2018 Holiday Gift Guide

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The 2018 Holiday Season has kicked off! I have pulled together some of my favorite things that I will absolutely be using and gifting this year.

This time of the year can be beautiful and magical, and for some, can also be difficult and lonely. I wanted to focus on self care and investing in your own heart and soul, as well as those around you. So the theme of my gift guide this year is Soulful Season; be good to yourself.

Blessings to you, xo Nik

  1. Liv List: Make 2019 the year that you see the world. I have fed my soul again and again by traveling around the world. Liv allows you to save, connect and experience more things than you can imagine. Check it out in the link below and start saving for your first adventure now!

    http://LuxLife.timetoliv.com

  2. Teami Tea: with all the fantastic food and “occasional” beverage I know that we can all feel a bit more bloated and uncomfortable this time of year. Teami Tea helps reduce bloat, curb sugar cravings after those sweet indulgences and will help keep you feeling energized without extra caffeine. Use LuxNikki10 at checkout for 10% off your entire order!

    https://www.teamiblends.com

  3. Jade Face Roller: This is a perfect self-care tool to keep in your freezer to take out when you have a bit of puffiness or dark circles from late night carousing or an extra class of bubbles. Use it to roll over your face and drain your lymphatic system and you’ll see a noticeable improvement even after your most epic of holiday bashes.

    https://amzn.to/2DJKsvW

  4. Dr. Wayne Dyer Ultimate Collection: I often refer to Dr. Dyer as my spiritual guru. I have met him in my dreams and read everything he’s written. He has changed the course of my life and how I see myself in this Universe. Do yourself a favor and feed your soul with the gathered philosophy of Wayne.

    https://amzn.to/2TDT78y

  5. Meditation Membership: Every week I have clients ask me, “Where can I find quality guided meditations?” Instead of sending you all over the internet, I have created a meditation membership that will give you unlimited, lifetime access to a library of intuitively guided meditations recorded by me. This vault would normally be priced at least $200, but for Cyber Monday I am offering a LIFETIME access to weekly meditations for only $49. This deal is only good until 11/30!

    https://www.luxhippielife.com/meditations/lifetime-meditation-membership

  6. Remote Reiki Session: Release all your built up emotional stress from the last year with a powerful intuitive Reiki session. Normally priced at $120 I am offering a huge Cyber Monday discount of a full session for only $97.

    Reiki is a technique that aids the body in releasing stress and tension by creating deep relaxation. Because of this, Reiki promotes healing and health. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "the Wisdom of God or the Higher Power" and Ki which is means 'life force energy.'

    https://nikkierchulscheduling.as.me/Energysession

  7. Run At Resolutions: Mindset Makeover 5 Week Course: We start on December 3rd, capitalizing on the last 5 weeks of 2018. You will have access to personal accountability and intuitive coaching, in addition to: ⠀

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    Exclusive Resolution ceremonies and practices⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Private Facebook Group ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Access to personalized meditations each week to break down subconscious limiting beliefs⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    5 Weekly Live Zoom calls where we will break down: ⠀⠀⠀

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    Relationships, Personal Power, Limiting Beliefs, Abundance Mindset, Releasing Unhealthy Habits and Utilizing Gratitude to Manifest your Desires⠀

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    And so so much more!

    I have pulled together the tools and techniques I have been teaching my clients for over 10 years to help them ditch the excuses and step boldly into their highest.⠀Use Code: TRANSFORM for 15% off for Cyber Monday!

    https://nikkierchulscheduling.as.me/runatresolutions

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I have so many more things that I wanted to share on this gift guide, but I ultimately wanted to curate it to the items that I feel will serve you and your highest this season and as we move towards 2019. Please be good to yourself and those around you; lead with kindness and seize each day as an opportunity to love a little bit more. Sending you love always. Happy Holidays!!

 
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Mini and Mighty Miracles

This morning as I got ready for vinyasa, I was looking at myself in my floor length mirror, as usual, trying not to notice any perceived physical flaws. I knew I was craving yoga and the dose of self-esteem I always receive when completing a practice. I was heading out early, thinking I wouldn’t see anyone I knew, so I didn’t do anything extra (as basic as they come for a Sunday morning). I actually had some eyeliner smudge still under my eye--a classy, and classic look, if I’ve ever seen one.

 

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Per usual, I got there about 20 minutes ahead of time. I like to meditate, stretch and claim my queen spot at the top of the class. My practice has gotten so much stronger in the last few months as I’ve focused back internally. I haven’t thought of him much lately, but sometimes when I’m in this studio, his image flashes in my head. We used to practice here together. I brought him here. ‘Breathe it out’ I said,‘*Put your crown on, he belongs to the past and that is where I bless him and ask him to stay.”

As I continue to stretch I turn my head to the right and unexpectedly meet his eyes, just briefly. It was as if the mere memory of our past had materialized him into the room. He shoots me an obligatory half smile and I automatically turn my head in the other direction. “Fuck,” I mouth silently to myself. I haven’t laid eyes on him in almost 6 months. He puts his mat behind mine, a little to the right. ‘There is the whole big, empty room,’ I think, ‘and he is posting up right there?’ Breathe, I say. Breathe, send love and release.

I went inward, asking for my strength to be present, asking for my spirit to be powerful and for my guides to be vigilant. I felt a space clear around me and I sat up, looked myself hard in the eyes and silently repeated my mantra, “I love you Nikki”. It was in that moment, as I allowed my eyes to land on his mat for a split second, that I realized what a shift had occurred inside me. I didn’t feel anxiety or sadness; not longing or anger. Like a person who existed only in your dreams; a hazy memory, just out of reach as the sun begins to rise. I can remember loving you and knowing you, yet as we share this physical space, I feel no surge of that now.

I had anticipated when we would run into one another, as exes inevitably do; I would've looked gorgeous, perfect, and preferably, would have a total fox with me. I would’ve felt vindicated, pity and complete closure. The Universe plotted otherwise. We collided where we first met, on our mats; how poetic.

I was stripped down, sweaty, vulnerable and alone. No defenses at my ready. And, I felt as if I was standing in my complete power in that moment.  Everytime I lifted my head throughout that hour, I looked myself directly in the eyes and held a steady gaze. It was better than I imagined, because he started to fade into the backdrop. I stopped seeing him, or even feeling his presence. I remember once he had told me that the goal after a break up is to feel absolutely nothing for your ex, then you know you’ve “won”. I don’t care much about winning or how I feel towards him; what I do care about is what I experience when I meet my own eyes in the mirror. And by the end of class, I had a ridiculously giddy smile on my face. I was completely free.

I had prayed for a miracle to untether me from him. Today was the day that I was able to graciously realize that my prayer had been answered. I sent up so much gratitude during savasana for this gift. I sent him love and I sent myself love.

When I was in the middle of that hurricane, I couldn’t have imagined a day where I would’ve experienced this and yet here I am. A Course in Miracles teaches us that “...forgiveness is the only gift I give because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give, I give myself”. I have repeated and practiced daily forgiveness and giving it to God. Turns out that this actually works. I have forgiven myself for the transgressions I committed against my spirit and I have atoned for those. He just happens to be a byproduct of that forgiveness and I am happy about that.

Our final chapter had been written and the closure that I thought I needed was just waiting for me to pick it up (like spiritual dry-cleaning). The Universe had conspired enough for today, and as we rolled up our mats and made our exit, I felt calmness in my heart. There was no drama and no gestures. I hardly noticed him getting up to leave. My focus was on me, on the joy I felt rising in my body. Miracles do happen, I thought. Everyday and in the slightest of moments. Just keep your eyes up and your heart open, and mini and mighty, they will appear. They are meant for all of us.

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*’Put your crown on’ is an adaptation of a quote from James Baldwin “Our crown has already been bought and paid for. All we have to do is wear it”

 

Interested in learning more about "A Course in Miracles"? Click the link below to learn more about my upcoming book club!

 

 

Mindfulness Musings and Rose Haze

Place: Aster Cafe

Time: Twilight, early summer 2018

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I’m straight Carrie Bradshaw’ing- drinking a glass of wine, alone at a street bistro, observing foot traffic and having an inner monologue about it. Feeling contemplative and in a twinkly haze from a glass of rose and the damp, liquid heat of summer coming in quickly. 

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There is a table of young 20-something women to my left. As I eavesdrop I place them at 22- just about to graduate college. One woman is beautifully dramatic and effusive in telling her friend that she had a successful interview as another one shares that she wants to move to LA to pursue acting, promptly pulling out her phone to share her reel. I’m definitely pushing some energetic boundaries right now as I get sucked into listening about another of the women’s boy troubles (also, feeling like an effective creep as I unsuspectingly listen while wearing earpods).

I have a knowing half smile listening to these women share their excitement for their futures, wondering, that if in a past life there was a 34 year old listening to 22 year old me? Having excitement and curiosity about what life experiences I was anticipating; having her own reminiscent moment about her 20’s. Sort of like nesting Russian dolls of nostalgia.

Sitting at 22, thinking I had a plan for life and having no idea what twists and turns were meant for me. What growth. What surprises. What love. What relationships. What careers. What losses. What spirit. What perspective. All I saw was possibility and the linear wins that mean the most to a young woman; a job, a boyfriend, friends, a life that all laid ahead. I had no clue that I was on a journey of shedding adolescent layers in favor of spiritual lessons and laws. 

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At any given point on your path, at any given age, do you wear that knowing smile for the younger women at the table next to you, but not for yourself? It’s as if we have the ability to have wisdom and compassion for the twists and turns we’ve already traversed but not for the ones we are traversing.

How do we apply the beauty and depths of our stories to our current reality? The answer is simple; these young women to my left have reminded me that everything lies in the now. The silliness. The dreams. The love. The friendships. The challenges. The wins. The fear. The opportunities. It’s all happening in this very moment. There is no way to predict the future, or change our past. We are not defined by either of these, yet we chain ourselves to that fallacy.

Our anxieties and fears as adults are a result of us leaving the present moment. This happens every day and there is nothing to judge when you notice it. Simply bringing yourself back to NOW (where everything that belongs to you is).

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Below are 5 simple tips for practicing mindfulness and allowing yourself to return to the magic of the current moment:

  1. Look at your hand. Hold your hand out in front of you and study it for a few moments. Look at the lines and nails and jewelry that adorns it. Breathe in this moment. Breathe into your hand. Allow yourself to be present in studying a tangible part of your physical being.

  2. Practice Triangle Breathing: Breathe in for 7 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts, and release it for 7 counts. Repeat this until you feel yourself returning to the present moment. Give gratitude for this breath.

  3. Earthing: take your shoes off and stand on the grassy earth. Feel the blades of grass on the soles of your feet, feel the coolness or dampness of the ground beneath you. Breathe into gratitude for your connection to Gaia, our Great Mother Earth, and all she provides for us. She is our great connector; our only constant. That’s magic baby.

  4. Find a crystal that you connect with (I like rose quartz or opalite for this). There is no right or wrong way to do this, but only to follow your inner knowing (as they say ‘the crystal chooses you’). Hold this gem in your hand and squeeze it; feel the energy it emits and allow it to become your only focus for several breaths. Allow it to ground you into the here and now.

  5. Engage your other senses: utilize essential oils, an ice cube, a cup of hot tea to summon your spirit into now. Breathe into your senses.  Allow it to fill your entire physical body and then beyond. This is mindfulness when you slow down; you can almost feel the clock tick a bit slower when you breathe in deeply and let your senses be stimulated and awakened.


I drifted back into my present moment: sitting at Aster Cafe, the sun a bit lower, my glass a bit emptier, yet filled with gratitude and blessed ideas. I buy my 22 year old inspirators a round of drinks quietly and tell the waiter to give them my thanks. I was lovingly reminded that all we are given is this; this moment holds the promise of the next, but not a guarantee. When we allow ourselves to open our eyes, breathe into our physical and spiritual bodies we are almost instantly gifted the ability to broaden our borders and welcome in more. Mindfulness is not a fad; it is our infinite superpower.
 

With Much Love Always,

Nik

 

The Illusion of Loneliness

“The funny thing is when you start feeling happy alone, that’s when everyone decides to be with you” -Jim Carrey

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Let’s talk about connection baby, let’s talk about me and….me. I am a self proclaimed ambivert (50/50 intro and extro) and do a lot of the typical ‘couples’ things by myself (eat dinner, binge watch Handmaid’s Tale, travel, grocery shop). I have a great group of friends, amazing family and tons of acquaintances and colleagues that I love spending time with. I have a beautiful and fulfilling life that looks pretty great on Instagram and truth be told, is pretty fantastic in real life. I am pleased with my ability to own that sometimes I want to be alone and that makes me a better woman all around.

There is a societal impression, a general consensus, that being alone equates to being without. There is an undercurrent of pity and edginess when you self identify as alone (or introverted or single). I’ve found myself defending my alone-ness before, without provocation. The person on the other side of the conversation didn’t say anything wrong, probably just asked me if I was dating anyone; and my own insecurity about what it means to be single (and liking it) kicked in. “Oh you know me, dating everyone and no one” ...hilarious.

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The truth is I live in this inbetween world of loving my complete independence (or as my good friend Kris says, “Free Agent Status”) and feeling like I have to love it  because it’s been laid at my doorstep (like a birthmark or a hand-me-down car). My other choice is to loathe it and feel enslaved by it? Nah; anyone who is a student of Abraham Hicks knows that you must love your current circumstances (like, ACTUALLY love them) if you are going to intentionally manifest something different. So, I REALLY love my Free Agent Status, I hug her up real good every day. It has afforded me to be selfish and creative. It has allowed me growth and freedom that I never knew existed. I hold it loosely with gratitude and an ongoing curiosity of what else it is here to teach me.

And sometimes, late at night or early in the morning, I remember what it’s like to be partnered or to be truly loved unconditionally by another. Those bookend wisps of the day, the witching hours, when your spirit is quiet and loud in tandem; these are the moments of vulnerability and twang of poignancy. I realize that in the delight of being alone, there are moments of loneliness. I am not exempt because I claim boldness and partnership with my aloneness; I continue to be a human that desires connection and sometimes, I recognize the absence of it. It can be palpable and uncomfortable to rest in; however, I feel like there is something in that inner twist that I am supposed to listen to. Again, this belongs to me; just like any other emotion. It is not my house that I live in, but it is a stiff wind on a sunny day. A bit of a distraction and just demanding enough to catch your attention.

The illusion of loneliness is that it belongs to the single, the introverted, the ones who are physically alone, the ones who are distraught or  in visceral pain. The truth is that it is an emotion that mirrors our disconnection from ourselves. It’s an emotion that belongs to all of us. It illuminates dark corners of our heart that have the ability to be neglected during the day, when distraction and movement is our buoy. There is nothing to be afraid of when this emotion shows up; it is only indicating that you are a human who has a heartbeat. It is a reminder to me to open up my heart and invite in friendship and love. It is reminder that as the gatekeeper of my heart, perhaps I have been too vigilant in minding the borders. Time to tear down the wall, or loosen up immigration laws...or...shit, I’ve entered a whole separate conversation. Point being: loneliness is a self inflicted emotion that surfaces when I keep others out and at a distance and when I label myself as separate from.

There are no good and bad emotions; that is a fallacy. Our emotions are just a lighthouse on the shore; beckoning us towards something. There is a unhelpful belief that if you feel something it must be given a value; begin with recognition and curiosity and leave the evaluation behind. Loneliness is neither good or bad; it just is. Marianne Williamson stated in 'A Return To Love', “We think we have many problems but we only have one: denying love.” Both loneliness and physical aloneness are call to actions that allow us to return to love; love of ourselves and others. They are both the mirror and the avenue through where we are called back to the basic truth that we are here to remember: only love is real. Everything else is meaningless.

Love ya Angels <3

Love ya Angels <3

 

 

Where Did You Get That?!

I just want to preface this post by saying I realize that it might, on the surface, seem frivolous, but I actually think it is really important (so, I’m prematurely asking you to stick with me on this).

I often get asked about the jewelry I wear, and I love sharing with people not only where I got these specific pieces but also why I chose to wear them. When I was younger, I was jealous of other women who were super “good” at putting together a cute outfit, or always had the most beautiful necklace or ring. I never felt like I could figure out my “look” (or if I tried, it just felt awkward and looked unfortunately pieced together). Let’s paint a quick picture: my favorite outfit was stirrup pants and my dad’s work shirt. I struggled (and now I send tons of love to that younger version of me, because she was really trying...bless her heart).

But, I digress (one of my favorite conversational things to do). So, today as a grown and considerably more confident woman, I realized that the missing element of me rocking random gems and taking fashion risks in my youth was the ownership. The conscious intention and confidence behind adorning them was missing. I didn’t realize, “That just isn’t me" is an arbitrary rule that I was creating for myself. At any moment you can shift that limiting statement to: “Whatever I wear is me (because I say so), and whatever I choose to put on my body is meant to enhance confidence, power and project positive identity into the world”.

Does it seem like I’m taking wearing jewelry too far? Maybe. But probably not. Have you ever put something on one day when you felt uncomfortable, unsure and sad and then put it on another day when your attitude was lighter, brighter and happier and had a completely different opinion? It transforms that item and the person who wears it! Why waste an opportunity to infuse your day, your life, with incremental vibrations of love and happiness?! It MATTERS how we feel and what we think about the items in our life; so I take any opportunity to come into a state of mindfulness, even just about something small, like a necklace. 

 

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What I’ve learned about myself is that it is important what I put on my body (almost as much as what I put in my body). I feel more confident and happy when I have clothes and jewelry that project who I am and help me walk through the world with my eyes up and my vibration at its’ highest.  I now am able to choose wisely and thoughtfully about what I am wanting to draw in, as well as share those awarenesses with others. Our external appearance can be a beautiful vehicle to illustrate to ourselves and the world what we value. Below I have shared the jewelry that I currently wear every day and the intentions and thoughts behind WHY I chose these items specifically.

https://www.tigerframe.com

https://www.tigerframe.com

Balinese Bracelet:

These three strings are twisted together and placed on the wrist of the person who just received the traditional Balinese healing ceremony. You are instructed to wear the bracelet until it falls off on its own. The colors represent the light (white), the dark (black) and the fire (red) within all of us. It is a visual reminder to have compassion for myself and others, even when it is really hard.

Evil Eye Bracelet (TigerFrame): 

The eye symbolizes perception, intuition and protection. The evil eye is an ancient symbol used in many different cultures across the globe to enhance your own intuition and ward off darkness. I wear it as a visual representation of listening to my inner compass and to trust that whatever is meant for me will arrive and whatever misses me was never meant to be.

Link to Tiger Frame Jewelry: https://www.tigerframe.com

 

https://www.tigerframe.com

https://www.tigerframe.com

Iolite Ring:

I bought this ring when I was in Bali last year. Iolite is also known as Viking’s Compass (read the history of Iolite here https://www.jewelsforme.com/gem_and_jewelry_library/iolite). There are also many emotional attributes to the stone. Iolite has been said to enhance curiosity and achievement, guiding one through spiritual growth. It has also been said to overcome codependency with a partner. It brings friendliness and higher, purer thoughts, promotes charity and helpfulness. The stone awakens our hunger for the love of our whole self, aiding in accepting ourselves. I love wearing stones that draw in a specific vibration and allow the wearer to continue to meditate on their intention all day.

I am in LOVE with this women-owned jewelry company POUND. I bought my first pendulum necklace from them about 2 years ago (from my amazing hair salon, Head to Toe, who carries incredible, unique art and gems). Their vision for their products is about infusing each stone and piece with the energy of transformation, strength and power. I have bought an obscene amount of pendulums from POUND (for myself and others) and the two I tend to wear the most are posted below.

http://www.poundjewelry.com

http://www.poundjewelry.com

Herkimer Diamond Choker:

“Herkimer Quartz crystals are known to be the MOST powerful of all Clear Crystal Quartz in the Crystal Kingdom and are known as the "diamonds" of the mineral world due to their purity, clarity, brilliance and strong energies. They are known as "Life-Force" crystals and "Attunement" stones that attune to YOU and that which you are attracting. They also MAGNIFY what you set intentions to.” Wearing this everyday (literally, never taking it off) reminds me daily to speak my truth, be brave, be clear and walk each step of my journey with complete faith. Powerful ass little stone :)

http://www.poundjewelry.com

http://www.poundjewelry.com

“Rose quartz is known as the “Stone of Unconditional Love.” It carries in its essence a tender and compassionate nature, reminding us that love reigns supreme. Rose quartz reawakens an innate love and opens the heart chakra, which is directly associated with love—romantic, compassionate and love of Self. Used as a token since around the year 600 B.C., it is a talisman for relationships of all kinds, most notably in love relationships. This stone stimulates the imagination and inspires beauty in all creative pursuits. As you can imagine, this is a necklace I wear to remind myself to walk my life in complete love-with myself and others. It is a beautiful and powerful pendulum that I feel beautiful and powerful wearing. 

 

POUND has also generously offered a 10% discount code for LuxHippieLife Tribers, which you can enter at checkout: POUND10

http://www.poundjewelry.com

In addition to the reasons I have mentioned, wearing these pieces has attracted many opportunities for connections to be made. I can't tell you how many people have come up to me on a regular basis and inquired about my jewelry; as someone who is always lifted by kindness and connection, it is a lovely byproduct of wearing high vibrational items. I encourage you to be lovingly discerning with what you choose to pull into your aura each day. Love what you wear and wear what you love.

With Love Fam,

Nik

Lessons From Bali: Part 2

Lesson #5: Get Still and Your Higher Self Will Become Louder

I have a post-it note on my bathroom mirror that say “Get Still. What Is the Next RIGHT Move?” I stopped looking at that post-it about 6 months ago. I didn’t want to be still, I wanted to move. I wanted sensation. I wanted distraction. And at the same time, I wanted clarity, direction and my manifestations to show up... yesterday. I was wondering daily, “What am I doing wrong? I’m so versed on the Law of Attraction and Power of Thought, but nothing is going the way I want.” Insert foot stomping here. Stomp Stomp.

 

Finding that peace...can't you tell?

Finding that peace...can't you tell?

The way I have traditionally found stillness was on my mat. Yoga has saved me in so many other difficult moments of my life that this last year I turned to my old friend to try and find clarity and balance. The issue was that my main problem was almost always in the yoga room with me (literally and figuratively).  I was so upset with myself; why couldn’t I hold my balance or flow with love, advance my practice or meditate during savasana? And then I looked to my left. My main distraction was on the mat next to me. And then I looked within. And my main distraction had oil spilled all over my insides. I couldn’t connect to stillness because I was still looking outward for my peace.

In Bali, I was blessed with individual yoga instruction from the most amazing woman, McKinley (Kin). There were so many moments of divine intervention in Bali, but one of the first was learning that I was the sole student in the yoga cohort at Escape Haven. I had been desiring individual yoga coaching for over a year, and without trying, here it was waiting for me in the form of this petite powerhouse.

Kin and I had an instant connection; I trusted her almost immediately. She was warm, vulnerable and inspiring. Every morning, we would sit together in silence after we had finished the asana part of our practice. We meditated, physically together, yet completely individually. There was no competition, no distraction, only mutually held respect for one another. She helped me remember how sacred and important stillness and silence is in finding clarity.

ahhh...there you are

ahhh...there you are

 

In yoga, there are 3 components that must be present: Prana (breath), Asana(movement), and Meditation. In America, in mainstream yoga, we pay lip service to the Prana, but focus our efforts on the Asana. In Bali (and all over the world), the Prana is paramount and meditation is not an optional 30 seconds at the end of your practice, but an integral dedicated practice of stillness.

It is here, in that warm, supported stillness, that I began to receive what I had been asking for. Clarity. Calm. Spiritual knowing. Colors and vibrations increased. Inspiration. Release of toxicity. All the promises of meditation. All the gifts of releasing control. It is in these 30 minutes after moving through Kundalini series that I finally heard my voice again. It was only once I stopped stomping my foot and took a humble seat on the ground, shut my mind off and allowed God to show up, that she did.

Thank you Kin for your beautiful reminder that our voices are always with us, sometimes we just have to shut up and sit down to hear them.

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Lesson #6: Be Brave, Bold and Clear: When You ASK for Clarity You Will Surely Receive It.

Do you know what it means to play small? It is when we set goals for ourselves within strict limitations of what we think is possible, tangible or reasonable. Our human brains have this habit of scaring us into thinking we only are capable of having the basics; less, we are selfish, dreamers or too big for others to handle. I have been one of these people: I have had moments where I’ve operated out of fear, or limited thinking and beliefs. This is a universal human experience we can all relate to; even in the moments I’ve declared out loud “I’m done playing small; I’m ready to do it BIG!”, I have that little niggling voice in my head that says…”yeah, but are you really ready?”

The fear in asking or naming what we really want is two-fold: 1.) We will then be responsible for going and GETTING it, and 2.). We will realize that our own discontentment is no one else’s responsibility to fix. There is a fallacy of fear as you look your dreams in the eyes; we believe our fear to be legitimate truth-tellers, when they are actually liars that keeps us stuck.

Traveling, for me, has always been a reminder of what the reward is when you play big and lean into the fear, rather than lean away. Leaving the comforts of your daily rituals and relationships and getting on a plane to an unknown land; it reinstills bravery in the heart. I had been sick to death of playing small at home; I knew I needed a jumpstart.

Prior to my departure, I sat in meditation, feeling the anxiety and fear of the unknown come rushing towards me. All the what ifs, all the dangerous possibilities, all the potential outcomes that lay on the other side of this trip; and then I remembered I was in meditation. “Shut it brain,” I said to myself.  That’s the most profound thing I could think of in that moment: Shut it. Shut down the negativity, the fear, the annoying voice that was creating a loud racket. Shut it. I had to make room in my head for CLARITY and POSSIBILITY, rather than fear, which had been the loud, cantankerous bus driver for the last couple years.

A lotus cannot grow without the mud.

A lotus cannot grow without the mud.

Going to Bali was about releasing what was no longer serving me in order to create clarity; it was about taking back control of my thoughts, in order to step into bravery and bold action. I had to remind myself that I was capable of naming and claiming what I desire and what I deserve. In telling my thoughts to shut it, here is what I was able to create space for: my new, brave, bold and clear declarations:

  1. I am ready for my husband; I am ready for love, companionship and adventure with my forever partner.

  2. I am a successful therapist and coach that is creating a financially thriving and service oriented practice that will serve others and be a part of fulfilling my life’s purpose.

  3. I am the creator of my world and experience; I am responsible for my ultimate happiness.

  4. I am an impactful and successful writer.

  5. I get to create my days exactly the way I desire.

  6. I am pure faith and trust in the Universe’s laws.

  7. I am a woman of love, integrity and kindness. I operate from the lens of these values always.

  8. I am authentic and honest in all my interactions with myself and others.

  9. I am humbled by contrast and lessons. I use these as opportunities to grow and strive towards my complete divine alignment.

  10. I honor my self-care practices without apology or defense. I choose to love myself Every. Single. Day. 

I also remind myself that I am a Spirit having a human experience and I am not supposed to be perfect and clear every step of the way. I get to have moments like the ones that led me to Bali. Those experiences of breakdown were necessary and important for the evolution of my soul. These declarations are just a taste of what I was able to walk away from my soul vacation knowing more solidly. I am still in the process of releasing the ghosts of the past and un-shuttering the windows to allow the light in...and I am so grateful.

Thank you brave, bold Nikki for making the choice to shut it.

Lesson #7: Sometimes There Are Volcanoes Threatening You in the Background. Go Anyways.

Not a volcano in sight

Not a volcano in sight

In my haste of booking the trip, I failed to do any peripheral research on what the haps was in Bali. Oops. As soon as word got out that I was going, I was bombarded with texts from the loving people in my life asking if I was still going “...due to the impending eruption of the volcano”? Uhhh….shit, there’s a volcano? I had flashes of being consumed by flowing, hot, liquid magma (Austin Powers ref...anyone?), and my fossilized body being discovered by anthropologists, Vesuvius-style, 500 years from now. #dramaqueen.

I considered for a split second not going (especially given how anxious my dad was...I hate worrying him). Ultimately, I decided that if it was my fate to meet my Maker in a fiery end of lava and ash, I was prepared for that. Dark, I realize; however, when you feel like you are destined for something, you are willing to take the big risks. Was it anymore dangerous or reckless than someone swimming with sharks or skydiving? It was a calculated risk that I was ready and wanting to take. I was all in on Bali and this adventure.

What I began to realize is that there are always “volcanoes” in the background of our life: heartbreak, job loss, death, disappointment, uncertainty. I had been living in the shadowy foothills of a smoldering relationship volcano for 18 months, could the real thing really be anymore frightening? At least the Bali volcano was honest about its’ capabilities and intentions-- “I might kill you if I erupt, but at least you’ll have had a beautiful vacation prior to your untimely end”. I appreciated the transparency, it was refreshing.

One of my favorite quotes is “A woman who fears suffering is already suffering from her fears”. Boom. Yes. That is so beyond true; I can spend my life sitting afraid of what might happen, or I can go live and experience my own bravery, love, and yes, maybe some scary shit. And, ultimately, most likely, God Willing, live to tell about it.

Just think, I could've missed this...

Just think, I could've missed this...

We have all had those moments where you build something up in your head to be incredibly frightening, and then you do it, and you think “Man, I’m so happy I went through with it!” It reinstills a reminder in your heart of what life gets to feel like: exciting, courageous, rewarding, divine...FREE! I’m not saying to be reckless; but be unreasonable sometimes. Ask yourself:

  • What the best case scenario would be, and how would you feel if you missed out on that?
  • How would this experience better you, even if it doesn’t turn out perfect?
  • Why do I keep thinking about it; what keeps drawing me in to this? What would the Superwoman version of me do?

There will always be volcanoes threatening you in the background of life. I’m so glad I went anyways.

Thank you Volcano for reminding me that that sometimes when we conquer our greatest fears we reap the greatest rewards. And also, it’s rarely as bad as it seems.


Lesson #8: We Are Never Done.
 

As the amazing Abraham Hicks says “You never get it wrong, and you are never done”. Our work as spirits with bodies is not a linear beginning and end. There are no God Monogrammed checklists or ribbons you run through when you are done learning as a soul. We are evolving, incorporating and shifting our perspectives every single moment. You are not the same person you were when you were 5 and you won’t be the same person you are today, next year. That is the blessing of our human experience; we GET to do this. We get to grow and change. We get to be humble and thrive. We get to experience emotions (ALL the emotions) in order to become more complex and thoughtful spirits.

Just normal Bali decor...NBD

Just normal Bali decor...NBD

I went to Bali to complete a God Monogrammed checklist: meditate, connect to higher self, release darkness, make some decisions, get a tan, drink some juice, practice yoga like a mother, make friends, sleep, remember who I am. Check, check, check, check! I laugh reading this, because although I checked off my items, one by one, I forgot that each of these then has a ripple effect in my life. I wasn’t going to be done just because the check was marked.

I wasn’t anticipating the changes and shifts each of these items would create as I ventured home. Just because I stepped off that plane in Minneapolis on December 23rd, didn’t mean that my Bali work was done. My Bali work will never be done, and that is because when you know more, you are then responsible for that information. I don’t get to be complacent or lazy in my life; I don’t get to enter relationships that are toxic and unfulfilling. I am responsible for being kinder and more generous in my relationships with others. I am responsible to myself and my career, demonstrated with integrity and effort. I am responsible to being honest with myself. I am changed forever, and I now get to act in accordance with those commitments.

The chapters behind me are already written and the ones ahead have yet to be scribed. I am excited and divinely trusting of what I will create on the pages to come.

Thank you Universe for re-instilling trust in my heart. Thank you for reminding me that we never get it wrong and are never done. Here’s to a beautiful life :)

 

Nik &lt;3's Nik

Nik <3's Nik

 

Bonus Lesson: Even The Magical Island Of Bali Has a Rainy Season.

Let me reiterate, in my haste of booking the trip, I didn’t do a ton of research on Bali. Basically none. Apparently, December is part of their rainy season (basically equivalent to winter). It rained every day. It was overcast and the mosquitos were out in full force, leaving behind little welted reminders that even the smallest action can have a powerful impact. Initially, I was disappointed; I had just come from the freezing tundra and I was craving Vitamin D and balmy breezes. What was this rain business? Didn’t God tell them that I spent a boatload on this trip and wanted some damn sun? Stomp stomp. #bratattack

Stunning and quite damp

Stunning and quite damp

What I quickly realized was that there were also elongated pockets of sunshine and warmth. And even when it was raining, it was still actually quite lovely. I got more time alone in my hot tub because I didn’t feel pressured to hang out at the shared pool with everyone. I read more. I wrote more. I spent QT with me. I didn’t hate on the humidity because my hair was already in vacation mode and I wasn’t stressing a little more frizz than usual. I actually treasured the hours the sun was out; I was so grateful and did not take a minute of it for granted.

Escape Haven in the rain

Escape Haven in the rain

Every beautiful part of the world, or part of our life, has the potential for a proverbial rainy season; and just like Bali, it is not all good or all bad. We cannot continue to live in the all or nothing thinking schematic. Yes, winter is long, and it makes summer so freaking sweet. Yes, that relationship was traumatic, and I’ve taken so many gifts from it. Yes, life and people disappoint us, and we get to appreciate the gifts that those disappointments hold.

It stopped raining for a second, so I ran outside to catch some muted rays.

It stopped raining for a second, so I ran outside to catch some muted rays.

The rain was unexpected yet beautiful; it was a lesson of remembering that everything comes in seasons. Nothing is forever, our current life is temporary. A reminder that things that show up, or don’t show up, are always meant for us (or meant to miss us). If you are reading this blog, these lessons are meant for you. You have called this into your life. You are also ready and prepared for what is next. You are brave and ready. Your Bali is calling you.

 

Blessings and love my fam,

Xo Nik

Lessons from Bali: Part I

It is called the Island of the Gods for a reasons. You feel Spirit the moment you step off the plane. Each morning the Balinese people practice a 5 step gratitude practice to thank God for everything that they are graced with. It is humbling when you see that the majority of the Balinese people live off of $1/day. The breeze is fragranced with frangipani flowers, which are what I imagine God’s garden smells like. It penetrates your skin and your soul, I still have moments where I have phantom frangipani memories, sitting in Minnesota (where everything is covered in a layer of lovely snow).

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When I arrived in Bali, I had been traveling for almost 2 days; I got off the plane in Denpasar, Bali around 1 am, prepared to gather my luggage and get my tired tush to my hotel. I had planned everything PERFECTLY. I was a little plane sweaty but so thrilled I had set my feet on Balinese soil finally! I soon was told that because of the quick layover in Seoul, my luggage had been delayed. Now, I’ve travelled a lot in my life and I’ve never had this happen. I even put a moonstone crystal in my bag to ensure that it arrived with me (Moonstone had other lessons to give me). The amazing people at the airport were so kind and accommodating, they had me thanking them profusely by the end of our talk because they were going to take care of me and get my things to me ASAP. God Bless the Balinese, seriously! They did an absolutely amazing job and did get me my bag; only it was 5 days later.

 

Lesson #1: I Can Be So Happy Without All the “Stuff”

I am a bit high maintenance-I can own it. I like my hair things, my makeup, my clothes. I like to look a certain way. But do you know why I like to look a certain way? Because I think that it makes me more valuable and powerful. If my hair is straight, and my nails are done, and I have the cutest workout clothes, I am more (fill in the blank): loveable, powerful, relateable, enviable, sexy, desireable, acceptable. But I never stopped to ask myself, “do these things contribute to my ultimate happiness”? Prior to being without all my stuff in a foreign country, where I knew no one, and was completely alone, I wouldn’t have been able to answer it.

 

The answer is a resounding “no”. I had attached so much worth to things that I had lost the forest for the trees. Things are nice and make us comfortable or are an expression of self, however they are not our essence. They do not necessarily make us better. They hold energy and can actually weigh us down when we do not charge them with proper intention. When we assign such incredible meaning to our “things” it is easy to lose sight of our true divine spirit.

 

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I spent those 5 days wearing the same Lulu outfit I had worn on the plane for 2 days, a swimsuit I had bought at the mall when I got there and a sarong I was gifted when I arrived at Escape Haven. I didn’t wear makeup, I didn’t do my hair. I was so Bali Basic and I loved every second of it. When my suitcase finally arrived, I was grateful, and slightly indifferent. I had stopped caring if it showed up because I was so blissfully happy with the clothes on my back (isn’t that always the case, when you stop caring and focusing so hard on something, it appears).

Since coming home I have had the opportunity to look at my home, my closet, my heart and begin to declutter and slough off the things that do not serve me, that assume energy and attention, and that don’t contribute to my ultimate happiness.

Thank you Korean Air for losing my luggage, without that experience I would never have seen how I was losing myself in the image.

 

A view from my front porch. How could you be anything but joyful?

A view from my front porch. How could you be anything but joyful?

Lesson #2: People Will Judge You. They Are Just Holding Up a Mirror. Thank Them.

The beautiful retreat I was staying at, Escape Haven, normally hosts 14 women at a time. Due to the threat of volcanic explosion on the island, there were only 4 guests staying there during my week. This intimate setting was exciting to me; I couldn’t wait to meet and befriend the other three women. I instantly clicked with a beautiful woman name Kyla from America, but living in South Korea, with the yoga instructor Kin (also from America but living in Bali), and with the GM Renee (who had the most gorgeous Aussie accent that I had ever heard). I had good vibes with this quiet, lovely woman from Amsterdam, Ann, although we both recognized we were fundamentally different, we still had a great time getting to know each other. The last woman in the group was Amber, from Melbourne. From the moment she met me, she made it clear she did not like me. We had an intro night where we all met each other and as I introduced myself I noticed out of the corner of my eye she rolled her eyes at some of my words. She was consistently unkind and sharp with me throughout the week, saying snide and snarky comments about Ky and I.

A typical version of me would be upset by this; but, because of the ridiculously amazing backdrop, the incredible staff and literally nothing to complain about, it was so clear that this woman’s anger and unpleasant attitude had nothing to do with me. So often, we walk through the world, taking personal offense at people’s unkindness. Sometimes it is REALLY hard not to. Sometimes it feels fucking GREAT to step into self-righteousness and judge that person right back...well, it feels great until you remember that you always reap what you sow.

My personal hot tub

My personal hot tub

I was having a facetime date (in my personal hot tub...damn I miss Bali) with my spiritual coach, Vanessa, and telling her about all these archetypical women and was curious about who they all represented to me in my life. Amber, I realized, was the Judger that I have been and the Judger that I have experienced from others. I was having a revelation that I was allowing my reaction about this woman’s behavior justify my judgement towards her. She was just holding up a mirror for me….uhhh….Holy Spiritual Awakening moment!

Thank you Amber from Melbourne, for holding up this incredible reflection of where I judge myself and others. I will continue to welcome this lesson into my life and be grateful to you for being a teacher where I lovingly needed one.

Lesson #3: Your Truth Is What Heals

As I have laid out in previous blogs, I was ignoring my truth for a very long time. I went to Bali to connect with it again. That was the main goal: to leave distraction behind and heal. Previously, in my life, I have planned out trips thoughtfully and very adult-like. I did not plan this trip like that; I felt a calling. I felt pulled to this island (or maybe pushed). I had never thought about going to Bali before October of 2017, yet, when I started researching women’s yoga retreats this one was the only one that spoke to me. Within one week of finding Escape Haven, I talked to two people and asked their opinions and, between clients one day, I booked my ticket. It was the most impulsive, yet the most sure I have ever been about a choice. This was my truth: I needed to Escape and find a Haven from the chaos and uncertainty at home (corny AF, I realize, but very accurate).

 

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Back in Minnesota, I had a difficult time admitting to myself that something was very wrong. That my body had been rejecting what I had been force feeding it: that this relationship was right. My body was angry with me, screaming at me to stop; fatigued, shutting down, breaking out in rashes, fluctuating weight, pits in my stomach, knowing in my heavy heart. I had ignored it all because I trusted the words of someone else over my own truth.

In Bali, with the noise, the clutter, the ruts, and schedule gone, I started to really hear my voice again. I broke down crying one of the first days when I asked myself “Why is it so easy to be happy here?” The answer was simple: because I was doing what I wanted. What I loved. I wasn’t concerning myself with anyone else. I wasn’t focused on anyone else’s needs. I wasn’t analyzing words, or worried what I looked like. I wasn’t stressed about operating on anyone else’s schedule. I ate what I wanted. I wore what I wanted. I slept. I was free. I was nourishing myself-mind, body and spirit- for the first time in years.

 

Ate these bad boys every day

Ate these bad boys every day

 

I realize that in daily life we have to take care of external needs, we can’t be on vacation mode constantly; yet, what is possible? How do you take your God Given Holy Truth and honor it as much as possible? I keep asking myself, ‘what would make it really easy to be happy right now’? Often the answer is “rest” or “meditate” or “write” or “receive love”. They are simple; of course, a regular trip to Bali wouldn’t hurt, yet truth can be found anywhere you stand, as long as you are brave and true and ready to hear it.

This trip prepared me for calling in the Truth once I got home. It was Warrior’s Work and through it I have found so much healing in my heart and soul.

Thank you Bali for gifting me the truth that I knew all along; you allowed me to be ready to hear and receive it.

 

Lesson #4: Kindness and Friendship is Possible ANYWHERE

 

Bali Tribe

Bali Tribe

 

The Indian man on the plane who was so kind to me. The Korean stewardess who ran like a banshee through Incheon Airport to get me to my connecting flight. The amazing, kind and beautiful staff at Escape. Kyla. Kin. Renee. My masseuse, Wati. Janine, the owner of Escape who I never met, but who offered for me to stay another week because she heard great things about me. The people back home who cheered me on, told me I was inspiring them, asked me questions about my travels. The lovely woman at The Practice who smiled at me when I laid my mat down (entering a new yoga shala alone can be intimidating). Emily, the gorgeous coach, who launched her own swimsuit line after she moved to Bali. And countless other amazing interactions I had in the short time I was there.

Throughout my life I have felt like an outsider; I’ve pictured myself like a little girl peering in a window at a warm house where everyone was accepted and welcome, but somehow I didn’t belong. I realized through my travels to Bali that I was the only person who was in my way. No one was guarding the door to the house, I had created a story that prevented me from entering. This trip reset something for me in my heart; I was loveable, likeable and wanted. I had discounted myself so many times, I just assumed that others must do the same thing. This was a freaking fallacy!

It was so easy to connect and allow others to show me kindness and love as I ventured across the world alone. I didn’t feel guilty or unsure of myself. I promised myself once I got home, I was going to open myself up to friendship and love. Historically, I have kept people at bay, limited contact or told myself that they wouldn’t want to be me “real” friends with me. I vowed that I would stop creating these limitations for myself immediately. I had witnessed how powerful opening myself up to relationships was in Bali, and I didn’t want to lose that amazing feeling.

Just a cool pic of a Balinese man motoring around on his bike.&nbsp;

Just a cool pic of a Balinese man motoring around on his bike. 

In setting this intention, and since I’ve been home, I have never had more beautiful friendships emerge from the woodwork of life. Relationships that had been acquaintanceships have blossomed into sisters, trusted confidants, collaborators, more genuine and authentic in nature. I have continued to push the boundaries of what I was previously “comfortable” with and continue to ask Spirit to hold space for whoever is meant for me to continue to show up, and for me to show up for them. I pray for whatever relationships need repair receive that repair; I am grateful for every single person who has reached back when I reach out. It isn’t scary out there; it is abundant, it is rich in amazing people who also desire love, kindness and authentic connection.

Thank you Bali for the reminder that people are kind and true and I desire and deserve connection.

 

....(Part 2 coming shortly....stay tuned!!)

 

A Practice in Self Love

When coming out of a dark and difficult period, we can vacillate between feeling lost and feeling grateful. This can be so confusing and exhausting; sometimes jumping from these emotional lily pads on a minute to minute basis. We get stuck in our heads, analyzing ourselves, others, events, emotions; everything is fodder for judgement. Experiencing darkness is an essential part of experiencing life; we all have these moments of grief, heartache, getting knocked on our asses and making the decision to either stay down or get up. I have had days where I stay in a place of anger and then judge myself for that anger. I think “I should be grateful for this pain--thank you God!” and then I think, “WTF, I don’t have the perspective to be grateful yet”. And around and around. Ultimately, I am able to come to gratitude because I trust that all of this is meant for me and my greater divine timeline is being unfolded.

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The last month for me has been this rollercoaster of trying to get grounded and get back to taking care of my own heart. This idea of practicing self love is so undefined and almost scary at first. As healers, a lot of the time we think we are supposed to know all the answers, all the ways to get “back to happiness” or live this perfect, Instagram life. The reality is that we too have pain, we too have moments of doubt and insecurity, moments of being humbled in life’s raging current. And because we are healers, we often jump to action before we are ready; “I must take care of this. I will do all the things!” There is nothing wrong with doing all things, and there is also great need for quiet, patience and love towards yourself and your process. I sometimes look at the process and I want to be “done”, as if it is my enemy. It is that quick moment that I have been reminded or remember that pain is not my enemy but my teacher. I recall that when you love your problems, and can really sit in that love, the solution will appear. Breakdown/Breakthrough.

“One of the biggest lessons we learned from our trip is that when you stir up energy with deep healing work, it’s vital that you give yourself enough time to process it.” -Crystal Muse

I recently stumbled across an app called Insight Timer (an amazing meditation app that is totally free--whaaaa?!); I have been listening to a guided meditation from a woman named Sarah Blondin entitled “Loving and Listening to Yourself”. In this meditation she asks you to place a hand on your heart and a hand on your stomach, gently holding yourself as you repeat the words out loud “I love you”. It is uncomfortable and awkward; and the first time I did this I was sitting in my car outside of Caribou, sobbing, as I repeated these words to myself. I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear them. I didn’t realize how void I had been of giving myself what I had been seeking in others. Each time I have practiced this since then, I still feel that energy bubble up through my entire chakra system, as if it is a current that hasn’t been turned on in years. There is crackling, uncertainty, emotions that are tucked away that get pushed to the surface. And then comes the warmth. If floods me-through my heart and out my eyeballs. The tears are not of sadness of but of pure love, of relief. Oh, there you are:).

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I encourage you to try this; it is unlike anything I have ever experienced. To physically and emotionally give yourself love. Recognize the shame and discomfort that may arise, and hold space for that; you are clearing out the darkness. That is the only way to light. Allow compassion to replace that shame, “I am allowed to love myself. I am allowed to hold myself and speak to myself the way that I desire to be held and spoken to”.

My other practice of self love in the last month has been physical outlets; seeking to expel energy that creates anxiety, a build up of anger and helplessness. I find more inspiration when I am moving, when I give myself permission to stop thinking about my “process” for an hour and just sweat and breathe. I gain clarity, focus and regain grains of trust in myself (I got the inspiration for this blog post this morning while I was on my spin bike at 6am). Instead of waking up and staring at the ceiling, wondering about things that aren’t helpful, I put my feet on the floor and meet friends and strangers at new classes and old classes. I am reminded that people are kind and welcoming. I am reminded that I am strong and beautiful. I am reminded that I am powerful and can overcome physical challenges and that just by showing up I am making progress. I am reminded that I am allowed to get out of my head and into my entire body. I am blessed that I am able, capable, strong and resourced to have gyms to escape to and rediscover myself in. Movement in my physical body has always equated to movement in my ethereal and spiritual bodies as well; in moments of sadness and loss there is stability and trust in what waits for me on my mat, on the stairs, on a bike, hugging a friend at a class.

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I tell my clients that physical movement is often the precipice of change in so many other areas of your life; when you feel physically strong, your mental strength, clarity and motivation soon follows. There is another component to this which is that we store energy and emotion in our bodies and through releasing it by sweating, stretching and grinding we force these emotions to the surface. The times that I have cried at yoga and spin, where the tears are mixed with the sweat on my face, have been times of intense release and vulnerability. These are moments when I give myself permission to just be present in whatever is coming up; I don’t pretend. I just am Nikki--a kind, beautiful, loving, emotional woman who is in it.

I have practiced this branch of self love for over 6 years, and yet with each new life lesson, it takes on a new iteration. I was originally upset that I felt as if I had to leave my home gym [to escape ‘that man”] that I have spent the last 6 years building my body and community at; but the amazing, beautiful gift in it has been being able to lift my eyes up, away from the track that I’ve always known and take steps towards new experiences and people. The choice to try new things has been the most incredible reminder that I am brave. It might not seem super brave to jump on a reformer at solidcore or walk into a new class at TigerFit, but for me it is! It is humbling and allows me to remember on a regular basis that “I can do hard things”. When I did my first headstand in Bali in December, it shifted my perspective on what was possible for me in my practice; it matters the accomplishments we find, no matter where they appear. Bravery gets to be mini and mighty, sometimes in the same moment.

Before December 27th, I thought I was taking care of myself, I thought I did love myself fully. I thought I was doing “all the things”. I had the most blessed, humbling opportunity to realize that I wasn’t. I got to/get to recalibrate and reconnect with what that ubiquitous term, love, actually means for me and how I want to practice it and commit myself to it now. I desire to weave together the quiet moments of integration and rest and the loud, rhythmic beat of change. That is my intention; as a healer I share with you that I walk this path not in front of, but alongside of you. My pain and my love is my work; there is no separation.

“Sometimes we ‘act’ like we love ourselves so that we don’t have to change. Except our spirit very much wants us to change what’s not working for our lives. But we’re afraid to do what it takes to change. Fake self love can turn into a cop out for really growing” -Danielle LaPorte

Be Well Always,

Love, Nik

 

I Am A Force

Today I had the first glimmer of my old self. I woke up this morning and although I was still hit initially with the pain, it subsided more quickly. I actually slept last night. I actually ate yesterday. I’ve been hearing messages from my helpers and guides about this relationship and what it means for me. That it is a launchpad. A divine gift. It was a traumatic force that made me wake up. I have choice again. Detoxing from him will take some time, and I can already feel the love in my heart return. I have more compassion for what I traversed. I’m remembering who I am without him.

My higher self, my divine awareness is flickering back on. I went out to dinner with a girlfriend and laughed last night. I teared up knowing my best friend is having her baby today. I am making plans to travel, move, create. These are bits of me that I put on a shelf to create as much space as possible for him. It is beginning to stop being about him, finally, and starting to be about me.

I don’t pretend that I’m okay yet, because I’m not. I am forever changed. I wept for most of yesterday, on and off. It feels like a Great Purge. Sobs leaving my body. His energy that still feels like it is in me, on me, lives in my space, escaping with each tear or breath released. He infiltrated my life, my head, my heart. You don’t just move on, you have feel it. I have to feel it. I have to experience this in order to walk away completely. I can’t numb it nor do I want to. I want to feel my truth. Also, smudging helps :)

I have been reading a lot about people who treat others like this and how it affects their “victims”. I dislike that word greatly. It implies powerlessness and meekness. I am neither. Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a force. Never down for long. A nurturer and a protector. A seeker. Resilient AF. I called in this experience with this man for a reason. I needed him to illustrate something for me. I allowed myself to accept pain from another person and called it love. Make no mistake, though-I accepted it. I welcomed it. He mirrored for me the emptiness in myself that I get to heal.

The idea of betrayal is one of the most archetypal stories on our planet; a person you trusted and loved abuses those sacred feelings and forces you into one of the darkest moments of your life (basically every Disney movie ever). The darkness demands that you examine yourself and what you are capable of. You either crumble or rise; you redefine faith and self. You shed the old beliefs of limits and step into the version of you that you were always destined for. This is Universal. This is mine and I am grateful for it.

For myself, for my clients, for anyone who reads this--the power in this story is not about how he ruined me. Because he didn’t. It is about the Rise. It is about the fucking Holy Rise from true darkness. That is my truth today and I’m sending you all true love on your own journey on your own Rise.

 

Current resources that I am leaning on and highly recommend:

Leaving A Narcissist: Day 7

I have woken up every morning since finding out, wincing. As if someone has poked my brain with a stick or found the spot in my brain that contains every memory of us and touches it as soon as I regain consciousness. We were together since July of 2016.  Even though he was still technically with his girlfriend, he was REALLY with me. At least, that was what I believed.

Everyone in my life knows, because the only way out of living a complete lie for 17 months is to be grossly honest. I know not everyone likes it; I know not everyone gets why I’ve decided to share this with the world, but when you’ve lived under the regime of the Prince of Lies for so long, it seems as if they only way to take back any power is to reveal the truth. And to have witnesses bear that and validate it for you, as I need people to help me reconnect with True North.

I am a therapist and a coach, I help people see their truth for a living. How could I be so skilled in assisting others and be so lost in my own life and relationship? Great question. How could I stay with a man so long that kept me hidden, gave me so little, told me nothing but lies, and gaslighted my reality? When you are “chosen” by a narcissist, you feel as if you have won the GD lottery. You are groomed, carefully, slowly, calculating. Our rules were laid out early and clearly and because I loved him so deeply, I agreed.

I tried to end the relationship with him. I asked him to let me go. I asked him if there was someone else he loved. I asked him to not make promises he wasn’t going to honor. I told him that I wasn’t going to do this sick dance anymore. I wondered why someone who looked so together on the outside, was so lost on the inside. I didn’t understand his truths. I knew he was lying to me about things and I didn’t push him on it because when I did he would pull away from me, sometimes for a whole day. It was my punishment for questioning the rules we both agreed to. When I would challenge him things, he would blame his mother, the death of his father, me for being too needy and never satisfied. He cited this as a reason that he didn’t love me the same way was because he felt as if he could never please me.

He would railroad the other women in his life and then tell me I was special. He would talk behind everyone’s back that we both knew and cared about and then would be charming and sweet to their face. I wondered what he said about me when I wasn’t there; and in actuality, I was more afraid that he wasn’t talking about me rather than saying anything negative. I worried I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough or popular enough for him. I worked on all those things consistently to prove to him that I was his perfect match.

He broke up with me in May, but never left my side. The longest we ever went without talking was 5 days, and that was in October of 2017, because I was finally finding my backbone again. He became frantic at that point and begged to come over and talk to me. I thought he was coming back to ask me to marry him. That is laughable looking back.

He never gave me a reason for breaking things off in May, only that he felt he had to work on himself around the grief of his father and his relationship with his mother. Like a good little girl, I instantly jumped to support him and show him that he still needed me. I begged him not to go and to let me love him while he did this work. I knew it was off, but I was addicted to him. He kept me close enough to make me still feel as if I “got a piece of him” but so far away that I could never find out who he really was and what he was really doing.

He was my only sexual partner during the entire time I knew him and I was obsessed. He told me that I was the best lover he ever had, that I taught him how to be “good”. Before and after every time we had sex, he would make sure to remind me that it “meant something”. I soon got irritated with this, because when you’re in a relationship with someone you love, you don’t have to tell them that having an intimate relationship “means something”. The reason the sexual component is so intense with a narcissist is because it is truly the only way to feel as if you are receiving any intimate contact with them. They hold you at bay, compartmentalize you and distort your reality in every other facet of life, that sex just becomes the quickest and easiest way to feel loved by them.

My friends and family watched from the sidelines, trying to pull me off him. They told me that he was too broken or something was off. They told me he was image obsessed and demented for starting a relationship with me while he was still living with someone else (this also makes me demented, I realize). But his promises of marriage, family and a life together kept me there. I wanted those things with him. I wanted to be his partner. I wanted to feel chosen by Jason. And he would tell me things like:

“you’re my muse for life”

“You are the reason I get up in the morning”

“you will always be mine”

“I have never been as attracted to someone as I am to you”

“Our babies will be so cute”

“I miss waking up next to my Nik”

“I’m putting all my effort into fixing myself so we can be together and live our life the way we want”

“I will always take care of you”

“You are my safe spot”

“No one knows as much about me as you do. You know me better than anyone”

“Pick a week and we can go to Mexico”

“I would rather go to Spain with you”

“I’m selling my house and then we can find a place and rent together before we buy our next house”

“I can only relax when I am laying next to you”

“It has never crossed my mind that we won’t eventually be together”.

A snapshot of why I stayed

A snapshot of why I stayed

 

And this is the tip of the iceberg. He made me feel as if I was the ONLY one that mattered, but these moments were stretched out, weeks between these professions of love. Crumbs that sustained me for over a year. I was addicted to the surge of love I would feel and I would chase that high. I tried to date other guys, but no one could compare to Jason. He was perfect in my eyes. When I told him that I had started to date again in September of 2017, he freaked out. He told me he was physically ill and couldn’t stand the thought of me being with other guys (even just for dinner). I thought this meant he was coming back to me, for real this time. It worked, I thought! The oldest trick in the book, dating someone else to get the attention of the guy you really love and want. No, it did not work. Because he came back just enough to reclaim my attention and I dropped all those other men. He said he was giving me his full attention and commitment and I instantly felt guilty for seeing other people (even though he had broken up with me, again). I told every one of them that I was back with my ex-boyfriend. We were actually dating again. He actually took me out to dinner at Martina, he actually slept over (mind you, this happened once). But soon, we were back to the same cadence. He wouldn’t call me his girlfriend, he was more and more elusive with his time, he wouldn’t give me straight answers, he was less affectionate on the phone, the time gaps between our conversations grew more and more. It felt like I was crumbing for less and less, and I was so exhausted. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted from this relationship with him. I was so fatigued and so twisted up inside I decided to take a trip to get away from him.

So I went to Bali. Before I left, he again, came over and told me we needed to end it. This scene is so familiar in our relationship that it didn’t even phase me. I think I may have actually rolled my eyes. And I was done. I told him, “Fine, let’s take these two weeks I’m gone and give each other some space.” And he agreed, but did not follow through (and neither did I-I’m a fucking Jason addict). Me being gone was like a renewed sense of desire; he FaceTimed me EVERY day, twice a day when I was Bali. He would text me non-stop. He was all of a sudden enamored and in love with me again. He talked about our future; our upcoming trips, our plans for when I got home, how much he missed me and loved me and couldn’t wait to see me. I was so happy. I was so encouraged. Again--oldest trick in the book, start focusing on yourself and your dude will open his eyes and finally see the light. No, he did not see the light because there was never a light to see between us.

The entire time that I was in Bali he was with her. His actual girlfriend. The girl that he brought around his friends. The girl that he brought to the State Fair, 4th of July, Christmas parties. The girl who would come to his house and cook for him. The girl he brought to his family home in Florida. The girl who was living the life with him that he promised me. He’s actually been with this woman for quite some time. The earliest marker that I’ve been told is October of 2016, when he text a mutual friend and asked about her. He took her out for dinner in May to celebrate her divorce. They’ve been on vacations together. He’s met her children. The list is sickening. This is why I wince when I wake up. The wince is about starting to marry what I believed to be true and what the actual reality of his life is, and how big I compromised my life for him. The contrast is so great that it is painful for my brain to process and accept. I am on Day 7 of finding out who Jason really is; it is not easy to realize that man you loved was an illusion. It is not easy to experience the emotions that come from ending a relationship with a true, living breathing sociopathic narcissist.

I realized and continue to realize through this unfolding process that I have undeniable codependent traits. That I devalue myself in my relationships with men. That I have soul searching to do while I pick up these pieces and go forward. I am so inspired and encouraged by making connections with other women that he has done this to. Simultaneous to me, before me, and whoever may come after me. I am here. I understand how you feel. We are stronger together and he is true criminal against women. He sins against our minds, bodies and hearts. He is a thief in the night. Although I have only known about his true character since Wednesday of last week, I already know of 4 other women besides myself that he has treated this way in the less than two years I knew him (and I’m sure that is just the beginning).

I write because I feel stronger when I write. I share my story because I’ve kept it inside for so long. I’ve protected him, sinned against myself, excused his behavior, compromised every part of me to be good enough for him. I know that he was a lesson that I needed to learn and someday I will understand it more fully. I know that I will continue to write and process and hope that it finds its way to whoever it is meant for. Right now I have gratitude for the beauty of truth. Painful, gut wrenching beautiful truth.

To myself and the Other Women I have hurt throughout my relationship with Jason:

I love you

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you.

 

Hell Hath No Fury...

Love and Rage

Love and Rage

Do you know what the feeling is like to know that the person you love (or loved) is in love with someone else and has been lying to you for God knows how long? Do you know what it is like to drive over to your best friend’s house and have them tell you that they have not one but three people who can confirm this? Do you know what it’s like to then have your partner, who only hours ago you were talking to and flirting with, disappear,  because he so desperately wants to control the situation and cannot handle the realness of what is happening?

I saw him hugging, snuggling and kissing her on a boat on 4th of July earlier this year. I snapped because we had just had sex the night before and although were supposedly broken up, we really weren’t. I told him that I never wanted him to talk to her again. Her name was the name. Her name was the name that came out of his mouth yesterday when he said he had struck up a “friendship” with her at the gym. I lost my breath. That’s how we met. That’s what he said about me for months. The questions and my breath quickened; rapid fire and non stop. My fingers were sending texts and pressing “call” on repeat. 10 times. 15 times. Fuck, I'm that girl. No response.

He is in Florida right now, and I remember FaceTiming him a year ago when he there; we talked about what this new year would bring and how we were going to build this beautiful life together. But it was anything but. That is the thing with a narcissist; they are so good, you don’t even know it’s happening until you’re drowning. 

“She’s going to Florida to meet him” the text came in last night from my friend (all confirmed through reputable sources). “They’ve been dating for at least two months, if not longer. She’s telling her friends that their going to get married and they’re in love”. Cracking, breaking, the earth splitting open for what feels like an unending period of time. Still no response from him; except to tell me how I was being out of control. Uh, yeah you bet your fucking ass I’m out of control. But that is unacceptable and he won’t speak to me until he, ahem, they return on Saturday.

I never understood the old cliche “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” until yesterday. Until that moment I heard her name. Until I felt that visceral pain in my body like it was being shot, my skin and organs being shredded. I feel anger like I’ve never experienced before, I’ve acted in ways that are out of my body. The level of betrayal and dismissal from someone only a day ago said “I love you babe”. Disposable like I never mattered to him. Everything is being run through a sieve: lie or truth? lie or truth?

People wonder how smart, beautiful, confident women stay in bad, emotionally abusive relationships. It happens everywhere, and almost every woman has a story (or two). This was/is particularly devastating and I don’t have enough space right now to process and share everything, but this man is smart and calculating to a degree I’ve never witnessed. I do have enough clarity to know that I am not the crazy one, I did not expect too much (or anything actually), I only loved without logic. 24 hours ago my world changed in a way that I honestly didn’t ever foresee. He promised me he would never hurt me. He promised me we would be together. He promised me a partner, a lover, a life, babies, adventure and love. He promised everything that I wanted to hear. And he left me with a dial tone.

 

 

"She Who Fears Suffering Is Already Suffering From Her Fears"

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I used to suffer from incredibly anxiety; as in, it would stop me from going into a crowded coffee shop or restaurant. I would stand outside and look in the windows, look at the lines, get anxious that I didn’t know how their ordering system worked, or what I wanted, or worried that I would look stupid in front of strangers if I messed something up. I remember distinctly walking into Turtle Bread Company on 48th and Chicago, standing in line and have this panic feeling set in, where I needed to just get out. I told my boyfriend at the time I had to leave immediately; at the time, I had no awareness of what was going on with me, just that I was growing increasingly uncomfortable on a more regular basis. 

 

Photo by  Rob Bye &nbsp;on  Unsplash

Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash

This has happened to me before in my life, and I’ve brushed it off as being a little high maintenance, perhaps with an element of perfectionism thrown in. This time made me take pause; I had never experienced that moment of panic before, and it scared me. This was at a point in my life where I was not nearly as enlightened or had even a 1/4 of the self awareness that I have today. All I knew was that something in my head had to change; I had to stop giving into this panic and fear that was starting to drive my decisions in a fight or flight way.

There was a conversation I had with my dad when I was decided whether or not to go to graduate school; as we were talking, I realized that many of the decisions I had made up until that point had been driven out of fear or “safety” (not all, but a lot): the college I went to, the job I took after I graduated college, the decision I made to stay in Minneapolis rather than move to Chicago, and on. I didn’t want to do that anymore; that wasn’t my path. I wasn’t a “safe” person; I was/am a woman who wanted to do things with my life, not hide from it. 

Many people, including a lot of the clients that I work with, struggle with pushing past this initial fear or anxiety, to see what lies across the ravine for them. Making the more daring choice, or the more exciting choice, comes with a natural anxiety because you don’t know what to expect. There isn’t a road map or guarantees; and that belief that we need to know, that predictability equals better, is a fallacy. 

In that moment, after hanging up the phone with my dad, I made two decisions 1.) I was going to do my best to start making decisions out of opportunity and purpose, even though the fear was still there, and 2.) Limiting beliefs had started to create narrow parameters on my life, and I was going to start to knock them down, and reach for new, fluid and better fitting beliefs that allowed opportunities to show up for me.

When I share with clients my “secrets” for changing their mind set, I am often met with resistance and the rebuttal “Yeah, but it’s just not that easy”; as if this is a valid reason to not do important work in life. I’ve been in that place of not knowing the “hows” but just knowing that I desire something greater than I currently have. The simplicity about approaching your fear and anxiety is that it is a very easy decision to make: do you want to make choices in your life based in fear or based in hope? You decide; and if you choose hope, the Universe will show up. And if you choose fear, than I can tell you that nothing will change. Make no mistake though, this is an active choice; you are not a victim in life, you always have the choice of perspective. 

Victim or Heroine....Victim or Heroine?????

Victim or Heroine....Victim or Heroine?????

 

For those of you are making the choice to get in the current of change and stop paddling upstream, keep reading. The idea of doing one thing a day that, “scares you” is not something I invented, only something that I used and found great success with. I still do today; this is an important piece of the process, realizing that this isn’t something you do once and your done. This is a new way of life, living in courage—which means noticing the fear and doing it anyways. Courage doesn’t mean choosing the easy way, it means choosing the path least travelled and, although fear might be your travel companion, it is not holding the map.

5 Easy Ways to Reconnect With Your Voice

Build your dream house.

Build your dream house.

Reposted from previous blog. Original post from May 24, 2016

Recently, I had a moment in which I realized that I had been denying my inner voice. It came suddenly and fiercely. Long story short, I had been dating someone that I was passionately attracted to, and yet knew there was something off. On a daily basis I had been shoving down that voice that said, “This isn’t right”. I wanted so desperately for things to be perfect between us. Reality was far from that—and no matter who told me what, until I was ready to see it, it didn’t matter. He ended our relationship in an incredibly painful way, and even in that moment of visceral ache, I was released. Released from this incredibly denial and dishonesty that I had been prioritizing for 18 months. I was able to start to step into this place of authenticity and truth. I want nothing more than to take this lesson and spread it like gospel. Please know that I understand the pain associated with stepping into your truth, and I also know the light. 

I actually had a totally different introduction to this post, and it seemed less than authentic to begin from a place of authority. I am human just like you; I cry, I bleed, I love and I learn. I wanted to share this with you to start from a universal truth, that we are all in process. I can speak from a place of expertise, yet also from a place of student (and life just handed me a elephant sized lesson…thanks life :)). 

The way I integrate this lesson with my clients is that I askthem to honor how “not knowing” or ignoring their voice has served her up until now. I come from the belief that all our actions and belief start from a positive intention, and we must recognize what that is! Often, coping skills or defense mechanism do serve us, and then, at some point can become destructive or unhelpful. 

An example of this is passive aggressive communication. Passive aggressive means that you say something in order to avoid a conflict, however you are desperately wanting the other person to understand your frustration, anger or fear. Where I come from (Minnesota), this is the “normal” way to communicate, and anything outside this realm is considered rude, abrasive and unacceptable. The positive intention is to keep the peace, to manage and have happy relationships. Unfortunately, the result is the exact opposite! I cannot tell you how many people I’ve seen in therapy wanting to improve relationships, set boundaries and feel more congruent with their inner and outer message because of this pervasive style of communication. 

My goal and advice in each of these moments that clients come to me is the same: use your voice. Start slowly and begin to get familiar with what is in your heart; what is it that you actually want to communicate? What are you actually needing from yourself and those around you? What is your fear in embracing your truth? Begin to ask these questions and your brain will start the retrieval process for the answers (crazy, right)?

Often, our fear in embracing our voice, saying our truth, stating our needs, is that:

  1. We could possibly upset someone else and then their view of us will change
  2. As women, we will be seen as bitchy, rude, unlikeable or abrasive,
  3. It is not okay to ask for your needs to be met; you will be labeled as selfish, which apparently is a punishable offense. 

I want you to start to challenge some of these inner beliefs; are these really serving you? How might life be better if you stated what was really on your mind? How might your relationships improve if you allowed people to know the real you? How might your mental, spiritual and physical health improve if you started to ask for what you need and then allow it to enter your life?

I can tell you from personal and professional experience that relationships can grow exponentially through conflict. And not aggressive fighting, yet dialogue and allowing someone to know you, challenge you and encourage you to see something from a different perspective. How many times in your life has someone given you feedback that has shifted your perspective and made you a more productive, loving, kind person? Do you remember the gratitude and excitement you felt with this new revelation? Connect with this and allow yourself to engage more frequently with real discussions with the people you care about. 

Below are 5 easy, fun and achievable ways to start to use your voice, because your words, thoughts, feelings and desires are so important! Don’t let one more day pass where your voice is unheard!

  1. If you are angry, upset or frustrated with someone, speak out loud the words you would say to them. I often will tell clients to get it out in their car, in their bathroom in front of their mirror or when they are by themselves, where they don’t have to edit one single word. The point of this is not to actually cultivate your message, but to allow your emotions out! Let yourself say the things that you might NEVER actually say to that person. Engage with your feelings, so that you can come closer to a balanced message when you actually talk to this person.

  2. Get familiar with your emotions! Ask yourself “What am I feeling right now” and then LISTEN! Make efforts to understand your patterns of emotions and then record them in a journal or a note on your phone. Once you start to notice what feelings are coming up frequently, you can find ways to process them and approach the situation differently.

  3. Redefine the word “selfish”. I cannot tell you how much I despise this word; it is shaming and denies people (mostly women) the most imperative self care that they need. Self care is what we all need to move through this world; the things that give us energy, fill up our bucket and allow us to show up as the best versions of ourselves. I want you to pick one thing that you would have previously defined as selfish and do it anyways. This could mean, making your favorite dinner (even if you partner doesn’t like it), going to yoga in the middle of the work day, buying that purse that you’ve been eyeing, going out to brunch with your girlfriends, spending an hour a week in meditation or journaling. Replenish your spirit and you will be able to offer the world 10-fold what you think you’re capable of.

  4. Schedule a difficult conversation. We all have that one (or maybe 5) people that we’ve been putting off an uncomfortable conversation with. Stop delaying and text them immediately to meet for coffee, a drink or a Skype date. Write out what you want to say to them and always come from a place of love. Use “I” statements to diffuse any defensiveness. Be ready and able to own your own shit. Remember the goal is to use your voice; if the relationship also improves that is a beautiful bonus. It will not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever was. It is worth it and you will remember that feeling going forward-it will ripple out and allow you to have more authentic, vulnerable and valuable relationships with people you love.

  5. Reestablish or reconnect with your identity. When was the last time that you really thought about who you are as a person? What are your values, your desires, your goals, your fears, your losses? If someone asked you, “who are you?”, what would your response be? Spend 10 minutes a day for the next week journaling about these 7 topics:

    1. Values
    2. Relationships
    3. Goals
    4. Career
    5. Fears
    6. The Biggest Dream I Could Possibly Dream Is…
    7. What I Want for My Future Is…

I cannot wait to have you get started on these amazing steps towards rediscovering your TRUE voice! Believe me when I say, I am walking this journey too and will share my trials and victories. Take the chance to be happy and connect with the truth that you, and everyone, holds within themselves. 

 

Celebrating a bitching blog post!

Celebrating a bitching blog post!

Be Well My Friends,

Nikki

Every Woman's Story: The Ubiquitous Tale of Body Hatred, Love and Triumph

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One of the challenges that I was put on this earth to work on is self love. I actually think this is a journey that most of us have come here to work on, and so I do not believe myself to be a unique soul in this capacity. My journey of self love also connects to self worth and my body. From the time I was a small person I can remember thinking my body wasn’t okay. I have a specific memory around 7 of me in my room, getting dressed and I looked down and pulled at the skin around my torso, and told myself, “You are too fat”. This is a voice that has followed me throughout my life; it no longer has the power it once did, but it still camps outside my front door, waiting for me to invite it in. I picture that voice looking like the mean girl in high school, only with stringier hair and more haggard now, (I mean she is camping outside my house and continuing to bully a grown woman, she can’t be doing that well). 

 

The story of the ups and downs throughout my life and the moments where I can remember other people commenting on my body (good and bad) are not special or that interesting. There are just a few that I think have followed me around like an old scrapbook. The time my slim French grandmother told me I was not thin, the time I opened a social studies book in the 5th grade and saw a stick figure with giant boobs drawn on it with my name underneath, the one time a mean boy in my 6th grade art class called me fat, the countless times my mother was on a diet and although she never commented on my body, constantly yoyo’d up and down with her own, never satisfied. These early moments shaped how I saw myself, and although, as an adult I can rationally disconnect from them, they all still hold an emotional weight in my heart.

Me (left), my cousin (right) around 1988. It was probably within the next 2 years that I started to criticize my body on a regular basis.

Me (left), my cousin (right) around 1988. It was probably within the next 2 years that I started to criticize my body on a regular basis.

 

I eventually grew into my body and started to get noticed in a totally different way around 8th grade; I was cute (not hot) and had developed early and significantly. Meaning, my breasts were unusually large and I had finally thinned out a little. Boys came a’running. I loved the attention but for all the wrong reasons. I think a lot of young woman can relate to this experience; after being told for your entire childhood/adolescence, there is something wrong with you or undesirable, and all of a sudden you are receiving the opposite message, holy shit, you have just entered the motherland of all highs.

 

Throughout high school and college I realized thin equated to better, and so I ran a pattern play that many women resort to, which is restricting food intake. I became addicted to diet pills (when the good ones were still legal to buy OTC), I lost my damn mind when ephedrine became illegal when I was 18. Whenever I hear any medication or countries that still allow ephedrine to be used, my mind goes immediately into addict brain for a millisecond before I come back to rational thought. This is something I rarely share with people—not my parents, not my friends, probably just my therapist and now here. But it was very real—I was addicted not just to OTC speed, but also to the idea of what being thin meant, the attention and power I thought it gave me and the fallacy of happiness. 

Me with some of my college roommates (who were all beautiful and naturally thin). I remember feeling myself constantly comparing my body to theirs. Even posting this pic is a little hard for me, remembering how I felt and probably what this version of me was feeling at this moment.

Me with some of my college roommates (who were all beautiful and naturally thin). I remember feeling myself constantly comparing my body to theirs. Even posting this pic is a little hard for me, remembering how I felt and probably what this version of me was feeling at this moment.

 

In college I met the man that was to be my ex-husband. He was funny, nice and safe. I felt like I didn’t have to try with him. I hid in our relationship. The dynamics between us suited both of us for awhile; my main awareness was that I got to feel more powerful and hidden at the same time. My body weight fluctuated more than it ever has in my whole life in this relationship, I gained so much weight and then would lose it. Gain and lose. Gain and lose. I was the most unhappy I have ever been with myself. This wasn’t his fault; this was my subconscious way of hiding. He ate a certain way, and I took implicit permission to do the same. I hated myself. I knew I had to make a change. Right around the time I completed my graduate program, I committed to myself the following: 1.) I needed to find a sustainable way of living and loving myself, and 2.) I needed to start now. I began to revamp my eating habits significantly; I quit drinking as much, I began to talk to myself differently. I joined the same gym as my girlfriends and started going to fun group fitness classes with them. Never in my whole life had I made such a huge shift that allowed me to regain control in such a short time period. 

 

My body began to change, slowly and then quickly. I could wear cute jeans again, I cared more about what I looked like (in a healthy, proud way). The more I exercised, the more I wanted to move. The thing with change is that it is a ripple effect. You cannot just expect to change your body and stop there; your relationships change, your attitude, emotions and beliefs change, your values and words change. Holy shit, life is actually kind of awesome. My relationship with my husband also changed; it began to deteriorate quickly as we grew further and further apart. Many might not say the reason that we inevitably broke up was because of my body revolution, and it absolutely was a player. I was confident, I reconnected with my needs and wants, I stopped hiding. We had outgrown each other. 

This was during my separation from my ex-husband (with my savior, Lutz); where I was finally rediscovering my body and how to take care of it. Funny, I've kept this shirt for over 4 years because it represented one of the first summer tops I wore that I felt confident in.

This was during my separation from my ex-husband (with my savior, Lutz); where I was finally rediscovering my body and how to take care of it. Funny, I've kept this shirt for over 4 years because it represented one of the first summer tops I wore that I felt confident in.

 

I look back on the choice to prioritize my physical health and how much that played a role on my mental wellness, and the connection is undeniable. My ability to move through difficult moments, elated wins and everything in between has been made more conscious and meaningful because I am connected to myself. I am fully connected to my body, my beautiful vessel that moves me through this life. I am more connected to my thoughts, emotions and words and how powerful they are and how much influence I truly have over them. My personal and professional growth have all been powered by the decision to invest in myself first. Those memories from when I was a little girl still tell a part of my story, and they no longer influence my beliefs about who I am and who I get to be. I am the queen of this hive and I GET to decide how I feel every single damn day. 

Earlier this year (2017) dialed in to lifting, eating a Ketogenic diet, yoga and loving myself daily through meditation, healthy relationships, fulfilling career and aspirations. This is a choice, it is a relationship with self--somedays come easily and others, not so much. Documenting it all :)

Earlier this year (2017) dialed in to lifting, eating a Ketogenic diet, yoga and loving myself daily through meditation, healthy relationships, fulfilling career and aspirations. This is a choice, it is a relationship with self--somedays come easily and others, not so much. Documenting it all :)

 

This is not a story of reaching the mountain top, putting my hands on my hips and declaring “I’m done!” There is still work, there are days that are hard for me, where I need to consciously decide to love my body, love myself, and love fiercely because if I don’t, no one else can or will. I hear the echoes of that mean girl, and that chick can be so loud sometimes. I am beyond blessed to have to tools to not react, not attach and not judge (myself or her). I simply come back to asking myself “What is right about you?” “What do you love?” “What can you do to move through this with compassion?”

 

Finding alignment &lt;3

Finding alignment <3

I know there are more mountains ahead of me and my body: aging, pregnancy, shifts that I cannot predict or anticipate. I am armed like a warrior, though; I feel prepared for whatever is to come because I am strong, physically, mentally and spiritually. When I wake up each morning and make a commitment to practice love, towards myself and others, I am walking my most sacred, challenging, holy path. I may trip and fall, but my body and mind are agile and I catch myself before I hit the ground.