“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find your Self, rooted in awareness and creativity. Once you have captured this, you have captured the world.” -Deepak Chopra
SEPTEMBER IS HERE! Are you ready to let go?
The phoenix has the power to heal herself when hurt or wounded, rising from the experience stronger. She burns fiercely and reduces to ashes to emerge a new bird.
During this time of the year, a change of season, particularly fall, I especially think of what the phoenix symbolizes: transformation, resilience and renewal.
As we gently move into the new season, think about your own transformation. Like the beautiful fire bird what will you release in order to grow and emerge anew? How have you persevered this year? Been resilient?
I have a self-care challenge for you: This month reflect on the questions above and also jot down what you are going to release. Yes, get a journal, answer the questions as honestly as possible, and also write the following affirmation: I am letting go of____________. (Fill in the blank.)
Honor your stream of consciousness by letting whatever comes to mind flow through you. Here are examples: I am letting go of hurtful experiences of the past. I am letting go of body shame. I am letting go of financial dysfunction. I am letting go of control. There isn’t a specific number of affirmations to list; you may stop writing when you feel ready to put the pen down. Significant breakthroughs happen in the process and you will physically feel lighter because you are affirming to the universe that you surrender. It is a declaration that you are clearing space to manifest what you really want.
Be willing to let go of what’s weighing you down. This is preparation for gaining strength to keep moving forward, to ascend, to shine, and to rise brilliantly.
I can’t wait to share with you what I am letting go of; I also have an additional self-care challenge that accompanies the one of above, so get ready! Be self-love in action, Phoenix. You got this!
Ayanna Jordan is the founder and executive director of The Phoenix Rising Collective, and the editor-in-chief for Phoenix Shine, The PRC’s online community. She has always had a passion to empower women, especially through writing, coaching, and teaching. She is happy that Phoenix Shine offers resources and provides awareness on what it means to truly love who you are. From forgiving others (and yourself) to taking time for spiritual practice, this forum is all a part of the journey to authenticity. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can also learn more about Ayanna HERE.
Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of ourShed Lightseries 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 inspiring Phoenix is Monique:
How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?
Loving myself first means realizing my own value and walking in that light at all times. Loving myself first means understanding that I am worthy of all of the positivity, joy, and PEACE of mind that I can experience in my God-given 24 hours – without guilt or hesitation. Loving myself first means believing I am worth it not because someone else told me so; because my Creator made it so!
What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul?
I demonstrate the love I have for myself by making sure that what I take in physically, spiritually, and mentally is beneficial to MY health. From drinking water and walking to daily prayer and keeping a positive circle around me; I strive daily to honor the God within by treating myself well. Some days are more challenging than others, but with each new day, there is another opportunity for me to improve in self-love, and for that I am grateful!
Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?
Experiencing separation, divorce, and the challenges of rebuilding my life showed me where I needed to grow as a person. I had time to reflect on the mistakes I made and the reality that I really didn’t love myself, making it impossible to truly love someone else. Through those experiences, I learned that in order to heal and move forward, I had to first love myself enough to forgive – forgive others, and most importantly, forgive myself. Guilt, shame, and doubt were like weights around my neck. Once I shed those, I NEVER looked back. I knew God had more for me, and I was ready to go after it.
What have you learned from self-love?
From self-love, I have learned that as a woman I have the power to attract who and what I am into my circumference. All of my relationships are mirrors of some aspect of me, whether good or bad. Negativity doesn’t just magically appear; I either cause it or allow it in my life. Period. Love for self doesn’t produce victims; it gives birth to survivors. Once love for self became more than a cliché and actually became my way of life, I began to repel what didn’t add to my life, and I attracted genuine love in return. On June 17, I will celebrate 3 years of marriage to the man I believe God sent to me. And I am enjoying the journey of finally meeting the Monique I never knew. When I look at myself five years ago and now, all I can say is God is the Greatest!
Monique’s LYFF Collage:
We asked our Phoenix, Monique, to 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 images she wanted to share. Here’s what she had to say about why these authentically reflect her self-love: “The photos I have chosen are a powerful testimony of the transformation that loving God and myself have caused in my life!”
Thanks for sharing your self-love story with us, Monique. 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 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.
“Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit…”
Almost 365 days have passed since becoming the Motherhood Empowerment contributor for Phoenix Shine, The Phoenix Rising Collective’s blog. My, my, my (long inhale and exhale) so much has happened within the past year. Through all the laughter with family and friends, financial challenges, job hopping, difficult living arrangements, tears of depression, and watching my boys grow up and out in height, personality, identity, hobbies, and intellectual capabilities – I’m STILL standing. I’m STILL here!
This is a major declaration because there have been some pivotal moments these past few months, moments when I thought life was playing a miserably absurd joke on me and had left me in the great wilderness to be eaten alive by self-loathing, debilitating mental illness, anxiety attacks, and voices of conditioning. But alas, my Guardian Angels and Spirit Guides gave me a swift kick in the (now very sore) posterior (I’ll explain the soreness later!) and challenged me to begin living a life solely dedicated to unabashed authenticity. I was forcefully nudged to do the following:
Speak honestly to myself, first and foremost; and then share my truth with others.
Create the balance of listening AND adhering to the messages from my passionate heart and my rational mind.
Completely surrender to the notion of living to fulfill my life’s purpose.
“…Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.”
So, in mid-July, one early Sunday morning, after a long sleepless night of tossing, turning, and deep inhalations of the Houston, Texas humidity, pollen, and dew, I began the initial phases of doing…well, more so…BE-ing all of the above.
I spent the last $237 in my account (reserved for partial payment on a bill) for a round trip ticket to Michigan with the intention of seeing my honorary mother (stepmother) and best friends. I separated from my significant other of eight years. I went to work the next day and quit my job with no other prospects anywhere close to the horizon. A few weeks later, I finally communicated some deep and dark feelings to my biological mother – feelings that had been churning inside me since I could recall my earliest memories as a toddler. This led to a healing breakthrough for us.
Let me tell you, after all that, not only did I feel like I had lost 100 pounds. For the first time ever, I felt serenity, excitement, unrelenting strength, joy, and absolute readiness to create the rest of my life exactly how I want!
In recent weeks, doors I didn’t know existed have widely and enthusiastically flung open, ushering me into the greatness that is my purpose. I was awarded a scholarship to complete my Yoga Instructor certification (which I’ve begun preparing for; hence the soreness in practically every muscle in my body). I’m writing programs and developing a curriculum for a non-profit organization committed to youth empowerment. I teach English as a second language to Spanish speaking and Vietnamese adult learners. And I’m the new Program Coordinator for the Houston Center for Literacy which is dedicated to improving the literacy landscape of the city.
Talk about LEAPS of faith toward living an authentic life! Based on what I’ve experienced these past few months, I’d like to share five signs that you’re living authentically:
Fearless: You fear less; thus, welcoming the vulnerability that comes with the discomfort and uncertainty of not having every single detail of your life planned. You find solace in knowing the heavens and earth are conspiring in your favor to bring forth what you really want. You express gratitude because all that you’ve prayed long and hard for (plus even more) comes to fruition. You simply say,“Thank you,” and pay it forward.
Honesty: Speak the truth and nothing but the TRUTH so help you! According to Neale Donald Walsch, honesty is one of the highest manifestations of love, so if the intention is to love ourselves, let’s start by being honest. How do you want to feel each day that you wake? What’s your ideal career? How can you make a lucrative income pursuing the one or two or several things that bring you great joy and passion? What does optimal health look like on you? What are some non-negotiable and/or areas of flexibility within an intimate, committed relationship for you? In what area(s) can you improve your parenting skills? I dare you greatly to answer all of these questions, honestly. And don’t judge your answers!
Clarity: A book that really helped me gain clarity in my personal and professional life is The Passion Testby Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. Without giving away all the details (because I hope you’ll do your research and grab a copy for yourself) the book provides a very precise formula for helping you gain significant clarity on the who, what, when, where, and how of pursuing your passion(s).
Life Flows Easily: When you’re living what you love, life flows easily. You’re so swept up in the new routine of fearlessness and honesty (and with a brand new vision for pursuing your goals) that you become much less concerned about doubt, judgment of others, and the drama of “Who Shot John.” Now, this is not to say there won’t be hiccups and challenges along the way; ideally, you’ll feel more inclined to be aware of the now (or present continuous, as I’m teaching my students) and the power you have to create it exactly how you wish it to be.
Attracting Goodness: Like INergy attracts Like INergy. The thoughts, words, and behaviors you set your intentions on will always return to you. Your intention will reflect either ugliness or beauty, so create beauty, Goddesses!
“Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving – even when it’s hard…mindfully practicing authenticity during our most soul searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.”
I’d like to especially dedicate this to Brene Brown. I’ve used quotes from her glorious masterpiece Daring Greatly throughout this article. I’d like to extend an extra special THANK YOU to Ayanna Jordan for inviting me to The PRC family, embracing my writing, compassionately supporting me, and encouraging me to continue to strive towards my own GREATNESS! Also, Traci Evadne Currie, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude for operating in your greatness and inspiring me to do the same!
W. KaNeesha Allen is The Phoenix Rising Collective’s Motherhood Empowerment contributor. She 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.