The Most Irritating Thing about the Self-Care Movement

the fact that everything is a movement now

like the importance of self-love didn’t exist

before Instagram memes

like healing is a status update

like self-care ain’t a journey but a tweet

like healing ain’t a process but words we hang

on our Facebook walls

and pretend we ain’t cover trauma in hashtags

I see healing differently

mistakes are opportunities

failure is strength

and self-love and healing is a process

paths that we aren’t always sure to take

we become masters of ourselves

only to begin again

like a battle we don’t know if we’ve won yet

a journey, healing is

and we master the parts of ourselves

until there are no more apologies

in our throats

until everything we do doesn’t sound like

sorry

until we value ourselves like we do

likes on a post

until burden ain’t heavy no more

cause we learned how to carry it

until we no longer carry it

until we’ve struggled so long

we don’t know what quitting is


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3 Life Lessons from the Story of Creation

#1: Celebrate Along the Way

After everything Yah created, he stopped to praise the work he had done. When he created the lights, it was good. When he created the expanse, it was good. When he created the land and the waters and the sun and the stars and so on, Yah stopped to acknowledge that what he had just created was good. In our own lives, we must learn to celebrate our success along the way and not just what we consider great successes but small ones too. And when I say small I am talking about being able to get out of the bed in the morning. When I say small I mean getting your children ready for school. When I say small I mean cooking for your family. When I say small I mean being able to have a warm cup of coffee in the morning or a cool glass of wine in the evenings. This is surplus. Anytime we can have more than the bare minimum, it’s surplus. Its extra. So when I say small I mean being successful at just getting through the day without going insane.

Miserable people will try to criticize your joy. They will say things like, “ain’t nobody happy all the time.” While you certainly won’t be happy all the time, you don’t have to be happy to be thankful. We must learn not to just promote praise among those finished projects but to also see the good in the unfinished. We must learn to be grateful during the bad times, the tired times, the frustrating times, and the sad times because these are the most important times. In fact, these hard times are probably even more important than the good times because the hard times are cultivating something in you. You are being prepared for something. You are being strengthened for a work. Additionally, being grateful for what you have and celebrating on the way to where you are going builds healthy self-esteem. When you stop and give praise for everything that you have, even if you don’t have what you want, you begin to feel better about yourself, about your life and about who you are.

#2: It’s a Process

Certainly, the Almighty Power could have created everything in one day. Certainly, he is powerful enough and more than capable of doing it but instead, Yah took six days. He took his time making sure that the world was perfect for those who would inhabit it. In our own lives, we must understand that everything is a process. You cannot expect to have everything figured out at one time and you can’t expect to have everything you need at one time. You may find one piece of the puzzle today and the next piece may not come until next month or next year. The next piece may not come until you are mature enough to receive that piece. It may not come until you are in a place mentally to receive it.

Greatness doesn’t just happen. It is a result of years of work, of trial, of failure, and of learning. It is a culmination of experiences and setbacks. It is a process. We must learn to allow ourselves to be nurtured and to be prepared for our destiny and our purpose.

#3: Rest

The creator of everything certainly does not need to rest in the way that we do and as previously stated, certainly he could have created everything in one day and be done with it. But he didn’t and I believe it was to show us something. After six days Yah rested on the seventh day and set this day apart. In our own lives, we must understand that there’s no such thing as this 24-hour working life we see on social media and television. You cannot expect to work until you are exhausted and still expect to have enough energy to be productive. Rest and vacation have become a privilege in this world and that’s a shame. Rest is not some privilege. Rest is a necessity. We cannot expect to be 100 every single day. That’s not realistic. Rest is just as important as work is.

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health and is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Going without sleep or rest is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. This is because our bodies are designed to refuel during rest. This is when we get our wind back. You can run non-stop until you are out of breath and falling over or you can walk and pace yourself so that you have enough endurance to make it to the end. We can try and mimic the “hustle” and “grind” of everyone else and run our health into the ground. Or we can take some time to rest our bodies, our hearts, and our minds.

I Believe in Progress

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I believe in progress. In recognizing and acknowledging your growth. In appreciating not just everything that you have but also everything you’ve endured to get to where you are. In process. In stopping to consider where you are, not just where you are trying to go. In gratitude and contentment. In looking back only to be reminded of where you’ve come from. To see the lessons and to teach them and to inspire. To never forget where you came from. Your roots. Your experiences. Everything that made you who you are today. Everything that built you. You are not just the positive. You are the negative too. The struggle. The hustle. The grime. The beautiful and the broken. The good and the bad. You are balance. I regret nothing. There’s no reason to. I am not just made up of the good things. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve been drunk. I’ve been hungry. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been hopeless. But I’ve also been happily married for seven years to a man I’ve been with ten years. I’ve also produced documentaries and taught women and children all over the world, hosted radio shows, performed poetry, taught grown women how to read, fed the homeless, helped felons to find jobs, and authored nine books and counting. I am not perfect, trust I have my days. Some are harder than others and I wonder how I’ll make it through but then, I believe in progress.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including work in progress and short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at  yecheilyahysrayl.com.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

Enjoy the Process

KYF (1)I’ve been focusing a lot on adding value to my personal, spiritual, mental and professional life. This process has caused me to reflect on a lot of things, pay attention to my actions, my words, and my interactions with others. I’ve had to dig deep and to make decisions that were not easy to make but that were necessary for my well-being and for my mental health.

I want to encourage you to enjoy the process of writing your books and taking it through the necessary steps to get it published. I know how easy it is to stress out during this time as you anxiously anticipate the birth of your book. We are in the winter months now which can be the darkest time of the year. With the pressure of the Holidays, depression, violence, and suicide rates skyrocket. We don’t need to add to this the worry of writing.

Worrying about every aspect of the progression takes the fun out of publishing. Makes it tedious and all-consuming. We focus so much on the end goal, “the release,” that the process itself, the going from A to B, the journey, becomes a blur. A hair pulling, tear-jerking, depression-inducing blur with the only satisfaction being the hope of seeing the book in print. That’s not the kind of professional life I want for myself and that’s not the kind of professional life I want for you.

I am starting over, it seems, in many ways and I’ve realized this is not a bad thing. This is growth and it’s exciting. I feel like a newbie writer again setting out on uncharted territory. I want to take my time and I want to do this right. My goal is always to do better, to move forward and to progress a little more each day.

It is always my hope that you do well in your endeavors and whatever you set your mind to do. It is my hope that you can do what you love every day of your life and that you do so without compromising your integrity, your happiness or your love.

While I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo (too much for me), I am rooting for you, but I also hope you are not being too hard on yourself. Just enjoy the process.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including her work in progress and short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

5 Clues You are Stressing Out

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It’s easy to say, “Don’t stress” but if we don’t understand how to put this into practice in our everyday life, this is a command that is not so easy to obey. That’s why I’ve been exercising practical ways not to stress so much (because there’s no such thing as not stressing…stressing is natural…we just overdo it).

Sometimes we don’t know we are stressing. This is not good because what you don’t recognize, you can’t change. No worries though, I got you covered.

Here are 5 Clues you’re stressing out:

Overthinking / Overanalyzing

One clue that you are stressed about something is if you can’t stop thinking about it. When you are going over a situation in your head repeatedly. You micromanage every possible scenario on how something can go wrong. You give it so much energy that you even have mental conversations with yourself on what could happen, what did happen, how it happened and even new ways it could have happened. You go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it.

If this is you, you are stressing out and I am going to need you to chill.

Looking for Faults

If you find yourself looking for the flaw in things, you have a problem. Unlike being faced with a situation, you’re looking for one. Every single action is met with your own private investigation. The slightest issue is background checked for “possible” mistakes and mishaps. You even start to bring up old stuff, calculating how that situation and this one is connected.

If you’re constantly critiquing yourself or something/someone else, looking for problems that don’t nor have probably ever existed, you are stressing out and I am going to need you to just chill.

Whining / Complaining

What we think about will eventually come out of our mouths. If you find yourself complaining about every single itty bitty thing, you are stressed. You know that tone. When the inflation in your voice rises and the sentence begins with “but” or “why come” a whine is coming on. If all you focus on is problems you won’t see solutions. If you must complain all the time, you’re stressing yourself out and I am going to need you to chill.

Trying to Guess What People Are Thinking / Saying

This one is a lot more subtle than the others and is the cousin to overanalyzing. If you are having mental conversations about what you think other people are thinking and what they are saying, you are stressing. If you’re trying to find motive where it doesn’t exist, you are stressed because you’re worried about what others think and their reactions so you make up stuff. This is dangerous. Eventually, you will have convinced yourself you “know” what that person is thinking and start to interact with them based on the fictitious person in your head as if that’s who the person really is. You’ll start to look at everything they do based on the version of them in your head.

If you’re imagining what people must think or what they must be saying, you’re stressing and could push people away if your illusions ever reach the surface. Never assume you know what people are thinking. That’s what communication is for.

And oh yes, I am going to need you to chill.

Denial

It’s sometimes hard to see things about ourselves without someone pointing them out to us. This is when we need the help of family, friends, and people who truly care. You know, the ones who tell us exactly how it is… straight, no chaser. So, if someone says you’re stressed and your first response is to deny it or come up with excuses, that’s a big fat red flag that you probably are stressed out…

…and we’re going to need you to chill.

Controlling the Energy Around You

As many of you know, I’ve been doing lots of personal reflection. My focus has been on healing and love. This included taking some extensive time off to spend with Yah, my family, embracing solitude and doing more writing.

In this process, I’ve learned a lot about myself (still learning), got to spend time with my mom, finished two books and moved to Georgia.

Long story short, this break has paid off in more ways than one and I want to share with you something I shared with my Bimonthly email list already. That is, learning to control the energy around you so that you’re more positive, have more energy, are happier and accomplishing more.

To start, I’ve been practicing this by training my mind to be more positive.

Positive Thoughts

Many are already talking about the power of positive thinking, but how does that look in action?

What I’ve come to understand about the power of thought is how much our thoughts contribute to our physical well-being.

We can literally control the energy around us by the quality of our thoughts.

This means that I cannot focus my thoughts on the negative all day, every day and expect to be happy and energetic. If you wake up complaining, go to work complaining, blog your complaints, Tweet and Facebook your complaints, how do you (realistically speaking) expect to have a good day?

This includes limiting what my ears hear and what my eyes see. I can think positively but thinking positive is not enough.

I must also eliminate negative people, places, and things from my life that influences the way that I think.

Why is this important? Because we cannot heal in the same environment that broke us.

I’ve found that watching and listening to what is less negatively stimulating can help me to think less negatively. 

An example of this online is following more positive minded people on social media and accounts that encourage and build up instead of tear down. I removed those persons whose energy brought me down and followed those whose energy built me up. This doesn’t mean those I removed are bad people or that I love them less. It means that I love myself enough to protect my energy.

This process of falling back in love with ourselves begins with setting standards for what we will and will not tolerate. This is important because you teach people how to love you based on what you allow to take place.

Mental Rest

My break has been more so about mental rejuvenation more than physically. Being tired all the time does not necessarily mean that you’ve had a productive day. It may mean that you are busy but it doesn’t always mean that you’ve been productive. Sometimes it means it is mental rest that you need.

Because the spiritual (mind) and the physical (body) is connected, once we control the way we think we automatically control the way that we feel. Sure, I can get more hours of sleep (and I should) but…

ultimately it is my excitement and passion about the good in my life that will fill me up with positive and empowering energy.

Or, it is my depressed demeanor that will do the opposite.

Your mind can tire you out or fill you up.

For this, I am personally striving to cut down on complaining and worrying by focusing instead on positive thoughts and alternatives. This is not easy, is a daily process, and also means not allowing others to project their negative energy onto me. Giving into other people’s problems or letting people complain to us too much can drain our energy and leave us empty.

Being an ear is great but there’s a difference between being supportive and just letting people dump their issues in our laps.

We are not toilets and shouldn’t allow ourselves to be used.

Do not misunderstand me: Venting can be a good thing. Having someone to talk to is mentally healthy but in the words of Rudy Francisco:

“Some people will take until you have nothing left and then hold a grudge against your hands for being empty.”


Next, we’ll talk about some backlashes to the new and positive you and how to stay encouraged despite them. In a world this cold anything good is bound to be met with opposition. This should not surprise us. In fact, we should prepare for it.

Self-Publishing – Laying Bricks Ep 2: Mortar

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“You cannot build your hopes upon unstable foundations and expect a product of longevity.”

– Audrey Prim,

Quote From heyygurrlheyy.wordpress.com

Sure, there are other things we’ll need to do: paint the walls, add furniture, and hire professionals but not now, not while laying bricks.

Execution is vital in going from an idea to something that is actually tangible. Goals are great, but alone they’re not enough. Written down, they are merely plans. Plans are awesome. But a plan that is not backed by action becomes fruitless.  Laying bricks is excellent, but it is not enough. No, you can’t just write, sorry. I wish it was that easy. Wait, actually, it is!

It is if you take your time. If we are to build a strong house, there are other things that we must do with these bricks besides lay them. In our first unofficial episode, we spoke about focusing on one brick and how to lay it properly. We got through the laying part but if the brick is not held together, then the entire foundation is weak and the house will crumble.

Applying Mortar – Revisions and Feedback

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Writing the story is important. It is your guide, your first brick. But we have all lived long enough to know that you can’t just stack bricks, you need something to hold them together. As much as we’d like to all just have fun, this is a business after all.

Safety Tip: When working with mortar, always wear gloves and a mask or respirator.

Before applying mortar, you’d need to protect yourself. This just means you’ll need to be prepared to battle self-doubt and rejection because this step requires revisions and feedback. If your first brick is the story, then how do you know if that story is any good? Surely we cannot depend on our own selves to determine the quality of work. I mean, are we brilliant? Yes, of course. But we are also too close to the work.

I’m not going to pretend your first draft isn’t everything, it is. It took lots of time and research. It is everything, but it’s not EVERYTHING! See how exciting the last everything was? First drafts are like the play-dough you just want to play with and get all “authorly” and say stuff like “yaasss”. However, we can’t just give readers dough now can we? We have to mold it into something and to do this properly, you’ll need a little bit of help.

Discover the tools you need to apply a generous amount of feedback to each layer of the brick. This may require:

  1. Beta Readers
  2. Advanced Review Readers
  3. Writing Critique Groups
  4. Facebook Writer Groups

Click Here for 40 Places to Find a Critique Partner

Who Will Help You Improve Your Writing

I know. It sounds funny speaking about revisions so early on. The truth is that no first draft is ready to be published. The truth is that your manuscript will need revisions. But, how do you know what needs to be revised?

The job of these people listed is to provide constructive feedback. When it came time to participate in The Curiouser Author Society’s Critique day, whew! Nervous is not the word, I was terrified. However, when I finally did upload my novel’s first chapter and allowed this group of people to read it, I was pleasantly surprised. It was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Sure, I thought it was good but could I really depend on my own critique? Not really. Now that others read it and provided feedback I knew it was good. Granted, it wasn’t great (at this stage you don’t get to great yet… there were things I needed to fix), but I was confident that it wasn’t poor either which boosted my confidence as a writer. I’m telling you from experience, it is enough fuel to finish the book indeed!

Here are a few things to look for during revision:

  • Contradictions  – Usually writers start off strong in the beginning but then you get to the end and its like, “Where they do that at?” Look for contradictions in your characters behaviors or setting or anything. Is she wearing red shoes? I thought she hated red tho? Stuff like that.
  • Flow and Pace – If you skip it, chances are it needs to be skipped.
  • Destroy – I’ll speak more on this in the next episode but it is part of the revision process. To fix some things means you have to break it down to build it up. So if the shoe fits, yeah, some parts of your story will need to be utterly destroyed. Recently, I just had to cut an entire chapter from my WIP. Ouch.
  • One Thing at a Time – So is the whole point of this series. We’re not focused on the in depth stuff. In this series we’re focusing on the basics. When you perfect the basics you can build upon what you build. On the other hand, without a strong foundation none of the other stuff will matter. So, back to it. Revise in stages, fixing one thing at a time. Don’t rush. Remember, this is  a process. We’re not building a straw house. We’re building  a brick house.
  • Show and Tell – Check for moments you told instead of showed and vice verse. I won’t elaborate here since I plan to publish a separate post on it, but just be sure you understand the difference between telling vs. showing. Personally, I think good writers show and tell. There’s an ongoing debate in the writing world about Showing vs. Telling but here’s the secret: don’t show us everything! As a result of the show vs. tell debate authors are now showing us everything but their booty cheeks. That’s not what show vs. tell means and makes the story sound just as boring as my example. It’s called Storytelling for a reason. You are supposed to tell a story. The difference is in balancing the amount of telling and showing. Straight action doesn’t work no more than no action. Your characters just can’t be running all over the place, they need quite, emotional times too.
  • Grammar / Punctuation – This is last not because its not important. It’s just that this goes more into the next episode. But, there are still mistakes you can catch during your revision you may not have seen before. Especially those caught by your betas.

Sure, everyone’s opinions are just that, opinions. Additionally, opinions vary for each person. Still, it helps to have an extra set of eyes to validate some things for you as you revise your script. If you think you can really do it all yourself, then maybe you are not ready to build a house. (Ever watched those home reconstruction shows? Do you see how much work that is? Now, imagine one person doing it. Sheesh). The extra set of eyes are not to dictate your script, change the vision, or slam your work.

The extra eyes are just to help you along the revision process before you go in for the edit. So, “butter” that brick with mortar by recruiting additional sets of eyes to read your manuscript. They may be useful in locking each brick into place and to release any unnecessary plot bubbles that may be underneath all the glitter and glam.

Next– Removing Excess

Next, we’ll talk about removing the excess in your Self-Pub brick laying process. Find out what to do when you get your scripts back from readers. After you’ve gotten the book critiqued, now what? Stay Tuned.

Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter for more tips, updates on my upcoming projects, free excerpt chapters and articles not yet published to this blog, book promotions, and more.

Disclaimer. Everything I share on Self-Publishing is always based on my own experience and research because I believe you can’t advise people on stuff you haven’t really tried. It’s just best if you’ve walked those shoes. So, that said I do not profess to be an expert. There are too many of them out there for you to glean from. Now, should you find information on this blog useful? Whoo hoo! Go for it.

Missed the first episode? See Laying Bricks Ep 1: Guide The Bricks


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.