The Power of Video for Self Discovery: Removing the Mask February 28, 2014 • 6 Comments I have written about my experiences of coming out from behind the lens, much like a child stepping out from the folds of her mother’s skirt, slowly revealing more and more. When my blog first went “live,” I made my computer gal take it down so I could get used to the photo of myself being out there. It was quite a shock. Then there was the adjustment to each post going up as I shared more and more of my story. The first encounters with the likes of Twitter and Facebook were equally as terrifying. I had the sense of being ever so slightly pushed from behind, while at the same time being pulled by some mystical force in front of me. I wonder what on earth is it about being seen that is so challenging. I think my singing debut last summer stripped away most of the last vestiges of being invisible. It is damn hard to hide when you are standing in front of an audience by yourself. As a practice in learning to make eye contact, I was asked to spend twenty minutes staring into the eyes of someone, preferably a stranger. Not willing to venture that far out of my comfort zone, I asked a friend to do this with me. In case you haven’t tried this, eye contact is very personal and it will make you acutely aware of why you have avoided it. Having someone stare into your eyes without looking away — brings things up — which is, of course, the point. My latest project: shooting video of myself talking about my story. This was assigned to me by a woman I admire, Alexa Fischer. I resisted this with all my might, for all the reasons stated above, and then some, but in an effort to surrender to all things personal growth, I stepped over my resistance and did it anyway. A couple of weeks ago, I garnered the strength to sit in a chair and push record on my iPhone. The first few takes were frighteningly uncomfortable. Squeamish comes to mind, and I admit at first it feels self-indulgent watching your squirmy self on the screen. Then I stopped judging and just started observing the woman in the frame, looking at her with curious compassion, which allowed me to see some incredibly valuable information about myself. I think we look into mirrors to see our reflection and evaluate what we think everyone else is seeing, and I’m not so sure our interpretation is accurate. When we look into a video we can see, feel and hear — maybe for the first time — our being coming into focus, as we observe the person who has been masquerading as us. There is an opportunity to see behind the mask. Or at least peer through some of the cracks. I would love for you to try this and let me know how it made you feel. Take baby steps and just shoot a minute or two here and there. Let yourself get comfortable enough so you can observe without criticizing. I think you will find buried treasure in this moment: self-compassion. For best results, crack a genuine smile from the deepest part of your being and look straight at the camera lens like it is your dearest friend. And, if you really want to have fun, this little tripod makes it a lot easier to balance your smart phone just about anywhere. Little by little, I am getting to know this stranger on the screen and notice the subtle ways I have shrink-wrapped my personality to deflect flaws and imperfections. It gives me such a deep appreciation for our imperfect humanity, as well as a new found respect for the ways in which we cope with the life we are living. Have you been masquerading as someone else your entire life? Try this project and let me know if you discover anything interesting. I would love to hear about it. As always, sending you love and encouragement on your healing journey. -db Who is Dianna Bonny: Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.