January 2018 is almost over. How is it treating you? How are you treating it? When is the last time you slowed down and breathed deeply? How often are you present and aware of what’s truly happening? Need more mindful moments in your life?
I’d like to you invite you to explore how mindfulness can support you in your daily living, creativity, and career with the podcast resources below.
1) Mini Mindfulness Toolkit (43.40 minutes): Includes a reflection on the meaning of mindfulness, a tune-in (pre-meditation check-in with breathing exercises), a guided meditation, and journaling exercises
2) Be Present (16.31 minutes): Includes a body scan to help you relax and come into the present moment
In 2017, I attended the Women’s March with my Sigma Gamma Rho Soror Karla Ray Thompson and Unity sistafriend Kim Davis in Washington, DC. It reminded me of the experiences I had while attending the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, Million Woman’s March in Philadelphia in 1997, and the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC in 2004.
Did you participate in the 2017 and 2018 Women’s March events? Are you involved in social justice and human rights in your local community, city, state, or country?
Your social justice and human rights’ work is important. The time you invest to support equality, fairness, and justice is appreciated. I have one question for you: how are you taking care of yourself as you do the work?
If you need tips and tools on how to practice self-care with mindfulness in your social justice and human rights work, listen to the #ThrivingMindfully Podcast. It includes three mindfulness exercises: a tune in (check-in), a meditation, and journaling. May they support you in your self-care practice!
Image #1 Wisdom from Yours Truly: Always open your hand to receive.
Image #2 Wisdom from poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes: “In the face of ‘too much’ we gradually become dry, our hearts get tired, our energies become spare, and a mysterious longing for – we almost never have a name for it other than ‘a something’ rises up in us more and more.”
Image #3 Wisdom from author Madeleine L’Engle: “Every so often I need OUT.”
These messages represented a Spring wake up call: Continue practicing awareness of what I need. They also invited me to return to the first page of my 2012 journal. Here’s what I wrote on January 1.
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. What road must I take? When I start walking along the road, how do I come home to myself? Through fierce living from your creative heart. What’s that?
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
This acronym of fierce living from my creative heart has become my personal theme for 2012 and a reminder of what I need to do to come home to myself.
Coming home to myself has allowed me to spend time reconnecting 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.
Since January, we have reconnected 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 my closet. This investment of time has helped me deeply listen to myself. So far, I have discovered that I need to do a better job of taking care of myself. I need to practice self-compassion. I need more ME time to just be, to rest, to daydream, to imagine, and to create. I need to set better boundaries with my time, energy, resource sharing, and relationships. I also need to say NO to certain people and requests so I can have space to say YES to the people and things that nourish my creative heart. Today, I discovered coming home to myself is a daily necessity and an essential part of my life journey.
Copyright 2012 by Madelyn C. Leeke. All Rights Reserved.
This morning I woke up feeling very anxious about a series of changes I am experiencing. These changes are transforming the landscape of what my current life looks like. They are pushing me out of the cocoon of a ten-year comfort zone. Sometimes they scare me. They show me my fears. They make me revisit old wounds. I don’t like them, but they don’t care. They are happening and will continue to happen. How do I want to respond? That’s the question I asked myself over and over again before I got out of bed and headed to the yoga mat. As I came into child’s pose, I asked Creator for guidance and help. The music of Jai Uttal kept me company. It seeped into my throat and before long I found myself chanting Sita Ram over and over again. The chanting helped ease some of my anxious feelings. Feeling more grounded, I began doing a series of 10 sun salutations. At the end, I sat down on my mat and did several rounds of alternate nostril breathing before chanting Sita Ram with my mala beads 108 times.
When my morning practice was over, I headed back to my bedroom to grab my Wreck This Journal book. Me and the book walked into the kitchen and sat down at a table filled with magic markers, scissors, gluesticks, and magazine clippings. I noticed a quote by Dante and decided to paste it on the cover of the book: “Follow your own path and let people talk.” I wondered what is my path in the midst of change? Four wisdom phrases emerged:
1) Keep your heart open.
2) Surrender and do not resist.
3) Embrace and enjoy the destruction and release of your old life as an opportunity to actively witness and participate in the transformation process.
4) Give thanks and be grateful for all changes even the ones that make you panic, scare you into old wounds, and cause you to feel doubts and fears.
Enjoy your week!
Peace, Surrender, Change, Release, Transformation, and Creativity,
This morning I woke up with a lot of energy. So I made several collages for my Sisterhood, the Blog site and a summer wisdom collage. The wisdom messages that selected me (that’s right … they selected me) were exactly what I needed. Check them out below. Do you have any summer wisdom?
Peace and Creativity,
Summer Wisdom collage by Ananda Leeke
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke.
My Summer Wisdom Messages:
1) What I know for sure … love your body!!!!
2) Better health means more energy to do things you want to do.
3) She’s got the power.
4) Change, in all shapes and sizes, can definitely bring out our deepest fears–but it also offers us vital new encounters with the bountiful magic of life.
On Sunday, June 7, I participated in Jamie Ridler’s Full Strawberry Moon Dreamboards event. To learn more about Jamie and her full moon events, visit http://starshyneproductions.blogspot.com/2009/06/full-strawberry-moon-dreamboards-june-7.html. I ended up making five collages that reflect my intention and commitment to live a juicy sweet, tranquil, and joyful life this summer. I labeled them Honey Oshun Mooon Collages. See below. I was inspired by the West African Yoruba goddess Oshun, a love goddess who governs creativity, sweetness, honey, femininity, sensuality, joy, abundance, the arts, dance, sweet rivers, motherhood, jewelry, and healing. She is one of my patron goddesses.
Do you have a favorite goddess? If yes, who is she?
Enjoy your day!
Honey Oshun Moon Collage Series
This collage is called “Aspire.Learn.Love.Create.Evolve.” It honors my yoga practice and use of ayurveda. It reminds me to maintain a daily practice of honoring my body temple. I included two pictures of myself. One shows me sitting in the easy yoga pose. The other shows me smiling. I also included a photo of Ganesh, the Hindu god of overcoming obstacles. I took it at Shakti Mind Body Studio (owned by my yoga teacher Faith Hunter – www.shaktimindbodystudio.com and www.faithhunter.comin DC). There are several clippings of a tea pot with herbs, meditation sculpture, and the phrases – your practice will bloom, yoga, om ayurveda, and aspire-learn-love-create-evolve. A quote by Joanna Macy is included: “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.”
This collage is called “Tranquil.” It reminds me to practice extreme self-care (a phrase coined by life coach and author Cheryl Richardson). I included a picture of me smiling and clippings with the lunar phases of the moon, a woman relaxing, and fireworks. There is an affirmation at the bottom which reads, “love your life.” A quote from Audre Lorde is featured: “and look mother I am a dark temple where your true spirit rises beautiful and tough like a chestnut.” I also pasted in a message about inspiration: “Stay inspired! Your soul goal – to acknowledge all your successes, not only those measured in pounds and inches; Your soul payoff – Increased determination and a renewed sense of Yes-I’m-amazing! confidence.”
The name of this collage is “Serving America with My Gifts.” It reminds me to use my gift of optimism to create positive change in the world like President Obama is doing. The collage also contains two pictures of me. One shows me posing in the warrior yoga pose. There are several clippings with messages: 1) optimism rules, 2) give optimism, and 3) the world is a magical place. A quote by poet Lucille Clifton is included: “may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear.
The name of this collage is “Vive La Vie” (live life). It reminds me to live my life fully without limitations and with joy and fun. The collage contains 2 magazine clippings featuring a man and a woman enjoying time together. It also has a butterfly with flowers, a clipping of American playwright Lorraine Hansberry (one of my favorite creative folks and inspiration for my novel and poetic memoir), a clipping of a woman as she relaxes, and picture of me. There is also a quote which says, “Women who have an abundance of joy are those who make a priority of finding pockets of it within their own lives.”
The name of this collage is “Quintessentially Free.” It reminds me to live freely as a golden girl who loves butterflies, tunics, flat sandals, fashion, style, polka dots, and yoga clothing. It contains a picture of me along with a quote that says, “You already know it: Money can’t buy joy, so instead of spending your earnings, spend time on things that really do delight you.”