The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Nicole

The Love Yourself First series features phenomenal and resilient women who share their vulnerable, honest and heartfelt life experiences – shedding light on how these experiences bring a new level of self-realization and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love. This Phoenix is Nicole.

How do you love yourself first? What does it mean to you?

I love myself by embracing and accepting the woman I am, my strengths and graces but also my faults and falls. I’m an empath, so I strive for balance by being completely honest with my feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Coming to the center, the heart is where I want to be in love, laughter, and keeping it real. If I’m not good to myself, then I most certainly won’t be good to anyone else.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc.)

My true love is nature, within it I walk, listen to music, meditate, pray, read/journal, capture photos, and give praise and honor to the Goddess and to the Spirit which dwells within the woods. At home I have a sacred space with an altar adorned with items pertaining to my personal journey and the Craft. This is where I pray, center myself, and perform ritual. I adhere to the cycle of the moon by utilizing the New Moon for intention and meditation and the Full Moon to reflect, rest within and give thanks.

I love great conversation, good food and spirits, music, dance, watching movies of all genres, especially a romantic period piece, and a drive on a warm, clear night with the windows down and the music up.

During the day, I like hunting for treasures at thrift shops to put on my style and give as gifts. I also like to soak in the tub with smell goods and to pamper myself with lotions and potions. In all truth, sometimes I punch out the time card to the world and don my soft hoodie, retreat to the bedroom and sleep, ’cause it’s good to dream.

These uncertain times have given me more time to indulge, reflect, and appreciate.

Photo by Nicole. Taken on her nature walk.

Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

Accepting myself for who I truly am in spite of what others may think or feel, this was a long, painful process for me because I wanted to adhere to the expectations of what others wanted me to be. Through a lot of learning, personal experiences and loss, I had to take a deep, intense look in the mirror and face myself – the dark and the light. I realized that this is my journey, and I came to it with an open heart, strong mind, and personal conviction. I have always been the person I am, but now I have accepted and understand my unique gifts and talents, and also how to share and celebrate in my own way.  

What have you learned from self-love?

It has given me the strength and courage to be myself and embrace all that I am and all that I will ever be. Years ago someone once asked me what I believed in? The answer was the same as it is now. Love. If I don’t love and accept myself, I can never fully love others. I’d be holding back the best of myself and neglecting the best in them. 

 

Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories. Be the next one. Send an email.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook. You can now watch IG TV interviews with our self-love features.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.

 


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Your Joy is Non-Negotiable

Take a deep, deep breath and declare that your joy is non-negotiable.

You have a right to experience it, so be diligent about letting it bubble over in your life. (Yes, even during a global pandemic and fighting for justice and against racism. In fact, because of all these things it’s imperative now more than ever that we create light and balance. We have to in order to keep going; our well being depends on it.)

Remember what brings you joy, and unapologetically do MORE of it. Let the joy-filled energy permeate your mind and body, as it is healing and also a revolutionary act.

Happy Juneteenth. Be self-love in action.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Tia

The Love Yourself First series features phenomenal and resilient women who share their vulnerable, honest and heartfelt life experiences – shedding light on how these experiences bring a new level of self-realization and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love.

About our featured Phoenix:  Tia is full of life and unapologetic in her commitment to being herself; it’s something you recognize right away. She’s real, and her authenticity allows women around her breathing room to do the same. Tia is also a university professor, filmmaker and storyteller; she understands the importance of positive, balanced representation and “uses media to share stories about the lived experience of Africana people.” Here’s her LYFF story:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

I do not love myself first; however, I am doing the work to get there. For many years, I believed that loving myself FIRST was self-indulgent and filled with shame. As a child growing up in a Baptist Church, I  was trained to be of service and that meant I needed to  be self-sacrificing and other-centered. To be a good Christian, it was my duty to not complain or inconvenience anyone. I am in the process of unlearning this toxic notion, and I am in the early stages of redefining self-love and self-care.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

I am a filmmaker and storyteller, so to me there is nothing better than sharing a meaningful story.

I love to ride my bike in the park or take long walks while listening to podcasts.

I also embrace pleasures like impromptu sex, and having a glass of wine or a cupcake without beating myself up.

To sustain this life, however, I call up my girlfriends to laugh, cry, sulk, or cheer about my day.

Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

I can recall several challenging life moments that resulted in my appreciation for self-love: fighting for tenure, miscarriage, losing a friend, death of family, divorce, hysterectomy and more. Yet I don’t think it was the challenges that guided my personal practices toward loving myself first. When life is challenging, I am trained to go to work and help others – to serve. During my divorce, I suppressed my own frustration and anger to meet the needs of my children. When my Aunt died, my anguish was suppressed by the planning of the funeral and ensuring everyone else was okay. As a university professor, the journey to tenure is all about self-sacrifice and over-commitment. I learned to shift my behavior, to see myself, and to love me when I started dating after my divorce. The process of dating was fulfilling. Since I was newly divorced, I wasn’t looking for long term – just having fun and enjoying life. I began to let go of control and open up to invite goodness and joy into my life. I stopped overthinking and rationalizing. I cared about my pleasure without discounting others. It was nice. And because I invited goodness in, I made room for love. I am now happily remarried and practice loving me first (at least making a large effort).

What have you learned from self-love?  

I am learning to be okay with embracing pleasure for the mind, body, and soul. I understand that to have pleasure and to be joy filled I must attend to my whole self.

Self-love is a process, and it ebbs and flows, but it is essential to make the attempt to love yourself abundantly because it feels so damn good when you do.

 

Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories. Be the next one. Send an email.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook. You can now watch IG TV interviews with our self-love features. 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Traci

Love Yourself First! Friday is an interview series featuring phenomenal and resilient women who share their self-love stories. The stories are vulnerable, honest and heartfelt, shedding light on how life’s challenges bring a new level of self-acceptance and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love. You’ll find comfort in knowing you’re not alone when it comes to figuring out how to love yourself.

About our featured Phoenix:  Traci is not new to this community, as she was a contributing writer for over two years curating the Artist Feature series, interviewing women creatives who cultivate agency, healing and happiness through fulfilling their unique passions. Traci is an accomplished teacher, visual artist, writer and published poet.

Here’s her powerfully open and honest LYFF story.

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

I take myself out on personal excursions or dates. I go for walks in nature. I go to specialty yarn shops, and before the coronavirus pandemic, I used to treat myself to consignment shopping sprees. However, things have changed. I find myself analyzing what it means to love myself now, minus the shopping sprees. I make things with my hands (i.e. knit, crochet, weave, write, construct journals).

I get in touch with my physical body. I don’t take baths often, but when I do, I soak in warm water mixed with lavender and certain oils. And I pay attention to how my skin feels in water.

I also spend time looking at my skin and paying attention to the changes that this body is going through. I am becoming more in touch with the ripples and skin overlap, hair growth in unique areas, skin discolorations. I have conversations with these parts of my body. I find different ways to compliment this brown avatar suit I used to criticize harshly. In addition, I am learning to detach from such a physical way of loving self. The detachment allows me to heal from past hurts.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul?

I LOVE things connected to supernatural, mystical creatures and third-eye-thinking, so I find myself watching movies and TV series that revolve around such interests. It entices my mind. I am drawn to narratives that explore identity beyond social norms. Self-care is recognizing that I do not fit into a peg hole. I do not have to follow norm; I can pay attention to heart and soul and know that I am okay and safe and loved. This usually happens when I am with like-minded hearts and when I am steps away from certain belief systems and philosophies used to condemn, criticize and destroy others.

I love hiking. I love good food; this includes healthy eating as well as foods that people may not consider healthy. My favorite desserts are bread pudding and cheesecake. And I love eating salads, my mom’s fried dumplings and dad’s jerked seafood gumbo.

I love giving speeches or performing poetry, although I get crazzzzy nervous right before I share. The nervousness serves as a sign to PUSH THROUGH. Pushing through is a self-care act, because when I am in the midst of delivering a poetic message, I know I am being used as both a vessel and an offering of love. That doesn’t mean the message will make people warm and fuzzy. It simply means I am sharing my love language and truth with an audience.

And finally, I am becoming more comfortable with talking to and with myself as a self-care act. I am becoming my own best friend.

Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

I have learned to remove myself from spaces, environments and people who trigger me negatively. Some triggers are signs of growth. They aren’t meant to be harmful. They serve as wake-up calls. Other triggers are harmful, such as speaking to people who consistently complain or gossip or swirl negatively through their actions. Some people create a space of fear and anxiety. When I witness it or when I am in the midst of it, I acknowledge it and work towards removing myself from the space or the person(s). That may mean that I have to cut chords (i.e. leave a job assignment or lessen the communication I have with someone or stop attending events in certain environments). I am blessed to have a supportive tribe that helps me address these challenges.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love has not been an easy concept for me. I have loathed myself blindly and unconsciously in the past. I have shape shifted into so many different beings because I have a tendency to say yes to people’s requests and demands instead of honoring the “Hell NOOO” that is screaming from within.

The exploration of self-love is examining and excavating the self.

  • how the self has been shaped
  • why the self does what it does
  • what the self actually believes

Self-love is literally sitting with self, sometimes in front of others and sometimes alone. The more I get to know myself the easier it becomes to remove the word “self” and just focus on being Love.

 

Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories; be the next one. Send an email.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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8 Go-To Podcasts for Stress Relief, Inspiration and Wellness

 

Whether you’re seeking a fun pick-me-up to past the time or wanting a deeper dive into your personal and professional development, there’s definitely a podcast to provide that fix. The challenge? The medium has grown so much it can be overwhelming to filter and find what works best for you. To take some of the pressure off, and to also help you start your own unique playlist, I’ve listed eight pods I recommend (and a couple of bonuses, too) across the health/wellness, education and business categories. I’m sure they’ll quickly become go-to’s in consistent rotation for stress relief, self-care and inspiration.

The Art of Money – Financial Therapist, Bari Tessler’s book The Art of Money was chosen as a Phoenix Book Pick last year, and the podcast was mentioned because it doesn’t disappoint either. It’s an engaging and thought-provoking extension of the book (which is not required reading in order to understand the podcast). The Art of Money’s holistic approaches and practices for building and sustaining financial wellness and happiness provide a very refreshing take on helping you connect the dots with how you think about money. There’s no shaming or judging about money matters but a commitment to “ushering in a new wave of compassion, gentleness, and unshaming” to gain deeper understanding about your relationship to money (past and present). Some episodes feature special guests in financial therapy, management and planning.

Episode Suggestion: Money pioneer Saundra Davis opens up about race, the wealth gap, and what real change takes

Food Heaven – These powerhouse women in wellness, Wendy and Jess; both registered dietitian nutritionists and best friends, have been sharing healthy living tips, nutrition facts and recipes for a long time, so it was a given that as their platform grew it would eventually include a phenomenal podcast, one that’s compassionate and inclusive on so many levels. It’s health food education and wellness discussed in an encouraging and loving way. You’ll be able to relate no matter where you are on your journey. There’s no talk about restrictive diets and fast food fixes; Food Heaven’s topics include health at every size, food and culture, food justice, body acceptance, balanced eating on a budget, and intuitive eating.

Episode Suggestion: Our Tips for Navigating Stress Eating

Get Loved Up – When you’re in the mood to listen to something with a focus on mental, physical and spiritual health make Get Loved Up with Koya Webb a go-to. What makes this wellness-related podcast different from some others (in a good way) is it doesn’t jump on the what’s-trendy-in-the-field bandwagon to keep your attention; the content is authentic and original. The wide range of guests add to its authenticity. Koya’s positive energy puts her guests at ease so they are more open to sharing personal stories along with useful tips on subjects like overcoming fear, healing trauma, spiritual awareness, reproductive health and meditation.

Episode Suggestion: Pull Yourself Out of Your Pain and Be In Your Own Game with Tina Lifford

Good Ancestor – There are so many great things to say about this podcast. It’s a thought-provoking, intentional, and empowering breath of fresh air. Curated by Layla Saad, author, speaker and podcast host, Good Ancestor is all about heartfelt conversations with women changemakers and culture-shapers who are authors, coaches, healers, educators, midwives, therapists, etc. Conversation topics are diverse, and spiritually and socially conscious. The deep dialogue on everything from motherhood to race/culture to self-care is much needed for personal growth, healing and transformation. Layla begins each episode by asking her guests, “Who are some of the ancestors living or transitioned, familial or societal, who have influenced you on your journey?” She ends the episode by asking, “What does it mean to you to be a good ancestor?” These questions uncover how her guests will use their talents and purpose to, as Layla puts it, “create a legacy of healing and liberation for those who are here in this lifetime and for those who will come after I’m gone.”

Episode Suggestion: Good Ancestor Jennifer Arnise on Healing the Black Mother Wound

Meditation Minis – In a nutshell, this podcast takes the pressure off when it comes to meditation, especially if you’re a beginner and want more guidance. The mini meditations are guided by Chel Hamilton and are perfect for either jump starting your day or preparing to relax at night. Put it this way, if you’ve had a very long day at work and need to decompress, listen to a mini episode like Cozy Relaxing Sleep to put your mind at ease. Each meditation starts with focused and doable prompts that help you push through the what-if-I’m-not-doing-it-right feelings and support you in building confidence, relieving anxiety and stress, and also having a restful sleep. This is one the kids can enjoy, too. (FYI: Her voice is very soothing! Get ready to be very relaxed.)

Episode Suggestion: Calm + Be + Ease (No matter how anxious it all seems)

On Purpose with Jay Shetty – This is one that will consistently keep you interested and inspired; you’ll look forward to the episodes, especially the 30-45 minute tips and how-to’s. On Purpose is all about empowering personal growth and transformation so you can mindfully live in your unique purpose; and, if you haven’t quite figured out your purpose or it’s changing for whatever reason, Jay Shetty, provides on-point support and to-the-point advice and wisdom you didn’t even know you needed. It’s one ah-ha moment after another on relationships, motivation, self-care, etc. You’ll definitely walk away with newfound revelations and be invigorated to apply new tools to persevere.

Episode Suggestion: The Shocking Ways We Spend Our Time and 8 Ways to Invest It Better

Therapy for Black Girls – A Phoenix favorite for sure! Therapy for Black Girls is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford on mental health and personal development. It can be an extremely daunting task to find a therapist, and even more challenging when you want her to be a woman of color. Joy has made it easier by creating a platform that centers the voices and expertise of WOC in the field and ensures the community of listeners is affirmed, supported and heard when it comes to mental health issues and concerns. The podcast doesn’t replace therapy, of course, but it’s a helpful and accessible resource; plus, it inspires those who’ve never had professional help to take the leap. There’s even a therapist directory to help you find licensed mental health professionals in your neck of the woods!

Episode Suggestion: Shedding Your Superwoman Status

Unlocking Us – Three words: Dr. Brenѐ Brown. She’s giving it to you straight, no chaser as usual about what it means to be vulnerable. Right out the gate with the first episode she talks about the discomfort of trying new things (like her podcast) and how it’s important to embrace discomfort in order to grow. Brenѐ shares an unforgettable acronym, FFT, to break down why most people are afraid to try something new. (No spoiler on the acronym! Go listen.) The beauty of Unlocking Us is the presence of vulnerability while in heartfelt conversation with guests about various aspects of vulnerability, e.g. grief and finding meaning, permission to feel, loneliness and connection, and anxiety and over/under-functioning to name a few. Get your journal ready, because each episode is full of lessons you’ll be able to apply to your daily life.

Episode Suggestion: Alicia Keys and Brenѐ Brown on “More Myself”

Bonuses:

Support is Sexy with Elayne Fluker – Professional women from around the world share the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journeys. Episode Suggestion: Tiffany Dufu on Dropping the Ball and Dumping Your Good Girl Burden

 

Snap Judgment – Phenomenal real-life stories from everyday people; storytelling that makes you want to know more. Episode Suggestion: How Estee Got Her Zumba Back

 

 

Happy listening.

(Are you already an avid podcast listener? If so, what are a few of your favorite? Share with us in the comments.)


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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Phoenix Book Pick: Coping with Anxiety

This is a right-on-time Phoenix Book Pick, wouldn’t you say? Anxiety usually rears its ugly (and very challenging) head when feeling uncertainty. It can be overwhelming to say the least, so what’s imperative is finding healthy ways to take care of yourself while navigating the unfamiliar.

Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear and Worry by Dr. Edmund Bourne and Lorna Garano is an easy and informative read. It’s the kind of book that becomes a go-to resource when you need a how-to reminder. Coping with Anxiety shares the various types of anxieties, and it’s eye-opening for understanding and identifying where you might fit on the spectrum; however, what’s most refreshing is the focus on practical everyday strategies that can easily fit into your daily routine. The “aim is to provide you with an array of simple tools to help you find greater calm and stability in the midst of complex, even chaotic times.”

Each chapter (10, of course) is dedicated to a strategy: Relax Your Body. Relax Your Mind. Think Realistically. Face Your Fears, etc. Chapter One, Relax Your Body, for example, talks about how anxiety manifests itself in the physical body and what to do about it, giving simple, straight-forward coping practices like cue-controlled relaxation and abdominal breathing.

One of my favorite chapters is the last, Chapter 10, Cope on the Spot. It’s all about leaning into anxiety, recognizing when it appears and accepting that it’s present. “Acceptance of anxiety symptoms is the key. By cultivating an attitude of acceptance in the face of anxiety, you allow it to move through and pass.” Some of the suggested techniques to move through what you’re feeling include talking to a supportive friend, staying in the present, and creating coping statements and affirmations.

I also appreciate that the book discusses community care, emphasizing how important it is to connect to something outside yourself for a sense of security and stability. Fostering a connection with others (through a worthy cause/organization, nature, God/Higher Power, etc) can create a greater sense of peace in your life – something we all deserve.

Anxiety is very much real and can often be debilitating. Coping with Anxiety provides the support needed to embrace and consistently practice strategies that work best for you and that offer both short and long-term relief.

If you decide to get this Phoenix Book Pick be sure to let me know what you think. I’d love to hear about the techniques that helped you.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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Quick, Simple Self-Care Practices to Ease Your Overwhelm

We’re currently in uncharted water, and it’s OK to feel overwhelmed when there’s a lack of certainty. Acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling. We can’t heal what we don’t accept, so let the emotions move through you, and then release them.

HOW-TO/PRACTICE:

Find a quiet place to center yourself, and then relax your body by breathing deeply; on the exhale, release any tension in your arms, hands, legs, feet, shoulders, back, neck, etc. Imagine whatever you’re feeling dissolving with each breath. Do this at least 10-20 minutes daily. This will relieve anxiety and tension held in your body.

If you need more support in your practice, I highly recommend Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton, a meditation podcast for anxiety, stress and sleep. (FYI: Her voice is very soothing! Get ready to feel very relaxed.) Start with this episode: Calm + Be + Ease (No matter how anxious it all seems).

Journaling helps, too. Dump those feelings on paper to clear your mind; it is an intentionally calming way to disrupt worry and to also decipher facts from negative self-talk that creeps in, especially during anxiousness. End your mindful writing with gratitude. Jot down at least one thing you’re grateful for in your life. Observe how you feel emotionally and physically when you’ve finished journaling: Has a weight been lifted? Is your mind clearer? What did you learn about yourself during the process?

AFFIRMATIONS DO WORK: 

You know how much I love affirmations, so any time I can share them with you I will. They are (as I’ve mentioned in other posts) positive words of empowerment that when consistently spoken, shift your perspective, lift your spirit, and change your mind. Words are powerful. What you say to and about yourself matters. Affirmations help you stay mindful about the words you choose, keeping the focus on what you want for your life rather than what you don’t want. It’s also best to write them in present tense, as if what you’re affirming is already happening.

Tip: Try writing your own while journaling, and then put the ones that really resonate with you (your top three) on index cards or Post-It Notes so they’re readily available. I have a couple posted on my bathroom vanity; I read them while getting ready in the morning.

Below are three I created for you to support curbing anxiety and diminishing overwhelm:

  1. Anxiety – I acknowledge and accept what I’m feeling; I know that it will pass in time.
  2. Self-Acceptance – I love and accept myself in this present moment. Healing permeates my mind and body.
  3. Worry – I let go of worrying about the outcome and move forward with courage, gratitude, and wisdom.

It’s all about building your self-care tool kit, finding and consistently utilizing healthy practices that work best for your well being, practices that will help you work through what you’re feeling and cultivate peace.

Be well. Stay safe.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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5 Reflection Questions to Ask Yourself in Preparation for a New Year

It’s that time! We’re assessing and critiquing the year gone by and envisioning and preparing for a new one, a new decade, in fact. Well, while you’re in the thick of it, I urge you to keep this in mind:

Affirm what you’ve done well, what you DID accomplish. Focus on the progress you’ve made not on the lack thereof. One of the biggest deterrents to positive transformation is the need to pick apart, to harshly criticize. I’m asking you to do the opposite, as you are not a project to be fixed. There is nothing wrong with you. You are a person, a beautiful and whole human being who is growing, evolving and healing, and it all takes time. So, here’s what…pull out that journal and ask yourself the five reflection questions I’ve noted.

In this new year, new decade no more pick-apart. Catch yourself and ask:

“How can I say this differently? Affirmingly? What perspective lovingly supports me?” Observe how this changes your energy as you move forward.

Happy New Year. Be self-love in action.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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15 Affirmations to Inspire the Daily Practice of Self-Love

I originally posted 15 Affirmations to Inspire the Daily Practice of Self-Love in 2014, and I decided, “Hey, why not do a refresh?” You got it. Yes, I’m trying to get as many people on the affirmation bandwagon as I can because they work. The perspective we take on our experiences can either create a dark downward spiral or catapult us to significant transformational change. Put another way by Margaret Moore, founder of Wellcoaches, “It makes it harder, not easier to change when the focus is on what’s wrong and what’s not working. Not enough positive energy and emotion are harvested to fuel the pursuit of change.”

Exactly what are affirmations, and why are they important? To put it simply, they are positive words of empowerment that when consistently spoken, shift your perspective, lift your spirit, and change your mind. Affirmations help you focus on what you want for your life rather than what you don’t want. And as the Coaching Psychology Manual shares, they are “best written in the present tense, as if they are already happening and in your voice.”

We have a tendency to concentrate on the worst case scenario. In fact, how many times have you used or heard someone else use the phrase, “OK, here’s the worst case scenario,” to prepare for what might go wrong. Why fabricate, ponder and conjure the worst results possible when the universe is really conspiring for your greatest good? To think about the worst that can happen while secretly hoping for something more loving, kind, peaceful and compassionate to occur isn’t healthy nor does it manifest the experiences you truly deserve.

Caroline Shola Arewa, Wellness Coach and Author, provides a inspiring explanation from her book, Opening to Spirit:

Thoughts have a very powerful impact on our energy. ‘Energy follows thought’ is one of the basic laws of nature. Through our thoughts we are capable of changing our lives. Therefore, we must be vigilant and think with awareness. A negative belief can manifest just as easily as an affirmative thought. The universe supports ‘My life will never change,’ just as easily as ‘Things are going to improve for me.’ The choice is yours. You are gifted with a high level of consciousness, so you can make choices. When you truly Open to Spirit, help is available to you. As director of your life story, you have the ability to rewrite the script and make changes; this is your ‘respons-ability’.

If love, kindness, peace and compassion are what you desire, then why not make them your primary concentration from the start? So, here’s the commitment: No more I-don’t-want mantras. You’ve already established yourself in that area, right? Moving forward, affirm your life through positive, conscious thoughts and words that support your intentions and direct the energy where you REALLY want it to flow.

Begin writing your own affirmations to learn the difference between a negative statement versus an affirmative one. For example, instead of “I don’t want to be alone,” try “I am open to new experiences and attract positive people into my life.” Rather than declaring, “I am broke,” try “My financial needs are always met, and I am provided for.” Right now I’m really working on time management: using my time wisely, making room for things that are important to me and being mindful throughout the day. To create a meaningful, motivating affirmation I visualized how doing these things will make me feel and started brainstorming the actions and thoughts that will generate the outcome I want. The affirmation is below:

I honor my time through daily acts of preparation and mindfulness like weekly meal prep, taking deep breaths to center myself for the present moment, taking it one step at a time, committing to a consistent sleep schedule, and saying yes to what really bring me happiness. These daily acts create more peaceful, intentional experiences that support, affirm and empower my well being.

Lastly, jot down affirmations you hear or read from others. Post them in different areas of your home so that your awareness strengthens and reciting them becomes a daily practice. As a jump start, I’ve compiled some that I’ve shared with you in the past, as well as some from authors I’m inspired by:

  1. Relaxation: I take time to slow down and enjoy my life.
  2. Physical Health: I love my body, and my body loves me.
  3. New Opportunities: I say yes to new things and follow my intuition. When my spirit tells me to move, I’m going!
  4. Reverence: I love MY life. Things are getting better for me everyday, and I am grateful.
  5. Friendship: My friends are a reflection of me; therefore, I choose them wisely.
  6. Gratitude: I recognize the opportunities that have been given to me and voice my gratitude. I am thankful for each blessing and keep an open mind and heart to the ways in which they come.
  7. Forgiveness: I forgive my past and embrace the lessons I have learned from it. I fully accept and love who I am in this present moment.
  8. Rejuvenation: I give myself permission to rest and restore.
  9. Financial Abundance: A consistent and steady stream of income flows to me in expected and unexpected ways, and satisfies my needs and wants. I am open to and grateful for financial prosperity.
  10. Patience: I am grateful even in the midst of my challenges because I know my challenges are building spiritual muscle. I am resilient.
  11. Surrender: I let go and the universe lovingly takes care of me.
  12. BONUSMindfulness: Today is my day. It is a gift, and I am grateful for and mindful of each moment. I center myself, breathing in the new energy and embracing the new lessons that come my way. Today is my day.

Affirmations from Inspirational Authors I Love:

  1. Acceptance and Change:  “In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. I now choose calmly and objectively to see my old patterns, and I am willing to make changes. I am teachable. I can learn. I am willing to change. I choose to have fun doing this. I choose to react as though I have found a treasure when I discover something else to release. I see and feel myself changing moment by moment. Thoughts no longer have any power over me. I am the power in the world. I choose to be free.” -Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
  2. Love: “I love myself; therefore, I work at a job I truly enjoy doing, one that uses my creative talents and abilities, working with and for people I love and who love me, and earning a good income… I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world, for they are a mirror of what I am.” -Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
  3. Self-Worth: No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”  –Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
  4. Creativity: “I will love my creative impulses all the days of my life. I will give expression daily to the words, shapes, images, and movements that emerge from within me. I will celebrate my unique vision and experience, refusing to color inside someone else’s lines.”  Patricia Lynn Reilly, I Promise Myself

The beauty is that most, if not all, of these affirmations will apply to your life at some point or another. They will, along with others that speak to your heart, keep your thoughts and words in alignment to manifest results that support self-love. Daily practice is your commitment to believing in what you want, and then asking yourself, first and foremost, “What’s the best that can happen?”

Book Suggestions on the Topic:

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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3 Key Components for Sustaining Your Self-Care Practices

 

 

Sustaining self-care can be a challenge for many reasons (ranking at the top of list, feeling like there’s not enough time to fit it into your already jam-packed schedule). But you have to make yourself a priority in order to effectively take care of everything else in your life – anything less leads to burnout and a steady decline in your physical and emotional health. Here are three key components to help you stay the course when it comes to your daily, weekly or monthly practices:

Consistency/Increments of Time – Participate in your self-care activities on a consistent basis. Keep a schedule that works for you. What often prevents follow-through is the amount of time you think it’ll take. Do a time assessment check; figure out when there are open moments in your schedule, and then use the time wisely. Whether it’s a 15 to 30-minute block in the morning or an hour at night before bed, it’s yours. Dive in, and before you know it, you’ll be closer to where you want to be.

Patience – There is a process to every practice. Whether you’ve decided to take a yoga class, to go to therapy, to enroll in school, to adjust your sleep schedule, etc. you’re creating a shift in behavior and building habit. If adjustments need to be made along the way, it’s perfectly OK. Just stick with it. Stick with it. Stick with it! You may be uncomfortable because you’re trying something new, but you’re also learning and growing, so persevere. Your affirmation: I am grateful. My challenges are building spiritual muscle and resilience.

Self-Compassion – Self-criticism does not “whip you into shape” any faster. It propels you down the rabbit hole of fear, insecurity, anxiety and overwhelm, making it harder not easier to be consistent with your self-care practices because the focus is on what’s wrong, and what’s not working. Let positive energy fuel your self-care pursuits. If you don’t want to participate on any given day, acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling. Honor those feelings with compassion. Step away. Take a breather. You’ll be able to revisit with a fresher perspective the next time. As Dr. Kristin Neff, points out in her book, Self-Compassion: The Power of Being Kind to Yourself: “When we experience warm and tender feelings toward ourselves, we are altering our bodies as well as our minds. Rather than feeling worried and anxious, we feel calm, content, trusting, and secure.”

Repeat the following until it sinks in: “Self-care is a journey. There’s no rush.” Some days will be better than others, so time, patience and self-compassion should be constant companions, providing breathing room to weather the not-so-good days and to focus on what matters, which is the vibrant and more balanced life taking good care of yourself brings.

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.