#FierceLiving Friday: #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 6 OWNERSHIP


Happy #FierceLiving Friday!

OWNERSHIP is #FierceLivingat50 Lesson 6. Last year, I was blessed to read Discovering Your Soul Signature by Panache Desai. Desai’s book and online offerings (videos and wisdom Facebook quotes) have guided me in my healing work and helped me fully grasp the importance of knowing and loving myself.


Through this process, I am learning to accept and embrace my strengths and weaknesses. The end result is me claiming and expressing ownership of my magnificence each and every day while realizing life is a journey and I’m a divine magnificent being in process. Check out artist Tim Okamura’s painting, Sunrise on U Street (2013). Okamura captured my soul signature in his work.

My photographer Leigh Mosley captured my soul signature during a 2008 photo shoot of my eight archetypes for my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon). Meet my Sapphire archetype below.

How are you claiming and expressing ownership of your life?

What does your soul signature look like?

Photo Credit: PanacheDesai.com, Leigh Mosley – http://www.leighmosley.com, and Tim Okamura

Coming Home to Myself

Ananda at the Artists-in-Residence Retreat sponsored by Smith Center for Healing the Arts in May 2010

This morning I woke up thinking about a collage book that I made during the Artists-in-Residence Retreat sponsored by the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in May 2010.  I remembered I posted photos of the book on my Flickr page.  So I used my smartphone to access the site.  My eyes were drawn to three images with wisdom messages that spoke to my heart.

Photo Credit: Always Open Your Hand to Receive Collage and Photo by Ananda Leeke

Image #1 Wisdom from Yours Truly: Always open your hand to receive.

Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke's collage of author Clarissa Pinkola Estes' wisdom quote

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.”

Photo Credit: Ananda Leeke's collage featuring author Madeleine L'Engle's qisdom quote

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.

Photo Credit: Road Home by Ananda Leeke (2010)

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.

Happy July! Check out my July events

Happy July!

Below is a list of my July events.  Join me for some incredibly fun adventures online and offline! Enjoy your month!

1) Tune into Sisterhood the Blog Radio’s Women in Social Media series for Ananda’s interviews with digital divas. See schedule below.

-July 5 @9pm EST – Women who attended Blogging While Brown conference on June 18 and 19 in DC
-July 6 @8pm EST – Najeema Thompson
-July 8 @8pm EST – Amanda Jones
-July 12 @8pm EST – Shon Bacon
-July 20 @8pm EST – Michele McGraw
-July 26 @8pm EST – Devra Renner
-July 29 @8pm EST – April Davis

Click here to join the conversation: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015.

2) Spend an afternoon with Ananda at a book reading for her new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery on July 10 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Flow Yoga Center (Shakti Studio Room), 1450 P Street, NW, Washington, DC (located several blocks from Dupont Circle subway station). Click on the link to register for the event at Flow Yoga Center: http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=736&stype;=-8&sView;=week&sTrn;=100000122.

3) Join Ananda for kind and gentle yoga in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park in DC on July 11 from 9:00 am to 9:30 am. Click on link for more details:  http://yoga.meetup.com/584.

4) Watch Ananda’s kg yoga life practices class on Mom TV on July 21 at 8:00 pm EST. Click on the link to watch the show: http://www.momtv.com/kgyogalife.html.

5) Listen to Ananda host Sisterhood the Blog Radio’s July 31st episode at 1:00 pm EST featuring a discussion with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. members about their use of social media during Boule 2010 (national convention) held from July 14 to July 22 in Palm Springs, California.  FYI – Ananda is a member of Sigma!  The show will also include a discussion on how Ananda’s Sigma sorority sisters use social media in their businesses. www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015.

What makes you feel beautiful? August Issue of Real Simple Magazine



Writer Winifred Gallagher


Writer Asha Bandele


Happy Tuesday!

On Friday afternoon, I escaped from D.C. and traveled to Annapolis.  Why?  Plage de tempsPlage de temps is a French word that means beach time.  Beach time in my world means chilling out and chill-axing.  I had a great weekend hanging out with parents, practicing yoga outside (OM yummy!), eating seafood, playing on the beach, making a beach webisode of Ananda Leeke TV (www.youtube.com/anandaleeke– will post the webisode soon), and reading the August issue of Real Simple (www.realsimple.com).  My favorite article in the August issue was “What makes me feel beautiful.”  It featured essays by several women writers.  Two writers really touched my heart with their words:  Winifred Gallagher, author of Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life and Asha Bandele, author of Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother’s Story, Daughter, and Prisoner’s Wife (one of my favorites).  Winifred was a new discovery for me.  Asha has been one of my favorite writers for several years. Her books and essays really move me.  She always speaks to my soul, mind, and heart!

Below are excertps from the essays written by Winifred and Asha. Winifred wrote about how being active every day makes her feel beautiful. Asha wrote about how writing makes her feel beautiful. They are my favorites!

Winifred – “That exercise makes me feel beautiful, struck me around age 40, right after I had taken a quick run… The way to stay lively is to stay active.”

Asha – “Writing requires us to take the world on more slowly, to notice its harshness as well as its richness.  Writing reduces the chaos in my mind.  As the gospel song says, it orders my steps and makes me feel in control of myself and therefore appreciative of the world.”

To learn more about Winifred and her books, visit www.harpercollins.com/authors/3432/Winifred_Gallagher/index.aspx. Click here to learn more about Asha and her books: http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Asha-Bandele.  She is on Facebook too:  http://www.facebook.com/asha.bandele

After I read these women’s words, I sat on my parents’ deck and finished eating a healthy green salad for dinner.  In between bites, I paused and thought about what makes me feel beautiful.  A list emerged in my mind.  Here’s most of what I thought about.

  •  When I practice yoga, I feel beautiful.
  • When I meditate, chant with my mala beads, and give myself Reiki healing touch, I feel beautiful.
  • When I play on the beach, I feel beautiful.
  • When I drink green tea and eat oatmeal with raisins and honey in the morning, I feel beautiful.
  • When I work as an artist-in-residence for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts, I feel beautiful.
  • When I run my mile down 16th Street, I feel beautiful.
  • When I write notes and cards to family and friends, I feel beautiful.
  • When I wrap myself in my blankets and comfy sheets, I feel beautiful.
  • When I wear the colors pink, purple, orange, yellow, and red, I feel beautiful.
  • When I read books out loud, I feel beautiful.
  • When I have dates with handsome, witty, attentive, well-read, mature, and charming men at Rice, Love Café, Busboys and Poets, Utopia, and 24/7 Café in my neighborhood, I feel beautiful.
  • When I connect with family and friends through conversation, I feel beautiful.
  • When I color, paint, draw, and create wire sculpture, I feel beautiful.
  • When I get caught in a summer rainfall, I feel beautiful.
  • When someone special says my name “Ananda,” I feel beautiful.
  • When I kiss a man I like on the first date, I feel beautiful.
  • When I dance, I feel beautiful.
  • When I get in bed before 10:30 p.m., I feel beautiful.
  • When I walk or sit in Malcolm X-Meridian Hill Park, I feel beautiful.
  • When I host radio shows, I feel beautiful.
  • When I meditate with my People of Color sangha, I feel beautiful.
  • When I sit in All Souls Unitarian Church and worship with my spiritual community, I feel beautiful.
  • When I shop for healthy organic food at Yes! Organic Market in my neighborhood, I feel beautiful.
  • When I put on my MAC lipstick with Burt Bees lipgloss, I feel beautiful.
  • When I listen to my voice on Talkshoe.com radio shows, I feel beautiful.
  • When I touch flowers and trees, I feel beautiful.
  • When I cry after watching a good film, YouTube video, or television show, I feel beautiful.
  • When I walk home after getting a massage, pedicure, and manicure, I feel beautiful.
  • When I travel and fly on airplanes, I feel beautiful
  • When I write poetry, blogs, essays, emails, and books, I feel beautiful.
  • When I teach someone how to use yoga, Reiki healing touch, social media, and creativity to expand their vision of their life and work, I feel beautiful.
  • When I listen to music by Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, Eric Roberson, Maxwell, Julie Dexter, Pat Metheney, Fertile Ground, Deva Premal, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Sista Shree, Donny Hathaway, and Dwele, I feel beautiful.
  • When I hug folks, I feel beautiful.
  • When I greet people on the street with a big smile and hello, I feel beautiful.

 What makes you feel beautiful? Please share your list in the comment section.

 Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, and Beauty,


Wreck This Journal – Week 4 Update


Hi All,

Last Friday marked week four for my Next Chapter Book Blogging Group. We are having a grand time with the book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.  Click here to see what my creative sistaloves are doing:   http://tnc-wreckthisjournal.blogspot.com/2009/06/wreck-this-journal-week-4.html.



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,