4 Ways to Clear Energy That’s Not Serving You

 

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Although empaths tend to experience it in a more pronounced way, I believe we all feel when we’re in negative environments or when people around us affect our energy in not-so-great ways. The good news is that there are ways you can protect yourself and clear energy that’s not serving you. Here are four techniques to try:

1. Smudging is an ancient practice in which you burn sacred plants (like sage, for example) and allow the smoke to clear and bless a space — or yourself. I smudge our apartment, and myself, with sage weekly, but I also smudge myself when my energy is off or I’m feeling down, frustrated, anxious, etc.. Here’s how to do it:

  • Light the stick, and let it catch fire.
  • Let the fire out, letting the smoke billow from the stick.
  • If you’re smudging your home, walk around along each wall (or close to each wall), allowing the smoke to go everywhere. If you’re smudging yourself, wave the smoke, starting from your feet and moving up, over you body in front of and behind you. While smudging, you can verbalize what you’re releasing; For example, “I release doubt. I release fear. I release anything that no longer serves me.”
  • When you’re done, open a door or window to allow the old energy to leave.

2. Visualization. This is a technique you can practice if you know in advance you’re going to be in a negative environment or around negative people (say, work or around certain family members) and you want to protect yourself:

  • Sit comfortably and breathe deeply.
  • Visualize yourself surrounded by an orb of white light and love. See that it’s only you within this circle, and nothing can get to you.
  • You can practice “wearing” the orb throughout your day, and before you deal with people/situations/places that drain you. The visual will let love and light come through while fending off and releasing any energy that’s not serving you.

3. Affirmations are a great way to change your mindset and help you stay focused on the positive. Here are a few to use:

  • I release any and everything that does not serve me.
  • I release all fear, anxiety, and overwhelm.
  • I let go of all negativity from my mind and body.
  • I easily let go of thoughts and beliefs that disempower me.
  • I release anything, any person, and any situation that keeps me from moving forward.

4. Crystal healing. Over the past few months, I’ve really been into learning more and using crystals for my mental and emotional wellness. One of my favorite crystals for getting rid of negative energy and feeling more positive is smoky quartz. Other crystals to try:

Black tourmaline absorbs negative energy and turns it into positive energy, provides energetic protection, and helps with stress relief.

Selentine cleanses and purifies your energy and provides protective energy.

What do you do to cleanse energy that’s not serving you? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

“Today is your day to let go of things that no longer serve you.”


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Why I Started Going to Therapy (and Why I’m Glad I Did)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Although it’s still somewhat taboo, I’ve always been an advocate of mental health care and therapy. In the Black community, therapy has been seen as what “crazy” or White folks use — not us. We’re supposed to utilize prayer, the church, and Jesus.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with praying, going to church, or Jesus (or whoever your deity is), but sometimes, you might need something more. And I realized that was true for me almost two months ago.

As many of you know, I started teaching yoga in-person this fall because 1. The opportunities basically fell in my lap; and 2. It’s what I thought I wanted to do. At first, I was excited about this new venture and stream of income, but as time went on, I’d have no one or only one person show up for classes. Needless to say, it was pretty discouraging. But being someone who typically sees the bright side of things and keeps a positive attitude (for the most part), I really tried to keep the faith and continue promoting and showing up. It wasn’t working. I ultimately had a breaking point, which led me to an emotional breakdown. I had been feeling really depressed about this, and it all just came out one Friday night. As I lay in bed, after crying my eyes out, I decided to look up local Black therapists because I knew that I couldn’t continue doing this to myself, and I didn’t know how to pull myself out of the muck. The first therapist I contacted didn’t reply, so the following week, I contacted another and set up my first appointment with Suntia Smith in Greenville (who I highly recommend).

Although I’ve only been to two sessions so far, it’s been amazing and eye-opening. While I’ve always been introspective and have become more self-aware through meditation, I just couldn’t figure out what to do about my work situation (actually, I knew what to do; I just didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to let anyone down). Anyway, talking to Suntia and answering her questions in that first session helped me realize that teaching yoga on a weekly basis wasn’t something I truly wanted to do (on the other hand, I do love doing retreats and workshops on occasion), and the reason why is I enjoy freedom, which is something I’d never really thought about before. And that session helped me get crystal clear on what I want to do with the Black Girl’s Guide to Calm brand.

In addition to admitting that I was still trying to be a people-pleaser, I also recognized that I wasn’t being my authentic self, both of which came as a bit of surprise to be quite honest (haha). This year has been the most transformational one I’ve ever experienced, starting with me uncovering my spiritual beliefs. This came up when Suntia asked me who I really am after giving her the surface answer: I told her I am sensual, fun, have great sense of humor, into the “woo woo” stuff, meaning crystals, chakras, incense, sage…you know, my version of spirituality that a lot of people consider “woo woo.” But I’d been hiding that part of myself, particularly on social media. Now, you might be saying, “Why does that matter? Everyone doesn’t need to know what you believe.” Well, I’ve been blogging for 8 years, and I’ve been pretty transparent about my life and my faith the entire time on my blog and on social media. So, why would I speak on that then and not speak on my beliefs now?

The reason I didn’t really allude to my spirituality is because I was worried about what the people who know me in real life would think about my beliefs. However, that cognitive dissonance (me wanting to just be myself and share vs. me not wanting to ruffle feathers) caused a lot of stress and anxiety for me. And I also realized that this inauthenticity (is this a word?) shows up as me shrinking myself, not allowing myself to shine too brightly (because, for one, I’ve always heard some variation of “She thinks she’s all that!”). For example, I enjoy makeup and playing around with different looks, but I wouldn’t wear certain lipsticks because I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself; or I don’t share my business offerings and my story as much as I should because I don’t want to be “pushy” or seen as someone who thinks she’s all that.”

Thankfully, because of therapy and Suntia in particular, I am in a  place of not giving as much of a fuck (because, at the moment, I still give somewhat of one lol) about people’s opinions of me. I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten to this place of self-acceptance, authenticity, and freedom without outside sources– or I wouldn’t have gotten here so quickly.

I want to encourage you to seek professional help if you feel you need it and/or if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression. While I do feel that practices like yoga and meditation are amazingly effective tools, like I mentioned in the first paragraph, sometimes, a therapist, coach, or counselor is necessary. And even if you don’t have a mental illness, it can still be helpful to get an outside, objective perspective on things so you can move forward. To find a Black therapist in your area, check out the sites below:

African American Therapists

Black Counselors

Black Therapist Network

Have you been to therapy? What was your experience like? Also, if you’re a Black therapist reading this, feel free to link to your site below! : )

 

20 Affirmations for Calm and Inner Peace

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I post an affirmation every Friday related to finding calm and/or self-care.  Affirmations are a great way to not only create calm but to also change your mindset so that you’re calm and peaceful more often than not.

Success coach and co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series Jack Canfield says an affirmation is a statement of your goal or desire now realized in the present time. They’re statements you can write down or record then repeat/listen to regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with thoughts, images, and feelings you’d be experiencing if your goal was complete.

With that said, here are some affirmations that will help you find your calm and inner peace:

  1. I let my worries go so I can be here for the beauty that surrounds me now. (Mary Davis)
  2. Today, I take a moment to press pause, get quiet, and simply breathe.
  3. When stressful situations occur, I remember that it’s possible to choose peace over worry.
  4. I let go, and allow the Universe to do her thing. (Gabrielle Bernstein)
  5. Today, I choose serenity.
  6. I am centered, I am calm, I am at peace.
  7. I make my calm and serenity a priority.
  8. Today, I relax and flow.
  9. I choose to experience life in a calm manner.
  10. I let go of all negativity that rests in my mind and body. (Louise Hay)
  11. It’s okay to make myself a priority.
  12. I relax, knowing that everything will be okay.
  13. I got this.
  14. I inhale peace and exhale overwhelm.
  15. I focus on the thoughts that bring me peace and joy.
  16. It is easy for me to tap into my inner peace whenever I need to.
  17. I deserve calm and self-care.
  18. My stress and tension melt away with each deep breath.
  19. I stay focused on the present moment, which brings me peace.
  20. I create my own calm.

Like these affirmations? Download this printable PDF or save it to your phone.


 

 

Stress Less By Standing In Your Truth

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Earlier this year, I turned 30. It’s been a year of growth, transition, and awakening. And I’ve learned that a big part of stress is not standing in your truth. Let me explain…

For the past month or so, I’ve been mulling over a situation related to my brand/work (I’ll probably do a post about it later). Just thinking about it and trying to figure out what to do had me so stressed and even made me feel depressed, and it was affecting every part of my life. I was trying to figure out why I was feeling the way I did, and that — along with some other personal things — made me seek out a therapist (I’ll be doing a post about that, too).

Ultimately, I already knew what to do (thanks to my intuition/Higher Self). I was being stubborn,  and I wanted to explore why I felt the way I did because I was unsure of the reason. After the session, I understood my feelings, and I also realized that I haven’t been standing in my truth. And that was a big part of my stress!

Then, I received several messages from Goddess about standing in my truth and doing what’s best for me, like this from my Facebook friend, Takeallah:

“…I stick out. And I’m fine with that…You take this Black Girl Magic and ALL of its glory. You don’t get to pick and choose which components you wish to take and which ones you wish to leave behind or altar.”

And this from another FB friend, Valerie, who shared an Iyanla Vanzant quote:

“Speak the truth to yourself about what you feel, about what you need, about what you see, about what you want. So many of us don’t tell ourselves the truth. We don’t speak the truth in our spirits. And then we can’t understand why there’s so many dishonorable things going on in our lives. This is about you and your voice and your truth.”

And this post I saw on Instagram:

If you’re not excited about it, it’s not the right path.” – Abraham Hicks

So, if not standing in your truth is causing you to feel stressed and disconnected from yourself, here’s what you can do:

  1. Figure out what your truth is. What you really want, what you really believe, and what you really value. (Meditation and journaling help with this).
  2. Be okay with your truth within yourself. Be honest with yourself.
  3. Live your truth. This looks different for all of us; for me, it includes: saying Goddess/Spirit/the Universe instead of God; doing what’s best for my business and myself/my sanity; being confident in being a spiritual-empathetic-sensitive-goddess-warrior-woman-healer-entrepreneur when there aren’t a lot of people like me where I live (I’ve been fortunate to find a few, though!).

So, I’ve made the decision to stand in my truth. And no, it’s not always easy. But I’d rather have the difficult conversations or feel uncomfortable for a moment than to continue living a lie and being unhappy and overwhelmed. Life is too short and too valuable to be anything other than true to yourself and happy.

“When you show up authentic, you create the space for others to do the same.

Walk in your truth.”


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#HappyTip: Pamper Yourself

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

For me, taking time to pamper myself weekly not only brings me joy, it’s also a way that I create calm and make sure I’m practicing self-care. And contrary to what you may believe, you can pamper yourself without spending a ton of cash — or any. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a bubble bath or a detox bath.
  • Massage (professional or personal). I go here.
  • Give yourself a mani or pedi (or go to the nail salon).
  • Get in bed (or on the couch) with your blanket and catch up on TV or binge-watch a show you’ve been missing.
  • Give yourself a facial.
  • Read (or re-read) a novel, and get lost in someone else’s world.
  • Do some restorative yoga.
  • Take a social media break for the weekend.
  • Nap. (20 or 90 minutes is ideal — I say go for 90).
  • Try reflexology.

What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

#HappyTip: Practice Positive Self-talk

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

The way you talk to yourself — positively or negatively — has an impact on your life and how you live. Practicing positive self-talk uplifts you, increases your confidence, lessens your stress, and helps you manifest your desires.

While it does take time to go from being a negative self-talker to a positive one, it is possible do so (I’ve done it myself). Here are four ways to get started:

1. Become aware of your thoughts. We literally think thousands of thoughts per day, so it’s impossible to catch every thought. But one way to become more aware of how you think is to pay attention to how you feel since your feelings indicate what you’re thinking. Once you check in with how you feel (which I recommend doing several times a day), see if you can figure out what you were thinking to make you feel that way, which leads me to the second point…

2. Change your negative thoughts to positive ones. When you become aware of the negative self-talk, turn it into something positive. For example, if I didn’t check everything off of my intentions list, I might tell myself something like, Ugh, what’s wrong with you? Why couldn’t you get everything done? Then I’ll catch myself and say something like, You did the best you could; tomorrow’s a new day; it’s not the end of the world. The more you do this, you’ll notices that the negative voice becomes quieter and quieter.

3. Use affirmations. These are a great way to re-program your mind to expect the best and look on the bright side. You can write your own that reflect how you want you and your life to be; for example: I am a success; I am worthy; I am enough, I have enough, I do enough. Or you can find them on sites like Pinterest.

4. Look on the bright side. Focus on the good in your life with a daily gratitude practice (like keeping a gratitude journal). Another idea: Before going to bed, write down 3-5 things that brought you joy during the day. With consistency, this trains your brain to always be looking for the good in your days, which makes your more optimistic and happy.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” – Eckart Tolle

How do you make sure you positively talk to yourself? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

How to Stay Mentally Well In Tragic Times

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

With all the tragedy that’s happened in this week alone, it’s so important that we, as Black people, practice self-care and stay mentally well. Here are some ways to do so:

Unplug. While it’s important to be aware of what’s going on, it can be too much to handle with the constant news and opinions and graphic videos and photos on social media. So, if you need to take a break from Facebook, Instagram, or wherever, do that. In fact, even if you don’t feel like you need to, I say take one anyway; at least for a few hours.

Allow yourself to feel what you feel. You might be feeling angry, sad, or any other combination of emotions. And that’s totally normal and okay because sh*t is fvcked up…how could you not feel anything?

Vent. Let your feelings and frustrations out by ranting to a loved one or (my favorite) your journal. It’ll feel so good to let it all out.

Meditation and yoga. Of course, these are my top ways to get re-center myself and get my inner peace back. You don’t have to do it for a long time, either; 10 or 20 minutes can do wonders.

Do something you enjoy. Spend time with loved ones. Read a book. Go on a Netflix binge. Do your nails. Go for a walk. Play with your kids (or somebody else’s). Anything that will bring you joy and a sense of peace.

How do you stay mentally well in times like this? Let us know by leaving a comment.


Are you constantly stressed and always overwhelmed, feeling on edge? What if it was possible for you to feel more inner peace, be happier and centered, and enjoy your life now?

Actually, it is possible! And beginning a yoga practice is a great way to start doing so. Ready to begin yours? Click below to learn more about and sign up for my Mind, Body, and Soul Yoga Program.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Confession: I Still Struggle With Mommy Guilt

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

This week has been a little…hectic. For the past few days, I’ve been attempting to upload, edit, and put together yoga videos recorded on my phone. I didn’t have enough space on my phone, so one wouldn’t upload. Then, my phone started acting crazy (the home button wouldn’t work and I didn’t get notifications. And Chrome kept crashing on my computer. Long story short, I needed my parents to watch Nailah, my daughter, an extra night so I could finally finish the video. (Side note: I’ve mentioned it before, but if you didn’t know, my parents watch Nailah for me a few days a week so I can get things done since I work from home).

Even though I didn’t really want her to go back, I knew I needed her to so I could finish. While I was going back and forth in my head about whether I should just let her stay home, I started feeling really guilty and like a shitty mama. This week, she was with her grandparents Monday evening and Tuesday, came home Wednesday, and went back Thursday evening. On one hand, I felt bad that she’d only been home one night; on the other hand, it’s kind of a nightmare trying to accomplish work-related items when she’s here. She’s two-years-old (hopefully, this needs no further explanation); and while I do get a lot done when she goes to sleep, it’s often an ordeal to actually get to that point. It can take up to an hour (’cause she’s fighting it and wants to play), and that leaves me irritated and frustrated.

Anyway, I’m in my head all afternoon, going back and forth, like, What kind of mother are you to send her to her grandparents? By now, you should know how to get stuff done while she’s here. Other mothers successfully work from home with their kids every day with (seemingly) no help, so why can’t you? Then I’m like, Well, you can’t really compare your situation to theirs because you don’t know what they’re doing, or what they have going on. Maybe  they do have help, or maybe their kids just play quietly or whatever while mommy is working. I don’t know. But I do know that that’s not how Nailah operates. And that’s okay. And it’s okay that I need help. Besides, it’s not like you’re sending her away every day or every weekend so you can go party or something. You’re being productive and doing it to help create a better life and future for her — and your family — and so she can see you being happy and fulfilled and living your dreams. 

If you’re a mamapreneur, I’m sure you get it: feeling guilty about the time you have to take a way from your kid(s), feeling like you’re either not doing enough or doing too much when it comes to work, and feeling stressed and drained from the internal conflict.

When I’m feeling this way, here are some things I do and try to remember:

It’s okay to need help. Unless you’re one of those superwomen who can do everything herself (ha!), we all need help sometimes. And that’s okay. That’s why we have family and why all these people are here on Earth. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Stop comparing myself to people I see online. As I’ve heard and said before, we only see a highlight of people’s lives online. We don’t know what they’re dealing with or what goes on behind the scenes; we all share what we choose to share (and there’s nothing wrong with that). That’s why it’s important to focus on our lives and do our bests, which brings me to my next point…

I focus on doing my best. Because at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important. Period.

Know that life is about harmony, not balance. This is life-changing advice from my sis, Akilah Richards, when she spoke at The Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness Conference in 2013. Basically, there will be days when your kids (or partner or relative) will have most of your attention, and there’ll be days when work has most of your attention. So stop trying to make every day perfectly balanced — it’s just not possible. Instead, focus on being in harmony with what comes up and go with the flow. You’ll be a lot less stressed and overwhelmed.

“There is no perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children…What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.” – Elder M. Russel Ballard

 

Releasing That Which No Longer Serves (Blog Version)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

In my latest Inspiring Note, I wrote about how I’m releasing/have released things that no longer serve me because it’s something that’s been heavy on my mind and heart. (Side note: My apologies if you’ve already read this in my latest email; you can skip to the part about some of the other methods I used below if you want).

I’ve been feeling like there’s something (or some things) holding me back from fully being who I am and reaching my highest potential. So, I decided to get a tarot card reading with Cheyanne, who I met at the #betweenwordsandwater retreat a couple of weeks ago. The reading served as confirmation that it was time to let some shvt go. In a nutshell, the cards said that to go to my next level, to get to a new beginning and be who I truly am, I had to close some doors and release the old me/who I think I am.

I’d already instinctively known this, but I still didn’t really know what was holding me back. So, I got still and quiet (i.e., meditated), did some reflecting, and asked myself these questions to determine what those things were:

  1. What do I need to let go of?
  2. What doors need to close?
  3. Who, if anyone, do I need to let go of?
  4. What parts of myself do I need to leave behind?

Here’s some of what came up for me:

  • Worrying about what others think of me
  • Clutter (physical and mental)
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear (of failure, success, being “too much,” outside judgment, being who I know I am)
  • Being closed off (not vulnerable)
  • Time wasters (e.g., social media)
  • Negative social media

And when it came to the old me that I needed to shed, what came up was:

  • Timidness
  • Self-judgement and self-criticism
  • Scarcity mindset
  • Overthinking and overanalyzing
  • Not standing in my truth
  • Being in denial about who I am and what I’m here to do
  • Not expressing myself fully

If you feel stuck or like you need to let some things go but you’re not sure what those things are, I recommend taking some time to meditate (10 or 15 minutes will do), listen to Spirit, then answer the above questions for more clarity.

And if you want to take it a step further, you can smudge yourself and work on balancing your root chakra, which I recently learned about.

Smudging

This is something you can do to yourself or any physical space if you feel there’s negative energy or feel like you’re stuck, or depressed. Smudging can help get rid of that not-so-great energy and allow you to start fresh; it’s an ancient ceremony in which you burn sacred plants, like sage, and let the smoke clear and bless the space. You can read this to learn about smudging your home and this about smudging yourself.

What I did, in a nutshell, was movethe sage and smoke over the front and back of my body and affirmed that I was releasing any negativity, anything holding me back, and anything that no longer serves me.

After that, I did some meditation and yoga. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was doing asanas (poses) for the root chakra, but before I get into that, here’s a brief intro:

Chakras

We have seven chakras that are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through. They are:

  1. Root chakra (located at base of spine) — represents our foundation and feeling like we’re grounded
  2. Sacral (lower abdomen) — our connection and ability to accept other people and new experiences
  3. Solar plexus (upper abdomen, in the stomach area) — being confident and in control of our lives
  4. Heart (center of chest) — being able to love
  5. Throat (throat) — ability to communicate and express ourselves
  6. Third eye (forehead between the eyes) — being able to focus and see the big picture
  7. Crown (very top of head) — ability to be fully connected spiritually

In addition to helping you feel more grounded, healing the root chakra also helps with releasing fear and anxiety, which is something I needed to do.

The yoga poses related to this (I didn’t realize they were related to this chakra as I was doing them) are tree pose, forward bend, child’s pose, and warrior 1.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

You can do these whenever you feel you need to or twice a week in the morning. Additionally, you can heal this chakra by spending some time outdoors in nature. Happy releasing!

“Breathing deeply and releasing fear will help you get to where you want to be.” – Iyanla Vanzant

16 Inspirational Quotes for More Happiness & Joy

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

I haven’t really told anyone this yet, but I’m doing a little re-branding. I’ll still be teaching you how to create calm, but I’ll also be including the happiness aspect as well. I think happiness and joy are so important in our lives, and I believe if you’re overwhelmed and stressed more often than not, it’ll be pretty difficult for you to be happy (more on this later).

Anyhoo, here are few quotes for when you need a mood boost that will remind you that happiness starts with you and that you create it yourself:

  1. “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  2. “Are you always trying to get somewhere other than where you are so that you can finally be happy? The truth is that all unhappiness is caused by denial of the present.” – Robert Anthony
  3. “Decide to be happy, knowing it’s an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice, and not a result or payoff.” – Denis Waitley
  4. “Don’t put your happiness on hold by giving it conditions such as: ‘I’ll be happy when…’ Choose to feel positive now, and enjoy the journey.” – Mario Cortes
  5. “Of this to be sure: you do not find the happy life…you make it.” – Thomas S. Monson
  6. “Take time to do what makes your soul happy.” – Unknown
  7. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
  8. “Don’t let the concept of change scare you as much as the prospect of remaining unhappy.” – Timber Hawkeye
  9. “You are responsible for your own happiness.” – Unknown
  10. “The kindest thing you can do for the people you care about is to become a happy, joyous person,” – Brian Tracy
  11. “Real bliss is to have peace of mind.” – Deepak Chopra
  12. “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” – Henri Nouwen
  13. “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” – Robert Morely
  14. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson
  15. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  16. “Your joy is something magnificent. Protect your happiness.” – Unknown

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Do you have a go-to quote when you need to lift your mood? Share below!