I offer myself willingly to this space and to your judgment. Please be gentle.
We are each on a journey. Some of us are self-aware, chasing the unknown in search of discovery. Then there are some of us clouded by the static haze of click-bait bullshit and the dramas of Monday to Friday. Regardless of where you stand in either of these, it can be said that we don't always ask ourselves the hard questions. Fear holds us back from pushing through pain, into the the warm sunlight of joyful acceptance.
Someone whom I am fortunate to have crossed paths with, is freely sharing his story of self-discovery through the medium of social media. His name is Tyran (you can find him anywhere online as The Hairy Healer. Please do.) In his not too distant past, he was consumed by his craving to be envied. Wanting nothing more than people to want, not only to be with him, but to be him.
Tyran's personal journey lead him along a path blocked by a mirror. It showed a reflection of a young man so distorted by his own desires that he no longer recognised himself. This craving of his was never going to be satiated if he didn't make a change. "No one wanted to be me, I think that had a lot to do with fact that I didn't even want to be me."
My heart swelled with compassion after reading these words. I felt for him because, although the details of our stories differed, the underlying moral was the same. We wanted something outside of ourselves, rather than finding peace within.
It wasn't until later that night, when I was pondering what drives my interests and what I choose to engage with, when Tyran's words echoed in my head and I suddenly started singing Point of You by Twelve Foot Ninja:
An infinite cosmic dance
An atomic romance
A mystery hidden from view
A universe inside you.
Within your fleeting glance
A vast and stunning expance
Reveals the unspoken truth
The all-in-all inside you.
When will you see
The things in you
That you find in me?
It all comes back to you
When will you see
The things in you
That you find in me?
One day you'll see the sun.
The collision of both frequencies hit my chest like a sledgehammer and stole my breath. So many aspects of my life are still driven by fear. My actions are still based on how I want to be seen by the outside world and the people I want to attract. And, to be true, the person I wish to attract.
I must confess, for as long as I can remember, I have put such pressure on myself to find a "soul mate." That one person to complete me, my existence. He and I were born to be together; two halves of a broken heart, made whole. Only when we are one, will our lives fall into perfect harmony
Well, fuck, Nicky! This is so God damn munted.
Love is Love. Whether it is forever, for years, for months, for one night, or for one moment. If it is genuine and true, it should be celebrated for what it is and not manipulated into a shape it will never fit. If I can remain steadfast to my own dreams, hopes and desires, I will find everything I need within me.
What crushed me after this moment was the berating disappointment of, "I thought I had already done this!" How, after all this time, the lessons I've learned, what I have seen, how I feel, how is this is still me? Even though I believe I am living a free life, being genuinely curious of all, exploring my sense of self and what I mean to me, I am left questioning, "Will I ever see the sun?"
I may be free from the cage self-loathing and criticism, but my ankle is still firmly shackled to the door. There are still particular areas of my life where I am trying to catch the attention of others. That, if I learn particular skills, I'm spotted at certain places and present myself in a unique fashion, I will be noticed. I will be deemed "good enough" to be seen. Am I so fucking invisible now?
What am I afraid of?
I don't fear loneliness. In my solitude, I have come to find safety and comfort in being alone. When I think of not spending this life with another person, I am not afraid. It feels anti-climactic. I am afraid to be vulnerable. To let the world see the real me, the version of me I am too afraid to reveal, even to myself, and be rejected. What if I uncover this woman and she isn't loved? What if I don't love her? What happens next?
These are the questions I ask myself.
One thing I know for sure: I am not a broken heart. This means I do not need to be fixed, scrapped or saved. I am merely following my own path, taking in the lessons as they are presented to me. Should I choose to walk by, ignoring the insight they provide, my journey will remain as it is now. Should I choose to accept, engage, to be openly receptive, regardless of the wounds they both open and heal...
Only then will I see a landscape bathed in sunlight.
The honesty of a child can be the most refreshing glass of cold water ever to be thrown in one's face.
Have you ever witnessed, or been lucky enough to be part of, a conversation with a kid? When something confuses them, they ask why. When something intrigues them, they ask why. When something tickles them, well, they laugh. Their questions are posed in such a matter-of-fact way that it figuratively bludgeons the grown-up into submission. We cannot hide from such direct questioning and, often, we find it confronting.
As adults, we have become accustomed to speaking in slurred whispers, hiding behind passive-aggressive remarks and baiting others with vague Facebook status updates. Why do we shy away from being honest?
I have spent almost all of my life hiding from people and, truly, myself. Through childhood experiences and adult relationships, I was taught that it is safer to say "I'm fine" and smile whenever asked how I was. Even when it was so blatantly obvious that I was tearing my hair out, slashing my wrists and setting myself on fire. My defence mechanism was to close the door on the mess that was how I truly felt. Until it got to the point that the door, no longer being able to withstand the force that grew behind it, burst open and everything came flooding out in a tidal wave of raw emotion.
It took a change (of epic feckin' proportions, I'll tell ya!) that left me with no choice but to get to know the person I had become. What are my likes? My dislikes? Why do I dislike these things? Why do I like others? These seem like pretty lame-ass questions, but have you ever asked yourself why you do or do not like something... or someone?... or yourself?
When I turned 30, two years ago, I made the choice to get to know me. This may sound easy enough, but how many of us can legitimately say that we truly know ourselves? Why we react to certain situations the way we do, why we are drawn to particular people and, perhaps, why we keep making the same "mistakes." These are all topics that are constantly up for discussion in my head (that doesn't sound crazy at all, Nicky.)
About a year ago, I wrote a post on anxiety. In it, I spoke of a situation where I was confronted by the thought of something being "all my fault." I didn't mention it at the time, but the thought was in regards to the kind of man I was attracting into my life and, to be true, it was all my fault. My intentions were unclear. I didn't know what I wanted. If I am not clear and honest with myself, how is the Universe going to show me anything but that which I have already seen?
Quick answer: it isn't.
I am now of the firm belief that this life is mine. I own it. This includes all the decisions I make. I don't fear making mistakes anymore. Life is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Each page that turns brings with it a choice, a lesson. It grants us the opportunity to journey forward into the exciting unknown, or to get bogged in a swamp with only our regrets to keep us company until we die. Morbid, much. But really, when we don't face our truth, this is a metaphor for the consequences.
I approach life with a child-like curiosity because... why the hell not? I can learn so much about myself through other people and I am genuinely intrigued by them. I know I can be a bit spaztastic at the best of times, so my delivery can be a little excitable. I am quite a playful person by nature and I have noticed that, since I made the decision to get to know and be friends with me, I peak the interest in those around me.
Disappointingly, honesty seems to be pretty rare nowadays. The reactions of some of the people I meet concrete this idea for me. I get everything from "you're a good kid," to "are you always this happy?" and "you're such a flirt." This last one actually upsets me a little. It saddens me to realise that we live in a world where genuine kindness and fun (and eye-contact) are misconstrued as romantic advances. Maybe it is because so many people are about what they can take, as opposed to how they can serve. I assure you, not everyone is out to get a piece of you.
The point of life is to live and to love. Be present in this moment, right now. When it passes by, you can't get it back. So, how did you spend your time thus far? Are you having fun? The next moment to come is your chance to make a change, share some love, give someone a hug (I love hugs!) This is the time to get to know yourself and be ridiculously fearless in your honesty. Only you know what you seek and there is no shame in asking for it.
If only we would each remember who we were as children. At what point did we stop playing? At what point did we lose our curiosity? At what point did we start listening to our parents? Perhaps there was only so many times our child-selves could hear "You ask too many questions" before we started to believe it. Perhaps this is why so many people are afraid to ask for phone numbers or send Friend Requests to people we are attracted to. Attraction doesn't always have to be romantic. If I am curious about you, I am going to add you on Facebook and, damn it, I'm going to send you a message too! Fuck the rules of engagement! I'm not trying to get into your pants, I want to know what life is like for you. How do you spend your time? What brings you joy? What's your favourite food? How do you make a paper plane? Are you a scruncher or a folder?
I know people think I'm "funny" and "different" and "quirky" and, OH! "Extroverted" (fuck, I can't stand that word. It's right up there with "normal." But that is a topic for another day.) People may perceive me as childish or immature, but this is because they have traded the Art of Play for the Art of War. It is quicker for people to affix others with a tag and place them in a box, than it is to ask "Who are you?"
The moral of the story, kids, is to be curious. Take time to play. And, bloody hell, start living for now, not just for the weekend.
Hi there girls, boys and all who identify as 'those who can read!' (Minor explicit language to follow.)
I have recently (and by that, I mean: today) added a little flourish to this vessel I inhabit and I would love to share my feelings as to why. Now, know this: I do not stand upon this soap box to justify or defend why I am the way I am, or why I make particular choices for my own life. I do this because I would like to demonstrate that people may not be quite how you perceive them.
But allow me to begin.
First and foremost: The Tattoos
Nutrition Republic Robbie's Chop Shop
The Rose of Robbie's Chop Shop
I have written about RCS once before. It is a Barber's Shop on King William Road in Hyde Park, Adelaide. It is a Men's Only establishment, with the spirit of nurturing masculinity through freedom of speech, expression and gettin' yo' hair did!
I see this as a place for men, of all ages, to be as free as their hearts desire. For some, it may just be a place to get a rockin' hair cut and their beard sculpted (seriously. It's a freaking art!) But for others, it is a sanctuary. A place where they can escape their everyday life. The culture of The Chop Shop is that every man, whether a returning patron or a brand-spanking-new customer, is treated like a friend. They've created an atmosphere of acceptance, camaraderie and fidelity.
Yes, I completely understand that this is a business started by a man for the benefit of men. I even understand that I am not a man. Don't worry! I really haven't missed this fact! The reason I wave the RCS flag is because I support this concept and would love to see (or possibly be part of) something similar for women. A space for women to learn what femininity means to them. What it is to be, not only a woman, but what kind of woman they want to become. To understand themselves completely, build relationships with like-minded ladies and experience the strength of expressing themselves with conviction! Speaking, in whichever medium the individual is most fluent, with clarity, certainty and love. To know that life isn't an uphill battle against the Male Race and to embrace the gift of life that they have been granted.
Feminism has become a filthy word nowadays. Many women jump on the Band Wagon of Hatred, Intolerance, Defensiveness and Ego. But all they are doing is hiding behind a veil of self-loathing. If you, regardless of gender, find great resistance in directing one happy thought towards a particular kind of person, then the fault is with you. Not with anyone else. I know these words may anger some people, and if you are one of them, check in with that! Are you angry at men? Women? Asians? Homosexuals? People who don't indicate when they change lanes? Discover where that feeling comes from because it is blocking your evolution as a human being.
But I digress.
Robbie's Chop Shop reminds me that the primal meaning, history and essence of what it is to be a Woman, is being lost in a world divided by labels. I chose to place this logo in the middle of a red rose because I love roses. Everything about them embodies the true feminine nature. Each petal is supported by her sisters and together they bloom with such exquisite, delicate beauty. The scent of a rose warms me from the inside and the flavour melts my heart. (P.S. I don't sit on my couch, mungin' on a bouquet of roses like a Blue Meanie. But rose tea, chocolate (Pana Chocolate specifically) or Turkish Delight? These are the proverbial BOMB!) By placing a symbol of masculinity inside one of femininity, I am hoping to convey that one cannot exist without the other. They are in synchronised equilibrium. Yin and Yang.
This is my dream for people everywhere.
Ah! My blessed home away from home.
This is the café at which I work. Also located on King William Road (about to open at Bowden, as well), this is so much more than just a place to get coffee. Yes, we offer organic coffee that freaking rocks the socks off of avid Tea-Drinkers (seriously. It was a rare occasion for me to drink coffee before I started working here. Now! I'm up to about one a fortnight! I know, right! Slow down, Nicky! You'll hurt yourself!) and all our food is made with real, wholesome ingredients to nourish you from your guts to your mind to your heart to your soul.
Nutrition Republic, for me, is a beacon of unconditional love. We strive to provide true hospitality to all those who enter. As soon as I walk through the door each day, I feel like I have just come home to the place where I am, not only accepted, but nurtured to become anything I want to be. Each staff member, even as we grow, is my family. We support one another and only ever want to see each other succeed. We are open to learning and growing, to bettering ourselves as people, so that we can share this generous light with others in turn.
Ilija and Nicole Sumracki are the founders of the Nutrition Republic movement. Their vision, focus and unyielding determination is nothing short of remarkable. I am in complete awe of who they are, what they stand for and how fucking hard they work each and every day of the week to achieve their goals.
Our logo is the flower of life that is made up of coffee cup stains. Wicked idea, hey?! The flower of life (in a nutshell) represents the interconnected nature of everything in the universe. We are all linked, intertwined and part of one another. This is why I question the intolerance and hatred of others because they are only directing that negativity back at themselves. Send out thoughts of appreciation, love and gratitude, and you will attract all that your soul yearns for. What you send out in the circle, will return to you stronger. And because all our circles are connected, you get to share all those goodies with those around you.
So, don't share bad juju, please.
I chose to place these symbols of creativity, loyalty, family, compassion and unity on both calves. My legs are the pillars of strength that keep me upright and standing firm. I now have physical reminders of my core values and I know, when I move forward, I step on a firm foundation of integrity, authenticity and truth.
I love my legs and I am so thankful that I have two that work incredibly well! For sure! Have you ever truly appreciated the fact that not everyone can walk? And that you get to? Amazing! And if you can't, do you have some other mode of transport? A walking stick, crutches, a wheelchair, something that aids your movement from one place to another? Because there are those out there who don't even have that! I can seriously keep at this for a long time, so I'll stop and get back to my point: I have legs and now they have been infused with awesomeness.
Of course! Even the artist was considered in all this.
Emma Vasquez, of Wolf and Wren Tattoo Collective on Payneham Road, is utterly amazing. In her early twenties, she inks like she was born with a tattoo gun tightly clenched in her infant fist. Informative, creative and highly professional. Three hours flew by like it was a fun day out!
I also selected Emma because of her gender. To be true. Please consider what you have just read above. I am not being sexist. I am currently discovering and cultivating my own femininity, and having a female artist being part of this experience, was just another constituent to fortify its meaning.
This being said: The collection of individuals in this studio were just fantastic. All completely welcoming, hospitable and genuinely interested in the people around them. I feel so unbelievably grateful that I got to experience this in Adelaide!
All you need is (g)love.
If you spent this time to get to know me, I thank you. Like I said in the beginning (in an introduction far, far away), I don't offer these words to justify my actions. I merely offer insight to the possibility that people aren't the labels you attach to them. Hell, they aren't even the labels they attach to themselves! Tattoos are an obvious and outward expression of what a person has on the inside. Keeping our beliefs and values contained within, doesn't make them any less permanent. But by using our bodies as a canvas, we become a walking collage of artistic language. A voice the eyes receive and the heart interprets.
Open your heart and your mind will follow.
For those of you who have not yet seen the new Marvel sensation Doctor Strange, never fear. I am not about to give away any plot twists or reveal hidden story lines. Although this movie was visually astounding, and I recommend all to see it if only for that, the core meaning is something that had me leaving the cinema swearing in awe.
DISCLAIMER: (Oh, I love how I do these) If you are as paranoid as I know I can be about spoilers, please do not read on. I don't intend to reveal anything of great consequence. However, what I consider to be of little importance over the whole story, may be completely different in the eyes of another. So, please read on at your own risk.
If you haven't read my previous two posts, I have become quite passionate about Universal dynamics and the interconnected relationships between all things. That each of us, as individuals, plays a role in the lives of those around us. Not only the people in close proximity, but those across the planet. In saying this, I do not only speak of the people of this world, but of all living things. And all things are living. Even in death, there is life. But this isn't the path I wish to lead you down today. I would like to describe, as best I can, what this film brought up for me.
This is a story of a man who was brought to his knees by a physical affliction (kept that nice a vague, didn't I?) and sought to regain movement through highly experimental, yet quite limited, means. He finally came to know of a teacher in Kathmandu, who could offer so much more than a mere surgical implant and a band-aid. In order to gain the fine motor-skills he previously had, he needed to forget everything he knew about who and what he was. Only once he has set his ego aside, would he be able to tap into the magic that is inside and all around him. Not only could he re-claim the life he once lead, but he would have the ability to manipulate space, time and reality as we know it. Cool, huh?
Okie dokie, I don't think I completely gave the game away there. But I had to provide a little context. Happiness! Now, to make this a little easier on my (and perhaps your) brain, I will break up the main underlying forces into segments. In no particular order, lets start with:
This is the ability to conjure something from nothing. I am not talking about something you'd learn at Hogwarts, I speak of the ability we all have to visualise something we want and see it come to life in front of us. Have you ever wanted something so bad you could taste it? You're fixated on it, seeing it when you close your eyes, determined it will come into your possession. Then lo! That pair of woollen socks you've always wanted has just been given to you by someone who saw them and thought of you! Yay!
But manifestation isn't all warm toes and happy feet. If we become fixed on something we do not want to occur, chances are, we will bring it about. When in school, had you ever been sitting in class and just known, in your guts of gutses, that the teacher was going to call on you to finish some ridiculous equation on the board? And then it happens. "Bugga. I knew she was gonna do that."
These are very light examples of manifestation.
This skill is demonstrated by the use of the Sling-Ring in Doctor Strange. "Clear your mind and the gateway will open." It works by seeing the destination, holding focus and remaining clear. Visualisation is critical in this ability, as well as complete acceptance that it is going to come to pass.
You can see it in people everywhere. Those who have the midas touch, having everything they need and want, remaining driven and clear on their desires. Focused on the final goal, as great as it could ever be, not just the next step along the journey. Not limited by frightened thoughts of "this isn't how life works" or "I can't do this," and even ignoring the nay-saying that is being flung at them from all sides. Once focused, nothing can stop this process but the person casting the spell.
An example of the flip-side can be seen in those driven by fear. You know the ones. They blame others for their own misfortunes or "bad luck." Life is happening to them. Your life is about you, it is what you make it. It takes a courageous person to step up and admit their own faults. But it takes an extraordinary person to embrace and draw strength from them. You have it in your power to be living for more than just the weekend. So, step up!
The casting of spells represents the intentions behind our actions. I would definitely say this is part of the Manifestation process, as it channels the direction of outcome. What I mean by this is that we may have a particular objective in mind, but if our intentions for such a result are unclear, the final outcome may not be exactly what we hoped for. For example, I wish to learn a spell to conjure a shield. But the reason I want this ability is to keep myself safe from potential danger, not to protect those around me. So, when presented with a genuine threat, my shield fails.
I'm not suggesting that we all fall on sword to protect others, I'm merely offering potential for expansion of awareness. If we operate from a place of self-serving desires, it leaves us in labyrinth of mirrors. Everywhere we turn, we can only see ourselves. Limited in our isolation. However, if we abandon the desire to gain and ask "how can I serve?" then our actions are fortified by something pure and true.
It isn't easy to be completely honest with oneself. Many say that they are the "most honest person they know." I'm at fault here, too. I have just recently caught myself unawares about a particular person/situation that forced me to check in and re-evaluate my intentions. I asked myself questions like "what do I get out of this?" and "why do I want this?" or even "what is the feeling am I craving?" Being completely honest, and I mean to the point where it almost seems cruel, as to what I am expecting from the resolution. Vindication? Satisfaction? To be a saviour? The fact of the matter is that if I am seeking to gain anything, my intentions are not pure. I renounce the need to be the catalyst for change in this person's (or anyone's) life. I send them nothing but my unconditional love and compassion. Then I let go.
Power has a purpose. Once knowledge is gained on how to channel it, it can bring about a great many wonderful things. But abuse it, and suffer the consequences. The Universe is about balance and if there isn't love at our centre... Well, you reap what you sow.
This isn't something that can only happen with the aid of a blue box. (Did anyone else just have a Blue Waffle flash back? Don't Google it.) Sometimes these moments grip us unexpectedly. Walking down the street, you're caught by a particular smell that immediately transports you back to childhood. Playing in the front yard with the kids on the street, you're called in to dinner by a familiar voice. Walking into the kitchen, you're smothered with the scent that permeates every cell, making you swoon, and it is only known as Nonna's Cooking.
For a second or two, you forget the path in front of you, where you are, where you're going. You are physically back in that delicious moment. Until you realise the scent has passed and you've got to go home and cook for yourself... Dammit.
It isn't just the backward motion in time to which we can navigate. We can create our future through our thoughts. Have you ever had a crush on someone, and you've been thinking about sharing a particular moment in time with them, that your heart rate quickens and you catch your breath? Same. Although this could be part of the manifestation process, it could also be a quick glimpse of an alternate reality where you are together, really living that moment. It is in these short seconds that you become blind to the world around you, only the rush of emotion, desire, sensation and, dare I say, hormones become you're entire existence. Captivated by the vision in your head. You are no longer in the present.
Or perhaps you have experienced a time within a dream-state that felt so incredibly real and vividly true that, upon waking, you were completely disorientated. "What day is it?!" is one of my favourite early morning exclamations. There is nothing to say that our sleepy-time frolics are no less real than our waking life. If you want to believe that the Matrix is your reality, then by all means, enjoy the steak.
I will leave you here for a short while, as this will be a two-part verbal kaleidoscope of ideas. So, stay tuned for next instalment that will tie everything together... If we're lucky. I actually feel that I have started with the softer side of what I took away from this film and, I must confess, that I kept my explanations extremely light-hearted. These are simple aspects that everyone has experienced, I'm sure. Relatable, to an extent. The second part will encompass our place in the Universe and the role we play in all existence. Regardless of where we believe we are in time. Perhaps even touching on the Multiverse theory. But the idea of trying to explain that one makes me feel less than qualified. So, let's just see where whimsy takes me.
So, Doctor Strange...
Not just a comic book movie.
I was recently at a peaceful gathering, a space held by a dear friend of mine, for people to meet and share creative juju. We were welcome to draw, converse, dance, sing and, if the urge was to arise, perform shadow puppets. It was on this night that I met the quietly creative, Mr. Rhubarb Dada.
Over the course of the evening, I watched this young man's silent progress of an image that completely alluded me. From what I could see, he was sketching with coloured pencils, colouring with high-lighters and building with pastels. I'd look over with intrigue every ten minutes or so, each time taken away by the depth that the next layer brought with it.
When complete, Dada revealed it with an aloof gesture. I felt my eyes search the image before me. I was immediately enamoured of it and I couldn't identify why. He politely allowed me to take it from him and sit quietly with it for a time. I am positive I appeared to be that crazy lady who does weird shit at a party, and you're not sure whether to laugh or just let her do her thing and back away because you fear she might pull out a knife at any given moment. However, I hope that wasn't the case.
So, I sat, with this picture a few feet from me, and poured myself into it. As I opened myself to its presence, more information came forth. The image began to reveal itself and I couldn't look away. It was a book of which I couldn't keep from turning the pages. The more I looked, the more I saw, and the more I saw, the more I knew.
The image I see tells me a story of a man searching for unity. On his journey, he has discovered great lands, experienced the kindness and cruelty of others, and learned many lessons of the self. But he has never connected with what is in his own heart.
A recent event, of which we know not, has brought him to the brink of the abyss. A place where he has been presented with a choice. To jump, become one with all things, feel pure bliss wash through his being, and completely release all doubt and fear to the Universe. But in doing this, he loses his identity, sense of self and all ownership of everything he ever knew. Or he can retreat, continue to live out his existence as a wanderer, searching for a love that resides within, forever hidden from view.
He chooses freedom.
This is a portrait of a man becoming one with the abyss. He is coming to, not just learn, but know that his body, his mind, his idea of the soul, means nothing. The body is a mere vessel to carry a spirit separate from the Source. An embryo that grows, develops and inevitably dies. In death, the body disintegrates, so the spirit can return to the Mother. He knows that his body is no longer required. He has always been connected to God because he is of God, therefore, is also God. And if he has this inside of himself, so does every other living being. We are all the same. We are all from a place of pure love. We have each pulled away to learn and grow, to return stronger.
He is watching as the atoms of his body begin to pull away from each other. They no longer hold together so tightly. He is letting go and they follow suit. His expression holds no fear, but awe. How wonderful his journey has been, to bring him to this.
The grey and white shape in the bottom right-hand corner, for me, is a microscope. It represents the microcosm that this man is now truly part of. It is in the forefront because if his awareness of it.
But this is just my impression.
I call this story "The Fool's Ascension." The piece itself does not yet have a name. Mr. Rhubarb Dada, if you are reading this, I invite you to provide one. I know you said this was a still-life for you. So, perhaps, your title can lead us through your thought process. Or give it a super far out name that will make the everyone say, "What the actual fuck...?" That, too, would be most brilliant.
I love abstract art. It affords the on-looker interpretation of, not only the image, but their own mind. What we see in the picture is a reflection of ourselves. If we take the time, we can experience a brief connection with the artist and listen to what they are communicating to us. Or maybe we can just take the time to connect with ourselves and our own feelings.
The magic is in the interpretation.