Long time, no write- but I have definitely been staying busy.
2022 has been an exciting, meaningful, WILD year and I am delighted to share that so much good has happened, personally and professionally. I’d love to share some of the highlights with you!
In 2022, I:
None of these achievements would have happened without the use of affirmations. So, that being said, I would love to share some of my favorite affirmations below. Feel free to use these however you’d like! My personal practice is to say them when I first wake up or in stressful moments. I also highly recommend using affirmations in tandem with a gratitude practice (leaning into gratitude has been research proven to keep us both happy and healthy so it’s huge).
I hope that these affirmations help you in your personal journey! If you’d like to develop a personal practice with affirmations and start to live with more intention now, then feel free to reach out for a coaching appointment.
I am always chosen because I choose myself.
I am beautiful and a joy to be around.
I have the tools to manage my emotions and take care of myself.
I am surrounded by people I can trust.
Good things always happen to me.
Every day, I fall more and more in love with myself.
Relationships are peaceful for me.
I am financially abundant and financially savvy.
I am a healthy person.
I have the tools to live the life I want to live today.
Full time, I work as a Career Coach in higher education and now that I have this certification, I am SUPER EXCITED to start my journey as a life coach, specializing in PLAY, RESISTANCE, and HEALING.
In training, we were told that “life coaching is a luxury item” and it’s my mission to not invest in that ideology at all. All communities deserve access to spaces for radical self care and healing and though I’m excited to work with all kinds of people, my coaching and workshops will be especially centered on femmes and queer folks.
I am so excited for this new journey and for all the things we’ll learn together.
Here’s what I’ve learned recently: photo shoots are one of the best ways you can show yourself love.
And yes…you’ll take some where you can’t stop staring at your stomach or your arms or the way your chin looks bigger than usual and throughout the entirety of the shoot you’ll ask yourself a million times: why the hell is my forehead so shiny?
You will feel uncomfortable at first, but over time, with each new photo shoot, you will find yourself starting to find little things you love about yourself.
As I review the latest pictures from my own photo shoot, I realize how many little things I can fall in love with myself over. My plush, soft belly. My deep brown eyes. My crooked smile and the outline of my lips. My fashion sense which is all over the place, but it’s bright and poppy and fun. The imperfections aren’t as bad as I thought. The quirks make me silly grin….almost like I would towards someone I love.
Outside of my physical appearance, I’m learning to just love myself in the midst of my messiness. In fact, I’m deciding that I want to be MORE messy. Allowing for mistakes. Allowing for growth. Sometimes I find myself in a constant loop of hustling for my self worth- feeling like I need to come across as perfect, when all I really need to do is be here and do my best.
As Sonya Renee Taylor writes in The Body Is Not an Apology: “When we liberate ourselves from the expectation that we must have all things figured out, we enter a sanctuary of empathy.”
This sanctuary has everything I love. Kindness and old friends and great conversations about what it means to be human. And this is the sanctuary I want to inhabit the majority of the time. I know there will be some days I will feel unworthy to even go inside. But, I want to love myself even on those days, and know that when I’m ready to go back in, there will always be enough space for me and my many messes.
Thanks for reading this imperfect little meditation!
“Let’s live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded only by what brings joy, simplicity, and beauty.” -Shauna Niequist
The plan: rent bikes at Belmont Shore, ride down the trail, breathe in the salt of the ocean, put our coats on when we can no longer stand the wind, pretend we’re children again, forget the responsibility of being grad students, of being women, of being black; pretend that everything embraces our melanin just like the sun.
The revision: when the bike rack is closed… we walk to the edge of the water, we look out at the waves, we put on our coats when we can no longer stand the wind, we pretend we’re children again, we pose for the Gram, we pretend that everything embraces our melanin just like the sun.
Have you ever heard the statement:
“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”
As I laugh freely and feel my body open, embraced by everything that surrounds it, I have a realization.
Just because my body can endure trauma that doesn’t mean it should have to.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I am proud of the scrapes and bruises my body has been strong enough to endure- from trips to falls to stumbles, both physical and emotional. I am proud that my body endures it all: the next shooting, the next microaggression, the next black body in the street, the next disappointment. Through it all, my body continues to stand. My body continues to stand, making friends with the cracks that have formed; my body continues to stand though bent, though almost broken.
I appreciate my body for the ways that it takes each trauma in fully and deeply, and then creates a scab to prepare for the next one.
My body is strong, my body is beautiful….
Just because my body can endure trauma that doesn’t mean it should have to.
Just because my body can endure trauma that doesn’t mean it is made for trauma.
As I stand out here, the seagulls crying, the wind whistling, the sun pressing tenderly up against my skin:
I commune with
I am open to
I dream of
I remember that my body is not made for trauma. Instead, it is made for moments like this. It is made for good things, and it deserves good things.
Though my body has been forced to make friends with the cracks, the open wounds, the disappointments and struggles-
I must remember-
You must remember-
Our bodies are ultimately closer with the light that shines through.
Journaling is everywhere.
From bullet journals to prompt books to writing apps- we have more ways than ever to engage in the process of written reflection…
and research shows us that reflection works!
Journaling has been proven to manage anxiety, reduce stress, improve work performance, and help people gain self awareness and self confidence (I’ve posted a few references below!).
I, for one, have kept a journal almost my entire life and it has always been a place for me to process new experiences, work through difficult emotions, and connect with who I am and who I want to become.
The journal space has been especially important for me as a Black woman working in Higher Education.
In March of 2019, I facilitated my first journaling workshop at the American College Personnel Association Conference in Boston Massachusetts titled “We Journal, We Resist: Utilizing Journaling for Healing & Empowerment.” Though the presentation was open to everyone, I centered my presentation on the experiences of people of color and discussed how journaling can give people of color a literal “safe space” to work through identity based microaggressions and other stressors in the workplace. Since then, I have done many of these workshops for different organizations that are seeking to provide their employees with journaling and social justice training.
Below, I’d like to share 3 journaling exercises that you and/or your students can use to practice self care and re-ground yourself! **These exercises are meant to supplement, not replace, professional help. Lean on mental health professionals for extreme amounts of stress**
THE OCTAVIA DREAM EXERCISE
A few years ago, Huntington Library published a few journal pages of the late, great author Octavia Butler, a science fiction writer best known for her books Kindred and Parable of the Sower. These pages revealed numerous affirmations about Butler’s dream to become a bestselling author. Affirmations like “I will find a way to do this! So be it!” and “My books will be read by millions of people!” dotted the pages and eventually came to fruition as Butler wrote book after bestselling book before her death in 2006. The concept of “claiming” or “calling out what’s yours” is definitely something that feels very close to me culturally as I often heard these affirmations from my Grandmother and other Black community members growing up.
When you’re practicing dream affirmation, think first about what you want or how you want to feel. Then, write down what it would feel like to have that thing in the present tense. I find that it’s helpful to affirm how you’d like to feel in the workplace. For instance: “I am at work and though I’m feeling stressed today, I know that I got this! I am strong and powerful.” Sometimes just putting out the intention can help you to feel more in control of your emotions and reactions.
This is one of my favorites exercises! I started making brave lists a few years ago during a period in time when I was struggling with social anxiety. At the time, I was too afraid to raise my hand in class and would get heart palpitations when I had to speak in front of people (even though I love doing public speaking!). So: I turned to brave lists! I kept a running tally of wins that I accomplished every day. I counted times I raised my hand in class, times I reached out to a friend or colleague when I needed help, etc. and each time I celebrated these little wins, I felt even more encouraged to take bigger risks and make bigger decisions in my life. I affirmed my bravery and was able to overcome stress and anxiety at that time as a result!
Make a list of all the ways that you were brave today. What are the things that you deal with on a daily basis that require a lot of courage (crisis management, employer relations, confrontational conversations with students or colleagues)? Who are the people that you are continuously brave for in your life and work? In what areas do you surprise yourself in every day? I would suggest leaving a few pages at the back of your journal for your BRAVE LIST so that you can easily turn to them when you need inspiration and affirmation. Example: I was brave today because I discussed the issue I was having with my supervisor. I was brave today because I protected my time and health even when I felt uncomfortable doing so.
WHY I STAY PROMPT
On busy days, it’s easy to forget why we keep doing the work we do. When you get burned out, it’s even easier to move into a space of ungratefulness and frustration. That’s where re-grounding comes in! When you are having a freak-out moment and you are struggling to keep moving forward, take out your journal and try out this tool.
Ask yourself first: “Why am I still here (at this company, with these people, doing this work)?” Then list three opportunities, people, or that are keeping you where you are. If you’re really struggling to find 3 examples at the time, then write the easiest examples you can think of. The point is to get those feelings out, and find reasons that can support you in the tougher times. Though work can be stressful, one thing I have written and rewritten in my journal is that I stay in higher education to provide access for the students who need it the most! I stay at my institution because I know that there are students who need what I have to offer. What’s your reason?
If you’d like more information about my presentation or other ways that you or your staff/students can use journaling in the workplace, please contact me HERE.
Question: Do you have or want to have a journaling practice? Have you ever utilized journaling to process through difficult or stressful events?
I remember this moment like it was yesterday.
I am on the train. It is crowded. People grasp the nearest hand rails so that the train doesn’t fling them into the coffee holding, business suit wearing bodies to their right and left. A woman rustles in her seat as we come to the Belmont station, and those of us who are crowded around her loosen up, ruffling our feathers at the prospect of a soon-to-be empty seat.
As the train slows down and the doors spread wide, the woman gets off the train leaving me and another girl closest to the open seat. We both move towards it and then look up at each other. She has glasses, a brush of red across her lips, and white headphones over her blonde hair.
“Would you like to sit down?”
She beams and picks up her bag. “Awww thank you so much.”
She plops on the seat that is now hers-
And I seethe.
I don’t know what I intended to say originally when we made eye contact, but I know it wasn’t that.
My first thought is:
“There I go again. I could have had a comfortable seat to read in for the next 30 minutes, but I willingly gave it up rather than just doing what any other normal person would have done- sit down in the dang seat first.”
Then I thought:
“It would have made more sense if I had sat since I am going farther than her. EVERYONE gets off at Lake or Monroe and I have 4 or 5 MORE stops after that.”
“Well, I am in a comfortable area where I can press against the wall and hold the hand rail above me in case the train tries to jolt me into my neighbor. I guess it’s not so bad. It could be worse.”
The man beside the girl in my seat moves in his chair, sticking his book into his briefcase. When we get to the Fullerton stop, he slides past me to get off the train.
I am the closest to the seat so I slip in beside her and pick up where I left off in my current book.
I’ve been thinking about this scenario all day. What a perfect metaphor to discuss the difference between a scarcity based mindset and an abundance based mindset.
In my scarcity based mindset, I felt like there was only one opportunity available. This belief made me crabby and ungrateful.
In my abundance based mindset, I took pause. I became grateful for my current placement and took the next opportunity that came my way.
If you’re like me, you grew up buying into a scarcity based mindset in every area of your life: career, romantic relationships, health, friendships, and even, and especially, money. We are conditioned to believe that there is never enough “time”, that “all the good ones are taken”, that “her success means your failure”, and that “money doesn’t grow on trees” (I mean it doesn’t but that’s not the point).
What this Universe-inspired moment showed me on the train is how important it is to live with an abundance mindset.The hardest thing we need to learn as a culture is that there is MORE than enough to go around if we are willing to share AND maintain faith that more is on the way.CONSIDER: How has a scarcity mindset hurt or possibly enabled you in the past? In what areas of your life do you need to choose to see abundance?