It is November's final day Then comes December. I find myself quiet and contemplative Tears want to fall, but can't— Lexapro numbing— It is both a loss and a relief. I like being at the corner of the couch Gazing at the tree Snow has fallen It is windy and cold. A question comes to me: What do I need to get out?!?! There is a lot of internal and external weight Enough to cause my feet to ache So I plan to make a list of what to get out And follow it little bit by little bit Until my feet feel light. ~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
Without the pain
I would not have found the poetry.
~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
What’s underneath this madness? Devotion?
I cant see a future without him now that I’m standing at our death door. It was fun to play with the idea of leaving when I was still in a familiar hallway.
Now I am numb again. Familiar only to my pain, and not ours.
But it will return.
Rumi says, keep digging your well, water is there somewhere.
Is it devotion?
~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
I feel like I move through quicksand to return to you Grasping, climbing again and again... ~ These tiny spurts of running These tiny words of poetry They may all amount to something A marathon or a book Or just may be tiny spurts So I don't sink into the sand To say at the end I never stopped grasping. ~Nikki, The Soul Reporter
My husband just airdropped this to me. Turns out in 2012 I used to write posts like this, and share them to subscribers. The reminder makes me wonder why I don’t really write anymore and that makes me sad. So since I’ve no new material, here’s something old and still relevant.
Recently, I noticed I kept trying to figure myself out, figure out who I am, and I couldn’t. This frustrated me. I’ve spent decades figuring myself out, and the truth is all I’ve really figured out is who I am not. I call this work, The Great Untying. It is inner work, deep self-reflective work that takes courage and conviction. In doing this work, we discover many false narratives about ourselves. In this process, I realize all of who I wasn’t was held together by false narratives AND all of who I am has been trapped within all of that.
I’ve been corrupted with false narratives from my upbringing, the American culture, specifically being “Minnesota Nice,” and systems and structures created from the false dogma of white and male supremacy.
I’ve been so hard on myself too— saying, Nikki, get your shit together. Why is it taking you so long to find yourself, to know who you are— as if I am flawed, useless and hopeless. Now, I give credit to myself for getting as far as I have in my personal evolution in spite of all the bullshit to get through.
The Great Untying (of these false narratives), for me, has taken 30+ years. Due to this work, I am in a new place now, but tried to use an old tool. I realize that the analytical tool of figuring myself out is not what this moment calls for. Although it is natural to wonder who I am now, without the false narratives, I understand I will not know who I am through contemplation. Instead, this moment calls for action, while also calling for allowing. I will begin to see my new self arise by doing and by being. I will experience my unfolding as I act and allow.
This insight shows me how interconnected my personal evolutionary journey is with the global one. I wonder, does anyone else notice the parallels within their own life and that which is playing out globally, specifically in America?
We are indeed in a global shift. The false narratives are being exposed. The truths are being revealed. The moment calls for new tools and a wider, deeper mindset. The call is for us take action toward truth and justice and to allow our higher, truer selves to emerge as we act and move forward, and upward.
We know ourselves. This has come to me recently in a conscious way.
We all know when something isn’t right within us and amongst us. What we do with this is where we need to place our attention. What do I mean by this? For many of us, when we know something isn’t right— what do we do about this? Do we try to understand what it is? Or do we push it away and put our energy to functioning as if all is well?
We also know when something is right with us. Most of us would like if others noticed this. Again, what we do with this is where we need to focus our attention.
Is it enough that we know this? Is it enough that we truly do know ourselves? Or do we believe we need the other? Do we not trust ourselves to know who we are?
If we did, imagine what that might mean?
Perhaps we do not know because from right out of the womb, even before, when our parents paint our rooms blue or pink, we are told who we are, what we will like. In school we are taught what “they” think we don’t know and need to know, and on and on it goes.
But we know. We know ourselves more than anyone else can know. And this is the key to our unfolding, our conscious knowing of who we truly are and also, who we are not.
Many years ago, at a retreat, I had an intentional encounter with a horse. I timidly walked toward the horse. Within me was all the anxiety and doubt of my struggling and unprocessed traumas. I stood with the horse for a few moments and then it led me to a pile of shit. I thought: of course. Of course this horse would bring me to a pile of shit. Only me….At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. Then, it became one of my more profound lessons: it’s just shit.
Which brings me to now~ A quote that keeps running through my mind:
This is a time of divine fulfillment. The fruits of my labor and purpose of my life now unfold in a clear, harmonious way.
This quote is a favorite of my mothers. I will forever associate these words with her and today they ring true for me. I can’t help but wonder if this was her gift to me, not just the words themselves, but to have the experience of the words.
To experience is the shift I have made, where the words I have grown up with, surrounded myself with, and those that live within me come alive— and it’s absolutely splendid.
As I write, on my vision board are these words: The rebirth of Awe. And….
- Finding real
- Second wind
- Instructions for life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. (Mary Oliver)
- Born to write
- Join the thousands of people around the world who are opening up, digging deep, and transforming their lives!
It is very possible I have known all along what I am up to. Yet, for many years I had doubt, insecurity and practiced indecisiveness as if it were an appreciated art form.
The words, so many words, are coming alive right before my eyes!
It is also very possible, that as I earlier said to my father in conversation, that the signs and mystical experience I seek, are all around me and have been with me every step of the way.
All of this to say, and most importantly, experience the turning of an important corner where the fruits of my labor and purpose of my life now unfold and where I live in the energy of Congratulations!
This is where I am. And it does not come without some old guilt-ridden programming. The kind of guilt that needs reminding such as: Nikki, you have worked diligently for 32 years to know and understand yourself. You have opened up to your desire to get through “your shit” sooner rather than later. You have dug deep, so deep to the literal “big mother wound” of neglect and abandonment. You have been twisted and turned through many dark crevices and have come out the other side only to be taken in yet again. You, dear heart, have transformed your life AND you’ve earned every minute of celebration and awe you now experience.
Own it. Stand in it. Experience it. It’s yours. And if and when you feel ready, share it.
This is where I find myself today. It is where I have been for the past few weeks and because it was such a new experience, I did not have the words to express what it has been like. But the words come now, through my own voice, but mostly through the voice of others who have come before me. I relish in their generosity. Especially from my dear poet friend, Rumi. This, what Rumi writes, is on the other side of the shit we must all travel through. Bless you dear hearts as you journey through yours.
You have fallen in love my dear heart
You have freed yourself from all attachments
You have given up both worlds to be on your own
The whole creation praises your solitude
Your disbelief has turned into belief
Your bitterness, into sweetness
You have now entered into Love’s fire, my pure heart
Inside the Sufi’s heart there is always a feast
Dear heart, you are celebrating
My heart, I have seen how your tears turned into a sea
Now every wave keeps saying
O silent lover, seeker of the higher planes,
May the Beloved always be with you
You have struggled hard, may you grow wings and fly
Keep silent my dear heart, you have done so well
~The Soul Reporter
The dominant culture, which is mostly reactivity from unprocessed trauma, tells us that we aren’t supposed to let people hurt us. But the truth is people do hurt us.
My mom hurt me today. And there’s been plenty of other days as well. As her young child I was constantly hurt. I learned to cope and self-protect through a variety of ways. As a child, it was through art, music, books and my imagination. As I grew older, other ways were through perfectionism, OCD and controlling behaviors and the big one: codependency.
Today, I stopped taking her hurt. I set a firm boundary. And then I let myself be hurt. When our mothers hurt us it’s the ultimate betrayal. If the hurt is constant and consistent, we will learn to betray ourselves. We will make choices and create an entire life and get involved in relationships from this deepest wound.
If we are brave and committed to change, we will begin to awaken to our life built from self-betrayal, and we will feel shattered. At the very least, bruised. And, this is the place where we learn self-love, self-compassion, and forgiveness of self and others. It is a deep and holy space of grief, surrender and heart opening. We will learn self-love and begin, little by little, to create a life for ourselves painted from the womb of our rebirth and our deepest reckoning with ourselves.
We will recognize that we no longer need to protect ourselves from hurt. We will come to experience our heart as strong, worthy, willing and ready to feel feelings and remain stabilized. We will learn the difference between self-betrayal and self-love. We will see setting boundaries and making conscious choices as our gateway to creating new experiences, experiences based and waged in self-love.
To continue on this self-love journey, my self-reflective practice for the month of November is this….to explore, experience and learn:
What does self-love look like in my relationships…..
Beyond relationships, what does it look like for me in my life…. How do I paint and create my experiences through self-love?
I am excited to begin experiencing this.
~The Soul Reporter
Sometimes I’m amazed at new insights about myself, especially at my age.
One I just discovered was so deeply rooted, I thought it was just my personality.
This pattern’s motive is for one single use—the holy grail of psychological mechanisms: self-protection.
Here it is: if I am quiet and shut down around someone or in an environment—it is because for one reason or another- I do not feel safe.
I am not shut down and quiet because I am:
a) an introvert
I am shut down and quiet because actually…….
I LOVE MYSELF. I CARE ABOUT MYSELF.
What I needed in order to see this pattern: to—finally—be with people who, and in environments that, create a sense of safety and worthiness.
When I was a little girl, I was just quiet. I kept to myself. The more quiet and to myself, the more isolated and therefore, weird I thought I was. But, recently when I noticed myself being shut down and quiet around certain people, I also noticed the story I was telling about myself: you’re weird and everyone thinks you’re weird. And then the berating: what is wrong with you? Why can’t you just talk to people? Do you think you are better than they are…? (Well, I mean yes, sometimes I do).
But— a stream of high-level consciousness broke through. I connected this adult moment in real time with my child self. I saw my child self do exactly what grown up self is doing and realized: I AM NOT WEIRD. I may not even be an introvert. My little kid self who shut down to stay safe did so because she loved her self.
“It is in the homes and in childhood that the wreckage of human life begins.”
This week, and quite honestly from now on, consider your personality traits, that you think you are just stuck with or maybe even like, could be deeply ingrained self-protective mechanisms. For many of us, in our childhoods, conditions were harsh. These harsh conditions showed up in our childhood homes, in the schools we attended and in the world we lived in. Harsh doesn’t have to mean abuse. It can just mean unkind or not hospitable to the souls and spirits that we are.
To protect ourselves from harshness our wisdom created mechanisms to keep us safe and protected. Mine was to shut down. What was/is yours?
Once you discover it, pay attention to it. Where does it show up? Consider why. Do you have to hang on to it to keep you safe or can you start to let it go? Could it be that you are more than what you think your personality is? Now that you are a grown up, is it possible to be safe even when around unsafe people?
Finding our self-protective patterns can be a tedious task. And some are buried more deeply than others. I am 47, and just discovered my deeply ingrained pattern. But you know, now that I have, I feel lighter. I feel freer. I feel more myself. And, I know I have worked to build or perhaps, uncover, the foundation within myself— a foundation I stand safely on— even in the harshest conditions.
As usual, reach out if needed. I am here to hold space for your stories, your challenges, your process.
~The Soul Reporter