Finding Balance

I have been working extremely hard at school.  As most of you know I am working toward earning my Doctorate degree and it has been beyond mentally draining!  As part of the program I have to write a dissertation.  Most students struggle with developing a dissertation idea and have a hard time even getting going on the research for their dissertation.  Not me.  I have a zillion ideas and I could explode!  However, while I was printing a number of previous research articles (I know it is not eco-friendly, but I am so old-school with some things) I realized that I was not honoring myself.  You see, the concept I have for my dissertation is related to creativity and the work place.  Sounds fascinating, right?  As I watched my printer print the word “creativity” over and over again I had this ephiny…I was not honoring my creative instincts.

At some point this past winter I lost myself in the winter blues – which was a long period of time since it was an extremely long winter in the North.  I moved throughout a day doing what was expected of me; completing my housework, schoolwork, and loving my family.  Notice how I didn’t mention taking care of my creative me?  I had no balance.

I have discovered that life is about balance.  Too much of something is never good.  Whatever you have too much of you eventually become tired of.  It was like my Special K bar kick last summer.  I loved those things.  I got into the habit of eating one everyday…now I can’t stand the sight of them!  I had TOO MUCH!  I believe balance is one of the most important pieces to living playfully and peacefully.  Honoring all parts of yourself and caring for each one creates balance.  Sometimes one part of you might need a little more attention than another part.  Give that part of you what it needs.  Don’t question or hesitate.  Honor and balance.  Live playfully and peacefully each day!

A relaxing night on the patio.  Creating a little balance in my life!

A relaxing night on the patio. Creating a little balance in my life!

Judgments & Journeys

I was having lunch with a friend the other day when she made a comment about society being highly “judgmental.”  In the context of this conversation she was referring to being judged for her tattoos and piercings.  I have continued to think about this statement for the past couple of days, and I have to agree with her.  Why are we such a judgmental society?  Who are we to judge other people when we don’t know the story of their journey?

Her comment about judgments resonated with because of an experience I had a couple of weeks ago.  I attended a class for my Doctoral program.  When I entered the room I immediately became aware of the fact that I was clearly the youngest person in the room, I had visible tattoos and body piercings, and I was wearing the most casual clothing (which was permitted) in the classroom.  What really stuck out for me was a couple of hours after class started and I looked around the room – everyone sat with their black laptops, black Ipads, and black roller-bags….and I sat with my bright pink laptop, pink Ipad, and zebra print bag.  I could literally feel the judgment from the other students, but I thought to myself “I have worked my butt off, I am a successful business woman at a young age, I DESERVE to be here as much as they do, and I choose not to conform.”  By the end of the five-day class the group had bonded, judgments had passed, and I remained unchanged.

The moral of the story is we need to stop and think people as people – not stereotypes or judgments.  We need to look beyond the piercings, tattoos, age, hairstyle, clothing, etc. and see the person in front of us.  Just because other people may not “conform” to what is acceptable does not mean they are “bad” – they are just fabulously unique!

By the way – after my friend and I finished lunch we went and got more body piercings!  We are who we are!

Source: http://www.xanga.com/private/lindseynicole561/subsmain.aspx

Source: http://www.xanga.com/private/lindseynicole561/subsmain.aspx

My Favorite Music/Band

I struggle with identifying my favorite band.  I have liked a large variety of music for different reasons throughout my life.  The first music I remember listening to was Queen.  My father played “We Will Rock You” while I rocked on my rocking horse when I was only three years old.  I loved the beat of the music while I whipped back and forth on that rocking horse.  It felt so freeing – almost like I was flying!

When I was eight or nine years old I remember my twin uncles playing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard, which has become an iconic song.  I loved that song.  It had that awesome rock feeling that made you want to wear ripped jeans, red bandanas, and use a lot of hairspray!  Hearing it now brings me back to that feeling of anything goes.

When I began to discover my own types of music I first enjoyed the New Kids on the Block.  They were my first band I loved.  I had posters, big pins, all the tapes, books, pajamas – yes, I was a “blockhead.”  I still enjoy the music of NKOTB on my ipod, and when I listen to it I am reminded of the power of my decisions.  I made the decision to like NKTOB, and it was the first major decision in my life.  I was committed as a fan.  I now  realize that not all decisions are good decisions;)  I send a huge apology to my mom and dad for having to listen to the New Kids on the Block for hours on end.  You have more patience than I do.

As I grew through adolescence I enjoyed a variety of music.  I liked, and still like country music, rap, R & B, rock and hip-hop.  My ipod consists of so many different types of music.  I am the queen of impromptu dance parties and spoon (or hairbrush) microphones.  Whenever I play music I feel empowered, free, and energized!  Various songs bring back memories from the past years of my life; some good, some bad and some painful, but no matter what the song I have the chance to be lost in a daydream for just a few minutes, and take a break from real life.

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My Favorite Animal

As promised I am going to answer the questions publicly for the Magical Me Makeover!  My favorite animal is a dolphin.  Dolphins amaze me.  They are free to roam and explore the mysterious underwater world.  Dolphins move with grace through the water in a methodic manner.  However, dolphins cannot roam freely without limitations.  They cannot stay underwater indefinitely because they need to come to the surface for air.  The need for dolphins to exit the water forces the creature to find a delicate balance between pushing the limits, and acceptance to vulnerability.

Photo excerpted from www.dolphins-world.com

Photo excerpted from www.dolphins-world.com

Magical Me Makeover Day 1 Questions

Here we go!  Day 1 questions:  What is your favorite animal?  Why?  What draws you to that animal?  What are some positive attributes of that animal?  Negative attributes?  Reflect away!

My 10 year old dog, Gracie.  She is magical!

My 10 year old dog, Gracie. She is magical!

In 2 Days….

In two days I will be blogging the “Magical Me Makeover” (Nicole Ross, 2013).  The Magical Me Makeover will consist of 10 days of interactive blog posts designed to take a deeper look at yourself.  The Magical Me Makeover is self-paced, private and free of judgements.  You choose which topics you want to explore about yourself, and can answer all or none of the questions.  In the end it is hoped you will have discovered some new, exciting aspects of youself that can be implemented immediately into your lifestyle.  Check back for the Magical Me Makeover!

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My little one’s Magical Me Makeover!  Not afraid to be himself!

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  It is 2013, and, as with every new year, it is a great time for resolutions.  Honestly, I hate the thought of a new years resolution.  So many of us fabulous human beings say we are going to change something in our life, but abandon the motivation to change within weeks of making the resolution.  How does one avoid this constant cycle year after year?  Follow these simple steps to success:

1)  Don’t set ONE BIG goal for the whole year.  When a person sets one big goal for the entire year it is a set-up for failure.

2)  Set smaller goals, like daily, weekly or monthly.  This will take you down the right path to be successful.

3)  Get a dry-erase board (or chalkboard, or piece of paper – whatever).  Write down your smaller goals.  For example, I use a dry-erase board and write down my small goals for the day (a new blog post is the last one on my list today;)

4)  Clear blocks or barriers for avoiding the completion of your goals.  These barriers are your problems and do not belong to anybody else.  Address them, face them, and get rid of them!

5)  Reward yourself.  Once you have reached your smaller goals give yourself a reward.  It can be something simple like a piece of gum or something big like a shopping spree!

Before you know it all your small goals will have added up to one big goal.  It is like a puzzle.  Take the time to put the pieces together.  If you take it slow, you will enjoy the achievement when you have completed the puzzle;)

What Brings You Joy?

I was reading an article today and the author posed the question “what brings you joy?”  It caused me to pause for a moment, but it was only a moment before I rushed to grab my journal so I could to explore the vast question.  As I sat staring at the blank page of my journal I wondered if other people had ever really thought about this particular question.  I mean, we know what makes us happy, but joy is an entirely different emotion.  When I think of the word joy I picture myself bubbling over with happiness, being engulfed with laughter and feeling the emotion throughout my entire body.  Once I was able to envision myself being overtaken with joy I was able to easily list the things that bring me joy.  Some things were deep and meaningful such as snuggling with my children, and having a romantic dinner with my husband while others items were simple like having a latte by the fire and dancing.

Once I identified what brings me joy in my life I realized that some of the items on the list were things I was not doing!  Why would I not make time to create joy in my life?  Many of us do not take the time to live our life to the fullest.  We often dwell on the sad drama-driven events in our lives, and don’t take the time to celebrate the joys that we have each day.

I challenge you to create a list, or a visual journal page of what brings you joy.  Ask yourself: are you doing these joyful things or do you need more joy in your life?  What are you dwelling on that will not move you forward with your journey of life, but continue to keep you stuck in the mud?  Are you celebrating the “little” joys in your life?  Once you have identified what joys you need more of in your life create a plan on how you are going to integrate joy into your daily living.

Always live joyfully!  Could you imagine a world where everyone lived in joy?  It would be a world of feetie jammies, snuggles, and dancing!  Live joy-FULLY!

It brings me joy to pick out pumpkins each fall with my kids. This was many years ago, but still one of my favorite pics!

A Time for You

The feeling of fall – or should I say winter – hit today.  As I watched the leaves tumble about and fall freely from their mother branches I thought about how fall has always brought life changes for me.  I always have bittersweet feelings about fall.  It is a time of death for the vegetation, hibernation for the animals and cold for the air.  I am often sad to see summer come to an end, and know that the cold winter is on its way.  I use the fall season as a time of reflection and change.  I met the love of my life in the fall.  I became pregnant in the fall.  I gave birth in the fall.  Each fall season I am reminded to be with myself, welcome the changes that may come, say good-bye to parts of myself that have died, and discover aspects of myself have been in hibernation.  Be the tree that releases its leaves or the flower that looses its petals in anticipation of welcoming new in time.

My pumpkin purchase last year in the fall!

Nikki’s Top Ten

I was reading a list online today of the top ten things you should do each day in order to have a successful day.  I found it a bit ironic that someone else was telling me I needed to do each day in order to have a great day.  That list blossomed my blog today – Nikki’s Top Ten.  Now I am not going to say that “this is what you need to do to have a successful day.”  I am simply reporting my top ten things I do each day to you only get your brain thinking about your personal top ten things you do, or should do each day to have a great day.  So here it goes counting down from ten…

10.  Wear Yoga Pants and Fuzzy Slippers – I wear these everyday I that I possibly can.  Right now I am wearing them.  I feel comfortable, relaxed and cozy.  What a great feeling!

9.  Surround Yourself with Inspiration – My whole house is inspiring.  It is painted fabulous colors, filled with great artwork and has the best people and animals inside it!

8.  Wear Feetie Jammies – Need I say more?

7. Indulge – When I say indulge I mean however you want.  Sometimes I eat something really fantastic, drink wine, take a nap, buy a pair of shoes – it can be a simple indulgence or a really BIG one.  It doesn’t matter:)

6.  Dare to be Different and Create a New Norm – I dare to be different all the time.  I color my hair funky, have tattoos and piercings.  I like to wear clothes that pop, and shoes that most people wouldn’t be caught dead in!  I love it all!  Who says what’s “normal?”

5.  Release Yourself From Others Judgements – Who cares what other people think about you?  Does it really matter?  They are most likely jealous, and wish they could live as freely as you do!

4.  Fill Your Creativity Cup Often – Whether it be going to the place that energizes your creativity, or buying a new coloring book, your cup will fill up creating a world of imagination and possibilities!

3.  Honor and Respect Your “Thing” – Yep.  That “thing” that you do and you just don’t know why you do it.  Don’t fight it.  Just honor it.  It is a part of you.

2.  Do What You Love and Love What You Do – It is important to wake up each morning and love what you do.  I love waking up, being a mommy and spending the day being creative.  On the days I work at my mental health clinic, I enjoy the clients I work with, and love helping people.

1.  Live Playfully and Peacefully – I always find time to play!  When you play you help create a balance in your life, which leads to a feeling of peace.

So that’s it.  My list that I live by.  Think about your list.  Are you liking the way you are living, or do some changes need to be made?  Do what works for you.  If you follow your heart you will find your life to by more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Me playing at Pier 1. I actually ended up buying that chair. I use it when I need a time-out from the real world.

Me playing on Halloween Night – kids don’t have as much fun with Powerwheels as adults do!