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 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

img_0385
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

THE WHO AM I PROJECT? – Take 2

THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear

Take 2 – The Foundation

A good foundation
Supports who we are inside
To build and sustain.

So as I dive in this month I realize I need to set the foundation for what is I am planning over this coming year. Truly it is about intention. What is my intention with writing this book and these blog posts? What is my intention for the year to help fully guide me through month to month?

I will say I have five intentions for the year that I will work to breakdown for myself in doable chunks each month. Every task I do and choice I make must serve these intentions.

Here they are:

• To discover, accept, live and speak my truth
• To know, embrace, nurture and love who I am as I am
• To be vulnerable and compassionate, live openly and fully, and take chances wholeheartedly
• To learn how to truly listen and be present in each moment
• To trust myself, to release control, to just do

I am truly curious how I’ll accomplish this, but I think that is part of the fun; the excavation and the discovery. The minute I make this post, I am allowing myself to work through my ideas and thoughts “openly”, I am “trusting” myself and being “vulnerable”. The interesting thing is that as much as that excites me, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. Pushing through this discomfort however I believe is what will help answer my ultimate question, Who Am I? Which will lead me to my finding my purpose.

Do you have any intentions that you live by? If so what are they and what are the things you do to ensure you stay on point? I’d love to hear.

Read, follow, and investigate with me. Who Am I?

 To those of you who read this blog, thank you for the encouragement (you know who you are). I’ve been putting off posting this for almost a month. It was the kick in the ass I needed!


THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear 

Take 1
Something of a Prologue

Today I begin
a challenge beyond my brain;
one to reach my soul.

From the beginning I am asking that this be a dialogue.  So please follow the blog from the site directly and not just Facebook or Twitter (comments on those sites don’t translate for a blog). I suggest setting the notifications to once a week. I want this to be a shared journey and not just me yacking at me (I already do that).

I did it – I made my “ASK” (thank you Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking). That was my first big risk on this journey, the second is this post! Please post comments and ask questions, I would love this kind of communication and sharing. And lastly if you see a post that means something to you, share it (anywhere and everywhere).

So here it goes. I am making a declaration. I am going to commit one year to self-exploration and writing a book documenting my journey. I have been thinking about this for quite a while and after reading THE HAPPINESS PROJECT by Gretchen Rubin I see it is time to do something different. I know this certainly is not a new thing, but I am inspired by the idea of a yearlong dedication and research of and to one’s self. I started my journey in March without realizing it. I had challenged myself to commit to 3 things for 3 months. Honestly, I was not sure I could do it. The reality is that with a few glitches here and there, I was successful…until the discovery of a brain tumor that is. I admit my priorities and commitments moved elsewhere for a bit but here I am back on track.

I ask myself: How am I going to do this? What is my end goal? Do I take it on all at once or do a month by month thing? How do I assess myself as I go? Is it a “Happiness Project” or something else? I had all these questions. I am not a psychologist or a researcher. I am not a doctor or a professional writer. But, I am ready to share my voice, to commit. I love the idea of dedicating a year to self. So what the hell….I will give it a shot.

The expedition I am embarking on is one of truth and self-discovery. For years I have been fighting myself in so many aspects of my life with no idea why. I have taken classes, read books and seen a shrink. All of this work has helped. I now realize the wall I keep hitting is me. Over and over, as I start to move forward believing I am on the right path that voice in my head steps in and says; are you sure? Is that what you really want? Maybe you’re just on the bandwagon again.

Really…just REALLY?

So, in spite of the doubt and questions I commit one year to writing a book for me. I will examine my choices and decisions. I will do the things I say I want and explore why I have a self-sabotaging (or self-punishing) pattern.

Each month will have its own goal…yes Gretchen, that’s your inspiration. What would this entail? I will start with a list (by the way I love lists)! Here is a quick draft of my monthly commitments.

  1. Jump and Start (August)
  2. Health and Well-being (September)
  3. Home/ Foundation (October)
  4. Focus (November)
  5. Goal Setting/Education/Priorities (December)
  6. Time Management (January)
  7. Projects (February)
  8. Balance  (March)
  9. Review/Remind/Reset (April) 
  10. May (TBD)
  11. June (TBD)
  12. July (TBD)

It’s a start. As soon as I know May, June and July I’ll let you know. I will get more specific in my intentions as I go from here, but this will serve as a good platform to dive in. The working title is “THE WHO AM I PROJECT? Finding myself through the layers of my own baggage, bullshit and fear”. It is an extension of an art project I have been organizing over the last year. However, this is more personal since I am the subject. The art project asks the question of all who experience it (more on that later around month four).

The reality is that I have somehow lost track of who I am and what I want for my life. I do know “who” I am but not in the existential way I am seeking. I want to know why I’m here and my purpose in this life. I want to find passion and heart in all that I do. The only way to really accomplish that is to truly understand myself and to figure out what I want. For me this starts with why. Why do I continue to get in my own way? Is it that I really don’t know what I want or is it that I have told myself so many conflicting things over the years that I’ve confused my soul? Is it that I honestly don’t have the ambition or drive? Is it that I deep down know my purpose and it terrifies me? Or is it that my need to know WHY is my problem?

Even as I write this I’m thinking…this is silly? Who the hell is going to read or connect with this? At the same time, do I really care? What if no one reads it, but I have answered a key question in my life; if that’s the case then nothing else matters. I am a person filled with ideas and longings. Yet, despite what many think of me, I am also a person who I believe gives up easily. I don’t love challenges and I absolutely despise being bad at things. Failure is unacceptable so it’s better not to try (I don’t really believe that, but it is my perception of how I’ve lived). I’m not sure where it came from, but I have this deep seeded notion that I should somehow know how to do things (all things). I should be a natural and if I’m not, I’ve already failed. I know it’s not true and yet this is how I judge myself. I envy people who thrive in challenge; whose goals are to get better and better with ambition and enthusiasm, the ones who enjoy learning and failing until they get it right. I want to be that person. I wonder though if that’s who I am. I hope so. The goal in this yearlong exercise is to answer my question and teach myself how to embrace and accept who I am. I know I am smart, strong, and sometime courageous but truly believing it is what I crave most.

I will be using my blog to work through a lot of these theories and challenges. At least one weekly post is going to be dedicated to this work. We all need to be heard and I believe that there is something inside each of us that everyone needs to hear. I believe this about myself, but I have been unable to figure out what voice to use; which one is the loudest, which is the one I thrive in and enjoy the most. Is it my visual art, poetry, writing, theatre or something else entirely? Being heard as an artist seems daunting and almost impossible. My mind goes directly to how I make money as opposed to exploration and fun (which is why I became an artist to begin with). When did I start denying myself the fun in art? I am an artist. For me, this has many faces and forms. I am certainly not limited in the creative use of what I do unless I take no risks; I’ve never been willing to risk enough to fail. I never had the confidence. That is the intent of this book, to find that place inside of me willing to fail for freedom.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope you will join me on this exploration of self.

Namastè
Nichole

 

5 More Minutes

IMG_4368

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

Play-dates

Birdbath-74

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.

image

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