Know the Signs: Inner Work

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At its core, inner work is the process of getting to know yourself. It’s a form of introspective self-care where you can help yourself let go of harmful attachments, habits, people, and thoughts. -brainmd.com

The most important relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself. It determines how you treat yourself, how you treat others, and how you allow others to treat you. I did some research and along with my personal experience, came up with some signs you may need to work on yourself. I’ll say after reading some of this I can tell you that WE ALL probably need to do some inner work.

Inner work can be scary and daunting because it requires you to take an honest look at yourself. When was the last time you were honest with yourself about yourself and NOT blamed others or came up with excuses for your behavior or thoughts? You can’t control others but you can learn to control your responses. And even after you become aware or honest, what do you do about it? Shrug your shoulders? Apologize over and over and secretly say to yourself, “Why do I keep doing that?” Maybe it’s not your behavior that’s an indication that you need help or to work on yourself. Maybe it’s your obsessive worrying that is anxiety. Maybe it’s your mood swings you can’t explain but expect everyone around you to just deal with it or get used to it.

  • You think negatively or have a negative view about yourself/other people, gender, cultures, etc
  • You suffer from anxiety and depression
  • You’ve had a traumatic change in your health
  • You’re going through or have been through a rough patch in your life
  • Your childhood was not the best and deep down you suspect it has impacted your thinking. other relationships and your behavior
  • You don’t treat yourself with respect and/or you don’t treat others with respect
  • You are in an unhealthy relationship
  • You allow people to take advantage of you
  • You have unreasonable expectations of yourself and others
  • You are unhappy with your life
  • You are a habitual giver and you give more than you can afford or have to give. This includes time.
  • There is a persistent feeling of emptiness, unfulfillment, or failure
  • You have anger issues

These are just a few examples. Have you ever read a book, talked to a spiritual leader, or therapist because you knew you needed to do some inner work? If you don’t mind sharing, what were some of your signs?

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Wondering Why, Longing for Normal

Respect your body when it’s asking for a break. Respect your mind when it’s seeking rest. Honor yourself when you need a moment for yourself. -unknown

GM! The morning after a day of bone crushing pain can be odd. Thanks to prayer and prednisone you physically feel better but, mentally and emotionally, you’re not quite together. I feel deep compassion and empathy for those that suffer from chronic pain or chronic illnesses. Sometimes all I can do is wonder why it must be this way. I enjoyed those years I was in remission from rheumatoid arthritis disease and the days I’d never heard of fibromyalgia. On the bright side for me, at least it wasn’t ill when my daughter was an infant. Also, if I would have known the future, I would have followed ALL of my dreams full speed ahead.

But we don’t have the luxury of knowing the future and I am sure that would not always be a good thing. We’d live in fear and sorrow or dread. With that being said, it’s like how depression and anxiety works. I get so tired of hurting it makes me depressed about the future at times. I get so worried about how the future will turn out at times; I get anxious about it. When the pain is severe as it was yesterday, the only thing I yearn for is to just have a normal life. I know what normal was like before Rheumatoid Disease and Fibromyalgia. I could be tired without pain.

~Nikki

No Stress November? Really?

Pathway in the autumn forest

This is the time of the year many of us are wrapping up our goals. The holidays are upon us. There is also the putting away of summer clothing, summer items and putting the fall and winter things where they belong. It’s the organization and preparation of your home for winter. There are events, celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings. Finances and traveling factor in as well. What can we do to make sure we don’t become overwhelmed and “wig out”?

Keep your routine of exercise and eating as healthy as possible. Don’t neglect your self-care routine either. Get a massage to help you with all of the stress or do an Epsom salt soak in the tub.

Keep to your routine of prayer, meditation, daily devotions and religious services.

Make a budget and STICK TO IT.

Remember, YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING OR EVERY ACTIVITY. You can’t make it to EVERYONE’S EVENT.

With that being said, decide what you are going to and where you are going to in advance. Also, leave room for adventure. Be flexible to change. We should know by now things don’t always go according to plan and we must be able to adapt. Oh, and adjust our attitudes in the process! Your FUNKY little attitude can affect the group and ruin everything.

Apologize.

Take off your cape and learn to say NO. Take off your control freak cape and delegate things to others. They can handle it and it doesn’t have to be exactly how you want it done.

Take a breather and some time alone. Go for a nature walk or a walk in the neighborhood. Listen to music. Read a book. Stargaze.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too. -Mayoclinic.com

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship. If you’re feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat. Volunteering your time or doing something to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays. -Mayoclinic.com

If you have any tips, chime in!

~Nikki

Bold New Chapter

Timing is everything. It’s about time and the time is right for a BOLD NEW CHAPTER in your life. You’ve been playing safe. You’ve been dabbling but, now it’s time to venture out into the deep! Don’t get scared now and if you do, move beyond, over, under, and around the fear. The deep is where the treasures are. The BOLD moves is the action that creates a reaction called manifestation. A BOLD move is the move that triggers the waves and waves of success.

I don’t know what you are doing this month but, it’s a blank page. It’s a new chapter. WRITE BOLD visions. TAKE BOLD actions.

AFFIRMATIONS:

There is a bold new chapter waiting to be written by me.

I know the plans the Creator has for me. Plans to prosper, to give me hope and a future.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Not the Easter I Planned

I had a busy day Friday and was exhausted by the night. I went to bed and when I woke up it was Saturday morning. I don’t recall waking up during the night and I usually do. I was refreshed and headed out to the stores. It was my intention to bake a cake and to bake my famous wings. Well, after I returned home around about noon, I started feeling bad. I noticed my face was having an outbreak of seborrheic dermatitis. My face begins to swell and then I begin to simply feel bad all over. Malaise is what this is called. A general feeling of discomfort, illness, etc.

Fibromyalgia kicked in and man, I felt like all of my energy was drained. I ended up just lounging around the house Saturday feeling bad. I went to bed Saturday night and tossed and turned ALL NIGHT LONG. I did not make it to Easter Service or Easter dinner with my family and I have never missed an Easter dinner. I did get up enough strength to bake my famous wings but, not to bake a cake.

Today I feel much better, my skin is clearing up and the swelling has gone down. My daughter is back safely at college and all is well. I hope you had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed your week. I intend to put the last two days behind me and move forward into a productive and fun filled week.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Suffering Produces Perseverance

Last week, I had a very bad fibromyalgia flare. I mean the kind that brings tears to your eyes. I was the chairperson of an event and I had things to do and very little help to do it. I pressed my way through by pacing myself, resting, and getting things done. As you may have read a few blog posts ago, I lost another loved one to Covid. This month has seem to be a month mixed with a variety of sufferings ranging from loss of loved one, increased physical pain, emotional challenges, and a few missed targets of gossip and misinformation.

It has also been a month of blessings and gratefulness. I feel it has been the turning point for me spiritually. Some parts of me that were dead to Christianity are showing signs of life and there seems to be some solid foundation in what I believe to be true about God. So, what is with so much suffering? The question is not why must we suffer but, why do we suffer?

I say we it’s not about a “must” suffering because there are choices we make that lead to suffering. The solution is to simply make better choices. However, there are things we are just going to go through that causes us to suffer. Incidents and accidents. The loss of love ones. Sickness. A not so good childhood. Relationships turned sour and rancid. Pause. Deep breath. I was sitting with my eyes closed listening to a Christian meditation, which was more like a reading of scriptures, and I heard this:

Suffering produces perseverance. It does? It does. Well, how does that work if the person suffering dies? The defeated suffering by moving into a realm where there is not suffering. To stay here, would have meant more suffering. Ok, but what if they suffered and lived and as they lived, they still suffered because of their illness or injuries? They persevere by pushing through, by treatments, by taking on each day, by adapting and attitude of positivity and gratitude. The persevere to and develop character that can help someone else to get through what they go through, something similar, or life all together. They learn a thing or two about suffering and pushing forward. They learn some things about weeping may endure for a night but, joy (enlightenment, understanding) comes in the morning. They learn about getting through it. Either hope seems to just appear for some and others make a conscious choice to hope. Hope for better days. Hope for a cure. Hope for new treatments. Hope for the suffering to end.

I see.

I got through those terrible flares like I got through some of the others. Perseverance. I get through some by suffering through them because no amount of pain meds, heating pads, or ice can help. I suffer through the hours to get to the next day and they subside. I persevere through it with prayer. That’s all I have sometimes. All I have is “hope”…hope this ends soon. Hope tomorrow is better. I “hope” they can figure out how to treat fibromyalgia soon or in the future so others will not have to…suffer.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Wrong but, Right

I wake up at 3 am from joint pain. I get up and take some pain medication. I doze off and I awake at 4:15 am to a beeping smoke detector that informs me the battery is low. Thanks. I get the footstool and I remove the batteries. I get back to bed. I am up at 7 am. An inbox from the speaker that is suppose to bring a message to the congregation cancels due to a fever. I call the pastor and the pastor will have to fill in. I get dressed only to look down to see the hem of my dress has unraveled and is shredded. I change clothes twice after that and I am ready to go. But, my daughter is not. I arrive at a church with 3 minutes to spare and I am asked to fill in here and there, all over the place because only a hand full of members are there. Just when you think it’s over we arrive to the restaurant for dinner only to find out they close at 2pm and will reopen at 4pm. New hours because there is a shortage on employees.

We decide to go to a restaurant that is close to where we are but, it is very expensive. We are seated with no issues and the food was delicious. I stuffed myself silly as it was a brunch buffet. Sad but, true.

With everything that happened this morning before I could leave my home, I almost said, “Everything that could have went wrong this morning did!” But, before I could finish it, I stopped. I thought, “Words have power. They have the power to create and to evoke emotions.” Instead I changed it to, “Everything that could have gone right this morning did!”

I know that may seem opposite of what happened. I reflected on what was going on and how at every turn I talked myself into remaining calm and hopeful. When I woke up for the third time at 7 am I was still in quite a bit of pain from Rheumatoid and my muscles were aching from fibromyalgia. I am in the middle of a flare up of both! A bowl of cereal and coffee. CBS Sunday Morning. Nodding off at times and praying things would calm down. During the getting dressed fiasco, “That’s ok. It’s alright. I know I am running short on time. It’s ok. Next dress. Next pair of shoes. Next on the accessories. Keep moving Nicole.” I am ready! My daughter is not. We will be late! It’s okay. It’s alright. Breathe. Write your notes. Start the car. Wait. Wait. Breathe. Wait. Don’t fuss when she gets in the car. She is having a rough morning, too.

She gets in with college size attitude. I ignore. At church, I kept going with the flow of the turn of events. Dinner, I may have been a bit frustrated but, adjusted my attitude before walking in and hoping they had space. I realized, I had ACED the TESTS of the day. Everything that could have went right, did. It may not have been RIGHT but, it was happening and this was truly a series of tests to see if I could put into practice things I have been reading, experiencing, learning, over the years. We are tested often in this life but, there are times when we get an EXAM. This was an exam. I aced it. I felt joy and then I thought maybe I shouldn’t be too happy. After all, this is spiritual stuff. Is it okay to be happy about this?

Absolutely! Understanding brings us joy! Enlightenment brings us joy! Why not celebrate when we pass tests and exams in life? It made my heart happy to see growth. I would have gotten angry. I would have given up. I would have been miserable. But, no. I just went with the flow of things and rode the wave on out to shore using a set of skills developed over time. Breathe. Self talk. Flow. Adjust. Think. Adjust Attitude to a better one. Smile. Ignore. Adjust internal emotions with truth to override facts. Pep talks. Shuffle. Repeat. Repeat.

Ahhhhhhh the day is done!

Don’t’ believe the hype in your life that can come from what you SEE. Seeing isn’t always believing. It looked like I was having a bad day but, it was all an illusion. Are there bad days? Of course! But this was just an exam and I am glad it is over.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Housewarming

It finally happened. I had a housewarming for family and family-friends. And it was GREAT. We had a really good time fellowshipping with one another. Most of my immediate family is vaccinated and if not they have had their first shot.

It took me two weeks to prepare for one day because of physical limitations. Really, I started to prepare three weeks in advance. The last two days were brutal on my body and I had a few days along those weeks that were bad days and many sleep issues at night. However, I persevered. I also had help from my brothers, my daughter, and parents. I am grateful for that.

Today, I begin the process of recovery. It takes about a week and sometimes two weeks to recoup from an event like yesterday. Today, I feel like I have been hit by a ton of bricks. My body is exhausted. I am fatigued. I have a huge amount of pain and soreness. So, I have cancelled all plans for this week. I only have one goal, each day, for the next seven days that require my physical energy. I am also not taking any phone calls or dealing with any negative energy. It’s just not happening this week. No extra tasks for anyone else. This is the epitome of self care for those with autoimmune diseases. We must heed the lessons learned and the good advice given to us by others in order to preserve and improve our health.

Take Care!

~Nikki

We’ve Got This and If Not, That’s Ok, Too!

Sometimes I go to bed feeling defeated. Sometimes I rise with power and sometimes I rise with a press in my spirit. I do not know why some of our lives have more obstacles than others. It’s not because we are special as we have been told (I don’t believe that). It’s not ALL because of the choices we make. But it’s always about the response. I believe it’s simply because this is our lot. This is our path. This is our journey and everyone’s journey is different. That’s it. I got this today with the weight of the world on my shoulders and tears in my eyes. I got this.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: What Can You Do?

A few weeks ago I posted in a rheumatoid arthritis support group a tip on relaxation. One of the tips involved soaking in a tub to help relieve tension. And that is where the drama from the trauma began.

I define it as trauma because you must be experiencing some type of trauma that pushes you to release drama on unsuspecting strangers. Sadly, people that deal with you on a regular basis know you are about dramatization. They know that when they see you, you bring the drama. You see, in the comment section there were responses to my post like: I CANT SOAK IN THE TUB! HOW IS THAT RELAXING? I CAN GET IN BUT I CAN’T GET OUT. HUMPH, THAT IS SURE TO CREATE TENSION AND NOT RELAXATION. I AM TOO LARGE FOR A TUB. I HAVEN’T SAT IN A TUB FOR YEARS. NO WAY THIS CAN WORK. One lady even said to me I should have modified the post. I wanted to say, “Ma’am, I didn’t write the article. DUH. And you should have modified your thinking.” BUT…I respect my elders most of the time (because I don’t believe it’s okay to be 80 and say whatever you want to people). Also, the Spirit told me to be quiet. She’s traumatized by Rheumatoid and many other issues. This is her sadness, pain, hurt, gushing and lashing out.

Pause. When you see a post of something that you don’t like such as one that reads: “I love strawberries.” Do you hop on and respond: STRAWBERRIES ARE DISGUSTING. I HATE THEM. THEY ARE THE WORST FRUIT ON THE PLANET. CAN’T SEE HOW YOU EAT THOSE. Has it ever occurred to you, that post was not for you? I see people raving about things that are not for me. Unless I see a “what do you think?” I don’t bother UNLESS they are family or close friends. Many times, I don’t bother then. It’s one thing to say you don’t like berries or I am allergic but I wish I could eat them. It’s whole other thing to BASH and INSULT and have a total meltdown over nothing. A simple positive post or someone’s opinion over if they like pumpkin spice lattes (ugh).

Press play. I wonder did those people stop and think, I can do ALL of those other things except soak in the tub. Great article. No. They saw the ONE thing they couldn’t do and “went to town” about it. They didn’t think: “Gosh, I can follow all of these tips in the shower, in my shower chair, or however it is I get clean.” Nope. They honed in on what they could not do. The trauma of what I cannot do. The trauma of WHAT I USE TO be able to do.

This trauma is VERY real. I know about it. I live it and if you keep on living, as the elders say, you will know it, too, in some shape, form, or fashion. Sometimes, I think about my life B.R. (Before Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease) and B.F. (Before Fibromyalgia) and MY GOD! I miss ALL of the things I could do. Even the simplest things. Sometimes I stay in those memories a little too long and I become sadden, blue, depressed, compressed…oppressed. And then I have to free myself from those thoughts with therapy, journaling, talking to a friend, or…THINKING ABOUT ALL OF THE THINGS I CAN STILL DO and even if I have to modify them or have help they still can be done! “Glory to God!” in somebody’s southern church goer voice (:-D). You can heal yourself, or get some help, from the trauma of what has happened to you, whatever it is. The trauma produces the drama and quite frankly, people get tired of it. We know you are hurt but, there is a more EXCELLENT way to deal with it and release it. It’s called prayer, meditation, yoga, sound baths, therapy, Yeshua, Yaweh, spirituality, your choice of religion, forgiveness, etc. It’s called reading a books about it. Going to your temple, church, mosque, and REALLY walking in your religion. Developing a relationship with your Creator. SOMETHING! Something other than bringing the drama, spreading the hate and hurt. Lashing out has cause your relationships to be severed or strained.

What can you do? Huh? THINK ON THOSE THINGS. Think on the things you can do! Those things are TRUE, too. Those things are lovely. Those things “are” admirable. Those things “are” excellent and praiseworthy. Think about such things!

~Nikki