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 Nicole

The Love Yourself First series features phenomenal and resilient women who share their vulnerable, honest and heartfelt life experiences – shedding light on how these experiences bring a new level of self-realization and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love. This Phoenix is Nicole.

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

I love myself by embracing and accepting the woman I am, my strengths and graces but also my faults and falls. I’m an empath, so I strive for balance by being completely honest with my feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Coming to the center, the heart is where I want to be in love, laughter, and keeping it real. If I’m not good to myself, then I most certainly won’t be good to anyone else.

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

My true love is nature, within it I walk, listen to music, meditate, pray, read/journal, capture photos, and give praise and honor to the Goddess and to the Spirit which dwells within the woods. At home I have a sacred space with an altar adorned with items pertaining to my personal journey and the Craft. This is where I pray, center myself, and perform ritual. I adhere to the cycle of the moon by utilizing the New Moon for intention and meditation and the Full Moon to reflect, rest within and give thanks.

I love great conversation, good food and spirits, music, dance, watching movies of all genres, especially a romantic period piece, and a drive on a warm, clear night with the windows down and the music up.

During the day, I like hunting for treasures at thrift shops to put on my style and give as gifts. I also like to soak in the tub with smell goods and to pamper myself with lotions and potions. In all truth, sometimes I punch out the time card to the world and don my soft hoodie, retreat to the bedroom and sleep, ’cause it’s good to dream.

These uncertain times have given me more time to indulge, reflect, and appreciate.

Photo by Nicole. Taken on her nature walk.

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

Accepting myself for who I truly am in spite of what others may think or feel, this was a long, painful process for me because I wanted to adhere to the expectations of what others wanted me to be. Through a lot of learning, personal experiences and loss, I had to take a deep, intense look in the mirror and face myself – the dark and the light. I realized that this is my journey, and I came to it with an open heart, strong mind, and personal conviction. I have always been the person I am, but now I have accepted and understand my unique gifts and talents, and also how to share and celebrate in my own way.  

What have you learned from self-love?

It has given me the strength and courage to be myself and embrace all that I am and all that I will ever be. Years ago someone once asked me what I believed in? The answer was the same as it is now. Love. If I don’t love and accept myself, I can never fully love others. I’d be holding back the best of myself and neglecting the best in them. 

 

Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories. Be the next one. Send an email.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook. You can now watch IG TV interviews with our self-love features.


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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Your Joy is Non-Negotiable

Take a deep, deep breath and declare that your joy is non-negotiable.

You have a right to experience it, so be diligent about letting it bubble over in your life. (Yes, even during a global pandemic and fighting for justice and against racism. In fact, because of all these things it’s imperative now more than ever that we create light and balance. We have to in order to keep going; our well being depends on it.)

Remember what brings you joy, and unapologetically do MORE of it. Let the joy-filled energy permeate your mind and body, as it is healing and also a revolutionary act.

Happy Juneteenth. Be self-love in action.


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

The Love Yourself First series features phenomenal and resilient women who share their vulnerable, honest and heartfelt life experiences – shedding light on how these experiences bring a new level of self-realization and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love.

About our featured Phoenix:  Tia is full of life and unapologetic in her commitment to being herself; it’s something you recognize right away. She’s real, and her authenticity allows women around her breathing room to do the same. Tia is also a university professor, filmmaker and storyteller; she understands the importance of positive, balanced representation and “uses media to share stories about the lived experience of Africana people.” Here’s her LYFF story:

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

I do not love myself first; however, I am doing the work to get there. For many years, I believed that loving myself FIRST was self-indulgent and filled with shame. As a child growing up in a Baptist Church, I  was trained to be of service and that meant I needed to  be self-sacrificing and other-centered. To be a good Christian, it was my duty to not complain or inconvenience anyone. I am in the process of unlearning this toxic notion, and I am in the early stages of redefining self-love and self-care.

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

I am a filmmaker and storyteller, so to me there is nothing better than sharing a meaningful story.

I love to ride my bike in the park or take long walks while listening to podcasts.

I also embrace pleasures like impromptu sex, and having a glass of wine or a cupcake without beating myself up.

To sustain this life, however, I call up my girlfriends to laugh, cry, sulk, or cheer about my day.

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

I can recall several challenging life moments that resulted in my appreciation for self-love: fighting for tenure, miscarriage, losing a friend, death of family, divorce, hysterectomy and more. Yet I don’t think it was the challenges that guided my personal practices toward loving myself first. When life is challenging, I am trained to go to work and help others – to serve. During my divorce, I suppressed my own frustration and anger to meet the needs of my children. When my Aunt died, my anguish was suppressed by the planning of the funeral and ensuring everyone else was okay. As a university professor, the journey to tenure is all about self-sacrifice and over-commitment. I learned to shift my behavior, to see myself, and to love me when I started dating after my divorce. The process of dating was fulfilling. Since I was newly divorced, I wasn’t looking for long term – just having fun and enjoying life. I began to let go of control and open up to invite goodness and joy into my life. I stopped overthinking and rationalizing. I cared about my pleasure without discounting others. It was nice. And because I invited goodness in, I made room for love. I am now happily remarried and practice loving me first (at least making a large effort).

What have you learned from self-love?  

I am learning to be okay with embracing pleasure for the mind, body, and soul. I understand that to have pleasure and to be joy filled I must attend to my whole self.

Self-love is a process, and it ebbs and flows, but it is essential to make the attempt to love yourself abundantly because it feels so damn good when you do.

 

Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories. Be the next one. Send an email.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook. You can now watch IG TV interviews with our self-love features. 


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

Love Yourself First! Friday is an interview series featuring phenomenal and resilient women who share their self-love stories. The stories are vulnerable, honest and heartfelt, shedding light on how life’s challenges bring a new level of self-acceptance and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love. You’ll find comfort in knowing you’re not alone when it comes to figuring out how to love yourself.

About our featured Phoenix:  Traci is not new to this community, as she was a contributing writer for over two years curating the Artist Feature series, interviewing women creatives who cultivate agency, healing and happiness through fulfilling their unique passions. Traci is an accomplished teacher, visual artist, writer and published poet.

Here’s her powerfully open and honest LYFF story.

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

I take myself out on personal excursions or dates. I go for walks in nature. I go to specialty yarn shops, and before the coronavirus pandemic, I used to treat myself to consignment shopping sprees. However, things have changed. I find myself analyzing what it means to love myself now, minus the shopping sprees. I make things with my hands (i.e. knit, crochet, weave, write, construct journals).

I get in touch with my physical body. I don’t take baths often, but when I do, I soak in warm water mixed with lavender and certain oils. And I pay attention to how my skin feels in water.

I also spend time looking at my skin and paying attention to the changes that this body is going through. I am becoming more in touch with the ripples and skin overlap, hair growth in unique areas, skin discolorations. I have conversations with these parts of my body. I find different ways to compliment this brown avatar suit I used to criticize harshly. In addition, I am learning to detach from such a physical way of loving self. The detachment allows me to heal from past hurts.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul?

I LOVE things connected to supernatural, mystical creatures and third-eye-thinking, so I find myself watching movies and TV series that revolve around such interests. It entices my mind. I am drawn to narratives that explore identity beyond social norms. Self-care is recognizing that I do not fit into a peg hole. I do not have to follow norm; I can pay attention to heart and soul and know that I am okay and safe and loved. This usually happens when I am with like-minded hearts and when I am steps away from certain belief systems and philosophies used to condemn, criticize and destroy others.

I love hiking. I love good food; this includes healthy eating as well as foods that people may not consider healthy. My favorite desserts are bread pudding and cheesecake. And I love eating salads, my mom’s fried dumplings and dad’s jerked seafood gumbo.

I love giving speeches or performing poetry, although I get crazzzzy nervous right before I share. The nervousness serves as a sign to PUSH THROUGH. Pushing through is a self-care act, because when I am in the midst of delivering a poetic message, I know I am being used as both a vessel and an offering of love. That doesn’t mean the message will make people warm and fuzzy. It simply means I am sharing my love language and truth with an audience.

And finally, I am becoming more comfortable with talking to and with myself as a self-care act. I am becoming my own best friend.

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

I have learned to remove myself from spaces, environments and people who trigger me negatively. Some triggers are signs of growth. They aren’t meant to be harmful. They serve as wake-up calls. Other triggers are harmful, such as speaking to people who consistently complain or gossip or swirl negatively through their actions. Some people create a space of fear and anxiety. When I witness it or when I am in the midst of it, I acknowledge it and work towards removing myself from the space or the person(s). That may mean that I have to cut chords (i.e. leave a job assignment or lessen the communication I have with someone or stop attending events in certain environments). I am blessed to have a supportive tribe that helps me address these challenges.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love has not been an easy concept for me. I have loathed myself blindly and unconsciously in the past. I have shape shifted into so many different beings because I have a tendency to say yes to people’s requests and demands instead of honoring the “Hell NOOO” that is screaming from within.

The exploration of self-love is examining and excavating the self.

  • how the self has been shaped
  • why the self does what it does
  • what the self actually believes

Self-love is literally sitting with self, sometimes in front of others and sometimes alone. The more I get to know myself the easier it becomes to remove the word “self” and just focus on being Love.

 

Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories; be the next one. Send an email.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook.


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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6 Ways to Positively Navigate Difficult Conversations

 

If you want more on how to navigate difficult conversations and to work toward conflict resolution take a look at the tips in a previous post: Conflict Resolution: 4 Things You Need to Know to Master It. Tip #1 is be courageous about resolving conflict. Don’t let issues fester. Write down your thoughts before meeting with the person so you have a clear head and an open heart for resolution. And remember, the more you put it off, the more challenging the situation will become. You owe it to yourself (and the other person) to resolve it as quickly and thoughtfully as possible.

Practice this week. Even if you start with mindful listening in the not-so-difficult conversations, it’ll be good practice for better, healthier communication. Honor your self-care. Dive in.

 


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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What’s Draining You?

What’s draining you?

Let’s talk about it. What experiences in your life have become emotionally toxic? What are you holding on to that hinders growth? What are you not saying or doing to avoid conflict, or for fear of being misunderstood?

This I Thrive Self-Care Meetup is all about identifying energy zappers – those things, places (and yes, unfortunately, sometimes people) that consistently keep us tapped out and stressed out.

Whether you’re able to pinpoint your “zappers” right away or have to give it more thought, we all have had (at some point or another) experiences that left us feeling depleted. Why? There are a multitude of reasons – some of them only you know. However, at the top of the list for most women is people-pleasing, more specifically, not saying no to things we don’t want to do.

We’ll learn and discuss eight mindfulness practices that will support (1) letting go of what no longer affirms and honors you, (2) setting healthy boundaries, (3) creating experiences that align with what you genuinely want.

As Brene Brown says in 3 Ways to Set Boundaries: The Importance of knowing when, and how to say no: “Like many worthwhile endeavors, boundary setting is a practice.” Well, we’re going to practice.

Please join us October 28 for Change What Drains. Get your ticket, spread the word, and of course, bring a friend. Let’s finish the year strong – refreshed and with clarity for 2019.

What you’ll need + other things to know:

  • Bring a journal. (All other materials/resources will be provided).
  • Dress is casual + comfortable.
  • Refreshments will be served.
  • There will be a self-care gift box giveaway at the end of the meetup, too! Some lucky participant will be the winner of a box chock-full of good stuff.

 


About I Thrive Self-Care Meetups:

I Thrive is an affirmation, a commitment to apply practical self-care regimens that motivate women to make themselves a priority. I Thrive is sisterhood, a chance to hold space for one another as we let go of what no longer serves us, and to make room for new experiences and clearer, healthier perspectives.

Meet & bond with other women who are just as committed to self-care breakthroughs and transformations.

Receive encouragement and guidance that help your daily practice.

Know you’re not alone on this path. We’re all figuring this self-love thing out together!

Be in a space that honors vulnerability, and also provides preparation for the week ahead.

Dig in and give yourself the love you deserve, the necessary and invaluable me-time that feeds the mind, body and soul.


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6 Go-To Tips To Push Past Procrastination

We all procrastinate for one reason or another. Don’t beat yourself up (FYI: refer to #6) instead be mindful: recognize when it is happening, identify why, and find healthy solutions to get out of the rut and back into the creative and productive swing of things.

Here are six proactive go-to’s to support and inspire pushing past the procrastination blues.

Complete projects and to-do lists in increments of time.

Sometimes what keeps you from moving forward with projects or to-do list items associated with a larger goal is the amount of time you THINK has to be dedicated to them, but who says you have to complete everything all at once? You may not have a large chunk of time in your daily schedule; however, there are always increments of time in your day that can be allocated for a portion of what you want to accomplish. Do a time assessment check; figure out when those open moments occur, and then use them wisely. Whether it’s a 30-minute block in the morning or an hour at night before bed, it’s yours. Dive in, and before you know it you’ll be closer to completion.

One of my favorite podcasts is Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert. Episode 202: Make the Brutal into the Beautiful features Brandon Stanton, creator of Humans of New York. He was sharing words of wisdom about making time for what you want to do, and this statement struck a cord: “Take your huge dreams and narrow them down into units that you can control. Take what is expansive and turn it into something more granular.”

Organize/Change your work space.

Organizing your work space can make all the difference. You may be blocked creatively because you haven’t let go of things you no longer need. Organizing and also throwing away what doesn’t serve a purpose anymore not only clears the space but your mind, shifting the energy in a direction that says, “Yes, I’m ready to move forward.” In the words of Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” Make room mentally and physically.

Keep the commitments you make.

Show that your word is your bond. When you do what you say you’ll do, others will know you’re reliable. It establishes trust and positive relationships and collaborations – a great motivator to get out of the “procrastination funk” and can be the gateway to new opportunities for you.

Keep your commitments to yourself to cultivate self-discipline and to avoid self-sabotage. You’ll feel good about your follow-through and be even more inspired to push past putting things off.

Pinpoint and be honest about what’s holding you back.

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to procrastination. Dig deep, and ask yourself, “Why am I procrastinating?” Don’t suppress the answers that come; in fact, get out your journal and do an exercise I refer to as The Writing Dump: draw a line down the center of a page: On the left list your answers as to why you’re in delay – Is it fear of failure? Not feeling prepared enough? Too far out of your comfort zone? Lack of support/resources? Now on the right of the page, list the reasons why you want to start the project or accomplish the goal you’ve set. Express how it’ll make you feel to complete something you set out to do.

Sometimes, in order to get the ball rolling, all it takes is being honest with yourself. When you’re finished with The Writing Dump create a few affirmations to support taking positive action. To help you get started, take a look at 4 Affirmations You Need to Know and Lessons to Learn from Octavia Butler.

Get an accountability partner.

Find a trusted friend or colleague you can work and communicate with during the week. Do check-ins on your progress. She doesn’t have to be working on the same projects/tasks as you. The main focus is supporting each other through completion of your respective plans of action. Create a designated time and place to meet, and then get to work. There are work space communities designed specifically for these kinds of connections, meetings and collaborations. Take advantage of them. You can’t always do it alone.

Practice self-compassion.

Self-criticism does not “whip you into shape” any faster. In fact, it’s a sure way to propel you further down the rabbit hole of fear, insecurity, anxiety and overwhelm, so refrain from using negative phrases and language when referring to yourself and your situation. Be motivated by self-love not harm. You are not lazy. You are not apathetic. Stick to what is true about who you are, and practice self-compassion. If you just don’t feel like doing it, then lean into that. Step away. Take a breather. You’ll be able to revisit with a fresher perspective. Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself says, “When we experience warm and tender feelings toward ourselves, we are altering our bodies as well as our minds. Rather than feeling worried and anxious, we feel calm, content, trusting, and secure. Self-kindness allows us to feel safe as we respond to painful experiences, so that we are no longer operating from a place of fear — and once we let go of insecurity we can pursue our dreams with the confidence needed to actually achieve them.”

 

BONUS: Turn up the volume on your favorite song, and then dance! Let go. Find your motivation through music. Clear the energy with a dance party for one (or two, or three if you want to include your accountability partners). Release some of your anxiety by moving your body. Have fun. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

Which one of these six go-to tips do you connect with most? Share in the comments. Let’s discuss.

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. As principal consultant and leadership development coach, she develops and facilitates dynamic women-centered workshops and programs with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates coaching and training that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, sacred space for women to truly explore their personal and professional goals while gaining support and sisterhood from others who’ve also made a commitment to sustaining self-love.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook.


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New ‘I Thrive’ Meetup: Meditate Your Way to Clearer Intentions

What I know for sure is that whatever your situation is right now, you have played a major role in setting it up. It is you who have created your circumstances. With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. And beneath each of those thoughts and choices lies your deepest intention. If you are feeling stuck in your life and want to move forward, start by examining your past motivations. -Oprah

This is the last I Thrive #selfcaresunday Meetup of the year!

So, join me for Setting-Your-Intention Meditation & Self-Care Book Swap. And, at the end of the afternoon we’ll share a toast to the new year.

Special guest, yoga teacher, Ellen Smith from Love Yoga Flow and Yoga on High will guide you through a meditation to support your intention and affirm your vision for 2018. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner! All levels are welcome. Come with an open heart to release the old and embrace the new.

I’ll also be sharing tools you can use from The Fullness of Me Intentional Living Guide; it provides clarity on your goals so that your actions can be in alignment with what you say you want.

Now, about the book swap. All you have to do is bring your favorite book on self-care (or just one you’re inspired by for personal growth) and be ready to gift exchange with someone else who brought her favorite, too. Everyone will go home with a new book for the holidays! (In my Oprah voice: You get a book. You get a book. You get a book! Every. Body. Gets. A. Booook!)

What you’ll need for this meetup:

  • Yoga Mat
  • Journal/notebook
  • Your self-care/personal growth book for swapping!
  • Dress is casual. Please wear workout/comfortable clothes.

I can’t wait to see you at this one – for sisterhood, to hold space for one another as we let go of what no longer serves us, and to make room for new experiences and clearer, healthier perspectives.

I don’t know about you, but 2017 has been a pretty challenging year. I’ve learned some invaluable and significant lessons. Lessons that have definitely taken my personal growth to the next level…and for the better I might add. One of the biggest is to always trust myself. So, I am ready to clear a path for 2018 because this wisdom has made me even more resilient. Watch out!

What lessons have you learned this year that have provided more clarity? I’d love to know. Share in the comments.

And, of course, register HERE for Setting-Your-Intention Meditation & Self-Care Book Swap. I’ll see you Sunday, December 10. Continue being self-love in action.

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. As principal consultant and leadership development trainer and coach, she develops and facilitates dynamic women-centered workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates coaching seminars and training that support women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, sacred space for women to truly explore their personal and professional goals while gaining support and sisterhood from others who’ve also made a commitment to sustaining self-love.


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

How do you love yourself first?

I love myself first by understanding that I must take care of my mental, spiritual, and physical health to sustain in a world that attempts to drain me. I have learned over the years that I teach others how I value me. I know if I don’t take intentional time for me, then others will not respect me or my time.

I love myself first by remembering these three things:

  1. I APPRECIATE my journey. I cannot look at someone else’s blessings and long for what they have.
  2. I PRACTICE what I preach. As a solo parent of three (19, 14, 12), it is imperative that I show love for myself. If I am not demonstrating to them how to love, how to cherish, and how to use their voice, they will not learn.
  3. I look in the mirror each day and tell myself, “Today’s a NEW day. Let’s go get it!”

What actions demonstrate the self -care you provide to your mind, body, and soul?

Ahhhhhhh, I love this question! I am an educator, a poet, and an avid reader. I have an endless supply of Post-it Notes I keep handy because my mind is ALWAYS spinning, thinking of new ideas or new quotes. I LOVE QUOTES, especially motivational ones. I have “stickies” everywhere reminding me of special prayer requests, thoughts, and reminders of who I am! My favorite is “I AM LIGHT.” This is penned from a song by India Arie that reminds me that I am light, and who I am is reflected in all that I do. I am who I say I am. No one can define me or label me.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. -Audre Lorde

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

I didn’t realize until the past year that I suffer from depression and anxiety. I am a person who will work and work and not ask for help (because I believed no one wanted to). I would hold in emotions until I was ill. I have in the past year gone through probably one of the darkest years of my life. Years of holding emotions and thoughts in and not being who I needed to be for me, finally manifested into a complete breakdown. My health suffered. I gained 30-40 pounds. My professional life suffered. And worst of all, I didn’t think I was worthy of being blessed with life. I have learned through positive affirmations of family and friends, through taking time to be still (waiting for God’s voice), and through being intentional with my life and goals that I am light and love. My steps are divinely ordered. I just needed to step into the shoes I was born to walk in.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delights in his way. Ps. 37:23

What have you learned from self -love?

“Love…so many things I’ve got to tell you but I’m afraid I don’t know how…” I LOVE this song from Musiq Soulchild. I listen to it a lot because the lyrics tell of unconditional love, the kind of love that we need to have for ourselves. I have learned that self-love is needed to sustain, and sometimes I have to take time out to love on myself and to love on others.

I have learned that I am called to be a “servant lover” of others in order to be content. I immerse myself in my non-profit Young PEARLS (a mentoring group for young women ages 14-17). I continue to perfect my writing and speaking skills with my company TraSpeaks, LLC, and I pour into the students I work with on a daily basis. I enjoy building up my community and partnering with others who love to do the same.

I have learned that self-love is self-confidence. I have always been bold, fearless, and opinionated. These attributes are what make me, ME, and I love it.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise… Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise…Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise. -Maya Angelou


Love Yourself First! Friday. Phenomenal women who fiercely and unapologetically demonstrate self-love in action share their stories – powerful, honest, heartfelt stories that shed light on diverse ways to make self care, healing and whole living daily priorities.

Join the tribe! Share your story. Send an email HERE. Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line of your email, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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

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

Loving myself is an everyday struggle. I have always had the ability to slap on a cute outfit, keep my hair done, and my lip gloss poppin’, but that’s all it was — just slap on, never matching the inside.

After having a major life change and wanting to set a great example for my son. I make it a habit to remind myself how DOPE I am. If I notice I’m walking around with my head down, I will whisper to myself, “Hold your head up, Boo, it will get better.”

Loving myself means accepting all of my flaws, imperfections, fears and life struggles, and not allowing those things to get in the way of living my life to the fullest.

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

I have three habits I make sure I do once a week:

  1. I must listen to music that at some point feeds my soul. Be it hip hop, reggae, soul, house music or even some jazz. I need it like I need food.
  2. Dancing. I must dance!!! I’m no Debbie Allen, but I love to dance. My parents started the tradition that every Saturday night (after fish and grits) we danced. I have now passed that on to my son.
  3. My version of Super Soul Sundays. I wake up Sunday mornings before my son and make a very large cup of coffee, open the blinds in my living room, let the sun hit my face, and just BE, be happy in the moment, not worrying about what I have to do for the day, not focused on “Why me? Where’s my man, Lord? How much is this bill?” Just BE.

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

I would never give myself credit for anything I achieved in my life. I would always compare my accomplishments to other people’s accomplishments. I have learned that my accomplishments are a part of my journey in life, and I need to be proud of what I have achieved no matter how small it may be.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love is the hardest love to give, but it is necessary in order to receive the love you deserve from others.


Love Yourself First! Friday. Phenomenal women who fiercely and unapologetically demonstrate self-love in action share their stories – powerful, honest, heartfelt stories that shed light on diverse ways to make self care, healing and whole living daily priorities.

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