0 comments on “Celebrate Spring & International Day of Happiness with Mindfulness & Mouth Yoga (Smiling)”

Celebrate Spring & International Day of Happiness with Mindfulness & Mouth Yoga (Smiling)

Are you ready for Spring? Start it by celebrating International Day of Happiness on Tuesday, March 20, with a mindful practice of mouth yoga a/k/a smiling. Smiling is one of the best ways to create positive energy inside of yourself. When you smile mindfully, your positive energy can help open your heart to more gratitude. Also, your smile also has the power to brighten another’s person’s day!

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Check out my #ThrivingMindfully Podcast resources.

How are you planning to celebrate Spring and/or International Day of Happiness? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Enjoy Spring & International Day of Happiness!

0 comments on “11 Ways to Use Mindfulness for Unplugging & Sleeping Well”

11 Ways to Use Mindfulness for Unplugging & Sleeping Well

 

One of the lessons I learned during National Day of Unplugging last weekend was about sleeping. I discovered a better way to enjoy sleeping by turning my smartphone off and allowing myself to wake up without the alarm on Saturday and Sunday. Read my opinion piece on unplugging that was published in the Afro-American Newspaper to learn more.

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On Sunday evening, I decided to use Sleep Awareness Week (March 11-17) to add several mindful sleep practices to my daily routine. Check out the practices I used below. Since today is the last day of Sleep Awareness Week, consider trying one or more of them.

  1. Place your smartphone and digital devices in your living room, kitchen, or home office. Mute the sound on your phone ringer and notifications. If you can, turn the phone off. Use an alarm clock. Muting the sound on my phone and placing it in my living room really helped.
  2. Give yourself a few hours off from using social media, email or texting in the evenings. Set a curfew. Try 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. I tried a curfew of 11:15 p.m. to 8 a.m. on several days.
  3. Express gratitude for people and experiences. This practice opens my heart.
  4. Say a forgiveness prayer for yourself and others before you go to sleep at night. My forgiveness prayers help me release anger, disappointment, grudges, judgments, thoughts, and stories I have made up about myself and others. They help me clear my mind and cleanse my spirit and heart.
  5. Drink your favorite decaf tea before bed. I love to sprinkle turmeric in hot water or use Trader Joe’s turmeric and ginger tea.
  6. Use your favorite sheets and blankets on your bed. I love my purple sheets and cream blanket.
  7. If you are NOT allergic to scents, smudge yourself and your bedroom or home with a smudge stick to remove any negative energy. I use my smudge stick in the morning and evening.
  8. If you are NOT allergic to scents, burn your favorite incense or candle in your bedroom or home an hour or two before you sleep. You can also use a room freshener with essential oils to spray your bedroom or home. I like to use Mrs. Meyer’s lavender room freshener.
  9. Take an evening shower or bath to relax yourself. Showers are my favorites.
  10. Meditate for a 1, 5, 15, 20 or 30 minutes before going to sleep. Meditation with breathing exercises is a great mindfulness practice that can help you slow down and become aware of your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. It can also help you go within and connect to your higher self. I like to practice a short meditation while laying in child’s pose, one of my favorite yoga poses, before going to sleep. Listen to my #ThrivingMindfully Podcast Series for a guided mindfulness meditation. Here’s a guided compassion meditation to open your heart. Check out my Mindful Living podcast playlist for more resources.
  11. Try gentle yoga. Like I mentioned above, child’s pose helps me relax before sleep. Go to YouTube and try my teacher Faith Hunter’s gentle yoga session. Also, do a search for gentle yoga or restorative yoga for beginners on YouTube. Check out Yoga In Bed: 20 Asanas to Do in Pajamas by Edward Vilga, one of my favorite yoga books. Learn more about my journey as a gentle yoga teacher (includes my yoga, reiki, and meditation services) and my yoga-inspired novel, Love’s Troubadours (available on Amazon). My novel tells the story of Karma Francois, a 30-something yoga teacher who is on a self-discovery journey that allows her to heal, forgive, and reinvent her life with art, meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, therapy, yoga, travel, and the support of family and friends.

If you are unable to try these tips today, I encourage you to use Sleep Awareness Week as inspiration for getting more rest in your life in 2018. Try one or more of the tips and let me know what happens in the comment section.

Happy Unplugging and Sleeping!

Photo Credit: National Sleep Foundation

 

0 comments on “International Women’s Day Poem: Our Womanist Spirit”

International Women’s Day Poem: Our Womanist Spirit

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Happy International Women’s Day!

In honor of women and girls everywhere, I am sharing a poem, “Our Womanist Spirit” I wrote in 2002. It is included in my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available an e-book and paperback on Amazon).

Our Womanist Spirit by Ananda Leeke

Human skin decorates the universe in a rainbow of shades.

Red, Black, Brown, Beige, Yellow and White.

Diverse cultures beautify Mother Earth.

When women look in the mirror, we see each other as one in the same …
daughters of a loving Creator.

We are sisters … connected as one … sharing the same womanist spirit …
expressing it in many different ways.

We are a chosen people, a royal priestess-hood, a holy universe of individuals belonging to One Spirit and each other.

Beloved, we are unified.

You are me. I am you. We are each other.

What we think, say and do affects the whole.

We honor our oneness when we live at our highest level …

When we live our truth … LOVE.

Our spiritual, gender, ethnic, and cultural identities help us appreciate our connection to each other and the human family.

They bridge the gap of surface appearances, destroy false and misleading labels, overcome personal prejudices, and defy societal and institutional divisions of madness.

When we step outside of this bag of tricks, we realize that we breathe in the same air …

feel the same warmth from the sun …

bask in the same moon glow …

sing and dance to nature’s rhythm …

dream and manifest infinite feminine possibilities …

envision a better life …

make it possible by giving the gift of peace …

orchestrate new beginnings when resources are low …

pioneer and lead the path when directions are obscure …

cry tears of joy as we birth and raise the next

generation of magnificent children …

create the soul’s language in art, music and words …

heal hearts, bodies and minds …

elevate the planet’s consciousness with right thoughts and actions …

bless each other with abundance …

communicate authentically …

serve as light bearers …

love deeply …

forgive compassionately …

pray continuously and give thanks in our own special ways.

We, my sisters are threads of a great quilt masterpiece, woven especially by the Almighty and deposited for safekeeping in all women’s hearts.

Copyright © 2002 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All Rights Reserved.

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twambookLooking for a great book to read? Check out my creativity memoir, That Which Awakens Me. It includes woman-centered poetry and reflections.

0 comments on “Women’s History Month: Celebrating My Womanline”

Women’s History Month: Celebrating My Womanline

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Women’s History Month gives me a chance to celebrate the women in my family that have inspired me. I call them my womanline. They include my mother, Theresa Gartin Leeke; grandmothers, Dorothy Mae Johnson Gartin and Frederica Stanley Roberts Leeke; and great grandmothers, Iona Bolden Johnson King and Florida Jones Leeke. Who are the women in your family that inspire you?

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In the first chapter of my tech memoir, Digital Sisterhood, I write about what my womanline’s digital footprint would look like if they had access to the Internet and social media. Listen to an excerpt (from 2013). Read the full chapter here. My book is available on Amazon (e-book, paperback, and hardback).

Listen to Digital Sisterhood excerpts read by yours truly (from 2013)!

Here are two more audio recordings (from 2013) about the book.