Category Archives: Exploring

Searching For Light

Favourite books I read as a kid were stories about ancient civilizations. Stories about humans of far away lands with rich cultures and heritages. That being said, I did not hear the words racism or slavery spoken until we moved to Canada from former Yugoslavia in 1993. I was almost 12. In an immigrant family household, survival was the main priority (we were refugees for over a year as a result of war prior to the big move across the ocean). As a 12 year old girl, I was figuring out who I was while at the same time learning about the society we were now living in. We moved to a diverse and multicultural neighbourhood and it was reflected in the students of the middle school and then high school I attended. In fact, I was a minority amongst students in a high school of just over 700 who attended, and looking back on it, I was blessed. I learned about the richness of different cultures from around the world and experienced beauty, intelligence, creativity and friendship of human beings who were mostly not white. I also felt like I was amongst my people – people who were new immigrants or first generation Canadians, people who were trying their best to study and set themselves up for some sort of a stable future, like I was.

We are shaping our tomorrows by the choices we make today. And we are accountable for those choices.

Fast forward to 2020. I am a healthcare worker who works in an inner city trauma health centre, on the frontlines of a pandemic. It is mid-June and the last time I hugged a human being was mid-March. With the exception of my brother who I’ve seen in person three times from a six feet distance, the humans I regularly interact with at work and the essential workers at the grocery stores and market I see weekly, I’ve only spoken to my friends and family via text, phone or video call. At work, I wear a mask at all times except when on break. We are advised to social distance with one another, and I wear full PPE (gloves, gown, mask, face shield, bouffant) when in contact with any patient for their exam. I’m dehydrated often and I’ve had many breakouts as a result of wearing a face mask for long stretches of time. I developed contact dermatitis on my forearms from a hand sanitizer with a high alcohol content. I am constantly tired and find it difficult to catch my breath at times (I’m basically rebreathing my own carbon dioxide for seven hours a day, five days a week). I’ve been swabbed twice for COVID19 and was negative both times, thankfully. (In case you’ve not experienced it, it feels like someone is trying to tickle your brain for five seconds.) As a healthcare worker, I am at high risk for contracting COVID19 as I come in direct contact with patients who are being tested for or are positive for the virus, yet the current Ontario government did NOT include my profession in the pandemic pay. As a healthcare worker I feel a social responsibility to be very diligent in practicing social distancing outside of my home, for I could be an asymptomatic transmitter of the virus OR I could contract the virus and then spread it to sick patients or coworkers. I feel exhausted, spent, segregated, excluded and undervalued, and I am starting to experience what I can only describe as mild depression, as I experience frequent periods where I cry often for no reason, have very little energy or motivation to do anything on weekends except rest and sleep, and often feel as if I am searching for something to grab hold of and pull myself up and out of this. This is how I feel as a result of three months of new work and social norms, three months of no human contact other than what I disclosed, three months of no hugs, three months of coming home from work exhausted and every night carrying out full decontamination and cleansing (includes shower and hair washing, placing clothing I wore that day into the washing machine for laundering, disinfecting my phone, washing my glasses etc). This is my personal experience, only if you speak to other frontline healthcare professionals, you may hear a similar story. I know because I’ve heard them.

In the midst of a pandemic, our society is highlighting injustices and societal conducts which need to be abolished and changed. Root causes of injustice began over 400 years ago and evolved into what can only be described today as institutional racism. Let’s explore a few examples, shall we?

Do you know who Kalif Browder is? Kalif is a black boy who spent more than half of THREE YEARS in solitary confinement at Rikers Island Prison without a trial after an arrest at sixteen years of age for allegedly stealing a backpack. He became depressed, felt isolated, anxious and paranoid after he was released. Can you even imagine his experience? Neither can I. (I haven’t hugged a human being in THREE MONTHS while free to move around and I am feeling depressed.) As a result of the trauma he endured in prison and unable to cope, some time after his release Kalif transitioned by suicide. My heart aches for the injustice this young soul endured. And this is just one story of a young black male getting arrested and placed in prison for an alleged crime, in this case robbery of a backpack. Why is a TEENAGER in PRISON and in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT over a backpack? (The Kalif Browder Story is playing on Netflix.)

Have you heard of Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Korey Wise and Raymond Santana Jr? In 1989, these young black boys were wrongfully accused, convicted, incarcerated and almost 20 years later exonerated, of rape and assault of a white woman in NYC Central Park. All five teenagers were sixteen years of age or younger (!) at the time of the incident. Korey Wise‘s story is especially heartbreaking – he was tried as an adult because he was 16 years old and as a result, he was sent to Rikers Island Prison, served the longest sentence and spent time in solitary confinement. Can YOU imagine going to prison as a CHILD for a crime you did not commit? (You can watch When They See Us on Netflix to learn more.)

Have you heard the name George Floyd? Breonna Taylor? Eric Garner? Trayvon Martin? Tamir Rice? Ahmaud Arbery? Philando Castile? Sandra Bland? Michael Brown? Emmett Till? These are human beings, and are just few of the souls who are no longer with us, as a result of violence by police or citizens who they encountered for the first time the day they died. Human beings who died because they have black skin.

If you found yourself exhausted when you read the paragraph about my experience of being a healthcare worker during a pandemic over a period of three months, I would think that human beings born black are exhausted from the grief, anger, and sadness of the aforementioned (and not mentioned) injustices and tragedies black people, communities they live(d) in, and their families have sustained throughout history AND in the three months we’ve been under lockdown and isolation during this pandemic. A universal truth is that we are shaping our tomorrows by the choices we make today. And we are accountable for those choices.

BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I named this blog A Rainbow In The Clouds after seeing Dr Maya Angelou speak in Toronto in 2011. She opened by sharing a folk song: “when it look like the sun wouldn’t shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds”, eliciting the possibility of hope. Hope, which I seemed to have allowed to slip from my grasp, or was it taken? I’m not sure, but I want it back. Hope of light shining through is what will carry all of us through this time in history. As will the courage to keep going. Do you have hope and courage? Are you contributing to equality, inclusion, healing of your Self? I have learned that when you want something with your whole heart, the universe conspires to help you achieve it. (Paraphrased from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.)

My spiritual director encouraged me to revisit a book I have read, Man’s Search for Meaning written by Viktor E. Frankl, a psychiatrist who was imprisoned in a Nazi death camp as a Jewish man in WWII. I opened the book to a random page and started reading. There I found light:

“…intensification of inner life helped the prisoner find a refuge from the emptiness, desolation and spiritual poverty of his existence…”

“As the inner life of the prisoner tended to become more intense, he also experienced the beauty of art and nature as never before. Under their influence he sometimes even forgot his own frightful circumstances.”

“…I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious “Yes” in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose. At that moment a light was lit in a distant farmhouse, ….and the light shineth in the darkness.”

And I remembered my own inner light, and the inner light which shines in EVERY human being, irrelevant of their creed, skin colour, religion, sex, gender. That inner light is the grace, courage and strength which is accessible for each of us to learn, grow, evolve, elevate and do better. Then I recalled a spiritual teaching which was taught by all great teachers, and introduced to me by Caroline Myss – What’s in one, is in the whole. That means that the need for AND the unravelling of past societal structures which are shown to us through news media and social media, are happening within each of us. Human beings are angry at the injustices black human beings have endured throughout history and in present time! Would you not be angry if you saw a human being murdered, asking for mercy, while handcuffed on the ground with someone’s knee on his neck, and MERCY not being granted?! (Caroline explains this eloquently in this video.)

I don’t know what it’s like to be of a different skin colour other than the one I was born with. I’m perceived by society we live in to be a white woman. I understand that comes with privilege. I also can only extrapolate a little bit of the feelings from my experience of THREE MONTHS working in healthcare during a pandemic, (mainly feeling segregated, isolated, exhausted, not seen as equal by the government, because of my work,) into what I imagine is a life long emotional space for many experiencing Earth school as a human being with black skin. Again, I don’t claim to know this for sure, I am only grasping the feelings expressed by those who have this experience, what is felt by the collective and my own limited understanding. Remember this Oprah show?

Although I don’t have the experience of being in Earth school with black skin, I KNOW that black people are not being treated the same as white people. I KNOW that more black people live in poverty than white people. I KNOW that more black people die as a result of racial prejudices and violence than white people. Those are heavy truths. Also, I am not an appointed government official who can better fund our healthcare system and put laws, policies, and people in places to abolish institutional racism. But I have something in me, which every human has, that NO ONE can touch. That is my own inner space, my own personal power. I can use mine to elevate, learn, transform and impact change in the relationships around me, which will reach all corners of the globe (think how a virus did that). I can educate myself and use my VOTE as a voice, for ultimately that IS the loudest voice. I can stay connected to my inner space, move with integrity, be loving, compassionate, move in light. And so can you. Remember, standing in light does not mean not standing up for what you believe in. Rather, stand in your light in a way that brings change, draws justice, and creates a society where a human being can go outside feeling safe to do so, no matter their race, sex, creed, religion, gender. A human being is a human being. Bring your humanness to light.

All my love,

T


“You’re a powerful being.” – Virus to Human

You may have read the title to this post and thought I made a mistake. We are presently experiencing a world where a virus is impacting human movement, where the world has taken a pause, a TRUE break, because of a microbe. But I did not make a mistake in the title of this post. I believe that if we can move past the fear, anxiety and panic, we might be able to take an objective perspective on what this experience is teaching us, collectively and individually.

Perhaps you’ll join me in a reflective practice on seeing things symbolically? If you are choosing to continue to read, I hope you keep your mind and heart open.

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Imagine late November of 2019, a human being in Wuhan, China develops cold or flu like symptoms but thinks not much of it, and continues on with their daily life activities and practices. Let’s say this human has lived in Wuhan their entire life and perhaps has moved within a 100 kilometre radius for their entire life, not much farther. List of places and things this human may have visited and done (and other humans they may have been in contact with) is endless; however, let’s just assume that due to the cold, they had to stay home in late November for a few days, but before the symptoms developed into what they did, this human was living their normal life – time was spent at work, and with friends and family, privately and publicly. This was patient zero of COVID-19. Now this human in Wuhan, who has not travelled far (according to my educated presumptions, as I’ve followed the spread of this microbe since it was first reported back in December 2019), has touched every single corner of the globe, people whom they may have known or not known, people they’ve never heard of and will never meet.

Let’s pause and breathe for a moment. Deep breaths, please.

In the midst of the presently palpable global panic (and anxiety created as a result), each of us has a choice in how we act, what perspectives/views we take on, and what we learn from this pandemic. We can look at obvious things such as the importance of maintaining good hand (and overall) hygiene, keeping common public areas and surfaces clean, staying away from others when not feeling well (especially those who are immunocompromised), as all are part of a social responsibility we’ve always had towards each other that has been highlighted by the current world pandemic. We could also look at what it means to have a well funded healthcare system, what the real risks of overpopulation are, and how our individual carbon footprint contributes to the health of our planet and each human being (irrelevant of our proximity to them). If you thought of those, you’d have valid points to present to policy makers, politicians, CEOs, as well as arguments against consumer economic model’s impact on overall health and wellness of all humans. But I want to challenge you to perhaps look at it with an even broader perspective. One that affects the state of your inner being.

Are you still practicing deep, mindful breathing?

I want to talk about patient zero of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. This human had no idea that the infection they were battling would reach humans all around the world, impact travel, stock markets, economies, healthcare systems, all businesses, trade. This human had no idea that they were even infectious or spreading anything to anyone, but just going about their daily life.

I’d like to challenge you now to imagine that patient zero of COVID-19, this human, has lived their life with great awareness, and commitment to self evolvement, growth and learning. Imagine that this human has healed their inner childhood traumas and faced themselves with honesty and compassion. Imagine that as a result of all of the self work that this human has embarked on that they are now open, loving, compassionate, self-aware, socially and environmentally conscious and responsible, empathetic, reflective, that they make choices with integrity and honesty (considering how their choices affect not just their life but others, animals and the environment), that they have good self-esteem and that they practice good self care.

Have you imagined it? Close your eyes and breathe until you get there.

Now I want you to imagine that instead of spreading a microbe to others in late November, patient zero spread empathy, compassion, honesty, love, self care practices, healing, social and environmental consciousness, or choices made with integrity. What if we were to spread those energies like a pandemic but instead of a viral pandemic which debilitates and hurts lives, it becomes a ‘pandemic’ that is energetically illuminating for all humans, all animals, as well as our planet?

Let’s contemplate a perspective and imagine that what this virus is actually teaching us is not about how powerful microbes are but how powerful we are, because every word we utter, every thought we have, every choice we make, every single thing we do or don’t do, impacts not just us individually, but every single human we come in contact with, and humans that they come in contact with, and so on and so forth, so that you, individually, create an energetic ripple that reaches people you may never meet. YOU are a powerful being!

Look at how much personal power patient zero of the COVID-19 pandemic has, to have reached every continent and impacted many different aspects of societies. Patient zero of COVID-19 is not much different from you or I. This human does not have fame like a well-known artist does, for example. Sure, we could give the virus some credit with respect to its efficient spread globally, but you could also give compassion and kindness the same kind of weight, if you practice it. YOU are a powerful being!

Each of us has a choice to hold ourself accountable to our personal power and live our lives with integrity. In doing so, we spread all of who we are, energetically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, to others, just like this microbe which has travelled from Wuhan, China to places that patient zero of COVID-19 may have never visited or even heard of. YOU are a powerful being!

There may be another viral pandemic in the future. There may be economic challenges. There may be wars. There may be travel bans. There may be shortages in supplies. No matter what happens, remember that you have the power in you to elevate and grow through anything, and to look at the event symbolically, so that you understand what this means for everyone, globally, and to always remind yourself that YOU are a powerful being!

Love & light,

T


Questions of Flow

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“As you get older, you are more set in your ways and harder to be in a relationship with” I’ve heard many people utter. Perhaps this is true for some. But I started to think about the WHYs. Why do we say that? When we say it, do we say it because someone stated this as a truth we accepted, or do we truly believe it, or is it an actual truth and if so, why is that our truth? And if we accept this as a truth when we’re in our 20s or 30s or 40s, do we take it on and manifest this rigidity unconsciously? Where does this rigidity come from? And perhaps more importantly, are we fully aware of it?

During this contemplation, I chose to reflect on my own experience of rigidity. In my journey thus far, I’ve observed great changes in my body – normal weight, overweight, underweight, overweight, normal weight – sort of in that order. I firmly believe that the changes in my body reflected the status of my inner world, and of course my family, friends and coworkers easily observed the physical changes. However, what no one could fully perceive was the lack of flexibility, or the energetic heaviness of the rigidity and stiffness in my mind and spirit, which was reflected in my body, but only fully experienced and felt by me. Of course, I also created it. I created it with my thoughts, choices, words, what I chose to do and not do. When I look back on those spaces in my life, I realize that I was not allowing the natural flow of my being to navigate the spaces I needed to manoeuvre, or make choices which served me, or even think thoughts which were of my own contemplation and discernment. Instead, I was either fighting my true self in order to conform to, or ignoring my intuition and rebelling against, something that was set out as ‘right’ by society or my family and culture. That constant push and pull, building walls, crossing lines, running away, keeping busy for distraction, created an emotional, spiritual, and mental paralysis in the extremes, was reflected in my body. Physical pain, stiffness, rigidity/lack of flexibility, tightness, being blocked, congested, and isolated from the enjoyment of life and others, were my personal experiences in my body as a reflection of my inner world. I found glimpses of joy and beauty and even calm during this experience but they were just that – glimpses. I did not know how to fully engage in anything other than the stagnant state of being I had experienced up to that point. It was not until perhaps a few years ago, when I finally began to open up and allow the natural flow of my being, my intuition and spirit to guide my healing, that I began to experience joy, beauty and calm more fully and consistently. But I do not consider my experience to be unique or isolated.

Since I was a child, I’ve been an observer of everything and everyone around me. This served me greatly when I began a daily meditative practice over a year ago, for meditation is a space of observation of our inner world, of the status of our soul, our mind, our heart, which we enter at that moment in time. Having worked in healthcare for almost a decade now, I’ve interacted with many human beings and I’ve observed some things which I am not intending to use as examples to generalize anyone’s life or existence, but rather as patterns I’ve observed some humans engage in.

I’ve observed that as we get older, some of us take on things we accepted to be true in the early years of our life and development, which restrict our flow. We don’t question things our child or teenage or 20-something-year-old self accepted to be true, though our experiences and observations thereafter suggest otherwise. For example, as a child, the experience of my parents suggested that relationships must have the experience of X, Y, and Z, and they must lead to A, B, and C, in order to be ‘real’ relationships. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that that experience of relationships may have been true for my parents but that is not necessarily a reflection of the flow of a relationship that may serve me. Often, in conversation, people will reveal that their ideal relationship is that of their parents or grandparents or a couple they saw in a movie or met when they were on vacation, and that they are working towards having a relationship like that, but they don’t actually take the time to figure out what best serves them as an individual. And I’ve observed, myself and others, to be addicted to relationships in search of the IDEAL we decided on when we were 12 or something, as the experience we want to have, rather than being present and discerning, in the experience that we are actually having. I’m not saying that in every case the relationship that we decided is our ideal does not serve us. I’m just saying that we didn’t take the time to figure out for ourselves why it does (or doesn’t). As a result, many of us find ourselves somehow ‘stuck’ in a relationship or friendship where we aren’t able to grow or learn or be ourselves fully and completely. And we project the rigidity we experience in that friendship or relationship, onto others or it gets extended in our habits, schedules, rituals…‘the way that things MUST be’, rather than allowing.

I’ve also come to understand that EVERYTHING is in constant flux and motion so much so that we change every day, yet we stick with things we decided we liked when we were kids. For example, we may have decided when we were five that our favourite colour is red and as adults have maintained this without exploring the experience of other colours – whether in the decor we chose for our homes, our clothing, our art etc. – and because we immersed ourselves in that one colour our entire life, the lack of exploration of the energetic quality of another colour is simply lost on us. Perhaps the calming quality of the colour blue would really serve us in the space we are presently exploring, but we don’t allow it to become a part of our experience because when we were five, we decided that red is our favourite colour and the only colour we want around. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with red, I’m just saying that there are so many other colours we have the privilege of experiencing, yet we decided when we were five that for the next 75/80/95 years, we are going to stick to red and only red without asking why. We also may have decided that we only like one type of music, and we only listen to that genre and never explore others, thereby limiting our music experience for our entire life. Though there is something beautiful to be found in stimulation of every one of our senses, I’m not saying that we are going to love all colours or all genres of music but that there is value in allowing ourselves to explore.

It has become apparent to me that our inner world is also constantly changing. Think about how differently you feel each morning you wake up. Some days you wake up feeling energised and ready to take on anything that may cross your path, and other days you just want to stay in bed and not talk to anyone. Yet most often, we ignore how we feel and push through our day without acknowledgment of where we are, of how we feel, or of what we need in order to find our centre and balance. What serves us most may be finding the stillness, movement or flow to navigate the newness without judgement or imposing boundaries we fought against or accepted when we were younger. For example, maybe when we were younger we decided that our discomfort gives us permission for everyone else to experience it and project our own emotional states on others (think of a toddler in the grocery story isle having a meltdown because their parent is not giving into their ice cream request), rather than being accountable for the understanding of why we feel/think/act the way we do at this moment in time. After all, it is our own personal experience so only we can answer our own why, and finding our centre in the spaces of meditation, yoga, reflection, contemplation, creative or other practices, may be ways that can help guide our inner exploration. When I was in high school, I remember going to school while having a temper tantrum which had nothing to do with anyone but me, but I had decided that it was acceptable for me to act out and take it out on others for months until someone told me that my behaviour was unacceptable. I was projecting the discomfort of my inner world outwards, however, not only did it not calm my inner, it also created chaos in my experience of friendships. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to sort through or experience the discomfort we may be feeling but our own. And at some point, we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to grow, learn and elevate.

In my healthcare practice, I’ve dealt with adults of different age groups and I have observed that age does not play into how difficult it is for me to navigate the unfamiliar space the patient is about to experience. I’ve interacted with 20 year olds who are more set in their ways and stubborn in what they feel they should receive from me, than some of the 90 year olds I’ve interacted with. I truly believe that getting older does not mean we become more difficult to be around or set in our ways, but that it is a choice. And I think that choice is as much a reflection of what we have accepted to be true, what we have decided we should experience or how we should experience something, than it is of the reality of our actual experiences. It is true that we are born with things or born into situations we did not choose, but no matter what, as an adult, we have a choice in what we carry, how we perceive, react, act, think, speak.

I believe that the experience of our body and the state of our physical world, which we can perceive by the limitations of our five physical senses, is a reflection of our inner, spiritual and mental state. I believe that the interconnectedness of mind, body, spirit is a reflection of the interconnectedness of all things in the universe and across universes, for what’s in the one is in the whole and all things in our universe abide by the same laws (of physics, mathematics, energy, quantum mechanics, balance, reciprocity etc.) the universe itself abides by, and the same laws the atoms, which make up our cells and our bodies, abide by. Each entity/thing/being/energy is not separate from another. Specifically for human beings, there is a continuous flow of creation as a response to a thought, a choice, an emotion, an action or a lack thereof, which is being directed by each and every one of us. And those choices can further support or hinder our own flow.

What supports your flow?

What hinders your flow?

And why?

Be kind to yourself and others.

Love, T


BIG Questions

 

There are a few big truths I’ve learned about being human thus far:

Understanding ones Self allows an understanding of others.

Trusting ones Self fully allows one to trust another.

Empowering ones Self allows not just the ability to empower others but to practice self-esteem and speak one’s truth.

A lot of these lessons I understood through my own reflective practice, though I’ve read and heard many teachers hand these priceless jewels out in their writings and lectures. Of course you can only fully understand something if you sit with it in reflection, practice and experience it.

I have come to understand that a reflective practice is vital in our growth however I only learned to ask the big questions, questions which served me and my growth, in the last year. These questions stem from an awareness and a big truth which is that nothing anyone ever does is about us but is an extension of the space in their Self in which they dwell. However, asking why someone does, says or thinks something, is not a question which serves us or helps us grow.

The only place you can surely settle into and, if you choose to do so, learn intimately is your own Self. Immersing ones Self into the depths of your soul or spirit, whether through a meditative practice or a reflective practice or through creative expressions etc, is a sure way to centre oneSelf. However, to navigate these spaces, even through different practices,  one must ask questions which serve you.

I have learned that some of the big questions which serve your growth include:

Why do I think this or think in this way?

Why do I feel this way about an event?

Why did I say this during a specific event?

Why was this my internal reaction to an event?

Why do I believe this?

What is it about this person/place/situation that makes me feel the way I do?

One of my favourite teachers, Caroline Myss, would say that these questions are not small but “they’re great big huge and you cannot possibly answer them that quickly.” I feel that the list of questions above are good starting points for reflection.

In my own reflective practice, asking these questions has provided a lot of clarity for me, but more importantly, they have acted as an anchor to my centre, my true Self. These questions have also brought up inner work I wasn’t aware I needed to do. I found that awareness painful at times, but the more I’ve done it, the easier it has been to be centred even during events that have in the past taken me far away from that space.

Our humanity dictates our imperfections, and thereby demands courage to grow, learn, evolve, allow, and ultimately, to fly. To me, the greatest representation of freedom are birds in the sky – they can fly anywhere, see things from different altitudes and perspectives, experience different horizons – and I view finding one’s centre to be like a bird in flight, gliding across the sky, without attachment, free and prepared to experience anything, anyone, in any weather. For me, dwelling in big questions, objectively and without judgement, has allowed my own freedom of flight and, so far, the views have been illuminating.

Wishing you love, light and a soaring flight,

T


A Great Story

Blessed are those who see their Self reflected in the eyes of another. Even more blessed are those who truly see each other.

– T.

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Cusco, Peru 2017. Photo © of T.Nikic

THE MEETING

She doesn’t go to bars and she’s never been to this one. The bar she has entered is filled with magic. She’s failed to connect with the acquaintance she’s spending the evening with, so she orders a magic potion to drink. No sugar added.

He had been at a party with his best friend who was visiting him. He doesn’t remember how it happened, but he ended up sitting on a stool at the bar next to her. Neither of them knew how long they’d been there when he turned to her and asked, “Have you read about this magic?” At that exact moment they entered into a creative space of infinite possibilities where they could go anywhere that night together.

When she walked away from him she wondered if she met HIM. The next day when he asked to see her again, she wanted to tell him that she wasn’t ready, that it was too soon. But she didn’t. “How could I not be ready?” she wondered, “I’ve been waiting to meet someone like him my entire life”. Instead, she continued the dance of texting and late night phone calls, and pushed him away, slowly at first, but it turned into a cruel ordeal soon thereafter.

THE GREETING

Fast-forward about six months. They’ve not spoken nor seen each other. Perhaps they remained curious, but no contact was made. She travels to a far away land to heal, for she thinks that the reason she pushed him away is deep, and she needs help to do so. She drinks a healing potion three times. The first time she drinks it, she releases all that has been holding her back her entire life. The second time she drinks it, he comes to her, joyful and smiling, wanting to be with her. Happily, they embrace for a long time. She tells him she has to finish her work but that she will return to him. Reluctantly, he leaves her. The third time she drinks the potion, she becomes a bird and flies to the mountain peak. It becomes official then – she has healed and is ready for the next elevation.

THE DREAM

When she returns home, she reaches out to him. His reply suggests that he is unsure or uninterested. She doesn’t push. He visits her in a dream a few weeks later. They are together but there are many people watching them. One of the walls of the room of their bedroom is actually a stage. There is a play going on and he seems interested in watching it. She feels love because they are doing something together. She wakes up feeling hopeful.

THE FULFILLMENT

It’s been over five months since her healed self returned home and reached out to him. No contact and yet he visits her in yet another dream. In this dream, they are sitting around a dining room table, outside in a green garden with many flowers on a warm, sunny day. It feels like late spring. The people sitting around the table feel like her family, and he is sitting with her and laughing with them. He serves her breakfast – farmer’s market butter and honey spread lovingly on a piece of bread made with love. She never told him that was her favourite breakfast growing up. She is moved to tears. He smiles at her and she wakes up. Oh, the grace, blessings, love, she feels on a soul level when she opens her eyes that morning – he said goodbye to her so lovingly. She sends a sincere prayer of gratitude to him.

HER LESSON

His presence in her physical life was very short, yet he graced her with love that transcended the senses and reached her soul. He inspired her to heal. She learned that life is about allowing, not holding on. She is now flying.

The meeting of their souls was planned long before they saw each other, but their meeting started a new chapter in her life. A life of conscious commitment, to her Self, to honour her soul on every level, in every way, each and every moment, for the rest of her life.

The fairytale is over.


I flew.

© T.Nikic, 2017.

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A PERSPECTIVE ON FEAR

    FUNK 2 THE RIGHT | T.Nikic 2016 | Oils on canvas.

By T. Nikic

It is not something you’re born with, but something you learn. And you do not learn it because you need to learn it or because you learn it from a happy situation. Often times, fear is laced within a scar that is hidden. People hide their scars when they think it makes them less attractive or less beautiful. It’s the same thing with fear. People internalize their fears and don’t talk about them because they think it makes them less attractive or less beautiful.

 

Some people are aware of their fears and have made a lifelong commitment to facing them. Others have allowed their fears to guide them in life. Never risking too much, playing it ‘safe’. Only going so far within relationships and with people whom they meet. But those who have made a commitment to facing their fears often don’t realize that they have a fear until someone, whom they do not know very well, triggers it.

 

Triggers of fear can be very random, overwhelming and surprising. How one addresses and deals with these triggers is a choice. But because people who have made a commitment to face their fears in life have often internalized their battle, they only really know how to go within themselves and try to deal with it internally. Alone. It’s not that they do not want to connect with others, but they feel shame and remorse that that fear exists, and feel that they will no longer be attractive to another if they see it.

 

The thing of it is, fear can sometimes be like a gust of wind, bringing with it everything great and everything not so great that was surrounding you and the person who triggered the fear. It could be the most beautiful connection, your ideal in fact, and you want to enter that space with the other person, but fear is just blowing this strong current at you, creating a small tornado-like storm around your being. You have no clue on how to stop it or calm it down enough to maintain the connection with the other person.

 

In many ways, you feel crippled. Stunned. You think to yourself, “I just met the most incredible person. Someone I’ve been hoping to meet. And here they are, ready and willing to explore this connection with me, but I’m so scared.” My fear questions everything, “Is this real? Are they real? You’ve not been here before; you think you can actually do this? They will see you’re scarred and then they will walk away, don’t you forget that.”

 

You do not want to push people away, but because you allow your fear to take you into your Self, you aren’t able to nurture the connection you discovered with the other person. And they do not know you well enough to know if you’re still there and interested, or if you’re pulling away. They do not have a good reason to stand the fear storm with you, because you haven’t given them enough to go on.

 

As you’re trying to sort through your fear, your surroundings become foggy and you can no longer maintain eye contact with them. You want to ask them to be patient with you, to wait for you, and maybe even hold your hand, but you think that that’s way too much to ask from someone you don’t know very well. You feel them slowly pulling away. Shutting down. Shutting you out. You hate seeing the change in the energy between the two of you, but the fear has gotten really strong at this point. It has exhausted you and you’re falling. A thick fog has formed around you and you have no way of seeing past it. There is nothing for you to do except to try to minimize the pain of the fall by curling up into yourself, completely looking away from the person you wanted to let in.

 

After some time, you wake up and realize that you’ve managed to survive and exhaust your fear. Sure, the fear storm has scattered all the shame and remorse on the ground surrounding you, but you do not reach for them. The scar your fear was interlaced with is completely exposed, but that doesn’t make you feel less beautiful anymore. You realize that the fog has cleared. It’s not sunny but it’s calm. You look around, trying to locate the footprints of the person you wanted to let in, but the fear storm was so strong that it has erased them. You start to panic and begin thinking of how to get ahold of them, how to reach them. You have no signal on your phone. There is an old payphone but the cord has been cut. You try walking down this path and that path, but they’re all dead ends.

 

You make your way back to the space you first met them, the road of brave souls, and you sit there, alone, with the hope that they might come back for you and give you another chance. You’re there for only a short while, because you realize that it’s not about going back, but moving forward. If you cross paths again, you’ll have to show your scars and tell them those stories. Otherwise that fear you broke free of, will win. And fear will always win…. if you let it.


between the notes

Photo © T.Nikic, 2013.

1

silence

noun si·lence \ˈsī-lən(t)s\
  1. 1:  forbearance from speech or noise :  muteness —often used interjectionally

  2. 2:  absence of sound or noise :  stillness in the silence of the night

  3. 3:  absence of mention: a :  oblivion, obscurity b :  secrecy weapons research was conducted in silence

(SOURCE)

*********

Sometimes it’s the silence between the notes

Which makes the song.

The pause, which allows the note before

And the note after it

To be heard and understood.

We write songs in our daily lives

Often without knowing it.

We pause before replying,

We walk away,

We breathe.

It’s what determines the song’s melody.

If I had to tell you

What my last song was about

I’d say it was about fears

And that it’s important we face them.

It’s about wounds and scars,

Covered up and bound with

Band-Aids and bandages

Which, at some point,

Need to be ripped off.

It’s about being present,

In the moment,

Without definition, expectation or direction,

Where one exists as they are.

It’s about staying in the moment

And trusting that that space will evolve,

Grow,

Change,

Grant life, beauty.

It’s about meeting another’s gaze,

Without looking away,

Not being scared of that sacred space.

It’s about SOULfood

Where freedom exists

And there are no limits

Placed on humanity

Or creativity

Or BEing.

When one song ends,

The silence before the first note of the next

Will surely be of influence.

And when the new song starts

Listen carefully,

Because it just might be the song

Which becomes the oyster shell

For your heart.


Blue, not true.

Photo © T.Nikic 2016

Photo © T.Nikic 2016

“FEED YOURSELF.” – Mike D.

I heard those words a few weeks ago and they truly were the most poetic thing I had heard that day. In the context of the conversation to which they were offered, perhaps it was a reference to food, but they resonated much deeper. See, in all things we choose to do, the people we interact with, the time we spend doing things which make us happy, the foods with which we nourish our bodies, I recognize that we do in fact feed ourselves on different levels. Spiritual, mental, emotional, physical states of being are deeply interconnected, in my experience and opinion. It’s not so much that one aspect of our being feeds the other, it’s that all feed and depend on each other for its wellbeing. It’s deep, right?

The state of our world is a concern for myself and many others – the way that we hurt each other and the reasons with which we excuse hurting each other, is simply wrong. The words we speak and the acts we commit, make me think about what it is that we, as human beings, reflect in those behaviours. Are we actually saying that we truly hate another, or do we hate ourselves so much that we don’t have the capacity for acceptance or love of another? I do not think that I have an answer to that question that doesn’t require pages of discussion involving psychology, history, philosophy, spirituality, emotional and mental health, our societal norms and pressures, in the hopes of even touching on a plausible explanation, although I will say that I believe that our lack of love for our own Selves has been the root of much of the chaos reported on the internet, newspapers, radio and news channels as of late.

But in all the ways that we intentionally hurt another, we also mark others with scars. We may think that we don’t, but we do. And those scars affect not just the person who bears them, but all the people they interact with. How I understand scars is a reflection of my personal experience and knowledge, although it may resonate with you.

Scars are not erasable. They may look less noticeable with time, care and healing, but a scar will never be exactly like the space it inhabited. The scar will tug at certain parts of your being you’ve tried to put aside or forget, a memory often triggered unintentionally by a song, a word, a photo you come across, which brings back the feelings, ALL the feelings, interwoven in the scar. Maybe those feelings no longer take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride like they once did, but you still FEEL it. That’s hard for anyone to fully accept or make peace with – for the ones bearing the scar and the one seeing it, trying to understand it. Because you cannot possibly explain or articulate why that scar is there, who scarred you, why it still affects you although you’ve forgiven and let go, that doesn’t take both people there. And that scar could have many names – death, rape, verbal/physical/mental abuse, racism, sexism, murder… – all translating to one thing: p a i n . You may not acknowledge it as that, but it is how we, human beings, process it.

 

 

Photo © T.Nikic 2016

Photo © T.Nikic 2016

Be mindful of what you feed your Self with, what you feed others, and what you accept from others. Scars run deep.

 

Love,
T


true

Photo © T.Nikic 2015

Photo © T.Nikic 2015

 

 

Dearest,

 

I am not sure you are my dearest of them all, but I guess once upon a time, you were. I write you this from the heart of that space, reflected upon in the space and time I exist in now. It’s illuminated by wisdom and forgiveness, and oh so much growth. And peace. Beautiful peace. I do not know this for sure, but I think you may still be in search of it, in your own way.

 

I realize I’ve started this letter rather abrupt…

 

I hope that you are well. I hope that you are happy.

 

F*ck it, it doesn’t matter anymore, wishing you well. You’re going to portray what you think I want to see, not the truth, although I somehow always seemed to have been able to piece together your reality. The reality that you painted in numb strokes that only a fool would see emotionless. Your choice of colours was often a reflection of what you thought was how I’d want to see you. It seemed you’d forget that each hue had its base colour; one I picked out through the haze you layered it in. Darling, your attempts to escape into a world you wanted me to enter, was too small for us both and too empty for me to live in. The deeper you went into it, the more sure I was of my exit from you. I felt as if you had wrapped beautiful silk thread around me, which seemed warm and cozy at first, but then started to suffocate me. It took every ounce of strength I had in my mind, body, and spirit, to break through it and escape. You had wrapped me in your strokes and colours so tightly that I was not sure if any of it was real. All I could do was run as far and as fast away from you as possible until I was sure I was safe to rest and recover. It took a while it seems to regain my strength, and when I did I just kept moving forward without you. I scrubbed away any traces of your colours on my being and burned them the same way one burns old photos – there is no thought or emotion involved in knowing that you’re erasing history, you just do it and allow the wind to spread the ashes wherever it feels like. The thing of it is, sometimes, even if you burn the photos, some stay engrained in your memory, whether you want to remember or not….

 

Truth be told, I type this teary eyed. In my memory is a photograph of a breezy, starry summer night. We are sitting across from each other, eating popcorn and sharing stories. Our night is filled with laughter and tears, both sad and happy. The magic of the evening is interrupted only by the wind…or maybe the wind is what brought it? I recall the stories from that night, but there is where I allow them to rest. The wind seemed to have been in sync with our words, bringing ghosts from our past to the appropriate moments in our conversation. They added to the beauty and tragedy of it all. I recall the twinkle of the North Star because it was there that night, in your eyes, along with the truths I realized for the first time. These truths have stood the test of time.

 

The first is that we loved each other, truly, madly, deeply, with every unearthed bits of our souls. The warmth of that night encapsulates me.

 

The second is that I knew then that our love was only going to manifest a tragedy more profound than Shakespeare could have written, if we ever tried. No emotion evoked.

 

The third is one that I am able to see today and not before – it was real. Peace.

 

 

 

Sweet dreams,

T.


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