The women I meet online are some of the most brilliant, creative, entrepreneurial, and generous people in the universe. Alli Worthington is one of these women. Alli is the founder of Blissfully Domestic, a women’s e-zine, that helped spark the creativity she used to launch and co-found BlissDom and BlissDom Canada with Barbara Jones, CEO/Founder of Blissful Media Group and One2One Network in 2008. She is also a business consultant, coach, speaker, and strategist who has worked with and advised Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, from tech companies to your favorite household brands.
I first discovered her online presence and BlissDom during a conversation I had with women bloggers at the BlogHer conference in 2009. After the conference, I started following her on Twitter and reading about BlissDom. Her tweets introduced me to her brilliance, community building efforts, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and generosity. She quickly became one of my digital sister diva sheroes.
I met Alli in person while attending and speaking at the BlissDom 2012 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Her positive energy and spirit were the first things I noticed and felt. She was in fact blissful from the inside out. Her commitment to sharing the best ideas, information, and inspiration with the BlissDom community was readily apparent.
Recently, Alli relaunched her web site AlliWorthington.com and changed the focus of her business so that it helps individuals realize they have what it takes to build their own business. Through her web site, she is offering several resources (see below).
My Digital Sisterhood book writing journey continues to amaze me. It just gave birth to a new passion and calling called the Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project. What a magical and messy creative process I have! Hold tight for more details on the project! I wanna give you the backstory first.
In an effort to maintain balance and stay on track with my writing, I have decided to pause today since it’s Digital Sisterhood Wednesday and share what’s been happening. Read on … For the past four months my writing journey has invited me to witness and take notes about the powerful ways social media women practice leadership. I had many lightbulb moments about women’s leadership during the BlissDom 2012 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in February. My BlissDom experience exposed me to a leadership model called “Community Leaders.” The BlissDom founders Alli Worthington and Barbara Jones along with their team created the Community Leaders model so that seasoned bloggers could use their extensive experience to facilitate hands-on, small-group discussions during each session. The Community Leaders also:
Helped new bloggers and first-time conference attendees navigate the BlissDom experience.
Offered inspiration and encouragement.
Shared their blogging wisdom, best practices, and tips.
Engaged in one-on-one conversations that offered listening ears and brainstorming moments.
Gave hugs (especially during my Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart workshop).
The role they played was PRICELESS. I call it Digital Sisterhood Leadership, my newfound passion that I will pursue fully in 2013. I say “pursue fully in 2013” because I am mindful of my need to set boundaries as I take time this year to complete my book.
So what’s next? Drum roll please!!!!
May is going to be an exciting month for the Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN). Click here to learn why. The link will direct you to my audio blog update about the new DSN initiative, the Digital Sisterhood Leadership Project. It will have a soft launch in May that includes #DSLead Twitter chats on May 2, 9, 23, and 30 from 9:00 pm ET to 10:00 pm ET. For more details, visit the DSN web site later today.
Guess what’s else is happening?
The DSN web site will feature a series of interviews with Digital Sisterhood Leaders in May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Look for a mini celebration during Digital Sisterhood Month in December. The mega launch will be held in January 2013!
So what do you think about my new passion and calling?
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!
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.
During the BlissDom 2012 conference, I had a chance to spend time with Tawanna Smith (a/k/a @WorldTravelMom on Twitter), founder of MomsGuideToTravel.com. We talked a lot about what it means to tap into the power of fierce living from your creative heart (the topic of my February 24th conference session), writing, intentions, and setting boundaries when completing goals. She and Lucrecer Braxton, founder of Art Slam, also stopped by my BlissDom book signing and purchased a copy of my memoir, That Which Awakens Me. We had a great time discussing creativity. After I signed Tawanna’s book, she invited me to do an interview on her Spreecast video show.Now that’s Digital Sisterhood in real time!
FYI: Tawanna will be interviewing me about “Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart” (includes a discussion about my book, That Which Awakens Me) on March 12 at 8:30 pm ET. Click here to watch the live interview. If you miss it, you will be able to watch the recording.
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.
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),
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,
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!
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.
Happy to be going to BLISSDOM
In preparation for the session, I created a Pinterest board with 40 different pins that include photos, images, videos, and links to creative inspiration and information that I hope will encourage my workshop attendees to open their hearts and embrace fierce living. Each pin includes a question that invites reflection and comments. To learn more about what’s on my #BlissDom12 Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart Pinterest Board, click here to listen to my Cinchcast audio blog. Feel free to check out my board and leave a comment. If you are unable to attend my session and/or #BlissDom12, you can still use my Pinterest board as a source of inspiration in your creative life Enjoy!
PS: I will be signing copies of my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book Oneon 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.
It’s hard to believe that it’s already day 13 of the new year. How has 2012 been so far?
I’ve been taking my southern sweet time to arrive in this new year. It is what I call my “Fierce Living” approach. I love that phrase! That’s why I adopted it as my personal life theme and the 2012 theme for the Digital Sisterhood Network.
So what is Fierce Living all about? I define it as,
“the mindful practice of unplugging, understanding, and unifying who I am online and offline from the inside out so I am able to express myself fully in my healthy living journey, Digital Sisterhood book writing, art, and work as a coach, digital media producer, yoga teacher, and innerpreneur.”
This definition has been a regular topic of discussion in my “Follow My Heart” journal. My journal entries have explored the various colors, scents, yoga poses, travel adventures, physical exercises, magazines, music, movies, books, beverages, teas, foods, sheroes, jewelry, shoes, boots, and clothing that inspire Fierce Living.
I also created a six-word memoir: Dream. Imagine. Create. Inspire. Express Peace. These words are my 2012 Fierce Living mantras. Click here to listen to a short audio blog about what Fierce Living means to me in 2012.
Have you joined the Pinterest revolution of digital vision boards? I am happy to admit that I did. I created a Pinterest board with images and statements that remind me to practice Fierce Living in 2012 and beyond. Click here to check it out.
My journal entries have also explored what Fierce Living looks like in my digital life: the time I spend online, the content I post, the comments I make on social media sites, the email and blog subscriptions I maintain, the words I use to describe myself, the photos I use to represent myself, the blog templates I use to express my thoughts, the businesses I patronize, and the causes I support. After writing in my journal, my life began to manifest some of my thoughts.
So here’s what happened during the first 12 days of the new year. I unplugged from the web on most days and got a lot of sleep. I also practiced yoga, meditation, mantra chanting with my mala beads, and Reiki daily. My MINT Gym membership was used regularly. I gave the TRX training equipment and bike a serious workout. The medicine balls and mats were great for all of my planks, sit ups, crunches, boat poses, side planks, and forearm planks.
I went crazy reading my fashion, health, yoga, poetry, and tech magazines at healthy cafes like Sweet Green and Teaism. I discovered a hot chocolate made with rice milk at Teaism. Delish! It protects me from soy and dairy allergies! Cosi, Starbucks, and Love Cafe were the hot spots for my journal writing. Love the tomato basil soup at Love Cafe!
Long walks home from the subway in the evening helped me practice mindfulness as I noticed the different changes in my neighborhood. Thanks to my friend Gustavo, the owner of Habitat Live & Wear on U Street, I started having my own personal dance parties with new music from Spain. Gustavo gave me two great CDs! Love them!
The January shopping goddess helped me score a pair of Nine West black patent leather wedge boots and a smokey quartz ring from Habitat that I have been stalking since early fall. What bargains!
By the way, I am deep into the meaning and power of gemstones. My new smokey quartz ring has some powerful energy. Did you know smokey quartz is nature’s stone of endurance? It promotes personal pride and joie de vivre (joy in living), creativity in business, and opens the path for perception and learning. It is also a protection stone that cleanses and clears negative energy. I like that it facilitates your ability to get things done in the practical world and enhances organizational skills in the workplace or home office. I definitely need all of these things as I move into my Fierce Living 2012!
I watched Young & the Restless, PAN AM, The Practice, and Grey’s Anatomy online as I organized my shoe and boot collection with Real Simple organizers, folded clothes, and decluttered my closet.
I took some time to launch my digital streamlining project for my WordPress and Tumblr blogs (still works in process … web sites will be added later this year). That led me to select new photos for my online presence, edit and repost my bio, and reduce the amount of email I receive.
I even found a few moments to submit two speaking proposals for BlogHer 2012. That process did not take long. I used old proposals and added a few new lines. I call it Fierce Living Recycled.
As a result of this Fierce Living, I received three HUGE blessings.
A fresh, open mind that led me to begin writing a chapter of my Digital Sisterhood book (which will be published later this year).
A better understanding and practice of boundaries to ensure I have creative time to write, time to play, and time to rest.
A renewed sense of joie de vivre (joy in living).
Now that’s Fierce Living for me! What is Fierce Living to you?
What are your Fierce Living (FL) 2012 colors, scents, foods, yoga poses, clothing, shoes, boots, jewelry, and music?
Orange is my FL color. Pink, purple, red, yellow, blue, and black are second runners up! Almond oil is my FL scent. Sweet potatoes and beets are my FL food. The forward fold and warrior one are my FL yoga pose. My fuchsia coat from Violet Boutique is my FL clothing. My black and pink Saucony jogging shoes are my FL shoes. My Nine West black patent leather boots are my FL boots. My smokey quartz ring is my FL jewelry. Eric Roberson’s Mr Nice Guy CD is my FL music.
Who are your Fierce Living sheroes?
My mother Theresa and Oprah are two of my FL sheroes.
Well, that’s enough FL for a Friday! Enjoy your weekend and 2012!