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My Digital Sisterhood book writing journey gave birth to the Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project

Photo Credit: http://blog.christopherbaan.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/leadership-tag-cloud.png

My Digital Sisterhood book writing journey continues to amaze me.  It just gave birth to a new passion and calling called the Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project.  What a magical and messy creative process I have!  Hold tight for more details on the project!  I wanna give you the backstory first.

Photo Credit: BlissDom logo

In an effort to maintain balance and stay on track with my writing, I have decided to pause today since it’s Digital Sisterhood Wednesday and share what’s been happening.  Read on …  For the past four months my writing journey has invited me to witness and take notes about the powerful ways social media women practice leadership.  I had many lightbulb moments about women’s leadership during the BlissDom 2012 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in February.  My BlissDom experience exposed me to a leadership model called “Community Leaders.”  The BlissDom founders Alli Worthington and Barbara Jones along with their team created the Community Leaders model so that seasoned bloggers could use their extensive experience to facilitate hands-on, small-group discussions during each session.  The Community Leaders also:

  • Helped new bloggers and first-time conference attendees navigate the BlissDom experience.
  • Offered inspiration and encouragement.
  • Shared their blogging wisdom, best practices, and tips.
  • Engaged in one-on-one conversations that offered listening ears and brainstorming moments.
  • Gave hugs (especially during my Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart workshop).

The role they played was PRICELESS.  I call it Digital Sisterhood Leadership, my newfound passion that I will pursue fully in 2013.  I say “pursue fully in 2013” because I am mindful of my need to set boundaries as I take time this year to complete my book.

So what’s next?  Drum roll please!!!!

Digital Sisterhood Network's DC Women in Social Media Focus Group Series on Nonprofit Women Leaders, October 2010 @ MLKing Library

May is going to be an exciting month for the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN).  Click here to learn why.  The link will direct you to my audio blog update about the new DSN initiative, the Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project.  It will have a soft launch in May that includes #DSLead Twitter chats on May 2, 9, 23, and 30 from 9:00 pm ET to 10:00 pm ET.   For more details, visit the DSN web site later today.

Guess what’s else is happening?

The DSN web site will feature a series of interviews with Digital Sisterhood Leaders in May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Look for a mini celebration during Digital Sisterhood Month in December. The mega launch will be held in January 2013!

So what do you think about my new passion and calling?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday Musings, Digital Diet Update & Easter Sunday Photos

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #1 by Ananda Leeke

Happy Monday!

What’s happening in your part of the world?

It’s chilly and rainy in DC today.  The photos (above and below) I took on Easter Sunday while taking a walk in my Dupont Circle neighborhood warmed me up. They also reminded me how much fun I’ve been having as I embrace my visual voice with photography on a weekly basis.  Click here to see more photos expressing my visual voice.

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #4 by Ananda Leeke

My digital diet is coming along.  Last week I did a better job of turning off my laptop and HTC EVO smartphone in the evening.  I know my morning running and yoga practice are helping me stay centered.

This week I decided to use Monday and Wednesday as my primary social media days on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress.  Wish me luck!

Next week I plan to write a blog about my artist-in-residence work (photos included at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  My blog post will include a poem I wrote and recited at the  Veteran-Civilian Dialogue Project held at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in March.

Enjoy your day and week!

Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #3 by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: Easter Sunday in Dupont Circle #2 by Ananda Leeke
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Digitial Diet Update & Nurturing Creativity with Collage

Collage and photo by Ananda Leeke

Happy Monday!

My digital diet for the week of April 9 helped me be more mindful about my time.  I was able to write, rest, practice yoga/Reiki/meditation, go to the gym, take care of home and personal finance responsibilities, attend an art exhibition opening at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, participate in the monthly artists-in-residence meeting held at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, create collages with patients and staff at the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center, and read chapters from Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection during my morning commute with greater ease.  I noticed my creative juices were flowing much better.  The best part of the week was not carrying my smartphone with me most days.

My biggest challenge was going online in the evenings to check my email and other social media accounts.  On some days, I spent more time than I originally budgeted. So I am working this week on sticking to my plan.

My greatest lesson learned was that when I write my Digital Sisterhood book chapter drafts on paper instead of my lap top I am less likely to go online in the evening.

Collage and photo by Ananda Leeke

Last month I started making a weekly collage to nurture my creativity journey.  These collages help me stay on track with my commitment to expressing my visual voice.  Many of them serve as visual affirmations that I use to support my fierce living commitment to self-care, fitness, unplugging, and completing my Digital Sisterhood book.  I included two collages above from my April collection.  What do you think?

How are you nurturing your creativity?

Are you making collages or artwork?  If yes, share links in the comment section.

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My Digital Diet for the Week of April 9

Writing a book is a magical and messy process for me. My blog gives me the space to share how the process impacts me. Last week I came to some conclusions about my time online. I realized I need to set deeper digital boundaries.

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley - http://www.leighmosley.com

Today I came up with a schedule I think I can live with for the next several months. Here’s my digital diet for the week of April 9.

  • Check my smart phone for email, texts, tweets, and Facebook posts in the evening.
  • Leave my smart phone at home during the work week unless I am meeting someone in person and/or travelling.
  • Post one blog per week on WordPress and Tumblr.
  • Use Pinterest two days a week (no more than 1 hour).
  • Tweet on Twitter on Digital Sisterhood Wednesdays (end tweeting by 9:00 pm).
  • Post on Facebook and Google+ two days a week (that includes Digital Sisterhood Wednesdays).
  • Use Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo when I have photos and videos to upload.

What do you think about my digital diet?

Have you ever unplugged from your tech life, gone on a digital diet, or taken a digital sabbatical?

What did you learn from your experiences?

Any tips?

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Good Friday Positive Inspiration for My Writer’s Soul from Kelly Rae Roberts & Brene Brown

Happy Friday!  Happy Good Friday! Happy Early Easter!

How is your day going?  I hope it is treating you well.  Mine started with a confession and a double dose of positive inspiration for my writer’s soul.

Here’s my confession: when I write books, especially memoirs, I have an opportunity to really explore some deep parts of myself.  Sometimes the writing journey can get emotionally draining, scary, and overwhelming.  When that happens, I look for positive inspiration. Today I reminded myself to slow down, breathe, and look for some positive inspiration.  Guess what? I found two great sources.

Photo Credit: KellyRoberts.com

Artist Kelly Rae Roberts’ April 5th blog post was the first source of inspiration.  Roberts’ post about the benefits and pitfalls of an online life reminded me I need to continue taking great care of myself by setting more boundaries on my online life.  In short, it’s time for me to revisit my online boundaries, establish a new schedule for going online, and have a more consistent practice of daily and weekly UNPLUGGING (my digital sister and friend Danica Kombol calls it a digital diet).

Photo Credit: Brene Brown photo from The University of Houston

My second source of positive inspiration came from a YouTube video featuring storyteller/researcher Brene Brown’s TEDx Houston Talk on the power of vulnerability. Click here to watch the video.  What a game changer!  It’s making me dig deeper into my Digital Sisterhood book writing journey. I’m so grateful for Brown’s talk, the power of connection, and the belief and acceptance that I am enough as a spiritual being having a human experience as a woman, friend, daughter, sister, author, artist, coach, yoga teacher, innerpreneur, speaker etc. etc.

So what positive inspiration have you discovered lately?

How do you keep yourself inspired?

Any plans to unplug, set boundaries on your digital life, go on a digital diet (check out Daniel Sielberg’s The Digital Diet — great tips), or take a digital sabbatical (similar to the one Gwen Bell talks about in her book Digital Warriorship – fantastic book I read in 2011 — had a chance to participate in Bell’s BlogHer 2011 workshop — awesome experience)?

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Nurturing My Creative Spirit in April with Creating Time by Marney K. Makridakis

Photo Credit: Springtime in Crystal City by Ananda Leeke (2012)

Last month I made several creative commitments after I returned from the BlissDom 2012 Conference in Nashville.  See below.

  • To embrace my visual voice with digital photographs and videos that record authentic moments and tell stories.
  • To affirm my visual voice by sharing what I create on my blog, Animoto, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.
  • To nurture my creative spirit weekly with journaling, artist dates, and reading time (articles, blogs, books, and online creative communities).
  • To affirm, fully claim, and respect my creative journey as an artist in a professional manner.
  • To seek and pursue ways to expand my professional career as an artist.
  • To respect and treat my creativity as a business.
Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke's One Drop of Black Blood painting taken by photographer Leigh Mosley - www.leighmosley.com
Photo Credit: Hamiltonian Gallery - http://www.hamiltonianartists.org

Here’s the good news!  I was able to take action on all of my new commitments.

  • I started carrying my digital camera with me every day.  That helped me capture my favorite Springtime moments.
  • I was able to share my digital photos on my blog, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.  It felt great to receive positive feedback from my social media friends.
  • I created three videos with Animoto that featured my photos from BlissDom and artwork.  The videos were posted on my blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.  Posting the videos helped me see the value in sharing my work with others. It also gave me much needed feedback.
  • I started reading Kelly Rae Roberts’ book,  Taking Flight: Inspiration And Techniques To Give Your Creative Spirit Wings.  The book’s journaling exercises helped me get in touch with my creative spirit. I also took a walking tour of galleries in my neighborhood:  Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Morton Fine Art Gallery, and Hamiltonian Gallery.  Seeing new art created by a diverse group of artists was inspiring.
  • I took a HUGE leap of faith to expand my professional career as an artist when I  submitted my application to the Hamiltonian Fellowship Program in DC.  The application process required me to write an artist statement and artist CV, and prepare a digital portfolio of ten pieces of artwork (see photo above of one of my paintings that was included in my digital portfolio).  After I finished my application, I decided to post my artist statement and CV on my web site.  Doing that helped me affirm my professional career as an artist and respect and treat my creativity as a business.

This month I am using Marney K. Makridakis’ new book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life, to nurture my creative spirit as I move through my Digital Sisterhood book writing journey and take small steps each week to embrace my visual voice.  FYI – I am also reviewing Makridakis’ book at her request.  Her PR team sent me a free copy to review a few weeks ago.

Photo Credit: Artella.com

What’s going on with your creative spirit?

How are you nurturing your creative spirit this month?

Have you made any creative commitments this year?

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Happy April & National Poetry Month

Spring 2012 004, originally uploaded by anandaleeke.

Happy April! Happy National Poetry Month!

This month I decided to share poetry and photos that illustrate my work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. Click here to see photos of my work at Walter Reed.

Check out my collage posted above. I wrote a poem about my Artist Romance below.

Ananda at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (standing by wounded warrior sculpture in the main lobby)

Artist Romance by Ananda Leeke
Copyright 2012 by Madelyn C. Leeke

Each week, I share my creative gifts with wounded warriors and their families, military  personnel, and civilian hospital staff.

We play with poetry, six-word memoirs, prayers, essays, creative writing exercises, water color paints, collage, model magic, and wire sculpture on our creative playground.

Laughter invites itself.

Tears often appear.

Smiles are always present.

Sometimes deep revelations occur.

Whatever happens, I am always left with an aha moment of deep gratitude.

It’s the perfect artist romance.