The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action

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The Phoenix Book Picks: Dare to Lead + The Art of Money

I haven’t done a Phoenix Book Pick in a while, so I want to share what I’m currently reading this summer; actually, there are two books in rotation: Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown and The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness by Bari Tessler.

I like Brené Brown’s books (her research on vulnerability and shame is phenomenal), so I was really excited about Dare to Lead, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s an honest, empowering guide to holistic leadership – sharing research and real-life experiences on how to lead from the heart not by fear and emphasizing the importance of vulnerability, self-work and bravery when it comes to leading others and building courageous teams. I also appreciate all the interactive tools, practices and writing prompts throughout the book, especially those around how to have tough conversations. One of my favorite quotes:

“Self-awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead.”

The Art of Money by Bari Tessler is all about financial wellness and happiness by helping you connect the dots with how you think about money (past and present), by encouraging self-compassion when it comes to anger, shame, and blame around money matters, and by developing your personal growth through exercises like money story visualization. For example, Tessler asks in Chapter 3, Your Money Story: 1) Describe your current relationship with money, 2) Visualize your money past, and 4) Connect the dots between past and present, 4) Give yourself a hug. There’s no tough love and judgment here at all, only support for a deeper understanding about and healthier relationship with money. She explains in an interview about her approach, as well as colleague and financial planner, Saundra Davis (founder of Sage Financial Solutions), “While a lot of the financial world is riddled with judgmental, “tough love” approaches, Saundra and I are kindred spirits in ushering in a new wave of compassion, gentleness, and unshaming in this area of life.” This is definitely a breath of fresh air when cultivating financial wellness and happiness.

The Art of Money has been a real eye-opener for me; so much so, I started listening to her podcast, also called The Art of Money. Listen to the newest episode (below) with her guest, Saundra Davis discussing money consciousness, the wealth gap and race. It’s a very honest, open and powerful conversation.


One of my favorite quotes from The Art of Money:

“Please know that as you move courageously and compassionately forward with your money work, you are already taking steps to value yourself, your time, your energy, and everything that truly matters to you.”

If you’ve already read one or both of these books, let me know what you think. How have they helped you take better care? What books are on your list this summer? Share. I want to know.

Happy reading!


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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What’s Draining You?

What’s draining you?

Let’s talk about it. What experiences in your life have become emotionally toxic? What are you holding on to that hinders growth? What are you not saying or doing to avoid conflict, or for fear of being misunderstood?

This I Thrive Self-Care Meetup is all about identifying energy zappers – those things, places (and yes, unfortunately, sometimes people) that consistently keep us tapped out and stressed out.

Whether you’re able to pinpoint your “zappers” right away or have to give it more thought, we all have had (at some point or another) experiences that left us feeling depleted. Why? There are a multitude of reasons – some of them only you know. However, at the top of the list for most women is people-pleasing, more specifically, not saying no to things we don’t want to do.

We’ll learn and discuss eight mindfulness practices that will support (1) letting go of what no longer affirms and honors you, (2) setting healthy boundaries, (3) creating experiences that align with what you genuinely want.

As Brene Brown says in 3 Ways to Set Boundaries: The Importance of knowing when, and how to say no: “Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.” Well, we’re going to practice.

Please join us October 28 for Change What Drains. Get your ticket, spread the word, and of course, bring a friend. Let’s finish the year strong – refreshed and with clarity for 2019.

What you’ll need + other things to know:

  • Bring a journal. (All other materials/resources will be provided).
  • Dress is casual + comfortable.
  • Refreshments will be served.
  • There will be a self-care gift box giveaway at the end of the meetup, too! Some lucky participant will be the winner of a box chock-full of good stuff.


About I Thrive Self-Care Meetups:

I Thrive is an affirmation, a commitment to apply practical self-care regimens that motivate women to make themselves a priority. I Thrive is sisterhood, a chance to hold space for one another as we let go of what no longer serves us, and to make room for new experiences and clearer, healthier perspectives.

Meet & bond with other women who are just as committed to self-care breakthroughs and transformations.

Receive encouragement and guidance that help your daily practice.

Know you’re not alone on this path. We’re all figuring this self-love thing out together!

Be in a space that honors vulnerability, and also provides preparation for the week ahead.

Dig in and give yourself the love you deserve, the necessary and invaluable me-time that feeds the mind, body and soul.

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


Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s brave Phoenix is Meaghan:

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

Loving myself first means three things to me: forgiving, showing up, and sharing.

  1. Forgiving myself: Since I was a child, I have been told I am just too sensitive, thin-skinned, needlessly vulnerable. I have always felt things incredibly deeply, and it shows. For a long time, I allowed others to take advantage of this part of me and even chastise me for it, telling me it was a flaw, a softness that needed to be hardened. But loving myself started with forgiving myself for these perceived weaknesses, which then opened up the opportunity to protect my vulnerability, and even, to insist upon it being something helpful and constructive.
  2. Showing up for myself: Once I learned to embrace the complexities of my emotional life, I was more ready to defend, preserve, and nurture it. This meant being more verbal when I felt I was being mistreated or ignored or emotionally abused; it also meant coming to the difficult and liberating conclusion that no one else was going to do this for me. As it goes, when I began articulating my worth, I lost some people who I thought were my friends. But the process has left me with a small, strong group of people I consider my chosen family. They respect, love, and appreciate me.
  3. Sharing myself: Once I learned to accept, appreciate, and defend who I am, I became more ready to share myself with the world. Part of loving myself means using my talents, intellect, and skills toward something that fulfills me: right now, it is through teaching and contributing to Human Rights scholarship. I hope to continue doing this once I graduate: I wish for myself a fulfilling life, and it’s my intention to show up and make that dream a reality.



“I am learning how to embrace the beauty of my body…” -Meaghan, LYFF Feature

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

My favorite part of self-care has been creating rituals. My oil baths are legendary in my household, my partner understanding that this time is my time: I use organic oils and salts in a warm bath, and sink into the water with candlelight flickering around me. I light incense, and on a particularly tough day, smudge the space with sage. It is my moment with the divine, where I cleanse and nourish my skin and my mind after work. It helps me shed the stresses of the day.

I have discovered great solace in yoga, and practice at least 3 times a week staying present, feeling graceful (sometimes clumsy!), and building strength. This, in addition to weekly cardio, helps to keep my mood elevated and my mind clear. My personal fitness routine has helped me build a completely new self-image: instead of the un-athletic gym class dropout I thought I was, I know now that I am, in fact, made of poetry and sinewy muscles that can balance, extend, and flex.

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

So, I am going to overcome an obstacle just by writing this answer, and in so doing, I hope to demonstrate my idea of what self-love is. I live with depression, a mental illness that affects women and men around the world. As I grow and change, my depression changes with me. It has had different iterations, and manifests itself differently at different stages of my life. One of the most difficult stages was when I was a freshman in college: I was feeling profoundly alone, and with no one to confide in, I began having thoughts of suicide. I had no desire to eat, was losing weight rapidly, and did not leave my dorm room for days on end, save to go to class. It wasn’t until I had the courage to call my mother, and tell her that I was not doing okay, that I had been thinking of ways to quietly end my life. I told her how I was feeling, and asked her for help (Thank you, Mom, I love you). That was seven years ago, and I could not be prouder of my 18-year-old self for reaching out, and for continuing to struggle. While many may think that this was a time of weakness, I see it as a display of strength. I wanted to keep fighting, and fight I did.

I am writing this now because I made that phone call. I helped save my own life.

I reject the notion that we need to be quiet about these experiences: no one should ever suffer in silence or isolation. Our cultural stigmas around depression and other mental illnesses breed silence, and I refuse to perpetuate this damaging norm. If you are suffering, please tell someone. There are people who care about you, who want to help you leave this pain behind, and want to help you embrace your beautiful life for everything it could and will be.

I look back on that time, that person, with compassion and sadness. I see now I rarely allowed myself to dream: I was so enveloped in my depression that I could not see myself growing up or growing older. I did not think I would make it so far. I am learning now what it’s like to have a vision for my future, and it is overwhelming and wonderful and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. I see a social worker for therapy, practice mindful meditation, and read books that address the sources of my depression: for me, it is shame. Shame is a very powerful thing, as an emotion and as a socially constructed tool to keep women caged. Brene Brown’s book I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” both articulates this struggle in the context of womanhood and provides some resources for how to cope with shame. It has provided me new ways to protect my vulnerabilities and use them constructively, to build a new idea of who I am and who I want the world to know.

What have you learned from self love?

Oh, I have learned so, so much from self-love, and continue to learn more. I have learned I am worthy, that love for myself multiplies and becomes love for and from others. I have learned that treating myself with compassion means I am more ready to treat others with compassion. It has given me a sense of belonging and community, a sense of possibility and a lasting relationship with myself.


Meaghan also tunes in to self-care through writing and receiving love from her cat, Chickadee.

Meaghan’s LYFF Collage:

Here’s a little more about the photos she selected:

Top Right + Bottom Left: I have a lot of fun trying on different types of self-presentation, and I think style is a great way to express a multi-faceted personality. It is something accessible and fun for me, and helps me to take myself not-so-seriously.

Bottom Right: I am learning how to embrace the beauty of my body, to celebrate its strength and accept its flaws. This is a new concept for me, one I’m still exploring.


Thanks, Meaghan for sharing your LYFF story! You are definitely a Phoenix Rising.



Join the Collective. Share your self-love story with us. Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and we’ll send you follow-up info. Sweet. Short. Simple!

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

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5 Signs You’re Living Authentically

5_Signs_of_Living_Authentically[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

“Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit…”

Almost 365 days have passed since becoming the Motherhood Empowerment contributor for Phoenix Shine, The Phoenix Rising Collective’s blog. My, my, my (long inhale and exhale) so much has happened within the past year. Through all the laughter with family and friends, financial challenges, job hopping, difficult living arrangements, tears of depression, and watching my boys grow up and out in height, personality, identity, hobbies, and intellectual capabilities – I’m STILL standing. I’m STILL here!

This is a major declaration because there have been some pivotal moments these past few months, moments when I thought life was playing a miserably absurd joke on me and had left me in the great wilderness to be eaten alive by self-loathing, debilitating mental illness, anxiety attacks, and voices of conditioning. But alas, my Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides gave me a swift kick in the (now very sore) posterior (I’ll explain the soreness later!) and challenged me to begin living a life solely dedicated to unabashed authenticity. I was forcefully nudged to do the following:

  1. Speak honestly to myself, first and foremost; and then share my truth with others.
  2. Create the balance of listening AND adhering to the messages from my passionate heart and my rational mind.
  3. Completely surrender to the notion of living to fulfill my life’s purpose.

“…Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.”

So, in mid-July, one early Sunday morning, after a long sleepless night of tossing, turning, and deep inhalations of the Houston, Texas humidity, pollen, and dew, I began the initial phases of doing…well, more so…BE-ing all of the above.

I spent the last $237 in my account (reserved for partial payment on a bill) for a round trip ticket to Michigan with the intention of seeing my honorary mother (stepmother) and best friends. I separated from my significant other of eight years. I went to work the next day and quit my job with no other prospects anywhere close to the horizon. A few weeks later, I finally communicated some deep and dark feelings to my biological mother – feelings that had been churning inside me since I could recall my earliest memories as a toddler. This led to a healing breakthrough for us.

Let me tell you, after all that, not only did I feel like I had lost 100 pounds. For the first time ever, I felt serenity, excitement, unrelenting strength, joy, and absolute readiness to create the rest of my life exactly how I want!

In recent weeks, doors I didn’t know existed have widely and enthusiastically flung open, ushering me into the greatness that is my purpose. I was awarded a scholarship to complete my Yoga Instructor certification (which I’ve begun preparing for; hence the soreness in practically every muscle in my body). I’m writing programs and developing a curriculum for a non-profit organization committed to youth empowerment. I teach English as a second language to Spanish speaking and Vietnamese adult learners. And I’m the new Program Coordinator for the Houston Center for Literacy which is dedicated to improving the literacy landscape of the city.

Living_Authentically[the phoenix rising collective]

Talk about LEAPS of faith toward living an authentic life! Based on what I’ve experienced these past few months, I’d like to share five signs that you’re living authentically:

  1. Fearless: You fear less; thus, welcoming the vulnerability that comes with the discomfort and uncertainty of not having every single detail of your life planned. You find solace in knowing the heavens and earth are conspiring in your favor to bring forth what you really want. You express gratitude because all that you’ve prayed long and hard for (plus even more) comes to fruition. You simply say,“Thank you,” and pay it forward.
  1. Honesty:  Speak the truth and nothing but the TRUTH so help you! According to Neale Donald Walsch, honesty is one of the highest manifestations of love, so if the intention is to love ourselves, let’s start by being honest. How do you want to feel each day that you wake? What’s your ideal career? How can you make a lucrative income pursuing the one or two or several things that bring you great joy and passion? What does optimal health look like on you? What are some non-negotiable and/or areas of flexibility within an intimate, committed relationship for you? In what area(s) can you improve your parenting skills? I dare you greatly to answer all of these questions, honestly. And don’t judge your answers!
  1. Clarity: A book that really helped me gain clarity in my personal and professional life is The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. Without giving away all the details (because I hope you’ll do your research and grab a copy for yourself) the book provides a very precise formula for helping you gain significant clarity on the who, what, when, where, and how of pursuing your passion(s).
  1. Life Flows Easily: When you’re living what you love, life flows easily. You’re so swept up in the new routine of fearlessness and honesty (and with a brand new vision for pursuing your goals) that you become much less concerned about doubt, judgment of others, and the drama of “Who Shot John.” Now, this is not to say there won’t be hiccups and challenges along the way; ideally, you’ll feel more inclined to be aware of the now (or present continuous, as I’m teaching my students) and the power you have to create it exactly how you wish it to be.
  1. Attracting Goodness: Like INergy attracts Like INergy. The thoughts, words, and behaviors you set your intentions on will always return to you. Your intention will reflect either ugliness or beauty, so create beauty, Goddesses!

Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving – even when it’s hard…mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.”

I’d like to especially dedicate this to Brene Brown.  I’ve used quotes from her glorious masterpiece Daring Greatly throughout this article.  I’d like to extend an extra special THANK YOU to Ayanna Jordan for inviting me to The PRC family, embracing my writing, compassionately supporting me, and encouraging me to continue to strive towards my own GREATNESS! Also, Traci Evadne Currie, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude for operating in your greatness and inspiring me to do the same!


About the Contributing Writer:

Kaneesha_bio_pic[shine]W. KaNeesha Allen is The Phoenix Rising Collective’s Motherhood Empowerment contributor. She is an educator with extensive project management, student support services, and community outreach experience in K-12 and higher education institutions.  She is also the mother of two extremely rambunctious and fun loving boys – Ausar and Mikah. While often seeking to master the balance between being a highly engaged mother and taking time to BE with herself in the divine energy of the universe, KaNeesha finds peace, solace, and regeneration through meditation, Vinyasa yoga, and her “Sistah Circle”. As the Motherhood Empowerment contributor, she welcomes mothers from everywhere to join her on a journey of self-discovery and evolution towards harnessing, embodying, and emoting the Goddess power within. Read her latest posts.


SELF-LOVE TIP OF THE DAY: I Let Go of the Need to be Perfect!



We were searching for a bit of inspiration for the Self-Love Tip of the Day and found that this definitely hit the mark! Perfectionism…LET. IT. GO. once and for all.

You are complete just as you are in this moment. Embrace it.  Healthy striving is a focus on reaching attainable goals, understanding that even when you make mistakes along the way there is something to be learned from them, too. It’s a balanced motivation for self-improvement that supports wellness. “Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?” –Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Shout-out to Samantha Marie Davis (designer) for creating this awesome bag as a reminder to let go of being perfect! Interested in the bag? Check out Lipstick Affirmations.

Create the day you want, Phoenix! Be self-love in action.