The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women. Empowering Change.


Leave a comment

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


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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

 


1 Comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.

1795586_10153869948425370_1256971136_n

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.

10464151_10154369683885370_3322876818893054273_n

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!

__________________________________________

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.


Leave a comment

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


2 Comments

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

Love Yourself First Friday[Nakshidil]ThePhoenixRisingCollective

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

This week’s beautiful Phoenix is Nakshidil:

 

Nakshidil_Ocean[ThePhoenixRisingCollective]

Nakshidil on the beach in Mauritius.

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

Self-love to me means waking up in the morning and feeling in tune with my mind, body and soul. It’s the positive energy that courses through my body when the sunlight hits my skin or that sense of euphoria that engulfs me on demand.

My drive and determination to constantly feel the love that surrounds me is what I use as my fuel to grow and bask in my passions. I think that’s one of the most important parts about self-love; it’s the ability for someone to understand herself in a profound manner that yields acceptance. Being able to wake up every morning and accept who you are and where you have been is the most powerful weapon on earth because it ultimately acts as a motivator.

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

One of the things my mom has always told me and it continues to resonate with me is that life is volatile; you need to enjoy the simple pleasures of life while you can. I am a lover of clouds. I often stop in the middle of what I am doing if I am outside just to admire them. I love laying down under trees in the shade and watching the way the sunlight hits the leaves. It makes me feel at peace and I can remove myself from the hustle and bustle of my daily routine and hectic surroundings.

I make it a point to take a few minutes every day to do the superman pose. I stand tall with my hands on my hips and look at the sky. I take deep breaths and tell myself I’ve got this. I can do this. Today is my day.

I have also realized the importance of doing the things I love when I feel like it and to invest myself, wholeheartedly, in everything I undertake.

I cook often because I love food. It’s therapeutic and soothes my mind.

Being around my friends and family brightens my day and I find solace in seeing those dear to my heart happy, so I try to spend as much time as possible around the people I care about most.

Another thing that makes me feel alive is dancing. I find every opportunity I can to dance. Whether it’s raining, music or no music, while shopping – it brightens my soul and makes me feel alive.

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

I think that moving to America for my undergraduate studies was one the biggest obstacles and adventures I embarked on. The culture shock and being away from home (alongside several different personal experiences) made me understand that self-love and acceptance of the different experiences that I have been affected by are what make me who I am. It has transformed me into the woman I am now. I have found strength in times of weakness, determination in times of despair, and love in times of pain.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned that I am my biggest supporter and I am stronger than I know. Self-love has taught me that in order to heal I need to accept, and once I have accepted I can begin building my foundation for empowerment.

 

Nakshidil’s LYFF Collage:

Here’s a little more about the photos she selected:

Top Right – “I was giving a speech at an event during my time as Student Government President of UM-Flint: The photo reminds me to never lose track of my passions, goals, and objectives. It reminds me that impossible is nothing and that if you set your mind to something you can achieve it as long as you have the will power to do so. It’s a testimony to my intense year as president, but in that moment it all made sense because of how happy I was doing what I love to do.”

Bottom Left – “My family back home. My rock. My foundation. My constant. They are my biggest motivators and support system and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. This photo is a reminder to never forget my roots, my culture and the important people in my life.”

Bottom Right – “I’m in Mauritius on the beach (it was a gorgeous day out, the clouds were stunning, the sun was shining bright, and the sea water was crystal clear). It reminds me a lot about the simple pleasures in life. Sometimes you need to just take a break, kick off your heels, let your hair loose, and feel the moment.”

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Nakshidil. You are definitely a Phoenix Rising!

___________________________

Join the Collective. Share your self-love story with us. Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and we’ll send you follow-up info. Sweet. Short. Simple!

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.