Yes, time flies, right?! There are only six more days before The Fullness of Me workshop. Join us Saturday, August 22, 1pm – 4pm at Gather in Columbus, OH. This is your chance to retreat before the busyness of the fall season!
The Fullness of Me: Spirit-Affirming Self-Care Practices for Women Ready to be Self-Love in Action is an activity-driven workshop that provides simple, soulful daily self-care practices and resources that support you in loving the life you lead. Resources include The Phoenix Rising Collective’s The Fullness of Me: Intentional Living Guide.
Sometimes (well, most of the time) all you need is a deep breath to bring clarity to a situation and/or to lighten the load. Whether it’s a big decision you have to make or a matter of seeing things from a different perspective, don’t hold your breath in the process of figuring it out. Breathe.
Release anxiety and worry by slowly and consciously inhaling and exhaling your way through it. Surrender. And with each exhale visualize what letting go looks like for you.
Lastly, repeat an affirmation that supports this intentional breathing practice; here are a few of my favorite:
I am easily and divinely guided to solve my challenges. All is well.
I let go and the universe lovingly takes care of me.
I am light and love; it exudes from me and is part of all that I do.
I commit to peace within myself and to peace with others.
Take a breath! Be self-love in action. Happy Sunday, Phoenix! Create a positive week.
Ayanna Jordan is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She has always had a passion for inspiring others, particularly women, and especially through writing, coaching, and teaching. She is happy The PRC provides an opportunity for her to write about one of her favorite topics: self-care, as she believes that true wellness begins within – healing old wounds, forgiving others (and yourself), letting go of the past, eating healthy foods, making room for change, sustaining a positive attitude, and taking time for spiritual practice, are all a part of the journey to authenticity. Right now, she is most inspired by Love Yourself First! Friday. Learn more about it HERE.
Simply seek happiness, and you are not likely to find it. Seek to create and love without regard to your happiness, and you are likely to be happy much of the time. Dr. M. Scott Peck
There appears to be A LOT of discussion around the notion of seeking balance, maintaining balance, mastering balance, balancing balance, and so on. Having convinced myself that I, too, need to somehow master this concept, it often feels quite lofty, unobtainable, and completely impossible for me at times – even after several cups of my Goddess Brew.
At other moments I feel that I’m the closest to personal perfection, and I have transcended my limited human capacity to the realm of a supernatural fifth dimension being. Then reality strikes back like Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and I’m Anakin Skywalker being seduced by the dark and evil Force of imbalance – an absolute failure at living up to the greatest version of the grandest vision I hold for myself. After this mental, emotional, and spiritual war of the worlds has consumed me for a couple of weeks, I find myself starting over again, bringing me to my present “ah-ha” moment of clarity.
Having entered a new year, with new goals, and new ideas, I’ve committed to one, I repeat, one approach that will assist me in accomplishing balance as I wish to fully and practically experience it. But, before I delve into that, let me say that I had to be fully honest with myself in recognizing that my thoughts and actions towards living a balanced lifestyle were and are in a constant state of flux (which is totally okay, by the way).
I’ve come to realize this ebb and flow is inevitable because many days, weeks, and months, I’m in different and varying spaces emotionally, mentally, and sometimes spiritually. Why am all over the darn place, you may ask? I even ask myself that question. The answer is; because I am growing up and I am growing out. Yup, that’s it! I’m maturing, shape-shifting, metamorphosing, transforming, and awakening into the womyn (spelled this way intentionally) whose self-actualization process in mastering a balanced lifestyle is more complex than “taking the much needed ‘me-time’” I suggested in a previous article. Although taking the time for self is an extremely important component to any major lifestyle adjustment, striking a balance and envisioning precisely how that will look in our individual lives will change depending upon our deepest needs and desires.
Out With the Old, In With the New
As we mature, and also come into full authentic beings, certain things simply no longer belong or reflect our trajectory. Case in point, at 22 years old I could pull an all-night study session, sleep three to four hours, and ace the exam the next day. At 32, I look like Ricky Raccoon with anything less than seven to eight hours of unbroken sleep. Or, every New Year’s Eve for the past several years I passionately looked forward to hanging with my best friends at the club dancing the night away. NYE 2014, I spent a relaxing evening with my mother watching The Butler on DVD and eating popcorn while my four year-old son played with his new train collection on the floor. The list goes on. For example, the morning meditation sessions I deeply needed six months ago were well suited for me during that time. Now I’ve found that an evening meditation with an accompanied journal reflection is more conducive to the place I’m in spiritually. Last, but definitely not least, yoga practices (ranging from Bikram to Vinyasa) were key exercises incorporated into my weekly routine throughout 2013, as I was yearning for inner strength and peace. However at the dawn of 2014, I’ve committed to the 30-day squat and plank challenge to push myself beyond my current physical capabilities.
This is not to say I’ve reached nirvana and no longer have a use for yoga and its amazing benefits. This modification in my exercise regimen is an attempt to align my core inner and outer strengths. So, it’s only befitting that throughout the rest of this lifetime, I progress and surpass the “me” of yesteryear or yesterday whenever I’m moved to do so, according to my deepest needs and desires. Thus, a balanced lifestyle will look and feel different at each crossroad.
Redefining Balance in Your Life
I have a renewed vision and shift in thought consciousness that focuses primarily on the power of recreating my reality and re-presenting myself anew. This is the approach I was referencing earlier. In doing so I’m able to:
Recognize and embrace the goodness in all things and everyone as God’s perfect creations.
Take full ownership of my life being exactly how I choose it to be.
Cultivate the courage to be vulnerable.
Be creative and love without attachment and expectation.
Relinquish fear and feelings of lack.
Accept abundance in all areas of my life.
Freedom, love, and prosperity are my themes for this year. I’ve placed strong intention on having my thoughts, behaviors, and daily manifestations in direct alignment with one another. My current state of balance during the week is 35/40/25. I dedicate 35% of my week to myself, 40% of my week to my family, and 25% to my current job. This could (and I’m sure WILL) look different in a few months.
The Balance Challenge
Mothers, my challenge for you this year, this month, this day, and this moment;
Redefine the idea of balance you’ve previously held for yourself. Dig deep to assess what a new balanced lifestyle will look and feel like as you ponder your true needs and desires in your current state. Think about what may have worked for you two weeks, two months, or two years ago that doesn’t fully resonate with where or what you’re working towards presently.
Then set your intention on what you truly wish to see manifest each day – Yes, each day in your life!
From this point, uncover what is necessary to rebuild and recreate the scales to fit your current lifestyle thus re-presenting a “new” you.
Actively work towards maintaining your renewed state of balance and be willing to make the adjustments as often as needed. Please DO NOT harshly judge yourself in the process.
Remember, where you are, is exactly where you need to BE! But, you can always choose to be somewhere else.
Lastly, if you have some free time, check out some of my favorite authors/life coaches/Buddhist Monks/bestselling writers whose work covers subjects and topics related to content in this article; Neale D. Walsch, Brene Brown, Thich Naht Hahn, and Paulo Coehlo to name a few.
Peace and Bountiful Blessings Sistren! Until next month…
About the Author:
W. KaNeesha Allen is the Motherhood Empowerment contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective. 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. 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”. 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.
Love Yourself First! Friday is an interview series featuring phenomenal and resilient women who share their self-love stories – vulnerable, honest and heartfelt stories, 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.
Here’s our featured Phoenix’s self-love story:
Ashley loves herself first by never giving up on her personal growth and dreams. “My motto is Get better every day. I am open-minded, and I love new experiences because I learn so much about myself and what I didn’t know I was capable of.”
When it comes to a personal routine, Ashley makes sure to incorporate some form of spiritual practice, so she prays every day because it’s very important to her. In addition to strengthening her faith through prayer, Ashley discovered yoga a few months ago and thought, “Where have you been all my life?!” She feels it could have saved her a lot of stress if she’d started sooner. “I am so happy to go to class once (and sometimes twice) a week.”
Ashley’s openness to life has also changed her definition of beauty; she returned to natural hair and loves taking care of it, as well as trying new styles. “It’s such a beautiful journey that has changed the way I define beauty for myself and others. I’ve inspired many of my friends to embrace their natural beauty as well.”
Her quest to get better every day doesn’t stop there. She is also a pescatarian. After getting sick with an unknown gastrointestinal disease, Ashley stopped eating red meat in college. She stopped eating all other meats almost four years ago, and the process has completely changed the way she feels. “I’ve not been sick with GI diseases since making those changes. I pay a lot of attention to what I eat and do because it has a direct correlation to how I feel; so simple, yet so true.”
A common theme in Ashley’s self-love journey is positive change, and she’s also learned it through the power of letting go. About a year and a half ago, she went through a rough breakup with her child’s father. The situation deeply hurt and emotionally scarred her, and it took a long time to understand how she was supposed to move on with her life. Fortunately, with help from wise, loving people, she eventually learned a lesson from the experience; she forgave herself and him. “I must admit that I am a better person because of it. I have redefined what it means to be a single mother. I am just so empowered by the fact that, no, I didn’t plan to raise my daughter as a single mother, but yes, I am going to make the best life for us.”
Ashley chose three photos that demonstrate self-love in action, and in one of them she’s standing outside the apartment she rented right after the breakup with her child’s father: “To me it means so much. I overcame. I could do it alone even though I didn’t think I could, especially with the help of God.”
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.
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.