Category Archives: Love

My 5th…

Photo © T.Nikic 2014

Photo © T.Nikic 2014

On the 15th of August 2009, I followed through with a decision I had made which had ended a reality, that for me, I did not fully understand how it came to be. I mean I had understood that the choices I had made actually contributed to it, but it seemed like something you’d see in a movie or a music video or something not real life, and definitely not MY life….

On that day, five years ago, I had moved out from the apartment I had shared with my ex boyfriend. It was a space I had tried to make into a home, but I was sharing it with someone who did not understand what that means, and I’m not sure he quite experienced HOME, in the full sense of the word, himself. This person, who I had spent two and a half years of my life with up until that day I moved out five years ago (the last 11 months of which we shared that space together), contributed to the misery and terror of the energy that space carried. I did not know what a mature, mindful, nurturing, adult relationship should look like, nor did he. My perception and understanding of love was absolutely skewed and his was very superficial. But I had wanted a home outside of what my parents had provided at that time (no it was not bad, I was simply ready to leave) and I had chosen him because….because I was young, and stubborn, and felt like I had something to prove to somebody, and because I was in my mid 20s which meant I should be in a stable relationship and think about marriage and kids and a house….but also because I was stuck on all of those ‘wants’ and I just went with the guy who seemed to have been really into me.

I had ignored all the signs which said “this guy is lost and hurt, and he will hurt you”. I ignored the proof that the universe was sending my way to warn me that this guy is not a person of heart, integrity, honesty or truth. (But who am I kidding – back then, neither was I – I was lying to my Self the entire time.) I ignored those signs because I wanted what I wanted and that was that. I don’t need to tell you the details of that situation for you to truly relate to it, do I? You’ve been there too. We all get there at some point. And then something happens and we snap our Self back to reality. I awakened to the reality of my life not long before the day I had moved out. As soon as you know better, you start to do better. My ‘better’ at that time, was to leave, which was the right thing to do. But I didn’t bargain on all the Self work that I had to do since then.

 

I’ve not been in a serious relationship after that one. It has taken me five years of soul-searching, of getting to my truth, of growth, of learning, of dealing with my past (and unexpectedly with other issues I was not aware of), to become a human being I am proud of. I love me. I respect me. I honour my soul, my spirit, my heart, my mind, but most importantly, I have learned to not just listen to my intuition but to follow it and allow it to guide me. Yes, it took me five years to do all of that. It takes a long time to return to your Self after you lose yourSelf and allow someone to break you down. It’s not about anyone else’s journey or experience that we have to live out, but our own.

 

My return back to self involved many incredible travel experiences (including India, a solo trip to Europe and a few other destinations), great books by human beings who have also gone through turmoil in their life (Maya Angelou, Paulo Coelho, Brenda Shoshanna, David Richo, Bell Hooks, Rumi, Sonia Sanchez, Pablo Neruda, just to name a few), teachers and lessons who came in forms of strangers and friends sometimes, a great counselor who provided therapy that was right for me, and as part of my human experience, I also made some bad decisions from which I had chosen to learn from.  The biggest returns to my Self involved starting this blog and sharing my love journey with the world (so to speak) through writing and poetry, my engagement in the poetry community via performances, and my rediscovery for my love of arts, being creative and painting. I really spent time with me, getting to know me, facing the mirror and stepping up to the ownership of MY being.

 

Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. Read again: Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. Just once more: Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. I’m not saying withdraw from the world and become a monk (although for some, that is what they feel they have to do), but really spend quality time with YOU without any stimulants or distractions. Yes, it can be painful and hard, but YOU are worth your journey back to YOUR SELF. And let’s face it – it is YOUR work to be completed by YOU.

 

As much as solitude is necessary, we have to be mindful of the fact that we are our relationships. Translation: the circle of people around me changed as I got back to me. And that was perfectly okay. Sometimes, we outgrow people, sometimes they remove themselves from our life, and at other times, we remove our Self from their life. So long as I engaged with others always with the intention of learning something from that interaction, the ‘goodbye’ wasn’t sad, and was often simply organic and necessary. Letting go of what no longer makes sense, is part of our return to self, too. That may include some friendships and relationships.

 

The greatest thing that I can say, has happened during these last five years for me, is the understanding that the essence of our spirit, is love. My return to love truly allowed my soul to soar and reach incredible heights. I am so glad that I didn’t give up on my Self, and as tough as I have been on me, I really like and love, me. And that was the point of all of this.

 

 

Much thanks to every soul who was a part of my journey thus far. I love you.

Fly, love!

T


Honouring Dr Maya Angelou

 

"The rose is without why, It blooms because it blooms, It cares not for itself, Ask not if it is seen"~Johannes Scheffler  (Photo © T.Nikic)

“The rose is without why,
It blooms because it blooms,
It cares not for itself,
Ask not if it is seen”~Johannes Scheffler
(Photo © T.Nikic)

June 28th will mark one month since Dr Maya Angelou’s passing. I have wanted to write this since, but I simply wasn’t ready. I suppose you could say that I needed some time to process and reflect on the lessons I gained from her books, her poetry, her wit, her wisdom, her grace.

 

This blog was inspired by her. In fact the title, ARainbowInTheClouds, was inspired by the words I heard her speak in person. The very first blog post is about the time I saw Dr Angelou speak in Toronto. (You can read it here: http://wp.me/p1AZhb-6 .)

 

I watched the live streaming of Dr Angelou’s wake on June 7th+8th at home (you can watch it here: http://new.livestream.com/wfu/angelou ). I cried through most of it. It was such a wonderful celebration of joy, which she exuded much of. There were some powerful and amazing things said about Dr Angelou which I noted.

 

“As long as we have time, we should keep the courage to begin again.”~Bill Clinton sharing what he learned from Dr Angelou.

*
“When I look at you, I am really looking at mySelf in a different costume.”~Oprah sharing what Dr Angelou taught her.

*
“Anything that diminishes a human being, diminishes all of us.”~Guy Johnson on what his mother taught him.

 

 

After her passing, I went through my own meditation and reflections of her lessons, which I did through this sketch of her:

Dr Maya Angelou Charcoal, graphite and pastel on paper

Dr Maya Angelou
Charcoal, graphite and pastel on paper

 

The greatest honour, I believe, that Dr Angelou was given at her wake is this one:

 

“Sequined in the black velvet sky of night,

shines a star with fiery hot, fire possessed,

leading all those who wish to claim what is right

to look within themselves and find their best.

Over my life shines this glorious beacon,

lighting my path through the dark shadow land.

With this as my guide

I shall not weaken my strive

to be a strong but gentle man.

Others had been led by its incandescence

to be more than mere flesh and bone.

To love and be loved is its true essence

for only the heart can change this world of stone.

Thus fortune graces me like none other

for this star,

this nova,

is my mother.”~Guy Johnson’s poem for his mother, Dr Maya Angelou

 

 

Dr Angelou, you believed that words are things which seep into everything – walls, hair, hearts, spirit. There are not enough words to express the gratitude I feel in my heart for the love, lessons, life and wisdom you shared with the world. I agree with you – courage is the most important of all the virtues. It takes courage to love, to speak the truth, to forgive, to engage in our own soul flight. As I am typing this, I am watching birds in flight, high in the sky, and I am reminded, once again, why the caged bird not only sings, but is free – we all are, when we learn how to fly the wings of our soul, our spirit. Thank you.

Love,

T

 

“Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word LOVE, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.”~Maya Angelou


A Page From My Journal…

 

“May 18th, 2014

 

LOVE

We search for it everywhere and when our “search” leads to people with whom “love” doesn’t last, we start to give up. I think that this is because we fail to realize that LOVE does NOT reside in another but in our own Self. The only way we are able to engage “in love” with another, is by being able to love (and practice loving) our own Self. Then the search is no longer a search. Then we live and grow, and gain the ability to recognize people (or a person) who we are able to grow with, to learn from and teach, to spend time with, exchange thoughts and ideas, resolve conflicts and situations which arise as a result of our human condition mindfully, and we then truly love. Because once we are able to recognize people who we can be naked with on a spiritual, emotional, soul and thought level, it is then and only then that we can engage in trueness of mindful relationships that include the experience of love. So our “search” for “love” is inherently a longing for a mindful partnership, a relationship with someone who we can be completely our true self with, with whom we can share and grow and BE with.

The irony is that the only way (and I believe this strongly), for us to “obtain”/experience this, is via solitude – spending time with one’s own Self, learning your own heart, mind, soul, forgiving, embracing, accepting, letting go.”

I wish you love.

T

 

Photo by T.Nikic, 2011, Rome, Italy

Photo by T.Nikic, 2011, Rome, Italy


Soul Dance

Photo © T. Nikic

Photo © T. Nikic 

*This is a true story.*

In an ‘authentic’ Thai restaurant

On Bloor street,

One day, my friend and I

were eating.

We were sharing stories

about love and relationships,

and our current hardships with/in IT.

It was then that I first heard:

“Your souls danced together!”

spoken back to me

in response to the situation I had been describing.

And it made me think about LOVE, differently.

I recalled my past experiences

and how devastated or sad I was

when some of them ended;

and I realized that it was due to the fact that

I had associated that person

OR that relationship

with a hope, or a dream,

or a future which

I had only imagined for my Self,

while not really present in each moment of that relationship,

nor truly in tune with the person whom I was in IT with.

And then I had met HIM.

I knew he was the love of my life

about three weeks in…

of course that was also about the same time

I realized that WE were not going to BE in IT -

a relationship.

In any case,

I do not wish to glorify

the tragedies which seem to follow

MY “love” LIFE

but to tell you about my

SOUL EXPERIENCE,

with the love of my life.

It happened in steps,

gradually,

but all of a sudden and all-encompassing, it seems.

We spoke for hours at a time,

always looking into each others’ eyes.

And that was important -

to always look into each others’ eyes -

because they are the doorway

through which souls are able to greet each other.

Then, there was the soul baring nakedness -

this is not a physical thing,

but a spiritual connected-ness of Self

which was proudly and gladly shared

with the other.

It is the sharing of one’s limitlessness

with the other.

During that soul baring nakedness,

each soul bares its truth via

words, energy, tears, laughter, their gaze…

whichever way is most appropriate

for that soul’s story to be told.

And the soul who is receptive of the other soul’s story,

is embracing it and experiencing it

in a non-judgmental way.

The receptive soul may even shed tears,

or engage in laughter or

neutralize or intensify the energy

of whatever the naked soul is sharing.

(Side note: both souls are spiritually naked during this soul baring nakedness.)

It is an experience of elevation,

vibrations and souls

and life and being.

It is, in certain moments,

indescribable,

but only because the souls immerse and engage completely

in the dance with one another,

thereby leaving no real memory of IT,

the soul dance,

just the knowledge that the experience

DID, in fact, actually happen.

The souls who are able to dance with one another,

also serve as mirrors to each other,

of the conditions of the other’s soul,

of the energies their soul carries,

of the work that the Self needs to do

in order to stay true to,

and enable,

the flight of their own soul.

See, souls don’t belong to the Self,

but the Self ‘belongs’ to the soul.

The EGO twists the Self

into thinking that one can achieve control

of whatever pain or demons

are embedded in one’s memory,

and the ego is what coaxes Self

into holding on to that memory -

for if the Self holds on to those things

which have once ‘hurt’ it,

those past experiences will

continue to impress the “damage”

upon the Self;

and the Self will try to unload it

onto the soul,

but the soul does not hold on

to such memories -

the soul is only capable of

recognizing and exchanging ENERGIES.

And this is how the souls which choose to

dance with one another

act as a mirror -

they disassociate the Self from the experience,

so the ego cannot tarnish or attempt to question

the authenticity of the dance.

It’s just a soul dance

between two souls

that transcends time,

which travels alongside them,

and space,

in which their Self resides.

It’s an experience unique to the two souls

which engage in it.

Last thing I will say about it,

is that the dance between two souls

can only happen if the two souls

are able to recognize one another

from a time prior to the lifetime

their current Self is in,

and engage in the soul dance courageously.

And that, ladies and gentlemen,

is the true magic of IT.

The memory

of dinner at that ‘authentic’ Thai restaurant

on Bloor street,

reminds me that

another soul recognized ‘my’ soul’s experience.

And in that moment of,

and in each moment of recalling that memory,

the warmth of my Self’s smile

reaches my soul,

and that soul dance is recalled,

not as a memory,

but an experience

whose energy ‘my’ soul will

forever carry with it.

Dance well, soul beings.

Love, T.


“You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”

Until a few days ago, I didn’t realize that this post was necessary…

I regretfully thought that it was ‘men’ who act inappropriately and without integrity when dating. My eyes were opened this week when my friend and I started chatting about relationships and dating values, and he proceeded to tell me about a girl (‘cuz when you act like one, I cannot refer to you as a woman although you’re of age) who did some things that MEN and WOMEN consider to be wrong.

There is a lot to be said about integrity and treating others with respect. You really cannot do that until you figure out who you are, what you want your life to look like and the kind of people you want to have in it. But that’s really an aside note…

As per my standard, this post will not sugar coat.

Here’s the situation: A man met a girl whom he liked and she liked him. They exchanged phone numbers and started chatting. A connection was established as well as a comfortable vibe. He asks her out on a date and she accepts. Later he finds out that the entire time they were ‘talking’, she was seeing someone else. (This story could also read “A woman met a boy whom she liked and he liked her…Later she finds out that the entire time they were ‘talking’, he was seeing someone else.”.)

Here’s the reality: THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. Do not treat others as if they are disposable. It is NOT okay. If you are seeing someone, give that relationship your full attention. If you are unsure about it, leave – you are not a tree.

Let’s look at things objectively… One, if you are involved, you have no business exchanging numbers with those who you have a non-platonic interest in/connection with. It’s basically a prelude to cheating. I am sure that you would not appreciate it if the person whom you are dating did it. Two, if you are involved, you shouldn’t be ‘talking’ to others with whom you have a non-platonic connection. It’s pretty much cheating because you are allowing someone new in your life and you’re not focusing on the relationship you’re already involved in. Again, imagine if the person you are seeing did that with others behind your back. Three, if you are involved and someone is showing interest in you, you are accountable to yourself, the person you are already involved with AND the person who is interested in you, to disclose to them the fact that you are involved. It is YOUR responsibility to disclose that information. Don’t hide behind the infamous “well you never asked,” followed by *shrugged shoulders*. You knew you were doing something wrong. Four, this type of behaviour must stop. Our society is losing basic relationship values because they are no longer being shown, practiced and taught by those who date.

Each of us should ask ourselves these questions: What kind of relationship do I want to have with another person? How do I want to feel within the realm of that relationship? What values are really important for me to have in a relationship? I bet if each person was true to their heart, being cheated on, dealing with their partner’s inappropriate behaviours and being made to feel disrespected and disposable would NOT make that list. And if that isn’t how we want our relationships to look like, then we need to act accordingly. After all, the energy that we put out into the universe, does end up coming back to us. We must be mindful of that.

I think that often, those who are seeing someone but are secretly talking to other people, show a lot of insecurity because they need to know that they are desired by many people. But the truth is, desirability by others should not be the driving factor of whom you spend time with or talk to or the number of people you talk to. I think we each owe our Self, our relationship and our society to really spend time alone and understand Self before venturing out and dating. Period. We should know what we want in a partner and be clear about it upfront.

What are you doing with your life?

T

 


One Day, It MUST All Make Sense…

It’s past my bedtime…kind of. I’m sitting up in my bed, with my old laptop on one leg (can’t have both legs go numb…yes my laptop is quite old…but it works!), and with my hair still wet from my shower, I am reflecting. Looking outside of my window, I’ve decided that mother nature is creating some kind of a winter wonderland that we’ll all wake up to. If I look up from my laptop, a painting I bought in India a few years ago, greets me. Even as I write “a few years ago” (which it actually was), I shock my Self, because that trip to India seemed to have happened a lifetime ago. In fact, this entire year, feels like it encompassed more than a few…at  least to me.

I can’t speak for everyone else, but I know that for me, 2013 was a tough one. As I reflect back on it, I am still in awe that so much had happened. And yet I am able to look back in pride and say that I DID IT! I not only survived but in some ways, I thrived! And I can honestly say Thank You and FAREWELL! without any regrets, sadness or anger. I’ve learned a lot, and I’d like to share my lessons with you. I’ll list them. Maybe you’ll find something good in them. Maybe you’ll want someone you know to read them. In either case, I am sharing them here, and wishing YOU a VERY Happy New Year!

Much love!

T

“MY BIGGEST LESSONS OF 2013″-LIST:

- finding forgiveness in your heart for whomever hurt you, gives you your power back

- the universe nurtures and protects you when you listen to your heart

- connections with others can come about randomly and unexpectedly, but relationships only willingly

- know your worth and speak your truth

- secrets erode relationships along with your mental health – free your Self of the burden and start healing

- it doesn’t make sense to keep doing what you’ve always done when you’ve learned and grown from who you were before

- if you want it, go for it

- learn to let go…and learn to listen to your Self on WHEN to do so

- NOTHING is promised or guaranteed – not even this moment – find gratitude in everything

- you have to learn to save your Self…often from Your Self

- do you

- there are some really amazing people out there

- not everyone is, nor has to be your friend

- people come to your life for a reason, season or a lifetime – know when to end a season tactfully

- listen to your intuition

- there is nothing wrong with seeking help of a professional (counselor etc) to help you deal or get through something

- family isn’t perfect but that won’t make it or break it – communication, respect and effort (or lack thereof) will

- addiction kills spirits – of the addict but especially of those who allow the addict in their circle

- know and state your boundaries when needed – those who care will respect them

- laughter. is. necessary.

- love can happen when you least expect it but don’t use it as a reason to knowingly start a going-nowhere relationship

- there is SO MUCH MORE to relationships than love

- love DOES NOT make a relationship

- crying is a good release

- do what you love – everything else is secondary

- be with people who make you feel good – anyone else is unnecessary

- don’t be afraid to face your fears – you grow and become so much better as a result

- a good hug goes a long way

- when you follow the truth in your heart, the universe helps to guide you to your dreams

- there are omens for everything

- stop and take in the sights, sounds and (SOMETIMES) scents around you

- take pride in your work

- stand for something

- love. just love.

- honesty really is the way to go

- know your worth

- being present alleviates the stress over what was, and the uncertainty of what will, be

- being present in each moment of now is tough but extremely rewarding and fulfilling

- what often hurts us the most is not expressing our Selves AND the thought of how something SHOULD be

- heart smiles are wonderful

- YOU ARE IMPORTANT

- YOU MATTER

- YOU ARE LOVED

- YOUR ABILITY TO LOVE IS NOT ALTERED OR SUPPRESSED BY PAIN, BUT BY YOUR CHOICE


A Moment In Time Reflections

Note: Painting is original work of T.Nikic ©

Note: Painting is original work of T.Nikic ©

 

I suppose that sometimes the most obvious choice to make, is the hardest. You can’t exactly see it clearly until you’ve truly let go, and distanced your Self from it. Completely.

Real life stories of dealings with addiction gave birth to this poem.

One life. One love.

T

“You’ve got to learn to leave the table, when love’s no longer being served.”~Nina Simone

“When you come from trauma, survival seems like self-care.”~Afra Karen

*****

It was Sunday.

I awoke to find her looking at me.

I held her gaze for a long while before she spoke.

Her eyes spoke of love and sadness;

her voice, heavy with emotions.

*

She said:

“I realized this past July

that I met my best friend

and the love of my life

a few years back.

It wasn’t the right time for us then,

nor was it the right time for us now,

but every time I saw his face,

his smile,

met his eyes,

I simply knew that there was something there…

always…

there was something there that I could see

- a secret -

which I didn’t understand back then.

Anyway, this summer we got to hang out.

Just him and I.

Quality one-on-one time.

And we talked.

Our hearts danced.

Together.

We loved.

We sang.

Shared stories.

Shed tears with each other.

Made love in the form of art.

Or is art created only by making love?

I guess that piece shall remain a mystery to me.

I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t be in a relationship with him.

He just wasn’t ready for me then…

I doubt he’s ready for me now.

I’ve cried so many times

listening to his stories,

feeling his pain,

observing his attempt

at the escape

of what he felt.

Distancing myself was hard in the beginning.

I knew that he was draining me

but I couldn’t make sense of walking away completely.

I didn’t want to.

He didn’t want me to.

Truth is I missed him every day.

I shed thousands of tears since our last embrace.

But it’s not the fact that we’re not together

that makes me sad.

It’s the fact that I’ve lost my best friend,

to a drug.

Tho, looking back now,

he wasn’t such a great friend at times.

Addiction truly is hard….and selfish.

In my heart, there is sincere hope that he will get better,

an infinite belief because I know that

if he wants to he can.

I used to wish that I could talk to him,

hear his voice every day,

sometimes I still feel that way,

but his voice of addiction is always so loud.

So I remain,

with the knowledge that I won’t ever again BE,

simply be,

with this incredible man

because his path of choice included addiction

in whose presence I could not remain.”

*

I felt her heart,

watched her cry as she shared her truth with me.

I turned away for a moment,

just to gather my thoughts,

to be able to comfort her,

even share a few words.

But when I looked back,

I met my own eyes in the mirror,

filled with tears.

*

Only the knowledge that I saved ME, comforted me.

*

I LOVED.


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