Last week was filled with Georgia peach sweet adventures during my trip to Spelman College’s Leadership and Women of Color Conference, a professional development opportunity for women aspiring to be leaders as well as those who are in leadership positions. The conference theme was “Leading with Purpose.” It was organized under the leadership of Dr. Jane E. Smith, Executive Director, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement at Spelman. Click here to learn more about the conference.
My favorite moments from the conference included:
Hearing Dr. Beverly Tatum speak about composite mentoring during the conference opening.
Interviewing Tiffani Gatlin, founder of Tastemaker Magazine on day one of the conference. Click here to listen to the interview.
Hearing Dr. Tatum talk about H.O.P.E. = Having Optimism Produces Effort. Timeless wisdom!
Chatting with Dr. Nicole LaBeach and purchasing her book, A Woman’s True Purpose at the Book Fair (getting the Choose Yourself t-shirt too!).
Meeting people like Nicole Roberts Jones, CEO of iDEFINE, during the Legacy of Leadership Awards Dinner.
Listening to the empowering words of the Legacy of Leadership awardees Shinae Chun, Former Director, Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor; Evelyn Lowery, Founder, SCLC W.O.M.E.N.; Monica Pearson, News Anchor, WSB-TV, Channel 2; and Vivian Stringer, Women’s Basketball Coach, Rutgers University.
Chatting one-on-one with Vivian Stringer about social media after the Legacy of Leadership Awards Dinner.
Having breakfast with my new digital sister Lynn Shareef, a proud Spelman alumna.
Learning from Dr. Kym Harris, President & CEO, Your SweetSpot Coaching & Consulting, during the Coaching Breakfast.
Being inspired by the Testimonies from the Field session featuring Kathleen McGhee-Anderson (Spelman Alumna), Writer/Producer, TV/Film/Theater; Alisha Thomas Morgan, Georgia State Representative (Spelman Alumna); Tisha Tallman, President & CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Jue Wong, CEO, Astral Health & Beauty, Inc.
Attending a leadership development workshop facilitated by Tai Beauchamp, CEO/On-Air Host, BluePrint Group, LLC.
Meeting Dr. Tatum, Dr. Jane E. Smith, and Patricia Cesaire, Director of Social Media at Black Enterprise.
Seeing the Faith Ringgold exhibit at the Spelman Museum of Fine Art during one of the breaks. AWESOME! Ms. Ringgold is one of my favorite artists. Love her memoir too!
Hanging out with some of my favorite social media peeps: Lauren Brown Jarvis (Spelman student), Lauren Thomas, and James and Sherrelle Andrews.
Sharing my experiences and lessons learned as a blogger and the Digital Sisterhood Network founder during the Social Media Panel.
Spending time with the awesome Spelman Media team: Tomika DePriest, Terrilyn Simmons, Joyce Davis, and Kia Smith
Meeting my new NYC sistalove Theresa at the end of the conference and chatting about our favorite moments.
On day two of the conference, I served as a panelist for the Social Media Panel – Purposeful Posts: How Social Media Can Shape Your Leadership Brand. Click here to learn more about the panel discussion. Journalist Roland Martin moderated the panel. Patricia Cesaire, Director of Social Media at Black Enterprise, and James Andrews, Founder of SocialPeople.TV, served as panelists. During the panel discussion, I shared my experiences as a blogger and the Digital Sisterhood Network founder, insights on taking care of yourself online with a digital diet, tips on how to use social media tools, and the power of women online.
Check out several tweets about my comments below.
#anandaleeke it’s about the quality of the social media conversation
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!
Check out the six-word memoir that Katherine Malone, founder of Buckhead Betty … on a Budget blog, wrote: Energized, ready for a new adventure. Click here to read her BlissDom blog recap.
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.
I am using them to prepare short and medium size talks based on excerpts from my new poetic memoir That Which Awakens Me. I am also going to create a PowerPoint presentation that will be posted on SlideShare in a week or two. More good stuff is coming!!!!
Have a great week!
Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for speaking ideas,