I started my day with the 21 Day Meditation Series sponsored by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Today’s theme is “Creative Me.” The message of the day discussed how play opens the pathways for creativity to flow freely. It reminded me of two children I have been playing with in my work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for the past two weeks.
Our creative play afternoon sessions have been filled with laughter, water color painting, coloring, clay sculptures, and colored pencil and magic marker drawings (see photos of our artwork above). They have opened my heart wider and inspired me to play more with collages in my life.
How are you adding more play to your creative life?
Last week, I attended Digital Diplomacy, an open house event that featured the social media efforts of several embassies including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. The World Bank and U.S. State Department also participated in the event.
It’s cold in DC this week. The winter weather inspired me to prepare a list of mini yoga moments I could create at home. Today’s mini yoga moment started with a juicy child’s pose that helped me release my to do list. It opened the door to a tall glass of lemon ginger tea, a little reading from the December issue of Yoga Journal, and a yoga-inspired listening session courtesy of Pandora.com. It ended with another child’s pose that allowed me to reach for my mala beads. As I touched the beads, I gave thanks for the day’s blessings.
When I was a little girl growing up in Landover, Maryland in the 1970s, my mother, an early childhood undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, encouraged me and my brothers to express our creativity through the power of imagination. My oldest brother, Mike, was the leader of our pack. His courage to create things we could only dream about amazed me. He designed and showed us how to cut out guitars from cardboard boxes so that we could imitate the Jackson Five, our favorite musical group. He also designed the plans for a snow igloo and served as the chief architect and foreman during the building process.
Later, he developed his talents and studied to become a comic book graphic artist at the Philadelphia College of Art. Throughout his career, I have watched Mike tap into the wellspring of courage that lies within his heart to pursue his dreams. It has grounded him in times of transition and helped him expand his vision for his creative expression. He is my creativity courage hero who reminds me to embrace my own courage in my creative life.
How do you find courage to express your creativity?
Do you have any creativity courage heroes or sheroes?
BlogHer is one of my favorite blogging conferences to attend because it offers a variety of sessions that quench my learning thirst, networking opportunities, great keynotes, the Voices of the Year featuring incredible bloggers who read their amazing blog posts, fun parties, yummy vegan and vegetarian food (especially in Chicago and San Diego), and a fashion show featuring bloggers of every shape, size, and color.
I started attending the annual conference in 2009 and have been fortunate to serve as a speaker in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Speaking at BlogHer has allowed me to share my expertise in blogger wellness, peer-to-peer mentoring, podcasting, and social media leadership through the lens of Digital Sisterhood Leadership Archetypes. It has increased my confidence as a thought leader and exposure as a speaker. In addition, it has inspired me to share more of my thought leadership at other conferences and events.
In 2014, BlogHer will celebrate its 10th year anniversary conference. I will be celebrating my 10th year as a blogger. I plan to attend the conference. In preparation, I am working on my conference speaking proposals this week and next week.
BlogHer is always looking to feature new and diverse speakers. So I encourage you to submit your original ideas. Click here to learn more about the BlogHer Call for Ideas. The deadline is December 2.
Last week, I visited Spelman College Museum of Fine Art’s Posing Beauty in African American Culture exhibition. Posing Beauty features over 75 photographs that span 12 decades (1890 to the present). It is the first exhibition I have ever seen that explores and challenges widespread and historic notions of African American beauty in photography. Deborah Willis, Ph.D., served as the curator of Posing Beauty. Willis is one of my favorite authors and photographers. She is also one of leading historians of African American photography.
While exploring the exhibition, I discovered and fell in love with a selection of cabinet cards featuring Spelman College faculty, students, and alumnae. Cabinet cards are photographic portraits mounted on 4 1/4 by 6 1/2 inch cards that people traded with each other in the early 1870s. They reminded me of several cabinet cards I have of my great grandmother Eunice Ann Thomas Roberts.
Recently, I chatted with the dynamic digital diva founders of MadameYou.com at the Women Interactive Creativity Technology Festival held on November 9 at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. During our chat about how their company uses technology to celebrate African American women’s hair, Candace, Chanel, and Jess told me their Madame You mobile app was now available for iPhones. WOO HOO!!!! Visit http://madameyou.com to learn more about it.
The highlight of my practice is being kind and gentle with myself and taking my practice off of the mat and into my daily life (doing Tadasana at work while I am seated or breathing deeply as a mindfulness reminder when I am doing email).
Yoga has given me an arsenal of tools that help me handle stress better. Here are some of my stress relief tools.
1) Taking a lot of time to center myself with pranayama exercises (three-part breath, alternate nostril breathing, and humming).
2) Cleansing my chakras with sound vibration through mantra chanting as I give myself reiki healing touch.
3) Yin poses that help me massage my connective tissue.
4) Learning sacred mantras (Gayatri Mantra) to close my practice and chanting a sea of OMs.
5) Saying Namaste and bowing at the end of my practice.
Having a diverse community of support in various cities has been one of my greatest blessings as an artist, author, and creativity coach. Atlanta is home to one of my strongest communities of support. Whenever I visit the “ATL,” I am surrounded by love and positive energy.
Last night, I was surrounded by ATL love and positive energy at a book reading for my new book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online. Everywhere, a social media marketing firm led by my digital sister Danica Kombol, hosted the event. Danica and her team rolled out the red carpet for me and my digital sisters and brothers. I got to see old friends and made some new friends. During the book reading, I shared an excerpt about my work with the Heart of Haiti campaign and my connection to Danica and her team. I also answered questions and asked the guests to share the key ingredients of digital citizenship. What a powerful discussion we had! As the evening was winding down, I looked around the room and realized how truly blessed I am for my ATL community. A deep feeling of gratitude washed over me. Many thanks to Danica, the Everywhere team, and my ATL community for showing me big LOVE!!!!