travel

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.

fullsizeoutput_2bba.jpeg

 

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 <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).

fullsizeoutput_2b38.jpeg

 

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.

 

fullsizeoutput_2b2f.jpeg

 

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).

 

IMG_7068.JPG

 

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!!)