The Ghost in Me

The colors in my head are vibrant. I’m not quite sure how to replicate them on canvas or in words, but I want to interpret them through my soul. I find the vividness exhilarating. Brilliant hues, purple, blue and yellow. Greens are filling the skies with splashes like voices scattered through my heart; the light is shining. The inspired craving of excitement and longing but, also fulfillment. Once I find this key, this bit of time that I can perceive and project there will be a new meaning to my life. It’s like when you close your eyes and the shapes behind your lids move like a lava lamp, growing, and shrinking. Bright then gone to black to be replaced by something new. Yellow perhaps. The dance is impactful, and I hold it tightly to me knowing I will need to let it go. There is silence, and yet the music plays. There is sadness yet, I feel a growing joy. I can’t explain it at all, but I know somehow I need to share this gift, this internal maze that is the essence of who I am. The bright colors under the surface, the light pulsing in an effortless means to escape. The truth is there, within the walls of my mind, flowing down to my heart, to my stomach, to my toes. It runs like a river in and out, up and down. The blood pumping, racing yet still, with moments of contentment. Finally, I find it, slowly coursing, inviting me towards it. A ghost, reaching for me in fuchsia with purple edges gleaming. I know I cannot resist. I lie down, comforted, surrounded, and hovering within myself. I am finding love. The melody spins me. I’m dizzy with delight, calm. I am ready to grow, to break free to release the light, the colors, the gifts, to share them outwardly with the world. To know who I am and where I stand. It is in this release that I will find myself.

Let’s Talk in the Now -Part 2

To have the world we want, we must be willing to ask for it.

The reason there is a Part 2 to this post is because I did not post Part 1 when I wrote it. I decided after that I needed to take steps, to challenge myself and the ideas I had just written. I forced myself to be vulnerable.

The day after I wrote that, I decided to make plans with a dear friend I was missing desperately. Things had been strained between us and I not only missed, but needed him. It’s hard for me to face my fears when it comes to personal relationships. When I love someone, my heart grows desperate if I feel my truth could hurt them. Instead I shut it in and stuff it down, which I do not recommend. It can come in handy as a pause, but it’s terrible as an emotional habit.

What happened was profound. We are both in new places in our lives. The reaction I was afraid of did not exist and a warm and open heart is what I got. For the first time in years I felt that he heard me. He didn’t question me and didn’t make me feel bad. In fact it was quite the opposite and I felt that in that moment got my best friend back. I am so grateful.

That same week, I made a difficult phone call based on the reaction of a colleague. I made my concerns known with compassion and openness, and again…I was heard. I set up a call with a treasured friend who I wanted to talk to, but was afraid to share the pain I was feeling with. I didn’t want to burden her and have her think I was being dramatic. I had avoided the call for weeks. When we spoke the relief flooded and she assured me that if I ever needed to just cry, I was welcome to.

We all go through our own personal chaos. The lucky ones were taught that no one can do it alone, they ask for what they need and though it’s still hard as shit, knowing you’re not alone gets you through. Unfortunately for many of us it’s not like that. Some force the chaos on others, some blame the world and others squelch it down into the deepest part of their bones (that would be me by the way) hoping it will somehow disappear. This is even harder for people who have spent their lives needing to be strong. Thinking it weak to ask for help or simply say I need you now because I’m not strong enough alone.

Somewhere in my life I learned that to cry, to be exposed, to allow others to see that I am not perfect or as together as so many think I am; it makes me weak. What writing Part 1 showed me was my reflection. I had to see myself and ask if I am actually asking for what I need or sharing my truth. What am I actually saying? I realized that more often than not, I am the one to change the subject. I don’t want to talk about myself…or should I say, expose myself. I am uncomfortable if I think the other person is uncomfortable. I assume they do not want to hear the negative. In some cases, I’m sure that’s true but not as often as I have allowed myself to believe.

In reality what I am learning is that I do want to be seen, and not for the person people think I am, for the person who I actually am. I am a strong, intelligent woman whose soul requires being a part of a community. I am an artist who loves to collaborate, and leader who wants to learn as much as she teaches. I am a human being, like all others, who is imperfect and afraid and I will fight for the courage to be okay with it all, however long that takes.

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

Let’s Talk in the Now -Part 1

Finding the truth is the only way to move forward.

I was watching the inspirational Brenè Brown on Super Soul Sunday (my happy addiction), as usual I was moved but, this time I had a different take. She discussed how people rarely talk about their journey when they’re down, it’s after the fact; which though inspiring, often in the end, after we’ve tried following their advice or walked a similar path and failed, we are disappointed both with the world and with ourselves. It’s easier to share what we have been through when we have made it to the other side, but what about when you truly question if you’ll get there. This profoundly made me consider where I am in my life right now.

What I am realizing is that I want to talk about it now as it’s happening, to share my fear, the struggle and the triumph. In Rising Strong, Brene says we as a people look away, and sadly, it’s true. I’ve found all too often when people ask, how are you? They either don’t really want to know, or they cannot handle the reality of what you want to share. More than once when I have been going through something, someone I know will see it in me and ask how I am or if I’m okay. The response is often unsettling. More than once I have worked to put aside my lack of trust to be vulnerable, hoping to be heard. What all too often happens is quite honestly painful.

1. The person shifts subjects as you tell them that you’re struggling and moves on as if they had never asked the initial question 2. They jump in and rant how shitty the world is (and in turn tell me all their issues, often negating mine), or 3. Though well intentioned, they are determined to be hyper positive. They want to fix it, make it all better, and give me all the answers that quite honestly often there is no answer to. All of these responses tend to make me either no longer want share my actual truth or make me feel as if they don’t really want to hear it. Sadly I know that I have been this person too and I want to change.

To listen, to hear with compassion and love, that’s what I want. It’s what we all want, to be heard. It’s the person I want to be, and I’m working on it.  I’m nostalgic for my childhood and college friendships. The long nights talking about anything and everything, wholeheartedly enveloped in and committed to one another’s lives. It gets hard when we realize that most friends cannot be this for us. I have so many friends, all of whom I love dearly and many who I know love me. But this is rare.

I ask myself, what I am doing differently or wrong. Is this just the way relationships work now? Did I miss something? I certainly hope not. Perhaps we are all just afraid to share and make ourselves vulnerable in this unpredictable world. Maybe that is what this time of technology has taught us. Stay safe, type it don’t say it; read it don’t hear it. If it’s at a distance it can’t hurt me. I really do wonder. All I can do is work on me and hope that I find in myself the will and commitment to rebuild these ideals, to make such closeness real again.

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

Wake Up,The Curtain has Been Drawn

“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, LIKE AIR, I RISE! – Maya Angelou

I fell asleep and woke up today heartbroken, sad and quite honestly scared. I am truly beside myself. My life and the lives of many people I love are about to change. I was cautiously hopeful and excited by the possibilities before us but deep down I knew, and sadly I am not surprised. The truth about this country has finally been exposed and “white” America has spoken. Moment to moment I literally need to squelch back tears. Today, I am in mourning.

We have elected a president, the president of the most powerful country on earth, who ran on a platform of hate, racism, bigotry, sexism and lies.  How did we let this happen? To summarize a compelling note from NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent, Richard Engel, who has seen the world at its worst – there is good and bad to being the most powerful country in the world. The good is that you are it, the bad is that your worst enemy is yourself – and this is what’s happening.

That said, and the deed being done… now, ALL of us know where this country stands, the curtain has been drawn, and we cannot deny or unknow it. This is the first true step toward real change.  I am moved as I have never been.  I pray and ask myself over and over – What now? What is my role? Please give me the courage to figure it out, and to play it well.

We will get through this, I know it. There is always hope. We are too strong not to find it. I hope the media machine looks in the mirror and starts to again invest in truth, that actual journalism resurges.  I hope that politicians reassess and remember why they are there, not for power, not for money – but to represent the people.  I hope that the artist and the humanitarian communities fight back with love- because “love trumps hate” and they are the best at knowing and sharing it freely.  I hope Americans from all walks of life come together, stop fighting, begin to hear and understand one another, and move forward. We cannot ever turn a blind eye again. Our voices must be heard. This is our wakeup call!

As the enlightened and wise Maya Angelou said, “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, LIKE AIR, I RISE!” and so we will.

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

Today I Went Into a Church and Wept

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St. James Church, Manhattan, NY

Today I walked. My legs simply wanted to move, my face wanted to feel the cool breeze on my skin. So I walked. After 20 blocks or so I saw a church. My body stopped and I turned to see it was open. With no hesitation, I went up the steps and opened the door to a space lacking people, yet filled with a silence I needed.

Its not often I simply let my body guide me without interruption. I chose a pew about a quarter of the way down the aisle and sat, without the usual signals I see others display. Their rituals are not mine and I have accepted that. I just sat and took it in. The light, the design, the wood, the books, and the smell; slightly old and dusty with a touch of people.

I honored the sacred statuary with a deep appreciation of my past and a true gratitude for my present. I felt the open arms welcome me in my moment of solace. I do not embrace the institution of religion, I never have; instead I listen with an open heart and hear the call of many. However, I am awed by sacred houses, places to pray together or alone. Places where judgement and self flagellation are meant to be left at the door.

I was only going to sit a moment and move on, but instead I meditated. I sat alone with God, together. I opened my heart and released my mind. I felt for the first time in a long time the wholeness of my being and quieted my monkey mind to hear myself again. I acknowledged my pain and I believe now, that it will fade.

Today I went to a church and wept. I wept for my struggle, I wept for my heart and for my consciousness. I wept because I let myself be heard in my own heart. As I occupied these hallowed moments, I was consecrated, renewed.

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

5 More Minutes

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I woke up today, did my yoga, took my shower, had my oatmeal and my luscious rich morning coffee. The air was perfect. A slight breeze wafted through the windows and the sun glared just high enough on the glass to glow but not shock my eyes. There was a healthy silence; one saturated with calming energy and a peaceful fullness.

My husband wandered in with his coffee and sat down next to me. He took a deep breath and we smiled in a silent understanding then closed our eyes for just 5 more minute before we had to start our busy days.

These are the times I acknowlege the gift of my new home, the comfort of my couch and the security I have built in my life.

Namasté

©NicholeDonjè

My Current Mind Maze

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My Current Mind Maze

 

OK. I’m writing because I feel myself on a winding path again. A bit unfocused and spacey. It is the most annoying place my brain takes me to. I feel exhausted and yet I’ve had enough sleep and it seems I cannot accomplish anything but the basics. Have you been there?

I have been busy I won’t lie, but still there are things I want to accomplish. I have been taking 2 classes and finding the time to do the work in between feels anxiety ridden and almost impossible. I get lost in the minutiae then get blocked because I’ve lost not minutes, but hours.  I just can’t tell if my expectations are too high or if I am actually being, not lazy but undisciplined.

It just seems I have backtracked again, or is it that I have so much I want to do that I am overcrowding my mind. I just don’t know. This maze is getting in the way of my freedom…so how the heck do I stop throwing up the darn obstacles and blocking my own way? I have plans people! Am I alone out here?

Hmm….thanks for listening/ reading...oh whatever!

Namastè

 

Play-dates

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Good morning! or at least that’s how I felt as I stood on the doorway snapping these pictures. Oddly this day was the day we discovered we are now the local bird sanctuary. Earlier in the day a dove that was, shall we say, not having a good day sat on that very birdbath in the above shot in what seemed to be shock. Her feathers were askew and stiff as a statue. Her eyes were wide. I again like with Mr. Blue grabbed the telephoto for a better look.

Up close I could see a cut on her side, a swollen chest and a not so symmetrical wing that seemed more to be hanging then resting. I brought my husband Scott out yet again and we discussed next steps. I called the wildlife lady again, I believe we will be getting to know one another well over the next few years, and set up a time to bring the lopsided lady over (I have no idea if it’s a girl, but since I decided Mr. Blue, our last bird story, was a Mr…why not).

The little lady made her way to the ground and wandered the yard. In the meantime the birdbath became a play-date for everyone else. I swear in the 20 minutes I stood there at least 50 birds came and went, splashing and luxuriating in the aqueous coolness while the sun obligingly danced on their feathers. It was such fun to capture them in their revelry.

The photo above reminds me of when I was about 5 and my cousin and I used to share a bath. It was fun and gratifying. I loved the water as a child. If there was a pool I was in it. A bath was like the playground, especially since in our apartment there was only a stand-up shower in the corner of the bedroom. The bath was a place to create adventures, be saved mermaids and sing to our hearts content. It was the best darn pool Barbie had. I love seeing these two little guys full of joy and satisfaction; it moves me. It reminds me.

So much for not being a bird lover…just another reminder of personal growth and learned appreciation for the world around me.

Oh, and for the little lady, she was dropped off yesterday to the rescue lady in a box. She seemed good with being caught, I think she knew we wanted to help. I did say I hope Mr. Blue would let others know they would be safe with us…maybe he heard me.

Good luck Miss Lolli!

Birdbath-10

Namastè

 

©NicholeDonjè

We’ll Call Him Mr. Blue

One of the things, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would enjoy in my new home is birds. They are everywhere. Our property is as much theirs as it is ours. There was an old bird bath tucked in a corner when we bought the house. When we first discussed it, my attitude was, toss it. My husband was reluctant and decided in his yardscaping madness to place it in perfect view of our kitchen window . He cleaned and filled it up. By the end of the day the birds were in it; drinking, splashing, and bathing as intended.

To my surprise as soon as I started watching these beautiful creatures of multiple colors and features, all of a sudden it became one of my favorite things in our new home. I found myself happy and honored to share it. I even clean and fill the bath myself.

Recently a huge bluejay, we’ll call him Mr. Blue, started visiting and often. He seemed to be taking over and moving in. After a couple of weeks we were in the yard cooking out with friends. I noticed a strange protrusion at the top of and under his beak. He came so close and stayed long. My friend Pam and I felt he was trying to get our attention. He flew closer to the top of the fence and looked at us, pecked a bit, obviously annoyed or disturbed with his issue. We couldn’t help but believe he was asking for help. We talked to him and he looked at us then flew back up into the big pine.

Over the next 2 days my husband Scott and I paid special attention. Mr. Blue was staying close, not leaving the yard. He had found a branch in and cozied up in a hollow of one of the big pines by the bird bath. He’d fly down every 15 mins or so to drink.

We were worried. His behavior seemed odd. I grabbed the camera and the telephoto lens. We made our mission to get a close and clear enough shot of whatever it was affecting him. We did. It was a growth of some sort. Poor baby, he looked so tired. Through the lens we could see him closing his eyes. He was weary.

We went online to see what he might eat. I put some berries and chopped veggies hoping to help, then called a wildlife rescue. I was told unfortunately, that if he was still flying there was nothing we could do. She said as long as he can eat he will survive.

My heart broke knowing it was just be a matter of time. That there was nothing I could do but make sure he had water and pray he’d eat some nuts and berries. It’s funny how we adopt these creatures. They become part of our home and our routines. We care for them as if they know we do, well knowing it is we creatures ourselves who need to love.

Its been two days. I miss him. His trust, his rocket blue sleek feathers and his quiet moments at the birdbath where he let me get so close. I can’t help but pray he gets better and returns, but know more likely that he’s not coming back. I hope his spirit will bless that birdbath so that others know it is a safe haven and a home.

Good luck my dear Mr Blue, thank you for the time.

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Namastè

NicholeDonjè

Yes dear President…just yes

All I can say is that this man is brilliant. The future will reveal this brilliance. Not only does he have the necessary skills and knowledge needed of a president, he is also a person of integrity, to be admired as a man, a husband and a father. Whatever ones feels about his politics, they have to admit that no matter how hard they’ve tried, no one has been able to disprove that truth; it is the rare thing to say this of a president. Many presidents loved and admired by the masses proved themselves to be less than faithful outside (and at times inside) the oval office, President Obama has not.

President Barack Obama is a man to be respected, the kind of person we want the world to see that we are smart enough to choose as the leader of the free world. If you missed his speech last night, here is is.

This speech is amazing!

Namastè