once you understand what it means it will change your life

“I am” is a significant word. I explored it through photography.

I am – a deep understanding of this word can change your life. “I am” is one of the more significant words.

Notice that when you ask yourself what “I am” means, a feeling arises. You feel something inside you. Isn’t it interesting?

Of course, you know you are and it goes without saying. But try to understand and feel it more deeply.

Stand with your feet on the ground and think “I am.” Repeat the word in your mind several times. Start walking with that awareness of “I am.” You can also run or dance with “I am”. Check how you feel and what you feel when you realize the meaning of the word.

I feel joy. And gratitude.

When you understand with all your heart the meaning of “I am,” it can change your life. So, please do experience. Knowing something and experiencing it are two different things.

“I am” – with this awareness everyday life is better. You notice more around you and enjoy it more. Gratitude awakens in you, which brings positive energy. It helps you live with a lighter heart.

Hardship and pain are part of life. They cannot be avoided. Thanks to them, we make effort and achieve something. We keep developing. But we have a choice to see consciously what gives lightness, relief, comfort, and what gives a sense of power at the same time.

“I am” is a powerful word.

To understand and see it better, you can go for a walk and photograph the topic “I am”. You don’t need to know in advance how to do this. Ideas will come. Walk, look around you and you will discover an unlimited source of wisdom, creativity and joy. Below are my photos of “I am”.

Inspired by Mooji.

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2018-2021 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

About the author: Dorota Raniszewska – certified professional coach, EMCC Coach and Mentor – Senior Practitioner, accredited coach Izba Coachingu, certified trainer, author of the book “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey”.

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living in peace and returning to harmony

Peace is inside you like deep in the ocean.

Peace is inside you like deep in the ocean.

I found it inside myself.

I can live in peace. I can return to harmony and rest whenever I need.

You can do as well.

There is something trans-material in the heart of our existence. As people, we suffer. We struggle. We strive for. There are also moments of joy, fulfillment and rest.

There is no life without difficult moments, or emotions that are unpleasant. Nevertheless, we are able to transcend them. We admire the beauty of nature. We find trust in an unknown future. Hope, beauty, pleasure give us a sense of freedom and lightness to life. And we can learn to find peace inside us. It resides deep within our hearts.

I will tell you my story of discovering peace. I was looking for it. I was looking for a way to find it in everyday life. I practiced body and movement awareness, meditation and breathing. But in fact, Mooji taught me how to find harmony inside my heart. I understood that peace begins inside me. I found a way to return to it. And I’m writing about it today.

When I feel tired, anxious, restless, confused, when I feel that too much is going on in my head, then I lie down. I close my eyes. I put all my thoughts aside. And I lie there for 10 minutes. I am resting.

When I find peace inside myself, I feel it around me as well. I am in the space of my peace. It begins inside the heart. You can feel it there.

But let’s go deeper into it.

What does it mean to put all my thoughts aside?

It means that I don’t think and put aside plans to be carried out, “to-do” lists, urgent and important things, missions, concerns, desires, needs, assessments. Thoughts will come back. The mind does not sleep for long. Believe me, thoughts will not fade away. So you can put them aside for a few minutes. They can wait.

Also, abandon any relaxation techniques, or motivational thoughts. And for a moment you are just as if empty. You rest in silence and emptiness. You are doing nothing. You simply are.

This is not meditation. It is just resting. Just like animals do on a hot day. You can even keep your eyes open. You are fully aware and you are present.

Notice that when you are in this ‘just-being‘ and don’t think, then you don’t feel any pressure. There is no judgement. There is no rush. There is nothing that makes you uncomfortable. You feel comfortable.

After a few minutes, get up. You will feel when you want to get up. Your body will be relaxed and your mind will be clearer.

I do it every day – even several times a day. Nothing is needed – no gadgets, equipment, techniques. Just allow yourself to put your thoughts aside for a few minutes and be.

This is how you will improve the quality of you life.

 I learned to rest on demand.

 I encourage you – try it. Don’t say ‘I know it’. Knowing and experiencing are two different things.

Experience it now.

 I wish you a real discovery of WHAT is perhaps the most important in life. When you discover peace and harmony within you, you will feel it all around you. There is gentleness, love and sense of security in it.

 This is the power of peace.

living in peace and returning to harmony

Photo by Maria Lupan on Unsplash

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2018-2021 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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When you ask your coaching client to look for his or her Most Important Photo, they will reflect on what matters to them in life.

This article is going to be a coaching exercise for me 😉. Why? I’m pretty good at spreading ideas and sharing my knowledge but I’m less good at celebrating success and showing great feedback received 😊. Sometimes I’m too busy and run fast forward, but many times, I’m simply having this kind of inner dialogue which you might know about modesty, temperance and letting things speak for themselves. 

But this time, there is a special occasion. It is about coaches feedback received after the ‘Photography in Coaching. Making the Future Visible’ presentation at the EMCC Global Coaching, Mentoring and Supervision conference that took place recently. 

Together with my colleague, Bara Belova who is a manager, mentor and coach we challenged ourselves to demonstrate a live coaching session on ‘The Most Important Photo’ – which is a coaching process that I’ve been developing based on the use of client personal photos and the model of neurological levels.

And here is what some of the conference participants shared:

This sort of topic can be filed under ‘Creative Stuff’ all too often. The use of personal visuals in our lives today is part of our everyday conversation; whether that be a visual or spoken exchange. This is so relevant to all natures and approaches to coaching. 

My comment: Yes, indeed. The experience shows that clients personal photos are very useful in all coaching niches, i.e.:

  • life coaching – think about personal resources that are visible in the photos,
  • executive coaching – think of values that drive behaviours and leadership style,
  • career coaching – think of profile photos that are our public messages about our uniqueness,
  • relationship coaching – think of emotions and thoughts that relationship photos can evoke,
  • wellbeing – think of taking photos as mindfulness practice or creative thinking,
  • team integration and coaching. 

Also, active taking of photographs is an excellent way to facilitate people communication and exchange of ideas, especially when there is a need to think out of the box and to speak beyond language limitations. 

I found this very thought-provoking and powerful. I have been incorporating pictures and art into my coaching over the last year and will use ‘The Most Important Photo’.

My comment: It’s so nice to read that other coach also uses photos. Many use ready decks of photos to stimulate thinking and communication. I’m happy that you are inspired to use this process of the Most Important Photo. The use of clients’ personal photos is something unique in terms of connecting to the true self.

Learning a new way to help the client tap into his/herself was very helpful. Especially in this day and age of “selfies.

My comment: Well, yes. Memories and emotions triggered by our personal photos remind us of parts of ourselves that we might forget in a daily race. A simple photo from holidays, work, graduation, family home or the one we took and are proud of, can be very insightful in talking about what matters to us in life generally. And authenticity is a meaningful topic today.

Great appreciation to Bara for being willing to act as a coachee and great appreciation to Dorota for taking us through the coaching exercise. Using the personal photo was very inspiring. Thank you

My comment: It was an act of openness and courage. But we also benefited a lot from it. We learned a lot. I think that the session we presented was the most reflected one I ever had. Also, we were supported by the EMCC team in all the preparatory tasks, including the pre-recorded session, conference papers, promotional interviews. The work that was done by the EMCC team to organise this conference deserves the highest admiration and gratitude. 

True coaching, thus very relevant!! 🙂

Insightful, innovative, valuable. Loved this session thank you both!

One more thing to share maybe. Besides the conference presentation, we also prepared a conference paper dedicated to ‘The Most Important Photo’ and the power of photography in coaching. I will be happy to share it with you. If it is of interest to you, send me an email at dorota@photo-in-coaching.com

Here are some of my quotes from the conference paper:

Photography assists us from birth on in all we create in life based on our dreams and hopes, strengths, relationships and achievements.

Photographs mirror, materialize and document the experiences of human life – our biography. They make it easier to connect to what matters to us. They trigger memories and provide a lot of material for the thinking process.

The Most Important Photo connects you to something meaningful in your life and to the essence of who you are and what is your core life experience. It is one of the important photos that are kept to remember important moments and people in life.

When you ask your coaching client to look for his or her most important photo, they will reflect on what matters to them in life.

If you wish to learn more about photography in coaching, you can reach my book ‘ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey. It is available here

Thank you for reading this article.

Dorota Raniszewska – certified professional coach, EMCC Coach and Mentor – Senior Practitioner, accredited coach Izba Coachingu, certified trainer, author of the book “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS. Photography in personal development, healing and education. Notes from a personal journey”.

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2018-2021 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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Take a walk on the windowsill

There was a storm that day. It was raining. 

During the rain, you can take a break to sit on the balcony or windowsill and watch the rain. Drink your tea slowly. Taste it with pleasure. Observe what’s outside the window.

Look up to the sky and the ground under your feet. Enjoy the view. Be happy that you can see a colourful world, hear birds, feel fresh air, wind, temperature.

A moment of rest and slowness – such a “walk on the windowsill”.

It may seem that everything has come to stillness. But when you watch mindfully in silence, you notice that the birds are singing, the branches in the trees are swaying, the air is slightly undulating like water. Everything is moving, but it is moving slowly.

“Slowness” is a small but significant word.

Plant a plant, water it, give it care, love, time, light, attention and it will grow. You will appreciate it after some time. Maybe you have plants on your balcony or windowsill that you care for every day. They grow over time, and you appreciate them more and more.

It may take many years for the plant to grow. And this allows us to see that time is something that helps us grow, mature and calm down in life. You learn to appreciate the time.

Many people say that time is money. Are you sure? Time is duration, development, life.

So often people are focused on finishing something, closing it up, bringing it to an end. But do they notice that life is going on? Do they enjoy what they are doing before they finish it?

Life goes on and now is the time to enjoy it because we are and live in a beautiful world that we can admire and enjoy.

Life is not just about closing, delivering. Life wants openness from us. Let nature guide you at least a little. Listen to the wind, look at the waves, the river current, watch the rain outside – it calms you down. When you look at the cornfields waving in the wind or the river or listen to the murmur of the forest, you return to yourself, to your soul. And that’s enough for you to feel good.

So let nature guide you from time to time. Notice that our Mother Earth offers what we need to live.

Below a photo from my walk on the windowsill.

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2018-2021 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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In pursuit of colours with my camera

“We only see what we look at.”

– John Berger “Ways of seeing”.

Spring has come but it is all grey and cold outside where I live. We have a lot of rain with snow, and the trees are not yet ready to blossom. But I desperately need colours of Spring to feel more joy and beauty. So I decided to go out every morning in pursuit of colours with my camera.

And I found them!

I can’t find words to describe my joy and satisfaction from doing that. But when you look at my photos you will probably imagine it.

So when you need to look for the sun, for the colours of life, for beauty to feel more hope and calm, just go out with your camera and look for it. And you will find what you are looking for. Attention follows intention. Just:

“Open your eyes, enjoy what you see and be mindful to it.”

– this is the quote from my book “ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS.”

It is amazing how thoughts come and go and come again in a new light.

Thank you Life and the Universe.

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2020 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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On gratitude

Yesterday, I met with a group of international coaches and photographers for a workshop entitled “Powerful Start with AHA – photos, that inspire”. I was explaining the reasons behind several coaching questions which I included in this tool, called “AHA – photos that inspire”.

There are 12 questions in the AHA. One of them is about gratitude.

I asked the group “Why did I put gratitude to the questions. Why gratitude is so important that I included a question about it? How do you think?”

The answers were very good. And they helped to formulate a very special reflection on gratitude. Just read.

  • You see life from a completely different perspective. A new point of view.
  • To be positive. To see what you already have instead of what’s missing.
  • Gratitude is some form of strengths.
  • Gratitude is difficult. And some people don’t know how to express it.

Exactly, I answered.

And today, we have to learn it. We just have to learn gratitude to be happier. Consumption will not make the world happier. But gratitude can do it.

Imagine a situation when you put this question about gratitude in front of the eyes of team members or a family or a teenager who suffers from depression. It can help to change the perspective for a better one. It can help to turn the face to the sun! But not only.

Gratitude helps to understand better the resources that we have within and around us.

It’s a deep thought, isn’t it?

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2020 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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Using personal photos in coaching – we are going to speak at the EMCC Global Conference in May 2021!

Using personal photos in coaching

Photographs are the records of our life. Photos are made from light and time, but they are also made from people’s perceptions and memories.

Each photo we take has a beginning. It is an impulse from our mind as we see, feel or do something. Each photo has a unique meaning for us. It presents our achievements, relationships, dreams fulfilled. It shows what we like in the world and what inspires us. Each photo is a way to remember what we are proud of and what we create in life. While looking at our snapshots, we can talk about our motivations, values, needs and most of all, what is important for us.

There is a story behind each picture. Someone once took it. Maybe someone gave it to someone else on an occasion. Someone has kept it for some reason. Someone chose to show it to you. So, what’s so important about it?

This is the question that I ask to start a meaningful conversation when looking at a photograph.

Personal photos connect us to ourselves, our inner wisdom, what we know and learned through our lives.  Using powerful coaching questions, these photos can provide unprecedented access to deep thoughts and important insights.

How did I discover the power of personal photographs in coaching?

In 2007, I started a family search project. Old family photos, portraits of people and places helped me collect information and memories about my family from relatives and friends scattered around the world. Photos helped me to connect to them. During my search, and many travels, I realized how photographs trigger long-term memories and bring the past to the present. In my work with photos I see every day how personal pictures help to start meaningful conversations. They provide us with memories and stories to tell. Once an important photo from the past lands on the table, an immediate connection is made between people, engagement is increased and very often, joy or intensity appear on people’s faces.

Through my family project, I discovered photography as a vehicle for thinking and communicating.

I remember one day when I was arranging my photos from when I was younger, a short time after I had married, and my husband entered the room. He saw my work and started telling me about his memories related to the photos lying on the floor. I was very surprised to hear that his memories and feelings about the same images were different from mine. He sat on the floor with me, and we started talking about how we remembered those moments from the past. It became clear to me that talking about old photos is a great exercise for people who need to listen to each other. It is a dialogue exercise that has transformative power. It can help people to hear and understand each other.

Working with my life and family photos was only the beginning of experiencing photography in personal development. In 2011, I started my blog on reflective photography, jerozolimskie.wordpress.com. It is a life photo-journal that I’ve been writing for 10 years which has led me to develop a practice of active photography with my clients. “One photo a day” is an example of a technique I use that supports life coaching and well-being. The idea is to go outside every morning for a walk and take one picture on a topic that is related to the client’s coaching process. It can be about seeing the positive side of life, appreciating beauty, feeling gratitude, connecting to oneself, or developing self-esteem.

All these experiences helped me to become confident about using photography as a means of communication in coaching. In the beginning, I proposed to team members to bring their own photos for ice-breaker activities. I wanted people to open up a little bit more than usual with their personal stories. Also, I wanted to create space for authenticity and appreciation of others.

When we show our personal photos to others, we show ourselves more than we do it in our everyday work. It is engaging because everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is unique. Everyone can be a “hero” for a moment. Personal photos open a gate to people’s hearts, minds and souls.

Over the years, I developed several coaching processes with photography and regularly teach them to other coaches. These include: “The Most Important Photo,” “Life Photo Album,” “Profile Photo,” “Photo Poem,” “Relationship Photo” and “Self-Portrait in the Future.”

I will be presenting one of these processes during the 27 EMCC Global Coaching, Mentoring and Supervision Conference, together with my colleague, Bara Belova, coach, mentor and manager from the Czech Republic. The title of the presentation is “Photography in Coaching. Making the Future Visible.”  Here is the link to the conference: LINK

I also invite you to see us and listen to the “fireside chat interview” by the EMCC: Link to the Interview

It will be our honour to host you at our presentation. Please join us on May 12ve, at 12:45 UTC+1.

With very special thanks to my Friend, Shelley Lippman-Lewkowict, a certified professional coach, based in Montreal, Canada for reviewing and editing this article.

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2020 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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The upcoming edition of the “Photography in Coaching” Course

Dears,

I’ve been receiving questions about next edition of the Course on Photography in Coaching. So let’s make it! This is going to the 3rd online edition of the Course and I’m really very happy about it and proud. ✨

The online version of the Course takes 8 weeks. This length improved significantly the depth of the connection between the participants and the quality of the learning experience. Connection and experience that don’t stop at the end of the course. 🔥 We are still meeting, exchanging and learning from each other in a group coaching program.

If you are interested to join the upcoming course, please send me an email to dorota@photo-in-coaching.com Link to the description of the course

🙏 Dorota

23.02.2021

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A simple walk with a camera can help you to find time for yourself

This was the case of Kate. Kate’s issue was that being a mother with small children and working full time as a therapist she was finding no time for herself and felt often stressed.

Following the idea of a photo-walk she went out and looked for frames that give answers to her issue. When she returned from a 15-minutes photo-walk she said: “I found a lot of answers on the way. Just from what I saw before my eyes. I saw a cup of coffee in the kitchen and thought that I can enjoy my coffee every day. Then, I went towards the window, saw the blue sky and clouds and thought that I can stop for a moment at my window and watch the sky with awe and pleasure. It is all about using small opportunities and moments to stop and sense that I’m with myself.”

It is so simple and beautiful, isn’t?

When you have a dilemma and it is hard for you to find solutions right away, go for a walk, stand at a window and just watch, listen, sense. Notice subtle signs from outside. The answers can come when you stop focusing on being confused. Stop taking “I don’t know” or “I don’t have” as an answer from yourself. When you observe the world around you, when you are open, not stuck, answers come from outside and from within.

You can use photography to become mindful. Once you formulated your question or dilemma, start looking around, observing and taking pictures that seem to give answers.

This activity combines concentration, mindful observation, thinking with ease, fun and letting go of pressure. This is when moments of insights – called “aha” moments, take place.

Good luck!

Written with gratitude for an inspiring example from Kate. Thank you – Kate for allowing to publish it!

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2020 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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Orientation meeting on Photography in Coaching course

So last Monday I had a great pleasure and honor to host more than 50 passionate people from all over the world on the Orientation meeting about the Photography in Coaching Course ONE IMAGE – MANY WORDS.

I would like to express my gratitude and respect to all of you who devoted your time for this meeting and co-created it by sharing the space, bringing positive energy, showing curiosity in the topic of photography in coaching, asking excellent questions, and also – sharing insights and own answers.

Here below I’m showing couple of slides from the orientation:

A variety and richness of goals that participants set for themselves at the beginning of the course. Coaching skills, Photo in coaching skills and knowledge, Self-understanding and Self-development, Exchange and knowing each other in the international environment.
Feelings of gratitude, enrichment, new perspectives, self-integration. Really amazing!
It is a very special course – accredited by the ICF, devoted to the personal photos, not ready deck photos, developing coaching skills and photography in coaching skills based on the personal journey.
Starting soon!!!

Coaching is about going in the direction you wish to go. It is about taking actions and following a way that includes your vision, values and strengths. Your personal photos are landmarks and good stars on this way home.

All text and photos on this website are © Copyright 2020 by Dorota Raniszewska; All Rights Reserved

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