Feminine Transitions Re-Design

Feminine Transitions book cover
Feminine Transitions Re-design

I’M IN LOVE!

No more…”What is Feminine Transitions?”

It was a bit frustrating when I received responses via email or my social media pages  asking, “What exactly is Feminine Transitions?” At first I would pause and say, to myself, “What do you mean? Can’t you tell by the cover?”  In order for me to process this, I had to take myself out of the equation (as the Creator of Feminine Transitions) and look at it as an outsider. My niece really helped me to clarify the difference.  She told me that she liked my old design but, comparing the two, the old resembles a poster and the new looks more like a book.  She also mentioned that the various images above shows a transition of ages and tells a clearer story.

Feminine Transitions Title Spread
The title spread

The new design of the front and back cover as well as the inside page were created by Robin Benson, a retired publications designer from the UK.  I originally contacted someone to do a book review for Feminine Transitions.  However, because this contact does not evaluate photography books, he referred me to Mr. Benson.  After connecting with Robin and sending him a few jpgs of my book layout, which I constructed myself, he informed me that my publication was in need of serious help.

Let me first admit that I AM NOT A DESIGNER! Due to the fact that I am self-published and wearing many hats, I did what I thought was (or should I say looked) best at that moment.  Mr. Benson never said my arrangement was horrible but made very valid points, as a TRUE DESIGNER should, about the consistency, flow and color scheme.  Although I previously hired someone to do the actual pre-press work for me, he never mentioned or made reference to any of Robin’s points. All I can say about that is…ASK FOR WORK SAMPLES before hiring anyone. Lesson learned!

Old sample page layout
New sample page layout

So instead of white type on black pages, Feminine Transitions has a beautiful color spread that really compliments the portraits.  Not to mention, I’ve learned more about design in the two months that I’ve connected with Robin than I have in life thus far. Did I mention, Robin’s helped me free of charge?  When he first introduced that idea of course I was extremely appreciative of his offer.  I also thought, YES! MY GOOD KARMA HAS COME BACK TO ME.  I pride myself on sharing what I’ve learned along the way by passing the torch. What use is it to have a wealth of information and talent and keep it to myself?

Although I loved MY previous design of Feminine Transitions, I AM IN LOVE with the new.  I see growth in it, just as I do in myself. I am so very thankful for the continued blessings that are showered upon me. Mr. Benson is one of them.  I thank you for your sincere advice and guidance and send many blessings back your way.

What are your thoughts?

The World Needs A Girl God

The Girl God by Trista Hendren
Paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes

As young as I can remember, hearing everyone refer to God as “He”, never sat well with me.  At church we prayed “The Father, the Son“. Before meal time we prayed, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food“.  Before bed time we prayed, “Our Father, who art in heaven“. And the lists of praises to “Him” goes on and on. At some point I questioned my mom about the absence of the women in prayers. I wanted to know why “She” wasn’t included with “He” when it is “She” in fact that had “Him”  It was then explained to me that God is not a man but instead a spirit. My response, and I clearly remember saying this, “Then why call God he?”

At some point I started to whisper my praises to “Her” during all prayers. I had to acknowledge the feminine aspect of life. The father cannot be a father without mother. The birth of creation is given to this Universe through the womb of a woman. So why is the role of “She” not as important in the presence of many religious practices?

As a mother, I’ve made it my duty to educate my children on the importance of a women and how vital it is for society to acknowledge the feminine power. Women possess the seed for the creation of life that represents the infinite potential with what she is born. In other words, WE GIVE BIRTH TO OUR EXISTENCE. What does that make us? Is that not a GOD?

Showing appreciation to the feminine aspect was yearning in my soul. Then the idea of Feminine Transitions came to me. From there, I discovered a whole new world of powerful feminine projects, bloggers, artist, books, etc.  One book that immediately captured my attention from a post on Facebook was, The Girl God by Trista Hendren.  The title alone is powerful,  the combination of the beautiful paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes create a stunning luminous beauty.  I finally found a children’s book I can share with my daughters that expresses the significance of a woman in a “Godly” manner.

For this blog, I interviewed Trista about her experience with The Girl God.

What is The Girl God?                                                                                                       The Girl God is the feminine form of God. She is the mother, daughter and sister in all of us women. She is the woman who gave birth to each of us and to life itself. She is grace, compassion and love.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

How did you come up with the idea?      I had tried to raise my daughter as both a Muslim (as I had converted) and a Christian (as my family raised me). One day she sneezed, and we had a discussion about what that meant in Islam. I had taken for granted that she knew what I meant as I blessed her, but she did not. The discussion was enlightening for me. I realized I had failed her as a mother. I had used what I knew to raise her the best I could, but somewhere deep inside me I knew that same system had failed me. I had succumbed to materialism in pursuit of “raising a family”. But in doing so, I had lost sense of my own core values and what I needed in order to thrive as a woman. In losing myself, I realized my daughter would not have a fair chance at life.  If I did not honor my truth, she would really struggle to honor hers.

I wrote the original text in about 15 minutes after this conversation.  It has changed some grammatically and in small detail, but the original story and message is still very close to the original.  In a way, it has been sort of an apology and an amends to both my daughter and to all the women of the world. It is also a love story to my daughter and to myself. It is the story of the love our Divine Mother has for all of us and how empowering it is when we embrace her love.

What do you want little girls to walk away with after reading The Girl God?  Alternative views of the well-known scriptures as well as new ideas from feminist *thealogians* and the strength that comes from knowing you are a beautiful creation of the Divine Feminine.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Do you think that there is a lack of appreciation for the feminine in religion? If so, why?                    Yes. I think it is not only not appreciated but intentionally stamped out. All of the world religions come from a place of social justice and all of them have some aspect of the Divine Feminine if you look hard enough. This has benefited men but hurt women.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

                                     

What was your first recollection of praises to “He” and not “She”?    The first idea that God could even be a woman was when I purchased Patricia Lynn Reilly’s “A God Who Looks Like Me” in college.  That was a transformative period in my life. I had come into both Women’s Studies and Islam at the same time. For whatever reason, I did not finish the book then. Perhaps I was not ready for it. But I kept it despite numerous moves over a 15-year period. As I was going through a divorce about 4 years ago, I went finally finished the book and was blown away.

Finish the sentence:

A woman is…powerful

Creation is…transformative and necessary.

When I think of pregnancy I think of…New life. A chance to also re-birth yourself.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

What I love most about being a woman is…Fluidity.

I want to change….The inequality of the sexes. The foundations of which for me are religion, sexuality and economics. Religion is the most powerful force in most of our lives. Until we get to the root of what we believe and why, we can not really change anything.  A change in the way we view the divine – especially when we can imagine the divine as feminine, will change the inequality of sexual norms and economics. And then, women’s lives will change.

I want my daughter to know…That she is worthy. That she does not have to constantly sacrifice herself for the sake of others – as so many of us women do.  That her aspirations are just as important as any one else’s.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

If I can change anything with The Girl God, it would be…That women would come into themselves much sooner.  So often it seems that women wake up after 30, 40 or 50-years.  I want girls to know their worth from the get-go and hold onto it.

FEMININE TRANSITIONS Documentary Film

 

Image

It’s official!  I am honored to announce I will be working on a documentary film for FEMININE TRANSITIONS. Originally, my idea was to create video footage of myself photographing the models in my book as well as commentary from them about their personal experiences about aging. Unfortunately, I was running a one woman show and taking video of myself photographing these beautiful ladies was not an option, as I had only one camera.  However, the completion of my book has provided me the time to finally start the documentary. It only makes sense to produce the film with the book (although it will be after it’s published).  I will be the videographer, photographer, video and photo editor. In other words, I’m wearing all the hats.

The release date has not been finalized as yet but I will start the documentary on FEMININE TRANSITIONS upon receiving sponsorship. The book however, I still plan to publish by winter 2012 (before Christmas).  Finances have been the hold up but trust that I’m working diligently hard to accomplish my goal and publish date.  Once I shoot the intro video, I will start my campaign fundraiser with Indiegogo. Although I will create an Indiegogo campaign, corporate sponsorship will be my focus as well.  Sponsorship information will also be posted on my website www.Alyscia.com. Do keep an eye out for that newsletter.  Also, if your interested in being apart of my documentary, please contact me.  Please include your age and the state and city you reside along with your contact information.

I thank you for your support along my journey and I look forward to sharing my experience with you along the way.  Always remember to feed your soul with whatever it is that creates happiness within you.

Peace & blessings,

Alyscia

www.Alyscia.com

Alyscia Cunningham’s Interview with Shawn Mason Spence

Portrait of Alyscia Cunningham
Alyscia Cunningham

On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, I will be a guest speaker on The Shawn Mason Spence Show, a lifestyle radio program. The topic of the show is Oh Natural!  From hair care to household products, Shawn is talking to entrepreneurs, health professionals, and artists who support self-love, health and wholeness. My topic will be, the story behind FEMININE TRANSITIONS and how it is a call for girls/women and to encompass self-love.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

TIME: 6pm

LINK:  http://blis.fm/shawnmasonspence 

CALL IN NUMBER:  202-629-3746

The production assistant will be tweeting, posting and pinning throughout the show.  Shawn will be quizzing the audience on words or phrases mentions by the guests speakers. You can win cool prizes if you get your answers right. I will be on Twitter as well. My twitter page is https://twitter.com/AlysciaCPhoto and Shawn’s is https://twitter.com/shawnconnects. Looking forward to answering your questions tomorrow! 

Missed the show? No problem, see link below.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/shawn-mason-spence-show/id521719551?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

“What’s Holding You Back?”

Self portrait of Alyscia Cunningham
Alyscia Cunningham, self-portrait.

Was the question my coach asked me during our conversation this week.  Feeling confused, I paused for a little bit, and repeated that same question to myself.  “What’s holding me back?”  I’ve worked passionately hard on FEMININE TRANSITIONS over the past two years. I photographed all the models, collected and edited all quotes, tailored and organized all model releases, shot and edited my videos (self-taught, I never knew anything about video editing before my book), designed my book, followed-up with models, held numerous fundraisers (on-line as well as events), etc. The point is, I wear many hats and have done 95% of everything having to do with FEMININE TRANSITIONS, all by myself. Which is pretty typical of a self-published author.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t raised enough fund necessary to print my book. Is that the reason it’s not published as yet?

Going back to that question…what’s holding me back? Why am I not getting the results from all the energy I’m putting out into the Universe. There can only be one problem. Me. I’ve realized that although it is my desire to share FEMININE TRANSITIONS with the world, I AM HOLDING ME BACK. I know, your thinking, but you’re doing everything necessary to make it possible. Yes I am but I am also getting in my way. I’ve noticed that as blissful as success may seem, I’ve been afraid of it.  It’s like playing a mental tug of war with myself. I want to be a world renowned author and share my vision of self-love but I don’t want to sacrifice the time with my children. I want to travel the globe and share my story but I don’t want to leave my family behind. I want to network and make connections, but I am not allowing myself the opportunity to be present.  I want to move forward but I am still stuck in my past experiences which became present circumstances.

“There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice.”

I make an affirmation to myself. NO MORE STEPPING ON MY OWN TOES. The only person I have to blame for failing and not getting back up to finish the race, is me. Now I make the necessary changes and move forward. I sacrifice the time necessary to promote FEMININE TRANSITIONS. I sacrifice being vulnerable and open to input. I sacrifice letting go of the baggage I’ve been carrying. I sacrifice being a 24×7 mom and wife. No more tug of war!

Does this suggest that I have to turn my back from being with my family?  Does it make me less of a mom if I spend a little more time following my dreams?  Absolutely not!  Furthermore, following my passion will most definitely satisfy my soul, creating more happiness within me. The saying goes,” if moms not happy, no one is happy.”  And this mama needs to satisfy the calls of her inner being.

So today I free myself and allow the spirit of my ancestors and the Universe to guide my path towards progress and opportunity. I OPEN THE DOORS TO WHAT IS WAITING FOR ME. Iyanla Vanzant said it best in a beautiful message she emailed to me yesterday:

“What I know to be true is – – what God has for you, is for you! Continue your work! Stay faithful and prayed up! Ask your guardians, angels and guides to bring the right people, at the right time, to do the right work in your life and all things will work together for your good success.”

Well said!

To my coach, Lane Cobb, who had those tough conversations with me, providing me the with the tools to do a self archaeological dig…I thank you! I look forward to sharing my progress with you! Stay tuned…I’m on it!

Peace, love & blessings

FEMININE TRANSITIONS book cover
FEMININE TRANSITIONS

Oprah’s Lifeclass Experience

Alyscia Cunningham at Harpo Studios sign in Chicago, IL
Alyscia Cunningham at Harpo Studios

On August 13, 2012 I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a taping of Oprah’s Lifeclass in Chicago.  I am a devoted Lifeclass student so of course I would take advantage of the opportunity to participate.  At the same time, for the past 2 years I have been putting it out into the Universe that Oprah will interview me about FEMININE TRANSITIONS. It’s also on my vision board.  I even had a set date on my vision board of August 26, 2012, which I recently realized is actually September 26, 2012. Whether it’s a month or two away, I am completely amazed by what has happened thus far!  Although I was not interviewed by Oprah on that day…I believe the actual day is coming soon. I can feel it in my spirit. So off to Chicago I go…

Welcome to Chicago sign at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, IL
Welcome to Chicago airport sign at O’Hare Airport
City of Chicago ahead
Driving towards the city of Chicago

Furthermore, although I truly enjoy life class, I am a woman on a mission.  If I was to make my vision a reality, I had to make sure I could somehow get FEMININE TRANSITIONS into the hands of Oprah.  Therefore, I took the ONLY copy of my book with me to give to her.

Harpo Studios Building
I arrive at Harpo Studios

While at Lifeclass, I sat in the audience thinking to myself, how I would give my book to Oprah, given the guidelines specifically states that gifts for Oprah are not permitted. Keeping in mind that I traveled to Chicago with very little funds (I stress very little), my daughter not feeling too well back home in MD and my mission on mind, there is no way I was leaving without giving Oprah my book.

Oprah on stage at Harpo Studio
The end of Lifeclass is near as Oprah and Iyanla stay for a while and speak to the audience.

I get up moving very quickly to the stage as I see someone up front ask her for a picture. As soon as I’m close she quickly walks off with security (it was honestly a blur at that moment).  My heart is pounding; first because I’m really nervous but I still can’t depart without leaving her with my book and; second I know I’m going against the guidelines of bringing her a gift. Now that Oprah is gone, I remembered her daughter’s, whom happen to be sitting to the left of where I’m standing at that very moment.  Granted I don’t have much time before security takes them back stage, I quickly but calmly introduced myself (to the one at the end of the row) showed her Feminine Transitions then opened it to reveal a flyer for The Girl God by Trista Hendren. I then asked if she would please give it to her Mom.  She looks down as I speak, opens her eyes a bit wide, and says, “Wow this is really nice. Don’t worry I will give it to her,” in a distinct South African accent.  Then a second after, the security guard takes Oprah’s girls (4 adopted daughters) off the set. YES, I’m thinking. I did it! Now I await the fruits of my labor. Is this all I need to connect?  Of course not, but it’s much closer than I was if I choose to stay at home.

I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime, find out more about FEMININE TRANSITIONS and pre-order your copy. It also makes a great gift!