The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action


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

 

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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 awesome Phoenix is Faith:

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

For me, self-love is very much intertwined with self-acceptance. Part of this is simply being my authentic self instead of trying to be the person others want or expect me to be – something I’ve struggled with in the past.

Sometimes it means accepting my limitations and not expecting perfection. My best is enough. I’ve learned to set boundaries and not take on too much, just to make someone else happy. Sometimes you have to say no.

At the same time, I think self-love is partially what enables me to push myself to achieve. I grew up knowing I wanted more for my life than I felt I was being offered. Because I love myself, I have worked hard to accomplish many goals. I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished so far, and I love myself enough to continue to strive for more.

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“I’ve found that the larger variety of healthy foods I eat, the more I enjoy making healthy choices and love to try new recipes.”

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

I put a lot of emphasis on mental self-care. I try to keep my self-talk positive. If I wouldn’t say something to a friend or to my daughter, why should I say it to myself? Speaking of friends, I try to nurture my relationships and surround myself with positive influences as much as possible. My friends are a priority in my life and I feel lucky that they make me a priority, too. I think that a good laugh or conversation with a friend can soothe the soul like nothing else.

I love to eat healthy (and delicious) food, and drink lots of water. I don’t believe in “dieting” or depriving myself of food. Instead, I try to incorporate as many fruits, veggies and whole grains as possible- and when I want something less healthy I eat it, too. I’ve found that the larger variety of healthy foods I eat, the more I enjoy making healthy choices and love to try new recipes. I hate the way society has taught so many women and girls to count every calorie and associate food with being “good” or “bad.” I try to eat for longevity and health – not what society says I should look like.

I try to work physical activity into my life, although in my current state (month 9 of pregnancy) I have been slacking. I’m not a person who enjoys traditional exercise and I hate running, so I have to find ways to make being active interesting for me. I really enjoy taking long walks (especially with my family). I also like participating in classes at my gym, like yoga or Zumba. I really want to get a bike, too! Anything that feels more like an adventure or experience rather than work is right up my alley.

Finally, I make sleep a priority. I recently heard someone describe sleep as the only basic human need that we tend to delegitimize or look at as a weakness. Most nights I am asleep not long after 10 p.m.

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

As a mother with a full-time career outside of the home, I face many demands and really have to work at balance. There have been days when I cried after dropping my daughter off at the sitter’s in the morning and there have been days when I cried when I had to leave a work meeting early to pick her up. Not many of my co-workers have children (and most of those who do have much older children), so there have definitely been times when I worried about how my commitment outside of work as a mother impacted perceptions of my job performance. There have been times that I felt guilty for being away from my daughter during the day. At the same time, I enjoy and am proud of both aspects of my life, so I’ve learned to allow myself to embrace the positive feelings that both working and being a mother bring into my life and let go of the negative feelings of self-doubt or not being “enough.” I show myself love by giving myself permission to focus on the task at hand – whether work or being with my daughter- without guilt. It helps having an awesome and supportive partner (my husband, Matt).

Motherhood has actually had a strong impact on my self-love in a lot of ways. I think one of the things I was afraid of before becoming a mother was losing a sense of myself. Instead, I’ve discovered a lot about myself that I didn’t know before. Sometimes I’m amazed at what I’m capable of. The amount of love I have for my daughter has given me confidence that I didn’t know I had. I make better choices because I know she is constantly watching and learning from me. Also, some of the things I love most about her are traits that I can also see in myself. How can I not love the things we have in common?

What have you learned from self-love?

Simple gratitude. I am more grateful than I can express for all the beauty in my life. It really is reciprocal: The more grateful I am for my life, the more I love myself. And the more I love myself, the more grateful I feel.

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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.


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

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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 motivated and courageous Phoenix is Tanu:

 

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“I read books on spirituality from around the world, attend weekly seminars, and meditate. I indulge in creative activities; I paint and sketch because it’s like meditation.”

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

Loving myself first means that I pay attention to my needs and ensure my progress, growth, and experiences as an individual.

I love myself first by taking care of my health: mental, spiritual, and physical. It also means to respect my time by focusing my energy on fulfilling and nurturing relationships. I surround myself with people who respect me and friends whom I can count upon.

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

To take care of my mental health, I push myself out of mundane and repetitive tasks and put myself in new and challenging environments. I play puzzles and games and maintain a healthy social life.

To cater to my spiritual needs, I follow the teachings of a live Spiritual Master.  I read books on spirituality from around the world, attend weekly seminars, and meditate. I indulge in creative activities; I paint and sketch because it’s like meditation.

I stretch twice a day. I love the outdoors: biking, walking, and hiking. I am a vegetarian by choice, and I don’t have a sweet tooth. I eat home-cooked food with fruits and vegetables, and I have a nutritionist in the family who is always available for sound advice about food products and the nutrients in them.

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

Spending a year being bed ridden and then bouncing back to life made me empathetic. It also made me respect my time, energy, and every moment spent without being in pain. I understand the real meaning of living every moment.

I suffered immense pain for six long years with a deteriorating back and hip joints mobility until I was finally diagnosed and given the right treatment for arthritis which had destroyed both my hip joints; by then I had been completely immobile. This was the time when a few things happened to me: One, the realization that a disabled person’s life is really hard. A lot of people don’t seem to give it a thought. I used to be one of them. Two, emotional pain, that of my parents. I saw in their eyes the look of helplessness as they watched me suffer. They were more miserable than I was. This made me look for solutions even more aggressively. Three, realizing that we are all fighting or have fought silent battles, and some struggles are not visible to the naked eye. We should always make an effort to be kind. While I look very normal from the outside – no bruises, no cuts, no bandages – within it’s not the same. Never judge.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self love is one of the most empowering facets of my life. If I love me, I can then take care of my surroundings and people who surround me.  It gives me confidence and immense inner peace. This helps me take on challenges in life, and also make balanced and courageous decisions.

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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.


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AFFIRMATION OF THE DAY: Notice Great Things!

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Believe it, Phoenix! Great things DO happen to you everyday – big and small. You can recognize them by choosing to live in the moment.

Practice mindfulness. Take a few deep breaths and just be present.

In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, your vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence. Share it with yourself, with your family, with the world.”  (Book: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life)

Tip: As a way to express gratitude for and assist you in the practice of recognizing those great things (big and small) that happen in your day, journal about them or share the experiences with someone who will appreciate and support what you’re doing, the new, positive habit you’re creating. Notice how these simple, yet very impactful, exercises shift your perspective and overall mood.

Mindfulness is integral to your commitment to be self-love in action. Practice!

 


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The Phoenix Book of the Week: Retrain Your Anxious Brain by John Tsilimparis

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Our Phoenix Book of the Week comes from Simone:

Retrain Your Anxious Brain by John Tsilimparis

51E8gNgeB5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In addition to meeting with my therapist bi-weekly, I love reading John Tsilimparis’ Retrain Your Anxious Brain to help conquer the anxiety. I was catching up on my HeyFranHey when I came across her post recommending it. The book offers practical and effective tools to create a path toward more positive thinking as well as changing responses to anxiety triggers. What I really enjoy about his book is the way in which it encourages readers to dig deep into and take charge of their lives. It has helped me understand and make a distinction between stress and anxiety. Additionally, it helps me identify or break down negative thinking patterns, and assists in turning negative thoughts into life-affirming and spirit-affirming thoughts.

Retrain Your Anxious Brain is a powerful spiritual guide because it inspires personal growth in all aspects of my life. It reminds me that I have the power to control my reality and reduce anxiety. It teaches me that I don’t have to battle anxiety; that instead, I need to let go of having control. It is surrendering, not fighting, that must take place.

What I am most excited about getting to (I haven’t finished the book just yet and will likely reread it) are the sections on building responsibility and creating a daily accountability plan! The plan focuses on creating a morning ritual or adding to the one you already have. The plan helps you avoid triggers like boredom, and helps you fill your day with activities or chores such as making your bed each morning or meeting a friend for tea.

Retrain Your Anxious Brain helps me work from spirit rather than ego and guides me in manifesting spiritual alignment. I have noticed that I judge myself less and am more interested in thanking the Creator for my journey and the process. It reminds me that I am spirit, and I am powerful. I have been able to create more balance, and a more positive personal belief system/outlook on life and reality.

I recommend Retrain Your Anxious Brain to anyone who is looking to create a life of gratitude, love, and balance.

 

Hey, Phoenix! Have you read this book? If so, tell us, in the comment section below, how it has created more balance in your life and supported your personal growth.

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About The Phoenix Book of the Week:

The Phoenix Book of the Week features book 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.

Read more of our book picks here.


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

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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 courageous Phoenix is DeDe:

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

Loving myself first means – putting myself first and being okay with it.  I have always valued my self-worth and put effort into keeping my mind fed with spiritual and positive affirmations and pampering myself at home/spa, etc.  I always knew God made me unique, and I’ve embraced my blessings.  The blessings I was foolish not to embrace in my younger years, I’ve learned to smother with a huge Bear-Hug today!  I love me, and that is why I’m always striving to have a center of peace, happiness, and love overflowing from my being.

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DeDe, LYFF Phoenix Feature, “I’m learning to live for what makes ME happy.”

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

Unplugging from the “in thing” to do helps me center my mind and spirit.

Give me a great novel, tea, and quiet time to myself – just me, my thoughts, and positive affirmations or soft music – and I come out of this peaceful place freshly revived! Reading also allows me to get lost in an adventure while blocking out life’s distractions (work, social media, errands, etc.).

Exercise rejuvenates me, too, in so many ways; and it’s one of my biggest stress relievers. Dancing is self-expression and makes me feel free.

Spending time with positive women also makes me feel alive!

Having a church home helps me start the week in touch with my faith and provides spiritual rejuvenation.  It’s also my check-and-balance for the life I want to live, along with daily morning and evening prayer to center and nourish my mind, body, and soul.

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

An obstacle I overcame was learning to say no to things or people that do not enhance my life.  I’m learning to live for what makes ME happy.  I learned by going through a divorce how to make better choices for the right reasons.  It was a difficult decision, but because of the experience it strengthened my friendship with my ex-husband and gave me deeper understanding to ask the following questions: (1) What would I do if fear wasn’t a factor? (2)What is the lesson in this experience?

What have you learned from self-love? 

In the words of the late, but great Whitney Houston  I’ve learned “…Learning to love yourself is the GREATEST love of all.”

 

Thank you for sharing your LYFF story with us, DeDe. 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 bi-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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Daily Inspirational Reminders from My Sons

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I laugh out loud at even pondering this subject. BUT, If I dug deep enough and really tried to muster up a precise calculation of how many times I hear the word “Mom” in a given day, I’d argue that it’s minimally between 30-40 times – and this is during a school day. Please note: my children are at school for at least seven hours out of the day. On the weekends its usage must peak somewhere in the hundreds (sometimes it feels like thousands).

That said, there normally isn’t a monotone inflection in the young voices that have acutely etched the word “Mom” into their consciousness. The sound ranges from a high pitched yell, “MOOOOOMMMM!”, when I am being beckoned to solve a math problem, bandage a profusely bleeding bruise, extinguish a small kitchen fire, OR most importantly, when the iPad chargers can’t be found in the collective messes called bedrooms. Then, there’s the alto scale. This is typically used when pleas of hunger are being expressed (a half-hour after said culprits have eaten a four course meal with dessert), snuggling, kissing on the cheek, a wrestle-tickle-pin-down ensues, or some other form of physical affection is warranted, and lastly, when my 12 year-old is “putting me up on” the dopest Eminem lyrics from the song Rap God circa 2013 (he was 10 years old and completely absorbed in superheroes when the Marshall Mathers LP 2 was released).

KaNeesha_Sons[Nasr_Mikah]DailyInspirationalReminder[phoenixrisingcollective]There’s also my personal favorite! The deep Barry White meets Darth Vader baritone breadths of “MUUUUMMMM” that are echoed in great annoyance most Saturday mornings when I’m fussing about chores going undone, pulling the cantankerous five year-old away from Clifford the Big Red Dog re-runs to eat something more nourishing than Honey Nut Cheerios, or when I decide to jokingly reverse the parent-child dynamic. I become self-absorbed, nonchalant, and quasi-aloof during my interactions with the usual suspects for the sole purpose of giving them a taste of their own medicine. As you could imagine, this role reversal doesn’t last too long. My children become completely fed up and disinterested when my world doesn’t revolve around them.

Throughout the challenging moments, the days I wish I had more patience, the tears from extreme feelings of being overwhelmed, the WTF thoughts of “WHY GOD didn’t he turn in his homework?!”, and the somehow-reaching-profound epiphanies from dialogues in which the main subject is who said “booty, doo-doo, and you farted, EEWWW!” –  I wouldn’t trade in the experience of mothering for anything in the world. Ausar; 12 years old and Mikah; five years old are exceptional human beings in every way imaginable. I give thanks that they chose me to act as one of many facilitators in the global village that nurtures, provides, and empowers them to live according to their hearts’ desires. These two guys are creativity, raw energy, and stand-up comedy; they are Neil DeGrasse Tyson meets Steve Jobs intelligent. They are personified beacons of hope in a chaotic world.

It is clear that their charge, along with many youth in this generation, is to re-create a new realm that wholeheartedly welcomes expansion of ideas, redefined identities, assorted spaces and places of existence, and mutually beneficial social exchanges unlike anything humankind has ever experienced. Many days Ausar comes home raving about the latest technological advance in gaming or smartphones in a language that I have minimal knowledge; thus, he has started learning computer coding with his first project being developing an app for Apple iProducts.

As for my little rambunctious one, Mikah, I’m completely amazed at the usage of his extensive vocabulary while explaining to the lady standing behind us in line at Barnes & Nobles the difference between toy trains made from wood and die-cast metal. As much as I attempt to teach them, it’s returned in abundance ten-fold.

Here are Five Inspirational Reminders from My Sons:

  1. Express Daily Gratitude– Joyfully expressing gratitude for all things and all beings in God’s creation. Mikah loves to sit in the dirt and dig (and would until he reached China – if possible). Through this he finds great solace and demonstrates his appreciation for the beauty that is Mother Earth.
  1. Unconditional Love– Loving someone when it’s most difficult to do so. You’d be surprised, but your kids love you in spite of your fussing, limiting their screen time, or burning the brownies for the school bake sale. Perfectly imperfect I am, and my boys love me still. They even tell me sometimes!
  1. Forgiveness– Fully letting go of the past (even if it was yesterday) and accepting the present. Kids get over things quickly. They don’t hold grudges, and they accept you just as you are each day. Extend this same grace to someone you know.
  1. Mindfully Living in the Moment– I observe my children when they are focused on something. Learning a new game, playing with friends, drawing, or riding a bike. They are completely absorbed in that one task with full enjoyment. The concept of multitasking has no meaning in their scopes of comprehension. Yesterday is the past, tomorrow isn’t promised, all we have is the NOW. Be present.
  1. Playtime– Stop taking yourself so serious and have fun! Remember what life was like when you were seven, 12, or 16 years old? Stomping rain puddles in freshly ironed clothes, rapping freestyle lyrics to the Ne Ne song after a long day, or posing for a family collage of selfies are cool ventures that have landed me a membership into the “Cool Mom” club. It’s good to let your kids see that you know how to have a good time. Too, it balances out the other times when you have to lay the smack-down. “DO YOU HEAR, what the MOOOOMMMM IS COOKING?!”

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About the Contributing Writer:

d81392516be0b26c1094730815028b17W. KaNeesha Allen 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. While often 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”. As the Motherhood Empowerment contributor, 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. Read her latest posts.

 


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AFFIRMATION OF THE DAY: I am grateful for my talents and abilities.

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Remember, you’ve been given everything you need! Recognize it. Tap into it. Express gratitude for it! Be self-love in action.