Little Moments

It is not our role in life to save those we love. It is our role to be there to support them when they are ready to rise up and save themselves.

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Artist: Bob Dilworth (painting segment) http://bobdilworth.com/

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

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

 

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

A simple truth

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Underneath the skin
Is a breathing organism
Made of blood and energy
Feeding our minds and our hearts.
We discover ourselves beneath the surface
Beyond the mirror
Internal.
It is the only truth.
Our gap is in the idea of ourselves.
Our weakness is our assumptions
Of what and who we think we should be.
But beneath the surface
We live freely, breath openly, invite others in
Unafraid of ideas or projections
Unconcerned with fear or failure
A simple truth;
To be shared
To be embraced
It is Life.

Namastè

©NicholeDonjè

Time for a Quote

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Namastè

In Retrospect

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I have always loved words and in that of course, quotes. When people can put into words a concept, philosophy, idea that feeds my soul or makes me take a step back and think it arouses me in such creative and intellectual ways.

I heard this quote years ago that made me take pause and begin to look at my life in a new way. These words literally became a personal philosophy I have striven to integrate into my life,  and when I have it has always led me in ways that are unexplainable.

“At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Each and every time I have made a decision and committed to a path, new doors open. Opportunities are laid before me like a kings buffet and all I have to do is acknowledge the gift and step into the life I want.

This week has been just that. When I committed to write daily, I also made other commitments to myself. Two of these commitments were to meditate every day and to nourish and care for myself. In making these commitments (which terrify me by the way) there has been a distinct freedom. Whenever I have to make a decision I simply ask myself, “Is this nourishing me?”. If it is not, I don’t do it.

In turn, this has been an incredibly busy week and instead of feeling depleted I feel energized. I feel like I want to accomplish more, but that more must have purpose and intention, it must fuel my soul. I have had doors open. I started taking a wonderful class to both refresh and deepen my knowledge and skills, and for the first time in too long I am excited to learn. Not only that, but two days after I started I received an offer for another class I had wanted to take free. Then I got another offer to take part in an initiative with an incredible group that I love working with and that has given me so much in the way of getting to where I am.

The concept within Goethe’s quote is no less than miraculous, yet it is telling us that it is all in our own control. I have realized so much of getting the most out of life is all perspective. How we perceive and choose to live in our worlds so often creates our worlds and sadly often we choose to either see only the negative or to not see at all.

I admit sometimes I have been blind; I’m human. However this is a time my vision is simple and it is clear.

Namastè

Nichole

Haiku 3 – Haiku Mondays

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the colored leaves fall
leaving the trees alone now
to sleep quietly

© Nichole Donjé

Who am I? Project (1)

 

So, I am embarking on a new journey and I’m asking you to come with me.  I will be reaching out via Facebook and Twitter asking for your input to help me with a new interdisciplinary art project entitled, Who Am I?

I wrote a poem I have yet to share, I will at some point but not yet.  It is one I wrote while researching Langston Hughes, one that reached down into the depths of me and my past to share my history, my journey and who I am becoming.

Oddly as an artist, I started this way.  My foundation was visual art then I discovered theatre and fell in love.  I became passionate about stories and in doing so loved disassembling them and re-envisioning them while  mixing disciplines.  I always wanted live music, dance, startling visuals, powerful words and voices.  I wanted to make a physically emotional impact with my art.

I am here again, starting again but in a whole new way.  I am a producer, I underlined that because over the past couple of years I constantly wanted to avoid the term.  So many were looking to me as a producer and somehow  it made me feel as though it subtracted the “art” from what I was doing.  Now I am seeing it differently.  I am embracing this talent and understanding its strength.  I have the ability to bring together a vision and people to make something noteworthy and extraordinary. For the first time in a long time I am incredibly exhilarated and inspired.

Funny enough, it is the subject of this project that has made me look back and look deep.  To ask, why I have made certain choices? Why do I question what I do?  Sadly I have a deeply personal admission: my body image keeps me from my success.  There I said it!  What seems to be such a simple issue, one I have been ashamed of because it feels so trivial, but  in actuality is so commanding that it holds me back from everything I know I am capable of.  I have to reach inward and ask sincerely, why?

I have spent a lifetime working to be the “image” of myself I have created in my head.  My personal expectations of myself have only continued to become less attainable.  The tedious phrase, “If  I…then…” has played on repeat in brain for more years than I’d like to admit.  The reality I am facing now is that by not accepting myself as I am today imperfections and all, I am disrespecting everything I have worked so hard for and negating everything I have achieved in my life.  Sadly this only perpetuates my perceived  personal failure that I have seemed somehow determined to achieve.

Its time to change and my change must start with me.

Who am I? How many women ask themselves this question not because they are in a transition, but because they looked in a mirror and made a judgment of themselves that they carry with them throughout the day, each day.  Today I am fat, yesterday I was my hair or my skin, the day before my shoes and so on.  This mirror we seek our reflection in is not real, but the reflection promoted to us by the media and the brainwashing we have done to ourselves in our denial; too dark, too light, too fat, too thin, too old, too young.  When are WE enough?

It doesn’t seem to matter how many forms of proof they show us that airbrushing is rampant and inexcusable, that celebrities wear hair extensions, that “natural” is a color we paint on and no longer what we actually are? We need to stop seeing our reflections on the television and in magazines; comparing ourselves only to the “idealistic” forms sold to us.  Its time to  start looking around at the beautiful, real people who live among us every day.

Today I choose to step up, look in the mirror and not see only what I look like but who I am; a talented leader, artist, performer and activist.  This is not easy to do I wish I could say it is, but I am saying for the first time with true conviction that I will fight each day for myself.  To look in the mirror and silence the voice of irrationality and say out loud that I am ready to accept the awesomeness of simply being me!

The Who Am I? project is about women; how we are seen in society and by ourselves. It is about how we affect men and how they affect us. It is about communication. It is about embracing our personal, individual power while opening our minds and sharing ourselves, our truth with the world.  Beauty has so much less to do with what we look like and so much more to do with the light we shine, the light we can only ignite if we are willing to release falsehoods and accept the magic of who we are.  This takes time and dedication BUT this will change our lives and every life we touch.

Please take this journey with me and look in the mirror and ask each day, Who am I? Then remember who you really are.

Please watch this inspiring video of Lupita Nyong’os‘ speech from the Essence Magazine Awards.  It is both heartbreaking and rejuvenating.  I watched this and couldn’t help but cry because I remember asking god to give me the strength to change and be something different from what I was not because I was bad, but simply because I believed I wasn’t good enough. I know so many young girls have done this over and over and the older I get the more devastating it is.  Society needs to start teaching our children, girls and boys this definition of beauty Lupita talks about and stop perpetuation the deception that breeds self-hatred.  We as human beings deserve more.

 

To be a part of the Who am I? project follow along with  this blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest .  I will be sharing what inspires me in this process as well as requesting input and participation. Also, please share #WhoamI?Project

Thank you!

Namasté

Calm

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There is something about sitting in the grass or an Adirondack chair on a sunny day with the mountains or a lake in site.  I go there in my mind when I can.  It’s a memory, but also a vision.  A vision I use when my mind gets lost in some messed up version of my day.

It would be amazing to wake up each morning and sit on that grass, do yoga and meditate as the birds serenade and the wind blows seductively against my skin; a kiss of cool in the warmth of the sun.  Or to sit in the night looking at the stars, the soft music of the trees whistling. Laughing with friends and loved ones.

It is possible.

They say that balance is a myth.  Is calm a myth as well?  Perhaps constant calm would be boring, perhaps it doesn’t exist? I have found it here and there and it is wondrous! To feel my own breath, for my brain to be quiet and my body accepting in its groundedness.

It is possible.

Why do we fight what is in our own hearts? Why do we not just dance with joy at the challenges? Why is suffering in our nature…or should say, my nature.  Who am I to speak for others, though I know so many in lust with chaos.  Those are them that I’d love to dance with, to engage and share a calmness with.

Imagine a shared moment; quiet and without expectation or limits. What a dance that is.

It is possible.

Calm is not just the grass. It’s a state of being; an acceptance of the moment. It is a willingness to release the struggle, the chaos – to hand over the reins and say…”okay…”  and for that moment to truly know; I’m okay right now. I’m okay as I am. I am enough.

It is possible.

© Nichole Donjé