My digital diet for the week of April 9 helped me be more mindful about my time. I was able to write, rest, practice yoga/Reiki/meditation, go to the gym, take care of home and personal finance responsibilities, attend an art exhibition opening at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, participate in the monthly artists-in-residence meeting held at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, create collages with patients and staff at the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center, and read chapters from Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection during my morning commute with greater ease. I noticed my creative juices were flowing much better. The best part of the week was not carrying my smartphone with me most days.
My biggest challenge was going online in the evenings to check my email and other social media accounts. On some days, I spent more time than I originally budgeted. So I am working this week on sticking to my plan.
My greatest lesson learned was that when I write my Digital Sisterhood book chapter drafts on paper instead of my lap top I am less likely to go online in the evening.
Last month I started making a weekly collage to nurture my creativity journey. These collages help me stay on track with my commitment to expressing my visual voice. Many of them serve as visual affirmations that I use to support my fierce living commitment to self-care, fitness, unplugging, and completing my Digital Sisterhood book. I included two collages above from my April collection. What do you think?
How are you nurturing your creativity?
Are you making collages or artwork? If yes, share links in the comment section.
Happy Friday! Happy Good Friday! Happy Early Easter!
How is your day going? I hope it is treating you well. Mine started with a confession and a double dose of positive inspiration for my writer’s soul.
Here’s my confession: when I write books, especially memoirs, I have an opportunity to really explore some deep parts of myself. Sometimes the writing journey can get emotionally draining, scary, and overwhelming. When that happens, I look for positive inspiration. Today I reminded myself to slow down, breathe, and look for some positive inspiration. Guess what? I found two great sources.
Artist Kelly Rae Roberts’ April 5th blog post was the first source of inspiration. Roberts’ post about the benefits and pitfalls of an online life reminded me I need to continue taking great care of myself by setting more boundaries on my online life. In short, it’s time for me to revisit my online boundaries, establish a new schedule for going online, and have a more consistent practice of daily and weekly UNPLUGGING (my digital sister and friend Danica Kombol calls it a digital diet).
My second source of positive inspiration came from a YouTube video featuring storyteller/researcher Brene Brown’s TEDx Houston Talk on the power of vulnerability. Click here to watch the video. What a game changer! It’s making me dig deeper into my Digital Sisterhood book writing journey. I’m so grateful for Brown’s talk, the power of connection, and the belief and acceptance that I am enough as a spiritual being having a human experience as a woman, friend, daughter, sister, author, artist, coach, yoga teacher, innerpreneur, speaker etc. etc.
So what positive inspiration have you discovered lately?
How do you keep yourself inspired?
Any plans to unplug, set boundaries on your digital life, go on a digital diet (check out Daniel Sielberg’s TheDigital Diet— great tips), or take a digital sabbatical (similar to the one Gwen Bell talks about in her book Digital Warriorship – fantastic book I read in 2011 — had a chance to participate in Bell’s BlogHer 2011 workshop — awesome experience)?
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.
Teaism is an Asian-inspired teahouse that infuses the cultures of tea and the ideals of teaism with the informality and casualness of America. It offers Bento boxes from Japan, curries from Thailand, and tandoor breads from India. The group will meet on the lower level. Click on the link for the menu: http://www.teaism.com/Restaurant/PennQuarterMenu7.html.
Tonight I am interviewing Kamy Wicoff, one of the fabulous women I met at the BlogHer 2009 Conference (www.blogher.com), at 8:00 p.m. on Sisterhood, the Blog Radio. Kamy is an amazing author and founder of SheWrites.com (www.shewrites.com), a social networking site for women readers and writers. My interview will focus on the reasons Kamy launched SheWrites.com and lessons she learned from the BlogHer 2009 Conference. Click here to listen to the show: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/42015. If you miss the live show, don’t panic. You can download a recording and listen to it when you have time. That’s why you gotta love Internet radio!
If you want to know more about SheWrites.com, click on the links below.
On Friday afternoon, I escaped from D.C. and traveled to Annapolis. Why? Plage de temps. Plage 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.”
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.
Me and my best brothalove friend/book editor extraordinaire Wayne P. Henry
Tune into the very first episode of my new creative baby — The Ananda Leeke Show (http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820) on June 30 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Wayne P. Henry, my best brothalove friend and book editor extraordinaire, will join me for a discussion about my insights on writing my books, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoirof Self-Discovery (Summer 2009 – iUniverse, Inc.) and Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (August 2007 – iUniverse, Inc. – www.lovestroubadours.com). Our conversation will explore the hardest and greatest moments in my writing process, 7 lessons I will never forget, and the main reason I choose to write books. Click here to listen to the show: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820. If you miss the live recording, don’t panic. You can download a recording to your computer or iPod after the show has aired.
More information about Wayne… He is a writer and contributor to the book How We Love – Letters to the Next Generation edited by Karyn Langhorne Folan, Wendy Coakley-Thompson, and Tanara E. Bowie. How We Love is a collection of letters and lessons published by the Capital Bookfest in 2008.
Click here to watch a YouTube video (2 minutes, 10 seconds) that features me explaining how I prepare to write: www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1v0nMObacY. The video was filmed during the question and answer session of a book launch party for my novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com) on November 18, 2007, at Mocha Hut Cafe in Washington, DC.
Yesterday I posted a collage with a poem made from magazine clippings. Some folks have asked for a typed version of the poem. See below. Please share it with others. Consider making one of your own. If you do, feel free to post it in the comments section below.
Thanks for stopping by.
Peace and Creativity,
Just for Women Manifesto by Ananda Leeke (based on collage)
Narrative: Memories. In Your Own Words, a six-word memoir
collage by Ananda Leeke
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
Two weeks ago my life coach Yael gave me several homework assignments. One assignment involved me mapping my goals, priorities, and to do list activities. Yael said this assignment would give me a picture of what I am doing in my life. I call itThe Business of Being Ananda Leeke. Yes it is a business being me! And it is a business building and maintaining the Ananda Leeke brand!
This morning I got up early again with more energy. I made some peppermint tea to keep me company as I sat at my kitchen table journaling about about my goals, priorities, and to do list activities for July, August, September, October, November, and December. Several key phrases emerged from my journaling:
“More words … blah … blah … more thinking … more work” is what I thought when I reviewed my writing. So I put my pen down and walked over to my yoga mat. After doing a few restorative poses, I moved into my ten sun salutations. When I finished, I sat on my meditation cushion and did several rounds of alternate nostril breathing. That really opened my heart. I took it a step further and grabbed my mala beads for a mantra chanting session that ended with several quiet OMs.
After my morning yoga, I returned to my kitchen for breakfast. While eating my oatmeal, I realized that The Business of Being Ananda Leeke deserves a strategy-driven approach that incorporates my heart and mind. There must be balance between the two. A Yin and Yang approach to be-ing me.
Stay tuned for more updates on The Business of Being Ananda Leeke!
Peace and Creativity,
PS: Be sure to tune into the first episode of The Ananda Leeke Show, an online radio program that celebrates creativity in everyday life, on June 30 at 8pm EST on Talkshoe.com. I will discuss my insights on writing my new book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoirof Self-Discovery(Summer 2009 Release – iUniverse, Inc.). Click here to listen to the show: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/15820. If you miss it, you can listen to a recording several minutes after the show airs. You can also download the show to your computer or iPod via iTunes.