Let’s SOAR Together in 2021!

Welcome to 2021 Groovy People! 

Are you ready for a new year? Have you set an intention?

Before I begin each new year, I take time to come home to myself with a personal retreat. During the retreat, I open myself up with mindful self-care practices including meditation, prayer, chanting, gentle yoga, reiki, and tapping. These practices ground me and prepare me for deep reflection. I use mindful journaling to review and reflect on the person I became, how I showed up in my life and career, the lessons I learned, the blessings I received, and the actions I took and people that need releasing and forgiving. Once I am able to pour my emotions and thoughts on paper, I am able to take in the growth and barriers that got in the way. From this place, I am able to set an intention, map out goals, identify accountability partners who will support my goals, and create a self-celebration plan that will help me honor my small, medium, and big wins.

For the past three weeks, I have led several Come Home to Yourself Retreats. During each retreat, I have supported a phenomenal group of people as they reflected on their 2020 lessons and blessings, released and forgiven themselves and others, set intentions, mapped out goals and action steps, identified accountability partners, and developed a self-celebration plan they can use to honor their small, medium, and big wins. 

During one of the retreats, I chose the word SOAR as my 2021intention. SOAR is an acronym that outlines my intention to:

S: SHOW up and show out fully as the REAL ME in 2021

O: OWN all of ME in 2021 – the good, in-between, and not so good

A: I am ABUNDANT!

R: I REST daily!

Do you want to SOAR with me in 2021?

Take one step towards soaring with my Come Home to Yourself Retreat on January 10th at 2-4:30 PM ET. The virtual retreat will help you wrap up 2020 and start 2021 with more intention, ease, and gratitude. REGISTER HERE.

Need more help navigating 2021? Looking for one-on-one coaching support, a virtual trainer for your organization or a speaker for next virtual event?

Check out the services I offer through Ananda Leeke Consulting and the Thriving Mindfully Academy.

Contact me to set up a complimentary 20-minute consultation call via Google Meet, Zoom or the phone: ananda@anandaleeke.com.

Looking for easy ways to practice mindful self-care in 2021?

Check out the resources below.

  1. Slow down and listen to the new Thriving Mindfully playlist on YouTube. Allow the music to inspire and energize you. Open your heart and get ready to move your body with the special music here.

2. Take the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s self-hug challenge. Go here to learn the benefits of a self-hug and how you can get started with the self-hug challenge.

3. Check out over 100 episodes of the Thriving Mindfully Podcast here.

4. Visit the Thriving Mindfully Academy for mindfulness, self-care, and wellness resources here.

5. Connect with like-minded folks who enjoy sharing information about mindfulness, self-care, and wellness in the A Mindful Cup of Tea Facebook page here.

6. Join me for the weekly Mindful Monday Meditation virtual class at 7-7:30 PM ET via Zoom. Register here.

7. Go here to learn about and purchase my three mindfulness books: Love’s Troubadours, a yoga-inspired novel; That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir; and Digital Sisterhood, a mindful technology memoir.

Wellness Wednesday Treat: Opt Into Self-Care with Me on Black Doctor’s Facebook Live Tonight at 6 PM ET

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Tonight, head over to Black Doctor’s Facebook Live at 6 p.m. ET for The Doctor Is In conversation on opting into self-care for 2021. I am talking with Dr. Monique Gary and Ricki Fairley of TOUCH The Black Breast Cancer Alliance. Go here to watch tonight’s Black Doctor’s Facebook Live.

Need more help opting into self-care? Sign up for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Come Home to Yourself Retreat on December 20th (option #1) or December 27th (option #2).

REGISTRATION LINKS:

December 20th, 2-4:30 PM ET

December 27th, 2-4:30 PM ET


During the Come Home to Yourself Retreat, you will:

-Practice mindful self-care with deep breathing, meditation, affirmations, and gentle chair yoga

-Reflect on and journal about who you have been and the lessons you learned in 2020

-Identify who or what’s been getting in your way in 2020Release and practice forgiveness

-Explore who you want to be and how you want to show up in 2021

-Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest the person you want to be in 2021

-Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins in 2021


A Zoom video link will be emailed to you once you register for the online retreat.

Thriving Mindfully on the Way to Fantabulous 56 and 2021

Birthdays are some of my favorite celebrations. I love mine so much that I celebrate it monthly. I use my monthly birthday to slow down, reflect on, and celebrate my small. medium, and big wins. This year, I used many of my monthly birthdays as a personal retreat due to my emotional struggles with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on my life, career, and business.

During my personal retreats, I looked at my full self in a mirror and came face-to-face with my vulnerabilities, challenges, wins, and losses. As a result, I gained new insights, brainstormed innovative solutions, participated in women’s healing circles, read inspirational books and magazines, and spent more time walking in nature. I also decided to change my pescatarian diet to a vegan diet, get more sleep, seek support from a therapist, join a virtual meditation community, deepen my study and practice of digital wellness, and move my body with more dance, Barre 3, yoga, walking, and bike riding. All of these efforts helped me set intentions and create shifts in how I choose to show up in my life, relationships, and career. They prepared me to walk into my fantabulous 56th year later this month and 2021 with a new mantra and intention: SOAR.

The best thing about a personal retreat is you get to choose how long it will last and what you will focus on. Over the past several years, I have used several formats for my personal retreats. Here are several examples.

  • A week: one to three hours per day starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday)
  • A three-day weekend: several hours per day beginning on Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday
  • A full-day: two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and one hour in the evening
  • A half-day: two or three hours

What changes occurred in your life and career this year?

Have you embraced or resisted the changes?

Do you need a personal retreat before 2020 ends?

Do you need help getting started on your personal retreat?

Join me for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Come Home to Yourself Retreat on December 20th or December 27th from 2-4:30 p.m. ET via Zoom.

The Come Home to Yourself Retreat will be offered twice. You can choose to attend the virtual retreat on December 20th or December 27th. Consider giving the Come Home to Yourself Retreat as a holiday gift to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Register here for the December 20th retreat. Go here for the December 27th retreat.

During the virtual retreat, you will:

  • Practice mindful self-care with deep breathing, meditation, affirmations, and gentle chair yoga
  • Reflect on and journal about who you have been and the lessons you learned in 2020
  • Identify who or what’s been getting in your way in 2020
  • Release and practice forgiveness
  • Explore who you want to be and how you want to show up in 2021
  • Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest the person you want to be in 2021
  • Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins in 2021

A Zoom video link will be emailed to you once you register for the online retreat.

Register for the December 20th retreat here.

Register for the December 27th retreat here.

3 Holiday Gifts for You & Your Family, Friends, Colleagues & Clients

How are you and your family, friends, colleagues, and clients taking care of yourselves this holiday season?

If you need support, I’ve got three special holiday gifts that will help you and your colleagues stay grounded and calm this holiday season.

If you need more support with a personal retreat, join me for the Come Home to Yourself Retreat on December 20th or December 27th at 2-4:30 p.m. via Zoom. Use the links below to purchase tickets. Feel free to get holiday gift tickets for colleagues, family, and friends.

Enjoy your holiday season!

Come Home to Yourself with a Personal Retreat Before 2020 Ends

In times of great change, I have often engaged in an internal boxing match where I resist and struggle with accepting my normal life has been altered. That struggle is a boxing match I always lose. Why? Because change is inevitable. It’s always going to happen. In 2016, I gave a talk on how I used mindfulness to embrace change in the midst of career reinvention at the Nonprofit Technology Network’s annual conference in San Jose, California.

During my talk, I shared the four lessons I learned:

  • Lesson #1: Ask for help.
  • Lesson #2: Take great care of yourself.
  • Lesson #3: Be a lifelong learner.
  • Lesson #4: Be open to possibilities.

This year, I almost forgot these lessons as I struggled to deal with changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice movements, economic instability, fake news, politics, and the national and local elections. I tried to ignore the changes by filling my time with serving others through the Thriving Mindfully Academy. That strategy lasted for about three months until I realized I was burning out in May. So I stepped back from many of my obligations, took a social media summer vacation, and changed the way I practiced self-care. I began giving myself more time and space for do-it yourself (DIY) personal retreats. My DIY personal retreats helped me recharge, reflect, and reconnect with my authentic self.

During my personal retreats, I looked at my full self in a mirror and came face-to-face with my vulnerabilities, challenges, wins, and losses. As a result, I gained new insights, brainstormed innovative solutions, participated in women’s healing circles, read inspirational books and magazines, and spent more time walking in nature. I also decided to change my pescatarian diet to a vegan diet, get more sleep, seek support from a therapist, join a virtual meditation community, deepen my study and practice of digital wellness, and move my body with more dance, Barre 3, yoga, walking, and bike riding. All of these efforts helped me set intentions and create shifts in how I choose to show up in my life, relationships, and career.

More on personal retreats …

The best thing about a personal retreat is you get to choose how long it will last and what you will focus on. Over the past several years, I have used several formats for my personal retreats. Here are several examples.

  • A week: one to three hours per day starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday)
  • A three-day weekend: several hours per day beginning on Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday
  • A full-day: two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and one hour in the evening
  • A half-day: two or three hours

What changes occurred in your life and career this year?

Have you embraced or resisted the changes?

Do you need a personal retreat before 2020 ends?

Do you need help getting started on your personal retreat?

Join me for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Come Home to Yourself Retreat on December 20th or December 27th from 2-4:30 p.m. ET via Zoom.

The Come Home to Yourself Retreat will be offered twice. You can choose to attend the virtual retreat on December 20th or December 27th. Consider giving the Come Home to Yourself Retreat as a holiday gift to your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. Register here for the December 20th retreat. Go here for the December 27th retreat.

During the virtual retreat, you will:

  • Practice mindful self-care with deep breathing, meditation, affirmations, and gentle chair yoga
  • Reflect on and journal about who you have been and the lessons you learned in 2020
  • Identify who or what’s been getting in your way in 2020
  • Release and practice forgiveness
  • Explore who you want to be and how you want to show up in 2021
  • Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest the person you want to be in 2021
  • Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins in 2021

A Zoom video link will be emailed to you once you register for the online retreat.

Register for the December 20th retreat here.

Register for the December 27th retreat here.

Take A Step in the Direction of Kindness on World Kindness Day

I think we all need to slow down and celebrate World Kindness Day on November 13th given everything that has happened to us in 2020. World Kindness Day has become one of my favorite days to recommit to my loving kindness practices. It was launched in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of nations’ kindness nongovernmental organizations to highlight good deeds in the community that focus on the positive power of making kindness the norm and bringing people together to celebrate our common humanity.

I believe kindness starts in our hearts with an understanding and acceptance that we deserve it. When we claim and accept our own kindness and treat ourselves with gentleness, nonjudgment, patience, and tolerance FIRST, we strengthen our ability to be kind to our loved ones and others. That’s what I call taking a step in the direction of kindness!

May we all be inspired on World Kindness Day to take a step in the direction of kindness. May the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Loving Kindness Month resources below help you in your kindness journey.

Loving Kindness Month Resources

Random Acts of Kindness’ World Day of Kindness

VIDEO: 10 Ways to Give Yourself Loving Kindness

Take Care of Yourself in November and During Election Week with Loving Kindness Month Meditation Classes & Resources

Happy November & Loving Kindness Month Groovy People! 

2020 has been a year like no other. So many things have happened to us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic instability, divisive politics, fake news, and the constant acts of injustice, oppression, and violence against indigenous and people of color, women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and LGBTQ communities. In an effort to provide support to everyone, I am using the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s platform to launch Loving Kindness Month this month to remind us all of the power we have to slow down and take better care of ourselves with gentleness and nonjudgment.

I hope you will join us this month as we shift our 2020 energy and mindset with weekly themes, a weekly Mindful Monday meditation class first class starts tonight at 7-7:30 PM ET), an online retreat (details will be provided later this week), and other resources including new podcast episodes, a YouTube playlist, and more. 

Go here to learn more about Loving Kindness Month. Share the events and resources with your family, friends, and colleagues!

Celebrate Digital Wellness Month in May!

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Digital Wellness Month is a new initiative that was created in response to the time most of us are currently spending on technology to communicate in our lives, careers, and businesses during COVID-19 (known to some of us as the new normal, #QuarantineLife, lockdown, or my personal favorite – Q-Life).

The purpose of Digital Wellness Month is to encourage and help people to practice tech life balance with small steps.

During each week in May, tips and resources will be shared to help you create tech life balance in your life, career, and business on my blog and social media. Follow  Ananda Leeke on Facebook and LinkedIn. Check out @anandaleeke on Instagram and Twitter.

Go here to listen to the Thriving Mindfully Podcast to learn more about Digital Wellness Month and my digital wellness journey that included my struggles with spending way too much time online and burnout.

What Is Digital Wellness?

Digital Wellness is the use of technology in mindful, intentional, and healthy ways.

Go here to listen to Thriving Mindfully Podcast about digital wellness.

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Becoming Mindful About Your Tech Use

Get your favorite pen, journal, or a piece of paper. Take a few minutes to answer each of the questions below. They will help you become aware of how you currently use technology. Your responses will help you identify what needs to be included in your Digital Wellness Intention.

Questions 

  1. How much time do you currently spend online Monday through Friday and on the weekends?
  2. Do you take breaks from using technology?
  3. What stresses you out when you are online?
  4. Does your body experience tension, tightness, or discomfort while you are online?
  5. How do you take care of your body while you are online (the way you sit or stand, screens that protect your eyes, etc.)?
  6. Do you sleep with your digital devices on or near your bed?

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Being Intentional About Your Tech Use

Digital Wellness becomes a reality in your life, career, and business when you take time to slow down and to create a Digital Wellness Intention, a statement about the way you want to use technology. Use my Digital Wellness Intention as a sample (see below).

Sample Digital Wellness Intention

  • I am mindful and intentional about the ways I use technology. I honor my spirit, heart, mind, and body with mindful self-care practices including breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and mindful movement while I am online and offline. I take breaks, use time boundaries. and unplug to manage my tech consumption. I place my digital devices in my living room or kitchen at the end of the day.  The end result is a healthier me.

Digital Wellness Plan

A digital wellness plan is a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, unplugging, and more.

Tech Life Balance Tips

  • Make Your Breath Your BFF: Before you get out of bed, incorporate breathing exercises into your morning routine by taking 7 deep breaths. Place your hand on your heart as you inhale and exhale through your nose. Do the same thing before you go to bed.
  • Mindful Moment: Take 1 deep breath before turning on your digital devices, answering your phone or responding to an email or text.
  • Mindful Movement Break: While you’re working during the day, step away from your digital devices and take a 3-5 minute break to breathe deeply move your body.

A Few More Things!

Remember to be patient with yourself as you make changes in your life, career, and business.

Take small steps. Make them baby steps.

Celebrate your victories no matter how small, medium or big they are.

Go here to get the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s resources on mindfulness, self-care, and wellness.

Enjoy your digital wellness journey!

Need More Support?

DigitalWellnessWebinar-Eventbrite

Join me on May 27th from 7-8:30 p.m. ET for the Digital Wellness 101 Webinar via Zoom. During the webinar, you will:

  • Learn about and understand wellness and digital wellness
  • Identify barriers to your tech life balance
  • Practice mindful self-care exercises (deep breathing, mindful moments, and eye, keyboard, and gentle office yoga while seated in a chair) to relieve stress
  • Receive tech life balance tips and resources
  • Set a digital wellness intention
  • Begin the process of creating a digital wellness plan that includes small action steps, accountability support, and self-celebration

Get your tickets here.

HAPPY 2ND ANNIVERSARY THRIVING MINDFULLY MEETUP GROUP

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Happy Second Year Anniversary Thriving Mindfully Meetup Group!

I am deeply grateful for everyone who has attended the Mindful Monday Meditation classes since April 16, 2018, at Qi Kratom CBD Tea. It’s been a blessing to share meditation, mindfulness, self-care practices, gentle yoga, silence, hugs, and delicious tea with you. Building community with you is powerful!

In case you didn’t know, our powerful community was launched as a Meetup Group during Stress Awareness Month and on Stress Awareness Day to support folx who wanted to practice meditation and mindfulness in community, felt stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious about issues in their life, career, and business.

I have learned so much from everyone. Your presence has been a gift that continues to bless me even now that we are living in a new normal with new opportunities to embrace loving kindness for ourselves and others virtually. My prayer and intention for our third year is to continue to open my heart and serve our diverse community with your support.

REFLECTION AND SHARING

Check out the photo slideshows below and leave a comment that expresses how the community has helped you. Feel free to share your favorite moments like my poetry and favorite meditation cues, Martin’s poetry and amazing baked treats, Sincere’s sound baths, the guest teachers Angel and Corey, my favorite sayings, or the fabulous tea blends that Qi Kratom CBD Tea served.

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WHAT’S NEXT

We will continue to meet on the first Monday of each month via our new virtual platform on Zoom. Check the Meetup Group page here for the dates in May and June.

Right now, I am leading Mindful Monday Meditation and Sound Bath, a donation-based series, on Zoom from 7-8 p.m. ET in April and May. Sign up here. Invite your family, friends, and colleagues to join you. The first May session will serve as our monthly Meetup Group.

SPECIAL THANKS

Special thanks to ee, Kai Kai, Gigi, Sincere, Naima, and Vince of Qi Kratom CBD Tea for hosting our group, providing tea, and being a vital part of our community. You have been an amazing community partner.

Many thanks to Angel Dungee, Corey Castle, ee, and Sincere for leading the classes when I was away.

Deep bow of gratitude to Martin Parker for your support, poetry sharing, and tasty baked goods.

Together, we have successfully laid the foundation for an awesome and diverse mindfulness community that supports folx in and who visit the DC area. I look forward to serving our community together in our coming year!

FINAL WORDS WITH NEW RESOURCES

Have you heard about the Thriving Mindfully Academy, an online learning platform that provides personal and professional development education, coaching, training, and resources in the areas below.

  • Mindfulness 101
  • Mindful Self-Care
  • Mindful Creativity
  • Mindful at Work
  • Mindful Communication
  • Mindful Relationships
  • Mindful Leadership
  • Mindful Technology

In March, I decided to to offer a soft launch of the Thriving Mindfully Academy to support and help people just like YOU and mission-driven companies, organizations, and communities navigate the COVID-19 emergency. Go here to learn more about it. Feel free to share it with your family, friends, and colleagues.

May we all continue to take great care of ourselves with loving kindness and embrace Thriving Mindfully in everything we think, feel, say, and do!

Keep in touch!

Blessings,

Ananda

 

 

We Are Resilient When We Practice Mindfulness & Self-Care!

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Here’s a much needed reminder I received recently.

WE ARE RESILIENT!

That’s right I used the big “R” word and claimed it for all of us!

What is resilience?

It’s a human quality and a choice that allows us to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of any adversity, crisis, difficulty, disappointment or failure in our lives, careers, and businesses. It takes choosing to tap into the quality of resilience that lives within us. It takes making a commitment and then doing the work needed to navigate the rough spots and tough times that I like to call our greatest growth opportunities.

So how can we tap into our resiliency?

Here’s what I know to be true from my own life and work as a wellness professional, an artist, an author, and a recovering high achiever, a lawyer, and an investment banker.

When we tap into our human birthright of mindfulness and choose to practice it along with self-care, we are nurturing and strengthening ourselves.

These two efforts begin with the Thriving Mindfully framework I have used in my mindfulness, self-care, and wellness work with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities for the past 20+ years.

The Thriving Mindfully framework consists of:

  • AWARENESS: We become aware of our birthrights of mindfulness and self-care:   1) Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what’s happening inside and outside of ourselves in the present moment; and 2) Self-care is the act of nurturing ourselves in ways that uplift our spirit, heart, mind, body, life, career, and business.
  • ACCEPTANCE: We accept and claim our birthrights to mindfulness and self-care.
  • AFFIRMATION: We set an intention and affirm our birthrights to mindfulness and self-care with what I call the Big 5 on a daily basis: loving kindness, compassion, nonjudgment, patience, and forgiveness.
  • ACTION: We commit to and practice mindfulness and self-care by taking action steps.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: We seek and secure accountability partners to support our efforts to practice mindful self-care.
  • APPRECIATION: We appreciate ourselves and mindful self-care efforts by celebrating our small, medium, and big wins on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis.

BONUS TREAT: Listen to the Thriving Mindfully Podcast episode on resiliency.

RESOURCES

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If you need mindfulness, self-care, and wellness resources, I am here for you! Check out the links to my Thriving Mindfully Academy, blogs, podcasts, and more below.

  1. Thriving Mindfully Academy, an online learning platform that provides personal and professional development education, coaching, training, and resources on mindfulness, meditation, self-care, and wellness.
  2. Thriving Mindfully Podcast has over 100 episodes on mindfulness, meditation, self-care, and wellness.
  3. Thriving Mindfully Weekly Recipe of Mindful Self-Care Themes
  4. Recent Blog: Mindfulness & Self-Care Resources for Navigating Coronavirus Emergency
  5. Recent Blog: Welcome Spring with A Digital Wellness Plan that Helps You &Your Loved Ones Navigate COVID-19
  6. Recent Blog: Embracing Home Sweet Home with Mindfulness

ONE LAST THING!

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Don’t miss out on my Stress Awareness Month (April) and National Meditation Month (May) updates, resources, tips. online classes, and trainings. Sign up for my updates here.