Choosing Wonder

Choosing Wonder IS the easiest choice. Wonder expresses how much you value the feelings of anxiety and how badly you want to heal those feelings. Amber Rae offers some amazing advice in her authentic book, “Choose Wonder over Worry.”

I have read and continue to read this incredible book I found by chance called, “Choose Wonder Over Worry,” by Amber Rae. Let me say, I give this book 10 out of 5 stars because 5 just doesn’t seem like enough.

I have been through a lot in my life and I don’t remember experiencing noteworthy anxiety until I was in my early 20’s. Now, after years of suffering, reading blogs, forums, medical journals, books, anything that would help me understand and overcome this intense fear I had inside, I found this book.

This book was the first thing that truly resonated with me and it’s taken me so long to write this blog because I couldn’t think of the right words to express to everyone of how invaluable this book became in my healing journey.

If you haven’t read the book, click here to buy it. Truly the author, Amber Rae, speaks from experience.

While I read this book, I have become obsessed with highlighting the best parts. When I finished reading, I had highlighted nearly the whole book. Every chapter fulfills the lessons I need in order to be the best me and offer my best self everyday to everyone.

She adds journal posts to the end of almost every chapter called, “Journal Into Wonder.” I am going to write posts journaling my entries so I can find my awesome fellow “wonder writers” who want to share in this healing journey together.

The First Journal Entry

Again, grab the book here if you want to join in this fun series!

“The answers are already within you. You’ll find journal prompts throughout the book to connect you with your inner knowing and voice of truth. Begin with this inquiry:”

What is your relationship like with Worry? With Wonder?

– Amber Rae “Wonder Over Worry”

My Relationship with Worry

I connected with Worry when I was in my early 20’s right after my son was born. I had always had a little cautious voice inside telling me to be careful, make smart choices, and I was not great at listening to it. The worrying really began when I was responsible for another human life with the birth of my first child.

Suddenly the world was more dangerous, the emotional roller coasters were more harmful, and I was all around terrified about how all this would affect the wellbeing of this tiny human that was entrusted to me. I started having anxiety attacks when he was about 6 months old, and soon after, I developed panic attacks and phobias of driving and being alone. My relationship with Worry became a 10+ year quest to balancing my internal fear with the reality and faith of being alive.

My Relationship with Wonder

Wonder was never easy for me to comprehend, even though I have a naturally curious personality. I considered myself to be a logistical person, everything had to make sense in a realistic way.

The concept of wonder is fairly new to me still. Prior to reading this book, I would allow myself to get anxious when I was feeling anxious. Now, I think about the meaning behind the anxiety and try to be patient with myself throughout the observation and consideration of what is going on to cause the anxiety.

I would say wonder has opened my mind to exploring what hides beneath the anxiety, the fear, the phobias to discover how to heal myself.

I encourage you again to grab this book and get involved in this impromptu conversation digging into Wonder and Worry. If you are suffering from Panic attacks or anxiety attacks, I know you will appreciate the work of Amber Rae.

I suspect you’re reading this because there are aspects of yourself that you want to discover and express. I wrote this book to coax that out of you. To show what’s possible when wonder leads the way.

“Choose Wonder Over Worry” by Amber Rae

The Fragile State of Frustration

In life, I have made these choices that I knew would probably end up bad at the time I made them, but I forged forward ignoring the clear signs. Maybe my hope in humanity is much greater than it should be, but I can’t stop believing that people are more good than bad.

I was taught by my amazing parents to treat others the way you want to be treated. I struggled for a long time with this lesson, and I even lied to myself that I was doing it, when I wasn’t in many cases. I know lately, I have been making an amazing effort to be good to those who are good to me and that is a beautiful transformation.

The Frustration About My Recent Choices

Lately, I have made an insane amount of good and bad choices in regards to my happiness and who I surround myself with.

The best choice I have made lately is my choice in a lover. My sweet, handsome spark of goodness who makes everything positive, even when it seems impossible.

The worst choices I have made, as of recently, was letting an old friend tear me apart again, believing she was actually a good person who was capable of love and compassion. Then I made the bad choice of believing (and having faith) that my ex was capable of being a decent human being when clearly he isn’t, and never will be. Both of these people do not have boundaries and would benefit from learning how to give as much as they take, and now I know that they are not good for me. It hurts a lot to let them both go again, but at least I stayed true, and authentic to myself throughout the situations that were meant to destroy my self confidence. I gave them both a chance in hopes that there was more to the story then the pain and destruction they continuously bring into my life.

I’m moving forward now

Someone once said to me:

When someone shows you who they really are, believe them.

From now on, I am no longer going to waste my time, energy and loyalty on people who don’t wish to exchange energy in a healthy way. I have an amazing amount of love in my life because I surround myself with good, decent, positive people who do not believe in harming me for fun or shoving their feelings down my throat as though I have no feelings to feel myself.

I want to blame my need to salvage bad relationships and selfish people from their personal torments on my own empathy, but truly I just care so much and have so much compassion for others that I give my heart and soul to everything and, sometimes, I never get the same respect in return.

In fact, I got told that I am abusive, and narcissistic because I wrote an honest post about my own feelings on a situation that hurt me. The post, entitled, “Speaking to the Wall with Thorns,” was my lament for how I felt after being hurt by someone for the millionth time. It was a healing post for me.

Although I never mentioned any names in my post, it was stated that the person who was the subject of the post was hurt by it. Due to this fact, it gave this person the right to emotionally abuse me even when I stopped fighting and defending myself through a text message war that came out of nowhere.

No!

Abuse is when you continue to come at someone with physically, emotionally, and mentally damaging intentions because you either derive joy from hurting someone else or you feel that you’re feelings or thoughts are more valid then the other persons.

I am not that kind of person. I don’t derive pleasure from hurting others nor do I want to invalidate another persons feelings to justify my own. I don’t need someone to validate my feelings and I don’t need to righteously justify myself in anyway. My intentions are always to love and appreciate others. I may have a hard time sometimes, but I always pull through to love and appreciate others.

The Good Choices Shine Brightest

When I finally reached my limit of drama with my recent choices, I had a momentary break down this morning. I looked up and my best choice was meeting my teary eyed glance with sympathy. He cared about my hurt, my pain, and it wasn’t a half hearted care, it was a truly devoted, truly sincere care for my wellbeing. He looked at me like he would do anything to see me smile through the pain he witnessed me experiencing these past few days.

That amazing choice in my seemingly messy, and chaotic life is a great man. I feel sometimes that I don’t deserve him at all! He is a truly awesome person who will do whatever he can to make me smile through the pain or hold me while I cry it out.

He saw me down and gave me chocolate ♥️🙏

In return, I feel the same way! I never want to see him in pain and I am beyond grateful to have his loving embrace when the overwhelming burden of over-loving and over-caring for ungrateful and harmful people is too great for me. This is an exchange of good energy with someone capable of giving and receiving energy in a healthy way.

Note to Self From The Pain to The Gain

Note to self moving forward from this horrible storm in my life right now, I am worthy of respect and love from those who I invite into my life. I will not ever be held down by my past or treated unkindly to justify someone else’s feelings or stressors. Compassion and ability to care for someone even when you don’t always agree, is a must in my choice of who will stay in my life from this moment on.

I try to remember, we are all stressed and we all have feelings, but no ones feelings and stressors are more important or more valid than another person’s feelings or stressors.

Literally, No one is more important than another.

It does not make me narcissistic or selfish if I miss a message, or don’t always have time to listen one time to someone I care for (especially when it is rare that I can’t find time for everyone I love). If I am working a million hours to care for two special needs kids, or have a lot on my plate in general, I don’t need to justify that to someone who’s intentions are to harm me regardless. In addition, every single person has narcissistic traits, but if you believe someone is narcissistic because they are doing the best they can to get by, then is it really worth it to try to hurt them? No!

No more!

I will not have friends or people in my life who want to be passive-aggressive, or flat out aggressive, and hurt me even when I say, “I’m sorry,” for something I don’t fully believe I should be sorry for.

The sad reality I am beginning to see is that there are people who don’t want an apology. Sorry is just the beginning of your efforts to make them happy, then they want your undivided attention whenever they ask for it, and all of your time should be theirs if they ask for it also. This kind of relationship or friendship is too much of a burden for me. I don’t need this drama in my life. I choose to send these people away with love and leave it alone.

I am happy with who I have become and I had a momentary breakdown when I looked at my recent choices and realized that these two people have made me question if I really changed or not. If someone makes me question my kindness, my unconditional love for others, or my sanity, they aren’t good for me.

It’s hard for me to accept defeat, but I am not going to fight for someone else’s respect, love or loyalty anymore.

You showed me who you are, and I choose to believe you and send you away with love and hope you find happiness in this life. ♥️🙏

Becoming my own Best Friend!

I found this quote on Facebook and felt that it was worthy of sharing.

Learn to be your own best friend, because there’s going to be days when no-one is going to be there for you but yourself!!!

Though I made it through the worst of my most recent storm, I still have to remember to care for myself wholeheartedly because bipolar disorder doesn’t have a known cure. One of the main reasons I lose my balance in life is because I constantly become dependent on people to be there or create my happiness, thinking I know them well enough to trust they will. When they leave for any reason, I find myself shocked and disappointed and blaming myself for the whole situation.

The abuse of blaming one’s self for someone else’s poor choices is a form of self abuse that I am starting to realize is within my own control to begin healing. I never would have been abusing myself had I realized I was taking responsibility for someone else’s feelings. Their feelings may be in correlation to my actions, but it if I can’t see their side of a situation, I am better off walking away.

Truly, and sincerely, this quotes advice is one I myself need to work on being better at. Self care is my top priority these days because a lot of people have come and gone in my life over the years. Some departures were for the best, some for reasons beyond my control, and even some that were my own doing. I have had to remind myself that people leaving isn’t part of the bipolar thing, that’s part of a flaw in social skills and coping skills. It may even be a consequence of realizing that you don’t mesh with everyone.

Finding love for myself these past few months has taught me that I am worthy of being loved in a healthy way, but also it has reminded me of how to keep my needs for the right type of love I believe I deserve in my view at all times. I also remind myself on the lonely days that something great is coming and I need to be patient while it makes its way to me. I usually try to rush things in hopes that my misguided hopeless romantic side will be trustworthy. Clearly that hasn’t ever worked for me.

There is no rush on great things, especially because what isn’t meant for me is not for me to keep, and I’m just trying to be okay with the timing happening without my controlling it anymore.

I learned the life lesson that life is messy for everyone, and even thought it appears messier with bipolar, truthfully, I have many friends and family members who do not have bipolar but go through similar stuff and struggle to figure it out.

Bipolar disorder is just a condition of the lack of control over our thinking processes, intense empathy for others and little for ourselves, and the ability to be kicked down emotionally with very little force. The funny thing is, you can change all of these inconvenient traits of bipolar if you want to (and I am seeing that now in my own life), and you can learn to love and value yourself enough to not “need” anyone to make it better.

Bipolar disorder doesn’t mean I am mentally unhealthy. Furthermore, I don’t have to follow the old patterns I think might work better this time (which is the exact definition of insanity), but rather I can try a new way and go against my knee jerk response. Being bipolar is one piece of the total puzzle, because if you find a way to be brave and to be courageous in solving your own issues before saddling someone else with them, no one will ever think you have bipolar.

So if you love to paint, sing, make ice cream, bake cookies, create crafts, or whatever you love to do, do it and take note on how you are able to be there for yourself. This is called being your own best friend…

And it’s a beautiful thing!

Have a blessed day friends.

I’m Thankful for…

Today is a holiday I used to believe to be a waste of time. I used to say selfish things like:

What do I have to be thankful for living with bipolar disorder?

Or

Should I be thankful I didn’t commit suicide this year?

It used to be an unhealthy day for me, one where I couldn’t see the people, places or things in my life that were worth being thankful for. Rather, I saw only the bleak light of surviving another year.

Truth bomb right here!

This year, I felt as though the holidays were going to destroy me. With the break up of my 5 year relationship, the 2 suicide attempts, the messy career moves I made that nearly put me over the edge, and the horrible people I allowed into my life under false pretenses, I was uncertain that I would be thankful for anything again this year.

Fortunately, I am.

I am thankful for bipolar disorder and my ability to be more open about my life with bipolar.

There are moments when being myself feels impossible but impossible means I’m possible!

I am thankful for my children and my family who have had my back through the darkest of times.

My reason for being alive comes from the children I created. Born out of love and loved through and through.

I am thankful for my beauty, and my heart that is always full because of family and friends.

When I asked myself, “when did I feel most alive?” My answer was, “when I smiled casually for myself and no one else.”

I am thankful for my will power to survive the darkness even when I thought it would eat me alive or I wouldn’t survive the emotional pain.

I named this graphic “The pieces of my broken heart 💔 “

I am thankful for Bali and all the amazing people that brought healing, love and kindness into my life without expecting anything more than honesty from me.

My adventurous Brother from another mother Jim!

And my brother from another mother Dan, the bloody Englishman who loves to complain in a funny way, but he is an awesome friend!

Finding a family on the other side of the world was a blessing I could never thank the Lord enough for. Thank you to my friends and chosen family in Bali.

My home is on a stage with the ones I love surrounding me. My heart is where I feel alive and loved and blessed.

I am thankful for my breakup from a toxic relationship that brought the worst out of two good people. The change was hard to accept but I am beginning to realize that he was a part of my journey to healing myself and he will always be in my life because of our child.

He had my heart, but then my heart decided that love wasn’t enough. He gave me my sweet little boy, but he also gave me a lot of pain. Thankful for him but definitely thankful for the lessons he taught me. He will find his happiness and I will find mine. ♥️

I am thankful for the difficult lessons I learned in life and in my career, the exciting opportunities I have barely tapped into, and even the frustration with websites that have had issues or were more work than I realized.

My time in Los Vegas at the Reign Beauty Conference for MaskCara Beauty. Check out my website nikimaria.maskcarabeauty.com

I am thankful that the truth always wins and that eventually the harsh truth, whether we like it or not, can save us from making mistakes or not learning from our mistakes.

The truth will always win my friends. Trust until you have a reason not to!

I am thankful for the home I live in and the amazing neighbors and friends I have been blessed with.

Remember to always take the positive with the negative and make something great. #sortasweetsortasavage

I am thankful for the food I am able to buy and the bills I am able to pay.

I am thankful for my Lord for protecting me through the dark times, even when I didn’t think He was there.

I am thankful for myself. For the strength I earned through picking myself up from every disaster and finding new reasons to be balanced.

Rocking the sick look to remind myself that I am still beautiful and worthy of love!

Lastly, I am thankful for my three close friends that all make me feel loved and cared for regardless of my choices or mistakes.

The loving motherly friend who always checks in on me. My Heather! ♥️

The super sweet, super loving Mallori who has my back ride or die style! ♥️

My Andrea who turns the negatives into positives and always shows me how much she cares! ♥️

Lastly, I am thankful for my parents who always worked hard to care for me and give me every opportunity, and every experience I needed, to be the best version of myself. They also combined all their best qualities in creating me.

Mom and dad

There are always things to be thankful for, and I guess this year, rather than believing that my “issues” are not worthy of being thankful for, I choose to be grateful and thankful for them. After all, I wouldn’t be me without them.

This Instagram profile is awesome! Follow @2minds_allign

While this has been a tough year to go through, I struggled a lot and I felt a lot of loss, I realized that today I have more reasons to be thankful than ungrateful. I always have in fact, and it took some reminding to myself that I am stronger and braver than I ever believed.

Being brave was the hardest thing I ever had to do!

I can and did overcome the hard times and learned from those hard times, that I can walk away even if it hurts, I can say goodbye without coming undone completely, and I can live with bipolar disorder without medication because I will not let my brains chemical imbalance live my life for me. I feel blessed to have found my balance during the hardest of hard times, that I have found strength when I wanted to be weak, that I found hope when a situations seemed hopeless, and that I found joy when I felt joyless.

Embrace your beauty and know you are loved by someone or many!

I can only hope that at this time of year, when giving thanks is the theme of the season, that you all will find your reasons why being alive, and being grateful as well as thankful are the true healing sources of living a life with a brain disorder or mental illness. The goal is to create the life worth living by pushing yourself past what you may think is holding you back, and finding joy on the other side of the heartache and suffering.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May you find one or many reasons to be thankful for the little or big blessings in your life. I encourage you to embrace your journey today and to find new meanings for the dark or less favorable realities of your life.

This picture I took when I was sinking inside myself, lost in a loveless relationship, feeling manic and not sleeping or eating well. I was sick, scared, taking substances to cope and not facing my demons. I was lost and not trying to be found. Circa 2016

Even if you feel that getting out of bed seems impossible, you will get through the storm with determination and patience if you believe, have faith, be kind, and let go of the things that are done.

Xoxo 💋 Niki

How Did I Get Lost?

This meditation today scared me. I usually always remember what happens when I meditate but today, I lost track of it. I feel like I have left my body and saw something I wasn’t meant to see and now I am not allowed to recall it.

It’s puzzling me. I went super deep, I remember the spiraling energy all around me, through me outside of me, but I cannot remember what happened. It was like the forces of the earth happened on me then I drifted into the unknown and uncharted. I don’t like not knowing. I am used to being able to remember.

I kept thinking:

Where did I go? What did I see? How could this be happening?

My brain is totally lost! I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to let go of the feeling… it’s frustrating.

My Healing Journey was Meant to be Shared: Week One of Being Reborn

Welcome to my healing journey. You are welcome to be here, you are invited, you are welcome to share your thoughts without my judgement. You are welcome to say or do whatever feels right to you without fear of hurting me. I love you and I want you here. I want you to share with me how I can support you as well as both honor and value the relationship between us.

xo

Sincerely,

the true Nicole

Thank you for coming here to read about my healing journey. By you being here, you are an ally in my healing journey. As part of my journey I wish to see myself being alive, being loved, being wrapped and emerged in joy and truth (good or bad), being truly in love with myself for the remainder of my life, and allowing others to feel their own feelings while braving the opinions of others even if they are critical.

By doing the work to love myself, I can see my value, my self worth, and to stand firm in my power and strength without being scared of it or wondering and hoping not to get swept up by what others think of me. This journey is one I wish to share, not because I’m asking for help, but to accept that life outside of healing is still there, and I love all of you enough (whomever you are and wherever you are) to want to share.  I want to offer my apologies where they are needed and offer forgiveness where it is meant to be given.

Your words matter to me even if you aren’t sure they will help me on this journey, but perhaps they will help me in my future or I may never fully hear them and that is okay too. Speak your truth friends and stand in your own power with me, listen to your authentic self speak inside you and allow it to come out if it feels right.

Here’s my healing path explained

I believe in this life, we all heal our wounds differently. I used to think that healing meant not being allowed to look in on or at how the people I love are doing or what they might be saying about me. To not know about anyone or anything, to focus entirely on myself and escape the real world until I returned with new wisdom, is a temporary solution for me.

While I don’t judge anyone that feels that this method works for best them.  I am working on being aware of when my advice is mindful and accepting or controlling and judge mental.

A journey that is started is meant to have its peaks and valleys. Try as I might, I will only heal when I am meant to and not a moment sooner.

Through my open healing, I want to experience a true, a full and an enlightened healing that stays with me for many years to come. I strongly disagree that those who choose to heal out loud are codependent or seeking attention.  Sometimes, I just find it easier to hear the perspectives as others, and being able to draw inspiration and comfort when the world gets overwhelming. I believe that there is nothing wrong with being connected to those around you as long as you can hear your inner voice speaking louder than the voices of others and always do what is best for you from the inside out.

My Spiritual Realization with My Higher Power

My Lord Jesus, who I believe created me (and mind you I don’t expect anyone to have the same belief as I do and I will never judge you for your beliefs), wanted me to be a beacon of connection to life through love and joy. He created me to start fires when they were necessary to provide me growth and to have the power to put the fire out in the timing He planned for me. He didn’t leave me alone with or in the fire, He never let me burn alive, He always made sure that there were many escape plans for me to use should I need them, and He never let me set fires that He knew I couldn’t handle. He believes in me, because He knows who I am more than anyone else. He knows that He built me to be capable of chaos with purpose, but also capable of deep, unconditional love for my neighbors and the creatures He created to roam this Earth. Furthermore, and to finish this thought, He never left me alone in the fire and always made sure that I got what I needed from it before I walked away.

He always stood with me, guiding me like only a devoted Father can. So to my Lord I say, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for revealing your love and purpose for me in the life you have blessed me with. For continuing to love me through my stubbornness, doubts and insecurities. I may not have understood your reasons for presenting me with my past and present hardships, I may have cursed at you at times for the pain I have been in, gotten angry with you Lord and even believed you weren’t there because the pain I was experiencing felt desolate and deeper than the human world could go, but you were sharing your light, knowing that I was meant to be a healer, a loving source of energy, and that the journey to finding that truth would be the most incredible experience of my life. 🙏

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My Theory about my Strength and Power and Why Bali was Where I went to Find my Purpose and Kick Start my Healing

When I arrived at the Be Kind Retreats here in beautiful Bali, the incredibly strong and wonderful Loes said something in the opening ceremony that will forever stay with me. She said:

If you ask for it, Bali always gives you what you want and need.

She was so unbelievably right and maybe she doesn’t know it, but she will be with me forever because she said that. I believe the moment those words left her mouth, she unlocked my deepest healing power within myself. She showed me my true strength and my truest healing purpose. It wasn’t what I expected at all and at first that scared me. Now I am so exhilarated to finish this journey, after absorbing the power it’s providing, and be embraced by my truest self. For the story of my truest self, I will write a separate blog because what I saw when I met my true self, has me so beyond encouraged to be her.

My theory about why I came on this healing journey was because I felt that I was being consumed by pain and distrust from within myself. I was drowning and no one was able to save me. Now I know it wasn’t someone’s job to save me, it was my own job that I was neglecting because it appeared too hard. The truth is that the healing journey was meant for me to meet my power and strength and to understand the purpose of these incredibly large forces that were bestowed upon me and earned by me through my suffering.

eyes shut seuess

See the way (I learned here in Bali) is that my power and strength works for healing myself by healing those around me and experiencing the good and bad connections of life while healing myself. I want to be surrounded with good vibes, love, and to bring my people along on this journey to be a part of the steps I take to meet my true self.

My enlightenment comes for and from those I love regardless of how some might disagree with that belief or believe that is codependency causing this. Truly, I believe codependency is a symptom of not understanding the true forces of exchanging love and power. That is something I am working on doing honestly and with intention too. Furthermore, I don’t ask for opinions so people make my choices for me, I ask for opinions so I can gather perspective as I make big decisions. If you ask my mother, bless her patient heart, I will likely not take your advice because I am going to inevitably do it the way that feels right for me, whether it is right or wrong to anyone else.

jim and i
Fresh Fruit Smoothies in Ubud with Jim and Lee.  Perfect way to show myself love after a tough trek down to the holy water.