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Last year, at the same time of year, we invited you on social media to slip into your bathing suit and “throw” yourself in snow and ice-cold water for our Break the Ice Challenge. There is a lot to say about the benefits of exposure to cold water, but it was first and foremost an invitation to connect to our inner child, to get out of our comfort zone. Many of you participated, sending us your photos, each more inspiring than the next.
Oneka is taking a step back and reflecting on the nature of its presence on social media. Therefore, there won’t be a Break the Ice Challenge this year.
Then, this photo happens.
What a better invitation to step out (or run out for that matter) of one’s comfort zone?!
Surely, an image is worth a thousand words, but I wanted to find out a little more about how this shot came to be and about the message Stacey and Philippe wished to attach to it, should it be shared.
This is a transcript of our conversation while taking a beautiful winter walk in the woods in the vicinity of the family farm in Frelighsburg.
Tell us how this glorious picture was born? Is running in a snowy field a daily practice of yours?
Philippe:(Laughing) No!!! However, we do practice some techniques of cold therapy for all the physiological and psychological benefits it brings.
We regularly immortalize family moments and important milestones in our company’s life with our friend and photographer extraordinaire Jocelyn Michel. During a recent photo shoot at the farm with Jocelyn, we got very inspired by the beauty of winter here and the deep gratitude we have for feeling alive and deeply connected to this land we cherish. A few minutes later: On your mark, get set, Go! Jocelyn captured this historical moment (laughter) Especially for Stacey!
Stacey: Indeed! Soooo out of my comfort zone!
Why choose to share this photo?
Philippe: Looking at this image and getting feedback from people in our close circle, we realized that beyond our personal impulse to go out and play, this shot inspired and had a lot to say. After some hesitation, we thought that it might inspire more people. We thought it could be a refreshing (ahaha- laughter) way of sharing a positive message with our community.
What exactly would you like to express through this photo?
Philippe:The current context and the hardships that we have had to face as societies and as individuals brings us to reflect upon our health, our well-being and how we take care of ourselves. Some systems in our society are crumbling, malfunctioning and no longer support us in our globality from an individual standpoint and worsen inequalities from a collective standpoint. Our wish is to inspire, to help each other realize that, considering our abilities and limitations, we each have the power to influence our physical and mental state in our own way, to take charge of our health and wellbeing through the lifestyle choices we make.
Stacey:For us, one way we take care of ourselves physically and mentally is by nurturing our connection to land and nature. I personally feel a strong bond with animals, and I am a firm believer in the beneficial influence animal have on our emotional health.
We also need to remember we are not separate, not from nature, not from each other. Humans, animals, plants, we are all interconnected. When we take care of ourselves, of our family, of our environment, of the kind of energy we bring out into the world, we influence our collective state of health.
Philippe:Taking care of ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean booking a day at the spa, or indulging in a pampering ritual with Oneka products. We recommend it of course! But taking care of ourselves is rather a state of mind, an inclination to make space/time to honor ourselves individually, to allow oneself to be our best self into the world.
Taking a short walk, taking the time to (really) breath, intentionally taste the food we eat and savor it, putting our smartphone away for a while, are all ways to materialize an intentional way of caring for ourselves and are all accessible throughout a busy day, on which they will prove even more beneficial.
Stacey: We all know this: when we haven’t practiced these simple things for a while, we realize how good it feels to do so, how it rejuvenates us even. It makes us see how disconnected from ourselves we had grown to be, without even noticing.
This shot reminds me of last year’s Break the Ice Challenge. It looks as if you are at it again! Can you tell us a bit about what stepping out of your comfort zone means to you and why it is important?
Philippe:(Laughs) As we have been doing some thinking about our presence on social media, Break the Ice Challenge season 2 was not aligned with our position. That being said, it is important to us to invite our community to explore discomfort at this time of the year. It can take many different shapes: to start a project that is going to expose us, makes us feel vulnerable, try an activity that we had deemed as “not our thing”, jump in the river when it’s -20 outside, try a new hair style, move to another continent etc. There is as many discomfort levels as there are humans on this planet. Whatever the outcome, what is for sure is that it makes us face our fears, our limiting beliefs and invites us to conquer them. If we do it from a place of compassion towards ourselves then we come out stronger, and that, boosts morale!
Stacey: This photo is me very much out of my comfort zone, on so many levels! I find this exercise important for what it teaches us about ourselves. While we observe what is going on in our mind, what we feel in our body as we enter this vulnerable place, we learn to observe our ego and use apply these learnings in other areas of our lives. It is very empowering.
Philippe: I think the idea of stepping out of your comfort zone, of willingly seek some level of discomfort particularly resonates these days. Let this be an invitation to dare to love someone who thinks differently, who has different values, possibly opposed to ours. I don’t mean to tolerate this person but to love this person because he/she is fellow human beings, with his/her share of contradictions, joys and sufferings. It is not necessarily about telling them either but really to shift our internal posture towards this person. It is to choose love over fear. I believe that if more of us would make that conscious choice (which can be difficult and uncomfortable) of love over hate, over indifference even, then our world would be a better place.
Sometimes an image is worth a thousand words, but sometimes an image starts a conversation.
Thank you for reading this far. Thank you to Philippe and Stacey for sharing, for daring and giving us food for thought. Thank you for walking the walk, talking the talk, humbly and with open hearts.
As for me, I will plan on reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London again. Something about the wolf pack vibe in this photo… and I will go ahead and get on my cross-country skis for a most sweaty, painful, and surely uncomfortable beginner’s experience.
Author: Claire Fesquet
Photo: Jocelyn Michel