Helsa Thompson: Prioritizing Self-Care

Thompson Family
Helsa Thompson lives in Texas
Helsa Thompson is the Founder of The Black Butterfly Collective, where she believes self-love & self-care is a form of activism. The Black Butterfly Collective focuses on creating a community of empowerment and evolution through wellness and healing. She works to empower communities of color with the tools necessary for healing, living healthy lives, and promoting pride in our identity. As a certified yoga instructor, meditation teacher and life coach, Helsa creates spaces for others to heal, grow, and love themselves. She also uses modalities such as meditation, reiki, and breath work as tools for wellness and empowerment.

Helsa's passion for empowering communities of color is evident before she even launched The Black Butterfly Collective. Helsa began her professional career as a pioneer in the field of education making a difference in schools and community organizations such as DC Public Schools, KIPP, LEAD Public Charter Schools, and Relay Graduate School of Education. She currently serves at the Senior Managing Director of Foundations Integration and Special Initiatives with Teach For America DFW.

Helsa graduated from Harvard's Graduate School of Education with a Masters in Education in 2009 and from the University of Southern California with her BA degree in Print Journalism in May 2008. Helsa also proudly holds the title of being a wife and a mother of 3 sons.- her biggest accomplishment to date.

You can learn more at www.theblackbutterflycollective.com.

Tell us about the journey to this current version of you. What got you here? What obstacles have you faced?

Five years ago, when I become a mom, I began one of the biggest emotional roller coasters of my life. Before becoming a mom everything came easy to me….school, career, side hustles… and then I became a mom. I felt like a failure. I was not sleeping, I could not produce enough milk to breastfeed, and I overcompensated at work because I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t handle being a senior-level exec as a mom. I was a constant ball of stress.

But just as I was getting into my mommy rhythm, I FOUND OUT I WAS PREGNANT AGAIN! So here I was juggling the realities of being a newlywed and preparing to be a mom of 2 under 2.

Fast forward to now.

I have a 5, 4, and 8 month old (yes, a mom of 3 sons….we are done and will NOT keep trying for a girl…lol). During the last 5 years as a mom, I have felt every possible emotion….and at times, unfortunately, my kids (and husband) have felt it too. They felt the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I would blame my emotional frustrations on “being tried” — due to all the things I was juggling as a wife, mom, and boss — but I soon realized that it was more than being tired. I was empty. I was pouring from an empty cup and was not taking the proper steps to rest, recharge, and prioritize my self-care.

I soon realized that for me to be the best wife, mom, and boss, I had to be the best Helsa, and to be the best Helsa, I had to make time for me. When I prioritized my own self-care, I took up yoga, meditation, sound therapy, and Reiki. These were things I always did but never made them a consistent part of my life. But when I did commit to those things, I evolved, like a Black Butterfly, able to spread my wings be free from expectations myself and others put on me and able to fly to new heights of happiness and a better quality of life for myself and the ones around me.

I see the power that these wellness modalities did in empowering me to be the best version of myself and I want to empower others to do the same, so I founded “The Black Butterfly Collective” where I focus on creating a community of empowerment and evolution through wellness and healing.

What have you learned about yourself throughout this journey?

I have learned that self-care and self-love is an act of activism. In society, black women especially, are expected to be strong. (This is even demonstrated in medical practices, where it is incorrectly believed that black women do not feel as much pain as non-black women. So much medical history where re: the mistreatment of black women as medical patients) With me prioritizing my self-care and loving myself authentically, I am taking my power back. This empowers me to love myself as I am and to feel comfortable showing up authentically.

I have also learned the importance of breaking generational curses. Many of our actions are determined by what we learned, and what we learned has been passed down to us. So if we are not aware of how things either passed down to us or in our subconscious based on childhood experiences, we are navigating the world re-creating the cycle that could be the very thing stopping us from reaching our happiness. So having the self-awareness and ability to break harmful generational behaviors is key in loving yourself. You are loving yourself enough to undue….break….stop…. behaviors, actions, and thoughts that do not serve you. And in turn, you are healing the generations after you. This is true healing when it can impact the people around you.

Also, that healing is a journey. It takes commitment every day to heal, grow, be enlightened. And while it is hard, the rewards are life-changing.

What does spirituality mean to you?

Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself. Spirituality is connecting to the Divine through your own personal experience. It is primarily concerned with finding, experiencing, and embodying one’s true spiritual nature. This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose.

How do you implement mindfulness and/or spirituality into your daily life?

I practice yoga and meditation practically daily. This helps me connect my spiritual, emotional, and physical body. This also keeps me grounded and focused. I also engage in energy group and sound therapy as another way to keep me centered.

What were some of the misconceptions you had about a spiritual practice before you began healing?

That is was a certain way you had to “look” or “act” to be on a spiritual journey. I thought there was a certain “way” to do it, but when I realized that spirituality is unique to the individual, I was able to tap into my healing, my growth, and embrace the uniqueness of my journey. That is why I founded the Black Butterfly Collective to empower people to heal themselves and embrace their own journey.

How has living mindfully and spiritually changed you?

I soon realized that for me to be the best wife, mom, and boss, I had to be the best Helsa and to be the best Helsa, I had to make time for me. When I prioritized my own self-care, I took up yoga, meditation, sound therapy, and Reiki. These were things I always did, but never made them a consistent part of my life. But when I did commit to those things, I evolved, like a Black Butterfly, able to spread my wings be free from expectations myself and others put on me and able to fly to new heights of happiness and a better quality of life for myself and the ones around me.

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