Discovering hearts all-around her; it’s not the thread that Malia Rae intentionally set out to weave through her life, but it makes perfect sense in hindsight. A formally educated photographer, she was led on a different course than her original plan.
For years, Rae called Chicago, Illinois, her home. The cold weather never ruined her sunny disposition until it intermingled with a love lost. She sought refuge in Austin, Texas, when friends opened their arms to her.
Perhaps her transformation could have happened in any city, but there is that vibe in Austin that seems to make it distinctive from other places; it’s so welcoming, approachable, artsy and cool (even when the temperature spikes). This weird, wonderful city seemed like a different country altogether to her and she blossomed there.
This was the point where that one decision would impact her for years to come. Head held high, would she let her spirit soar, follow that inner voice, explore the unknown and start anew? Resilience won out over complacency and she buoyantly embarked on a mission to heal herself.
What you look for in life, you find; Rae says she remembers the concept struck a deep cord within her and she set out on a search as if her life depended on it. Drawn to nature, she would spend hours exploring. Three months later, she was still waking at sunrise, exploring beaches and walking in the woods. Then it happened; a rock, a leaf, a cloud – all in the shape of a heart. For a moment she wondered; had they always been in plain sight or were they figments of her imagination? Luckily, her ever present companion, her camera, was there to serve as her witness.
As she so poignantly explains it: “…Eventually, nature responded to my desperate calls with an abundance of love, manifesting itself in the symbolic shape of a heart. I find it fascinating that the obstacles in our path can be fuel for the gift that we give back to the world. In this work, I am learning to turn betrayal into trust, mold heartbreak into love, and transmute depression into passion and purpose. In my quest, I have also found that I am not alone. In my art, and in my life, I want to create a connection with other hearts and share the love…”
Cultivated from the depths of her soul-searching journey, it’s easy to see why her company, My SoulTribe, resonates with anyone that it touches; a tear, a smile, a sigh being the ultimate compliment. Was Mother Nature waiting for her all along? Or, did those hearts magically appear as a reminder of the power of tenderness, affection and devotion? No two are alike, yet they share the ability in making you feel as if someone is wrapping their arms around you.
You will still find Rae up at sunrise, searching nature for more signs of abounding love. Her journey continues as each message revitalizes her. During a recent trip to Michigan, she couldn’t help but smile when she happened to glance at the hearts on the Virginia license plate of her rental car plate that read “…Virginia is for Lovers…”
Happy Valentine’s Day!