Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Hold Please

Smokey Row in Oskaloosa, Iowa

Wednesday we headed up to Iowa to visit extended family and my nephew. We spent half of our time in Oskaloosa and the other half in Cedar Rapids. Today we are on our way back home to Memphis, TN. I’m always excited when I get to travel and when it’s to certain places because of what it offers. Although, traveling to me has been a challenge since Rheumatoid and Fibromyalgia, I still enjoy it. Some places offer shopping, outlet malls, great places to eat, all forms of entertainment from concerts, plays, and museums to live sporting events. There’s the party atmosphere, site seeing, and adventures to get into. And some places, I look forward to simply do much of nothing while gaining much. Oskaloosa is one of those places. A very small town with character. Here I gain perspective, introspection and seem to re-center easily.

I don’t know many who would pick this place or many who have heard of it but, there are numerous of hidden gems and sanctuaries of peace and quiet all over the earth including the United States. What I like about visiting with my brother, his extended family that became mine is the way it pulls you into a slowed down way of life almost immediately. There is no business to take care of and there is no busyness. There is no party to get dressed up for and not a stitch of make up needed. I was in my jeans and 49ers T-shirts every day. There is no hustle and bustle of city life, malls, and outlets. But there are thrifts stores and consignment shops to take your time (my brother may disagree) to stroll and sift through. There is no real agenda or itinerary. We eat with our family and after most meals we play a board game. We sit and watch sports. We have silly and meaningful conversations. We try to put puzzles together that are on a board (I rarely have luck with that.)

The one thing I really enjoyed this time is that I wasn’t obligated to anyone. I was too far away to hear or care about the drama and nonsense of church business, power trips, and antics. I am just being as honest as always and exercising MY decision to be transparent for helpful purposes. It’s okay to be tired of religious STUFF and the business of it. I felt free while I was away and now that I am back, I still feel free. In this small town, I felt off the grid and kept my social media to a minimum. I like being in my room in their house on a comfy bed of quilts with a big tree to gaze at in the day and opened blinds with the moonlight seeping through at night. I liked existing without millions of things to do. It was like an extension of a Saturday evening from my childhood for three days.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Layers To Freedom

I’ve wrapped my head around the idea that I have more work to do on myself as far as releasing the painful past of childhood. What I did not know was that there were layers to freedom. I got this thought from my own spirit as I was in conversation, meditation, or prayer with God (whatever you choose to call it is fine with me). I was venting that I just want to be free to enjoy and live out my full potential from here on out. I vented “I thought I was free! Who knew that there were so many layers to freedom!!!” And it hit me, “layers to freedom.” Like and onion.

Onions are just fine sitting in the produce section piled up on top of each other. But once you get them home and peel back a layer, you open up the strong smell that creates watery eyes without your consent or control. And so it is, with opening up old wounds that have never healed. Layers and layers of years have gone by. Years and years of masking the uncomfortable that manifest in mood swings, meanness, sadness, arrogance, nonchalant-ness and irritability for no apparent reason. Layers of hurt, embarrassment, inadequate feelings, and shame concealed by one thin layer.

When you have experienced some sort of trauma or continued drama, the emancipation of your soul may take a very long time. I don’t know if it can be sped up. I think maybe it can and I am going to find out if that is true. All week long the spiritual things from my daily devotions to meditation and wisdom from spiritual leaders have centered around freedom. Coincidence? No. I am calling this freedom in and that is why it is showing up. Even in numbers.

Sandhguru said, “Freedom requires courage.” I listened to one of his talks this week. It does require courage and I have taken some courageous steps in peeling back the layers. But, this step, requires “a whole heap” (as my Granny would say) of courage. I feel like I have to muster it up. Get up the nerve. Face it. Deal with it. Defeat it. I feel as if this will be the last barrier to my own freedom. I am tired. I am weary. I am ready. So maybe the speeding up the process is to DEAL with it HEAD ON knowing it’s going to get messy, become tiring, and hurt. But…I need my freedom. I need to live my FULL, UNCHAINED LIFE. I am ready to peel back every layer, chop the onions up and use them to flavor my life. God is my help, my strength, my source, and I feel as if I have not only God, but angels, my angel, and my ancestors on my side. I need all the help I can get. I need all the love I can receive. I may need many shoulders to cry on. But victory…victory is mine.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: You’re Life’s Work Is Your Life

I don’t know if I told you that I was dumped by my therapist but, I think I did in one of these blog posts. I laughed a bit on the inside as I typed that because I have a weird sense of humor at times. Odd maybe. I quickly thought about my reaction and how hysterical I was. How angry I was. And that made you laugh Nikki? It did because I reflected on how I could not see myself working with anyone else, being as open and honest with anyone else, and especially because my then therapist had one of my personality traits. Chill.

I recently went to a new therapist and she is not like my old one (shocker). She is retired from the military and you can tell that she is structured, but very “real” and “raw” in her delivery. So, I thought I was going to waltz in there with my credentials (all of the work I had done previously) and we were just going to pick up where I left off. NOPE. She could tell that I had done the work. She could tell that now was the time of doing the work of RELEASING. Releasing? I thought that’s what I was doing. I thought I’d already did that. I know how everything is connected. “Yes. But you don’t know how to let go and it’s time that you do. Are you ready to work? Because this, is going to be work.” She said. Hades no. I am not prepared for that because I didn’t realize that I had not been releasing. I have sat with that all week. I have processed it and I can see she is right. It’s crazy to be stuck and not know you are stuck and to realize you are stuck. How long have I been stuck? How did I not know? Oh man, more breaking down mental and emotional barriers. MUST THERE ALWAYS BE SOMETHING ELSE I HAVE TO DO OR FACE ABOUT MYSELF?

God was like: “Nicole, you know the answer to that. The answer is the same it always is when you ask this question. Yes. ” It’s never going to end and I know that. Will the debris of our lives lessen? Yes. It will be much easier to see once we clean up. But, just like cleaning up the clutter, there are things you have to “let go of” and there are things you keep. Even with the things you keep, they have to be cared for, dusted, moved, in other words, tended to. Cleaning up once and for all doesn’t happen because a home is not like that and neither is life. Life has to be tidied up, decluttered, cleaned, bleached, dusted, power washed with the truth from time to time. We form new attachments. We experience new hurts or familiar hurts in new ways. It’s like my yard. One year, there are the same kind of weeds. The next year there are hardly any. The next year, there a mixture of different weeds. This year, we killed the yard and now this beautiful grass is springing up with patches of dead grass around it.

Your life is your life’s work. Your calling and destiny is a huge part of your life. You want to be doing what you love and living the life you wan to live. However, there is the maintenance of YOU. The mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. Even the physical. These are what you come home to. Home has to be taken care of.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Hope Deferred For Singles

Whether you are waiting for love (for Christian women, waiting on a man to FIND you), or if you are out there actively looking for love, what happens when your hope is continuously deferred? What do you do? The Bible reads when hope is deferred (the hope of finding love, hope of love finding you, hope of maybe this will work out in this case), the heart grows sad.

To seek or not to seek, that is no longer my question. The dating pool is filled to compacity and overflowing. And it needs to be cleaned! Or maybe, one needs to get out and wash, rinse, disinfect their chakras (spirit, thoughts) sit on the side lines and sunbathe (soak up some positivity) for a while. What I am saying is, sometimes, MANY times, you need to take a break! Take yourself off the market for a while when your heart grows sad.

Deferred means what you want, desire, is delayed and not denied. It means it has not come into manifestation when you think it should have. In my case, today lol. It hard to focus on the “not denied” part when you are constantly disappointed. Therefore, I urge you to take a break. Refresh yourself. Unplug from the dating scene. Come up for air, sis! You do not want to drown in disappointments. It will make you bitter. When you start feeling that gloom and doom, that “No one wants me. I am never going to find love, or it is never going to find me”, this is the time you need to STOP. BREATHE. Shut down every avenue of dating. It is time to refocus on the truth and those thoughts are not the truth. They are feelings manifested from hope deferred.

Focus on your spirituality, your connection with the Creator. It is time to read some things that will give you HOPE again and CONFRM the truth about what it is you are hoping for. I will not say you should be working on you as a woman because men should be working on themselves, too. Which, this type of thinking is part of the problem. Women have read every book, showed up at conferences, listened to leadership harp on being a good wife. While in the meantime, boys will boys. Well, newsflash! They are no longer boys. They are grown (growing) men. And in the Bible, it says when I was a child I spoke as a child, understood as a child, thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Woosah! And I breathe. The imbalanced pressure has produced more mature women and has left the men to be boys in their thoughts and actions. This is an overall statement. I am just being truthful and honest.

Now, back to helping ALL of us. Hope may be deferred, but when that longing is fulfilled it will produce a tree of life. It will give you life. Okay, that is great but, what about that in between time BEFORE the longing is fulfilled. Well, when you run out of hope, remember to use your faith. FAITH in your High Power, FAITH that the Universe will give you what you desire. Build your hope back up with faith, affirmations, reading, praying, meditating. And do you know the biggest thing that helps me? I refocus on my dreams and goals. I give more time to my purpose and plans. I get into it. Then when I am ready, after I have had a good breather, sat on the sidelines sunbathing, I open myself back up fully to dating. I rarely shut myself all the way down. I just remove myself from the pool. There is this saying, “Get your weight up” and it means many things. But, in this situation, it means get your hope up. Get stronger. Get your weight up. Get your faith up. I just heard Jim Carey say, “Hope walks through the fire, Faith leaps over it.” Sometimes you must walk through a fire, sometimes you must leap over it. Leap over this despair and look to the hills(up) which comes your help. Look within, look beyond your despair to the truths about yourself. Maybe you have work to do on yourself, but it is not so you can find a man and be a good wife. I think good people, mature people, spiritual people make good mates period. And I hope we begin to shift that narrative in the world today. Men have some catching up to do.  

~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

The Heart Epiphany Summery (End of Blog Series)

Artwork by Nicole Jackson This piece has been sold.

It’s hard work, but you know what? It’s the best, most rewarding, hard work you could ever do for yourself. It builds this amazing confidence and resilience. It builds this relationship with yourself that is not built on lies. It makes you better for those YOU love, those that love you and those who are yet to love you. It makes you choose peace over pain. It teaches you to be less judgmental and more mind your own business. It strengthens the law of attraction. It sets you up to receive the greater goodness of life. It teaches you to let others be as free as YOU want to be. It’s a dangerous thing to be religious without self-love. It’s a dangerous thing to be spiritual without self-love. You know why?  It creates a self-righteous stench. Self-love can illuminate your path. It can make your journey so much clearer. It can make your purpose so much clearer. Self-love is dynamic; it grows through actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept our weaknesses and own our strengths. We have less of a need to explain away our shortcomings. We have more compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning. Self-love helps us to create a more centered life. But you must do the work that brings a gratification like no other.

~Nikki

Thank you for reading and following The Heart Epiphany Blog Post Series! This was my lecture at the first conference/gathering I hosted in March.

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: It Was The Best of Times

Cafe Lateral in Paris

Imagine having a misunderstanding about your appointment and being dropped by your therapist via email. It happened to me Thursday. Monday, there was drama. Tuesday, there was drama. Wednesday, there was drama. And Thursday I opened up my email to a response by my now ex-therapist, that my time slot was no longer available. Well, I imagine not if I’d been trying to contact you via phone and messages since April and your office is open with no response.

I won’t go into details because it’s not necessary to make the best of this situation. I will say I was stunned. I will say I cried. I will say he was an EXCELLENT therapist and I progressed in leaps and bounds and I was READY to keep going. After sitting at the table I went to my room and journaled. I had my cry. I felt abandoned. I felt misunderstood. I felt sad. I felt angry. It felt some of my relationships, the end was out the blue. I felt like, “I didn’t even do anything. All I did was misunderstand the conversation, was ignorant that therapist offices were still open during the quarantine and they were considered essential.” I had no idea. Seems like to me, this could have been cleared up with a conversation. I realized I had left messages saying I needed some help and he didn’t respond. I was concerned about his safety. Hell, I thought maybe he had Covid because surely I would have heard back by now. I prayed he didn’t. This is when I became angry. I called. I left messages. And he didn’t respond. I sent an email and I got a response.

Talking to a therapist friend, I was given great advice and pushed to move on. I mean, I had no choice. And when I look back, when I got still, I knew this was coming. I had thoughts that “This was going to end.” Although, I couldn’t understand why God was putting this in my spirit. I thought it was just me thinking this because things seem to happen when things are going so well. I told myself I was just being negative. But the thought or message would float to me from time to time and I would shut it down as nonsense. I was wrong.

Well, Thursday evening I had accepted that this was reality. I definitely was not going to plead my case. I sent an email thanking him for his help during my journey. I started looking for a new therapist. I left emails with several therapists Thursday night. I got responses the next morning, but it was one that stood out. I made an appointment on line to go into the office. Her reviews were good as all of the ones I chose were. So, looks like I have a new therapist, a new journey, and instead of looking at things as if I have to start all over, I decided to look at it as, I continue. It’s a new leg of the journey and my ex-therapist, as great as he is, was not equipped for this next journey. I mean, this is 2020 and the 4 energy is on it’s high. It’s a 1 energy in June. Yes, I am talking numerology, energy, and Bible. It’s in there.

I also “shopped” for a new doctor. I’ve always wanted a new doctor, but was reluctant to change. My Primary Care Physician is good. We just don’t connect. He’s very text book, very mechanical, like a robot? He is void of emotion. Also, he is now looking for patients and I suspect this is one of the reasons why. I have now learned that for me, it’s not enough for a doctor to be good, it’s important I have a connection with the doctor. We should be invested in each other to some degree.

This week has been one for the books. I survived this week. As things crumbled and my relationship with my therapist ended, I remember my mantra for this year, “FOCUS, AND FEAR NOT.” Also, what came to me was, CHANGE, AND FEAR NOT.

Friday I celebrated Juneteenth. I grilled. I haven’t grilled in about 5 years and before that attempt, it was 2011 when I stopped because of Rheumatoid. I had a great time with my daughter at home Friday. Saturday, I spent time with my parents, one of my brothers, and my sister. We gave Dad his Father’s Day gift, a bench for the patio. He was surprised and pleased. My baby brother and I chatted as we headed to Home Depot to pick up the bench, look for material, pick out molding for his “man cave” he’s having built onto his house. We picked up dinner for Dad. Then as the evening began to wind down, my daughter and I hung out a little late last night. We’ve been spending more time outside in the evenings. All is well with my soul. It’s the calm of the storm.

~Nikki

On the menu for Juneteenth: Grilled jerk wings with a jerk seasoning I made. Crab cakes, with aioli sauce, sweet corn, chopped salad with avocado ranch dressing, and a homemade lemonade I have decided to name, Freedom Lemonade.

The Heart Epiphany: Part 9 “Boundaries”

Artwork by Nicole Jackson and is available for sale. It’s actually one of my favorite pieces.

Self-love is setting boundaries and enforcing them. SETTING AND ENFORCING boundaries is hard work. Especially, when you love that person. Especially, when people don’t understand your journey or your vision. And let me just say this, they don’t have to, and you need to learn to be okay with that. Self-love and setting boundaries is hard work. You have to stand your spiritual ground.

~Nikki

Brain Fog Leads to Cloudy with No Chance of Meatballs

I don’t know what happened last night (Sunday night) but, I was ready for a good night’s sleep. Instead I woke up through the night tossing and turning. In the early hours of the morning I had a strange dream and then I felt pain in my right shoulder down the shoulder blade and in the bicep area. The usual suspect. It was too early in the morning for pain medication because I had things on my To-Do-List and I did not want to oversleep.

When I did wake up, it took me about an hour and a half to get out of the bed. I felt heavy and groggy. I put one foot on the floor, then the other pain shot through my back. And just like that it was gone. I got coffee on, some breakfast on the stove and in the oven. I sat down at the computer to read some emails and I realized that I had no idea what I was reading. I decided to do some other business and it was becoming increasingly difficult to comprehend each sentence. I knew then it was brain fog. This is something I was determined to do today, needed to do and it took me forever to understand what I was doing. Also, reading instructions over and over. This is brain fog. It is mentally exhausting. Draining before you can get on with a productive day. Especially, it involves reading of any kind, comprehension of any information, even if you are just reading for pleasure it’s like, “What did I just read?” It’s not longer pleasure, but a pain in the butt.

My head felt like it was stuffed with cotton and my thoughts were trying to get through. I thought I could feel my brain trying to connect the dots and that translates to even conversations seeming difficult. I can hear my self pausing so many damn times I feel and sound stupid. Of course, I know I am not.

“How can I savage this day? How can make the most out of it?” I asked myself. I thought about something Iyanla Vanzant has being saying lately during this pandemic and quarantine, “Instead of fear, why not possibilities?” So, I said to myself, instead of agitation about what I can not do, instead of frustrating the hell of myself with all f the reading, typing, thinking, talking, etc of the day I had planned, why not see what else I can do that does not involve deep concentration. I slather pain cream on my arm to dull the pain. I decide to tidy up my work space,

I finish tidying up my room. I worked on a crochet project. I was able to take care of some other financial business as the evening came around and my mind seem to work better. I got plenty of water down to help. I also did yoga and meditation to help. This is many of our lives with Rheumatoid Arthritis disease (not Arthritis) and Fibromyalgia. We call it RA fog or Fibro fog. Yesterday, I think BOTH were at work. I finally gave in to pain meds tonight. I need a better tomorrow.

~Nikki

The Heart Epiphany Part 5

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Self-love is about being HONEST with yourself about yourself, and about others. You may have to admit that you are selfish, petty to the 10th power, maybe you do let people walk all over you, maybe you do think you are better than others, maybe you are lonely, maybe you do have insecurities. MAYBE they don’t love you or respect you. Maybe it is just about sex. Maybe you never wanted to be a physical therapist, nurse, warehouse worker and you really wanted to open a bakery. You may have to admit that you were wrong and that you hurt someone. The truth will set you free but only if you tell the truth to yourself and others. It is hard work.

~Nikki, from the Heart Epiphany Lecture March 2020