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

Excerpts from My Coffee Time w/God: Do You Feel at Peace About It?

Photo by Nicole Jackson The Might Mississippi from Rooftop

I had an opportunity but the hours would be a challenge to me physically. You would think well that’s a no brainer. It’s not when you are trying to save money and take care of things around the house. I struggled for about two weeks in agony about what to do. How to sacrifice and what exactly would be at stake. I worried myself sick and stirred the hornets’ nest of anxiety. I asked God for an answer over and over on what to do. I thought I didn’t get answer until Day 2 of Coffee Time with God.

As I sat there in quietness, sipping coffee, I asked God, “Why didn’t you answer me about that opportunity?”

God: I did. Those times when you were silent internally, I asked you, do you feel at peace about it? I asked you several times. Sometimes you said no and at other times you kept worrying about it and what other people would think of you if you passed up such a golden opportunity. Once you said no you didn’t feel at peace about it, that was your answer.

Me: Oh.

I thought about all of those years I worked jobs and I didn’t like any of them. In fact, the last one I hated so much it made me ill. Why don’t people do what they love or “just find another job” you may ask. Well because it’s not always that simple. Would you believe some people don’t know or believe it’s possible for them to do what they love in life? Some are working jobs and careers other people chose for them or for the money it brings. Some of us are working jobs to take care of family, loved ones, children and to pay off debts. I looked for jobs to do what I love but I didn’t have the education and I didn’t have the ability to go back to school in another state with a child in tow. Who would watch my daughter? Online school was not a thing then. When it did become a thing, I did go back to school and received my Associates Degree only to become ill and unable to continue with my bachelors.

At that last job, I kept it because the hours allowed me to be a mom 4 days out of the week and I could work overtime. It was not for the pay. I also only had to worry about childcare and how to get her home from school 3 days of the week. My last two years on the job while I was ill, I searched for a job that could accommodate my illness. I did not find one job and the job I had told me they couldn’t either.

You don’t know people’s struggles or logic and I advise against flippant retorts such as, “Just find another job.” That job may provide them with the necessary benefits to cover for their family. YES, there are times people have to work jobs they don’t want to or enjoy until the opportunity presents itself or until they create an opportunity to do what they enjoy or to become what they always wanted to be. Maybe asking them if they have a plan to find or do something else is better.

This was the one time and first time in my life I could say no to a job that would hurt me physically and I didn’t know what to do. It was the one time; I could wait on something better or continue to create my own opportunity into better financial gains and abundance. Shortly after that, I sold 5 pieces of art.

~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: Oh? Is That a Harvest?

I had a hell of a Tuesday. I had two huge financial hits. The person I was dating “ghosted” me. In retrospect, that should not have been part of the bad day. It is a blessing that he moved on! AND THAT is part of the beautiful harvest I want to speak to you about today.

My response to these things were so phenomenal, I was in disbelief. I didn’t have a melt-down. Anxiety didn’t ramp up and depression didn’t creep in. I was upset. I did briefly think, “What am I going to do about my finances? I was trying to save. God that was 75% of my SAVINGS!!!” But seemingly immediately after those feelings manifesting as thoughts popped up, they were met by a voice (thought), “It’s okay Nicole. God will take care of your financial situation. It will be replaced and built up so much more. Do not worry. More money is on the way to you. Money you will manifest, money owed to you, and money you never expected. It is okay,” I did cry. I felt terrible because part of the reason one of the expenses occurred is because I forgot about it. I shed some tears because I was in the process of building my savings back up. But when you think about it, I purchased a home this year. I had some home repair expenses. I had some car repair expenses. I took a much needed and deserved vacation.

I don’t regret any of those things. I am appreciative of the fact I had the money to do those things considering my financial standing. So, to settle my emotions I kept repeating, “It’s okay. It’s alright. Things always work out for my good.” We must remember in times like these, “I am one with the Creator. In the Creator or God, or whatever your name is for the Divine, there is no lack, shortage, or insufficiency.”

I feel as if my response to all three situations in a time span of hours was a beautiful harvest of seeds sown for years. It felt like something took root and blossomed at the same time. You may recall some of the blogs I wrote previously about intuition, clarity, and so forth. The Spirit (Holy Spirit) was guiding me all along. I heeded the voice to not put too much stock into that relationship and to hold back to SEE if things could be worked out. I needed to wait to see if our differences could merge. Obviously, they cannot. And I am okay.

This weekend was supposed to be one spent with the guy I was dating but, life had other plans. Some family came from Illinois and we went to Mississippi to visit my brother’s grave site. He transitioned this year from Covid. That was a rough moment for them and some of my other siblings. But after that, it was nothing but love, laughter, and creating memories. My dad, a retired pastor, preached an incredible sermon from St. John 14, “Another Friend”. It was indeed a anointed message. Our guests went with us to a Trunk or Treat. We had a blast. Then dinner and conversations. Visiting other family and breakfast together before they left Monday morning. WHEW.

I am tired. I really had a rough night last night with insomnia and Rheumatoid Disease pain. Yet, it was worth the pain to spend time with family. I can rest this evening.

~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