Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: A Life Shattered & Scattered

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Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. -Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 11

…been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. -Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 11

Good grief Paul! I can relate! Many of us can relate whom lives seem to be on some random game board where things happen at the spin of the wheel. Can we get some consistency other than the “bad” things that seem to happen all of the time. We spend time grasping for memories of good times, we write our five things to be grateful for, we are constantly searching for the silver lining or the light at the end of many tunnels. Some of us don’t ask why because we are use to it. Some of us ask why anyways (that would be me) in an effort to try to understand the method to the madness. As I sit here and type, adjusting my body and hear my hip make a loud pop, I laugh. Yes, body, I am writing about you! And much more!

So what do we do? Those who seem to be plague with a series of unfortunate events. We recognize that grace is sufficient and power works best in weakness.

Charis (/ˈkeɪrɪs/; Greek: Χάρις) is a given name derived from a Greek word meaning “grace, kindness”. In Greek mythology, a Charis is one of the Charites (Greek: Χάριτες) or “Graces”, goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility; and in Homer’s Iliad, Charis is the wife of Hephaestus.

The ability to get through the things we go through comes through grace (kindness). We go through being kind to ourselves and others. I am still growing in grace or kindness for myself, but I have plenty of grace for others who suffer. God, the Creator of the Universe says the grace given to us is sufficient. It’s enough to get us through those times. I think through these hard times you can become a Charis. You become one with charm, beauty, nature, human creativity and fertility (in a sense reproductive through creativity or giving life to others who suffer).

When I look at the words “My (God) power works best in weakness” I think of it as when I am at my weak points, the pushing through is the power. It is the strength to keep going. It is the strength to choose life. It is the will to live. It is the fight in us. We emerge stronger and stronger.

You may ask, “Well, when it be over? When will I get to just live my life with so many trials and tribulations?” I can’t answer that. I don’t know. I do know one thing I have decided to do, and I hope you will join me, is to live my life with POWER. Do I get tired? Yes. Do we get down , depressed, oppressed, and filled with anxiety at times? Yes. Do we get angry? Yes. But through those dark times in the tunnels we may rest, but we refocus on the light. We get ourselves together and we walk or run towards the light to bask in it again. And sometimes we have to stand at the end of the tunnel encouraging someone else to come on through. We may have to go back in and get somebody. We do it because we have gained strength.

How long will the light last? I am tired of tunnels (I know right?!!!). If we, get enough wisdom in us, enough affirmations, confidence, a knowing that we will get through whatever comes our way, well, we can carry a light within. We may have trouble lighting it sometimes, but we are boys and girl scouts in the spirit and we know how to start a fire! Thoughts are like matches or the sticks you rub together in this situation. You have to begin with affirmations, reading positive material, reciting scriptures, thinking about the times you made it through before, imagining life the way you want to see it. Power rises from within even when you are looking without for inspiration. After going through so much in my 41 years I realize I am the light and I don’t have to wait until I get to the end of the tunnel(sickness, illness, tragedy, trial, etc). I shine wherever darkness is. That is power.

~Nikki “You don’t have to wait until you get to the end of the tunnel to receive light.You are the light within the tunnel. Someday, I hope you realize this.”- Nicole Jackson

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Unsteady: Depression and Anxiety

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From depression to PSTD (which is not just for soldiers), I think about how unsteady the mind and emotions can be. I think about how physical illnesses can create a certain unsteadiness in our lives. We are often trying to hold onto ourselves and others. We are often seeking someone to hold on to us during those times the winds start blowing in our lives and the oceans of our emotions start to rock and the wind of thoughts began to blow. It’s a scary state to be in.  A very fragile state.

You are trying to stay afloat. You are grasping for your tools to help you pull through. You hope you make it. Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you wish someone would simply hold onto you and give you the balance you need and at the same time you don’t want anyone around. (Side Note: If you are the person trying to hold onto the unsteady person, sometimes your presence, YOUR LISTENING EAR and your silence and your prayers ARE THE ANCHOR).

Last night I found myself overwhelmed with helplessness as I could not help a parent who is suffering from an illness only to come home and open up a letter of disappointment that sent me thinking about a decision I felt pressured to make. I opened another letter of a bill that was greater than I imagined and could afford. I then hopped on social media to find out about a horrific death of a doctor that saved my life in 2001. It was too much. The stress, the anxiety, the fear, the concern, the helplessness, the anger, was coming in relentlessly like pounding waves. I was between crying and throwing something. I needed to talk, but to who? I don’t trust people. People don’t understand. To God? Eh….not right now. I just don’t have words. I am grasping for something to pull me out or keep me afloat. And then the stress brought on physical pain. I read. I cried. I prayed. I cried. I listened to music. I cried. I went to bed. I woke up.

I think I just stayed afloat. I think it was the Creator and my angels…they love me enough to not let go. And I love myself enough to not let go of me.

~Nikki

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: To Be Continued

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Continue to do good. Continue to to treat people right. It’s not about scoring points with God or being a saint or being a martyr. It’s about increasing your spiritual growth. -Nicole Jackson

If you can uplift your negative I can uplift my positive. If you can exercise your pettiness, I can exercise my grace and mercy. If you can spread your hate, I can spread my love. If you can harbor bitterness, I can set free forgiveness. If you can hinder, I can help. If you can judge and jury, I can understand.-Nicole Jackson

©2016 All rights reserved. This blog or body of work may not be reproduced or altered without the author’s written permission. It may be shared or re-blogged.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Don’t Crowd Fund Your Self Esteem

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Cup of coffee and clementines. Photo by Natalia van Doninck on Getty Images

It’s not possible you would know everyone who walks along a crowded street or those standing with you at a concert.Crowd funding consists of strangers and a few people you know contributing to your cause or project. It’s not likely those people know you from the eyes of a good friend or the perspective of a wonderful family member. So, in this life why do we seem to crowd fund our self esteem? I know I am guilty of this from time to time but, oh I remember the days where I relied heavily on the opinions of others and even sought after validation. Thank God! Thank God because I did the hard work and made it through the mistakes to get to this point to talk to you, unashamed, about crowd funding your self esteem.

What people don’t understand about those who struggle with self esteem issues is it didn’t start yesterday. They also don’t understand the complex journey it takes to go back in your life and discover where the seeds were planted and the hard work it takes to cut the roots of low self esteem. Crowd funding your self esteem is when you rely on the contributions of others opinions to fund how you feel about yourself. You should cancel this fund raiser (thought) each time it pops in your mind. I could go through a bunch of steps on how to do this but there is this one saying that sums it up and you could tape it to your forehead or mirror. Which ever is more fashionable for you!

The quote is: Comparison is the thief of joy-Theodore Roosevelt

Why are you sad now? Why are you feeling defeated now? Why are you feeling bad about yourself now? You just compared your progress, success, where you are, to someone else’s progress, success, how farther they are in life than you are and now your joy has been stolen by comparison. Stop that. Learn to admire others and set your OWN goals. If June buys a million dollar home don’t try to buy a million dollar home simply to measure your success by June’s. Look at your bank account, do the math, and buy what you can afford. If Courtney just ran her first marathon and you just made it running a mile, how UNFAIR is that to compare yourself? Your diligence and her diligence is simply diligence. I tell you “a truth” as Jesus said in the Bible when he was about to introduce a new concept: If you learn to CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES AS WELL AS OTHERS you wouldn’t need to crowd fund your self esteem.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Instead, celebrate yourself and others.

~Nikki

Kanye-ing Anxiety

 

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There are  times in life when we will face some really difficult situations which can cause us to “worry” or to become “concerned” about the outcome. Anxiety is a perpetual worry and concern. It can come like a flood seemingly out of nowhere or it can come immediately when something foreseen or not begins to manifest right before our eyes. And many times  it may never manifest or at least not to the full degree we allow ourselves to imagine. It is when our active imagination takes us out in the deep where we lose sight of the shore of hope and faith. We are no longer anchored to the shore. We are floating out on a sea of shaky thoughts. We become “see” sick by the things we imagine will happen.

I ran across this quote and I had this thought: “Oh, it’s like Kanye-ing thoughts which create anxiety.” Imagine anxiety with a mic and you run up on stage and say “Look, I’m not going to give the mic back. However, I would like to thank the Creator for all that I have. I am grateful for life. I am thankful for the breath I breathe. I am thankful for the clothes and shoes I have. I am happy I can see, walk, talk and taste the food I have. I am so very grateful for the lessons I am learning….”  You know blah blah blah good stuff until Anxiety walks off the stage and has a seat.

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In many cases it’s rude to interrupt but, it’s perfectly fine to interrupt negative thoughts and “what ifs” that create and build up negative emotions that send you into anxiety rap battles also know as anxiety attacks. I remember reading a book by Inyanla Vanzant that stated “If you are going to play the “what if” game, play the other side.” In other words, what about “what if” it doesn’t happen? Instead, use your imagination to create solutions and calm. Also, if you play the what if game, then ask yourself what can I do if that does happen. I know it’s not easy. I know from experience. However, it’s worth cutting off negative thoughts or anxiety and filling your mind with gratitude instead.

~Nikki

Rise Up Again

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You have the courage and the strength to rise up again. Again means you have done it before and  if you have done it before you can do it again. I know. it’s never been this devastating. I know, it’s never been this dark. I know it’s never been this hard. Still, you have it in you to rise once more and again if you have to. And when you rise, pray.

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And when you rise up, TAKE courage. Sometimes you have to TAKE courage and do what needs to be done.

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Rise up.

~Nikki

 

 

Rising Fear, Rising Faith

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I live in a city where senseless and violent crimes take place daily. I live in a city where educational programs are often squandered and where politics lean towards the influence of the wealthy. This produces fear, anger, and flight. This produces arguments and lethargy.

Now factor in raising children, health problems, unemployment, starving artists, underpaid teachers and overpaid leaders, aging parents, debts, low paying jobs, past catching up, uncertainty about the future, marriage, divorce, single life and dating, finances, careers, family matters… You’ve got a whirlwind of fear dancing about your mind, body, and spirit. Torture. Did I say whirlwind? I meant a category 5 tornado.

Where do you stand? (Stand Nikki? I’m laying down and taking a nap. I’m drinking. I’m chain smoking. I’m overeating. I’m not eating. I’m confrontational. I’m not doing anything. I’m not sleeping.) Let me rephrase, “How do you stand?” I heard an intelligent being say, by the name of Nicole Jackson, “Rising fear is met with a rising active faith.” I love to be the bearer of good news. So, in other words “You have to meet fear with action! A faith that DOES SOMETHING. FAITH IS AN ACTION WORD.”

All of the knowledge/wisdom you’ve absorbed from the Creator, Shamans, Priests, Gurus, Ancestors, Life, etc. It’s time to use it. Prayer and meditation is a two way conversation between you and the universe (known to many buy God, Creator, Divine, etc.) Let prayer and meditation pour into you instructions you need “for such a time as this.” Perhaps this is new to you. You maybe a young adult. Listen, wisdom is all around you. It’s in your parents, grandparents, mentor, your beliefs, a book, mistakes, this blog. It’ll come to you Young Jedi.

Have no fear. Instead, activate your rising faith.

~Nikki

 

Confidence Seed. Take Root.

 

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Where there is smoke, there is fire.
Where there is fear, there is a lack of confidence. You’ve got the gift or gifts but, what’s holding you back? Is it the thought that you can’t do it? Maybe you sorta kinda feel that you can but, you just don’t know.

Confidence is more than saying I can do it. Confidence is a strong conviction that you CAN do it. It has to take ROOT in your core being. But how? For those of us that lack self confidence. I’m writing this via the spirit, on the fly, given to me as I type. So, here we go in no order or logic to my knowledge:

Some of us never had confidence so to speak (I believe you are born with it but, many times it needs to be nurtured as a child. Hence, confidence building. Then there are others that just have it). If you were a child brought up in an environment that tore your confidence down daily, you may not have been fortunate enough to have had the mental fortitude to survive that. On the other hand, some of you in that environment held on to that voice on the inside telling you  “you can do it” but, you’re still lacking the confidence. Illnesses, accidents, tragedies, huge setbacks, have a way of merely destroying our confidence. If you allow it and let’s be honest, some of us have allowed it. No guilt.

Confidence comes from knowing that you’re already equip with some knowledge of how to manifest your gift and knowing that whatever you don’t know will come to you via research, another person that has already paved the way, or stumbling upon a method through trial and error. Call it divine intervention or instructions. “Something” told me to…I just so happen to be at…
Confidence is strengthened by trial and error. You gain the “how to” through the “don’t do.”-Nicole Jackson. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are teachers. Thank the teacher. Accept the answer and move forward.
Confidence is planted by action. You’ve got confidence. You’ve been SAYING IT, THINKING IT but have you been DOING IT? IMAGINE a seed 🌱 in your hand. And you look at it and say “I can plant it. I will plant it. I am planting it.” You lay down and you “think about planting it. See yourself planting it” but you’re still holding the seed in your hand! When you ACTUALLY take  ACTION is when the seed will get planted. The more you do your gift, the more confidence grows and deepens its ROOT in your soul. In your psyche. Doing your gift is the watering, sunlight, weeding.
You want your confidence to take root? Don’t mind the weather. Don’t mind the naysayers and the negative thoughts that come to you discourage you. If you do, you’ll be digging up the confidence seed. Bonus: Confidence also can be planted in any season.
This is all the Holy Spirit gave me and I have shared it with you!

do-your-best

~Nikki

Champion Your Thoughts

 

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Muhammad Ali was a champion in many ways but, what made him a champion in those ways was his ability to champion his thoughts.

As I reflect on my life I look at the ways I use self defeating thoughts verses champion thoughts. Many of us have been preprogrammed with thoughts or conditioned to think certain thoughts through experiences. Either good or negative, we think. If I’m to be honest, my thought process didn’t begin to change until I was 30 (however, I woke up so to speak at 26)  and here we have it 11 years later, finally taking root and blooming.

Champion thoughts requires hard, grueling, relentless and challenging work. Long hours at the spiritual gym within and a spiritual diet fit for a champion. You can’t eat (listen to, digest) anything that’s put on your plate. You will suffer some defeats, barely make rounds, but you will begin to win more than you lose when you learn to never change your champion mentality. But, you need only to adjust your approach, strategy, study your opposition and hit the spiritual gym more. Reflect.

A champion doesn’t become a champion by building the body only. Many men have lost relying on brute force alone. Many have lost the fight in this life with brute force alone. Champion thoughts help you get through the toughest times in your life. I look at Muhammad Ali and even though his body was attacked by Parkinson’s and  it silenced him physically, HE WAS STILL SEEN AS THE CHAMP. Champion thoughts  have no need be verbalized all the time. Champion thoughts don’t care about your pain, wins, losses or draw.  Champion have a need to be lived. May we live out our lives from here on out with champion thoughts. May we not see the world as we have in our twenties but, as the champions we are. Are you not still standing? Raise your arms up high, fist to the sky, Champion.

~Nikki

What’s the Occasion?

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Sunday Morning Coffee Musings

I don’t know the specifics of the occasion but, I do know it’s time to rise to it. It takes strength to rise. It takes courage to rise. Think about all the muscles at work when you rise from a seated position. Think about how much more strength when you’re weak and you have to rise. Some of us will need a little more strength. Some of us may need a hand.

I myself, need the the courage to rise to the occasion in my life. It’s time for me to be brave. I must confess, I’m not feeling very brave. I’m a little timid about rising to my call in my life. That’s my occasion. Why are you afraid Nikki? Well, I’m afraid I might do the wrong thing. I’m afraid I might mess it up. I’m afraid I might not do it the way others think I should and they will talk about me. It’s not just fear. It’s a paralyzing fear stemming from childhood.

So here we are. Some searching for strength and others for courage. Perhaps, both. We don’t have to search too far because it’s already in us. What we need is a made up mind to rise… No matter the outcome. What we need is knowing that it will all work out and we will learn along the way and this will help us to build more strength and courage to keep going forward. We can’t be afraid of trial and error. We can’t be ashamed if we make a mistake. We’ve been taught these things are bad things. All of our mistakes and failures in school, in life, on the job, by family friends and strangers are often HIGHLIGHTED. Don’t we do the same to others?

Sigh. Yet, it’s still time. The occasion is knocking gently at your door. Patiently, waiting on you to gather the strength and the courage to rise.

~Nikki