I've never had to pause my audio recordings as much as I did while transcribing this interview. The entire 8 minutes of it is jam-packed with powerful, sincere and gifted prose by a spirited woman who’s known by many as a performer. To say that Chelsey Korus is talented is a bit of an understatement. She can do things few women can do and marvels crowds with the strength and grace she brings to her performances. When I attended the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Stratton, Vermont last summer and watched Chelsey perform with her acro yoga partner, I stood in complete awe. I was utterly moved by her entire way of being, and it was then that I knew I had to meet her. A year and many Instagram likes later, we arranged to meet and collaborate.
As I do with all my blog features, we walked and talked and just shot when inspiration struck. Being in a city with thousands of photographers who have their own ways of capturing beauty, I’ve realized my style of shooting is very “lifestyle-like,” meaning I don’t like having a strict expectations of the shots I want. I like allowing my subjects to feel free and at ease and as they move, I shoot. Working with Chelsey took my love for capturing the essence of a person to a whole new level. She’s bouncy but grounded, she’s flexible but strong, she’s light but deep, she’s joyful but realistic and she’s happy but serious about her mission.
After about an hour of shooting in Williamsburg, we took a short lunch break to discuss some of the “bigger questions.” To be honest, I had to control myself from saying crazy things like, “Are we best friends now?” or “Let’s just hang out all day!” since I’m a professional and all (wink), but when discussing beauty, self-love and sexiness with Chelsey, I had never felt so clear about what beauty is. She explained it in an exemplary way, noting the obvious beauty that’s evident in nature; a sunset, a mountain, a flower, etc. The idea of unity in all things that Chelsey professes basically means that there’s no division between her / you / me and all things and therefore, our essence is beauty.
A sunset is never not beautiful… I look to the sunset and I feel, 'I am that and that is me.’ The word namaste is all that beauty I see in me, I see in you. We’re one, we're mirrors for each other.
Preach, girl! YES! Beauty, sexiness, love, compassion and kindness are all within each of us, because we are all one. Is this something you can accept? If so, rock on. If not, what’s holding you back? There are years and years of layers of “yuck” we may feel for starters. Yuck meaning self-doubt, jaded dreams, wrongful societal standards, etc. and it may be hard to hear this truth and accept it as-is. If that’s you, rest assured there’s hope. I believe it, Chelsey believes it, and a lot of other people believe it. Wipe those doubtful goggles for a moment and notice the world around you (maybe filter out the nasty stuff you hear about in the news, but stay with me). Chances are words and phrases like “self care,” “work/life balance," “meditation” and “breathing exercises” aren’t that unfamiliar to you, right? It’s due to the subtle shift happening thanks to our society, culture and generation allowing for more essential living practices.
For women there’s a lot to be said about self-love and self-worth. There's a big shift in our culture and I feel it, and I think we all do. We're hungry for authenticity. We're hungry to take care of ourselves and to know ourselves - to know our real path. I feel like that's just booming.
I don’t know about you but I’d love to be the generation that set up the groundwork for future generations that celebrate each other’s differences + uniqueness with love and support. When prompted with lifestyle choices, financial decisions, political views, etc., I find myself choosing the path of honesty, balance, fairness and joy (for the most part). Have you ever stopped to think about the pattern your choices are creating and what they mean for the future? Just noticing is an important step! Being still in all that you are and all that you do is probably the next most essential step you can take toward a mindful life.
I’ll leave you with my favorite part of my conversation with Chelsey where we were discussing beauty, uniqueness and self-love.
No one thing in nature is perfectly symmetrical, there’s always a little deviation - like picking up a different petal from the same flower and like all of our differences. It’s what makes us a beautiful tapestry.
I invite you to celebrate your own embodiment of beauty and to lift others’ up in their essence. Let’s continue building communities that foster love + compassion so our future can yield bountiful crops.
A huge thank you to Chelsey for being a part of this special project. I loved every minute spent with you and am in awe of you as a human being. You're simply magnificent.
// C R E D I T S //
Chelsey Korus, www.chelseykorus.com