Nicci Morris

Posts Tagged ‘Perspective’

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.

Love,

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.

Exercise
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.

(Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Nutrition
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.

Meditation/Prayer
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.

Love,

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…

Love,

Awaken Your Senses and Change Your Life

In Beauty, Fashion/Style, Lifestyle, Spirituality on January 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Do you rely on your senses when you interact with other people? If you are fortunate enough to have one, a few or all five of your senses, do you make good use them?

I encourage you to hone your senses, exercising them to strengthen them to help guide you through your journey through life. Today we will delve a bit into how we can do that. Tomorrow we will analyze what we can manifest when we approach life in this way.

Sight – Pay careful attention to what you watch. Take an inventory of your spirit and how it is affected by images you encounter while moving around the world, watching movies, television or even the words you read. Most of us don’t have the ability to shut out all negative images, but you can limit them. You can also combat them with positive images. Take a walk outside and observe nature. Notice the beauty of the world around you. Complete a project that lends beauty and positivity to your home. This is a picture of a photo frame collage project I did a little over a week ago. I purchased the frames at Ikea ($1.99 ea), ordered the 5×7 prints in black-and-white from Walgreens.com ($1.79 ea) and picked them up in the store within a hour or so. I also bought the pots from Ikea ($5.99) and filled them with moss and greenery from Michaels ($6). For less than $50, I created something that makes me smile many times a day, especially when I see the pictures of my precious nephews. Fill your space with things that make you smile from the inside out, too.

Hearing – I often discuss the power of words. Thoughts are things, only in the very early stages. Think of them as the blueprint for your life. The words you think and speak might as well be bricks and mortar. The life you build will be a direct reflection of the plans you draw in your mind and the words you conjure and put out into the world through thought and speech. Choose your thoughts and words with care. If you find yourself in the company of people who speak negative things into their life and into yours, cut off those relationships. It might not be easy, but it is imperative to your spiritual well-being.

Taste – Have you ever done a detox and limited meat, sugar, and processed foods? If you have, you can attest to the fact that your cravings and taste buds truly can change in just a matter of days. Within days of eating a clean diet, you will notice something might be too sweet or you can taste the chemicals in a processed food product. This is your body’s way of directing you to eat what you need. If you have never been one to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, be patient with yourself as you become acclimated to different foods. Juicing and smoothies is a great way to incorporate the benefits of healthful food into your diet. I will share recipes for some of my favorites in the weeks to come.

Touch – Human beings need touch. We crave it. From the time that we are conceived, our neurons are designed to know pain from pleasure. Without touch, newborns face more health challenges and delays. That need never fades. Be open to giving and receiving hugs when you see family and friends. Use those moments of intimacy to reconnect with them and with yourself. Another great option is to schedule regular massages. You can also find providers who specialize in healing touch. You can find a certified practitioner online. Here is one search option to find one near you.

Smell – Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians burned incense and wore fragrant oils. All of these years later, I do those things, too. There is something soothing about the swirl of sweet scents. Scented oils can calm or exhilarate depending on which you choose. They also provide  a layer of protection to your skin against cold and sun. I recommend adding essential oils to shea butter and using that to seal in the moisture of your hair, skin and nails in the winter. If you have fine hair, you can still use this on your locks. Simply do so sparingly, using a small amount every few days as needed. For thick, kinky-curly-coily manes such as mine, use as much and as often as necessary to prevent dryness and breakage. I use shea butter daily.
When you fine tune your senses, you will notice a change in how you perceive the world as well as a change in how you are perceived. Rather than just subsisting and going through the motions, wake up your senses and experience your life to the fullest.

Love,

 

 

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.

Love,

 

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.

Love,

 

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.

Love,

(and Bella)

Picture it…

In Lifestyle, Love/Relationships, Travel on August 31, 2009 at 7:27 pm

My mother has told me since I was a child, “Thoughts are things.” So, I guess you could say I was fortunate enough to know “The Secret” before I knew it was a secret.

Now, at 31, I’m at a point in my life where I am on the edge of greatness. You might not know that, considering all that I am enduring right now. A sometimes-debilitating illness, job loss due to economic woes and the death of the newspaper business (I was the food and home editor at a major metro daily), etc…

But my blessings are here. My fingertips are on them. I can feel the sweet breath of greatness on my cheek… And knowing this can be maddening, frustrating, exciting and frightening, all at once. It is imperative that I channel my thoughts and my energy, leading myself to live the life I envision for myself.

And, to that end, I have created two new vision boards.

This collage technique is, quite simply, the Law of Attraction. It is a visual representation of whatever you want to be, have or do. I recommend this exercise to everyone because it is just that powerful. Thoughts are real, and creating these boards makes a tangible reminder of that and literally keeps your eyes on the prize. The result? Those things will be manifested in your life.

Here is my personal board, outlining the goals I have for my life with regard to my home, love, travel:

Visualization Board - Personal

And here is my professional board, with the goals I have for my career:

Visualization Board - Professional

Do you have a vision board? I’d love to know and celebrate the greatness you see in your future!

It’s just a little rain…

In Lifestyle on August 29, 2009 at 8:02 pm

Keep things in perspective... It's just rain.

I was out and about today when I drove by a “laser wash.” (Whatever happened to plain ol’ car washes?) I’m a big-time frugalista, so I decided that if they had a wash that cost $5 or less, I would get it. When I saw that the least expensive wash was $9, I drove straight through, deciding to have a dirty car for one more day… Besides, it looked like it was about to rain anyway.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I heard what might have been the loudest, most guttural utterance of “f*ck” I’ve ever heard in my life. And I’ve heard “f*ck” plenty of times in my 31 years. I looked to see what was going on and I saw a thirtysomething man standing outside of his car near the vacuum machine station, his brow furrowed as he stomped his feet a few times and stared up at the gray sky. Apparently, it had started to rain as he dried off his freshly-washed car… I then noticed an adorable little old lady in the passenger seat of his car. She was looking at him as if he were crazy for carrying on the way he was. You would have thought someone had totaled his car.

I laughed my ass off. It’s not that I took pleasure in his bad luck, but watching his reaction made me think of all the times I, too, have made a big deal out of something that, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t matter. I’ve worked on not letting little things get to me, and seeing that man today gave me another thing to consider the next time I want to give into over-reaction.

The next time something gets to us, we could all stand to do a bit of introspection to figure out of we’re taking it to the extreme. My guess is, more often than not, it’s just a little rain…