#YogaMonday: #Yogaat50 Lesson 6 OPPORTUNITY

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Happy #YogaMonday!

OPPORTUNITY is #Yogaat50 Lesson 6. When I was studying to become a yoga teacher at Flow Yoga Center in 2005, I had a homework assignment that required a definition of yoga. Here’s the definition I created and continue to use in my yoga practice, classes, and workshops: YOGA is Your Opportunity to Graciously Accept yourself and life in the present moment. What is your definition of yoga? What opportunity has yoga offered you?

Poetry Month Day #12: “Be” Poem

Happy Day #12 of National Poetry Month!

Today’s poem is entitled “Be.” It celebrates living in the present moment. How do you stay in the present moment?

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Be

Outside

Mind dominates.
Inside
Heart leads.
Breathe.
Stillness exist.

So I can rest, renew, and reconnect.
So I can BE!

Copyright 2015 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: Panache Desai

Poetry Month Day #11: “Accountability” Poem

Happy Day #11 of National Poetry Month!

This year, my accountability partner Nia and I decided  to celebrate our accomplishments each quarter. Today is our first celebration. In preparation for our celebration, I reviewed the list of January, February, and March accomplishments I wrote in my Eleanor Roosevelt-inspired journal (the quote on the cover is a great daily reminder) earlier this week.

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As I read the list, I was filled with deep gratitude for the accountability relationship and practice Nia and I have created. Having her support is one of the reasons I have been able to believe in and manifest the beauty of my dreams. Today’s poem, “Accountability” is inspired by the work we have done to help manifest our dreams in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. Do you have an accountability practice or partner? How has the practice and/or partner helped you believe in and manifest the beauty of your dreams?

Accountability

My spirit whispers at midnight.
Those whispers travel into my sleep and become sacred dreams that call my name.
They invite me to manifest them in my life.
I wake up filled with ideas.
My day passes into the next.
The ideas lay dorment.
They need a lot of help to come alive.
So I sit down at my desk to create a plan.
Steps are outlined.
Deadlines are set.
It looks like I’m ready to move forward, but I’m not.
Fear creeps in.
I allow it to build a barrier.
Nothing gets done.
Frustration sets in.
I convey my feelings to a good sistafriend.
She shares a similar story and suggests we create an accountability relationship and weekly practice to manifest our dreams.
I get excited and say “YES.”
We agree to support each other with micro task texting, email resources,  and weekly check- in sessions via telephone.
Our check-in sessions discuss what went well, what did not go well, what the next week’s focus includes, how we celebrated, what we are looking forward to, and what we need help with.
I decide to journal about my daily priorities and accomplishments.
Within months, I begin to manifest some of my dreams.
Guess what else happens?
By year’s end, I am living with more commitment, confidence, and courage to be who I was created to be.
A woman who manifests the beauty of her dreams with accountability!

Copyright 2015 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All rights reserved.

Poetry Month Day #10: “Success” Poem

Happy Day #10 of National Poetry Month!

This week, I completed Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s Manifesting True Success 21-Day meditation series. Meditating each day on the wisdom they shared and chanting sacred mantras helped me redefine SUCCESS and plant new seeds of what it means in my spirit, heart, mind, and body. Here are some of the key takeaways from this experience.

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They inspired today’s poem “Success” (see below). How do you define success?

Success

Had to come in from the world because how I was being, thinking, living, and doing wasn’t working for me anymore.

I didn’t know what was gonna happen from moment to moment or day to day.

I just knew I needed to turn within and spend time decluttering my spirit, mind, and body so I could embrace my wholeness with an open heart.

As I reconnected with myself from inside of the Inside, my fears of failure, not being or having enough, and unworthiness visited me.

I tried to run from them, but there was no place to hide.

Meeting them face-to-face was my only option.

Our first, second, third, fourth, and fifth dates were horrendous because I was standing in a place of resistance.

Things got a little better when I decided to surrender and embrace the courage to sit with my fears right next to me.

Guess what?

They’re still sitting next to me and we’re still meeting face-to-face as I excavate, understand, and work to release their root cause.

Some days this process feels like a really bad root canal.

Other days it feels Lionel Ritchie singing “it’s easy like Sunday morning.”

In the midst of it all, I am learning to trust myself and not what does or does not happen in life.

And my definition of success is being reframed based on who I am and how I value my uniqueness from the inside out.

Copyright 2015 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: ChopraMeditation.com

#FierceLiving Friday: #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 5 ENCOURAGEMENT

Happy #FierceLiving Friday!

ENCOURAGEMENT is #FierceLivingat50  Lesson 5. Yesterday, my accountability partner Nia and I decided to go walking and talking in Wheaton Mall in Wheaton, Maryland (since it was cold outside and ABC Scandal was on hiatus!). During our hour-long walk, we laughed, shared, window shopped, danced in the aisles at DSW and the Guess Jeans store, smelled candles and tried lotions at Bed Bath & Beyond, drank the passion mint sample tea at the Teavana store (yummy), and talked about how we support each other. Our conversation  reminded me of the power we each have to encourage ourselves and each other.

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That’s why I took some time today to text several family members and friends encouraging messages by author Panache Desai that I like to read on Facebook. How do you encourage yourself and others?

Photo Credit: Panache Desai

#CreativityThursday: #Creativityat50 Lesson 5 SIMPLE

Happy #CreativityThursday!

SIMPLE is #Creativityat50 Lesson 5. Earlier today, I was creating content for a client’s social media campaign and discovered an Instagram quote by Charles Mingus, one of my favorite jazz musicians (see below).

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Mingus’ words reminded me of a lesson my art teacher Tasko taught me 10 years when he insisted I begin painting: get out of your head and into your heart so you can surrender your ego and feel the simplicity of what Spirit is calling you to create. Keep it SIMPLE in your art and creative process is the short version.

How do you approach your art-making process?

Poetry Month Day #9: “Alchemy” Poem

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Happy Day #9 of National Poetry Month!

Today, I took myself on an artist date to see the Alchemical Vessels exhibition at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery located in the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. It features 125 artworks by 125 artists in the Washington, DC metro area. Each artist transformed a ceramic bowl to reflect their own personal aesthetic and medium. Together, their work engages in a community dialogue on healing and transformation.

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One of my favorite pieces is I love Pansies by John Paradiso (see photo above), a friend and fellow Smith Center Artist-in-Residence. John’s work reminded me of nature’s alchemy and the beauty that winter gives birth to during springtime. His artwork and the exhibition inspired my poem “Alchemy.”

Alchemy

She is standing in the same place I left her 25 years ago.
Feeling the same fears of failure and not being or having enough.
Wearing the same outfit of unworthiness.
Somedays she is able to mask her wounds.
Other days she is wide open.
Vulnerable to the emotional tsunami of pain.
I thought we had parted ways, but come to find out we just stopped being roommates who share a room in one of those homes that decorate the Gold Coast on 16th Street.

Our address is the same.
We just live in seperate rooms on different floors.
She’s in the basement bedroom.
I’m on the second floor with a window facing the row of pansies in the front yard.

When I look in the mirror, I see her reflection and realize we are one in the same.
Her wounds are my wounds.
I pause and breathe in and out as I process our truth.

As I sit with our truth, I begin to dwell in a place of stillness.
Her voice begins to speak.
She confesses how tired she is of masking her wounds.
Her confession opens the door to an intention to declutter her spirit, mind, heart, and body so that she can fully express wholeness.

Staring straight into her eyes, I bow to her highest self and extend my hand so that we can surrender to our soul’s alchemy.

Copyright 2015 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All rights reserved.

Poetry Month Day #8: “Illumine” Poem

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Happy Day #8 of National Poetry Month!

Today’s poem is entitled “Illumine.” It is inspired by a quote from Dr. Ernest Holmes’ book “Science of Mind” I read this afternoon: “O Eternal and Blessed Presence, illumine my mind and command my will that my Soul may be refreshed and that my life may be renewed.”

Illumine

Vulnerabilities trickle onto the yoga mat as my hips open wide to release emotions that have decluttered my body temple for too long.

I breathe in and out as the wetness of my tears creates a mini puddle.

I wonder why all of this is happening now. When will it stop?

No answer comes.

I am reminded that I control no person or thing.

I am reminded to surrender to the Spirit’s healing light and love. So I do.

I allow it to shine through me and every part of my spirit, mind, heart, body, and life.

My voice gets clearer.

I hear where I criticize myself and engage in self talk that hinders my soul’s growth.

I come into hero’s pose and offer a prayer of gratitude and affirm Spirit illumine my mind and command my will that my soul is refreshed and my life, faith, and trust are renewed.
 
Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, http://www.leighmosley.com

#DigitalSisterhood Wednesday: #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 5 NETWORK

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Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday Digital Sisters!

NETWORK is #DigitalSisterhoodat50 Lesson 5. For me, NETWORK means to meet and share information with individuals for the purpose of cultivating positive and productive relationships for business, career, and volunteer opportunities. The month of March offered several opportunities to network with women authors, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and creative, digital, media, and tech professionals at events sponsored by DC Media Mavens, DC Web Women, and WordPress/Automattic. After each event, I connected with the women I met via email and on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I subscribed to a few blogs written by the women. For two of the events, I wrote blog recaps and thanked the organizers. I also sent thank you emails and mailed or hand delivered handwritten notes to the organizers.

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How do you define NETWORK?

How do you follow up with people after you meet them?

What motivates you to cultivate relationships in your NETWORK?

Poetry Month Day #7: “Bloom” Poem

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Happy Day #7 of National Poetry Month!

Today’s poem is entitled “Bloom.” It is inspired by the beautiful flowers I saw during my afternoon walk.

Bloom

Right where I am lies an opportunity.
It doesn’t look like it, but it is.
It is wrapped in a package I wouldn’t normally open.
My fear of what’s next is stopping me.
I can’t forecast my future.
I have no access to the details.
I can’t control it.
The only thing I can do is surrender, have faith, open the package, and bloom right where I am.

Copyright 2015 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All rights reserved.