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Six things I learned at Finding Stillness 2016

finding-stillness-2016-photos-by-jo-ann-blondin-2Hello Gorgeous,

I recently attended a photography workshop called Finding Stillness 2016 with Kim Klassen that has inspired my creativity and filled me with joy.

Here is what I learned at the workshop and my trip to Manitoba, Canada

1.  When you attend in-person event you create friendships

When you go to conferences and connect with like-minded people, stay connected with them after the conference using social media.  That means liking and commenting on their images and sending them personal emails and messages through Facebook and Instagram.

You will be delighted that your new friends will want to meet up with you when you visit their city and you will get to know them even better.

I was delighted to be hosted in Winnipeg by a friend I met last year at a conference.  I really got to better understand the people and culture of Winnipeg because I stayed at her lovely home.


2.  Be open to lessons that you did not expect to learn

I went out to Manitoba to learn more about photography and the biggest take-away for me was learning about the 5 languages of love.  This lesson has allowed me to be so grateful for my relationships and to better communicate, in a loving way, that can appreciated by the person who is receiving my love.

I also spent time at the Canadian Human Rights Museum and came to better appreciate that every action we do or don’t do has an impact on others so make your actions count.



3.  Some people need to be creative to feel alive

Finding time to be creative each day is like exercise for the soul.  If you are a creative person and don’t allow your creativity to be put to use each day, you slowly shrink and feel less vibrant.  But when you find little ways each day to express your creativity, you can grow and shine bright.

Find a way to be creative each day – even if it is only for you.  Draw, sketch, write in a journal, write a poem, take photos with your camera or phone, get into the garden, rearrange your furniture, forage for leaves and flowers to make arrangements, colour in adult colouring books, plate your food with flare or allow your mind to be still for a short periods so you can see the creative world around you.



4.  Learn how to let the light in

When you let the light in, your images and you grow.  For the longest time I have focused on the darkness of my images instead of understanding how I could let more light in.  I wanted more bright and light but was stumped how to make it happen (without post production).  I learned how to set the ISO on my camera and phone and how to use spot metering.  Hello gorgeous light – you are now mine to capture.

Lightness in photos is a lot like life.  When you focus on the darkness, life is heavy.  Focusing on the light makes everything a bit easier.  Light makes you want to do more and allows you to see more.  We don’t always know how to let the light in, so take courses, read blogs, watch videos and ask your community.  They can help you get there one step at a time.

In the case of this workshop, the light was taught to those who needed it as others already knew how to capture it.  We constantly grow, so keep learning and asking questions.

fs-2016-wreath-and-drawers-with-text Jo-Ann Blondin

5.  Find Stillness in your life

On day three of the workshop, Kim said to me, “you must be exhausted – you have not stopped for one minute.”  Even during our one hour of quiet (no talking) each day, I kept finding ways to use my time in the studio.  It was only after her comment that I took time to sit still outside.  Suddenly the tears flowed.  I am not a person who cries so the tears were a surprise to me.  I felt such a beautiful embrace being held in Kim’s studio; one where we gathered and inspired each other, where competitive spirit was left at the door and where we all helped each other grow.  That moment of stillness allowed me to reflect on how special this group was and how grateful I was that I could attend.

Stillness allows you to be grateful, to let feelings flow, to let creativity wander in your mind and to let your guard down.  Find five minutes in your day to be still.  It could be sitting outside with a morning coffee or green juice or it could be laying down or during yoga.  Stillness allows you to find space to grow.

Finding Stillness 2016 collage 3

6.  Keep the conversation alive after the event

After investing your time, cash and energy into a workshop, don’t just let it end after the session is done.  Find ways as a group to connect beyond the workshop.  Our group is using Instagram messages to keep connected.  We chat daily.  It’s like we are all in the room together once again.

I will be applying the first lesson above and keeping in contact with the amazing group of woman I met in the workshop.  You can find many of them on Instagram using the hashtag #FindingStillness2016.

Here’s the group of lovely woman that you may want to connect with on Instagram and say hello from me.

Wishing you all moments of stillness and time to rejoice in your own creativity.

Jo-Ann Blondin


Jo-Ann Blondin

Hello Gorgeous.
So glad we connected. I truly believe that in order to change the way people eat, you need to provide great images and stories that inspire people to change their current habits.

I am a Holistic Nutritionist, a Culinary Nutrition Expert, a plant-based professionally trained cook and I have over 25 years of marketing experience in programs that drive results for all kinds of businesses.

It is my goal to help spread the wellness message by helping wellness businesses with their marketing so we can inspire many people together.

Read about my journey, wellness tips and recipes at and follow me daily on Instagram @JoAnnBlondin

Please be sure to check with your medical team before you implement the ideas in this blog. The owner of this blog takes no responsibility for any action that you may take as a result of reading this blog. The reader takes all responsibility.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Great post Jo-Ann! And those sumptuous photos!!! Right now I am obsessed with light. I just want to paint my whole house white to let in the light. Perhaps it’s the season, but perhaps it perspective. What ever it is, I’m looking at the positive. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks Eve. I am a big fan of white walls and white space. It allows colour to pop and create room for ideas. Best of all, white walls allow light to bounce and make everything seem a bit brighter. And you are right, it makes for a positive view.

      Big Hug, Jo

  2. Hi Jo –
    Your points are spot on and #3 resonates loudly. Creativity is like breathing for me! Thanks for the great post.

    1. Catherine, yes yes yes…..creativity is like breathing. Without it in your life, it feels like you can’t breathe. Here’s to filling our lives with joy and creative moments. So glad I met you at Finding Stillness 2016.

      Big Hug, Jo

  3. Jo, I am really loving your list, especially points number 2 and 3.

    #2, I was not surprised that the lesson you took away here wasn’t photography related. I also learned lessons on interpersonal relations including sharing a room with someone you haven’t met before. This was a first for me, but I was so glad I did. And spending 3 full days with others you haven’t met, in one large space, also a wonderful experience, and a test of our ability to keep the positive vibes going. But it wasn’t hard.

    #3, this was the most important lesson learned, and I am so glad you talked about it. I thought I was out of control with the creative thing, always needing to spend so much time at it. But I found there are others in the world that are even more so that way and it felt so very wonderful to be around them. I do not feel so odd now, just a part of a different group that gets me and I them.

    And Jo, your images are sheer delight to the eyes. I so love them! Bright, cherry, colorful – just like you!

    1. Karen, thanks so much for your comments. I was asked before I left if I was open to other lessons that might come my way on this trip and I said “yes.” I was so glad I was asked to think about it in advance so I was ready to learn beyond the workshop.

      Sharing a room was nice as it meant I got to know you better. It is scary to share a room with someone you have not met but I had a feeling you would be delightful and you were.

      Finding people who enjoy using their creative gifts is special. I am delighted that Kim brought us all together so we could all grow and support each other.

      Thanks for the photo love. I am loving your daily images on Instagram.

      Big hug, Jo

  4. What a lovely post, Jo-Ann, in both words and photos. It also serves to shine a light on the lovely person that you are. I am so curious about this workshop now …. I think it’s something I need to consider for the future.

    1. Marlene, Thanks so much for your kind words. Totally recommend the workshop if you want to improve your photography and styling. It is not so much about food unless you make it your thing to add to your styling. Best wishes, Jo

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