Nicci Morris

Archive for the ‘Love/Relationships’ Category

See What Needs Your Attention Before Things Are Broken

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on August 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I was lying in bed Monday morning, somewhere between sleep and thoughts of what I was going to wear to work, when I heard a loud crash in another part of my apartment. Stunned and shaken, I jumped out of bed and stumbled from room to room, trying to figure out what had just happened. I saw nothing out of place in the kitchen or the dining area. The laundry room was all clear. I went to my living room and there it was: My orchid was on the floor, the green pot in which it sits broken, exposed roots everywhere.

My first reaction was frustration. (I’m still working on not becoming frustrated over things I can’t control anyway.) I knew Bijou, the kitten I recently adopted, was the culprit behind the mess on my hardwood floor. I’ve had this plant for more than a year. I wanted it to bloom again and had grown frustrated with the stalled shoots that never reached maturity, in spite of my regular watering after I bought it. As I picked up the shards of pottery and the parched root system from the floor, I saw the lesson in that moment.

In my frustration with the growth of my plant, I had neglected it in recent months. All an orchid requires is warmth, a bit of sun each day and a few ice cubes one day a week. Sounds easy enough, right? Yet, I had not watered it in weeks. It is still green and gorgeous and sprouting new leaves, but the shoots didn’t grow and they certainly didn’t come close to creating that beautiful arc that they do before they grow blossoms.

How often do we do that in other areas of our life? Perhaps we become weary with our relationships, our health, our finances or the absence of those things. It’s tempting to neglect areas of our lives that require more time, effort, patience, vulnerability and understanding than we are willing to give. When it comes to relationships, that can manifest in the form of failed friendships, family feuds and lost loves. We can also become frustrated and complacent with ourselves and deny our bodies the nourishing food, regular exercise and spiritual care we all need and so deserve. That often leads to literal and figurative brokenness and a dry, parched existence, making it unlikely that we will ever achieve the growth we say we want.

Imagine how different the world would be if we tended to the important things in our lives, rather than waiting for things to break, relationships to end, people to die, lab results to arrive or doors to close.

What in your life requires your attention? What can you do today to further engage so that you can see the growth and manifest the changes that crave you just as much as you crave them? The only thing we have is this moment. Right here and now.

Don’t wait until things break before you realize what needs a fix.



Your Mind, Body And Spirit Know When It’s Time For A 21-Day Detox

In Food, Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on May 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

We all have things that we feel are necessary for our existence. Beyond water, oxygen and food, we have physical and spiritual needs. It is important to meet them in healthful ways and on a consistent basis. When that does not happen, disorder can easily settle into your mind, body and spirit. I recently did a 21-day detox (no animal products, alcohol, yeast breads or any processed food) and I felt wonderful. There is a direct correlation between contentment and perceived success and the level of connection you have with what keeps you grounded.

There are three major things that ground me and keep me focused.

Walking with Bella does more than get my heart rate up and my blood flowing. It also gives me an opportunity to clear my mind and to commune a bit with my furry baby, the trees and the grass. There is something very zen-like about the rhythmic sound of my shoes hitting the ground… Bella’s leash jingling occasionally. On those walks, the sun and wind feel like old friends and I love to reconnect with them.

But my true exercise love is Bikram – or “hot” – yoga. This practice consists of 26 yoga postures done in a humid room heated to between 105-115 degrees. If that sounds like torture to you, please trust me when I say it is just the opposite. I use each 90-minute class to sweat out toxins, to increase strength of every muscle in my body (including my heart) and to release stress. For me, it is akin to a full-body massage in terms of how relaxed and balanced I feel after each practice. With each drop of sweat that hits my mat, I feel stress and worry leave my body. At times, the classes are so intensely cathartic that I weep as I move through the postures, grateful my face is already flushed and wet so not even I can tell the tears from the sweat.

I also do traditional gym workouts to mix things up a bit. Plus, there are times when I enjoy the buzz of working out with other people amid the whir of 50 treadmills and elliptical machines. But I am gentle with myself in the gym during a detox program.


This is now far more simple for me than I ever realized. The reality is I feel, look and generally live, act, react and think better when I eliminate all animal products (including eggs and dairy) and processed foods (soda, yeast breads, etc…) from my diet. When I explain that, people often say, “If I did that, what could I eat?” The answer is plenty. Did you know spinach contains protein? Quinoa, legumes (for those who can properly metabolize them – I, unfortunately, cannot), avocados and nut butters are rich sources of protein, just to name a few. Note that I didn’t mention tofu. While it is a great source of nutrition for those who choose meat-free nutrition, I avoid soy for my breast health as a result of my family history.

On my detox days, I remove coffee and tea (yes, even herbal and decaffeinated tea). The only thing I drink other than spring or distilled water is coconut water and vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies I prepare at home. I eat oatmeal, rice milk, fresh and cooked fruit and vegetables, lots of simple salads (like cucumber and tomato with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper) and homemade soups. The first couple of days can be a little trying, but after that I feel so good that it’s easy to keep going.

As I have mentioned before, these two practices are unique yet I feel they are symbiotic. For me, both are necessary for clarity and a balanced mind. It is not about praying to or for anything in particular. The most powerful changes come into my life when I use meditation and prayer to turn the focus inward, not up to the heavens. The miracles multiply in my life when I focus on gratitude for what I have, not on asking for what I think I or someone else needs.

This time around, I am also cutting out television and social networking for 21 days. I would rather use the evenings during my fast to meditate, pray and catch up on my reading.

Toxins come in many forms if you consider it. They are ingested into us through food and drink, but they are also introduced into our minds and spirits through what we hear and what we see. If your mind, body and spirit are telling you (as mine is telling me right now) that it is time for a detox, do it. It’s only 21 days and it will fly by. I start today and I will do my best to track what I eat, drink and do these days in case it inspires you to do a detox when you are ready. As always, you should definitely check with your doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes.

Give up the common things so you can focus on what you truly need most and be amazed by what uncommon goodness comes into your life.


Sunday Sunset: The Power Of Positivity And Silence

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on January 23, 2012 at 1:48 am

Watch this with your eyes but listen with your soul. Do you see yourself within this? If you find that you are often a bearer of bad news or your instinct is to criticize, try something new right now. Let’s do it together and see the difference it makes in our lives.

Make it a wonderful week…


Do you G.L.O.W.?

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on January 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Compliments are nice.

It feels good to hear words of approval from other people. Perhaps someone loves your shoes, the way your hair looks or the way you led a project at work. Many of us want to be acknowledged when we do something well.

The compliment I have been receiving as of late is, “You have a glow about you…” I love that. Not because they are stroking my ego. What I feel when I hear someone say that has nothing to do with vanity. In fact, it has nothing to do with my external appearance at all. I have found the key to that glow is a simple approach to life:

Give love, omit worry.

When you learn to “give love” and “omit worry,” your perspective on everything changes. You no longer obsess about minutiae or try to change other people or circumstances over which you have no control. Let’s break it down into two parts.

Give Love

When it comes to people and situations that agree with us and our opinions, this is pleasurable and, as a result, easy to do. But what of the people and situations that challenge your spirit? Analyze how you give love during those times. I have had to make a conscious effort to do this when dealing with two people in particular. I have known one of the people for years and once considered the two of us to be extremely close. I have only known the other person for a matter of days. This reveals challenges in life know no boundaries because it is all the same. It is all energy. Rather than allowing hurt inflicted by others to infect me and shape how I move about the world, I consider that they, too, have been hurt at some point in their lives. I consider that the situations in which I felt hurt were not truly about me. It was about them. I have come to terms with things and decided that I will not give either of those people more of my precious energy. Returning their negativity would be futile and it would only drain me and leave me with less energy for my purpose and my path. Instead I give them love them from a distance and move on with my life.

Omit Worry
The most we can achieve is control over ourselves. Our speech. Our thought. Our actions and reactions. Why concern ourselves with anything else? Does this mean that you don’t have to deal with the typical issues of life? It could mean that for you. Many people give up earthly pleasures, careers, money and the like in the quest for truth, choosing spiritual over material. That could be your path.
I had a conversation about this with a wonderful man I know – a man more brother than friend. “But what about bills?” he asked me. Great question. It is also, I believe, an easy way to stifle your spiritual evolution. The unwilling mind says, “I don’t have time… I don’t have energy… I don’t have…” I don’t believe you must forfeit everything to seek truth. You must simply understand bills aren’t everything. Your career, your spouse, your children, your responsibilities, your likes, dislikes, and more are not nor should they be everything. That is the point. When you understand this – not with your head but with your spirit – worry is alleviated.
Like anything else in life, there will be an ebb and flow of your G.L.O.W. There will be times in your life when it dims and there will be times when it burns beyond bright. Give love, omit worry and allow it to come out of you. Just beware of a side effect: Doing so will encourage others to shine, too. Be ready for the light to fill your life!

Image: dan /

Sunday Sunset: Relationships

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on January 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Today marks the start of a weekly feature on this blog. Each Sunday in 2012 around sunset (CST), I will post a video. The videos will be inspiring, enlightening and positive. My prayer is that they will give you a bit of energy as you end one week and begin another.

Here is the first of the year. It is powerful and if you listen with your heart, you will hear an incredible message.


Use Your Sixth Sense to Find Your Purpose and Your Path

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on January 5, 2012 at 5:40 pm
We went over the five senses, but today we will consider the sixth. Your sixth sense is better known as your intuition. I believe that your sixth sense becomes stronger when you pay more attention to the other five senses. Just as you can hone them and increase how much you tune in to what you hear, see, touch, taste and smell, you can also increase your visceral intuition. There are many ways that you can do this.
Pray and Meditate
Let me first say that I view these two important practices as intertwined yet quite separate. I pondered this for quite some time and what came to me is prayer is more external while meditation is more internal. For me, both link me to my Creator, The Universe, God, etc… Whatever you prefer to call the origin and provider of life and energy.
When you pray, you turn outside of yourself. You might ask for favor, protection, clarity. Another important purpose of prayer is to express gratitude for all that you have and all that you don’t have. On the other hand when you meditate, you turn inside of yourself. You focus on your breath, a thought, a mantra, etc… and shut out the world. Doing this will allow you to regain focus and to know your purpose. Both practices are important for healing and resilience. They put you in touch with yourself and your creator, allowing you to become grounded. When you become grounded, intuition flows freely through your spirit and all traces of self-doubt dissipate.
Take Leaps of Faith

Leap and the net will appear.”  – John Burroughs

What is the best way to increase the strength and definition of your muscles? Exercise. You have to use them or they atrophy and you become weak. In the same way, the best way to increase your intuition is to use it. Not doing so will eventually cause you to become weak in spirit and in thought. You will become depressed and it will be far easier for others to mislead you. This is not because you don’t recognize things for what they are but because you don’t have faith in who you are. I have been there many times. It has only been through painful introspection and the sloughing away of what seemed comfortable that I have discovered what is real and true for me. It is through such dark periods that each of us has the the chance to find the purpose and the path for this life. If you have a feeling about a person or a set of circumstances, go with your gut. No matter the outcome, you will find that you are at peace with if you followed your inner rudder and did what you felt was best at the time. It doesn’t mean you will never make mistakes or that you won’t need to change course. You will just as I will. But a leap of faith allows you to grow and evolve into the person you are meant to become. You will never find your life’s purpose until you leap, and you will never understand — let alone appreciate — success until you experience failure.

Remain Positive

Seems simple enough. Unfortunately, for many of us, this exercise is the most difficult of them all. It is hard because it requires that you relinquish the facade of power. Many people will say, “Give it over to God…” Whether you believe in God or not, this principal is applicable. Even if you don’t think there is a God to whom you can give your worries or fears, you can still release them into the ether when you decide to do so. You can only control what you can control. That begins and ends with you. Rather than worry about other people, situations, jobs, bills, etc… use that energy to nurture yourself while you deal with those people, those situations, those issues at the office, the mortgage, etc… You are energy. Nothing more or less. When your energy takes on a different form and you are no long walking the earth in the shell you wear right now, none of those things will matter. What will matter is the legacy you leave. Use your intuition to guide you on the right path and your your legacy will consist of light and love, both of which will always live on, too.


Image: markuso /

Thoughts Are Things: Do You Think Good Ones?

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on January 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

When you consider where you are in your life, what words come to mind? Take an inventory of those words. Do you see a pattern? Are they negative? Are they positive? Do they tear down or build up your self-worth?

How you talk about yourself in your mind and the words you use to describe yourself to others correlates with everything that you experience in your life. Thoughts truly are things and regardless of whether you choose to fill your life with words that uplift or defeat, the outcome will be exactly what you create.

Here are some ways to turn up the positive thoughts and to shut down the negative one:

Put a Pen to Pad — You have probably heard this advice many times. Keeping a journal is a great release for many. It also requires consistency and discipline, two things required to make any lasting spiritual or physical changes in your life. Don’t think that you have to buy a special book to jot down your thoughts if you’re not ready for that. You can also create a Google document or a Word document and express yourself there. Another option for people who have the spiritual gift of writing is to create your own blog. Yes, there are tons of them, but so what? There are also lots of people but no two are exactly alike. Blogging is cathartic and can help other people at the same time.

Pass Notes — Grab your sticky note pad and a black marker (a medium point works best) and write down EVERYTHING you want out of life. Put one expectation on each sticky note. Put the notes on your bathroom mirror. Read each one each time you are at the sink to brush your teeth or wash your hands or your face. For an even more powerful experience, read them aloud. I do this and  meditate on them while I get dressed in the morning and while I get ready for bed at night. I promise the transformation you experience as a result of this exercise will amaze you, even before you think you are ready for the changes. See that picture up there? I did this spiritual exercise toward the end of fall 2011 when I was going through a major life change. It allowed me to re-focus and take the necessary (but painful) steps to get to the next level in my journey.

Reach out — When was the last time you took a moment to write a letter to someone? Not a text, no e-mail, no pre-written card on which you’ve scratched your name. A true, handwritten note. Try it today. Draft a letter to a loved one and express to them how much they mean to you and why. This is a powerful exercise because it allows you to give positive energy away which in turn brings so much goodness back into your life and your spirit. Send your love to your mate, a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a friend, or anyone else who has had a positive impact on your life today and you will both reap the blessings tomorrow.

None of this is magic. The definition of magic is “The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” There is nothing “mysterious” about this.  However the rest of that definition applies, in case you had any doubt. You do have influence over your life. Reclaim that power and don’t allow anyone else or any set of circumstances to dictate who and what you are. The power belongs to you.

Always remember your word is your wand. Wield it with precision and create the life you envision for yourself.



Let observation be your motivation

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on August 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm

My cardio playlist was the only thing that kept my legs moving as I contemplated jumping off the treadmill just 20 minutes into my workout, a full 40 minutes less than I planned when I walked in the gym that day. My lungs protested and my thighs rebelled as I rationalized quitting. “I could do 10 more minutes, and then do 1.5 hours tomorrow…”

Just then, I looked two rows ahead of me, where the recumbent bikes were. Two women stared at one of the bikes. They appeared to be sizing it up, much like a hiker would before a daunting climb. They looked at each other, then back at the bike, spoke a few words, and took deep breaths in unison. The woman on the left stood, and the other was seated in a wheelchair. The woman who stood squatted a bit, reached around the other woman’s chest, wrapped her arms tight and clasped her hands, as she prepared to lift her companion from the wheelchair and onto the bike. The woman in the chair reached up and around her friend, fingers locked behind her neck. I could not hear their private exchange, but I could read the lips of the woman who was standing: “One… Two… Three…” My heart pumped harder and I felt my pulse in my jaw, not because of the intensity of the incline or speed, but out of concern for those women. I tried not to stare, but I was captivated, cheering silently as the woman with the disability worked to find a position on the bike seat that felt right, and as her companion placed her feet on the pedals, snug within the stirrups. In that moment, I forgot about the burn in my lungs and my legs and held my breath as I watched a brave woman try with all of her might to move the right pedal. I could see the focus and determination on her face as she called on neurons, muscles, and joints to cooperate. Beads of sweat glistened on her face and neck, wetting and catching her dark hair. Her legs jumped and twitched beyond her control, moving but not in the way she wanted them to. Not in the way required to turn on the console. Her face reddened, perhaps from emotion and frustation and certainly from exertion. She looked up at her companion and shrugged as a toothy grin spread over her face. “I tried,” her lips said as her eyes welled with tears. Once again, her friend reached down as she reached up, this time for a hug, not a lift.

I felt ashamed of myself and my own eyes filled with tears. There I was, able to move, walk, jog, run, bike, dance… and I was going to take the easy road instead. Just because it felt hard in that moment.

How often do we choose the path of least resistance and, as a result, pass up our purpose? Rather than focus on what is uncomfortable in your life, pay more attention to the blessings, gifts and opportunities to create good in your life and in the world. Be grateful for what you have and leave a lasting, positive impact on others in the process. The next time you want to quit something that is good for you and necessary for your journey, think of your blessings and, for perspective, of the people who would love to be where you are. Stay the course and relish the pleasure and the pain, for both are byproducts of growth and possibility.



What my dog, Bella, has taught me

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Spirituality on July 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

My Bella has been with me through thick and thin (no pun intended) for the last four and a half years. She’s been my literal roll dog, hitting the highway with me across town and across the country. She has soothed me during heartache and heartbreak, twisted ankles, colds, unemployment and more. She is sitting right here at my feet as I type this, per usual. She is my baby.

Although she can’t speak, she has taught me plenty of lessons since she was a crazed puppy, all paws and legs with the most adorable wrinkled forehead. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned.

Sometimes it’s best to walk away when you make a stink.

Bella has a habit of letting a real serious one rip and then… she walks away. She usually gives me a look that says, “I wouldn’t keep sitting there if I were you!” And she’s right. It’s best to move away at that point.

Bottom line: Know when to walk (or even trot) away. There are some situations in life that get stinky, to say the least. It really doesn’t matter who stunk up the place. Just know when to make a graceful exit.

Never be afraid to ask for what you want, even after someone has told you “no.”

No matter how many times I tell Bella to beat it during dinner, she always manages to creep back around. She doesn’t whine, she doesn’t get too close, but she is nonetheless relentless. Her undying love for my cooking (who could blame her?) draws her in each time, and her big brown eyes and sweet spirit makes me break down every now and again.

Bottom line: In a world full of people who will love nothing more than to tell you “No,” you will still manage to find all the yeses you need. What matters is that you seek and recognize those green lights when you come across with them. I have met people and I have been the person who doesn’t feel like they deserve more than “no.” Like Bella, I know how to carry myself and how to respect others, but that doesn’t keep me from asking for the sun, the moon and the stars. Ask and ye shall receive. At least some of the time.

Run until you feel like throwing up. Cough. Breathe. Repeat.

Give Bella an open field and you will soon see little more than a black flash and a pink tongue racing around you. She’s a nutcase. But her zeal and passion for life is enviable. She runs until she is spent and coughing, all but throwing up. At that point she sprawls out (whether it’s in sand, mud, snow, grass or mulch) and takes a breather. With her ears flopping, tongue  lolling and chest heaving, she has what can only be described as a huge smile on her face. Once she regains her composure, she’s right back up and at ’em.

Bottom line: Life is short. Why not go hard? I have found the power (and even the pleasure) of getting up before the sun does so I can walk, run, bike… something. It feels so good to move and I’m so blessed to do so. Why not revel in my blessing and run until I heave?

Follow your passion and find the sunny spots along the way.

I know where Bella is at any given moment of the day in my house. You can always find her in the sun. She’s like my own little furry sundial. In the morning, she’s lying in the dining room, working her way across the floor as the sunny spot moves. In the afternoon, she’s in the family room. Heading into the early evening, she’s in the breakfast nook to soak up the last few rays of the day.

Bottom line: Find what brings you joy and make it your business to seek it. Daily. Even if that means you have to up and move around a bit or change your plans.


(and Bella)

Gratitude is the path to zen

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships on March 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm

It is easy to exude positive energy and to seem balanced when times are good and all is well. But how do you deal with stress? Do you withdraw? Do you become angry and lash out at others? How you react to stress indicates what drives you. Consider a piece of fruit. If you juice it, you will only and always get the juice of that fruit. It doesn’t matter if you use a commercial juicer, a handheld juicer or a mortar and pestle. It is imperative that we pay careful attention to what is inside of us. This ensures that no matter what happens in our lives and no matter what comes or goes, we can remain steadfast in our positive energy and receive the blessings and lessons that fill our lives.

How do we achieve this? Two things in particular have been saving graces in my life: Meditation and gratitude. I consider them grounding elements and they have allowed me to be introspective, steadfast and compassionate.

I have been on a path to inner peace and enlightenment for as long as I can remember. I experienced many things in my childhood that muddied my mind, body and spirit and made it difficult for me to find balance in anything. A sensitive person by nature, my true self and spirit were tainted by events early in my life that left wounds that have only begun to heal in the past two years. Abandonment, sexual and physical abuse from relatives, and other painful events had misshapen the girl I was meant to be and that eventually deformed the woman I was. For many years I carried with me more than any child, teen or woman should have to bear. Like millions of other people who endure abuse as a child, I faced each day and formed every relationship with an undercurrent of fear. Fear of abandonment. Fear of being abused again, in one way or another. As a result, I subsisted on surface relationships and instincts that pushed me to lace-up my shoes and run at the first sign of discomfort. Although Nicci the Child had no recourse, no protection and could not fend for herself, Nicci the Adult was mad as hell and she was never going to allow anyone to get close enough to hurt her again. Sometimes I look at pictures of me between the ages of 5 and 30 and I hardly recognize that little girl… that teenager… that shell of a woman. Those are my dead years. Many survivors of abuse can identify such a period in their lives.

What I discovered is there is no life without risk of pain. In 2009, I faced a decision between life and death. I could continue to subsist and move through this world as someone who sees without seeing and breathes without living, or I could dig deep into myself, do the work required and be whole again.

I chose life.

I meditated, prayed and fasted for much of that year. Battling a physical health issue and incredible emotional stress, I took a leave of absence from work and never returned to that office. I ended my marriage to someone I thought I would be with for the rest of my days. I lost the home we bought together. I dropped about 15 pounds. I stopped going out and talked openly only to my sister and a few close friends. It was a physical, emotional and spiritual sloughing off of everything and it was the most painful year of my life. Beyond that, it was necessary, and through it all, I had gratitude for so many things.

I was grateful for the small savings I had that allowed me to buy fruits, vegetables, grains and good olive oil and salt.

I was grateful for the cool nights that summer which allowed me to save money on air conditioning.

I was grateful for the time when my friends came to my house, long after the cable was off, and just sat with me while we listened to music and I prepared a simple dinner.

I was grateful for the mother bird who built that nest right outside my front door that spring. The sound and sight of that process (from start to first flight) reminded me of the size and scale of life.

I was grateful for my amazing father who helped me financially and made sure I was able to pay off and insure my car when I was on the verge of losing that, too. I was grateful that he never once questioned me or made me feel bad about being in need and to this day has never uttered a word about it.

I was grateful for my sister and her husband who made me laugh when I didn’t remember how to smile.

I was grateful for my nephew who came into the world in August of that year. His first cry reminded me of how precious breath is, and with his warm little body in my arms and his head cradled against my neck, he felt like promise and possibility.

In 2009, I had the least I have ever had from a material perspective, but I was rich in all of the ways that mattered. I surrendered to the loss, the pain and the hurt and centered myself and truly focused on what it means to be what I was made to be. Today I no longer want for any material thing and that has nothing to do with my household income and everything to do with my heart and spirit being whole. I don’t necessarily believe you have to go through times of hardship in order to find your purpose and to settle into yourself, but such tests are inevitable and there will be more for me as there will be for you.

My prayer is that you will have a mind of meditation and heart of gratitude and be prepared for whatever comes or goes in your life… That, I believe, is the path to peace. That is the path to zen.