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ARTIST FEATURE: Blooming Where You Are Planted – An Interview with Gale Glover

Gale Glover Artist Feature[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

This is a story about a woman who might not call herself an artist in the same way others have claimed their inner artistry from childhood. She did not grow up dreaming of being a children’s book author. She did not necessarily feel the calling in her life to write until her hands couldn’t write anymore. However, her work ethic was cultivated from a young age. She learned about perseverance and determination early.

Gale Glover is from Flint, Michigan. Flint has this wonderful reputation for teaching people how to fight for what they want, because Flint is not an easy city. It does not carry the white picket fence label. Although people can build a white picket fence, if they wish, they have to keep the fence up. They might have to change the color or paint it white every year due to environmental conditions – rough weather, rough circumstances and rough times.

Over the last few years I have watched Gale in the work environment stay late and catch up on work while also going to school, because that’s what people do when they want to accomplish something specific. She explained she grew up poor in a single-parent household. One mother and no father. She started working when she was 14 years old. At age 17 she skipped school and worked three jobs. The next year she moved out of her mom’s home. A few years later she ended up in a physically and verbally abusive relationship. The details sounded like a Lifetime movie. She dealt with the stalking and hiding from someone, being beat up numerous times, and jumping off a two-story house to escape to safety. Gale explained that it is easy for people to say, “Just leave. End the relationship.” But it is not easy. In her early 20’s, when this occurred, she wasn’t aware of the available resources for battered women. She did not know about YWCA or the National Domestic Hotline. She shared that even now it is a journey, because she is still learning what it means to be in healthy viable relationships that empower her.

We talked briefly about the importance of knowing what resources are available to those who have experienced abuse. The statistics on violence against women are alarming. She told me, “It is important for kids not to go through what I went through. That is why I work so hard.” One of her goals is to write an autobiography about her experiences. “I want women to know they can survive. We are survivors. We can get through anything. Knowledge is the key. If we know the resources, then we can get help.”

It is no coincidence that her degrees are linked to her experiences. She received her degrees from University of Michigan-Flint. She triple majored and received a B.A. in Criminal Justice, Sociology and Africana Studies. She then completed a Masters in Public Administration. Presently, she is in a Post-Master’s Education Specialist Program. But her studies and experiences are more poignant. One of the key reasons for her pursuing these studies is also linked to her daughter. Gale has a maternal spirit. At one point in her life she had five children living with her (not biological). Her home was a safe space for youth to develop. One of the children is her daughter, Alicia. Due to a number of circumstances her daughter faced, Gale gained custody when Alicia was a young teenager. She shared, “When I got my daughter she was struggling through school. She had bad grades in middle and high school. In helping her excel I had to ask myself, how can I tell her to go to college if I haven’t done so myself? So because of this, I went to school. I went from being a single person with no kids to a single parent going to school full time and working full time.”

She also shared that at one point they ended up taking a class together. Excitedly, her daughter, Alicia, is graduating with her Masters in Health Education, May 2016.

All of these life experiences lead to Gale’s children’s book series. She started writing the Reach Higher Ed series in 2013. The purpose in creating the series is to educate kids through the literary arts. The books are learning tools that introduce them to higher education. She explained the series is not only for kids. It’s also for their parents.

Gale Cover

The first book introduces them to higher education and encourages them to reach for their goals. This book includes 10 tips for being successful in college. It also has a glossary of academic terms. The second book is the activity and coloring book. She is presently working on Reach Higher Ed Learning Our Degrees. This third book introduces kids to the different programs like biochemistry, astrology and astronomy, as well as professions that kids can pursue like being a teacher or doctor.

This led me to ask Gale about her own bucket list. She wants to pursue a Doctorate in Education and start her own organization to help kids reach their highest potential. Moreover, she wants to do this in Flint, Michigan. She’s a die-hard supporter and fan of her city. She is the essence of the phrase, “Bloom where you are planted.”

When I think of Gale, I think of my own dreams as a writer and traveler. I am reminded through her that it takes work. When times are rough, I have to put on thick skin and keep going. This is why I chose Gale as the feature for March, because I notice her efforts. She does her work with a smile. Between pursuing this Post-Master’s degree, she is the Administrative Assistant in the Communication and Visual Arts Department at University of Michigan-Flint; She is the Marketing Editor for Qua, the University’s literary magazine; And she is a writer. She is blossoming where she has been planted. She is the fruit of her own labor. She is Gale Glover, a work of art always progressing to the next thing to support a generation following her lead.

She is a great reminder that this is blooming season. Spring!

 

Domestic Violence Statistics:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Intimate Partner and Sexual Assault Survey

Bureau of Justice Statistics Selected Finding – Female Victims of Violence

More information about assault:

RAINN

Full Report of Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women

 

The Phoenix Rising Collective’s Artist Feature, curated by Traci Currie, interviews women artists who use their talents and creativity to fully express self-love, build self-esteem, and nurture their own authenticity while inspiring others. Creative expressions may range from performing to painting to writing to travel and everything in between. Our goal is to share how these empowered women cultivate agency, healing, and happiness through fulfilling their passion.

 


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. You can learn more about Traci’s work in creative arts HERE.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.

 


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

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  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 Phoenix is Denise:

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

Loving yourself is always remembering to be true – true to your mind, body and spirit. In learning to love myself I’ve learned how to love all of me, all the time.

I am learning to listen to myself. I am such a giver that sometimes I give until I have no energy left. However, not the new and improved me; I’ve learned to stop and think about how it will affect me. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how we’re quick to question others, but won’t question ourselves. In learning to love yourself first, you have to be willing to question yourself and come up with solutions.

Putting yourself first isn’t always the easiest feat but it’s a must.

I love to listen to music; it’s my biggest stress reliever. I can go for hours listening to Jill Scott, The Foreign Exchange, Dwele and a host of other Neo Soul-type artists.

I also love being by water. (SN: I cannot swim, and I don’t know if I want to learn!) Since we have no “real” beaches in Cleveland, I settle for going to the lake and sitting for hours just listening to the water. I actually do some of my best self-reflecting there.

I love to read and travel as well.

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

In October 2014 I began my fitness journey. The experience of going out of my comfort zone really opened my eyes to “how to be a better me”. I never had a true purpose for why I wanted to change; I just knew I had to. I looked at my fitness journey just as that, a journey. I was totally clueless when I began losing weight so I started following an Instagram account: fbffitness. After weeks and weeks of debating, I joined her 8-week weight loss challenge. The challenge consisted of being on a virtual team where you were to complete certain daily tasks and receive points. In the end, you had the opportunity to win money! Well, I didn’t win but I made it to the top five out of 100+ contestants.

I never really celebrated that accomplishment until recently. In my mind, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Wrong! It was huge. After I finished the challenge, I began personal training at a local gym for a few months. With personal training and a new diet I was on a roll…so I thought. I was still unhappy. I had to learn that this lifestyle change is all mental. I realized I can make all the physical changes in the world, but until I changed my mental outlook I would still be exactly the same.

I am happy to say that I am 40+lbs down forever!

Women Weight Loss Journey[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

LYFF Feature, Denise, sharing her 40+ lbs weight loss

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

Embracing change is a huge challenge for me. I’m now allowing myself to try new activities, new foods and new adventures. Being patient with myself is also an obstacle. My friends would say I am one of the most patient people you would ever meet, and I am…with others. In my own life I want things to be quick, fast and in a hurry. Learning to be more patient with myself has allowed me to relax and understand that things will happen when God says so.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned from self-love that no one will love you like YOU! Self-love allows you to be your own advocate. Self-love allows you to be a better woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. Self-love has taught me to be happy with all my flaws.

 

Thank you, Denise, for sharing your self-love story! You are truly a Phoenix rising. Congratulations on such a major lifestyle change. It most certainly is a big deal!

Were you inspired by Denise’s story? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Want to share your self-love story?

Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a 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 features.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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Self-Ownership: The Power of Taking Full Responsibility for Your Life

Self-Ownership[Blog Post]The Phoenix Rising Collective

“I know you want everybody and everything else to change. Your mother, father, boss, friend, sister, lover, landlord, neighbor, minister, or government official must change so that your life can be perfect. It doesn’t work that way. If you want change in your life, then you are the one who must do the changing.” -Louise Hay

 

When I first read this quote I thought, “But sometimes, others do have to change because I know for sure I haven’t done anything wrong.” After I thought about it, changing doesn’t always mean that you did something wrong or that you necessarily have to change who you are. It can mean that you are allowing certain things to happen and those things are having a negative impact on your quality of life experiences. So, even changing what you are willing to tolerate is a change on your part.

If you are considering making changes in your life, are you looking for others to also make adjustments in order for things to get better?

I’m personally experiencing some change right now: I recently let go of my locs of 15 years and am now adjusting to having short, natural hair. I’m also moving out of my house of 12 years for numerous reasons and to create a more balanced co-parenting relationship in terms of sharing responsibilities.

Change isn’t always easy to accept, and it’s mainly because we are holding on to expectations we have of others and situations.  Instead of accepting what is, we resist and that’s when it’s challenging to deal with things. However, it’s also an opportunity for you to shift your perspective and make a more conscious decision on how to respond and not just react.

In the midst of working through all of these changes my mentor, friend and fellow coach pointed out a theme she felt was emerging. She said, “I really think your theme for the new year is ownership.”

It was showing up in some of my choices but it also needed to be developed in other areas. I was curious to learn more about what it means to truly embody “self-ownership” because I wanted to create better experiences – including my relationships. I explored this concept more and I believe you can also benefit from what I discovered.

Let’s start with breaking down what it really means to express self-ownership.

Self ownership means just one thing, that YOU are the owner of your life – your body, your mind, your energy, and any consequent result of your life’s efforts.

You have to take full responsibility for your experiences instead of giving that power over to anyone else. In the same breath, you also have to recognize that everyone else has the same right to self-ownership.

When you can acknowledge well founded ownership in unpleasant situations, you are better prepared to make the necessary changes to resolve things, even if it starts with you. When you are unable to own your stuff,  you will remain a victim of your circumstances.

When thinking of self-ownership in regard to relationships, we tend to put certain responsibilities on those we are involved with. We frequently allow others to be responsible for our happiness, sense of security and for feeling loved (to mention a few). I can admit to being that person in past relationships. However, I was able to develop mental and emotional strategies that are in alignment with taking ownership of my experiences.

Now, there are several elements connected to self-ownership (but not limited to):

  • Independent thinking: Give yourself permission to question what doesn’t feel good despite what the person involved or the masses may think about it. Always ask questions in order to seek understanding of self and the situation. There may be times when you have to make choices true to you even in the face of external pressure.

  • Personal responsibility: You have to be able to acknowledge and accept the choices you have made, the actions you have taken, and the results they have led to. Basically own the role you’ve played, even if the situation didn’t turn out the way you expected it.

  • Emotional management: It’s very important to be able to have the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. When you are capable of recognizing your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, you can use this understanding to relate better to other people and form healthier relationships. Our emotions are very valuable to us. Once you can identify the emotion and its message, the last step is to take action.

I have a quick resource that will help you develop your Emotional Intelligence.

Click here to get immediate access to a cheat sheet to mastering your emotions.

  • Frame of reference: Our frame of reference speaks to patterns of assumption and ways of thinking or feeling about someone or something. Understanding your frame of reference is a practical approach to removing mental barriers, because your frame of reference directly impacts your thought process, and ultimately your actions. Frame of reference is influenced by childhood experiences, shadow beliefs (beliefs you don’t even realize affect your actions), cultural values, traumatic experiences, etc.

You have to examine your frame of reference around your relationships, and then determine whether your outlook is either hurting you by keeping you stuck or motivating you to make changes for the better.

This is when you would put “reframing” into practice. Reframing means changing your interpretation or changing your point of view. You basically put a new frame around your situation to change the way you look at it. As a result it changes the meaning for you. Think of it like this: you are taking a picture out of one frame and putting it into another. In your mind, the color, shape, size of the frame doesn’t make the picture look good, so putting the picture in another frame makes it look better.

Exercise your personal power in changing any situation that doesn’t feel good to you by affirming self-ownership.

Have you resisted and felt out of control when a relationship or situation was on the verge of changing?

If so, I have a quick self-awareness exercise for you:

  • Take out a piece of paper and write down one challenging experience/relationship (personal or professional) you’d like to take self-ownership of in your life.

If you haven’t made any changes yet there must be a barrier preventing you from taking steps.

  • Knowing that no one will see this write down what that barrier is.

Now, how can you apply independent thinking, personal responsibility, emotional management or reframing to your situation?

Doing this exercise is a step towards taking ownership that is independent of others. Whether it be doing this writing exercise, changing a negative behavior pattern, creating boundaries, or not tolerating less than you deserve. This is what self-ownership is about – taking action to create change that’s independent of others.

Don’t deny the value of your own power. You are free to guide yourself.


 

About the Contributor:

MoniqueHalleyContributor[thephoenixrisingcollective]1Monique Allison is a Relationship Clarity Coach. Her personal experience, observation, and insight gained over the years allows her to help women release unhealthy relationships and heal from broken ones in order to love again from a more self-loving and authentic space. She is also the mother of 10-year-old son, Pharaoh. Monique’s background/experience is in the nonprofit sector working for United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (UWMA) for 13 years; holding the position as the Quality Assurance Manager. She has achieved a B.A. in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, is AIRS Certified as an Information & Referral Specialist, attained a Creative Writer Certificate from Kennesaw State University. Monique has also taught life skills to young adults for two years. Learn more about Monique’s work helping women build healthy relationships HERE.


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

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  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 Phoenix is Adrienne:

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

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”  Recently, I was scrolling through Pinterest and I ran across a photograph of a white ceramic coffee cup.  The inside of the cup was empty with the slightest coffee stain lining the bottom of the tiny cup.  In a very simple font the words “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first” were emblazoned across the picture.

As I was reading those words I realized that I had, somehow, become that coffee cup — a solid, sturdy vessel, but sadly, temporarily empty.  I was sitting at my desk in my tiny, cramped office space feeling completely drained.  Since then, I have been thinking about and steadily working towards how I can go about refilling my cup.

I’ve come to recognize that to love myself first means recognizing that it is not selfish to take time out of my day to care for my needs.  Allowing myself to get to the point where I begin to feel empty or drained not only hurts me, it hurts those whom I work with, and love.  Before I can support others, I have to first make sure that my cup is full.

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

I think refilling my cup starts with the little things I do throughout my day that bring me happiness.  I have started making time to wake up an hour earlier than absolutely necessary so that I have the time to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch Live! with Kelly and Michael before going into work.  I come home from work in the middle of the day to cuddle with my adorable dog, Corn Dog.  I eat dinner with my partner and we talk about our day.  And every evening, I look out across the flat Minnesota land and I can see a wind turbine that is located about a mile away from my residence.  I think about how the turbine converts energy from the wind into electrical power.  Isn’t that remarkable?  At the end of each day I hope that I, like the turbine and a full cup, have converted my energy into powering myself so that I may share with others.

turbine

“I hope that I, like the turbine and a full cup, have converted my energy into powering myself so that I may share with others.”

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

The biggest obstacle and challenge is myself and my tendencies.  I am inclined to believe that it is selfish to think of my needs before those of others.  I tend to overextend and tax myself to be the best at my work. I am the one that, if unchecked, will empty my cup.

To overcome this challenge, I started making lists.  I had a list of all of the things I had to get done at work in order to feel okay about myself.  I had a second list of tasks that I used to mark down responsibilities that were not as urgent or pressing.  Another list was of all the things I had accomplished.  This was my “smile list” because reading what I had accomplished always made me smile.  Examples included marrying my soulmate, getting accepted into a doctoral program, and having a stellar chocolate chip cookie recipe.  My final list was my “hope list”.  It included all the things I hope for in life not related whatsoever to my career.  This list includes having children, going on a cruise, and designing a new tattoo.  These lists made me feel like I had some control and balance in my life.  They let me see what I’d done, what I needed to do, and where I wanted to go.  I still use a variation of these lists, but I have been utilizing my Passion Planner, which is an agenda that has a built in goal-setting and to-do area in it.

Another key step that I have taken is to be more responsible about seeking the help of health professionals. One could practice all of the self-care and self-love in the world but if one is not physically or emotionally healthy, such practice would be all for naught. I have found that taking steps to seek care and support has been invaluable for allowing me to better help and serve others. As a professional tasked with supporting others, it is easy to forget that we are human and sometimes need support ourselves. I think recognizing that sometimes the greatest self-love is knowing when you need to reach out and ask others for help.  Self-love does not mean you have to do it all by yourself.  Sometimes self-love will include reaching out to friends and family, and sometimes it may mean reaching out to a pastor, a counselor, or a doctor.

What have you learned from self-love?

For some, I think self-love might be easy.  For myself, I know that this journey to accepting all of me has not been easy.  It has been hard work.  But I have come to realize that the journey, the fight, of self-acceptance and loving myself has been worth it because I am worth it.

Don Miguel Ruiz said, “You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either.” I go back to the same cup I started with.  Let’s replace the concept of self-care with self-love in this analogy:  “You can’t pour from an empty cup.  Love yourself first.”

 

Thank you, Adrienne, for sharing your LYFF story. You are definitely a Phoenix rising!

 


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a 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: This Phoenix is Candi

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This is the first self-love story of 2016, and it’s exciting to bring it your way.

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  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 to kick off the new year is Candi:

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

Loving myself means giving myself exactly what I need. I do this by acknowledging how I feel in every moment and staying conscious of my inner dialogue. I pamper myself and also take myself out on self-love dates.

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

I practice a vegan diet, exercise, meditate, journal, spend time in nature and create art.

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

The most recent obstacle I’ve faced was starting my business; I had no idea how to, and I have little to no support. But my persistence and authenticity kept me going, so along the way I’ve been adopted by many soul sisters. Overcoming this fear made me appreciate my creativity, and I proved to myself that I can be in business and be myself: kind. It made me trust myself more and my intuition.

What have you learned from self-love?

That it’s not how others treat me that matters; it’s how I treat myself that counts.

 

Candi is Founder/Creator of Lioness Healing Arts. Be sure to check her out and also follow her inspiration and newest jewelry creations on Instagram.

 


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a 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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SELF-LOVE TIP OF THE WEEKEND: Through Self-Love You Learn How to Love

Tathina LYFF Feature2 [thephoenixrisingcollective]

Through self-love, I have learned how to love. Period. Loving myself when I was in a personal hell or when I was considered wrong or when I was stripped of everything I once used as a distraction taught me how to love all of existence. Compassion started to grow. I have discovered that when I’m taking care of myself, everything else is taken care of (even when my mind judges it to be wrong). Yes, some who are not in peace with this change may not be happy with my self-love/self-care and will get their feathers ruffled and think I’m selfish. This is their issue to make peace with.

Selfishness is expecting others to do for you what you should be doing for yourself. Self-love is our sole responsibility and freedom. It is empowering for all! I allow those that don’t accept me for who I am to leave my Life; this is their freedom and mine to be ourselves. Namasté.

 

Did you miss our Phoenix feature, Tathina’s, Love Yourself First! Friday story? Well, check it out here.

Have a great weekend, Phoenix! Be self-love in action.


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SELF-LOVE TIP OF THE DAY: Trust Your Inner Wisdom

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Trust your intuition. It’s a gift, and it’s always right. Yes, always! That inner knowing (gut feeling, hunch, whisper, etc.) is your God-given guide, your innate GPS. Don’t doubt it; identify the ways intuition reveals itself and practice strengthening your awareness, as “intuition comes to each of us in its own personal way.” (See the Phoenix Book Pick of the Week, Art of Intuition by Sophy Burnham).

Trust yourself and then observe your life positively transform!

Love + light, Phoenix. Be self-love in action.