Empowering Discussions

Forgetting to Be Present in My Self-Care Practice

I admit to failing in my self-love practice. I’ve been focusing on what I don’t have and what is unwanted in my life instead of focusing on what is present. A good friend called me out on what I was saying and doing. She has also been through recovery, and said that for her practicing being present on a daily basis is necessary. She is spot on. I’m always asking people if they are practicing self-care regularly. But am I? Yes and no. I practice mindfulness and positive affirmations daily, and remember to eat healthy and move my body. That’s not enough though. I need to think in the present each day. Solely from her reminder about being in the present, my mood changed. On my walk home I focused on what I have and felt the heaviness that was pushing me down lighten quite a bit.
I journal throughout the week too and that is often when I have a breakthrough thought. These aren’t always huge “Ah-Ha!” moments, but they are breakthroughs when I feel muddled. When I journal, I write everything that comes to mind and eventually it all connects together. I highly recommend journaling.
So the next time you feel stuck, do something; journal, talk with a friend, read a favorite book, break out your self-care tools and find something that helps.
 If you want to dive deeper into self-care or are searching for new tools and resources, check out my free D.I.Y. Therapy E-Course. You can go at it on your own, or sign up for free and have weekly lessons emailed to you.

I’m an artist and writer with a focus on art therapy. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon.com/Loviedo. For $1 a month*, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.

*You can also receive also receive art in the mail for a higher contribution.

D.I.Y. Therapy, Journal Prompts, Poetry

Cultivating Support – Journal Prompt

As I embark on an adventure in Costa Rica, I have started journaling what I need for the next six weeks. Whether you are going on an adventure or just need more support in your daily life, I encourage you to start journaling. Write and manifest the support you need for your emotional and physical health.
  • What do I need to feel loved?
  • Am I receiving sufficient support from myself?
  • Which of my needs require support from others?
  • Who can I call for support when I feel sad or apathetic?
  • Which people in my network are able to support specific goals?
  • How can I reach out to my support system? Via phone, text, email or in person?
  • How much alone time do I need and how much socializing do I need?
  • Which self-care tools do I enjoy the most?
  • Do I need to set stronger boundaries? If so, where?
These are just a handful of questions that can help you focus on what you need. You don’t have to answer all at once, but the deeper you dive into your self-care/recovery work the more you benefit. This is a journal prompt you can do more than once. Bookmark this page in your journal to remind you that is okay, in fact it is necessary to feel supported and to ask for support when you need it.
Peace and hugs, Leah
If you like this journal prompt, you can read more on my Patreon page.  You can have access to even more once you become a patron. Be sure to check out the rewards you can receive when you pledge $3 or more each month.

I’m an artist and writer on a mission to bring healing arts into the mainstream. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon.com/Loviedo. For $1 a month, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.

Like the image above? It’s in my free coloring book, “Peace, Love and Weirdness”. Click Here to Download the Free PDF and color away.

Empowering Discussions

Mindful Eating Practice – Filling Your Plate With Mindful Intention

Food is so ingrained in our daily lives that it’s easy to eat without being mindful of what exactly we are putting in our bodies. This week I encourage you to pay close attention to your diet.
My diet used to revolve around three goals; eat to be full, buy the cheapest food, and buy tasty/comfort food. When I chose to spend a month not eating meat, I noticed changes in my body. For me, eating vegetarian felt better. I had more energy and didn’t feel indigestion as often. I chose to stick with a vegetarian diet. As my knowledge about food progressed, I begun to pay more attention and eventually cut out dairy because it doesn’t agree with me.
Now I choose to be more picky when it comes to what I consume. My diet revolves around three new goals; eat nutritious food, buy organic as often as possible, and be conscious of the waste created by my food choices.
Here are some notes and questions to cultivate a mindful food practice:
  • When eating, slow down and savor the taste and texture of your food.
  • Notice whether you have a preference for salty or sweet foods.
  • Notice how different foods make you feel.
  • Why are you eating? Is it because you are hungry, anxious, or bored?
  • Do you eat on a schedule or do you often skip meals?
  • Do you snack without thinking or plan your snacks ahead?
  • Are you eating for nutrition or comfort?
If you want to dive deeper into what you consume, journal about your food for a week or a month. Record what, when, how and why you eat, and how your diet makes you feel.
Peace and hugs, Leah
If you like this mindfulness practice, you can read more on my Patreon page.  You can have access to even more content once you become a patron. Be sure to check out the rewards you can receive when you pledge $3 or more each month.

I’m an artist and writer on a mission to bring healing arts into the mainstream. If you would like to support my heart work, please consider becoming a monthly patron on Patreon.com/Loviedo. For $1 a month, you can fund programs like my D.I.Y. Therapy: Healing Depression E-course, my monthly “Radical” e-zine and other creative healing projects, like “Cultivating Radical Self-Love: A Collaboration of Healers, Artists & Writers“.



Like this image? You can download it for free on my coloring book page! https://impoweryou.org/color/
Book Reviews, Writing

From Dove to Phoenix; a Journey by Guest Writer Jasmine Farrell

I first found work by Jasmine on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her words. She has definitely risen from the ashes to grace the world as a phoenix and I hope you enjoy her guest post as much as I did.

My book, Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is about my journey to self-discovery, self-love, letting go of habits and passed down traditions that hindered me from reaching my core.  PGAGD has poems that highlight my outlook on society, friends, family, and the realization of my new vision that I am a phoenix. Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a long title, I know. So here’s the deal:
After leaving Christianity, beginning my journey to self-discovery, self-love and delivering myself from the opinions of others, I realized something- I was groomed to be one way but I was destined to be something else.
I was a pretty little genesis dove. Avoided dancing to secular music (even though I love dancing) hid my voice and avoided addressing my wounds. I hid my heart’s desires in exchange for “God’s desires.” I denied natural desires and what my soul wanted which eventually caused internal damage.
I let go.
The need to please a God who wants me to deny my essence and my core was not it for me.
I’m like a phoenix. I have constantly gone through trials and tribulations, been burned by loved ones, life and my own insecurities. Nonetheless each time, I rose up from my own ashes and started again. I’ve got vibrant wings that make me a bit peculiar and I am boldly living out the best me that I can be (and I’m still growing and learning) without apologies.
However, the road to loving me and self-discovery is a new one.
Since I was a child I loved dancing, music, crystals, gem stones, being inquisitive and freely creative.  As I got older, I added storytelling, erotic novel writing, un-muzzling my voice and speaking out against society’s nonsense through my poetry. The aforementioned statement may sound normal to some of you. However, for those of you whom have a story adjacent to mine: Obtaining confidence and self-love is a no-no. I searched for those two things anyway.
I’ve been following my heart and my gut for a year and a half now.
Following my heart is the reason why I ran out of my comfort zone as though a roach were on my leg. I grew up believing that my heart was deceitful and should not be trusted. I was to trust elders first before trusting my own instincts. However, once I reached 23 years old, I had enough.
I let go of the religious rhetoric and society’s view of how I’m supposed to be. Began to trust my gut and look within for answers.
I am still dealing with cognitive dissonance concerning scriptural passages that pop every now and then (No, it isn’t God. Look up cognitive dissonance) I faced my issues with assistance and found me. I’m a damn phoenix.
I burn brightly through various tribulations and rose up from my own painful ashes, again and again… and again. I will not be silent about it. I will soar boldly in the sky with the other phoenixes. I know there are many of us.
Our hearts were born to be something completely different, yet we were groomed to be something else. Maybe you were raised to be a phoenix and you were meant to be a genesis dove. Maybe you were told that you were supposed to be a lawyer but you knew in your heart that you wanted to a doctor or a painter.
Maybe you were groomed to be a phoenix and you’re really a genesis dove?
Return to yourself and live at peace!

Jasmine Farrell

Purchase your Copy: https://www.amazon.com/Phoenixes-Groomed-as-Genesis-Doves/dp/0692678662/
Instagram @JustBreatheJasmine
Poetry Blog: www.nezrablog.wordpress.com

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What's Your Story

Guest Post: Journaling a Lifetime by Meghan McDonnell

If there’s one thing I love, it is learning about other people’s experiences on this life journey. It’s a way to learn new ideas and share in compassion with the obstacles, joys and events that mold us into our unique self. I was very intrigued when Meghan Hill reached out to me about her memoirs that she is publishing from her lifetime of journals. Not everyone has the bravery to share so willingly with strangers, but I think it’s an action more of us should practice.

Why I am Publishing a Lifetime of My Personal Journals
By Meghan McDonnell

In December 2015, I published Minor, Novice, and Limbo, the first three volumes in a series of ongoing journals I have been writing since I was eight years old. I’m 36 now and currently at work on the next 25 books in this series. Each one is roughly 80,000 words and I will continue publishing them until I have caught up to present day. The journals are an ongoing autobiography. They are an invitation to readers to engage with the arc of an internal life (mind, heart, and soul) of an American woman from childhood up through adolescence and into adulthood.

Writing is the only thing I have ever done consistently. I can’t help but record life. I feel compelled and it doesn’t feel like a choice. As for why I am publishing what I write, it’s similar to what George Mallory said when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest: “Because it is there.” My words and stories are here and I want to share them with people in hopes that they will feel known, understood, less alone, and more human. It would please me greatly if the journals inspire people to write more and share their own experiences as a means of catharsis, preservation, and connection. Girls and young women often struggle to find their voice and their place in the world. The journals are a blueprint for how I found mine.

Over the years, my loved ones have inquired, “How’s the writing going?” They know I write all the time and I think they wonder when I will publish a novel. My sister told me no one will read what I write as long as it sits in journals lined up on my bookshelves. Whenever my brother and I talk, he asks me what I’m doing for work. Depending on the month or year, I say waiting tables, doing admin for a law firm, making bookmarks, or whatever else has constituted my checkered job history. He listens and always says, “Well, that’s for the meantime. But we all know you’re a writer.” And in June 2013 at an annual girls’ weekend, one of my oldest friends made a suggestion: “What if you published your early journals serially? My niece is twelve and she’d appreciate reading the thoughts of another young girl.” This set something dormant off in me. I thought, “Why publish just the early ones? Why not publish all of them?” Within a month, I began.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I had published an ebook on Amazon two years prior, a book about organizing. I had several years of experience as an organizer and enjoyed going into people’s homes and helping them through the physical and emotional process of editing and refining their spaces. This was a safe topic for me to try my hand at writing a book about. I learned a lot and sold a few thousand copies. But when I started on the journal project, I had a host of new problems and questions to address:

  • Will anyone care or read them? (I’m not famous or distinguished.)
  • What’s the point? (I don’t know of anyone who has ever done this.)
  • Is there value or meaning in all these words? (This may be self-indulgent and narcissistic.)
  • Why can’t I stop writing? (I’m not a real writer because I don’t write novels and I’m not a columnist or reporter, but I write every day.)
  • Is this what I am meant to do with my life? (All I want to do is write.)
  • Then the more pressing questions:
  • How will I protect the identities of the people I love who are written on almost every page?
  • What are my ethical and legal responsibilities?
  • Will I publish anything that could hurt someone in any way?

I still don’t have answers to some of these questions. They morph and change throughout the process. This is my great experiment. I love every aspect of it. It has driven me to obsession. At times, I have resented my inability to stop working on it or thinking about it. I can’t get enough of it. Restlessness and a desire for purpose have defined most of my adulthood. Working on the journals has quieted these habits of being. I found something that keeps my interest and attention and that I can work on for endless hours with focus and precision. I have to believe it’s for something larger. Though I can’t see what that is yet, I keep going. Knowing I have at least 25 more books to go, I realize how important it is for me to take care of myself physically, psychologically, and emotionally. I get consumed by my past, and the pain and joy laced throughout my relationships and history. I have no problem with structure or discipline when it comes to writing and publishing but for my health and well-being, I need social outlets and support so I don’t become a version of Hemingway in his final years. When I transcribe what I wrote so many years ago, I feel raw and vulnerable. Sometimes I try to pad this with beer or cigarettes. But it doesn’t work. I come face to face with myself and all the versions of me that have lived thus far.

My books are unique in their scope and in the consistency with which I’ve kept them. I explore all the levels and layers in myself, my relationships, and my experiences. Passages range from the mundane to the mystical, from distinct details and observations to overarching universal themes that anyone can relate to. The e-book versions include hyperlinks to the many cultural references I make to songs, books, and films, adding atmosphere and experiential currency. The books contain no chapters. The format is dates of entry and sign-offs. The books have an ongoing, fluid nature with a mixture of long and short entries, large concepts and daily detail, life, humanity, reality, and imagination. The journals take readers on a fearless, vulnerable journey into their own emotions and experiences. They address most of the things we ignore, suppress, and deny. They are a relief to people and a liberating opportunity to take off our masks and loosen the binds that tie us – all the criticism, judgement, and workaday conformity that we tolerate daily. We often feel frozen when we look within. My books thaw this freeze.

I record my life in story to tell the truth. We all experience the gamut of emotions, I just happen to write about them, explore them, find meaning in them, and once in a while, transcend them. There is no shame or rage or depression so great that story, writing, reading, talking, and listening can’t alleviate it. My books bear this out. Identification of suffering may be one of its inherent antidotes – to share lightens it, to speak of it, bring it to light, begins to dissolve it. I have an eye toward suffering, but also to the joy and mystery of being alive. We all want to confess. I do. In my journals, I have written what I observe and hear. Observation and listening as a form of reverence. I absorb others’ stories, alchemize them with my own, and pour them back out in writing. I break a lot of writing rules. I don’t have the luxury of punching up what I wrote with creative license. The material was already written. But in transcribing, I’ve been surprised by how much natural story emerges when you simply write down your life as it happens. I could hazard guesses about what my 16 or 21 or 30 year-old self thought or felt or said. But I don’t have to because I recorded it. Not everything. But enough.

Grab one or all three of Meghans books on Amazon.
Minor: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0195KUAG4
Novice: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019CXZV2W
Limbo: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019CXZY1K


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