April has been a month filled with creativity conversations. Yesterday, I hosted the DC Digital Sisterhood Network’s Breakfast Meet Up at Teaism, a woman-owned tea house (see photo above). Learn what happened at the meet up by clicking here to listen to the podcast I recorded with Valerie Trammel, founder of Trammel Communications. Valerie was the first person who arrived at the meet up. She won a Digital Sisterhood mug filled with Tazo Passion tea bags and chocolates. She also received a complimentary 20 minute creativity coaching session (which we had today). We had a great time chatting about creativity and overcoming challenges with Nia, founder of Karat Cakery, a DC Dessert Food Truck (makes the best carrot cake in the universe!!!!).
Two weeks ago, I hosted a creativity conversation during the Atlanta Digital Sisterhood Meet Up held at Proof and Provision, a bar and restaurant located in the Georgian Terrace Hotel. Click here to listen to the podcast I recorded with the amazing women who attended the event.
Do you know what creativity looks like in your life? Do you need to open your creative heart? Do you know what your creative voice sounds like? Are you able to access it? What is it telling you? Are you ready to give birth to your creativity? Do you need support and tips on how to give birth to your creativity or navigate your creative process?
If you answered YES to one or more of these questions, join me on Thursday, May 15 for the “Giving Birth to Your Creativity” online workshop from 8:30 p.m. EST to 10:00 p.m. EST. The online 90 minute workshop will offer a small group of five participants the following:
Creative Self-Care Practices (breathing exercises, guided meditation, affirmation, and kind and gentle office yoga for your eyes, hands, mouth, and shoulders).
Ice Breaker Exercise and Sharing Circle.
Talk on “Giving Birth to Your Creativity with a Creativity Recipe.”
Journaling Exercises with Sharing Circle and Creativity Coaching Feedback.
Action Planning Steps and Tips for Giving Birth to Your Creativity.
Two creativity coaching email check-ins (one in June and one in July).
A special discount on creativity coaching sessions and packages.
The workshop is based on exercises and information contained in my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon). It will be delivered via conference call. So all you need to participate is your telephone. Once you register and pay $26.26 ($23.95 workshop fee and $2.31 Eventbrite fee) for the workshop, I will email you an agenda with handouts, the special discount on creativity coaching sessions, and the telephone number for the conference call. Click here to register for the workshop.
During an afternoon tea meetup at Teaism in February, my digital sister and fellow yoga teacher Julia Coney, founder of AllAboutThePretty.net, suggested I read The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life by Sara Avant Stover. I am so glad Julia made the recommendation because Stover’s book, e-newsletters, and web site have become a lifeline for me as I deepen my yoga practice and commitment to greater health. The Way of the Happy Woman offers easy and natural self-care practices including yoga and meditation that help women minimize their stress, become aligned with their natural cycles, and honor the four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. I adore and have incorporated the yin and yang yoga practices for the spring season. They have helped me nurture my spirit, heart, mind, and body with greater care. Click here to learn more about Stover and her amazing work.
What books do you use to deepen your yoga practice?
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!
Last night I hosted the DC SheWrites.com Autumn Meet Up at Teaism (Penn Center location) in DC. Writers Evelyn Bourne (http://twitter.com/evelynwrites), and Beandria Terese (http://twitter.com/joyfullybea) joined me for tea, delicious Asian-inspired food, and great conversation. We shared news about our writing projects and traded books.
FYI: The next meet ups are November 29, March 29, and June 29 at Teaism, Penn Center location, 400 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC (a block from National Archives Yellow/Green Line Metro – www.teaism.com) from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
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.
Mami Wata, circa 1987 by Zoumana Sane (dates unknown, Senegal)
Photo Credit: Don Cole
Today I reflected on how I launched my annual summer museum adventures last weekend. I started with a visit to the National Museum of African Art. The goal of my trip was to soak up the beauty and splendor of the Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and the African Atlantic World exhibit. http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/mamiwata/intro.html. It arrived at the Museum on April 1 and leaves on July 26.
Mami Wata (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mami_Wata) is a water spirit celebrated throughout most of Africa, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. I first learned about Mami Wata in 1991 when I discovered the West African Yoruba goddesses Oshun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oshun) and Yemaya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemanya) who are her sister water spirits. I immediately embraced her image which is often portrayed as a brown-skinned mermaid. I love that fact because she reminds me of me. Her power as a nurturing mother, sensual woman, healer, and provider of riches also appealed to me. Mami Wata, Oshun, and Yemaya introduced me to Erzulie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erzulie), the Haitian goddess of love. These water goddesses played a pivotal role in my early artwork and writing. They still do! Erzulie is a major force in the artwork and characters featured in my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com— iUniverse, Inc. – 2007). Click here to see Erzulie’s veve which appears inside my novel and serves as the logo for the Love’s Troubadours novel series (scroll down to the second photo and look for the black and white drawing of a heart-shaped image): http://www.lovestroubadours.com/id26.html. It also appears in the painting featured on the back of my novel. Click here to see a photo (scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the heart-shaped symbol in the center of painting): http://www.lovestroubadours.com/id7.html.
The Mami Wata exhibit was powerful because it explored the visual culture and histories of Mami Wata and her sister water spirits. It also taught me about several new water spirits such as Lasirèn from Haiti and Santa Marta la Dominadora from the Dominican Republic. At the end of the exhibit, I decided to participate in the creative exercise set up by the Museum. I never turn down an invitation to play! The exercise involved making drawings of Mami Wata-like mermaids, fish, and shells. Iloved the exhibit so much that I purchased the exhibition book as a keepsake. I plan to go back later this month to see the Mami Wata exhibit one more time before it closes. Yes it’s that good!
So do you have any summer museum adventures planned? If so, where are you going and what will you see when you get there?
After the museum, I stopped at Teaism in Penn Quarter for lunch (http://www.teaism.com/Restaurant/PennQuarter7.html). Teaism is one of my favorite places to drink tea, eat healthy food, meet friends, and write. I wrote several chapters of Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com) and my soon-to-be released poetic memoir, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discoverywhile sipping tea at Teaism. I even wrote about my novel’s main character Karma Francois eating a salty oat cookie and drinking tea at Teaism on Dupont Circle! I treated myself to one of my favorite entrees, the salmon bento box. As always, it was delicious. Before I left, I purchased a chocolate salty oat cookie for my afternoon movie snack.
Enlighten Up! (http://enlightenupthefilm.com) is a new yoga documentary by filmmaker Kate Churchill. It tells the story of Nick Rosen, a twenty-something journalist from New York City, who explores the world of yoga in search of a practice that meets his needs. The film was yoga yummy and funny. The yogini/yoga teacher inside of me adored the Enlighten Up! because it gives everyday people an opportunity to witness Rosen’s down-to-earthsearch for a yoga practice with some of the most widely known and not so known yoga teachers in New York City, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and India. I highly recommend the film. If you go see Enlighten Up!, tell me what you think about it.
Do you practice yoga? If so, describe your practice.
If you are in DC this weekend, please consider attending my free community yoga class on Sunday, June 14 at 9:00 a.m. in Malcolm X – Meridian Hill Park in Northwest, DC. For more information, visit http://yoga.meetup.com/584.