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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.

1 comment on “#BlissDom12 Conference Blog Recap Part 4 – Reflections on My “Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart” Session”

#BlissDom12 Conference Blog Recap Part 4 – Reflections on My “Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart” Session

My BlissDom bag

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.

The Bliss Chicks - Photo Credit: BlissDom Flickr Group Photos

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.

Jon Acuff - Photo Credit: BlissDom Flickr Photo Shoot
Ana Roca Castro & Allie Worthington - Photo Credit: BlissDom Flickr Group
Jeannette Kaplun - Photo Credit: BlissDom Flickr Group

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.

Me speaking at my BlissDom session - Photo Credit: Holli, founder of AWonderingSpirit.blogspot.com

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.

Photo Credit: Smith Magazine

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.

Fierce Living via @digitalsisterhd at #Blissdom – My 6 Word Memoir: blessed, happy, tired, achy, wondering, grateful

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.

SESSION COMMENTS FROM THE TWITTERVERSE:

  Aminah Hanan Aminah Hanan ‏ @AminahHanan – I’m loving this @DigitalSisterhd Fierce Living space @BlissDom. @anandaleeke is bringing it up outta these Sisters. #blissdom
 Britton Edwards Britton Edwards@brittont13 –  Sometimes your creative critic takes over. Use your own internal critic as a guide but don’t let it rule. #Blissdom via @AnandaLeeke


Britton Edwards Britton Edwards ‏ @brittont13 Love that @anandaleeke is helping me define my inner woman #blissdom

Liz Kelsay

Liz Kelsay ‏ @lizkelsay – Love this quote from @digitalsisterhd, “I must come home to myself” #Blissdom

@TheGreatAskini: Right?!? RT @postpartumprogr I’m already in love with @DigitalSisterhd. This session is amazing. #blissdom

 ash ash ‏ @AshleyASmith – I must come home to myself. (thankful for  @digitalsisterhd, which started the unpacking of discovery) #blissdom
Laurie White
Laurie White ‏ @lauriewrites – Six-word memoirs with @digitalsisterhd…surprisingly scary exercise right now, but very good.
katie
 katie ‏ @motherbumperWoah. Totally being challenged by the Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart session with @digitalsisterhd This is awesome. #Blissdom
Mocha Moms, Inc. Mocha Moms, Inc. ‏ @mochamoms – There is healing taking place in this room #Blissdom @digitalsisterhd
Beth Anne
Beth Anne ‏ @heirtoblairThank you to @digitalsisterhd for a lovely writing workshop. #blissdom
Megan Tietz Megan Tietz ‏ @SortaCrunchy – Had no idea I would be crying my make-up off in the Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart session. incredible @digitalsisterhd #blissdom
@KelleHampton Fierce Living from your creative heart by @anandaleeke @digitalsisterhd oh my goodness
  Tina LeAnn Erdmann Tina LeAnn Erdmann ‏ @TinaLeAnnPhotog@DigitalSisterhd Ananda, you changed my life at #Blissdom Thank you for all that you do!
JuliaRoberts1
 JuliaRoberts1 ‏ @Juliaroberts1Loved the session with @digitalsisterhd. Except you know, the CRYING. #BlissDom
Jenna Farelyn
 Jenna Farelyn ‏ @frelle – My friend @DigitalSisterhd gave an AMAZING writing class today. wow. Thank you, Ananda!!

SPECIAL THANKS:

Many thanks to Holli, founder of AWonderingSpirit.blogspot.com a/k/a @thegreataskini on Twitter, for sending me the photo she took during the session.

RESOURCES:

1) Check out my #BlissDom12 Fierce Living from Your Creative Heart Pinterest board for creative writing exercises, videos, and images that can help you tap into the power of fierce living from your creative heart.

2) Visit my Inner Women Pinterest board to learn more about my inner women and to get inspiration on tapping into your inner women or men.

3) Watch a 19 minute video of my Inner Women talk given in January 2011.

4) Learn more about my journey as a creative woman by purchasing my book, That Which Awakens Me on Amazon.com.

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Ananda’s #BlissDom12 Conference Pinterest Treats for BlissDom Attendees: Fierce Living From Your Creative Heart

Ananda's 2012 Creative Heart Mantra Statement

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!
Love's Troubadours by Ananda Leeke

PS: I will be signing copies of my novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One on 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.