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My biggest moments of disappointments/regrets have come as a result of realizing I made the wrong decision. Until recently, I could not trust myself to make the right decisions. Even worse, I remained largely indifferent to a lot things. I was just letting life happen to me instead of living with intention. I wore the badge of having "trust issues" for much too long.

Photo: unsplash

Present day me is a self-proclaimed extroverted-introvert (y'know, a social butterfly who needs her cocoon after a long day of being social); a storytella and testimonygiva. I walk into every situation with a certain level of confidence and grace. It's not that I'm now all of a sudden 100% confident or that I always make the right choices. No. I simply let my no be no, and my yes be yes--including in response to myself. That's spiritual (really, if you're a believer that's an actual scripture)! Now, I practice showing up, knowing that I am prepared to be fully present; to do the best that I can; and then I leave the rest up to God. And on the days I don't feel my best, or I've chosen a seemingly wrong path: I first, acknowledge it, and then I allow myself some grace.

So, how did I get here?

On the first day of the Women In Leadership professional development program I'm enrolled in, at Parkdale Centre for Innovation, I shared that I was feeling accomplished. It was just past 11am on a Tuesday morning, and I had successfully completed 4 out of the 6 things on my to-do-list. For me, this was not the standard. I had just recently graduated from writing 7 to 9-item lists, and then maybe getting 2 or 3 done, if I wasn't feeling overwhelmed by 2pm. And I was always feeling overwhelmed.

Photo: unsplash

The simple act of doing what you say you're going to do, makes you reliable. The more you practice this, the more you become confident in doing so, or whatever it is you set your mind to. Just like exercising--which I also started doing 6days/week! This is how I am building my confidence and learning to trust myself. I keep my word: by not over promising what I can't deliver, and not doing myself a disservice by not following through. And because how you show up for yourself is how you show up for others; this is a great practice for building a circle of trust with others in your personal and professional life.

Graphic: Igho Diana via canva.com

If you're currently looking for a community of like-minded women to practice showing up with, click here for details of our upcoming self-care session.

Updated: May 8

I originally planned to walk into this fall season shedding some of my commitments. I was determined to not have a mental breakdown as I did in the first year of my (community development) degree. Year two, was going to be different. And so far it is different. But not because I shed some commitments. Rather, my perspective on where and how to pivot my attention changed. I had to think about managing (not juggling or balancing) my obligations and opportunities, in terms of nice to have/do and must have/do.

I didn't come up with this idea of self-management all on my own (s/o my mastermind team: God, my coach, my therapist). However, I do believe I was heading down this path when I started using the affirmation stay whole. At first it may seem like a privileged thing to say. After all, some people claim to be are "broken", we've all endured some form of trauma, and some folks have invisible 'disabilities'. But, what I really mean when I say stay whole is this: though we face trials and tribulations we were not designed to be broken. So, the work of living is knowing and managing: which parts of self need the most attention at a time; what you need to do to heal or grow that part of yourself; and tapping into available resources in order to do so.

And that's how I'm choosing to stay whole in this season and second school year. I am not shedding commitments, instead, I am managing my time and energy. This is how I am showing up differently (another affirmation to self).

Self-care 'n Sisterhood Session 8

I alluded to showing up differently at our recent SIS session, on Sunday September 16. We discussed self-preservation and preparing for a new season, and I posed the following questions to our group:

What does self-preservation mean to you?

As we go into the fall months how are you preparing to show up for yourself daily?

Are you familiar with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder); have you experienced it? If yes, what was that experience like?

Do you have a support system?

What do you feel like you need the most right now? How can you create that for yourself?

Feel free to use the above questions as journal prompts over the week.

Some of the gems and ideas exchanged were: learning that your time and energy is valuable and worthy of preserving; taking the time to converse with self to figure out what it is you need; taking time and space for self, when you need to; asking for help (something I'm working on daily); and understanding that you have space to be individual and interdependent.

We wrapped up the session with a lesson on pickling foods and we got to take home our own jars of pickled peppers courtesy of Mattachioni.

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What is next for EGO? Join me, November 16-18, 2018, for our first "Stay Whole" retreat at Bliss Haven Retreat Center: a weekend to level up an/or jump-start a sustainable self-care practice...in sisterhood. Click here for more details.

Ps - take advantage of 15% off of early bird ticket pricing (limited time offer) by sending me an email (contact@ebonygirlsobsession.ca) with a brief answer to one of the above journal questions.

As always, stay whole.

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Updated: Mar 21

Three years ago, I decided I was going to actively grow myself…intentionally. The words active, grow, and intention seem to all mirror each other in a sense that they work the same proverbial muscles. Each of these words call for movement and practice. They go hand in hand.

Five years in, in a new city (by way of Vancouver) and I still did not feel like I was in full control of my life. And I no longer wanted to feel like moving here was just another excuse to run away from my problems. So, three years ago I said yes to an idea a friend and I co-created. That original idea lasted about a month; my friend moved on to other things and I dreamt up a different path for my idea to take shape. Three years ago, in 2015, I birthed Ebony Girls Obsession.

This journey has very much felt like motherhood. I try and (sometimes) fail everyday, yet I continue to see and reach for the big picture. After every move I remind myself why I do it all: nobody else is going to show up for me better than I show up for myself. This community of women we’re growing here, I prayed for. And as my coach says: I “pray on my feet”. Three years ago, I said yes to my vision and I haven’t stopped praying and walking ever since.

SIS Session 7

One of EGO’s mandate is to practice self-care in community. We fulfill this every month at our Self-care ‘n Sisterhood (SIS) Sessions. Here, we hold space + each other accountable in our respective healing journey. Over the past few months we’ve explored themes such as: creating a clear vision, working through self-sabotage, finding/re-aligning with your purpose, reclaiming your identity, repainting new stories/perceptions of yourself, navigating female friendships, and practicing emotional intelligence. Each session: we share space, tell our stories, and grow with one another.

A few weeks ago we gathered for Session 7. We were a small but mighty group; this made the evening feel very much like “an intimate dinner with [your] girls”.

On the theme of improving emotional intelligence, our guest speaker: confidence coach Jillisa Brown shared the following three tips:

Don’t take anything personally (source: “The Four Agreements” – Don Miguel Ruiz)

Separating your emotions from situations…for a difference in perspective

Mastering self awareness…understanding who you are can help you understand why certain feelings come up, how to navigate them, and then communicate your needs.

Other tips included: a short pause to engage in intentional breathwork, letting go when necessary, and employing relaxation tools (i.e., jazz music, incense, going for a walk etc), asking yourself certain questions about the underlying need behind certain feelings. To help facilitate what the process of investigating our needs could look like, we engaged in a storytelling exercise, using grok cards.

What’s beautiful about these sessions is that we all come in with our different stories and expertise. No one person is meant to have all the answers. I myself, do not claim to be an expert on any particular theme. What I do offer is the curated space to have intentional conversations about how we can be active in our growth and healing. My goal is that we all leave each session with new resources to grow better.

Here’s to more growth in sisterhood.

Our next session is coming up September 16, and I cannot wait to exchange more stories with new and old sisterfriends. Click here for details + RSVP for Session 8.