By Lauren Ash. Photography by Deun Ivory.
My appreciation for Latham Thomas and her work has only deepened since I first met her in Manhattan on the High Line for a walk, ice cream, and casual chat about wellness as women of color three years ago. When she divulged inside-scoop details about her forthcoming release, Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within to me over brunch a couple of months ago during a visit to Chicago, I thought: there has to be some way to fold this obviously enriching read into Black Girl In Om!
Thanks to the brilliant team behind BGIO, especially our fearless publishing editor Chelcee Johns, we’re releasing our BGIO Book Club this week with this inspiring text. Why should you add this read to your autumn calendar? Read on for the four ways I’ve already been resonating with Own Your Glow (and I’m only one portal deep)! And if you’d like to sign-up to join me, my team, and an incredible collective of BGIO Tribe members including Lalah Delia, Siraad Dirshe, Liana Naima, and J. Chavae, e-mail us today at email@example.com. We'll share our guide Friday! Special note for my Chicago loves: join me and my team and the amazing community at Bodhi Spiritual Center for Own Your Glow: An Evening with Latham Thomas (from Oprah's Super Soul 100). Register here for a discount to this inspirational, actionable and wildly enriching evening!
I’m turning thirty this November and am claiming that my thirties will be my most powerful decade yet. By tapping deeper into my Glow Vision, I can intentionally bring my seed goals into potent reality.
In Chapter 1, Glow Vision, Latham Thomas raises some bold questions:
“Are you ready to awaken to your dream? Are you ready to rise up to your greatness? Are you prepared to raise your own personal bar? If you answered a big YES to all three of those questions, then you are in for a beautiful and soulful ride, my friend. In this book we embrace the themes of boldness, confidence, and risk. And it was inspired by what I see as a lack of women embracing their unique feminine advantage. Women are the most powerful resource on the planet and when we access, utilize, and harness what I call our glow power—our intuition and creative feminine edge—we can impact every aspect of our lives for the better, whether career, finances, love and relationships, spiritual life, body, or exercise.”
My twenties have been a wild, incredible adventure: I experienced the life-altering season known as my Saturn Returns, and with it came many changes: a break-up, three new successful and purpose-rooted business ventures, and deeper personal explorations through therapy, new self-care practices, and vulnerability and truth-telling in relationships. I believe that this is only the beginning for me, however. And Latham’s text, which will be one of my new go-to’s alongside my other favorites who shine light on what a purposeful path looks like including Tara Brach, Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Danielle LaPorte, and bell hooks, reminds me that it’s never too late to awaken my full potential, my possibility, my power.
Latham defines seed goals as valuable to this journey of visioning our lives. She states: “[a] seed goal is a dense goal that we nurture through our intentions and actions, giving rise to a potent version of ourselves in the process.” I have a few seed goals that I wrote down, encouraged by Latham’s perspective that our creative energy as women can cultivate anything we perceive, and dream while awake (daydreams and imagination) or asleep, into fruition.
If you listen to the Black Girl In Om podcast, you know that I’m huge on intuition. Latham’s concept for this gift intrinsic to women: Glow Power System, or GPS. “Our GPS works with our body to generate feelings that we should use to help inform our decisions. It guides us toward what is truest for us.” How do we hone our GPS? That’s what Own Your Glow provides: rituals, writing activities, and thought exercises geared at getting us in tune.
This year, I’ve learned that the space we create, work, live, and rest within matter tremendously. Own Your Glow provides tangible tips and useful guides for shaping the space around us so that we can be clear, connected, and purposeful.
I still can’t stop talking about how the KonMari method changed my life. I still return to Nikisha Brunson’s article in Om about how to ensure our creative space is a recharge station for us. I believe, as does my friend and mindfulness expert Nkechi Njaka, that letting go invites in. So when I turned to Latham Thomas’ page that read “Glow Tips for Sprucing Up Your Dreamspace” I was like “hol’ up, let me get my journal.” She shares, “As we are products of our environment, consider your environment and how much time you spend there. Whether your space is super inspired or you feel in a rut, making changes to your dreamspace will open you up to your GPS and enhance your creative edge.”
If you follow Latham Thomas on Instagram, you see that she is inspired by vibrant colors and surrounds herself with deep hues and rich palettes. In her book, she stresses the importance of “design[ing] your life around your dreams, weav[ing] them through your life through mindful integration.” I am encouraged even more to ensure that my environment inspires my dreams, and vice versa. When I’m feeling uninspired, my room sometimes reflects that through clutter, disorganization, and dust. A little light, creativity, intentionality, and tidying goes a long way and indeed reflects the soulful living that I long for.
Pause. Everything. And see what happens. (Spoiler alert: lots of useful, good, wonderful things!) My spiritual guides IRL have been stressing this, as well as guides-in-my-head Tara Brach and Brene Brown. Now, Latham Thomas affirms that a playful pause is actually essential.
I’ve been reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach which deserves its own review, so stay tuned for that. Within it, she dwells on the significance of accepting pause in our lives even when our modernly programmed inclination is to resist, fight, and keep movin’ forward. Example: when you experience a loss in your life you might be tempted to keep showing up for work, keep acting as though everything “is normal.” However, with loss, with death, we are offered the opportunity to take up space with contemplation, grief, mourning, and reflection. (I know, my Grandmother passed away a week ago.) Let’s take it when we’re given it.
What I love about Latham Thomas’ take on pauses is her attention to what she calls a playful pause. She shares something that I can relate with, maybe you can as well:
“When I am all work and no play, I am not the happiest me I can be. I am certainly not as productive and can be downright moody. Play is important. It’s the primary focus of early childhood development because it’s fundamental and sparks creative vision … To really have each of your days filled with abundant personal growth, you must engage in the processes that anchor you and allow you to expand and grow.”
Wait! I want abundant personal growth! So, let me ensure that I divulge in some of my favorite playful acts and unapologetically schedule them in my day just like I do my business meetings, strategy calls with my team members, and meals. I’m grateful for the many glow tips and rituals provided within Own Your Glow that give me the extra motivation I need to center play as central to my creative output and spiritual alignment with my values and purpose.
To unpack the emotional bags that I’ve been carrying, and to energetically remove myself from toxicity, is one of the most liberating and healing acts possible. Spiritual excavation should remain top on my list of to do’s.
Let me be honest: I turned to Chapter 3, Excavation, and a part of me, the old me, wanted to skip it. The recent lunar eclipse and subsequent emotional and spiritual roller-coasters that I’ve endured have already had me confronting more memories, new realities, and shadows than I’ve had ever before. But guess what: they have made me stronger. Latham Thomas shares:
When we dwell in our trauma, when we engage in dysfunctional relationships, or addictive patterns, we dial into our fear system big-time, shutting down our GPS. That GPS was put there to guide us to our highest potential, to help us see the way. It’s easy to keep living a life without challenging yourself, but we all have spiritual growth spurts that need to be addressed, and altering the relationships and behaviors in your life will help you see how critical personal-growth work really is. By lugging our baggage around, we stifle our glow power and dim our own light. We limit our ability to call into our orbit that specific thing we decided to aim for.”
If that isn’t an urgent message to “go head and grow, girl!” I don’t know what is. Yes, it’s easier, and more natural, to remain in patterns that we’ve built up since childhood. But we weren’t put on this earth to do easy things. From the questions Latham provides that help us dig into our personal darkness, to the rituals that help us identify and release psychic pain stored deep within our bodies and spirits, she reminds us that wholeness and healing are indeed possible.
This topic also hits home with our October-long theme to stay woke and well. Critical engagement and awareness of contemporary events sometimes leads to depression, anxiety, fear, and mistrust. What if more of us cultivated a spirit of discernment through the activism, the struggle, and the fight so as to remain balanced as spiritual and emotional beings? I believe this is possible.
Friday, my team and I release our guide for our first ever BGIO Book Club experience together. Be sure to officially sign-up to participate by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.