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Conversations with the Inspiring Loriann Aitkenhead

Today we’d like to introduce you to Loriann Aitkenhead.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Loriann. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story begins with a miracle.

At 16, I was in a car accident driving home from school while going 70 mph on the highway. I got just enough off of the lip into the dirt on the side of the road that course correcting back onto the highway sent my small Nissan pickup truck into a continuous fishtail. I did not know what to do, and I was scared. So, I did what anyone else would do, right? Maybe. I closed my eyes. I let go of the wheel. I prayed this prayer: “Jesus, take the wheel!” (By the way, this was long prior to Carrie Underwood’s hit song by that title.) I opened my eyes just in time to see the cement center divider fast approaching – then crash. I flung forward into my seatbelt and steering wheel. Stunned with shattered glass everywhere and coughing up blood, I stumbled out of the car. Thankfully, there were no other vehicles involved.

I was all alone still which seemed unusual considering it was a weekday afternoon on the two-lane 101 highway near Carpinteria. Time stood still. Then, I saw a white Ford Explorer on the right shoulder across from me. A polished looking man in a light-colored suit stepped out and went to his trunk where he pulled out a chiffon blanket and a down pillow. Did I know him? I asked myself this as I watched in awe as he crossed the lanes toward me. These were three of “my favorite things at the time” – all of which indicated safety to me. You see, my auntie in Texas drove a similar car and she had identical pillows and blankets that I took comfort in when visiting her while away from my mom and home. He approached me – he asked if I trusted him enough to allow him to examine me. In particular, to place his hands on my chest (I was coughing up blood) where I had the most impact during the accident. I lay on the ground with the pillow and blanket. He put his hands on my chest for a moment and had me breathe. I felt I was going to be ok. He waited with me and said he would not leave until others arrived. By now, traffic was starting to thicken up as cars passed by. I remember emergency responders coming not long after. I got up so they too could examine me.

Moments later, when I looked back to thank the man, he was gone. His car was gone, but his impression on my soul would stay forever. I realized I had not coughed once or spit up any blood since he had placed his hands on my chest. Later at the hospital, I was identified with minor chest bruising. As for my Nissan? Totaled and deceased. Every fiber of my being knows he was my guardian angel. I walked away that day – with a level of gratitude and faith far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I knew I was here for a purpose and, God help me, I was going to find it!

Two years later, while applying for college, an application essay question asked me to explore Gandhi’s famous quote: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This brought me back to my accident. The man. The angel, or if you prefer, the “earth angel” a.k.a. a compassionate and loving human being. For me, my angel and the feeling of knowing I had a purpose. Coupled now with being the change I want to see in the world!

I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to “be”, and school taught me to pick a career. I went to a wonderful college (Go UCLA Bruins!) and then promptly began working in the corporate world.

Two years ago, I decided to retire from my successful career of 9+ years, in search of something “more.” I am grateful for the time I served as a Leasing Manager at exceptional shopping centers in San Diego. The challenge was both exciting and character building. I was honored to be entrusted to manage $3.5M in annual revenue and proud to have earned a six-figure income before the age of 30. However, there came a time I knew that something had to change. I no longer felt passion – that “spark of bliss”.

I prayed. I listened. I jumped. Where I landed was the divine, and at times scary, place of entrepreneurship and work-from-home motherhood!

I spent the first year of this new chapter saying “yes” to all opportunities and kept faith that by helping as many people as I could for as long as I could with their ventures – that my needs would be met too (and they were)!

I began a deep dive into rediscovering myself. I read a plethora of personal development books, made vision boards, practiced affirmations and meditation. Slowly, I began to find my joy and my authentic self. That’s when I worked with my oldest daughter to create her first vision board showcasing what made her joyful, places she wanted to go, things she wanted to learn and do (see picture below). We hung it beside her bed where it was the last thing she saw at night and first thing in the morning. She loved it and she talked about it – she was excited and intentional about making her vision a reality at four years old!

I took full advantage of my time freedom and began volunteering in my daughter’s kindergarten class for the first time! Since the vision board (which I now term Bliss Board) had worked so well for my daughter, I thought it would be wonderful to bring this concept to her classroom! So, I did! My daughter and I led a lesson on the how-to and reason behind creating Bliss Boards. The kids lit up and they loved the process – none of them had heard of it! I walked around and asked intentional questions, and this truly helped each of them find within themselves their desires and what sparks their joy!

Fast forward a year, I developed a lesson plan for teaching children the power of affirmations and positive self-talk. I created tools, searched and discovered supplemental age-appropriate songs and books. Teaching the power of affirmations with first graders across four different classes has by far been one of my favorite experiences on this journey.

Since then my bliss has blossomed through the recent birth of B3 Collective, a project that has been in my heart for 2+ years now!

As I embark upon 2019, I am passionate about how B3 Collective will empower children, parents, and teachers everywhere by providing tools to help build their children’s belief in themselves!

I am a firm believer it takes a village to raise kind, compassionate, loving and happy humans – and I am all about helping strengthen that village!”

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been bumpy, bendy and beautiful, and I would not have it any other way. Each challenge I’ve been faced with (from financial troubles to my second daughter’s premature birth at 33 weeks and other health issues) has taught me something about myself, humans, raising littles, love, faith, fear, and life.

Overall, my biggest challenge has been to surrender control and trust I am exactly where I needed to be. The achiever in me always wanted to do better and be more – for everyone else. One might say I was pushing forward rather than surrendering to allow a greater flow to guide me.

While I would define my childhood as wonderful, I did lose my father to cancer when I was four. I think I had buried all of my mixed feelings about this experience so deep within myself that I forgot it was there (yet it would bubble up and manifest in negative ways). I did not feel whole and didn’t know why. There was a huge part of me I didn’t even know was still grieving. It took me slowing down, getting off the fast track of corporate ladder climbing, and doing some soul searching by taking time to do the self-work.

I finally admitted to myself it is okay to not be perfect. Getting help through a counselor, coach, mentor and/or therapist (I have had them all in the last two years and HIGHLY recommend exploring ALL types) does not mean I am inadequate! If anything, it means I am humbled enough to admit I had healing to do!

Something I hold on to: “by healing ourselves, we heal others”. I don’t have to have it all figured out, and I certainly am allowed to be sad and grieve or be frustrated and angry at times. However, I have found that once I identified my feelings, and felt where they were in my body and what they felt like, I could move past them and transform them into positive and productive energy!

Did I do it alone? No way. That is my advice to all young women struggling to figure themselves out: seek and you will find. It took a village. My village healed the four-year-old child inside me at 33 years old, and now I feel ready to do the blessed work I am on this earth to do.

What should we know about B3 Collective? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
B3 Collective is more than a brand: it is a community and a lifestyle. At B3 Collective, we are passionate about empowering children to cultivate and celebrate their superpowers through affirming words, blissful visions, and compassionate hearts. We provide tools to help build children’s belief in themselves creating solid foundations for school years and beyond. We are about connection and greatness in small. Our vision is to see parents and teachers receive the tools (activities, books, songs, resources lists and more) to easily introduce their young ones to the powerful ways of strengthening their emotional, mental and physical foundations in life. Currently, our focus is on the impressionable and printable years of childhood, in particular, ages three to six.

We are also firm believers it is impossible for parents and teachers to not grow and/or heal themselves during the process of teaching their little bees to do so (as the founders all experienced massive growth during this process themselves).

In addition to kits (delivered to your doorstep), digital downloads and virtual workshops, we also offer in-person workshops here in San Diego for moms and their little ones! By 2020, we will have retreats where mothers and daughters (we will show love to fathers and sons too) can come together to slow down, connect and create their “B3 Bond”. It is our vision to see this spread like wildfire throughout communities across the world!

As a part of the B3 Collective community, you’ll “bee” a part of our global hive as we grow and expand empowering one child at a time while collectively changing the world!

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
I love this question. There is a collective of women who have inspired me on so many levels; however, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my mom, grandmother, and aunt (maternal) are the top 3. Having lost my father at such a young age, these two women stepped in to raise me with my mom. My trifecta: each of them inspired me in unique ways. My mother’s heart. My grandmother’s soul. My auntie’s brain.

I have never known a more passionate, generous, empathetic, loving, loyal and committed human than my mom. Since I was a little girl, she has been a teacher, and she has always focused on instilling life skills and character strengths in her students as #1. I know her students emerge as more aware, compassionate and responsible beings because of the belief, love, time, awareness and knowledge my mom pours into them. Her heart for the animal kingdom is no different – and she is the epitome of “being the change you wish to see in the world.”

My grandmother’s unwavering faith and abundance of real-life miracles was my gateway to surrender to trust the process. Her ability to always find ways to spread love and light with anyone who crosses her path inspires me to do the same every day of my life.

Last, but not least, my auntie who has an incredible ability to see the world through a special lens. She masterminds and has earned her way into incredible positions of power in the healthcare world where she is an advocate for those whose voices would otherwise go unheard. She is incredibly smart and despite all the wild cards life has thrown her, she keeps the faith and comes out on top.

My three pillars of inspiration: Love, Faith, and Resilience.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.b3collective.com
  • Phone: 619-723-7238
  • Email: b3collective@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @theb3collective

      Image Credit:
Wedding Photo: Debbie Adams, Bliss Board Event Photos: MyChau Nguyen Du and Denise Funfar, Other photos: Loriann Aitkenhead

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. james

    May 6, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    thanks for sharing CONGRATULATIONS FOR SHARING LIVING BRINGING P O S I T I V E TO A NEW LEVEL OF AWARNESS FOUND ONLY BY HELPING OTHERS loving you always more, your uncle James

  2. Julie

    May 11, 2019 at 6:53 am

    Super inspiring real life testimony to the journey of having a meaningful life! No one said it was easy but making the most of every opportunity along the way makes the journey a joy.
    I love having a front row seat on this journey with you! Love you!

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