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The Beautiful Heart Behind the Photos

All of the photographs used throughout the foundation of Alight Wellness & Services website are credited to Donna Rousselle. It's an honour to share her vision and photography on this platform, as her work so beautifully captures her love for being immersed in nature and celebrating the magic of life. As a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and dear friend, while her physical presence is dearly missed, we will continue to celebrate and share her joy, laughter and vibrant love for life through stories and her breathtaking work.

With some revisions and additions, this piece was originally written and shared on Alight's various social media platforms on May 20, 2021.

As I've been preparing for the launch of Alight's website, I've enjoyed reviewing a particular set of photos that were taken about a year and a half ago. Photography and seeing the world from behind a camera always inspired my mother. She always spoke of being able to see the magic of life up close when taking pictures. She had a beautiful eye for nature and loved taking candid shots of people. And today, I'm even more grateful and honoured to include her work throughout this website. Little did I know, this would end up being the only professional shoot we would collaborate on before she passed.

During this particular day, our intention was to get posed shots (for my website and her Luxe magazine

submission). This photo of me (seen below), was taken in between locations, as I was powdering my nose and goofing around. I look back now and realize the beautiful parallels in this moment, for as she captured my true nature it also seems to captures hers. As a photographer, it shows her knack for capturing people in moments where they're most open and genuine. While also providing a glimpse of what the unconditional love of a mother may look like.

I'll be honest, I look back at this time in my life and realize this was a pinnacle point for me

- as I was learning how I related to my own pain. And as I struggled to be compassionate with myself, sometimes I was also not as generous at offering such gentleness with those I loved most dearly. Yet, in this moment, it feels as though I can see myself (at that point in my life) with a little more kindness. Through the eyes of my mother, I'm offered a glimpse into her world and how she might have always seen me: as her joy filled daughter.

And at the same time, it seems to capture something much deeper than just a playful smile. It's as though she's paused a moment that frames the resonance that connects our two hearts. Beyond the time frame of our physical journeys, it becomes a tangible gift that I can revisit and remember what bonds her and I. The knowing that a mother's love is unconditional - with no ending. And that she can always be found in the precious, little moments where I'm present in my heart and experiencing life through this sense of joy.

What I've learnt over the past year, is the bond between a mother and daughter is also a journey shared between two souls. This relationship is one that I will always be grateful for, especially having shared it with a woman who was as beautiful, loving, kind and understanding as she was.

Today, I tear up writing this because I felt drawn to post a picture that was playful. In doing so, it also felt like a gentle nudging from my mother - reminding me to connect with the heart of who I am: joy. Sometimes being within the processes of supporting the parts of ourselves that may be hurting, we may forget to also connect with the parts of our true nature that resonate with joy, peace, love and play. Seeing this photo is a beautiful reminder for myself to connect with joy. To allow myself to be more playful. And to be more open to seeing myself as she did.

So, in sharing her work throughout Alight's website, I wish to honour my mother's beautiful heart, her talent and her loving nature - and for gifting me with this reminder to live from an open place of joy. Sometimes we may not always see ourselves for the whole picture of who we are. Sometimes it takes the reminders from those who know our hearts the most, for us to remember that we're not just our hurts.

In these moments, I pray that joy, ease and/or grace also find out you.

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