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Mental Health

Cutting Through Life’s Daily Anxieties and Self-Doubt Using RAIN

My anxiety and panic attacks began when I was in college. I don’t know if it was from the pressure of my schoolwork, of graduating without a job, or what, but I began to find it difficult to drive or leave any type of “safe space” without hyperventilating. I spent years gathering up information, trying to understand what was happening to me. Self-help books and online forums became my lifelines and over the years I’ve gradually learned to work through this disorder using mindfulness and a slew of cute little acronyms. 

This is why when I began reading Tara Brach’s Radical Compassion, Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of Rain I came in with the belief that I would be looking at it through the lens of my anxiety and panic disorder. 

Radical Compassion is about using mindfulness tools to teach yourself self-compassion and kindness. She does this by introducing us to the acronym RAIN. 

“Simply put, RAIN awakens the mindfulness and compassion, applies them to the places where we are stuck, and untangles emotional suffering,” the author writes.

Its goal is to cut through the dense fog of our everyday lives, the trance that we find ourselves in when we begin to worry incessantly. When we’re caught in the thick of daily life, when we’re stressed, anxious, angry, terrified or numb, we can’t be present with ourselves and the world around us. RAIN is a way to cut out all of that, to dispel self-doubt so we can live our best lives. 

I immediately thought this was going to be a repeat of so many things I’ve read before. And while, in a way it echoed a lot of what I know about allowing and accepting your own fears and anxieties, what’s unique about her approach is its focus on self-love, not on the fear or anxiety itself. The author wants us to move beyond that so that we can back to living in the present. We do this by acknowledging our fears, allowing them to be there and being ok with that and then by showing ourselves compassion for the way these fears make us feel so that we can move beyond it. 

Trying RAIN

The first step of RAIN is simply to Recognize ( R ) what is going on inside of you. I took a look inward and asked myself what I’ve been struggling with, or overwhelmed by recently. Since having my son last year, actually it’s probably since I got pregnant, I’ve been having this sort of identity crisis over who I am. Not about who I am now that I am a parent, but who I am now that I’ve put the brakes on a career and decided to put raising my son first. As I recognize that I notice the emotions that come up: feelings of inadequacy, laziness, selfishness, restlessness, anxiousness, the list goes on. 

The second step is to Allow (A) what is happening by breathing and letting be. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to just be, breathing in deeply all of the things I love about being a mom and letting myself sit with the uncomfortable parts too. I just let it all float there and tried not to push any of it away. The author tells us it’s important to sit with our discomfort. 

“We inevitably encounter everything we’ve been avoiding – the loneliness, hurts and fears. And yet if we practice regularly, we discover that we can maintain a balanced, openhearted presence in the midst of the storm.”

Next is to Investigate (I) what feels the most difficult. For me, this step initially seemed like a repeat of Recognize but the author asks yourself to go beyond just naming the emotions you’re experiencing, she asks you to identify what hurts the most about them, what ultimately scares you the most. I’m scared that I’m not doing what society says I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to have the career and the family, to do it all. I’m afraid that this is me settling because anxiety and panic stopped me from pursuing the career I thought I wanted, the one that required traveling. I’m scared of what I’m missing because of the choices I’ve already made.

Lastly, the N stands for Nurturing. This is the part where you send a gentle message inward, directly to your anxious part. The author says it helps if you imagine envisioning your future self as a wise and nurturing presence. I could see myself very clearly, in about 10-15 years, standing in my kitchen, surrounded by my children. I’m happy. I’m in my own domain. I’m taking them to soccer practice, making their lunches, planning summer break trips. It all sounds so boringly suburban but I am unbelievably happy. I’m saying to myself, “it’s ok, every decision has lead you right where you were supposed to be.”  My future self is confident, there’s nothing she would have done differently. She is an anchor. 

The author teaches us several more techniques, guided meditations and reflections, in addition to sharing some personal stories from her students. Overall I felt like I really connected to the text. If I had read this book several years ago, it would have struck me differently and I think that’s what I love about self-help books. One day, I’ll be able to reread this and it will help me deal with something else I’m dealing with.  

RAIN allowed me to get out of my own head, to confront some of my biggest anxieties, acknowledge them and then dispel them so that I can continue living in the present. It helped quiet that ever-doubting inner dialogue in my head that tries to cover “the gold” underneath my negative self-beliefs. 

Christine Wolkin is a freelance writer and writes for our blog. Learn more about our studio at Allebachphotography.com or by texting 610.539.6920. 

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Uncategorized

10 Must Have Amazon Boudoir Items to Add to Your Shopping Cart

When it comes to shopping for your boudoir session, we’ve found that with its fast shipping, free returns and amazing range of options, Amazon is where it’s at.

Check out some of our Amazon ‘must haves’ and when you’re finished, don’t forget to schedule your boudoir session with us at Allebach Photography, conveniently located in the Philadelphia ‘burb of North Wales. Happy shopping!

1. Sheer Long Sleeve Teddy Bodysuit with Deep V Lace Bodysuit
This teddy is super stretchy and gives your body a slimming effect while also enhancing your curves. The deep v neck design with the lace rim, coupled with the long sleeves, gives you a sexy, yet refined look.

Starting at $16.99

2. Akiido High Waist Fishnet Stockings

Reviewers agree these must have stockings really are one size fits all.

“I am bottom heavy, usually wear XL in pants (or size 10) with a S-M in shirts (or size 4-6). Usually “one size” never fits me and I specifically look for XL stockings, but THESE ARE PERFECT! They stretch a lot, so they can fit over my big butt and thighs just fine! I bought another pair immediately after putting them on.”

Starting at $7.99

3. Women’s Given Platform Pump by Jessica Simpson

Basics get bold. This sultry offering in leather with a one-inch platform and 4.5-inch heel creates devastating curves while giving you a timeless silhouette. These pumps come in a fun range of prints and colors; order them in black or go for the Emerald Kid Suede.

4. SUNRO Women’s Basic Long Sleeve Bodysuit

We’re obsessed with this basic bodysuit, both for its soft fabric and for its price.
Starting at $15.18

5. COCOSHIP Women’s Retro High Waisted Bikini Bottom

We love that these bottoms accentuate your curves while channeling a vintage look and feel. Bottoms range from size small to 4X (fits like a US 14-16).

$15.99

6. Womens Stripe Knee-High Socks


Who says sexy can’t mean comfortable? Pair these soft leg warmers with a mini skirt or a warm chunky sweater.

$12.99

7. Frawirshay Women’s Lace Up Boned Overbusts Corset Bustier Bodyshaper Top


There’s a reason this corset is a #1 Bestseller on Amazon. This beautiful vintage style corset laces up in the back and is supported by plastic boning for support. Snag this one to create that coveted hourglass figure.

$11.69

8. LIXFDT Women’s Lace Garter Belt with Adjustable Suspender Belt for Stockings

This piece of perfect for adding a bit of sexiness to your lingerie or you can simply wear the stockings underneath a dress or skirt.

$9.99

9. Mae Lace Padded Bralette

This bralette that features a floral lace overlay and scalloped under-bust band. With a little lace and light support, these favorites are simply too pretty to keep under wraps.

Starting at $10.49

10. ADOME Women’s Strappy Lace Lingerie Bra and Panty Set

The panties on this set feature a back keyhole design and scalloped lace trim. Reviewers rave that this set is super soft and comfy enough to sleep in.

$17.98

YOUR NEXT STEP

Once you’ve compiled your outfit choices, don’t forget to book your solo or couple’s boudoir session with us in our North Wales studio (located just 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia).

Call or text us today at 610.539.6920 or message us on our website at https://allebachphotography.com/contact.

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Boudoir Uncategorized

Seven Reasons to Treat Yo’ Self to Birthday Boudoir

Seven Reasons to Treat Yo’ Self to Birthday Boudoir

Treat Yo’ Self Day is a day for pampering, indulging and celebrating (and popularized by Parks and Rec’s Donna and Tom)– and at Allebach Photography we think there’s no better day of the year to Treat Yo’ Self than on your birthday.

Check out our reasons below to Treat Yo’Self to one of our solo (or couple) sessions with a Birthday Boudoir session in our studio located in North Wales, just 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia.

Celebrate this milestone

Whether you’re turning 21 or 40, every year we spend on this earth deserves celebrating and memorializing. Boudoir has no age.

Give yourself the gift of confidence

You will leave our studio feeling a different person than when you came in. This is more than a photography session; it’s a transformational and empowering experience that will leave you walking taller.

You deserve to be pampered

Between work, family, school, most of us find it way too easy to neglect ourselves. In our studio, you’ll be pampered by our professional hair and makeup artists and be treated like a rock star. 

Did we mention it’s an experience?

The best gifts in life can’t be bought (though we wouldn’t pass up a trip to the King of Prussia mall to pick up some birthday fragrances and fine leather goods, #amIrightDonna?).

You’re going to enjoy yourself

Boudoir can sometimes sound intimidating, but trust us when we say we’ll keep you feeling relaxed (and even get a few laughs out of you). Boudoir is ultimately about making you feel good about yourself.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving

Even after the session, you’ll be able to look back on your session and your photos and remember how badass you look and feel.

You don’t need a reason to celebrate you!

Last but not least, gone are the days when you need an excuse to do boudoir. Heck, you don’t even need a significant other. YOU are the reason. And you are enough. Especially on your birthday!

YOUR NEXT STEP
Call/text us today at 610.539.6920 to book your birthday solo boudoir session or message us on our website at https://allebachphotography.com/contact.

Join our VIP group on Facebook to hear about more experiences at Allebach Photography

Free boudoir phone consultations at http://www.meetme.so/allebachphone