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“It is amazing what someone wants to give you when you are self-sufficient.” with Nyaima Smith-Taylor and Sasza Lohery

It is amazing what someone wants to give you when you are self-sufficient. It is like the movie star who walks into a restaurant and gets a free meal. They are not gifted the meal because they needed it. The meal comes because the restaurant wants to share it with them. This is what happens […]


It is amazing what someone wants to give you when you are self-sufficient. It is like the movie star who walks into a restaurant and gets a free meal. They are not gifted the meal because they needed it. The meal comes because the restaurant wants to share it with them. This is what happens when you come to a relationship whole. The movement between giving and receiving becomes a rhythm flow of love.

As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships” I had the pleasure to interview Nyaima Smith-Taylor, a thought Leader ever-remembering her true nature. Lover of Life. Invested in the positive progression of humanity. She shares her experiences in hope that they will help another align to their true-Self. She is constantly rediscovering her identity and creating a new more loving version of herself. It is a constant process, but one she loves. She is also the Co-Creator of Art & Alchemy, an organization that provides practical techniques, services, and products to uplift, inspire, and deepen one’s connection to Self. She loves promoting self-love and working with individuals to help them release their inner Glow and radiance.


Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s Get Intimate! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

This question is always complex for me to answer. I had so many rich experiences and relationships that have placed their marks on me. I have powerful friends, mentors, and teachers, whose support and insight feed into my work. How do you differentiate the potency of their significance? Where does one begin and another one end? I am coming to understand how interconnected each of these inputs are energetically. If one hadn’t happened it could have changed the trajectory of my path.

But, if I had to choose today, I would say three distinct inputs laid the foundation for my current work. If asked the same question tomorrow, there is a good chance my answer will be different.

The first input would probably stay consistent across my various potential answers. It is my upbringing. I grew up in an environment full of love. My family and community nurtured me. This nurturing went beyond meeting my normal physical and emotional needs. It included constant reinforcement of my spiritual nature. It wasn’t overly pronounced or dogmatically forced upon me. It was subtle.

For example, if I saw things that others couldn’t see, had a vivid dream, or described energy, they were entertained as real and not brushed off. Our questions about God, Spirit, and energy were open for discussion. They encouraged me to believe in a “higher power” but on terms that worked for me. They gave me the space to create my own relationship with “God”. And by reflection, cultivate a relationship with myself.

This early spiritual validation developed a sense of connection, confidence, and wonder in me. It didn’t mean I didn’t experience some of the bitterness of life. But when I did, I had a solid toolbox and support structure to deal with them in a healthy way. It also made me hungry to understand the metaphysical dynamics and laws of this world. My experiences growing up hinted that there was something more. And I was eager to find out what they were.

The second profound experience that lead to my current career path was my interaction with the world-renowned Shaman, Malidoma Patrice Some.I crossed paths with Malidoma Patrice Some in 2015. Malidoma is an advocate for connecting to Spirit through Universal Love. He gave me a powerful personal mandate: To create community and connect to the ancestral powers to spread love. Simple. But I received these words like a complex riddle. They came with no roadmap. No coaching. No guidance. At the time I was content. In Love. Working in the Electrical Power field as a Relay Tech. Making good money. Respected by my coworkers. Breaking barriers in a male-dominated field. I was happy. Somehow, this message awakened something in my spirit. Unlocking an intuitive knowing that this was my personal mission. Something that was cultivated in my early years. It affirmed the restless, progressive, demanding energy that laid right beyond my contentment. I loved working as a field engineer. But it consumed my time. It limited my interactions with people on an intimate spiritual level. A limit difficult for me to digest completely. Nothing mystical in his message. Only a call to love myself and others. A call I decided it was time to answer.

The last thing I would say contributed deeply to my current work was a traumatic event. A year and a half into my marriage, my husband almost died. During the same time, a young woman in our community lost her husband. It was devastating. I 100% believe in the continuity of life. But there is still a human factor that exist when someone you love transitions off this plane. It wasn’t my husband’s condition that pushed me directly. It was the thoughts that crowded my mind -what would I do if I “lost him?” Trauma has a way of immediately focusing your energy on what is most important to you. You prioritize your values and shift through your desires. Engrossed in this “worst case scenario” thought pattern, I could only come up with one vision. Me, secluded on an exotic land, on mountainous sacred grounds, spending 100% of my time connecting with my spirit. Around the third time I had this vision of running to the mountains with the monks, I heard a voice. It was a voice beyond me. It ask me a profound question:

“If this is your true desire, why do you wait? Why not do it now? You don’t need mountains or monks or 23 hours of meditation. You need to align to your purpose. Your path is here, right now.”

The message was clear and personal. Again, my desires confirmed. This inspiration was present for decades, and now, it was time to listen. Receiving is only a part of a message, the other parts are decreeing it’s meaning, and then taking heed. It was time for me to take heed.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?

Yes! I am working on two projects via Art & Alchemy that exhilarates me.

The first project is the “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” project. In 2019 we want to get 100,000 women nurturing their femininity by wearing waistbeads. This project is near and dear to me. Before we coined the term, “Transformational Adornments,” I was creating waistbeads. It was the very first type of jewelry I created. They were my conduit into the world of Self-love. I still remember the first time I saw waistbeads. I attended a west African dance class in Harlem, NY. Women of all different shapes and sizes wore them. They looked like royalty. They all looked like Goddesses. They were confident and secure. That experience etched a powerful image of the Goddess in my mind. I started to create, and wear, more and more waistbeads. When I placed them around my waist, I could feel the gentleness and love I was giving myself. They were a gentle reminder of my innate greatness. I began to bring in metaphysical elements to create our brand of waistbeads. The purpose was to create a talisman that could aid in healing, affirm positive images, and accent the natural feminine beauty. I pulled from numerology, used ancient symbols, stones, and the energy of colors. I begin to interact with more women, becoming a “waistbeads advocate.” They were so powerful, that I thought all women should have a pair. But the responses I received in the beginning, troubled me. I realized the ladies who were present in that West African Dance class were not the norm. They were a group of women aligned to their inner Goddess who projected an unapologetic example of self-love.

That was over 20 years ago. But even now, if I polled 1000 women and asked them to try waistbeads, how do you think they will respond? An overwhelming number would say that their bodies are not perfect, so they can’t wear them. I hear comments like, “Those things are for little women” or “I don’t have enough curves for those.” When I clarify that these precious beads are about honoring the Divine Feminine, not a fashion statement, most are still unmoved. Our experience with hundreds of women have revealed that there is a correlation with their openness to waistbeads and their use of other Self-Love techniques. We find the women who adorn themselves in goddess beads are also open to meditate, to journal, to have active spiritual practices, to make appreciation a priority, etc. The “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” project is about affirming the natural inner beauty and perfection of all women. Our mission is to champion the power of women by using waistbeads to honor the Goddess within. Feminine energy is beautiful regardless of the physicality of the body. Don’t you believe your Divine feminine deserves to be honored? Imagine if someone refused to wash their body until they felt that it was perfect. That is what we do when we wait on conditions to honor our creative feminine energy, the Goddess. This is the relationship that matters the most. It requires love always. When you nurture it, magic happens.

Today, the “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” project has successfully introduced the concept of wearing waistbeads as a declaration of feminine power. It has assisted hundreds of women to develop or strengthen their Self-Love practice. It is our sincere desire to assist thousands more.

The second project is the “I AM” Movement.

“Declare who you are! Define who you are! Connect with Your Inner Power! Unlock the Secrets of the “I AM.” Use “I AM” as a tool to define your Reality.”

There are countless people, groups and institutions, who attempt to define Who You Are. The “I AM” Movement reminds you that you have the ‘POWER” and the “RIGHT” to declare who you are at any given moment. We used the “I AM” because it is absolute. “I Am” is one of the most powerful declarations you can say to the universe. It is more than a statement, it is a command, an action phrase. It identifies your state of being and creates your becoming. We use the “I AM” to anchor these complex ideas of self-definition and self-actualization. The “I AM” Movement is also about your connection to the Creator; God; The Universal Force; Source Creation; or whoever you deem to be the “Most High.” This movement ties into the vision and mission of Art & Alchemy. As such, it is ongoing and ever expanding. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to share the “I AM” with people interested in receiving it. Currently we are promoting the “I AM” pledge. An affirmative prayer created to connect you to spirit. Taking the pledge is free. It can be downloaded from our website. We are working on creating postcards that people can send to brighten the day of someone they love. A way of sharing a dose of inspiration and show loving support to people in your life. This is a feel good, pay it forward campaign. Taking the pledge is only a first step. The intent of sharing the pledge is to start a dialogue, and bring awareness to ways to affirm who you are.

“I AM” is your definitive affirming statement of who you are at any given moment in your life. Don’t wait for someone to define you, declare it for yourself! “I AM…”

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?

Struggle and success are real on this journey. But somewhere along the line I realized it didn’t have to be difficult. Subtle shifts in my perspective and focus were catalyst for great change. Small changes make huge impacts on life.

When I was working long days in the field as a relay technician, away from my family, I had one activity that kept me going. I attended yoga classes. In particular, I practiced Bikram Yoga. It grounded me, helped me release tension, and increased my internal focus. Yoga helped me to become more aware of my body and connect to how I felt. It is a challenging practice that required my diligence and patience. I struggled at first. However, I realized that small adjustments in my techniques had big effects on my practice. Now I apply this principle to my life outside of the yoga studio.

I used to believe there was some grand perfection that I was striving for in life. As a result, I was very hard on myself when I thought I wasn’t living up to my potential. Again, yoga cleared up this erroneous thought. There is always a better posture, always a deeper stretch, always deeper mediation. There is a balance between striving for more, pushing past your comfort zone, and remaining in a state of Love. There is nothing wrong with striving for greatness. But I had to redefine my definition of perfection. At Art & Alchemy we have a statement we say, “We are perfect in all our imperfections.” I had to treat myself like I do everyone else I love. I identify bad with the behavior, not the person. And I do my best not to allow that behavior to make me withdraw my love. I realized, I too deserved this same unconditional love from myself.

Now, in potential moments of dealing with myself, I say, “how would you treat your most precious friend in this situation? What kind of advice would you give them?” I use that as a baseline to deal with myself.

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

As a member of a society whose pathology towards love can be schizophrenic and devoid of truth, how do you Love? Even more, how do you learn how to love yourself?

Unfortunately, pop culture bombards people with messages that trigger your beliefs of inadequacies. “Your teeth are not white enough. Your body size is flawed. You don’t have enough friends. If you don’t have a partner something must be wrong with you. If you do have a partner your relationship probably sucks.” The list of ailments they convince you you suffer from are endless. How do you combat this?

There is an interesting dynamic here. If you try to fight these inputs directly you only perpetuate them. It is best to address the source of the problem. The only way someone can convince you of your inadequacies is if you feel unworthy. The consequences of unworthiness are disastrous. Often, they lead to poor performance and subpar relationships. It can paralysis you from taking decisive action. Even when the external factors seem to go well, unworthiness can lead to inner disharmony. Holding on to thoughts of unworthiness have negative effects on the body and the mind. Inner disharmony is like a gremlin that reproduces when exposed to negativity. It plants invisible seeds of negativity along your path that sprout at the most inopportune time.

Worthiness and Self-Love go hand and hand. Helping people release unworthiness and replace it with love is the intent of our “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” and the “I AM Movement”.

As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

Everything you manifest in your life is a pure reflection of who you believe you are. You are the source of all things created in your universe. How can you create something beautiful if you don’t see the beauty in yourself? Your creations are in-fact you. Your personal signature lives in each creation.

There is an endless list of the benefits of Self Love, as it affects every area of your life. Some benefits of Self-love include:

  • Opens you up to pathways for healing.
  • You feel a sense of wellbeing.
  • Fosters Deeper relationships.
  • Alignment with the things you desire to manifest.
  • Long term Happiness as a choice.
  • Greater success in your endeavors.
  • Negativity dissolves.
  • Inspiration to do the things you desire.
  • Greater reach to the collective.

We are connected to each other. When you exhibit self-love you are a magnetic. You radiate energy that is attractive. And increase collective positivity.

  • Ability to love others and receive love from others.
  • Build confidence.
  • Self-Validation. You no longer look outside yourself for approval.
  • Increased self-compassion.
  • Sustained Energy to focus on your grand visions.

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

The first thing I want to place in their heart is, “You are worthy of a healthy, loving, meaningful relationship. You are worthy to receive love. You are worthy to receive greatness. You are worthy to have more. You are worthy!”

When most people think about relationships they look outside themselves. They think about the relationships they have with others. It is rare for someone to identify the relationship they have with them self. But this is the most important relationship that exist. If that relationship is broke, unnurtured, or even worst, nonexistent, it will be impossible to have healthy relationships with others. A mediocre relationship that exist outside of you is only a reflection of the mediocre relationship you have with yourself.

There are a host of reasons why people remain in mediocre relationships. One big one is feelings of unworthiness. Unworthiness can lead you to victimize yourself in a relationship. You don’t feel you deserve better, so you take what you get.

Mediocrity kills. It is a slow death, but it kills you all the same. It kills you on a spiritual level. One of the qualities of life is movement. Spirit thrives on movement. Mediocrity is flat and stagnant. It depletes your energy. Stagnation leads to spiritual death.

Get out! Never make excuses for mediocracy. Thrive for the best in every area of your life. Even more in the areas of your life where it matters most.

Please don’t misunderstand my words. I am not saying it is easy. I am not saying there may not be circumstances that complicate your exit. I am not saying you may not have reasons to stay. You may even love the person on the other side of the relationship. What I am calling on you to do is to Love Yourself more. Love yourself more than the circumstances and reasons to stay. Love yourself fully and wholly. Make a plan and get out. You can’t get in a better position if you pour your energy into the maintenance of a poor relationship. I say this from experience. I have been in mediocre relationships before. They take work and priceless energy and have no return on your energetic or emotional input. Don’t block the beauty that awaits you.

Unfortunately, people are not taught how to maintain healthy relationships. We are also taught to prioritize things that exist outside of ourselves. As a consequence, you learn to minimize the things within. The relationship you have with yourself is the one that requires the most care. When that relationship is in-tact magic happens. Opportunities open up. Happiness becomes a choice. You no longer look outside of yourself for validation. Your very existence is validation.

It takes some trust to believe this, as it is counterintuitive to the fairy tales we grow up with. We all know the story of Cinderella. But we are never told that she took time to heal herself from her experience of living in a unloving home. But the handsome Prince rescues her anyway. And they lived happily ever after. Somewhere in our collective subconscious that is what we all expect. To be rescued by love. Love can heal. Love can save. It is the love that we give to ourselves that has this capacity. Where great amounts of Self-Love exist, great accomplishments happen. It is the platform for amazing relationships.

When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

I am always reflecting on how I can make positive changes within myself. This is Self-refinement. Self-refinement is a must if you want positive growth.

Prioritizing self-Love is a pathway for growth. Growth is life. Everything that is alive undergoes growth. Becoming better versions of who we are is something to always strive towards.

This is what businesses do when they want to scale and expand. They look at each component of their venture and come up with strategies for refinement. They look at ways to increase efficiency. They implement programs for teams to work together with more ease. They get rid of systems that are not yielding the results they want. Successful business people don’t become attached to the things that don’t work. They stay focused on the results they want.

This kind of awareness and non-attachment is necessary. It is easy to affirm negative qualities that don’t serve you due to your lack of attention.

Even with this constant self-reflection, I sometimes miss the clues. There is one sure fire way I can always determine if I need to make changes. This is by monitoring the alignment, tone, and spirit of my manifestations. If I don’t like the fruits I am producing, I know I need to change the seeds I am planting and do something different. Continuing to do the same things will yield the same results. Manifestations never lie. Like relationships, they are a reflection of your thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

One of my dearest teachers, Rev. Nafisa Sharriff of Entering the Holy of Holies (ETHOH), offers her students this question. “Does this serve my higher good?” It is a question that forces you to connect to your Higher Self. You can’t answer without making that connection. It also helps you clear through lower self-serving thoughts like fear.

I also use a variation of this question, “Does the vision I have about myself support the desires I want to achieve?

For example, when I first transitioned into this work, I was passionate and eager to create platforms, forums, and systems to assist people in their spiritual development. I wanted to be a successful business owner who assisted people in profound ways. Over a year of pouring into this endeavor, the results were defeating. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t gaining any traction.

After weeks of oscillating between pondering and pouting, I decided to consult the wise ones in my life. I asked my spirit to gently reveal to me what energy and emotions needed to move. It took months of reflection and discussions to understand what was going on. There were two culprits. How I identified myself, and my feelings of worthiness.

During this building period when someone asked me what I did, I told them I was an electrical engineer. Being an electrical engineer is not a bad thing. But engineering was no longer my role. I desire to become a successful business owner spreading Inner peace. There was a discontent between my desires, my self-identity, and my believes. My self-definition had to change and align to my new desire so that the Universe could manifest my new vision.

I also had secret feelings that stole from the purity of my vision. “Why would anyone listen to me?” I doubted my personal value, and the message I wanted to share with the world. Especially in this crowded noisy arena where everyone is a guru, and trying to sell you something. Once I understood feelings of unworthiness existed, I began to sooth these fears with self-loving statements and behaviors.

There is always a gap between where you are and where you want to be. My job was to bridge the gap between those two points. And that is what your job is.

The last question I use often is, “Am I acting in ways that align to my values?” It is important to prioritize your values on paper. Check in often to make sure your actions align with the values you’ve identified. For instance, you prioritize your most important value as your family and relationships. If you always cancel plans and miss school plays because of your work obligations, you may have to reevaluate what is most important to you. Clarity comes when you make these evaluations.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

Redefine your definition of alone. If by alone you mean there is no one sharing space with you physically, say that. Be impeccable with your words and your beliefs will shift.

The feeling of wanting to share with another human being is real. But being alone isn’t. You always have yourself, your ancestors, the Universal energy of the Divine.

This is why is it important to develop a relationship with yourself. During periods of my life, I was without a partner. Sometimes based on my desire, and other times due to circumstances. During those later moments, it was easy to feel unfilled due to the “missing relationship.” I sometimes went down the rabbit hole of feeling alone and feeling sorry for myself. But the truth was, I was never alone. Besides always having me, there were countless people in my circle showering me with love. I only felt alone because I wanted that love to come to me in another package. The tall, dark and handsome package.

One day while doing an exercise on appreciation, I realized that those feelings of aloneness were blocking my ability to appreciate all the wonderful relationships that were present in my life. How could I expect my sexy, wonderful man if I wasn’t showing appreciation for what I already had? It was crucial for me to appreciate the relationship I had with myself. And to honor the time the universe was giving me to build it up. People thought I was crazy, but I would take myself to dinner. Go to the theater. Used my journal to have conversations with myself. It was a period I learned to appreciate.

We have given the word alone a negative connotation. But everything has pros and cons. When I shifted the way I looked at the word “alone”, I begin to relish the time and space. I replaced the word alone with solitude. And when I did, I began to appreciate those moments in my experience. I was able to do the things I wanted to do without consulting with another. I could decide how I felt about something without the influence of another. I was able to exert and feel my independence. I became laser focused on what I wanted. I cleared my mind. All these things enhanced the qualities of my relationships. It prepared me for the intimate relationship that was to come.

Transform the way you look at “alone.” It can be a great gift.

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

One reason relationships don’t flourish is that many people come to them without knowledge of Self. They don’t know who they are, and as a result, they usually are not clear about what they want. They come broken, with holes, and fear, and pains, and past hurts, and closed hearts.

It is imperative to take care of this if you desire a relationship of depth and meaning. The only person responsible for cleaning you up is you. They only person responsible for making you happy is you. No one outside of you has the power to fill your gaps. But many people come to relationships with that expectation. Looking outside of themselves for validation and love.

Many people approach relationships and love as something to find, as oppose to something you choose. Make the choice to Love, right here, right now.

It is amazing what you can build on a solid foundation. Skyscrapers and complex architecture can be build. But a one room shack can’t remain standing on a weak base. This is the same in relationships. If you come together as two wholes standing in your power and strength, you have unlimited potential.

This doesn’t mean you have to be “perfect” coming into a relationship. It does mean you have to take responsibility for bridging any gaps within yourself. Relationships have a way of exposing areas in us that may need tweaking and changing. And when these areas come into our awareness we must know how to look within for solutions.

It is amazing what someone wants to give you when you are self-sufficient. It is like the movie star who walks into a restaurant and gets a free meal. They are not gifted the meal because they needed it. The meal comes because the restaurant wants to share it with them. This is what happens when you come to a relationship whole. The movement between giving and receiving becomes a rhythm flow of love.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

Prioritize your relationship with yourself! This is the first step.

Remember how to love yourself. Sometimes we complicate things with all of our techniques, processes, and analytics. Our natural capacity is to Love. We are love. We don’t have to teach a newborn baby how to love. They enter this world as love, emitting loves powerful energy. But living in this demanding society, we grow up and we forget.

On the most basic level, we have to remember that state. It is a process of remembering, unlearning, and then remembering.

Another way individuals can better understand themselves is to ask more questions. I am amazed at how many people blindly accept what they see and hear. Question everything. Especially your beliefs.

Ask questions and then think for yourself. We are developing a course called, “The Reconstruction of God.” In that course we ask people if their beliefs about God are their own, or ideas that were passed down to them but never questioned. We know people don’t like when their beliefs are challenged. But it is important that you get into the habit of being non-attached to your beliefs. Beliefs can and should change. Exposure to new ideas results in natural expansion. And your beliefs should grow and change based on that expansion.

Society will only change as a result of individual change. Society is a reflection of the collective mindset of individuals. Societal changes happen on the grass root level. We help the planet when we become better as individuals. Even the most progressive idea cannot live if the behavior and mindset of the collective consciousness does not support it.

Once the collective mindset has change, we can begin to create environments that illustrate our value of self-actualization, and love.

What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

I am happy that so many attuned people and cultures have come before us and left their legacies of Self-love. This means we don’t have to guess. There are pathways, and effective techniques to foster self-love. There are endless strategies, but here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Affirmations.

Affirmations are everywhere. Almost overdone and over-commercialized. But I still use and recommend them because they work. Affirmations use the power of words to ground you in your beliefs. Most people are familiar with positive affirmations. But for clarity, they are, positive, present tense statements that are said with emotion to imprint on the conscious mind. Find ways to anchor your affirmations. Whether you use NLP techniques, Transformational Adornments and talisman, or Crystals, find something that will easily and instantly connect you back to your affirmation. Place them on your bathroom mirror or frig. Use short affirmations as your screensaver. Try an app that sends affirmations right to your phone. Find an affirmational video you like and watch it in the morning when you rise, or in the evening before you go to sleep. This is the beauties of affirmations. They are versatile, easy to use, and have powerful results.

2. Appreciation.

Pure appreciation is at the heart of Self-Love. By learning to appreciate every part of who you are, you are actively showering yourself with love. If you see something you don’t like in yourself, appreciate the fact that it is being brought into your perspective. Appreciate your ability to transform it into something healthier. Release your false mental image of perfection. Release the conditions you have established that must be checked off before you give yourself permission to love. Do it because you deserve it. The sheer fact that you walk this planet means you deserve love. Be gentle with yourself. Many times, you are your harshest critic.

3. Healing Baths.

Regular Baths focus on cleaning your physical bodies. Healing baths are used to perform energetic cleansing. They cleanse built-up negativity, your aura, and other subtle energetic bodies. You don’t have to believe in the power of healing baths for them to be effective. Bathing is always a joyous experience of self-renewal and quality time with Yourself. As a bonus, healing baths can help relax and dissipate stagnant energy in the body. Like small aches and pains. They can increase blood flow through the body and reduce stress. I use natural herbs, essential oils, and sometime stones and crystals to create my Healing Baths. I always feel lighter after taking one.

4. Solitude.

Take time for Yourself. This may include meditation, reading, yoga, healing baths, hikes, walks. This doesn’t have to be a long drawn out production. Each day I practice a short 15 minutes meditation. It is my baseline. I may do additional activities for solitude during the day, but I make sure that no matter what, my daily 15-minute meditation happens.

5. Practice forgiveness.

Forgive yourself. Forgiveness is always an act of self-love. Even when it appears you are forgiving someone else. When you forgive you let yourself and other people off the hook. This releases the energy that negatively binds them to you and makes room for love. I cannot say enough about the power of forgiveness as it relates to your ability to love yourself.

Even if these are not activities that attract you, create your own list that inspires you. Prioritize Self-love in your daily life. Commit time and dollars to loving-yourself. Where and what you put your resources on shows what you really value.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

There is no shortage of teachings and teachers on the Self-Help, Spiritual Development scene today. There are so many paths. One is not better than another, only different. So my best advice is to go with what feels good and what resonates. Your Inner being is intelligent. If you connect to it and listen, it will offer you guidance.

I have several teachers I follow and listen to their messages. One of my favorite teachers is Abraham Hicks. They are practical, light-hearted, funny, and connected to Source. One of their famous statement is, “You can never get it done, and it is never complete.”

This resonates with me. Our quantitative environment programs us to take score of everything. In certain areas, this approach is necessary. But when we approach our energetic wellbeing using these same parameters we miss out on something beautiful.

We are never complete! There is always more to do, more to experience. This is what summons life energy through us. It is like the classic science illustration of potential energy.

Imagine a waterfall. Visualize the difference in altitude from the top of the waterfall to the bottom. There is a substantial difference between the top point and the bottom pool. That difference causes the water to flow with great intensity and grandeur. We experience a similar energetic flow in life.

We always have a starting point. And there is always something more we desire. It might be as simple as waking up earlier in the morning. Or as complex as creating a multi-million-dollar business from the ground up. In each example, there is a gap, a difference, like in the altitude of the waterfall. It is this difference that summons life energy.

Most people are in awe of the beauty and wonderment of waterfalls. Well, your life operates on a similar principle. Approach your desires not as deficient, but in awe of the opportunity it gives you to live and create.

Along similar lines as Abraham-Hicks, I also follow Sadhguru and Mooji.

Another teacher I lean on is Nature. An unconventional teacher in our current paradigm, but amazing nevertheless. Connecting with her processes and communing with her beauty yields powerful insights.

I am also blessed to be part of a community of great people. I mentioned Rev. Nafisa Sharriff earlier. She offers wonderful morning meditation over the phone that are open to all. She is a beautiful example of light and alignment.

My Mother, Dr. Doreen Davis, has a Spiritual based mental health practice. She continues to play the role of mentor and confidant. Some of the best teachers are right in your circle.

I do my best to remain flexible and open so that the teachers and messages that serve my highest good can flow to me. I suggest you do the same. Don’t fall into the traps of dogma or think you have arrived. There is always more. Remain open, humble, and aware.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

Earlier I talked about the “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads Movement” and the Art & Alchemy “I AM Movement”. We would love to see both of these movements grow, expand, and hit a critical mass. To inspire people into a perpetual state of Self-Love and Worthiness. To raise individual consciousness to higher frequencies. Becoming the catalyst for a more progressive, equable, spirit-focused collective consciousness. The best part about this is, it doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, you can start right now, right where you are.

People are sharing their “I AM” affirmations with us on social media using #ArtAlchemyIAMmovement and #itooktheIAMpledge. We would love to see more people raise their hands by taking the “I AM” Pledge or sharing a picture to say they believe in their Love and Light. We are big supporters of knowledge sharing. So, we are also asking people to share one way or one activity they do and use to remain aligned to their true self. How do they declare who they are with ease and flow?

This movement goes beyond beautiful pictures and affirmational words. It is about people declaring who they are for themselves. Then taking the steps to walk in that authenticity. We love the “I AM” because it is personal and energetically powerful. It doesn’t push against, it just makes a statement in the absolute.

How many people don’t realize that they have created their entire lives around the desires, definitions, and expectations of others? It is time to change this. Time to take back your power. Time to stand in your spiritual beauty. Time to make yourself a priority. Time to bathe yourself in Love. Time to be moved by the “I AM.”

Earlier I referenced a session I had with Malidoma Patrice Some. During the session I asked him what the timeframe was for the actions he prescribed to me. Without hesitation, and with Soul-rattling intensity he said, “The time is Now.” With that same intensity, I say to you, “Your Time is NOW.”

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? 
 Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

“Always keep your word to Yourself. This is true trust-building. When you trust yourself you have access to unseen information that creates miracles.” -Art & Alchemy

I really like this quote because you can look at it from multiple perspectives. One perspective is, keep more of your thoughts and ideas to yourself. Give them the space to grow and germinate before introducing them to the world for validation. It is possible to share your ideas prematurely, and rob them of their opportunity to grow. Trust yourself enough to be a keeper of and fertile ground for the ideas that flow to you. When you trust yourself you validate who you are.

Another perspective is, “say what you mean, and do what you say” as it relates to your relationship with yourself.

I learned this when I was trying to build a small habit. I wanted to wake up earlier in the morning, to benefit from the quiet productive hours of this time. In the beginning I had a difficult time keeping my word to myself. I would set my intentions to rise, but then get up 45 minutes to one hour after my alarm rang. When I woke up later than my proposed time it didn’t make me feel good. Each time I let myself down. I was eroding my internal integrity and worth. Every time I ignored the sounds of the alarm, the more difficult it was the next day to rise and shine when I set out to. The extra minutes of sleep were not worth it. I intuitively knew going against my word was detrimental to building this habit I wanted. In fact, it was doing just the opposite. I was reinforcing the unwanted habit of silencing my alarm and not getting up when I said I was. I eventually got my act together by going to bed earlier, and implemented a bite size plan where each week I woke up 15 minutes earlier. I did this until I reached my overall desired rise time.

Think about how important it is for you to keep your word to your intimate partner. What if you tell them you are going to meet them at a specific time but don’t? Or say you are going to accomplish a task that you promised to take care of, but never complete it? It is easy to see how habitually reneging on your word can degrade the level of trust your partner has for you. This also applies to the relationship you have with yourself. Not being true to your word introduces self-doubt and mistrust into your Inner relationship.

Trust and Self-Love go hand and hand. I wish I had a magic wand that gave me the power to make people instantly feel the security, clarity, and self-knowing that they felt when they were born into this world. Babies have this beautiful sense of knowing. They are grounded in it. You never see them asking someone outside themselves how they feel. When they are hungry, they find a way to communicate that. When they need to go to the bathroom, they go. They exude (self) love in their confidence and knowing. They are great examples to emulate.

When you trust yourself, you are on the path of Self-Love and creating the life you desire.

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!

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About the Author:

Sasza Lohrey is the Founder & CEO of BBXX, a digital platform for intimacy and wellbeing. She is also the host of the BBXX podcast, “Let’s Get Intimate!” which hosts provocative and entertaining conversations with experts in order to challenge the way our culture conditions us to talk about sex, intimacy, and healthy relationships. BBXX was created in order to help people better understand themselves, so that they then can form deeper and more fulfilling relationships with others. Sasza is a former D1 athlete with a background in psychology and digital media. She is a member of the Women of Sex Tech collective, the co-mentorship community Dreamers and Doers, and a regular columnist for several online publications. Originally from the Bay Area, Sasza founded BBXX during a Stanford entrepreneurship program in Santiago, Chile. Learn more on our website and listen to more interviews with experts on our top-rated podcast!Let’s Get Intimate: Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships

With Sasza Lohrey

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS.

Please download this document (or click File, then Download as) , and answer the questions below. ___________________________________________________________________________________

As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships” I had the pleasure to interview…

Nyaima Smith-Taylor. A thought Leader ever-remembering her true nature. Lover of Life. Invested in the positive progression of humanity. She shares her experiences in hope that they will help another align to their true-Self. She is constantly rediscovering her identity and creating a new more loving version of herself. It is a constant process, but one she loves.

She is also the Co-Creator of Art & Alchemy, an organization that provides practical techniques, services, and products to uplift, inspire, and deepen one’s connection to Self. She loves promoting self-love and working with individuals to help them release their inner Glow and radiance.

Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s Get Intimate! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

This question is always complex for me to answer. I had so many rich experiences and relationships that have placed their marks on me. I have powerful friends, mentors, and teachers, whose support and insight feed into my work. How do you differentiate the potency of their significance? Where does one begin and another one end? I am coming to understand how interconnected each of these inputs are energetically. If one hadn’t happened it could have changed the trajectory of my path.

But, if I had to choose today, I would say three distinct inputs laid the foundation for my current work. If asked the same question tomorrow, there is a good chance my answer will be different.

The first input would probably stay consistent across my various potential answers. It is my upbringing. I grew up in an environment full of love. My family and community nurtured me. This nurturing went beyond meeting my normal physical and emotional needs. It included constant reinforcement of my spiritual nature. It wasn’t overly pronounced or dogmatically forced upon me. It was subtle.

For example, if I saw things that others couldn’t see, had a vivid dream, or described energy, they were entertained as real and not brushed off. Our questions about God, Spirit, and energy were open for discussion. They encouraged me to believe in a “higher power” but on terms that worked for me. They gave me the space to create my own relationship with “God”. And by reflection, cultivate a relationship with myself.

This early spiritual validation developed a sense of connection, confidence, and wonder in me. It didn’t mean I didn’t experience some of the bitterness of life. But when I did, I had a solid toolbox and support structure to deal with them in a healthy way. It also made me hungry to understand the metaphysical dynamics and laws of this world. My experiences growing up hinted that there was something more. And I was eager to find out what they were.

The second profound experience that lead to my current career path was my interaction with the world-renowned Shaman, Malidoma Patrice Some.

I crossed paths with Malidoma Patrice Some in 2015. Malidoma is an advocate for connecting to Spirit through Universal Love. He gave me a powerful personal mandate: To create community and connect to the ancestral powers to spread love.

Simple. But I received these words like a complex riddle. They came with no roadmap. No coaching. No guidance.

At the time I was content. In Love. Working in the Electrical Power field as a Relay Tech. Making good money. Respected by my coworkers. Breaking barriers in a male-dominated field. I was happy.

Somehow, this message awakened something in my spirit. Unlocking an intuitive knowing that this was my personal mission. Something that was cultivated in my early years. It affirmed the restless, progressive, demanding energy that laid right beyond my contentment. I loved working as a field engineer. But it consumed my time. It limited my interactions with people on an intimate spiritual level. A limit difficult for me to digest completely.

Nothing mystical in his message. Only a call to love myself and others. A call I decided it was time to answer.

The last thing I would say contributed deeply to my current work was a traumatic event. A year and a half into my marriage, my husband almost died. During the same time, a young woman in our community lost her husband. It was devastating.

I 100% believe in the continuity of life. But there is still a human factor that exist when someone you love transitions off this plane.

It wasn’t my husband’s condition that pushed me directly. It was the thoughts that crowded my mind -what would I do if I “lost him?”

Trauma has a way of immediately focusing your energy on what is most important to you. You prioritize your values and shift through your desires.

Engrossed in this “worst case scenario” thought pattern, I could only come up with one vision. Me, secluded on an exotic land, on mountainous sacred grounds, spending 100% of my time connecting with my spirit. Around the third time I had this vision of running to the mountains with the monks, I heard a voice. It was a voice beyond me. It ask me a profound question:

“if this is your true desire, why do you wait? Why not do it now? You don’t need mountains or monks or 23 hours of meditation. You need to align to your purpose. Your path is here, right now.”

The message was clear and personal. Again, my desires confirmed. This inspiration was present for decades, and now, it was time to listen. Receiving is only a part of a message, the other parts are decreeing it’s meaning, and then taking heed. It was time for me to take heed.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?

Yes! I am working on two projects via Art & Alchemy that exhilarates me.

The first project is the “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” project. In 2019 we want to get 100,000 women nurturing their femininity by wearing waistbeads.

This project is near and dear to me. Before we coined the term, “Transformational Adornments,” I was creating waistbeads. It was the very first type of jewelry I created. They were my conduit into the world of Self-love.

I still remember the first time I saw waistbeads. I attended a west African dance class in Harlem, NY. Women of all different shapes and sizes wore them. They looked like royalty. They all looked like Goddesses. They were confident and secure. That experience etched a powerful image of the Goddess in my mind.

I started to create, and wear, more and more waistbeads. When I placed them around my waist, I could feel the gentleness and love I was giving myself. They were a gentle reminder of my innate greatness.

I began to bring in metaphysical elements to create our brand of waistbeads. The purpose was to create a talisman that could aid in healing, affirm positive images, and accent the natural feminine beauty. I pulled from numerology, used ancient symbols, stones, and the energy of colors. I begin to interact with more women, becoming a “waistbeads advocate.” They were so powerful, that I thought all women should have a pair. But the responses I received in the beginning, troubled me. I realized the ladies who were present in that West African Dance class were not the norm. They were a group of women aligned to their inner Goddess who projected an unapologetic example of self-love.

That was over 20 years ago. But even now, if I polled 1000 women and asked them to try waistbeads, how do you think they will respond? An overwhelming number would say that their bodies are not perfect, so they can’t wear them. I hear comments like, “Those things are for little women” or “I don’t have enough curves for those.” When I clarify that these precious beads are about honoring the Divine Feminine, not a fashion statement, most are still unmoved.

Our experience with hundreds of women have revealed that there is a correlation with their openness to waistbeads and their use of other Self-Love techniques. We find the women who adorn themselves in goddess beads are also open to meditate, to journal, to have active spiritual practices, to make appreciation a priority, etc.

The “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” project is about affirming the natural inner beauty and perfection of all women. Our mission is to champion the power of women by using waistbeads to honor the Goddess within. Feminine energy is beautiful regardless of the physicality of the body. Don’t you believe your Divine feminine deserves to be honored? Imagine if someone refused to wash their body until they felt that it was perfect. That is what we do when we wait on conditions to honor our creative feminine energy, the Goddess. This is the relationship that matters the most. It requires love always. When you nurture it, magic happens.

Today, the “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” project has successfully introduced the concept of wearing waistbeads as a declaration of feminine power. It has assisted hundreds of women to develop or strengthen their Self-Love practice. It is our sincere desire to assist thousands more.

The second project is the “I AM” Movement.

“Declare who you are! Define who you are! Connect with Your Inner Power! Unlock the Secrets of the “I AM.” Use “I AM” as a tool to define your Reality.”

There are countless people, groups and institutions, who attempt to define Who You Are. The “I AM” Movement reminds you that you have the ‘POWER” and the “RIGHT” to declare who you are at any given moment.

We used the “I AM” because it is absolute. “I Am” is one of the most powerful declarations you can say to the universe. It is more than a statement, it is a command, an action phrase. It identifies your state of being and creates your becoming.

We use the “I AM” to anchor these complex ideas of self-definition and self-actualization.

The “I AM” Movement is also about your connection to the Creator; God; The Universal Force; Source Creation; or whoever you deem to be the “Most High.”

This movement ties into the vision and mission of Art & Alchemy. As such, it is ongoing and ever expanding. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to share the “I AM” with people interested in receiving it.

Currently we are promoting the “I AM” pledge. An affirmative prayer created to connect you to spirit. Taking the pledge is free. It can be downloaded from our website. We are working on creating postcards that people can send to brighten the day of someone they love. A way of sharing a dose of inspiration and show loving support to people in your life. This is a feel good, pay it forward campaign.

Taking the pledge is only a first step. The intent of sharing the pledge is to start a dialogue, and bring awareness to ways to affirm who you are.

“I AM” is your definitive affirming statement of who you are at any given moment in your life. Don’t wait for someone to define you, declare it for yourself! “I AM…”

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point

that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?

Struggle and success are real on this journey. But somewhere along the line I realized it didn’t have to be difficult. Subtle shifts in my perspective and focus were catalyst for great change. Small changes make huge impacts on life.

When I was working long days in the field as a relay technician, away from my family, I had one activity that kept me going. I attended yoga classes. In particular, I practiced Bikram Yoga. It grounded me, helped me release tension, and increased my internal focus. Yoga helped me to become more aware of my body and connect to how I felt. It is a challenging practice that required my diligence and patience. I struggled at first. However, I realized that small adjustments in my techniques had big effects on my practice. Now I apply this principle to my life outside of the yoga studio.

I used to believe there was some grand perfection that I was striving for in life. As a result, I was very hard on myself when I thought I wasn’t living up to my potential. Again, yoga cleared up this erroneous thought. There is always a better posture, always a deeper stretch, always deeper mediation. There is a balance between striving for more, pushing past your comfort zone, and remaining in a state of Love.

There is nothing wrong with striving for greatness. But I had to redefine my definition of perfection. At Art & Alchemy we have a statement we say, “We are perfect in all our imperfections.” I had to treat myself like I do everyone else I love. I identify bad with the behavior, not the person. And I do my best not to allow that behavior to make me withdraw my love. I realized, I too deserved this same unconditional love from myself.

Now, in potential moments of dealing with myself, I say, “how would you treat your most precious friend in this situation? What kind of advice would you give them?” I use that as a baseline to deal with myself.

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

As a member of a society whose pathology towards love can be schizophrenic and devoid of truth, how do you Love? Even more, how do you learn how to love yourself?

Unfortunately, pop culture bombards people with messages that trigger your beliefs of inadequacies. “Your teeth are not white enough. Your body size is flawed. You don’t have enough friends. If you don’t have a partner something must be wrong with you. If you do have a partner your relationship probably sucks.” The list of ailments they convince you you suffer from are endless. How do you combat this?

There is an interesting dynamic here. If you try to fight these inputs directly you only perpetuate them. It is best to address the source of the problem. The only way someone can convince you of your inadequacies is if you feel unworthy.

The consequences of unworthiness are disastrous. Often, they lead to poor performance and subpar relationships. It can paralysis you from taking decisive action. Even when the external factors seem to go well, unworthiness can lead to inner disharmony. Holding on to thoughts of unworthiness have negative effects on the body and the mind. Inner disharmony is like a gremlin that reproduces when exposed to negativity. It plants invisible seeds of negativity along your path that sprout at the most inopportune time.

Worthiness and Self-Love go hand and hand. Helping people release unworthiness and replace it with love is the intent of our “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads” and the “I AM Movement”.

As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

Everything you manifest in your life is a pure reflection of who you believe you are. You are the source of all things created in your universe. How can you create something beautiful if you don’t see the beauty in yourself? Your creations are in-fact you. Your personal signature lives in each creation.

There is an endless list of the benefits of Self Love, as it affects every area of your life. Some benefits of Self-love include:

  • Opens you up to pathways for healing.
  • You feel a sense of wellbeing.
  • Fosters Deeper relationships.
  • Alignment with the things you desire to manifest.
  • Long term Happiness as a choice.
  • Greater success in your endeavors.
  • Negativity dissolves.
  • Inspiration to do the things you desire.
  • Greater reach to the collective.

We are connected to each other. When you exhibit self-love you are a magnetic. You radiate energy that is attractive. And increase collective positivity.

  • Ability to love others and receive love from others.
  • Build confidence.
  • Self-Validation. You no longer look outside yourself for approval.
  • Increased self-compassion.
  • Sustained Energy to focus on your grand visions.

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

The first thing I want to place in their heart is, “You are worthy of a healthy, loving, meaningful relationship. You are worthy to receive love. You are worthy to receive greatness. You are worthy to have more. You are worthy!”

When most people think about relationships they look outside themselves. They think about the relationships they have with others. It is rare for someone to identify the relationship they have with them self. But this is the most important relationship that exist. If that relationship is broke, unnurtured, or even worst, nonexistent, it will be impossible to have healthy relationships with others. A mediocre relationship that exist outside of you is only a reflection of the mediocre relationship you have with yourself.

There are a host of reasons why people remain in mediocre relationships. One big one is feelings of unworthiness. Unworthiness can lead you to victimize yourself in a relationship. You don’t feel you deserve better, so you take what you get.

Mediocrity kills. It is a slow death, but it kills you all the same. It kills you on a spiritual level. One of the qualities of life is movement. Spirit thrives on movement. Mediocrity is flat and stagnant. It depletes your energy. Stagnation leads to spiritual death.

Get out! Never make excuses for mediocracy. Thrive for the best in every area of your life. Even more in the areas of your life where it matters most.

Please don’t misunderstand my words. I am not saying it is easy. I am not saying there may not be circumstances that complicate your exit. I am not saying you may not have reasons to stay. You may even love the person on the other side of the relationship. What I am calling on you to do is to Love Yourself more. Love yourself more than the circumstances and reasons to stay. Love yourself fully and wholly. Make a plan and get out. You can’t get in a better position if you pour your energy into the maintenance of a poor relationship. I say this from experience. I have been in mediocre relationships before. They take work and priceless energy and have no return on your energetic or emotional input. Don’t block the beauty that awaits you.

Unfortunately, people are not taught how to maintain healthy relationships. We are also taught to prioritize things that exist outside of ourselves. As a consequence, you learn to minimize the things within. The relationship you have with yourself is the one that requires the most care. When that relationship is in-tact magic happens. Opportunities open up. Happiness becomes a choice. You no longer look outside of yourself for validation. Your very existence is validation.

It takes some trust to believe this, as it is counterintuitive to the fairy tales we grow up with. We all know the story of Cinderella. But we are never told that she took time to heal herself from her experience of living in a unloving home. But the handsome Prince rescues her anyway. And they lived happily ever after. Somewhere in our collective subconscious that is what we all expect. To be rescued by love. Love can heal. Love can save. It is the love that we give to ourselves that has this capacity. Where great amounts of Self-Love exist, great accomplishments happen. It is the platform for amazing relationships.

When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

I am always reflecting on how I can make positive changes within myself. This is Self-refinement. Self-refinement is a must if you want positive growth.

Prioritizing self-Love is a pathway for growth. Growth is life. Everything that is alive undergoes growth. Becoming better versions of who we are is something to always strive towards.

This is what businesses do when they want to scale and expand. They look at each component of their venture and come up with strategies for refinement. They look at ways to increase efficiency. They implement programs for teams to work together with more ease. They get rid of systems that are not yielding the results they want. Successful business people don’t become attached to the things that don’t work. They stay focused on the results they want.

This kind of awareness and non-attachment is necessary. It is easy to affirm negative qualities that don’t serve you due to your lack of attention.

Even with this constant self-reflection, I sometimes miss the clues. There is one sure fire way I can always determine if I need to make changes. This is by monitoring the alignment, tone, and spirit of my manifestations. If I don’t like the fruits I am producing, I know I need to change the seeds I am planting and do something different. Continuing to do the same things will yield the same results. Manifestations never lie. Like relationships, they are a reflection of your thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

One of my dearest teachers, Rev. Nafisa Sharriff of Entering the Holy of Holies (ETHOH), offers her students this question. “Does this serve my higher good?” It is a question that forces you to connect to your Higher Self. You can’t answer without making that connection. It also helps you clear through lower self-serving thoughts like fear.

I also use a variation of this question, “Does the vision I have about myself support the desires I want to achieve?

For example, when I first transitioned into this work, I was passionate and eager to create platforms, forums, and systems to assist people in their spiritual development. I wanted to be a successful business owner who assisted people in profound ways. Over a year of pouring into this endeavor, the results were defeating. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t gaining any traction.

After weeks of oscillating between pondering and pouting, I decided to consult the wise ones in my life. I asked my spirit to gently reveal to me what energy and emotions needed to move. It took months of reflection and discussions to understand what was going on. There were two culprits. How I identified myself, and my feelings of worthiness.

During this building period when someone asked me what I did, I told them I was an electrical engineer. Being an electrical engineer is not a bad thing. But engineering was no longer my role. I desire to become a successful business owner spreading Inner peace. There was a discontent between my desires, my self-identity, and my believes. My self-definition had to change and align to my new desire so that the Universe could manifest my new vision.

I also had secret feelings that stole from the purity of my vision. “Why would anyone listen to me?” I doubted my personal value, and the message I wanted to share with the world. Especially in this crowded noisy arena where everyone is a guru, and trying to sell you something. Once I understood feelings of unworthiness existed, I began to sooth these fears with self-loving statements and behaviors.

There is always a gap between where you are and where you want to be. My job was to bridge the gap between those two points. And that is what your job is.

The last question I use often is, “Am I acting in ways that align to my values?” It is important to prioritize your values on paper. Check in often to make sure your actions align with the values you’ve identified. For instance, you prioritize your most important value as your family and relationships. If you always cancel plans and miss school plays because of your work obligations, you may have to reevaluate what is most important to you. Clarity comes when you make these evaluations.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

Redefine your definition of alone. If by alone you mean there is no one sharing space with you physically, say that. Be impeccable with your words and your beliefs will shift.

The feeling of wanting to share with another human being is real. But being alone isn’t. You always have yourself, your ancestors, the Universal energy of the Divine.

This is why is it important to develop a relationship with yourself. During periods of my life, I was without a partner. Sometimes based on my desire, and other times due to circumstances. During those later moments, it was easy to feel unfilled due to the “missing relationship.” I sometimes went down the rabbit hole of feeling alone and feeling sorry for myself. But the truth was, I was never alone. Besides always having me, there were countless people in my circle showering me with love. I only felt alone because I wanted that love to come to me in another package. The tall, dark and handsome package.

One day while doing an exercise on appreciation, I realized that those feelings of aloneness were blocking my ability to appreciate all the wonderful relationships that were present in my life. How could I expect my sexy, wonderful man if I wasn’t showing appreciation for what I already had? It was crucial for me to appreciate the relationship I had with myself. And to honor the time the universe was giving me to build it up. People thought I was crazy, but I would take myself to dinner. Go to the theater. Used my journal to have conversations with myself. It was a period I learned to appreciate.

We have given the word alone a negative connotation. But everything has pros and cons. When I shifted the way I looked at the word “alone”, I begin to relish the time and space. I replaced the word alone with solitude. And when I did, I began to appreciate those moments in my experience. I was able to do the things I wanted to do without consulting with another. I could decide how I felt about something without the influence of another. I was able to exert and feel my independence. I became laser focused on what I wanted. I cleared my mind. All these things enhanced the qualities of my relationships. It prepared me for the intimate relationship that was to come.

Transform the way you look at “alone.” It can be a great gift.

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

One reason relationships don’t flourish is that many people come to them without knowledge of Self. They don’t know who they are, and as a result, they usually are not clear about what they want. They come broken, with holes, and fear, and pains, and past hurts, and closed hearts.

It is imperative to take care of this if you desire a relationship of depth and meaning. The only person responsible for cleaning you up is you. They only person responsible for making you happy is you. No one outside of you has the power to fill your gaps. But many people come to relationships with that expectation. Looking outside of themselves for validation and love.

Many people approach relationships and love as something to find, as oppose to something you choose. Make the choice to Love, right here, right now.

It is amazing what you can build on a solid foundation. Skyscrapers and complex architecture can be build. But a one room shack can’t remain standing on a weak base. This is the same in relationships. If you come together as two wholes standing in your power and strength, you have unlimited potential.

This doesn’t mean you have to be “perfect” coming into a relationship. It does mean you have to take responsibility for bridging any gaps within yourself. Relationships have a way of exposing areas in us that may need tweaking and changing. And when these areas come into our awareness we must know how to look within for solutions.

It is amazing what someone wants to give you when you are self-sufficient. It is like the movie star who walks into a restaurant and gets a free meal. They are not gifted the meal because they needed it. The meal comes because the restaurant wants to share it with them. This is what happens when you come to a relationship whole. The movement between giving and receiving becomes a rhythm flow of love.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

Prioritize your relationship with yourself! This is the first step.

Remember how to love yourself. Sometimes we complicate things with all of our techniques, processes, and analytics. Our natural capacity is to Love. We are love. We don’t have to teach a newborn baby how to love. They enter this world as love, emitting loves powerful energy. But living in this demanding society, we grow up and we forget.

On the most basic level, we have to remember that state. It is a process of remembering, unlearning, and then remembering.

Another way individuals can better understand themselves is to ask more questions. I am amazed at how many people blindly accept what they see and hear. Question everything. Especially your beliefs.

Ask questions and then think for yourself. We are developing a course called, “The Reconstruction of God.” In that course we ask people if their beliefs about God are their own, or ideas that were passed down to them but never questioned. We know people don’t like when their beliefs are challenged. But it is important that you get into the habit of being non-attached to your beliefs. Beliefs can and should change. Exposure to new ideas results in natural expansion. And your beliefs should grow and change based on that expansion.

Society will only change as a result of individual change. Society is a reflection of the collective mindset of individuals. Societal changes happen on the grass root level. We help the planet when we become better as individuals. Even the most progressive idea cannot live if the behavior and mindset of the collective consciousness does not support it.

Once the collective mindset has change, we can begin to create environments that illustrate our value of self-actualization, and love.

What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

I am happy that so many attuned people and cultures have come before us and left their legacies of Self-love. This means we don’t have to guess. There are pathways, and effective techniques to foster self-love. There are endless strategies, but here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Affirmations.

Affirmations are everywhere. Almost overdone and over-commercialized. But I still use and recommend them because they work. Affirmations use the power of words to ground you in your beliefs.

Most people are familiar with positive affirmations. But for clarity, they are, positive,

present tense statements that are said with emotion to imprint on the conscious mind.

Find ways to anchor your affirmations. Whether you use NLP techniques,

Transformational Adornments and talisman, or Crystals, find something that will easily

and instantly connect you back to your affirmation. Place them on your bathroom mirror

or frig. Use short affirmations as your screensaver. Try an app that sends affirmations

right to your phone. Find an affirmational video you like and watch it in the morning when

you rise, or in the evening before you go to sleep.

This is the beauties of affirmations. They are versatile, easy to use, and have

powerful results.

2. Appreciation.

Pure appreciation is at the heart of Self-Love. By learning to appreciate every part of who

you are, you are actively showering yourself with love. If you see something you don’t

like in yourself, appreciate the fact that it is being brought into your perspective.

Appreciate your ability to transform it into something healthier. Release your false mental

image of perfection. Release the conditions you have established that must be checked off before you give yourself permission to love. Do it because you deserve it. The sheer fact that you walk this planet means you deserve love.

Be gentle with yourself. Many times, you are your harshest critic.

3. Healing Baths.

Regular Baths focus on cleaning your physical bodies. Healing baths are used to perform

energetic cleansing. They cleanse built-up negativity, your aura, and other subtle

energetic bodies. You don’t have to believe in the power of healing baths for them to be

effective. Bathing is always a joyous experience of self-renewal and quality time with

Yourself.

As a bonus, healing baths can help relax and dissipate stagnant energy in the body. Like

small aches and pains. They can increase blood flow through the body and reduce stress.

I use natural herbs, essential oils, and sometime stones and crystals to create my Healing

Baths. I always feel lighter after taking one.

4. Solitude.

Take time for Yourself. This may include meditation, reading, yoga, healing baths, hikes, walks. This doesn’t have to be a long drawn out production.

Each day I practice a short 15 minutes meditation. It is my baseline. I may do additional activities for solitude during the day, but I make sure that no matter what, my daily 15-minute meditation happens.

5. Practice forgiveness.

Forgive yourself. Forgiveness is always an act of self-love. Even when it appears you are forgiving someone else. When you forgive you let yourself and other people off the hook. This releases the energy that negatively binds them to you and makes room for love. I cannot say enough about the power of forgiveness as it relates to your ability to love yourself.

Even if these are not activities that attract you, create your own list that inspires you. Prioritize Self-love in your daily life. Commit time and dollars to loving-yourself. Where and what you put your resources on shows what you really value.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

There is no shortage of teachings and teachers on the Self-Help, Spiritual Development scene today. There are so many paths. One is not better than another, only different. So my best advice is to go with what feels good and what resonates. Your Inner being is intelligent. If you connect to it and listen, it will offer you guidance.

I have several teachers I follow and listen to their messages. One of my favorite teachers is Abraham Hicks. They are practical, light-hearted, funny, and connected to Source. One of their famous statement is, “You can never get it done, and it is never complete.”

This resonates with me. Our quantitative environment programs us to take score of everything. In certain areas, this approach is necessary. But when we approach our energetic wellbeing using these same parameters we miss out on something beautiful.

We are never complete! There is always more to do, more to experience. This is what summons life energy through us. It is like the classic science illustration of potential energy.

Imagine a waterfall. Visualize the difference in altitude from the top of the waterfall to the bottom. There is a substantial difference between the top point and the bottom pool. That difference causes the water to flow with great intensity and grandeur. We experience a similar energetic flow in life.

We always have a starting point. And there is always something more we desire. It might be as simple as waking up earlier in the morning. Or as complex as creating a multi-million-dollar business from the ground up. In each example, there is a gap, a difference, like in the altitude of the waterfall. It is this difference that summons life energy.

Most people are in awe of the beauty and wonderment of waterfalls. Well, your life operates on a similar principle. Approach your desires not as deficient, but in awe of the opportunity it gives you to live and create.

Along similar lines as Abraham-Hicks, I also follow Sadhguru and Mooji.

Another teacher I lean on is Nature. An unconventional teacher in our current paradigm, but amazing nevertheless. Connecting with her processes and communing with her beauty yields powerful insights.

I am also blessed to be part of a community of great people. I mentioned Rev. Nafisa Sharriff earlier. She offers wonderful morning meditation over the phone that are open to all. She is a beautiful example of light and alignment.

My Mother, Dr. Doreen Davis, has a Spiritual based mental health practice. She continues to play the role of mentor and confidant. Some of the best teachers are right in your circle.

I do my best to remain flexible and open so that the teachers and messages that serve my highest good can flow to me. I suggest you do the same. Don’t fall into the traps of dogma or think you have arrived. There is always more. Remain open, humble, and aware.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

Earlier I talked about the “Goddesses Wear Waistbeads Movement” and the Art & Alchemy “I AM Movement”. We would love to see both of these movements grow, expand, and hit a critical mass. To inspire people into a perpetual state of Self-Love and Worthiness. To raise individual consciousness to higher frequencies. Becoming the catalyst for a more progressive, equable, spirit-focused collective consciousness. The best part about this is, it doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, you can start right now, right where you are.

People are sharing their “I AM” affirmations with us on social media using #ArtAlchemyIAMmovement and #itooktheIAMpledge. We would love to see more people raise their hands by taking the “I AM” Pledge or sharing a picture to say they believe in their Love and Light. We are big supporters of knowledge sharing. So, we are also asking people to share one way or one activity they do and use to remain aligned to their true self. How do they declare who they are with ease and flow?

This movement goes beyond beautiful pictures and affirmational words. It is about people declaring who they are for themselves. Then taking the steps to walk in that authenticity. We love the “I AM” because it is personal and energetically powerful. It doesn’t push against, it just makes a statement in the absolute.

How many people don’t realize that they have created their entire lives around the desires, definitions, and expectations of others? It is time to change this. Time to take back your power. Time to stand in your spiritual beauty. Time to make yourself a priority. Time to bathe yourself in Love. Time to be moved by the “I AM.”

Earlier I referenced a session I had with Malidoma Patrice Some. During the session I asked him what the timeframe was for the actions he prescribed to me. Without hesitation, and with Soul-rattling intensity he said, “The time is Now.” With that same intensity, I say to you, “Your Time is NOW.”

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

“Always keep your word to Yourself. This is true trust-building. When you trust yourself you have access to unseen information that creates miracles.” -Art & Alchemy

I really like this quote because you can look at it from multiple perspectives. One perspective is, keep more of your thoughts and ideas to yourself. Give them the space to grow and germinate before introducing them to the world for validation. It is possible to share your ideas prematurely, and rob them of their opportunity to grow. Trust yourself enough to be a keeper of and fertile ground for the ideas that flow to you. When you trust yourself you validate who you are.

Another perspective is, “say what you mean, and do what you say” as it relates to your relationship with yourself.

I learned this when I was trying to build a small habit. I wanted to wake up earlier in the morning, to benefit from the quiet productive hours of this time. In the beginning I had a difficult time keeping my word to myself. I would set my intentions to rise, but then get up 45 minutes to one hour after my alarm rang. When I woke up later than my proposed time it didn’t make me feel good. Each time I let myself down. I was eroding my internal integrity and worth. Every time I ignored the sounds of the alarm, the more difficult it was the next day to rise and shine when I set out to. The extra minutes of sleep were not worth it. I intuitively knew going against my word was detrimental to building this habit I wanted. In fact, it was doing just the opposite. I was reinforcing the unwanted habit of silencing my alarm and not getting up when I said I was. I eventually got my act together by going to bed earlier, and implemented a bite size plan where each week I woke up 15 minutes earlier. I did this until I reached my overall desired rise time.

Think about how important it is for you to keep your word to your intimate partner. What if you tell them you are going to meet them at a specific time but don’t? Or say you are going to accomplish a task that you promised to take care of, but never complete it? It is easy to see how habitually reneging on your word can degrade the level of trust your partner has for you. This also applies to the relationship you have with yourself. Not being true to your word introduces self-doubt and mistrust into your Inner relationship.

Trust and Self-Love go hand and hand. I wish I had a magic wand that gave me the power to make people instantly feel the security, clarity, and self-knowing that they felt when they were born into this world. Babies have this beautiful sense of knowing. They are grounded in it. You never see them asking someone outside themselves how they feel. When they are hungry, they find a way to communicate that. When they need to go to the bathroom, they go. They exude (self) love in their confidence and knowing. They are great examples to emulate.

When you trust yourself, you are on the path of Self-Love and creating the life you desire.

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!

About the Author:

Sasza Lohrey is the Founder & CEO of BBXX, a digital platform for intimacy and wellbeing. She is also the host of the BBXX podcast, “Let’s Get Intimate!” which hosts provocative and entertaining conversations with experts in order to challenge the way our culture conditions us to talk about sex, intimacy, and healthy relationships. BBXX was created in order to help people better understand themselves, so that they then can form deeper and more fulfilling relationships with others. Sasza is a former D1 athlete with a background in psychology and digital media. She is a member of the Women of Sex Tech collective, the co-mentorship community Dreamers and Doers, and a regular columnist for several online publications. Originally from the Bay Area, Sasza founded BBXX during a Stanford entrepreneurship program in Santiago, Chile. Learn more on our website and listen to more interviews with experts on our top-rated podcast!

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