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© T.Nikic, 2017.

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A Song Broken Down…

Any form of art we create, has its own life, which is carried by those who receive it with any of their senses. Its life lies in connection with a memory, feelings, a recognition of, and a relation to past experience(s) of the person who is engaging with it, be it via visual or auditory (or taste etc) stimulation. We are human beings. What makes us truly human, in my opinion, is our ability to FEEL. Emotions, feelings, are part of our human experience.

 

Photo ©T.Nikic, 2012

Photo ©T.Nikic, 2012

A very important side note: Our souls don’t ‘feel’. Our souls are a distinct energy which allows us to develop a spiritual awareness during our human experience. We are able to ‘recognize’ souls we’ve met in a previous life or those souls we are inherently connected to (i.e. soul mates). But our souls, even at the moment of recognition of another, do not have the experience of FEELING. But our humanity does. Our souls simply experience an elevation of the vibrational frequency of their energy at this time. That’s something we as humans can FEEL as part of our human experience, but our souls just have an energy ex/change. That is all.

Why am I talking about art, souls and the ability to feel as part of our human experience?? Because of a song I just stumbled upon. Yes, it’s that deep. Why am I going to the extreme of writing a blog post about it? Because it matters and because I recognize our human tendencies of getting caught up in emotions which can subsequently lead to an emotional roller coaster ride. Remember Adele’s Someone Like You? Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You? Or even bits of Rihanna’s Stay ft. Mikky Ekko? If experienced in a misinterpretation, rather in a state of being that is in an uncentered emotional turmoil, those songs could lead to a prolonging of (or the creation of) an attachment to a feeling which is fleeting, as all feelings are. ALL FEELINGS ARE FLEETING. This song, to me, is a more mature, aware, grownup, male version. Oh you’re wondering what song I’m talking about? Read on, please. 🙂

When I first listened to it, I found the song, like parts of the aforementioned songs, ego based, because initially I felt that it was written from a space where there was an attachment to a person/feeling (as the songs above were). However, after watching the video, and listening to the song on repeat for a few hours, just reflecting and connecting to it, I realized that (or interpreted that) this piece of art was rooted in honesty. I felt that it wasn’t a song about longing for a lost love but a realization that one missed out on the experience of love because he did not allow himself to be vulnerable. He realized too late that his fears and ego prevented him from experiencing LOVE, because he was scared, for whatever reason, and now he is in this melancholy, not regretful, but a very mindful state of awareness: TO EXPERIENCE LOVE, WE MUST BE VULNERABLE WITH ANOTHER, AND OVERCOME OUR FEARS.

 

 

In relationships with another, irrelevant of the intensity of the connection, we have to be emotionally naked in order to truly experience LOVE, with another. After all, in order to receive a hug, we must give a hug. The difficulty for some lies in showing love, but more often than that, it lies in difficulty in receiving love, of ‘allowing’ another to love us. The reasons for this can be complex and are often rooted in our childhood ‘misinterpretation’ of love. But it basically boils down to feeling unworthy of someone loving us. That’s a painful and damaging lie we carry with us, unknowingly sometimes. But this song, as simple as the lyrics are, describes that realization, of the fact that he did not experience that closeness with her because he couldn’t go there with her, on an emotional level. His ego led him to think that she’d come running back to him, but she found happiness with someone who wasn’t scared to go THERE – to be open, and honest, and vulnerable on an emotional, spiritual and mental level. He held on to that ‘ego thought’ until he realized that the reason it didn’t work out between them, was because of his fears and ego holding him back from that soul baring nakedness, that is needed to experience such closeness with another human being. He is grieving the death of his fears, as he realizes that those fears are what was ‘killing’ him, his spirit, and his ability to experience LOVE, with another.

 

I have shared my breakdown of this song because I wanted to remind all of us that in order to experience LOVE with another, we MUST not just be vulnerable and courageous enough to love another, but also be vulnerable and courageous in allowing another to love us. I wrote this because I want to see people engaged in mindful, loving, and emotionally fulfilling relationships, myself included. Of course there is more to relationships than this – they take work. But imagine if we based them on, and built them in a sacred space of honesty, vulnerability, and soul baring nakedness? I bet there’d be more happy people walking around…

Love liberates. Love doesn’t bind. Love liberates.

 

And no, it will not eradicate powerful art. If anything, it may feed and fuel the creation of more art, that’s even more touching and powerful.

 

Oh and about the song that inspired this post? Click here to hear it.

Peace and love,

T

 

 


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


How To Be An Adult In Relationships…

I have chosen to write a conversation piece over a poem this week for personal reasons. I feel that this post is necessary.

I’d like to discuss the impact a book has made on my life and why I (and my friend B) think that everyone should read it. It’s called “How To Be An Adult In Relationships” by David Richo.

My friend B and I have made this book our relationship bible because it guided us both in our individual growth periods. It’s a book which is to be read at your own pace as it is deep and because it addresses many different issues relevant to having a healthy relationship with oneself first and foremost, which then leads to a healthy relationship with other people. It takes you on a reflective journey of your past experiences and allows you room to decide what it is that you want for yourself as an individual and in relationships while teaching you tools in how to go about doing that. The book has been a saving grace for many of our friends who’ve also read it. I’ve given this book as a gift to a few people including my mother and sister. It does not matter how old you are, what you’ve gone through or where you find yourself currently in life. If you’re struggling with personal issues, unresolved pain or painful situations, OR if you are in a happy relationship this book is relevant.

I want to let you know that if you feel like you don’t have a good grasp of your life or your emotions, if you feel that you’re at a crossroads of sorts, if you feel that your life is a bit of a mess or that you fail at having successful relationships, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We’ve ALL gone through “stuff”, experienced pain, been disappointed, have been unsuccessful at something. But the thing is, you CAN overcome all of that IF YOU TRY and do the work.

Since reading the book “How To Be An Adult In Relationships” by David Richo, I’ve become more aware of my reactions, my actions and the words I use when communicating with other people. It is difficult, however, after doing all that work and going through the growth process which the book guides you through, to not pass on the knowledge and tools learned from it in helping other people, which is why I’m writing about it. I would like to note, however, that this isn’t directly from the book but these are some of the things which I’ve become aware of while reading it.

Some of the things which I learned about myself while reading this book have helped me return to a place of peace within. Don’t get me wrong – my life is not all roses and like everyone else, I also go through problems and difficult situations. It’s just that I’ve been able to stand in the midst of it all and be at peace. I suppose there were other things I did while reading this book which helped me but because that is an individual and personal choice, I choose not to disclose those as not to skew anyone’s perception. What I will say is that ANY type of creative expressions, activities which help you focus or remain calm, should be engaged while doing this work on Self.

I feel that this book has given me tools and guided me in dealing with and understanding my emotions and feelings better. That is a big deal. So many people out there are riding emotional roller coasters which creates unnecessary drama not just for them but for people whom they deal with. I’ve read many books and have done plenty of work on myself prior to reading Richo’s book, but after making the commitment to really work through it, I was able to elevate my own sense of self in the way I conduct myself, in how I see myself and in who I am in relationship type situations. (Note: this book is highlighting non-platonic relationships but it’s applicable to ANY kind of relationship – family, friend, romance, business, professional etc – because it will strengthen the relationship you have with your Self and make you more aware of your actions, words and reactions towards others.)

Another thing that the book helped me with tremendously was making peace with, and understanding my past. By doing the work laid out by Richo, I was able to grasp how certain things which occurred during my childhood, teenage years and early adult life (that includes situations which happened in different types of relationships) affected me emotionally, how it affected my current relationships and more importantly, it helped me sort through things that I was holding on to which had a hold on ME – i.e. my actions, reactions and words towards other people. Take a moment and honestly ask yourself how many of us actually do that? Most people run away from their past (which turns into a lot of baggage later on in life) instead of actually sorting through it and dealing with it before moving on to another situation. THIS IS IMPORTANT WORK, in my opinion and I encourage everyone to do it.

You may find another way to do your work which will work for you, but if you’re unsure of where to start or how to go about it, I strongly recommend that you go and pick up “How To Be An Adult In Relationships” and start working towards creating the life you want to live, by being who you are or want to become, and having the kinds of relationships that you want to have.

Love, T

PLEASE NOTE: I am not an advertiser nor do I have any affiliations with the publishing company or the author. This is simply me practicing my “sharing is caring” mantra.


T stands for…Tough?

Have you ever been in a situation where someone, of the opposite or same-sex, be it a friend, a relative or someone who you’re involved with, who you care deeply about, does something which completely goes against your standards of how you want to be treated? Or YOU hurt someone because of something mindless you said or did or a mindless reaction you had to them thereby failing to meet their standards?

Two wrongs don’t make a right is what my friend B always tells me and it’s so true. Sometimes when someone hurts us we lash out because we almost want to impregnate their entire psyche with the pain that we feel, the pain which they placed on us intentionally or unintentionally, be it through their words, actions or lack thereof just to make sure that they know how WE feel. After all that is what our defensive ego enables us to do. And since we’re creatures of habit, unless someone lets us know, how would we become aware that we’re doing something negative and break the cycle we’ve been participating in for so long???? Oh yes, it does require us to be able to see ourselves outside of ourselves, which is very difficult if we’re consumed in our own pain, darkness or undisclosed and un-felt feelings.

The difficulty always lies in the involvement of the heart and the fear of loss. If we love someone, we want them in our life and therefore we want to forgive whatever it is that they did since we don’t want to lose them. But when someone does something which makes us feel disrespected, hurts us or breaks our trust, there has to be a time-out and a reassessment of the situation. For one, many ‘little’ things can add up to create a big problem in the future, for they create a precedent for what is acceptable if left as not addressed or ignored at the time of their occurrence.  The second part of it is that these ‘little’ things can plant seeds of doubt which cause cracks in the foundation of the relationship thereby making its future collapse almost inevitable.  The most important part though is in situations where we are faced with something that our gut or instinct tells us is wrong, we have to take a stance, uphold our standards and stand up for ourselves. A perfect, and unfortunately a very common example would be infidelity – if you forgive it because you love your partner, you are sending them a message that it’s okay and that they can (AND IN 99% OF CASES, THEY WILL) do it again. (Of course, some people cheat because they cheat but often the roots lie in the relationship itself, for we are the ones who ‘create the monster’ so to speak. Therefore in cases of infidelity, both people have to go away and take responsibility for the cracks in the foundation of the relationship which led to its collapse.)

Other side of the coin lies in our own reactions, replies and choices of words and actions, whether it’s in reply to something someone’s done or a mistake we made. In being real, we have to be mindful of and take responsibility for what we do just as much as the other person who is involved. And sometimes we don’t fully understand the impact of our replies, actions or words, until the storm has passed and we can now look at the field and view the damage we’ve contributed to.

Many times, our emotions take over when we’re dealing with a conflict and it affects how we handle and deal with the situation. Unfortunately, that is what gets us in trouble. Sometimes we get lost in our own emotional turmoil that we’re not able to fully and completely listen to the other person nor accept their truth. But if we do, it doesn’t mean that we are agreeing with whatever they did wrong (if they were the ones who did something wrong) or that we are lowering our standards and sending them a message that it’s okay, but we’re creating a situation where healthy adult communication can take place.By the same token, if we are the ones who did something wrong then we also need to be able to hear the other person’s truth and accept how what we did or said made them feel and the impact that it made on them and the relationship.

I do want to point out that this is not a tit-for-tat type of situation that I’m describing or endorsing at all. It’s about being mindful in how we deal. I’ll be honest and speak from my own experience – I have learned not to reply to or participate in a conversation when upset and emotional for it leads to things being brought up which are not only hurtful to the other person but also stray from the situation which lead to that conversation in the first place. (For example, sometimes we bring up things from the past, which may or may not have anything to do with the other person. The person who is bringing up old stuff may just be looking at it as examples of situations which brought up the same feelings but to the person on the receiving end, it can in fact be hurtful because they may feel as if we’re comparing new raisins and old coconuts – the magnitude of the situations being completely different. The end result is usually a ‘blowing up’ of sorts where the ‘conversation’ becomes so involved that it’s emotionally draining for both people.)

I realize that it’s hard to sometimes end a friendship or a relationship with someone who we love or care deeply about because they made a mistake and did something wrong, but if they’re not made aware of what is acceptable, then really would they even think that that is something they’d have to correct, work on or be mindful of in the future? And remember, the same goes for you – if no one tells you, then how will you know?

I also believe that time does make a difference and that people can come to a place where they are on the same page if they take an appropriate amount of time apart (this could be years for some!) and work on their own ‘issues’. True love is unconditional and it doesn’t stop if someone hurts us. Sometimes, love does conquer all…but only if you stand up for yourself, listen to each other’s truths and keep it real.

We all make mistakes, say or do the wrong things and fail many times. But from all of that we can choose to learn and grow, or to keep doing the same thing over and over and over again. Bottom line is that I believe in standing up for yourself and upholding your standards AND I also believe in being mindful in how we react to or deal with a situation.

T

“Courage can give voice to those who are voiceless. Those of us who have a little courage, we can develop more. I don’t believe courage is something that you’re born with, I think you develop courage and you can develop it in small ways.”
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination.”
“If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die.”
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But, people will not forget how you made them feel.”
“The truth brings the past into the present and prepares us for the future. That’s what truth does.”
All quotes – Dr. Maya Angelou

Mindfulness….can we just try it?

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t think that there is ever a date where you “start fresh” per se. After all the person who you are on December 31st is STILL the same person who you’ll be on January 1st. To me, I think if you want to achieve something, you should just start doing it NOW. Besides, most of the ‘resolutions’ made each year are really lifestyle changes and involve depth, understanding, reasoning, and time, which are all strung together with mindfulness.

Mindfulness. It’s a lovely word isn’t it? The way it just rolls off your tongue and comes out almost like a lyric in a song, sung in harmony of different notes, beats, words and sounds but yet stands on its own and projects out clearly even if heard by a foreigner with no knowledge of the language or the word.

I know you’re wondering how do lifestyle changes and mindfulness really relate to one other but I ask that you please bear with me and keep reading for as Common once pointed out, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense”. 😉

I have found that choosing to be more mindful has made me a better friend, coworker, sister, daughter and that it has made my interactions with the people around me, happier and better. Although I’m far from perfect (but then again, who isn’t?) I still choose to practice mindfulness in my every day life to the best of my abilities – from basic errands, responsibilities, work life, to all forms of dealings and communications with people both in my professional and personal life. So instead of giving you a dictionary definition of what being mindful means, I’m going to give you some examples instead. Of course this being my own interpretation, I welcome any and all opinions!

Being mindful is keeping your word or clearly communicating when you cannot. Example: You make plans with your friend on Thursday to hang out on Sunday afternoon. You both agree to spending time at your place. Sunday afternoon comes around and there is no sign of, or word from your ‘friend’. You contact them only for them to tell you ‘I can’t make it down – I’m stuck doing something and cannot leave.’ Mindful action in this scenario would have been your friend letting YOU know as soon as they knew that they wouldn’t be able to make it without you having to contact them to ask if they’re still coming. A mindful reaction is you letting that person know that your standard of friendship requires them to respect you and your time by letting you know of the change in plans as soon as it happens. (Another example of this is you speaking to a friend on the phone and you having to get off the phone, telling them that you’ll phone them back and then you don’t. Your friend has every right to be upset and not speak to you – after all, if it was a business deal, you’d go somewhere else right?)

Being mindful is also keeping it real. Example: There are only a few words that I can say I hate hearing or being addressed by. One of them is short form of honey – ‘hun‘ – which in my personal opinion not only sucks as a ‘word’ in the way that it’s said or used, but it’s also very overused and often comes off as fake. So, I cringe anytime anyone calls me ‘hun‘ and I’ve made it a point to let my friends know that I hate being addressed as such and for them to refrain from using it. Now when I tell my friends that – my real friends – they refrain from addressing me that way. Hence they are mindful of my feelings by not addressing me as ‘hun‘ and I’m being mindful by telling them how I want to be treated, rather addressed by them.

Being mindful is being open-minded and accepting of another person, making them feel good about being themselves around you. I am sure you can pick from a slew of situations you’ve experienced where this applies. In the end we end up being around people who we feel comfortable being ourselves around without feeling that we are judged. This includes friends, family, and those who we have intimate relationships with. Of course this is a two-way street as no one is going to be comfortable being around someone who is constantly criticizing you and making you feel bad about yourself.

Being mindful is also encouraging and being supportive of someone’s passions. Example: I’ve started doing spoken word events where I actually get up in front of people, on a mic, and recite my own poetry. It means so much to me when my friends send me messages of encouragement or good luck. It gives my performance more confidence and makes me feel good knowing that they want me to succeed. They’re being mindful by taking the time to simply send me that message.

There are many ways of being mindful but I’ll leave room for you to think about things that are important to you and to those around you. Instead I’ll leave you with this:

Mindfulness is kind of like your mother who took the time to do laundry on the weekend so that you have clean clothes to wear for school on Monday – mindfulness is another expression of love. It’s also kind of like your grandmother who disciplines you when you start acting out while she’s taking care of you – it sets a standard on how to treat and speak to others while teaching you that you must set your own standards on the way you allow others to treat and speak to you. Mindfulness is also kind of like your father who took you on a trip to an orphanage and showed you how other kids live – it makes you more aware of others and gives you a different perspective on life. Most importantly, mindfulness is kind of like your spouse – it’s a choice.

Mindfulness is so many different things but it laces together truth, honesty, integrity, communication, standards, respect, love, support and care. It makes us grow as people, it makes us feel good and it makes others who we interact with also feel good! Mindfulness….can we just try it?

T

“We achieve mindfulness when reality takes precedence over our ego.”~David Richo (from his book “How to be an Adult in Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving)


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