The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action


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15 Affirmations to Inspire the Daily Practice of Self-Love

I originally posted 15 Affirmations to Inspire the Daily Practice of Self-Love in 2014, and I decided, “Hey, why not do a refresh?” You got it. Yes, I’m trying to get as many people on the affirmation bandwagon as I can because they work. The perspective we take on our experiences can either create a dark downward spiral or catapult us to significant transformational change. Put another way by Margaret Moore, founder of Wellcoaches, “It makes it harder, not easier to change when the focus is on what’s wrong and what’s not working. Not enough positive energy and emotion are harvested to fuel the pursuit of change.”

Exactly what are affirmations, and why are they important? To put it simply, they are positive words of empowerment that when consistently spoken, shift your perspective, lift your spirit, and change your mind. Affirmations help you focus on what you want for your life rather than what you don’t want. And as the Coaching Psychology Manual shares, they are “best written in the present tense, as if they are already happening and in your voice.”

We have a tendency to concentrate on the worst case scenario. In fact, how many times have you used or heard someone else use the phrase, “OK, here’s the worst case scenario,” to prepare for what might go wrong. Why fabricate, ponder and conjure the worst results possible when the universe is really conspiring for your greatest good? To think about the worst that can happen while secretly hoping for something more loving, kind, peaceful and compassionate to occur isn’t healthy nor does it manifest the experiences you truly deserve.

Caroline Shola Arewa, Wellness Coach and Author, provides a inspiring explanation from her book, Opening to Spirit:

Thoughts have a very powerful impact on our energy. ‘Energy follows thought’ is one of the basic laws of nature. Through our thoughts we are capable of changing our lives. Therefore, we must be vigilant and think with awareness. A negative belief can manifest just as easily as an affirmative thought. The universe supports ‘My life will never change,’ just as easily as ‘Things are going to improve for me.’ The choice is yours. You are gifted with a high level of consciousness, so you can make choices. When you truly Open to Spirit, help is available to you. As director of your life story, you have the ability to rewrite the script and make changes; this is your ‘respons-ability’.

If love, kindness, peace and compassion are what you desire, then why not make them your primary concentration from the start? So, here’s the commitment: No more I-don’t-want mantras. You’ve already established yourself in that area, right? Moving forward, affirm your life through positive, conscious thoughts and words that support your intentions and direct the energy where you REALLY want it to flow.

Begin writing your own affirmations to learn the difference between a negative statement versus an affirmative one. For example, instead of “I don’t want to be alone,” try “I am open to new experiences and attract positive people into my life.” Rather than declaring, “I am broke,” try “My financial needs are always met, and I am provided for.” Right now I’m really working on time management: using my time wisely, making room for things that are important to me and being mindful throughout the day. To create a meaningful, motivating affirmation I visualized how doing these things will make me feel and started brainstorming the actions and thoughts that will generate the outcome I want. The affirmation is below:

I honor my time through daily acts of preparation and mindfulness like weekly meal prep, taking deep breaths to center myself for the present moment, taking it one step at a time, committing to a consistent sleep schedule, and saying yes to what really bring me happiness. These daily acts create more peaceful, intentional experiences that support, affirm and empower my well being.

Lastly, jot down affirmations you hear or read from others. Post them in different areas of your home so that your awareness strengthens and reciting them becomes a daily practice. As a jump start, I’ve compiled some that I’ve shared with you in the past, as well as some from authors I’m inspired by:

  1. Relaxation: I take time to slow down and enjoy my life.
  2. Physical Health: I love my body, and my body loves me.
  3. New Opportunities: I say yes to new things and follow my intuition. When my spirit tells me to move, I’m going!
  4. Reverence: I love MY life. Things are getting better for me everyday, and I am grateful.
  5. Friendship: My friends are a reflection of me; therefore, I choose them wisely.
  6. Gratitude: I recognize the opportunities that have been given to me and voice my gratitude. I am thankful for each blessing and keep an open mind and heart to the ways in which they come.
  7. Forgiveness: I forgive my past and embrace the lessons I have learned from it. I fully accept and love who I am in this present moment.
  8. Rejuvenation: I give myself permission to rest and restore.
  9. Financial Abundance: A consistent and steady stream of income flows to me in expected and unexpected ways, and satisfies my needs and wants. I am open to and grateful for financial prosperity.
  10. Patience: I am grateful even in the midst of my challenges because I know my challenges are building spiritual muscle. I am resilient.
  11. Surrender: I let go and the universe lovingly takes care of me.
  12. BONUSMindfulness: Today is my day. It is a gift, and I am grateful for and mindful of each moment. I center myself, breathing in the new energy and embracing the new lessons that come my way. Today is my day.

Affirmations from Inspirational Authors I Love:

  1. Acceptance and Change:  “In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. I now choose calmly and objectively to see my old patterns, and I am willing to make changes. I am teachable. I can learn. I am willing to change. I choose to have fun doing this. I choose to react as though I have found a treasure when I discover something else to release. I see and feel myself changing moment by moment. Thoughts no longer have any power over me. I am the power in the world. I choose to be free.” -Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
  2. Love: “I love myself; therefore, I work at a job I truly enjoy doing, one that uses my creative talents and abilities, working with and for people I love and who love me, and earning a good income… I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world, for they are a mirror of what I am.” -Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
  3. Self-Worth: No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”  –Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
  4. Creativity: “I will love my creative impulses all the days of my life. I will give expression daily to the words, shapes, images, and movements that emerge from within me. I will celebrate my unique vision and experience, refusing to color inside someone else’s lines.”  Patricia Lynn Reilly, I Promise Myself

The beauty is that most, if not all, of these affirmations will apply to your life at some point or another. They will, along with others that speak to your heart, keep your thoughts and words in alignment to manifest results that support self-love. Daily practice is your commitment to believing in what you want, and then asking yourself, first and foremost, “What’s the best that can happen?”

Book Suggestions on the Topic:

 


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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Affirmation of the Day: Be Mindful of Your Fresh Start

It’s a new day, a fresh start; one I will make the most of. I trust that whatever I needed from yesterday’s experiences will be revealed, so I let go. I move forward and am open to my clean slate, fully embracing the opportunities a new day brings.

Artwork Credit: Golden Opening by Mara Berendt Friedman


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How To Give Yourself a Mid-Year Health Check

MidYear Health Check[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

As mid-year rolls around there are more than likely a number of thoughts racing through your mind.

How much money have I saved so far?

Should I finally join that gym?

Where is this relationship going?

Maybe I should apply for that management position?

Self-inquiry is the key to self-mastery so you’re right on track with your questions and thoughts. However, now is the time to go even deeper with your self check-ins. To ensure that your life is going in a steadily positive direction you need to also put some laser focus on your overall health.

Don’t worry, performing a mid-year health check is free and painless.

Evaluating the state of your health should fall into three categories:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

Focusing on all three allows you to look at your life holistically. True self-care is about seeing yourself as a whole being, not just certain areas of your life.

Ask and answer these series of questions to gain a snapshot of your health this summer. A solid rule of thumb is to record your answers on pen and paper or audio. That way you can go back and reference your answers at the end of the year to do another self check-in and compare notes on your progress.

Physically

What are my energy levels when I first wake up, mid-day, and at night?

If you are waking up feeling fatigued then you could be struggling with an adrenal imbalance. Or if you are sleepy around mid-day or early evening then that could be the effect of sugar crashes. Keep a food and energy journal to track patterns.

Am I eating consciously?

Think about your sugar intake, daily water consumption, and daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Make a commitment to be conscious about what you are putting in your body.

Am I taking supplements daily?

Supplements provide the nutrients that our bodies need that we don’t get from our meals.

Am I performing breast checks after my cycle ends?

Our breasts are more prone to reveal any abnormalities or lumps right after menstruation.

Am I exercising regularly?

Monitor how you feel after physical activity. Consider your recovery time and how your muscles feel after every workout.

Mentally

Am I suffering from mood swings?

If you are unsure, survey your child(ren), partner, and colleagues.

Am I pursuing expressive outlets for work-life balance?

Do you love cooking, photography, poetry, blogging or singing? Whatever delights your mind and spirit indulge in it often and with wild abandon.

Am I creating and maintaining healthy rituals?

You deserve to spoil yourself and to do it regularly. The possibilities for self-care in this area are endless. Everything from journaling, to massages, to solo date-nights, to splurging on a latte every Saturday morning, can be on-going rituals worth maintaining.

Am I saying NO more, so I can say YES more?

The powerhouse that is Shonda Rhimes literally wrote the book on this very same idea (see Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person). The No’s are just as powerful as the Yeses that you give out to yourself, loved ones, and outside commitments.

Spiritually

Am I practicing gratitude daily?

Studies show that doing so can increase your happiness, inner peace, and productivity.

Am I practicing mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a simple art. Consistently step outside yourself and view your behavior and thoughts. Are you always coming from a place of love? Posing this question daily will drastically increase your self-awareness and improve the energy that you give to the world.

Am I practicing forgiveness?

This is a practice that can lead to profound spiritual and emotional breakthroughs. Forgive yourself for your own shortcomings and forgive others who have disappointed you. Letting go of the pain that you have experienced through forgiveness opens up a pathway for receiving unconditional love from yourself and the environment around you.

 

These three core areas are the foundation for a systematic health check that honors your entire essence. Give it a shot this summer and watch your self-care go in new and healthy directions.


About the Contributor

CJChildressCoachCJ Childress is a nutrition, wellness, and health focused freelance writer. She is particularly interested in the intersection of organic nutrition, mental health, and holistic living, and how they can all work in concert to live a beautiful and balanced life. You can find her on Instagram. Check out CJ’s other Health + Wellness posts HERE.


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Join Us! The Fullness of Me Workshop – Spirit Affirming Self-Care Practices for Women Ready to be Self-Love in Action

Hey, Phoenixes! If you’re in Columbus, OH or surrounding areas join us Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1pm – 4pm at Gather.  Before the busyness of the fall season begins, we are retreating in a sacred space with fellow Phoenixes who have also made a commitment to practicing healthy self-care regimens. This is your chance to connect with yourself and create authentic connections with others.

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.

Get more details HERE, and register now! Make yourself a priority. And by all means, invite a friend!

FullnessWorkshop[EBlast]PRC

 


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SELF-LOVE TIP OF THE DAY: Find Happiness that Comes from Within

HappinessAffirmation[thephoenixrisingcollective]

AFFIRMATION: I delight in the happiness that comes from within.

It seems simple but is often hard to do because we’re sidetracked by the busyness of our daily lives. However, the happiness that we are seeking and that is sustainable comes from what our ancient African ancestors referred to as MAAT or balance which is achieved through the practice of things that bring harmony and personal growth. Examples would be: Meditation. Prayer. Solitude. Kindness. Forgiveness. Gratitude. Reciprocity. Truth.

I was going through a folder and came across a few clippings that I’d taken from magazines I love; they were quotes and affirmations I wanted to remember (or probably post to my inspiration board). It was the quote below that sparked the idea for the Self-Love Tip:

“Happiness does not depend on external factors; work to cultivate the kind of happiness that comes from within: Volunteer your time to help those less fortunate, practice forgiveness to calm your spirit, limit time spent on the Internet, and embrace an attitude of gratitude.” -Andrew Weil, MD, from the book Spontaneous Happiness.

Identify what will center your life, then find time to actively and consistently do those things. Period. Sure, some practices will be challenging and uncomfortable to do; however, there is growth in being uncomfortable. Forgiveness, for example, (of yourself or otherwise) can take time depending on the circumstances, but the end result is you letting go of the past to make room for your life to grow (see the Forgiveness Diet exercise as a resource). So, do the awesome work that is required to create the  happiness that can only manifest from within.

Share in the comment section below how you practice cultivating happiness.

 


 

Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder and self-esteem education consultant of The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is also the editor-in-chief for Phoenix Shine, The PRC’s blog and spirit-affirming online community. She has always had a passion for inspiring others through writing, coaching, and teaching. Her diverse career experiences have positively shaped her overall perspective on what it truly means to be a change agent: “I believe a change agent is someone who is in alignment with what she loves to do, and then connects, utilizes, and shares that love to make a difference and transform lives.” Learn more about Ayanna HERE.


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

Santana_LYFF_Collage

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

Loving myself means making consistent intentional choices every day that place my well-being first. It’s a philosophical practice that manifests in almost every facet of daily life. For me, it’s been evolving as my life and my demands have transitioned from college student to working professional.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned regarding self-love is that I cannot and should not think of acts of self-love as an indulgence, but rather as necessary maintenance. I am at my best when I place my personal care first. This was a surprisingly difficult shift for me to make and maintain. It requires a lot of work, but it’s the best kind of work. I had to expand my definition of personal care to encompass a variety of activities that make me feel my best, and allow me to take time to focus on nurturing my mind, body, and soul.

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Santana and her dog, Cassie, after a hike.

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

When I’m feeling down about myself, I find a quiet place and repeat (out loud!) the mantra “Although (insert reason I’m upset or anxious), I love and accept myself completely.” It’s a striking physical and emotional experience to say that out loud. I’ve learned to own and accept my reactions and feelings, while reinforcing my self-love. I’ve learned I must take ownership of how I feel about myself. I am the only person who validates me.

This year, the most important change in my self-care ritual has been taking care of my body. I spend much of my work week sitting at a desk. When I was in college I spent much more time being active and walking and so physical activity was much less of a concern. This year, I noticed that my mood was becoming more variable, and my daily anxiety level was growing, so I decided to start making efforts to temper that. To be my best self I must make an effort to show love to my body by using it and learning about all the wonderful things it can do.

Yoga has been a transformative and complete self-love activity. Two to three times a week I spend an hour or so focusing on my body, my breath, and my soul. I love that yoga is non-competitive and that I have so much freedom in practicing it. Yoga can be modified to any skill or mobility level and the goals are personal. So often, we’re critical of our bodies and yoga is my favorite way to temper that negativity. Every movement is intentional and self-loving. I’ve gained so much confidence in myself through it—not because I’m particularly good at it, but because I’ve learned to be okay with not being successful at some poses. I can be a perfectionist, and yoga is a time for me to fail, and come out on the other side feeling proud of myself for just trying my best. In my last class, I fell over at least three times! I didn’t feel judged by anyone else there though, and I didn’t judge myself either—actually I found my failures kind of endearing! Philosophically, yoga has taught me about the importance of effort and surrender—I can place my full effort into anything, and because of that, I can feel okay about surrendering the results to the forces that be. This thinking is very helpful for my inner perfectionist and “control freak.”

Hiking is another way that I can work my body in a non-competitive and fulfilling way. I live in a rural area, and there are plenty of trails that match my comfort and skill level (which is fairly low). I can set my own pace when hiking, which I love. I bring my dog, Cassie, and we can bond through the activity. My favorite part is reaching the top and feeling like I’ve succeeded. Through setting physical goals for myself and then reaching them, I gain confidence and love myself.

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Bell peppers – Santana’s garden

The act of cooking is another way I nourish myself completely. I live in a different state than my family, so one way I can feel close to them is through cooking recipes that my mother and grandmother have taught me. If I’m feeling homesick, making a favorite meal is a way to temper that. These recipes are a gift that they’ve given me and that I can share with people close to me. I’ve taken more initiative with my diet by adopting recipes that are not only tasty, but healthy too. When I sauté kale, garlic, and beets, I know that I’m providing my body with strength, nutrients, and something yummy, that’s empowering!

Eating healthy is doubly exciting when I cook the vegetables I grow in my own garden. How fulfilling to till, plant, cultivate, and harvest your own produce! I maintain my connection to the Earth and nature and I remind myself of the sanctity of food. I feel like a shepherd to my garden and my vegetables. After spending all day inside an office during the work week, I love to kick off my shoes and walk barefoot in the soil while tending to my plants.

One of my most important self-care actions I practice is allowing myself to be silly! I embrace having solo dance parties (in the printing room at work, in my car, or the kitchen while cooking dinner). If I catch myself being critical of my reflection in the mirror, I’ll start making silly faces at myself until I laugh. Part of growing up for me has been learning to take care of myself in an internal way and being silly is sometimes the best medicine.

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

For a long time I wrestled with my racial identity. Largely because the way others viewed my racial identity varied so much depending on what part of the country or the world I was in. I’ve always dreaded the “what are you?” question because my answer is so complicated and normally the person asking isn’t looking for an answer that’s been 23 years in the making. Although it is still a work in progress, I’m learning to embrace the fluidity of my identity. Rather than thinking of myself as an outlier or outsider because of my varied experiences, I’ve learned to see it as a tool through which I can more easily connect with a wide range of people. Through changing my perspective, I’ve learned to see my experiences as empowering rather than exclusionary. I’ve learned that I don’t owe an explanation to anyone regarding myself, and the way that I navigate my identity can be personal, unique, and special. Developing and naming my own agency in potentially marginalizing encounters has been a huge step in my own self-care.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love spills over into all other aspects of our lives. When you’re at your best, you provide so much more positivity and light. In many ways self-love is the best act of kindness. I’ve learned that if I want to have meaningful and beneficial relationships, self-love needs to be my top priority. I think in many relationships, the idea that “I’ll take care of you and you’ll take care of me” is common and potentially detrimental. That mentality can lead to a lot of pressure, false expectations, and resentment. I’ve found that in reality, the better philosophy is “Because I love you, I’ll love, take responsibility for, and care of myself.” Self-love translates into healthier, more supportive partnerships. It’s the foundation to a beautiful life.

Santana’s LYFF Collage:

We asked Santana to also submit photos demonstrating self-love in action or even photos that radiate the feeling of loving who she is. We created a collage (shown above AND below, because they were too inspiring to just choose three or four) of the awesome images she wanted to share.

Santana selected these images because “these photos make me proud of myself. In these moments I was trying something new, enjoying outside, or being exuberant and joyful. These are moments where I felt truly alive and in the moment!”

santana_collage_2[the phoenix rising collective]

Thank you for sharing your self-love story, Santana. You are definitely a Phoenix rising!

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

Love Yourself First! Friday is a 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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Love Yourself First! [FLASHBACK] Friday – Today’s Phoenix is Natasha

natasha_LYFF[poster]

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

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

Like so many women, loving myself first has been a challenge. Women, in particular, are socialized to care for and assume responsibility for others in ways that can be detrimental to wholly loving and caring for ourselves. We’re conditioned to be “givers.” This isn’t a bad thing. It’s a wonderful quality but women should also be encouraged to be givers to ourselves as well. At 33 years old, I am finally learning this lesson. I have finally heeded the advice of my husband, mother, and friends. I now take time to nurture myself through writing, performance, and other creative pursuits. I read, meditate, and do yoga. I make the time to regularly get with my close girlfriends (see photo below of Natasha with her Goddess Squad) who provide me with constant encouragement, enlightenment, good food, and laughter. Loving myself first also means treating myself with compassion. So often, I would beat myself up trying to be the perfect mother, wife, career woman, friend, mentor, student, daughter, etc. I’m getting better at saying “I’m doing the best that I can. That’s all that I can do, and it’s enough.” Loving myself means honoring my process and embracing my authenticity. It means knowing that I am abundant and absolutely worthy of giving AND receiving.

Goddess Squad 7-9-2013What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc.)

I am very big on meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. I jump between Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Kundalini yoga. I also do strengthening core exercises. I don’t follow any particular diet but I am mindful of what I put in my body,  and I eat in moderation. I love creating a very Zen-like environment in my home. There is lots of natural sunlight.  I like fresh flowers, candles, and art. It’s important to me that my space reflects the beauty of nature. I am heavily influenced by indigenous spiritual practices and am an I-Ching practitioner. I also like to sing, dance, and play with my kids.

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

I am learning the importance of emotional self-sufficiency. It involves honoring my emotions by owning them.  It’s really rooted in the understanding that others are not responsible for my emotional health.  I now understand that having an emotional state that is predicated on other people’s actions is like living your life on shifting sand; you will always live in that unstable and reactionary place. I’ve made a conscious decision to shy away from that kind of co-dependence and to know that authentic happiness comes from my internal source.

What have you learned from self-love?

I’ve learned that self-love is not a destination. It’s an ongoing, lifelong process. There will be an ebb and flow to it. There are so many elements in this world that work very hard to prevent us from fully loving ourselves as we are. So, it’s a constant challenge. There will be days where I won’t be so good at it and that’s okay. It’s really all about the process of constantly growing in ways that require me to keep unveiling and rediscovering myself. _________________________________________ We asked Natasha to also submit photos demonstrating self-love in action or even photos that radiate the feeling of loving who she is. We created a collage (shown above) of the awesome images she chose to share:

  1. Top left – Showing a naturally beautiful representation of happiness
  2. Top right – Sharing her Mala prayer/chanting beads and rice bowl for meditation
  3. Bottom left – Spending time with her son and the participants in her RAISE IT UP! program; Natasha is the co-founder and executive director.
  4. Bottom right – Meditating with her sons

Thank you Natasha for sharing your LYFF story with us. You are a Phoenix rising! Happy Friday. __________________________________________ Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Diverse women 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