My BlissDom 12 Conference experience inspired me to embrace my visual voice passionately. I learned that lesson while attending photographer Diane Cu’s “Storytelling and Embracing Imperfection: Empower Your Visual Voice with Photography and Video.” Diane talked about how powerful it is to express your authenticity and tell stories with imperfect photos. During the session, I sat next to Ellen Seidman, founder of Love That Max blog. Ellen introduced me to Animoto, an online service that turns your photos and video clips into professional video slideshows in minutes. I have been playing with Animoto for the past few weeks. Today, I created a very short video that documents what I learned during Diane’s session. It’s my first video with photos, text, and music. It was really easy to make! Click here to watch it. Let me know what you think.
Some of my best BlissDom Conference moments were spent supporting and celebrating the Heart of Haiti Campaign, a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores. The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.
As soon as I arrived and settled into my room at the Opryland Hotel on February 23, I tweeted the Everywhere team, Danica Kombol and Britton Edwards, to let them know I was ready to put on my Heart of Haiti Blogger Ambassador hat and support their Heart of Haiti booth in the BlissDom Handmade Marketplace. When I saw the booth, I was in complete AWE! Why? Because these ladies know how to make a conference booth attractive and fun to visit. And it’s not hard when you have the beautiful Heart of Haiti collection to work with. Danica and Britton gave me a brief update on the new items in the collection and showed me photos from the #Bloggers4Haiti trip to Haiti in January. Check out the photos below.
While I was at the Heart of Haiti booth, I met and chatted with BlissDom attendees about my experiences as a Blogger Ambassador and February 2011 trip to Haiti. Many of the attendees told me about their passion for using social media for social good and plans to support the Heart of Haiti. Those conversations reminded me how important it is to tell people about the Haitian artisans who are using their creative gifts to make their lives and country better. They also reminded me that I have got to get to Haiti in 2013!
The morning of my BlissDom session on February 24 began with meditation, prayer, yoga, and Reiki healing touch in my lovely room at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. During my morning spiritual practice, I focused on opening my heart and surrendering to Creator’s highest good. I made sure to say a prayer of thanksgiving for blessing me with an opportunity to share my gifts as a creative professional with an amazing community of women and men bloggers. Afterwards, I got dressed, packed my conference bag with my workshop materials, and headed to breakfast.
Breakfast was yummy! I ate plenty of delicious fruit and two chocolate muffins as I watched the powerful opening video and listened to the “Bliss Chicks” Allie Worthington, Paula Bruno, and Barbara Jones welcome everyone to BlissDom. The morning got better as I sat writing notes during author and blogger Jon Acuff‘s keynote address. It ended with entrepreneurial inspiration from Allie and Ana Roca Castro’s introduction of Picha Global, a social media business they formed with Barbara Jordan and Megan Jordan.
The positive BlissDom brekafast energy followed me into Jeannette Kaplun’s amazing session, “Living (and Embracing) the Best of the Life You Have Created for Yourself.” Jeannette reminded me to choose joy, grace, gratitude, ease, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace in my daily life. What a beautiful gift!
The morning events filled my heart with so much joy and positive energy, and affirmed that BlissDom was indeed the perfect place for me to share my insights on how I discovered fierce living from my creative heart during my afternoon session.
Before I began my session, I took a minute to take in the faces of the BlissDom attendees. I smiled inside and outside. Why? Because we were about to learn and grow together!
My session began with the following introduction.
Welcome to “Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart.” Fierce Living is a journey worth taking in 2012. It begins with an open heart in the present moment. When you breathe intentionally and deeply, you invite yourself into the present moment. You also create space to discover who you are from the inside out and what’s happening in your creative heart. So let’s get started.
The yoga teacher inside of me always makes sure that breathing exercises are included in my workshop sessions. Check out the breathing exercises I shared with the BlissDom family.
Join me in taking 10 deep breaths. We inhale through our noses and exhale through our mouths. Feel free to make sounds like hah as you exhale. You can get loud too.
- Take a deep breath and inhale self-love. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you experiencing it.
- Inhale self-care. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you experiencing it.
- Inhale self-expression. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you experiencing it.
- Inhale self-discovery. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you experiencing it.
- Inhale vulnerability. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you tapping into it.
- Inhale intuition. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you tapping into it.
- Inhale imagination. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you tapping into it.
- Inhale inspiration. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you tapping into it.
- Inhale creativity. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you tapping into it.
- Inhale gratitude. Exhale anything that gets in the way of you expressing it.
In this sacred place, quietly set an intention for your session today. An intention is a statement about what you want to experience. When you are done, open your eyes.
The next exercise focused on one of my favorites: six-word memoirs. I asked the group to write a present moment six-word memoir which is composed of six words that expressed how they were feeling in the present moment. During the group sharing circle, I listened to the authentic, beautiful, creative, and vulnerable statements people wrote. It was powerful to witness!
Beth Zimmerman shared her six-word memoir @betzimmerman on Twitter. See below.
After the six-word memoir writing exercise, I gave a five-minute talk that discussed my 2012 wake up call and realization of fierce living from my creative heart. It is also an excerpt from the last chapter of my next book, Digital Sisterhood: Fierce Living Online for 25 Years (2012). See below.
My 2012 Wake Up Call (Copyright 2012 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All Rights Reserved.)
On the first day of the new year, I wrote in my journal: 2012 must be different from 2011. I must return to the deep, juicy space of creativity that I discovered in 1992, the year I baptized myself in poetry, meditation, journal writing, self publishing my own work, art, daydreaming, museum and gallery visits, and travel adventures. I must come home to myself. How? How do I come home to myself? Through fierce living from your creative heart. What’s that?
As I wrote in my journal about the meaning of fierce living from my creative heart, an acronym emerged. It has become my personal theme for 2012 and a reminder of what I need to do to come home to myself.
Fierce Living is
F- Finding your
I – Inner women inside of you by
E- Exploring who they are and
R- Receiving them into your life as your
C – Community of
E- Expression and
When you tap into your inner women be sure to
L- Listen to them because they offer
I – Intuition
V – Vulnerability
I – Imagination
N – Nurturing and
G – Growth opportunities
During January, I reconnected with my eight inner women otherwise known as archetypes and personalities. We’ve known each other for many years now. They include Ancestor, my wise woman; Ananda, my spirit woman and mystic; Kiamsha, my creative woman; Madelyn, my CEO woman; Cheryl, my balanced woman and peacekeeper; Puf, my girl child and Black American Princess; Sapphire, my warrior woman and sexy vixen; and Broomhilda, my inner critic. We spent time reconnecting and getting to know each other through mindful meditation, Reiki healing touch, yoga, journaling, collage making, writing an intention statement, playing with six-word memoirs, going on creative adventure dates and walks, reading magazines, listening to music, shopping for our favorite things, and playing dress up in our closet. This investment of time helped me deeply listen to myself. What I discovered was I needed to do a better job of taking care of myself. I discovered I needed to practice self-compassion. I discovered I needed more ME time to just be, to rest, to daydream, to imagine, and to create. I discovered I needed to set better boundaries with my time, energy, resource sharing, and relationships. I discovered I needed to say no to certain people and requests so I could have space to say yes to the people and things that nourish my creative heart.
The session continued with more breathingand writing exercises that invited each attendee to explore what their creative heart looked and felt like, what their creative heart needs and wants in 2012, who their inner women are and what they want them to know, and their definition of fierce living. The group engaged in deep discussion after each exercise. Aha moments, tears, sighs, laughter, joy, and a range of emotions and thoughts were shared. At the end of the session, my creative heart was filled with humility and gratitude for each person in the room. The experience reaffirmed my calling to do creative coaching and write and publish my books.
SESSION COMMENTS FROM THE TWITTERVERSE:
1) Check out my #BlissDom12 Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart Pinterest board for creative writing exercises, videos, and images that can help you tap into the power of fierce living from your creative heart.
2) Visit my Inner Women Pinterest board to learn more about my inner women and to get inspiration on tapping into your inner women or men.
3) Watch a 19 minute video of my Inner Women talk given in January 2011.
4) Learn more about my journey as a creative woman by purchasing my book, That Which Awakens Me on Amazon.com.
While I was at the BlissDom 2012 Conference, I had a chance to learn about the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign sponsored by Feeding America and ConAgra. After speaking with the campaign representatives, I decided to record a video to support their efforts. Click here to watch the video.
FYI – Here are several key statistices about child hunger in the United States.
1) More than 1 in 5 children in the U.S. don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
2) More than 16 million children in the U.S. face hunger
3) The face of child hunger is different than you might think. It’s not just starving or homeless children. Often, it’s a one- or two-income family that has suffered from the economy and have depleted their savings.
For more information, visit the web sites below.
PS: Check out the photos of the great swag and information I received from ConAgra and Feeding America at BlissDom below.
It’s been a week since I attended BlissDom 2012 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Since then I have been marinating in the beauty and memories of the amazing conference and community. In the midst of all of this marinating, I was able to:
- ease back into my daily life with insights gained from Jeannette Kaplun’s session on Living (and Embracing) the Best of the Life You Have Created for Yourself (thank you Jeannette for reminding me to choose joy, grace, gratitude, ease, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace!),
- go grocery shopping and pay the monthly bills,
- wash my clothes and watch Young and the Restless, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, and Revenge (yep I am a soap opera lover),
- put my luggage and BlissDom swag away,
- wear some of my BlissDom swag like my Lisa Leonard silver “bliss” necklace,
- drink water out of my BlissDom swag cup from the Croc company,
- re-gift some of the BlissDom swag,
- share conference highlights with family and friends,
- do a mental check-in with myself about my 2012 vision and mission statement as it relates to my personal brand based on the work I did during Tami Heim’s session on Branding You: The Merger Between Their Perception and Your Reality (thanks Tami for preparing me for this amazing work I am called to do this year!),
- review my conference session notes and aha moments in my journal and determine what parts I will include in the last chapter of my upcoming Digital Sisterhood book,
- post my conference photos on Flickr and write a narrative about most of my favorite moments,
- add my photos to the BlissDom photo group on Flickr so others can see them,
- record and tweet four Cinchcast audio blog recaps about some of the conference sessions I attended and things I learned,
- follow and read the #BlissDom & #BlissDom12 Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and blog posts written by my fellow BlissDom digital sisters and brothers,
- watch the opening conference videos from BlissDom 2012 and BlissDom 2011 (these videos really inspire me),
- embrace my visual voice by visiting a new video web site and creating a short video with music (thanks Diane Cu for your amazing conference session on Storytelling and Embracing Imperfection: Empower Your Visual Voice with Photography and Video), and
- write this blog (which is part one of my BlissDom 2012 Conference Recap series).
What fun I have had! And there’s more blog posts with photos and audio blogs to come in the next days and weeks. In the meantime, check out the links to my Flickr photos and audio blog recaps on Cinchcast below. Enjoy!
2) Cinchcast Audio Blog Recap #1 discusses the meaning of BlissDom (includes an acronym I created to explain BlissDom).
5) Cinchcast Audio Blog Recap #4 discusses the takeaways I received from Diane Cu’s session on Storytelling and Embracing Imperfection: Empower Your Visual Voice with Photography and Video.
The #BlissDom12 Conference is two days away. I AM SO EXCITED!!! It’s my first BlissDom experience! I am gonna have big fun meeting new people, seeing old blogging friends, networking with brands, hanging out at the great events, listening to the keynote speakers, and learning a lot about video and photography from some amazing speakers. I am also facilitating a workshop session on “Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart” on February 24 from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm.
PS: I will be signing copies of my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on February 25 at 11:00 am at the Barnes & Nobles booth at BlissDom. If you are in Nashville, drop by. Click here to purchase the book on Amazon.com.