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 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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8 Go-To Podcasts for Stress Relief, Inspiration and Wellness

 

Whether you’re seeking a fun pick-me-up to past the time or wanting a deeper dive into your personal and professional development, there’s definitely a podcast to provide that fix. The challenge? The medium has grown so much it can be overwhelming to filter and find what works best for you. To take some of the pressure off, and to also help you start your own unique playlist, I’ve listed eight pods I recommend (and a couple of bonuses, too) across the health/wellness, education and business categories. I’m sure they’ll quickly become go-to’s in consistent rotation for stress relief, self-care and inspiration.

The Art of Money – Financial Therapist, Bari Tessler’s book The Art of Money was chosen as a Phoenix Book Pick last year, and the podcast was mentioned because it doesn’t disappoint either. It’s an engaging and thought-provoking extension of the book (which is not required reading in order to understand the podcast). The Art of Money’s holistic approaches and practices for building and sustaining financial wellness and happiness provide a very refreshing take on helping you connect the dots with how you think about money. There’s no shaming or judging about money matters but a commitment to “ushering in a new wave of compassion, gentleness, and unshaming” to gain deeper understanding about your relationship to money (past and present). Some episodes feature special guests in financial therapy, management and planning.

Episode Suggestion: Money pioneer Saundra Davis opens up about race, the wealth gap, and what real change takes

Food Heaven – These powerhouse women in wellness, Wendy and Jess; both registered dietitian nutritionists and best friends, have been sharing healthy living tips, nutrition facts and recipes for a long time, so it was a given that as their platform grew it would eventually include a phenomenal podcast, one that’s compassionate and inclusive on so many levels. It’s health food education and wellness discussed in an encouraging and loving way. You’ll be able to relate no matter where you are on your journey. There’s no talk about restrictive diets and fast food fixes; Food Heaven’s topics include health at every size, food and culture, food justice, body acceptance, balanced eating on a budget, and intuitive eating.

Episode Suggestion: Our Tips for Navigating Stress Eating

Get Loved Up – When you’re in the mood to listen to something with a focus on mental, physical and spiritual health make Get Loved Up with Koya Webb a go-to. What makes this wellness-related podcast different from some others (in a good way) is it doesn’t jump on the what’s-trendy-in-the-field bandwagon to keep your attention; the content is authentic and original. The wide range of guests add to its authenticity. Koya’s positive energy puts her guests at ease so they are more open to sharing personal stories along with useful tips on subjects like overcoming fear, healing trauma, spiritual awareness, reproductive health and meditation.

Episode Suggestion: Pull Yourself Out of Your Pain and Be In Your Own Game with Tina Lifford

Good Ancestor – There are so many great things to say about this podcast. It’s a thought-provoking, intentional, and empowering breath of fresh air. Curated by Layla Saad, author, speaker and podcast host, Good Ancestor is all about heartfelt conversations with women changemakers and culture-shapers who are authors, coaches, healers, educators, midwives, therapists, etc. Conversation topics are diverse, and spiritually and socially conscious. The deep dialogue on everything from motherhood to race/culture to self-care is much needed for personal growth, healing and transformation. Layla begins each episode by asking her guests, “Who are some of the ancestors living or transitioned, familial or societal, who have influenced you on your journey?” She ends the episode by asking, “What does it mean to you to be a good ancestor?” These questions uncover how her guests will use their talents and purpose to, as Layla puts it, “create a legacy of healing and liberation for those who are here in this lifetime and for those who will come after I’m gone.”

Episode Suggestion: Good Ancestor Jennifer Arnise on Healing the Black Mother Wound

Meditation Minis – In a nutshell, this podcast takes the pressure off when it comes to meditation, especially if you’re a beginner and want more guidance. The mini meditations are guided by Chel Hamilton and are perfect for either jump starting your day or preparing to relax at night. Put it this way, if you’ve had a very long day at work and need to decompress, listen to a mini episode like Cozy Relaxing Sleep to put your mind at ease. Each meditation starts with focused and doable prompts that help you push through the what-if-I’m-not-doing-it-right feelings and support you in building confidence, relieving anxiety and stress, and also having a restful sleep. This is one the kids can enjoy, too. (FYI: Her voice is very soothing! Get ready to be very relaxed.)

Episode Suggestion: Calm + Be + Ease (No matter how anxious it all seems)

On Purpose with Jay Shetty – This is one that will consistently keep you interested and inspired; you’ll look forward to the episodes, especially the 30-45 minute tips and how-to’s. On Purpose is all about empowering personal growth and transformation so you can mindfully live in your unique purpose; and, if you haven’t quite figured out your purpose or it’s changing for whatever reason, Jay Shetty, provides on-point support and to-the-point advice and wisdom you didn’t even know you needed. It’s one ah-ha moment after another on relationships, motivation, self-care, etc. You’ll definitely walk away with newfound revelations and be invigorated to apply new tools to persevere.

Episode Suggestion: The Shocking Ways We Spend Our Time and 8 Ways to Invest It Better

Therapy for Black Girls – A Phoenix favorite for sure! Therapy for Black Girls is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford on mental health and personal development. It can be an extremely daunting task to find a therapist, and even more challenging when you want her to be a woman of color. Joy has made it easier by creating a platform that centers the voices and expertise of WOC in the field and ensures the community of listeners is affirmed, supported and heard when it comes to mental health issues and concerns. The podcast doesn’t replace therapy, of course, but it’s a helpful and accessible resource; plus, it inspires those who’ve never had professional help to take the leap. There’s even a therapist directory to help you find licensed mental health professionals in your neck of the woods!

Episode Suggestion: Shedding Your Superwoman Status

Unlocking Us – Three words: Dr. Brenѐ Brown. She’s giving it to you straight, no chaser as usual about what it means to be vulnerable. Right out the gate with the first episode she talks about the discomfort of trying new things (like her podcast) and how it’s important to embrace discomfort in order to grow. Brenѐ shares an unforgettable acronym, FFT, to break down why most people are afraid to try something new. (No spoiler on the acronym! Go listen.) The beauty of Unlocking Us is the presence of vulnerability while in heartfelt conversation with guests about various aspects of vulnerability, e.g. grief and finding meaning, permission to feel, loneliness and connection, and anxiety and over/under-functioning to name a few. Get your journal ready, because each episode is full of lessons you’ll be able to apply to your daily life.

Episode Suggestion: Alicia Keys and Brenѐ Brown on “More Myself”

Bonuses:

Support is Sexy with Elayne Fluker – Professional women from around the world share the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journeys. Episode Suggestion: Tiffany Dufu on Dropping the Ball and Dumping Your Good Girl Burden

 

Snap Judgment – Phenomenal real-life stories from everyday people; storytelling that makes you want to know more. Episode Suggestion: How Estee Got Her Zumba Back

 

 

Happy listening.

(Are you already an avid podcast listener? If so, what are a few of your favorite? Share with us in the comments.)


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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5 Reflection Questions to Ask Yourself in Preparation for a New Year

It’s that time! We’re assessing and critiquing the year gone by and envisioning and preparing for a new one, a new decade, in fact. Well, while you’re in the thick of it, I urge you to keep this in mind:

Affirm what you’ve done well, what you DID accomplish. Focus on the progress you’ve made not on the lack thereof. One of the biggest deterrents to positive transformation is the need to pick apart, to harshly criticize. I’m asking you to do the opposite, as you are not a project to be fixed. There is nothing wrong with you. You are a person, a beautiful and whole human being who is growing, evolving and healing, and it all takes time. So, here’s what…pull out that journal and ask yourself the five reflection questions I’ve noted.

In this new year, new decade no more pick-apart. Catch yourself and ask:

“How can I say this differently? Affirmingly? What perspective lovingly supports me?” Observe how this changes your energy as you move forward.

Happy New Year. 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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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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The Phoenix Book Picks: Dare to Lead + The Art of Money

I haven’t done a Phoenix Book Pick in a while, so I want to share what I’m currently reading this summer; actually, there are two books in rotation: Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown and The Art of Money: A Life-Changing Guide to Financial Happiness by Bari Tessler.

I like Brené Brown’s books (her research on vulnerability and shame is phenomenal), so I was really excited about Dare to Lead, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s an honest, empowering guide to holistic leadership – sharing research and real-life experiences on how to lead from the heart not by fear and emphasizing the importance of vulnerability, self-work and bravery when it comes to leading others and building courageous teams. I also appreciate all the interactive tools, practices and writing prompts throughout the book, especially those around how to have tough conversations. One of my favorite quotes:

“Self-awareness and self-love matter. Who we are is how we lead.”

The Art of Money by Bari Tessler is all about financial wellness and happiness by helping you connect the dots with how you think about money (past and present), by encouraging self-compassion when it comes to anger, shame, and blame around money matters, and by developing your personal growth through exercises like money story visualization. For example, Tessler asks in Chapter 3, Your Money Story: 1) Describe your current relationship with money, 2) Visualize your money past, and 4) Connect the dots between past and present, 4) Give yourself a hug. There’s no tough love and judgment here at all, only support for a deeper understanding about and healthier relationship with money. She explains in an interview about her approach, as well as colleague and financial planner, Saundra Davis (founder of Sage Financial Solutions), “While a lot of the financial world is riddled with judgmental, “tough love” approaches, Saundra and I are kindred spirits in ushering in a new wave of compassion, gentleness, and unshaming in this area of life.” This is definitely a breath of fresh air when cultivating financial wellness and happiness.

The Art of Money has been a real eye-opener for me; so much so, I started listening to her podcast, also called The Art of Money. Listen to the newest episode (below) with her guest, Saundra Davis discussing money consciousness, the wealth gap and race. It’s a very honest, open and powerful conversation.

 

One of my favorite quotes from The Art of Money:

“Please know that as you move courageously and compassionately forward with your money work, you are already taking steps to value yourself, your time, your energy, and everything that truly matters to you.”

If you’ve already read one or both of these books, let me know what you think. How have they helped you take better care? What books are on your list this summer? Share. I want to know.

Happy reading!

 


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.