-2017/)

I keep reliving the same epiphany, I was so use to my income from Hootsuite keeping me afloat month to month. I knew I'd always be okay, because I had a bimonthly income that could buy me out of my credit card debt, and my quarterly commission that could add to my savings. I had it all figured out and in a way that allowed my shadow to flourish - in bad way.

My spending habits were through the roof, frivolously shopping every single week, eating out an insane amount, and coffees - this was my everything. When I finally caught up with my bills over the last few months, I couldn't believe how much money I spent on coffees every single month - $250 which was equal to my grocery budget. On top of that I was also spending over $700 on drinks, and meals out.

My shadow had been illuminated. What was I doing? Spending my money and time away from home, keeping busy. My habits were keeping my life busy. My inner dialogue went spinning - Busy from what? Busy from actually just being in the moment and being with what I have and stillness with my shadow.

The transition to self employment has been a roller coaster for me. My high's are super high and I experience super low lows. It's like that fiery yet toxic relationship that you just can't seem to get enough of. That relationship is my relationship with my shadow. It's been illuminated for me to finally acknowledge. Because I have chosen this life path of artistry, spirituality and entrepreneurship - I have simultaneously chosen to live with my shadow, side by side, like another twin, for the rest of my life.

We as beings have many shadows. There's one shadow in particular that seems to be re-emerging. This one is a shadow of mine rarely surfaces. It's my shadow that lives within the depths of my soul. This shadow only blossoms when I'm really facing myself in full throttle - whether I know it or not.

Light cannot exist without darkness. Light illuminates the darkness and it brings it forward. We cannot shine as beings without having our shadows in the background, or foreground - it's a balancing act. 

What is my shadow? My shadow is fear of unworthiness, and momentum. Control is what I place in effort to keep it at bay. This is my trick I learned as a child, and also my crutch because this control lead me to having anorexia, bulimia, OCD and depression. When I come face to face with the unknown, especially situations I can't control (like what my income will look like for January). This shadow is the gateway to my filthy, dark self. It's no coincidence that December as been a hard month. I'm 2 months into my entrepreneurship and double whammed with the lead up to Christmas, which means parties, eating, and go go go. I've been taking my stress out on my body. calling myself fat, living into the fear of overeating instead of taking Christmas for what it is. I was resisting Christmas time too. I'm finally ready to really embrace that mucky shadow that is the cause of my racket - my racket being body shame.

I face my shadow every single day, and I resist it way more than I could be giving into it. Pain is just a message, and our shadow is simply an invitation to go deeper. I'm learning what it means to sit through this pain. I'm learning how to cooperate with it right now. We're arguing over which side of the bed we're going to sleep on. My gut tells me we'll find a balance of coexisting soon.

It's almost like I've been suffocating my shadow, not allowing it to breath. We need our shadow just as much as we need light. Without the contrast, they cannot exist. I've always been devoted to my work, especially my own self development, but this has taken new planes. 

I find I really struggle with balancing the entrepreneurship and honouring my artistic side. I tend to get obsessed with what I'm making, instead of focusing on what I'm actually making by hand. It's definitely important to make money, without losing sight of what's paramount.

My fear stems from not having enough money, to me, money is freedom, it buys me a way of life and it gives me a sense of worth. I'm dauntingly sharing that I'm having a hard time living by that statement. I'm so caught up with feeling good once I've been paid, and when the cash runs dry the low repeats itself.

I can hear my guides whispering, "do not judge, just be aware". 

I learned a new tool this week to cope with my running mind. I was midway through a power yoga class I booked on a whim. I was feeling overwhelmed and I needed to root and reconnect with mother earth. The teacher created a spiritual lesson around our thinking minds.

She said: "our minds are designed to think. They're designed to be curious. Sometimes we feel like we have no control over our minds. In these moments of spiralling out of control just label your mind, "thinking, thinking"".

 Your mind is doing nothing else - it's just thinking. Thinking, doesn't have to have a negative connotation around it. It's just thinking. Essentially, you're stopping your train of thought, taking a step back and noticing that you're "thinking". Plain and simple.

WE CANNOT ABANDON OURSELVES TO GO TO THE LIGHT, WE HAVE TO DIG DEEP AND GET MUDDY WITH OUR DARK FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS WHICH WE CONSTANTLY REPRESS AND ACKNOWLEDGE.

Let those feelings rise - they're not bad, they're good. It's like taking your body through a car wash. Let the suds sweep over you and bathe in it. 

xoxo Tori

Tori Swanson
Why I Decided To Pose Nude, Again

Before I get into the nude story, I need to first congratulate my close friend Ada Juristovski and her mother, Mila Juristovski on their new and all natural, skin care product line called Nala Care. I was lucky enough to be asked to model for their campaign and the official launch of the result of their hard work and love.

 

 

When I received the text message from Ada, asking if I wouldn't mind posing partial or potentially full nude, I said "yes" right away. Not only was this an obvious product I could get behind, it was another opportunity for me to start loving my body, as it continues to change all the time. 

The moment I agreed to do the shoot, my mind started racing. I could feel some of my old Anorexic habits coming back. My internal dialogue was reciting a destructive rhetoric conversation - one I'm all too familiar with.

"I shouldn't eat a few days before, I'll only eat spinach, I'll work out and do a ton of hot yoga all leading up to the shoot."

I'm sorry to admit, that this conversation carried on for a few days. I felt like such a fraud when I'm constantly promoting that women need to love their body mission - Ra Ra Ra. I was doing the exact opposite.

My mind carried me back three years. Recall I hosted an art show in collaboration with a photographer back in July 2015, at the Vancouver Urban Winery/Belgarde Kitchen event space on Alexander and Dunlevy (Railtown). Regardless If you were or were not there, I'll break it down for you.

The photographer and I created portraits of each other, trading our crafts. I drew her nude, and she photographed me nude. We wanted to have an honest conversation about our bodies. This meant, nothing sexy, completely unedited and a focus on what we considered "our problem areas". 

I hate using that word now, let's reconsider it to be our tender, vulnerable yet powerful, womanly areas that we love. ;)

The photos captured the tears that welled in my eye while I was in a room with the photographer snapping my curves, my rolls on my tummy and back, my round bottom, my muscular thighs, and my face without makeup. I cried the entire time. I cried from embarrassment and I cried because I was finally releasing.

The finished photographs were beautiful and so well done. You could see my vulnerability through each photo and the heartbreak and shame I felt about my body at that time. I couldn't appreciate the craftsmanship and talent of the photographer, I could only criticize myself. I hesitated and cried to the lead up of the show. I didn't want anyone to see my "fat" around my tummy, or to notice my soccer legs and the fact that they rub together, or my squishy arms and small chest. I'm sure you can imagine the conversation, and how nasty it turned. I was afraid.

Can you believe it? I feared myself. I feared the judgement of others on my body. My body who does wonders for me. My body who takes me from point A to point B. Who wakes up every morning, who has all their limbs and muscles. A working heart and brain. I hated that?!? I couldn't get past my exterior which destroyed my spirit far beyond I would ever imagine until today, three years later I can say that that exhibit and that moment was pivotal in my life

 

 

The only thing that kept going, and pushing through to showcase our work together was the desire I had to help others. I wanted to use my body as a vessel to create a relationship with other women. I wanted to stand proud and risk myself to judgement of men and women. I wanted women to look at my body, my imperfections, and my vulnerability, and say "I look like that". I wanted women to finally find peace with themselves and think, if she can do that, I can too. I wanted to create an opportunity for women to start to change their habits and start loving themselves today because that's all I wanted for myself. 

What I didn't expect was the utter liberation I felt after I bared my body to 300 + people who came to support me and my artwork. That moment, I felt changed - it has taken me years after that relinquishing moment to fully embrace my body (more on this in a bit). That's a feeling, a certain glow, from that night that I'll carry with me forever. 

Yes, my colleagues have seen my naked self, my family, my extended family, ex-boyfriends, community, and you know what, it was magic. It's like they know who I am, they've seen it all and they still choose to spend time with me.

I feel like I had that moment for Nala Care. The moment I showed up for the photoshoot I was at ease. I didn't stick to my plan of dieting, in fact I went out the night before and had too many tacos and margaritas with my girlfriends because it made me happy. The whole shoot was around natural selves, we hardly had any makeup on and our hair was pretty much the same as it was when I rolled out of bed. 

What are you living free-from?

This was the question we were posed while at the shoot. Free from carcinogens, free from poison, free from restrictions, free from expectations, free from body shame, free from self-loath, free from "what we're suppose to do".....

The entire experience was a fun. Friends of all different shapes and sizes rejoiced and celebrated our health, youthfulness (at any age), and love for each other. There was nothing toxic about the situation and we got to stand behind a product we love and a family who's changing the way we treat our bodies - thank-you Ada and Mila!

 

 

Think about the people you choose to spend your time with, they can greatly impact the way we think about ourselves.

Of course I had moments of doubt, like any woman would during the shoot. The years of hard work have somewhat paid off, because the negative thoughts that surfaced were easy thoughts to let go of. We were cheering each other one from the sidelines as we bared it all for the camera. I knew we had each other's backs.

"It's OK, I accept that I'm having these thoughts, but it does not define me." It's not an easy thing to do, because we tend to fight those thoughts and get angry when we can't accept it right away. Deep breaths, because it's OK. This takes practice and willingness to change.

With that, I stand here admitting that I am supporting myself and all womankind to be free-from my our thoughts. Separating  spirit from our minds is our practice. Start living in spirit and allow your mind to have negative thoughts without allowing your spirit ingest it.

After all, fear requires feat. It's just fear, and really there's nothing to fear when you're in control. 

That moment of showing my bare body to someone else set me on a path to provide the same experience to my clients. My work is about vulnerability, and appreciating what we have. The simple act of baring it all to a stranger, or a friend, and inscribing your body and expression into your own portrait is so powerful. It's capturing a moment in time about how you feel about yourself and what you're going through today. It can change, I've had clients come back for new portraits, whether it's a pregnancy, or they initially came in a period of darkness and they're back to celebrate their break-throughs. 

I dare you to face your fears today, even if it's just 1 minutes worth - it's a start.

Lots of love to all of you,

Tori

PS: If you're on the verge of committing to my Talk To Me Naked Pop Up, and you're feeling afraid. It's probably a sign that you should just do it. It's your mind getting in the way of what your heart wants - and I'll admit it takes courage. Have peace understanding that I've been there too and I get it.

Tori Swanson
Why I Decided To Quit My Career
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Why I Decided To Quit My Career

 

About a month ago I quit my job to pursue my 10 year goal of becoming a full time artist. I was always told that when the right moment comes to take the leap, and that I'll just know when that right moment is here. I consistently rolled my eyes at this comment until the day it actually came. That day was not a happy one, I was exhausted to my core. I was physically done, emotionally, and spiritually drained and I felt further away from my purpose than I ever had before. I finally got that knowing that everyone was talking about and I realized it was time to allocate all my effort into being that artist I've long dreamed of. 

My desire to be an artist stemmed when I was heavily struggling with my eating disorder of anorexia and bulimia. For those of you who read my previous blog and continue to follow my work, you know I speak freely about that experience. My life was controlled, I was living for someone else in my own mind, body, and spirit. I felt trapped and art surrendered me to my own self expression. It allowed me to be who and what I wanted. It was that consistent soundboard that never judged me about my feelings, rather allow me to lean heavily until it was all out, puking colours.

My focus has changed over the years, from painting emotion to the human body. The human figure has always been an interesting concept for me, and now it's my primary muse. My own body has served so many purposes in my life, and will continue to be the only loyal life partner I have and ever will be with. I treat it much differently than I have in the past, and I'll share a story with you about how I got here today.

 

The last three years of my life have been in a Business Value Analyst/ Strategic Sales role. I loved my job, in fact I couldn't have asked for better bosses, colleagues, and atmosphere at Hootsuite. I got to travel all over North America for work, and I was highly regarded in the company. I had job offers on the table and I couldn't bring myself to take it, it was such a strange feeling. The old me would've taken the job offer and left within months. My consciousness was louder than ever and begging me to follow my gut, so I politely declined that job offer without any real understanding why I was doing that.

Flashback 2 months. I was gazing into the LES of New York City in early October, enjoying the heat wave that hit the big apple. I was thinking about my old life here in the city, and the people I chose to spend my time with. Wow, my life was SO different. As I poured myself a glass of red wine, courtesy of the receptionist downstairs, I thought to myself, how lucky I was to be back in my favourite city. I didn't realize it was going to be my last work trip. 

Typically travelling for work is over-exhausting. Only after a year or so of doing it I finally mastered and discovered the perfect balance. My secret sauce was staying in a boutique hotel close to my favourite restaurants and gym so I could strike the perfect amount of time enjoying new cities as I did pitching to clients. This trip threw me over sideways. Not only was in back to back deals and heavy weight pitches, the added timezone change of working on the east coast in a west coast headquarters (causes you to work unbelievable amounts of hours) - from catching up with projects, to putting together businesses cases in my hotel bed to not sleeping with jet lag. It was nothing new to me but it impacted me in a much larger way this time.

My 26th birthday was coming up and I was away from my twin sister, and family. I knew this was coming, but my sister and I have never spent a birthday apart and I was sad. I tried to make my stay in NYC as comfortable as possible so Sam decided to fly out to meet me on my birthday. He  had the entire day and night planned to take me out to my favourite spots including some new hangouts like the underground jazz scene. He absolutely killed it.

The day of my birthday provided me with great clarity. I worked the morning of my birthday, sick to my stomach and it lasted throughout the entire day of work which resulted  in a full breakdown in the Uber on the way back to my hotel room. I was ridden with anxiety, partly because I was excited to see my boyfriend, and partly because I had finally had enough. I was officially done making money for someone else. I was done giving up my spare time and energy working toward's someone else's goals. I was through the roof with my health and wellness being up and down from flying about on business trips for 2 weeks a month or more across the country. I was tired with my frivolous spending and lack of commitments.

Not only was I probably the most awful person to be around when my boyfriend flew all this way for my birthday, I was indecisive, anxious, a royal bitch. I felt like a stranger in comparison to what I normally am, when I'm grounded and in an environment that brings the best out of me. 

Coming home with a new understanding of myself, I needed a week off, partially to be with my family and to take some time to think. I didn't expect a heat wave of work opportunities to fly into my arms while on bed rest. These work opportunities got me out of my bed every day, they got me thinking creatively. Within that time frame, I was booked to the brim with private portraits, designing labels for The Juicery Co.'s new product line, building a movement with Keighty Gallagher from Tight Club and live portraiture for Bailey Nelson. It was a sign from the universe.

This taught me how to trust. There's a reason why you're all drawn to something that ignites a fire within you. That something may start as a curiosity, but it's your intuition and your guides leading you down a path to be centred. This is so powerful, and we typically ignore these signs for the majority of our lives, and I'm included in that. I believe we stop ourselves from fully pursuing those curiosities because we judge ourselves, and we're afraid of being vulnerable. So, if you're feeling called to something, follow it, look for it, dig deep, and love every moment of learning and growing.

Back to reality...I couldn't believe that I was faced with something I've been working towards for the past 8 years and I was hesitant. I was scared, frightened and thinking I was crazy. I wasn't necessarily in a financial position to quit my job, nor was I in a position to actually do both jobs well.

I've been told me entire life, that I'm choosing a life path with a slim percentage of actually "making it", which can mean so many things. I've been compared to someone who wants to be an actor. Yes, I get it, slim chances - but it's not about that, it's about what makes you happy. When you're happy you naturally attract people into your life who support you.

So, I tuned in to what really mattered to me it wasn't going to my desk from 9-5 everyday, it certainly had nothing to do with being tied to a paycheque and allotted vacation days or reporting to someone else. I wanted freedom in my life. 

So, After going back and forth over my decision to quit my job too many times, I wrote up a letter of resignation that I handed in Monday morning. I cried the entire time, actually the entire week. Nobody told me that transition like that would be tough - I was mourning! 

Call it good timing, I call it a sign, that I had previously booked a retreat the week after I quit. I went on Chloe Elgar and Natalie Miles' Light Up Retreat on the Sunshine Coast. The retreat was all about tuning into your intuition, and pretty much a psychic development retreat. It was intense, and beautiful and relaxing all in one go. I met really great sisters who share the same desires as I do. I got in touch with why I was meant to be there and my purpose on this planet. I discovered new things about myself, such as my natural mediumship ability, and intuition. Which is something I now offer with my portraitures (more on this later). So, you could say that the retreat boiled a lot of shit to the surface. That murky water gave me clarity toward my sole proprietary purpose of why I am so deeply connected to my artwork.  

 My purpose isn't just about bringing awareness to body image and mental health, yes that's a massive part of it, but not the only piece. My purpose with my artwork is to emancipate you from your fears. It's about abandoning our sense of "should, could, would" and being you, and being OK with it. From my experience with my own demons and eating disorders, and today where I actively wake up and choose who and what I want to be, it's still there! I can't run from it.

It's important to me that you understand that those feelings will be there for life. When clients arrive at my loft, it's the utmost important thing to me that they walk into my loft feeling like they have been seen and heard. That they too are beautiful and it's not because of how we look like on the outside. Our exterior is a direct reflection of how we feel inside. When we age, it's because we're not taking care of our innards, and when we diet or binge eat, we're not addressing what our soul is craving.

So with my newfound abilities to read and see auras, connect and channel the deceased and read your intuition, I am bringing this into portraitures. I'm still building that muscle, but it's something that comes so naturally to all of us, and yet we choose to shut it off because we were told it's "Scary". I had a BIG problem facing that fear when I decided I wanted to work with spirit, and it's still frightening, and I'm learning to use it on my own time, and not theirs.

So here we are, 1 month into my entrepreneurship and it's up and down. Not knowing when that next paycheque is coming in finally hit me. It's also super exciting, it's the first time in my life where I get to dictate my schedule and choose to do things because I want to, not because I feel like I should. If that's how I feel I politely decline and move forward because it's not serving me and because I'm following my intuition.

Life should feel easy and breezy and good. If there's something I'm learning is that it doesn't have to be hard. We all have the power to live a life in choice and what we want to do on a daily basis. Tune in and figure out what it's saying to you - if you don't hear anything it may be because you've ignored it for so long, but you can still start to listen. Sit down quietly, go or a walk, clear your mind and ask yourself what you want in this life and how to get it, I promise you, you'll find an answer. If you don't, we can find it together through a portraiture ;)

I'm hosting the 3rd Volume of TALK TO ME NAKED December 9th-10th. I have about 5 spots left to schedule. The portraits are a little different this time. Each session is about 30mins in length which includes a 10minute reading and a 20 minute portrait. Each person walks away with 3 sketches each and the total cost is $250.00 CAD (the original portraits are $500.00CAD).  

Tori Swanson