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.
Now is the time to empty yourself of all of the negative energy, trauma, and drama. Why? Because Winter really is coming. The Winter Solstice, or the First Day of Winter is December 21. In order for us to have winter, the Earth and the Sun must shift and we should follow suit. These are the signs in the sky the Bible and other books speak about. Often times in Christianity we ignore these things although, the Bible speaks of and suggests we pay attention and seek the deeper things of God.
It will be a time, on that day, we will experience the longest period of darkness and the shortest period of light. Now is the time to understand and to sit with your own darkness. None of us are all light. We have parts of us that need work, that we hide from others (or think we do) and ways that manifest itself in public. I’m talking about our ugly and our weaknesses. These things are like our shadows that follow us around even in the light and seem to disappear into the dark. They disappear as we ignore them or we push them down into the subconscious. We pretend we don’t see them or it’s not there or make excuses.
It is time to sit with your darkness because when the light comes, the season changes, and it will be time to move forward WITHOUT all of the baggage from the dark. It will be time to do a new thing and to have a CLEAN SLATE all the way around, in every area. So what good will it do for you if you drag your baggage of darkness with you onto a clean slate? It will do you NO GOOD! It’s time to do some shadow work.
The ENERGY if winter is about going within. Are you ready to go within and to do the work? Are you ready to face your darkness, understand it, so that you can walk in the fullness and greatness of who you are? Understand your sadness, anger, meanness, uncomfortable feelings about yourself and others. Face the residual emotions of the divorce, failed relationships. Explore your connection between your behaviors, reactions, in connection with your childhood. Go within. Don’t worry about what THEY are doing or what THEY did. This is your path through darkness into the light that awaits us. Call it enlightenment or a spiritual awakening but, neither one can happen with darkness. Welcome the dark (the unknown, the knowing it’s not right, the negative feelings, emotions, and behaviors. The ignorance (not knowing). Bring it on fear! Get ready to work! It’s the way to light.
I’ll share with you one of my shadows I want to address. It is the one that gravitates towards the emotionally unavailable (sometimes emotionally unstable) relationships. I have been shrinking this shadow for years. But now I want to get rid of it for good! It’s not as dominant as it use to be. It use to hold on to the pain and suffering those relationships offered. It mimicked the pain in suffering of childhood. While I now seem to be able to avoid and detect these traits, I am still appalled at the fact that I still attract these people. So the work is what is it in me that is leftover. What are residual thoughts and emotions I need to address and heal?
SO there. I let you in on one of my shadows. It took courage. It took vulnerability. You can’t have success without either one.
October’s energy is calling for you to experience every morsel of life. Put your phone down and your devices away and experience life by ENGAGING in conversations without distractions. Engage the people in your space. LOOK at them. ADMIRE their beauty, intellect, smile, and laughter. Have dinner with someone and enjoy the flow of chatter and silence without having to fill that silence with you picking up the phone to “hop on social media right quick.”
EXPERIENCE nature and observe it. Take it all in. EXPERIENCE your walk in the park or the neighborhood. WAVE to people. SMILE at people. NOTICE what has changed in nature or your environment. What smells waft through the air? What insects or animals do you see? Have the leaves changed? Jump in a pile of leaves. Yes. Even at your age remain playful always!
Experience life by, brace yourself, TRYING SOMETHING NEW! Yes, try the new restaurant. Yes, try something different on the menu. Shock your mate lol! Yes, drive a different way to work. Walk at a new park. Try a new thing like baking or try your hand at keeping a plant alive. Take an online course about something! TRY! TRYING brings about new experiences that birth ideas, new likes or confirmed dislikes, and experience! You never know unless you…try.
October invites SPONTENEITY. Change it up. Change it all up. Change a few things around. You don’t always have to nail down every detail. Call up a few friends for a zoom cocktail party. Invite a few over practicing social distancing and Covid 19 practices. Set up your area such as chairs around a fire pit or outdoor setting. You can set up the inside depending on how comfortable YOU are with this and how well you know your FRIENDS. Do something spontaneous with your mate. Buy flowers for no reason. Bring home their favorite dessert. Bribe yourself to listen to an opera or to watch the romantic movie they love so much but, have seen 100 times. You can make it a night with movie snacks or healthy snacks. You can make it like a picnic. How about an indoor movie night picnic?! How about a real picnic in the park?
Yes…October is calling for you to EXPERIENCE LIFE!
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.
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.
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.
Think about it for a minute. You define yourself as spiritual (insert your faith or belief or non-belief) but, deep down inside, you don’t like (or take issue with) certain groups of people. You don’t really like certain races. You may not HATE them or maybe secretly you do, once you clock out of your role as yogi, preacher, teacher, yoga instructor, therapist, reiki practitioner, massage therapists, etc. you are not doing your work with the right heart or mind. In the religious sector, YOU HAVE AN UNCLEAN HEART, THE WRONG SPIRIT (MIND, INTENTIONS) and the SPIRITUAL REALM, YOUR CHAKRAS ARE OUT OF ALIGNMENT, CLOUDY (HEART AND MIND/CROWN, THIRD EYE). So there is no way you are PRACTICING, SERVING, at your highest, purest, level.
Sit with that. Let that marinate. After you say, no not me. Think about it. Think about how you interact with other people that are different than you. Think about the things you say when a murder flashes across the evening news and it’s a different race than yours. What do you think and say out loud in your home when the people you dispense your gift to are not around. What about the conversations you have with your friends about other races? Even the small dismissive, subservient energy you give to servers at the Chinese restaurant or the Vietnamese workers at the nail shop. What about the eye rolls you give when Mexican children are being children in Target and acting out? What about the when you see a Black mom with 4 children at a store do you automatically assume she is single and the children have different fathers? Does that thought cross your mind ever when it’s a White woman at the grocery store with 4 kids? Surely, she must have a husband with a good job and she’s a stay at home mom. Kudos to her.
Even as a minority that practices some religion or spiritual gift. How do you feel, what do you say, how do you act towards those that white? When a cop takes off his or her uniform off and is ready for deep tissue massage what subtle energy is flowing through you? What run in, mistreatment, discrimination, wrong doing that you see, felt, have experienced first hand, are you projecting onto those standing in Mountain Pose as you look over your class, checking their form? When the white woman tries to interact with you after class, do you smile and give her the script, and say “I’ll let you know when we get together after class again”, but you say to yourself, “Nah. I know how “they” are.” As a minority speaking to a congregation, do impart only negative energy about a group of people? What stereotype do you speak to the people?
In short, we need to deal with these spots, wrinkles, blotches, remnants of dark energies, mountains size ignorance, present in our everyday walks of life and interaction with other people. I mean if you want to get CLEAR in your practice. If you want to reach a higher level of pure love and light. As my community says, “You need to check yourself.” You need to think about what you are thinking about when see or interact with other races. What did your parents, friends tell you that you assume to be true about ALL races? What type of thoughts (energies) rise up in you upon dealing with another race? Is it we know better than them? Poor African American or Asian? Is it automatically, “She is white. She thinks she knows my craft better than I do” when she gives you a tip or correction. These things ARE ENERGY that penetrate or float around your aura or being.
When you think it, ask yourself: WHY DID I THINK THAT? Correct yourself. Forgive yourself. Heal yourself.
When you feel it, ask yourself: WHY DO I FEEL THAT WAY ABOUT THIS PERSON IN FRONT OF ME? What interaction with someone else am I basing this on? Go within. Is it what you see on the news? Is it what you have experienced through out life? Forgive that person or at least recognize you haven’t that interaction with this person in front of you.
When you take an action towards another race based on the fact that they are not your race, ask yourself: Was that right to give them my money as if I didn’t want to touch their skin? Was it right for me to assume the Asian in my class understood better than the Mexican in my class? Why did I ask the White nurse after the Indian nurse told me my results? Why do I think this way? Why did I act this way? Correct your thinking. Correct your behavior. Forgive yourself. Heal Yourself.
Basically, get to the root of what you do, say, and think!
Whew. It’s work. You are spiritual. You are use to it.
“Create in me a clean heart, Oh Creator, and renew in me the right spirit.”-(Psalms 51:10a)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the river of life” (Proverbs 4:23)
“The heart is the place where we live our passions. It is frail and easily broken, but wonderfully resilient. There is no point in trying to deceive the heart. It depends upon our honesty for its survival.” – Leo Buscaglia
“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.” – Dalai Lama
“Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called upon to reach in and touch our hearts. Then, we will know what to do, what to say, how to be. What is right is always in our deepest heart of hearts. It is from the deepest part of our hearts that we are capable of reaching out and touching another human being. It is, after all, one heart touching another heart.” – Roberta Sage Hamilton
Self-love is loving the imperfect you. Believe it or not, you’re not perfect. You don’t and you won’t always get it right. It’s not always easy to forgive yourself. It’s not always easy to love yourself when you are not your best self. And it’s not so much that some of us want to be perfect, we just want to get it right. Don’t forget we are human, too. Give yourself unconditional love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Give it to others. Self-love is loving the imperfect you, while you are striving to be the best you.
“My errors give birth to my knowledge.” -Steps to Knowledge, Marshall Vian Summers
The other morning I was talking to a brother (friend of mine). He called to express his thoughts, feelings, and concern about the societal sickness of America and the World. In the conversation, he said something to me that was enlightening at the time and would become something I was suppose to add to my knowledge “kit”. He said, “You cannot have a conversation with emotions, but you can have a conversation with intellect.”
Three times between Thursday and Saturday, I tried to have a conversation with people that were emotional. As I am typing this, Spirit also made me aware that three times, I backed off and came to the recognition that I was dealing with an emotional person. Three times I became AWARE. Two times I had that hesitation to NOT respond just because I was invited via post or what I saw! I was getting ready to type that I failed, but no. THREE times I became aware and I learned. Practice makes mature. Practice makes growth. Whatever that person was feeling would dominate the conversation. It would be skewed to support their emotion. Backing off is seen as a weakness by the carnal, the fleshy, the ego, and a child like mentality. But knowing when to back off is WISDOM. It’s knowledge. It’s smart. It can save your life, energy, and time. And those are three things you can’t get back (You can get more of them, but that’s another blog).
Cost effective conversations is something I came up with after this happened to help me again Saturday. I need to ask myself is this conversation cost effective? Is it productive as it relates to my time, my energy, and my life? If they have their minds made up, why are we talking? If they are biased about the subject, have some ill will towards a group, why are we talking? If they are telling you from the jump, I am being petty, why engage? They are saying to you, “I am emotional and I am not willing to have a conversation based on intellect. I can’t even harness my emotions to have a conversation balanced with intellect.” This is a waste of my time, my life, my energy. I do not need to engage and if I can recognize this before I even get into a conversation, the better! If not, I at least need to be able to make a U-Turn before I get to far down the road.
What’s down that road? Frustration. Anger. Arguments over nothing that has to do with the main topic. You’ll never be heard or understood with a person that are in their feelings and out of their mind (lol! That was a good one!). You’ll never be heard or understood with a person who has already made up their mind and is not open to listening or understanding. This is where I call Shift into Reverse. Cars have a reverse for a reason and so do conversations. There is no weakness in backing off or up when you realize the road you are on is named Petty or Ignorance is Bliss. Sometimes you may notice a sign that says, Children at Play. Get out of there quickly!!!!
The knowledge that I present to you today has been brought to by my errors on this week. Wisdom will let you know, hence it was that hesitation for me, if there is an opportunity to talk, grow, learn or if you are headed nowhere fast.
And Note: You also can’t have a real productive conversation with someone that lacks the knowledge on a matter. Sometimes people don’t have the education or wisdom to have a conversation about certain things. I mean, I can’t talk to you about calculus or get to deep into a subject on global warming. I know I am limited in those areas. This is where you may hear me say or type: “Hmm. Tell me more.”
Self-love requires the excavation of your authentic self. Who were you before the pain? Before the heartbreak? Before the trauma and drama? Who were you before you were told what to do, what to think, what to be? What really makes you happy and brings you joy? Who were you before the events of life and your environment shaped you? Did you know you could shape and handcraft your own life? You are not bound by bad experiences. Ask the potter to shape you into the best you, the real you, the authentic you. Ask the “Universe” to reveal to you who you were. It may be painful sometimes remembering how happy, joyful, trusting, carefree, full of hope and dreams you use to be as a child or young adult but, it’s who you were before negative impacts. It’s hard coming back to life. You know why? The you, you think you are must die first. Self-love requires you to dig deep, knee deep, get dirty, and to excavate your authentic self. It’s messy. It’s hard work.
Note: When I read the book, Excavating Your Authentic Self, it was sad thinking about how I use to be as a child. I thought about playing outside on sunny days, laying in the backyard, coloring and painting, ice cream trips on Sunday evenings, and not knowing what was to come once I started school or once I realized the differences made between me and siblings, before I experienced being made fun of at school, etc. It was sad and it was scary to fast forward through some of the things that shaped me not for the good. But you do it to reveal to you who you truly are and how to bring that person back to this life equipped with experiences and wisdom.