The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action

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We All Need Phoenixes in Our Lives


I have chosen to share wisdom from one of my dearest and most creative soul ties, La Shaun phoenix Kotaran. I met this artist a little over a decade ago in a Detroit poetry venue. Instantly after watching La Shaun’s performance on stage I was drawn to her magic. I am not too sure how we actually exchanged information but according to her, she heard me share a poem on stage and felt a connection as well.

I am not particularly interested in detailing her life and how this Detroit artist entered the creative realm. If you Google her or listen to her music, spoken word, or read her poetry book you will become more acquainted with her identity. Because of her experiences, she has been able to speak volumes of light into my life, especially during some of my lowest moments – to name a few:

  1. When I avoided my doctor’s request to set a follow-up appointment to find out the results of an operation that would indicate whether or not I had cancer, she lit a fire under my behind to set that appointment.
  2. When I organized a Women’s Symposium and people backed out at the last minute. Without my asking, she stepped in and took over areas where I needed help the most.
  3. For my birthday when I was living abroad and I sat in this small apartment thinking I had been forgotten, she sent me a cyberspace birthday gift reminding me how much I was loved — not just by her and others — but most importantly how much I loved myself.
  4. And then there are the endless love letters that solidified this blessed affair.

My intention is to share some of the wisdom that comes from the letters she has written. They offer friendship, authenticity, forgiveness, growth, fire, and more love.

The italicized phrases help explain the context of phoenix’s responses.

Your name?

Phoenix (small ‘p’) was a name given to me by the poets in the mid to late 90s. I’m not sure of the exact date, as I’ve had the name now for as long as I can remember. One thing I can say for certain is that you have to be careful when you name a thing. I’ve literally become every facet of the name PHOENIX. I was in an abusive relationship and I used poetry therapeutically to share my story, to escape from the trauma of the relationship and then to eventually escape my abuser. The lines I weaved in those smoked-filled cafés filled with incense, cigarettes and insecurity began to really resonate with people, until they gave me my “poet name”. It never wore off in that I have lived my life as a phoenix. This includes overcoming death multiple times, reinventing myself to be as youthful as the world around me and taking on this magical/mystical appeal. Moreover, as this mythical bird that can soar at some of the highest altitudes, I find it hard to hang around folks with a pigeon mentality. I can’t be on this earthly terrain accepting any random scrap people want to give me. I was born to fly. I was born to be a big deal. I was born to be this magical, mystical, drama-filled being.  I had difficulty accepting that, but [age] 40 will make you cluck your tongue against the roof of your mouth and say, “F*** it. This is me. I’m amazing. I’m scared. I take risks.  Some of this sh** is planned. Some of it isn’t. But, for everything I am and everything I’m not, I’m completely fine with being me. I’ll do what I want. I’ll say what I want. I’ll handle the consequences either way.”

Why the arts? 

Because it was easy to set my pain to a tempo. Poetry and music became this fluid thing – like water cleansing the spirit or like being baptized.  I think art, and we chose each other. I needed an outlet [and] art needed a vessel.

A specific phase in phoenix’s life.

I think this season has been transitional for so many folks, myself included.  I’m inspired, but I’ve been mentally and creatively drained so I think I’m going through a seasonal purge/emotional cleanse.  What has been my particular lifeline in the past few weeks is waking up in the mornings and for 5-10 minutes just declaring out loud all of the stuff I’m grateful for: From life to my warm blanket to incense to the breakfast smoothie to the sun to the birds to no leg cramps to great sex the night before to a great movie to the morning drive not feeling so rushed. Every little thing I can think of to be grateful for I say it. It changes me from cranky to positive in 5-10 minutes and it’s been helping this seasonal depression.


This was for my Spirit Space Photographic Series on Instagram. phoenix is a feature.

My philosophy is really simple.  We are 100% human and 100% divine.  We are these amazing supernatural (above the norm) beings in that we have the power to access that divinity all the time by mastering our thoughts.  Truly, as a God/Goddess thinks is their reality and everything that’s going on (or not going on) in our lives is directly related to our conscious and subconscious thoughts.  Mike Dooley, an amazing author and master of the Law of Attraction says that thoughts become things and it’s our responsibility to choose the good thoughts.  While storms may come, how we consider the storm is how we’ll respond to the storm.  How we consider joy is how we’ll respond to joy.  Even in difficult moments I’ve been working hard to make sure that I’m grateful for something everyday.  Gratefulness adds.  It multiplies.  It brings in miracles where there are seemingly none to be had.  It is a true gateway.

Letting go of stuff.

I’ve been doing a lot of pruning. I’ve asked God to show me who is supposed to be here as I transition into the next phase of my life. I’ve been carrying a lot of dead weight in relationships and have had to address a lot of things that I’ve been passive about in previous years. It’s been a process – making myself and my needs a priority. I’ve had to confront some emotionally scary situations and say, “Peace. I love you. But, the way my life is set up right now, you’re toxic and the relationship in its current state doesn’t suit me.”

Do you ever have doubts about your abilities and dreams?

Yes.  I have doubts all the time.  Am I too old, too much in my own way to be what I want – a rich and FAMOUS entertainer?  Do you hear me?  I want to be a rich and FAMOUS entertainer in the United States and in the United Kingdom.  I want to be a Cinderella story for the young and seasoned.  And that sheer desire – the clarity and honesty of it – the desire to stop hiding behind that desire and to just embrace it is my driving force.  When I put my mind on the desire to be a rich and famous singer…when I keep repeating it – I’m motivated to just do one thing towards it.  Write a song, send an email, make a connection, and pray. I keep my goal at the forefront of my mind.

I was preparing for a trip and was concerned about my purpose. She said this to me.

Let me share this, Goddess: You have seen other countries with determination and penny pinching.  You have quickened and inspired the minds of so many emerging artists while discovering who you are in the process.  You understand Universal Law, the Law of Attraction, the Law of Love.  Nothing…No THING…will be withheld from you.  Continue to dream a world.  Continue to take risks.  Put good positive energy and thoughts into the results you want and let Source Energy worry about the how’s. Make YOU a priority right now.  Your wants.  Your needs. You don’t have to stay in your lane as much as you need to make yourself a chief priority. I think that you should embrace the unknown.  It’s priming you for blessings.  You can look for cool jobs and gigs while you’re there.  The answers will come to you in the midst of the circumstance.  You’ll get to see how you survive when all of the decisions have to be made in the moment. Sometimes, we plan the sh** out of stuff, and maybe we need to get lost in the experience. Overplanning was taking the fun out of stuff for me – you know?  So, I challenge you to just embrace that you’ll be in Italy and that every decision about your next move will come.  Your spirit and body have been telling you to rest and fall in love with art again. Your first trip to Italy afforded you that.  This trip, be intentional to discover your purpose and then let God pull things into the forefront for you.

So, you can see why I love this woman so much. She is a reminder that we are advocates for each other because we believe in the extraordinary and the impossible-made-possible. We believe in growth and glory. We walk in faith with our families cheering us on. At the bottom of her email there is a quote by Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act.  It is a habit.”

How true indeed. She is excellence in motion, always working on herself and encouraging others. She is an artist’s artist and a life coach comrade. What better way to start the year than with a phoenix on either side of me, whispering, “Rise Phoenix! Rise and declare yourself ALIVE!”


Share your thoughts in the comments. phoenix shared that she takes at least 5- 10 minutes out of her day to express gratitude. What is your daily ritual OR what daily ritual will you begin to practice to keep you centered in and inspired about life?

Learn more about La Shaun phoenix Kotaran and also listen to her music.

About the Contributor

traci_currie[contributor]the phoenix rising collectiveTraci Currie is a Communication and Visual Arts lecturer at University of Michigan-Flint, as well as a knit-crochet artist, writer, and spoken word performer. She has been a part of the art world for over 15 years as an art gallery board member; spoken word series organizer; performer, nationally and internationally; and published poet. She believes The PRC will help women reach their highest potential.  “The Phoenix Rising Collective is about empowering women to take ownership of their lives, claim their identities and be the positive change they wish to see in the world they live.” Read her latest posts.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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Gratitude, Courage, and Wisdom: Your Gifts for the New Year

The Phoenix Rising Collective[Affirmation]

Think about all you’ve achieved and overcome this year. It’s amazing and so are you. Own it! Affirm it. You’re moving forward with more courage and in gratitude, using the wisdom you’ve gained from your experiences in 2015. It’s most certainly a gift!

You are self-love in action, Phoenix! Happy New Year.



Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder, workshop leader, and personal empowerment coach for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be working with contributing writers to provide resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.

Join The Phoenix Rising Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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Your Courage to Share Who You are Creates the Collective [VIDEO]


Here’s a little something as a token of appreciation; a thank you to the women who have attended a workshop and/or taken time to share their self-love stories, entrepreneurial leaps-of-faith, transformations, inspiration, strength, and authenticity with The Phoenix Rising Collective.

It’s not easy to share; that’s for sure, but you did it anyway! Your courage and support creates The Collective – like-minded, spiritually conscious women whose actions reflect how much they love themselves. So, thanks for sharing your light and allowing The PRC to be a part of the journey.

It is immensely appreciated.

And if you’re a Phoenix in Columbus, OH or surrounding areas join us at our self-care workshop – The Fullness of Me: Spirit-Affirming Self-Care Practices for Women Ready to be Self-Love in Action. It’s an opportunity for you to connect with yourself and form connections with other Phoenixes. So, let’s retreat before the busyness of the fall season arrives. Make yourself a priority. Get registration details, HERE.

Now, take a look at this video! It really is all about you. Continue being self-love in action.

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



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 awesome Phoenix is Faith:

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

For me, self-love is very much intertwined with self-acceptance. Part of this is simply being my authentic self instead of trying to be the person others want or expect me to be – something I’ve struggled with in the past.

Sometimes it means accepting my limitations and not expecting perfection. My best is enough. I’ve learned to set boundaries and not take on too much, just to make someone else happy. Sometimes you have to say no.

At the same time, I think self-love is partially what enables me to push myself to achieve. I grew up knowing I wanted more for my life than I felt I was being offered. Because I love myself, I have worked hard to accomplish many goals. I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished so far, and I love myself enough to continue to strive for more.


“I’ve found that the larger variety of healthy foods I eat, the more I enjoy making healthy choices and love to try new recipes.”

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

I put a lot of emphasis on mental self-care. I try to keep my self-talk positive. If I wouldn’t say something to a friend or to my daughter, why should I say it to myself? Speaking of friends, I try to nurture my relationships and surround myself with positive influences as much as possible. My friends are a priority in my life and I feel lucky that they make me a priority, too. I think that a good laugh or conversation with a friend can soothe the soul like nothing else.

I love to eat healthy (and delicious) food, and drink lots of water. I don’t believe in “dieting” or depriving myself of food. Instead, I try to incorporate as many fruits, veggies and whole grains as possible- and when I want something less healthy I eat it, too. I’ve found that the larger variety of healthy foods I eat, the more I enjoy making healthy choices and love to try new recipes. I hate the way society has taught so many women and girls to count every calorie and associate food with being “good” or “bad.” I try to eat for longevity and health – not what society says I should look like.

I try to work physical activity into my life, although in my current state (month 9 of pregnancy) I have been slacking. I’m not a person who enjoys traditional exercise and I hate running, so I have to find ways to make being active interesting for me. I really enjoy taking long walks (especially with my family). I also like participating in classes at my gym, like yoga or Zumba. I really want to get a bike, too! Anything that feels more like an adventure or experience rather than work is right up my alley.

Finally, I make sleep a priority. I recently heard someone describe sleep as the only basic human need that we tend to delegitimize or look at as a weakness. Most nights I am asleep not long after 10 p.m.

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

As a mother with a full-time career outside of the home, I face many demands and really have to work at balance. There have been days when I cried after dropping my daughter off at the sitter’s in the morning and there have been days when I cried when I had to leave a work meeting early to pick her up. Not many of my co-workers have children (and most of those who do have much older children), so there have definitely been times when I worried about how my commitment outside of work as a mother impacted perceptions of my job performance. There have been times that I felt guilty for being away from my daughter during the day. At the same time, I enjoy and am proud of both aspects of my life, so I’ve learned to allow myself to embrace the positive feelings that both working and being a mother bring into my life and let go of the negative feelings of self-doubt or not being “enough.” I show myself love by giving myself permission to focus on the task at hand – whether work or being with my daughter- without guilt. It helps having an awesome and supportive partner (my husband, Matt).

Motherhood has actually had a strong impact on my self-love in a lot of ways. I think one of the things I was afraid of before becoming a mother was losing a sense of myself. Instead, I’ve discovered a lot about myself that I didn’t know before. Sometimes I’m amazed at what I’m capable of. The amount of love I have for my daughter has given me confidence that I didn’t know I had. I make better choices because I know she is constantly watching and learning from me. Also, some of the things I love most about her are traits that I can also see in myself. How can I not love the things we have in common?

What have you learned from self-love?

Simple gratitude. I am more grateful than I can express for all the beauty in my life. It really is reciprocal: The more grateful I am for my life, the more I love myself. And the more I love myself, the more grateful I feel.


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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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: Today’s Phoenix is Darlene


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 motivated and courageous Phoenix is Darlene, Founder of Sisters in Spirit:

On September 1, 2014 Sisters in Spirit (SIS) invited the public to join us in a 30-day self-love challenge. With so many other challenges going on, using Facebook as a platform, we thought: “Why not challenge others for the greatest cause of all? Self-love.” Every experience is framed by how much we love ourselves!

In the journey, posting an inspiring self-love message and photo each day, I began to feel that this cause had grown much bigger than SIS.  Personally, I began thinking more about what and how I ate, who I was spending my time with and what I was spending it on, and what I was thinking as I went about my day. More importantly, the biggest question was, “Am I doing whatever I am doing with self-love?”

Two quotes that hit me the most were:

  • The highest spiritual practice is self-observation, WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. -Swami Kripalu
  • She realized that life was what it was.  And suddenly she understood the only part of it   she had any control over was how she lived it, so she chose to do it with self-love.  -Queenisms

I was thriving on this self-love until one day a heavy funk hit me out of the blue.  I swam in and out of it for about two weeks.  My co-worker noticed it, and so did one of my yoga instructors.  They both said I wasn’t my normal, cheery self.  I noticed it, but I didn’t understand what it was.  I didn’t understand how I could be so deep in the celebration of self-love and allow a funk to overcome me.

One day I just allowed myself to feel the funk.  I sat outside in the sun and began to question the feeling.  Nothing was wrong with me physically.  I had no major issues to speak of, so what was the problem?  Then it hit me.  It was depression!  I had experienced this feeling related to the death of my son, but it had been so long since I’d had the feeling, I’d forgotten what it felt like.  The moment I identified it, I understood that this pain in my body wanted to live.  It didn’t want to be shed in my 30-day self-love journey.  It was fighting fiercely to stay alive.  Once I experienced that revelation, I could let the habit go.  When I let go, it let go as well.  I was encompassed by an overwhelming joy.  A joy so powerful, that thinking of it makes me happy!

It’s never too late to start your own challenge.  In fact, right now is the perfect time to embrace self-love. Be-YOU-tiful!

Thank you, Darlene, for sharing your LYFF story. You’re definitely a Phoenix rising.


Start Your Own 30-Day Self-Love Challenge:

It’s a new year. In fact, a new month is starting soon! What a perfect time to start your own 30-Day Self-Love Challenge. Make a list of things you plan to do during the process. What self-care rituals will you participate in on a daily/weekly basis? Be sure to include things that you’ve never done and to journal about what “comes up” for you during the journey – positive or negative. Journal entries throughout the 30-days may include;

  1. Daily gratitude at the end of your day (even for the little things)
  2. What experiences bring you happiness and joy (so that you can do more of them)
  3. What actions boost your self-esteem and empower how you feel about yourself
  4. What and who depletes your energy and how you can change that to create a more fulfilling experience that aligns with your intentional living practices
  5. Your favorite quotes that motivate you to be self-love in action


Like Darlene, observe and examine any emotional and/or physical resistance you may feel. Don’t ignore it. Go through it, as your personal healing and growth are on the other side. Be patient with yourself, and also celebrate each step you take toward giving yourself the love you deserve.


If you’d like to share your self-love story with The Collective contact us here.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women tell stories of triumph, share personal affirmations, and declare love for their lives! The series is meant to inspire and empower women to fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self-esteem.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

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gratitude affirmation of the day[phoenixrisingcollective]Gratitude opens the door for so much more abundance and happiness in all aspects of your life.  And this is the season for deeper spiritual reflection and renewal, so as you contemplate and do a personal review of this year (or even this week or just today) what are you most grateful for?

Start your affirmation with four simple words: I. am. grateful. for. Let the other words that follow simply flow. Don’t put any restrictions on what comes forth for you. Allow each expression of thankfulness to fill you, and then take a deep breath and release it.

Share in the comments below. We want to hear from you!  Be self-love in action. Express your gratitude.

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AFFIRMATION OF THE DAY: I am grateful for my talents and abilities.

affirmation_grateful_talents[the phoenix rising collective]

Remember, you’ve been given everything you need! Recognize it. Tap into it. Express gratitude for it! Be self-love in action.

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SELF-LOVE TIP OF THE DAY: Be Grateful and Write About It!

gratitude_journal [phoenix rising collective]

Be grateful. Tonight (after your day of doing all that you do), choose to express gratitude by focusing on the positive, inspirational things that happened to you (or even moments that happened to others and how good it made you feel).

Take a moment to reflect on the beauty, love, joy, happiness, and growth you witnessed and experienced – big and small – in nature and/or with people (including yourself). Journal about them. It’s as simple as, “Today I am grateful for…” and listing each one. It doesn’t have to be a large list. In fact, just journal until you feel you’re ready to stop.  Make it a daily, intentional practice, and observe how this exercise in mindfulness shifts your perspective and transforms your life!

Tip: Select a journal/notebook that you love and use it specifically for gratitude journaling. And you can reference it as a reminder of how abundantly and consistently awesome your life really is and to keep yourself centered on the importance of being in the moment.

Be self-love in action.

Do you already have a gratitude journal? If so, how has it shifted your perspective on life? How often do you express your gratitude?