The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women. Empowering Change.


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The Phoenix Book of the Week: The Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver

Corrine_Book_of_the_Week[phoenixrisingcollective]1Our Phoenix Book of the Week Pick comes from Corrine:

Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver

I’ve been reading Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver. The book outlines Fawn’s journey around the world as she uncovers the secrets to a long lasting happy marriage.

I found out about the book being a member of the Happy Wives Club group on Facebook. Daily messages are sent to members with fun and loving statements encouraging members to boast about their love of marriage and their husbands.

I’m reading the book because I have been married almost two years and I’ve always enjoyed polling family and friends who have been married 10+ years about what is the success to their marriages. I asked my grandparents, and they said pray; another person said communication; yet another said have thick skin.

As a wife and new mother, taking care of my family and being a good example is important to me. Folks are quick to recite statistics that downplay marriage – citing 50% of marriages end in divorce and others. But rarely do you find a whole movement that supports happy marriage. I’m about half way through the book and I am learning a lot. I highly recommend it.

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About The Phoenix Book of the Week:

The Phoenix Book of the Week features recommendations from The Phoenix Rising Collective, as well as the empowered women who support us. We’ll be sharing our thoughts on books that have been powerful resources for sustaining healthy self-esteem, creating emotional and spiritual wellness, and committing to intentional living. We’ll also share our personal stories about how and why the books have inspired personal growth and sparked “light bulb moments” that changed our lives in some way. The book picks may cover a wide range of topics from diverse genres.

Interested in sharing a book with us? Please click here to send your request for more details on submitting a book entry.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday – Bring Your Joy!

LYFF_quote_FB[taylor]

Bring YOUR joy today, Phoenix! Loving who you are requires it. Happy Love Yourself First! Friday.

(Quote Source: Invite Love In – In the Spirit, Essence 2006)


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday – Our May Tribute to Mothers Ends with Yolanda

Yolanda_LYFF[collage_blogpost]

It’s Love Yourself First! Friday, and this is the last self-love story in our May Tribute to Mothers series. As you know, we extended an invitation to three mothers and they all accepted, so we asked them thoughtful questions about self-love, and they eloquently answered with wisdom!  The last story in the tribute series comes from Yolanda.

Yolanda is the mother of Akil Houston, one of the contributing writers for the forthcoming book, Chasing My Father, Finding Myself: Journeys to Healing and Forgiveness.  We extended the invitation to her because she is spiritually conscious, committed to helping women build healthy self-esteem, and full of inspiring words of wisdom and truth. Akil asked his mother these heartfelt questions, and here are her responses! Thank you, Mama Yolanda.

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

As I reflect on this question I am reminded of a piece of sage wisdom given to me by an elder: “Baby, if I don’t take care of me, I will not be able to take care of anyone else.” She provided this tidbit as she was preparing to take a road trip with her 18-year old niece. In order to take this road trip she had to find a caretaker for her husband who was terminally ill. She instilled in me the need to make sure that I lovingly took care of me, and to make myself a very high priority, as opposed to giving until I was worn out.

I have learned to embrace my passion for reading books or watching television shows that have absolutely no socially redeeming value, for example watching Scandal or reading romance novels. In the bigger picture of life, watching Scandal will not cure world hunger and reading romance novels will not bring world peace. However, what they will do is provide a bit of down time that brings me peace and feeds my soul.  Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t read books or articles of substance, it just means that I need a break to recharge my battery.

There are also times when I just need to be around small children who are able to smile and laugh as if this is the greatest gift anyone could ever give.

When deeply stressed, I will retreat to my altar space to have a good conversation with my Yeye Oshun only asking that she listen, allowing me to reach a place of clarity.

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

My spiritual practice demonstrates the greatest show of self-care. While sitting in my altar space is quietly refreshing, I know that I can access that spiritual essence from wherever I may find myself.

Alternative healing practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, and massage have come to be the most effective methods of healing for me. Now, that does not mean that I won’t use westernized medicine if needed, it just means that alternative medicines have been the provider of the greatest healing for me. It was alternative healing practices that discovered the root of my chronic ear infections, laryngitis, and swelling as opposed to the numerous medications provided by my western physician that only masked my food sensitivities and allergies. My basic and most enjoyable form of exercise was dance. I danced for over twenty years taking classes, performing, and teaching until I had a serious fall at work and suffered a back and knee injury.

I now find that there is no form of exercise that gives me as much pleasure as dance.

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

When I met my son’s father, we were both in college. He was a junior and I, a freshman; it was instant love. He was so handsome, self-sufficient, and intelligent. We had talked a great deal about what our lives would be like once we graduated and were married.  He was going to be an educator and I had plans to become a school social worker. At that point, I felt as though I loved him more than life itself. We always used protection so I was not worried about becoming pregnant; however, at one point the protection did not work.  I had been sick with a seemingly endless ear infection and strep throat and was on antibiotics for several weeks. Little did I know, the antibiotics and my form of birth control did not mix.  Upon finding out that I was pregnant, he informed both me, and our parents that there was no way he could marry me or provide for our child. Graduation and attending grad school were his highest priorities. Once he achieved his goals, he would then be in a better position to take care of a child.

I was devastated and wondered how this man, whom I loved so much, who I would have given my last everything, could say this to me.  At that point, everything changed; I had to make it for my son and me. Knowing that I always had the support of my family, knowing that I could go home at any time, and knowing that I could ask for help and not have to be constantly reminded of how much my family had sacrificed for me, made the task of raising a child doable.

Being a single mom did not allow me to take the time to view issues as obstacles or challenges, I just had to make sure that my son was taken care of.  I also realized that putting my son’s father’s needs above mine was the greatest mistake that I had ever made. I came to realize that by loving him more than I was willing to love me, I had not set any expectations for his behavior, allowing him to do whatever he wanted while making excuses for his lack of responsibility. It was through that lesson, that I came to realize that self-love was not selfish, and that I was and needed to be important to me. If I was not aware of my value, no one else would ever be aware of my value.

What have you learned about yourself from being a mother? How has it helped your personal development?

I have learned the importance of having patience, humility, and the ability to laugh at myself. As a parent, just when you believe that your child would never do anything to embarrass you, they do something to challenge your parenting.  Sometimes your child will say something that makes you want to laugh, but you know as a parent that sometimes that laugh is really about something that you have told him/her, interpreting what you have said in a manner that you never intended.

Things that I thought were so important to being a great parent, really had very little to do with true parenting. Loving with expectations for behavior, setting limits, and being consistent were some of the greatest gifts I have received as a parent. The ability to multitask and listen beyond the spoken words have all been great assets to and for my personal development.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned that self-love is the greatest gift I can give to myself while showing others how I expect to be treated. It is looking beyond the pimple on my chin, the graying hair, the last ten pounds that I need to lose, or the self-sabotaging criticism that can destroy a person quicker than anything.

It’s about trusting in myself, being able to forgive me and not carrying those things I will never be able to change. It’s making sure that I love me and can have no less than one big heartfelt laugh a day. But most of all, it is about never lying to myself. It is about finding that inner peace, and appreciating the beauty of the simple things that life has to offer. It is also knowing that I am connected to spirit and how spirit is connected to me.

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Love Yourself First! Friday is a weekly self-love series created by the Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women of color tell their stories of triumph, share their personal affirmations, and declare their love for their own 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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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday – Today’s Phoenix is Nava

This beautiful Phoenix is Nava (lovely name, too, right?). She shares her self-love story with us by compassionately giving some thoughtful daily self-care regimens and words of wisdom that can build a stronger sense of spirituality, balance, and of course, love for your life.

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 Nava_LYFF[collage]_2Just like a flower needs water to grow, it’s important to learn about the things we need to nurture ourselves in every way. This means loving myself for all the good that I see, and accepting my flaws and the fact that I am IMperfect. This doesn’t mean that I don’t learn, change, and grow; it means that I am gentle and kind to myself in spite of it all. It also means being able to look in the mirror and fall in love with the Divine reflection of me.

 For most people, self-love can feel unnatural, but caring for myself requires consistent routines; for example:

  1. Staying spiritually centered
  2. Eliminating self-criticism
  3. Being kind and positive
  4. Acknowledging my efforts
  5. Expressing gratitude
  6. Having compassion – even with those that don’t deserve it
  7. Letting go of worry
  8. Trusting and forgiving myself even when I’ve messed up
  9. Being completely and nakedly honest with myself, and accepting all that is and comes with who I am

 

Love by any definition of the word (kindness, affection, respect, sensitive attunement, and shared companionship) is not only hard to come by; it is even more difficult to accept. Fortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of having wonderful and loving friendships and relationships, but over the years I’ve also invested time in black-hole relationships – relationships where the energy I gave was not returned, and I ended up highly disappointed and hurt. Because I put so much time and energy into loving deeply without reciprocation, I went through emotional pain and bouts of feeling rejected. More so, when someone was loving towards me, I’d experience conflict between their perception of me and my core identity.

I reacted with suspicion and distrust because my fear of intimacy was provoked. Luckily, I quickly snapped out of these challenges earlier in life and began to accept and love myself; this led to the ebb and flow of some wonderful and meaningful relationships. Now when I recognize that a relationship I have isn’t serving me well – whether it’s personal, platonic, or professional – I release it and let go.

I’ve learned that it’s necessary to take inventory of my relationships and the things that affect self-love. We are a nation obsessed with how we physically look (we diet, go on nutritional binges, and detox in an effort to look and feel good on the outside), but if what is going on emotionally does not match our spiritual desire, we can never attain the level of self-love we deserve.  Our equilibrium is off when a split between our divinity and humanity has taken place, but if we can learn to trust and hear the inner voice of love – we’ll experience deeper and stronger self-love that will lead us beyond the boundaries of our short life, to where God is all in all.

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Below Nava shares why she chose the photos for her self-love collage:

SUNSET – I am blessed and humbled to be able to have an amazing view of the sunset from my apartment deck. When I moved into the space it was a direct manifestation of what I’ve always wanted – a constant reminder to me that the simple pleasures in life are not as far away from us as we’d like to think.

MEDITATION – Every morning I go to a lake right by my job to meditate. It’s so peaceful and quiet, so this is where I begin my morning, and talk to myself with kindness and the certainty of my own soul.

WORKING THE HILL – Self-care is a part of loving who I am, so in addition to exercising my mind and soul, I include physical exercise. After coming to California from the East Coast I’ve been more active, enjoying Mother Nature and what it offers.

GREAT LOVE – My partner (pictured on the left) is my best friend and confidante. We’ve been together 14 years, and she’s one of few people that truly gets me.  Our relationship wouldn’t work if it weren’t for the fact that love is the true expression of our own heart’s energy. There is intensity in how we love ourselves first but each other unconditionally.

KINGDOM – Finally, I love the quote by Ajame, “Let no one enter your inner kingdom unless they come with love” because I’m a firm believer that the most life changing growth anyone can experience is learning to completely love, to let go of conditions, and to believe in themselves.

 

Happy Friday, Phoenixes! Love yourself fiercely.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a weekly self-love series created by the Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women of color tell their stories of triumph, share their personal affirmations, and declare their love for their own 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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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday – Today’s Phoenix is Teneele.

teneele_blog_graphic“I love myself first by doing what makes me happy,” Teneele says. Making time to do things that bring her joy and meaning helps this aspiring yoga instructor identify what makes her unique. She journals, writes poetry, and reads books about history, culture, and health – and if that’s not enough for enjoyment, Teneele also listens to diverse genres of music. “When I’m in my zone, I get lost in the beats, rhythms, and lyrics. Music really is a universal language, and it allows me to feel connected to everyone and everything.”

Teneele is also a no-fuss kind of girl, so she keeps her natural hair regimen very organic. Whether she’s rocking a ‘fro or twists (like you see in the photo), she loves that her hair is healthy, soft, and versatile. This natural beauty also wants to be healthy from the inside out, so in January she became a pescetarian, and the process has positively pushed her to learn more about her body and what it needs to operate at its fullest capacity. She loves trying new recipes and foods, and even makes herbal infusions and medicines!

She has also made yoga an integral part of her life, and it has helped her achieve clarity, peace, strength, and balance. “It’s cool to see how much I’ve grown with my yoga practice, and I’ve been inspired to become a yoga instructor. I want to provide health and wellness services to underserved youth, and show them the importance of eating well, being self-sufficient, breathing, centering themselves, eliminating stress, and having focus,” she says.

To rejuvenate, Teneele begins each day with prayer and realizes that it definitely makes a difference in her day. Without prayer she says, “I feel disconnected, and it’s easier for the stresses and worries of the day to get the best of me. When I seek the Creator, my mind and heart are at ease. I know that I’m loved, and my needs and wants are being met far beyond my expectations.”

She is a Phoenix rising, and we appreciate her sharing how she’s self-love in action.  Want more? Well, you can peruse, Teneele’s beautiful line of jewelry on Etsy!

Love Yourself First! Friday is a weekly self-love series created by the Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women of color tell their stories of triumph, share their personal affirmations, and declare their love for their own 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.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday. Today’s Phoenix is Janine.

janine_lyff[collage2-website]We’re very inspired by Janine’s self-love story, so of course it’s time to share it with you! She loves herself by creating “me” time – quality time that gives her space to figure out what she requires to move in a direction that’s beneficial to growth. “The time I create for myself enables me to cater to the desires of my mind, body, and soul,” she says.

On a weekly basis, she exercises her mind with inspiring reads that support her success in life. In addition to reading, Janine takes time to express her thoughts through words or visual art, strengthening her communication skills so that she’s able to relate to others in a way that is more authentic.

She loves and cares for her body by getting plenty of rest, engaging in physical movement through dance and weight training, treating her natural hair with care and thinking well of it, consuming nourishing foods that she prepares, and enjoying sunbathing sessions. “I consider nature to be a healer of sorts. Therefore, the act of sitting outside gifts me with an opportunity to observe and become receptive to ideas and the healing calm that the quiet of nature brings,” she shares. Being in nature and relaxing outside under the sun brings comfort to her soul.

Janine’s self-care regimen creates a deeper love for who she is, and also leaves room for her to offer love to others.

To see more of this beautiful artist’s work follow her on pinterest at janine jackson (wombmind).

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Love Yourself First! Friday is a weekly self-love series created by the Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women of color tell their stories of triumph, share their personal affirmations, and declare their love for their own 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.