Have you ever been told to Suck It Up Buttercup? Or to get over it because someone else has it much worse than you?

How’d that make you feel, as an adult going through something that may have created great despair or pain?

I think phrases such as that are fine to tell our children when they are acting like spoiled brats upon not getting their way. As a matter of fact, I should probably say something like that more!

Appropriate for everyone, though? I’m not so sure.

Two months ago my son committed suicide. I’m having to learn to live without the one who gave me a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. I’m learning to live without one of my life’s greatest inspirations and teachers.

This passage is for me, to remind myself of my own strength, will, and determination.

Yes, I’m putting myself out there to be judged and criticized, but somewhere I know that there is someone out there, dealing with what they seem they cannot endure, and I pray this reaches them. 

“There’s someone else who has it worse than you.” Yes, that’s true, but please use that phrase with caution unless you really know that to be true. 

A short synopsis of what life has thrown at me…

Anxiety and misdiagnosed dietary/health issues starting very young. Depression and eating disorders by grade 8. Sexually violated and suicidal by 12th. Survived, after feeling unwelcome and unloved by even God during my near death encounter with the Keeper of the Golden Gates. “Not yet. Someday. You still have work to do down there.” Don’t believe in near death experiences? You should.

Unexpected pregnancy by age 19. Keep or abort this baby? Rocky Relationship, but I love him and I already love this little creation with my whole heart. Keep. I might get disowned. But definitely keep. All I’ve ever known for sure is that I want to be a mommy. Easy pregnancy, relationship turned violent. Addiction returned. Had to walk away. Tried unsuccessfully to get back together but then the toughest of love lessons came our way. I had met another who promised the world so please don’t call anymore. Probably not what I really wanted. Probably wanted him to put up a fight, but he listened. If that was my plan it backfired.

Single mom married to someone who hid his true colors well. Marriage was emotionally/financially/spiritually abusive starting day 1. Within a year, became seriously ill in eating disorders and checked into recovery facilities out of state at 84 pounds, after accidentally overdosing on prescribed medications just to try to get some rest and migraine relief. Left my now 4 year old behind. Heart broken.

Worked my butt off to stay healthy and to try to salvage anything left of my so-called marriage. Unsuccessful, but too afraid to leave. Too many threats, another pregnancy with a daughter this time. Yay!! I had been told no more kids, too much damage to my reproductive system.

Where are we going to live, though, now that she’s a toddler?! Don’t have a clue where all the money has gone, but house payment hasn’t been paid. Foreclosure. How did I find out? My aunt saw it in newspaper, and my mom asked me about it. Seriously? This is happening and I’m the LAST to know? What kind of person am I living with?? Found housing, and took over bills to try to dig us out and figure out finances. Hmmm…lots of things don’t make sense and don’t add up. But don’t question it. I’ll regret it if I even consider it. 

The news that Christopher’s father had died turned my inner world upside down. So much I could have done differently. I let it end without even saying I love you. I had lost him, really lost him forever. Could I have helped save him?

Not sure if it was too much stress or all the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds I was on, but I miscarried twins. A boy and a girl. Guess who didn’t care? No support from my husband, so I’ll just keep this one to myself. Most likely no one else will care either. Heavy burden to carry alone. So much sadness and grief and no one knew for years.

New house. New beginnings? Nope. More of the same. Baby boy on his way now. Cannot wait! My kids are truly my world. My whole reason for living.

Wait. Lies. Lies. More lies. Just admit the truth. I can forgive it all. Nope. Denial and more narcissistic behaviors make me think I’m totally nuts. I can’t do this anymore. It’s killing me. I’m living life as a prisoner in my own home. Please go out of town soon, or work overtime. The kids and I need to come out of our rooms and feel welcome in our own house. My kids cannot grow up thinking this normal or ok.

Get out of my house. Divorce. But it’ll be rough. The only promise he ever kept was to make my life miserable and difficult if I ever left him. Two years for the divorce to be finalized, all the while having to watch my back for his vehicle or a co-workers, or vehicle from another agency hiding around the corner watching me and the kids through binoculars. Just within enough distance to let me know their presence to intimidate me, but far enough away that I can’t call in for restraining orders. Well played, but please understand that people at my workplace are noticing, too.

Anxiety. Here, Baby Boy. This helps me. Some Yoga and Pranayama (Breathwork). And carry this special rock with you in your pocket. It has Mommy’s Kiss and anytime you miss me or feel anxious, get it out, rub it or kiss it, and remember that I’m not far away. I promise I wouldn’t leave you here if I didn’t trust your teachers. Thanks, Mrs. Principal for lovingly restraining my boy while I run off to get to work through my tears. Not only did Father choose to leave, but Mommy left her 16 year old position as stay home mom to go to work. I promise I’m not abandoning you, Sweetie. I’m doing the FOR you. We’ll repeat this process all year and have more of this experience for another 2 or three years. Whew! Eventually it does get better.

Ok…hang on tight. Here’s a ride. Thank God I know the signs of depression. Helping a daughter who had discovered self-harm and had her own suicidal thoughts wasn’t fun. How many nights did I cry through this?! Such a difficult thing to go through alone. Poor Peyton. How neglected you must feel while I try to help Sissy. What?! She’s pregnant? OK. Another baby is always welcome, plus he saved her life. Thank you, Angel Child.

Dating? Are you kidding me? How many guys do you think want to date a woman who is in Mommy Mode 24/7. Oh wait…I AM only on standby for four hours a week but I really need that time to nourish myself. Please leave me alone since I’ve finally learned that he isn’t really just going to take off with the kids and not return them! I’ve learned that it is ok to take care of me! Anyway, if you aren’t going to be good for and to me, and be willing to accept me AND my kids for who we are, then we don’t need you. Go ahead. Walk away and use whatever story you need to tell yourself to make you feel less guilty. We’ll be ok. We are perfectly imperfect and we are a chaotic mess. But we are each other’s everything.

Too much stress and overwhelm has created chronic illnesses that make it difficult to function in my everyday life. Guilt arises at all I’m not accomplishing and time I can’t spend in wholeness with my kids. Yoga and meditation help greatly but I need more support. That’s hard to admit…SIGH…

I watch from a distance as my (step)daughter goes through stuff that I’m not in a position to be able to offer help or even much emotional support, and her babies and my (step)son’s are all growing way too fast. I hate that I’m missing it. But I have never been allowed to develop relationships with the rest of the family, so this really shouldn’t bother me so much. Yet, it does. Always has.

Now Christopher.

What did I miss? I think nothing, but there must have been something? He was the one who spent the most time in counseling. His faith in God is the strongest fo anyone I know. He has so much to look forward. Graduating with highest honors, faithfully attending mass and chapel, loyal to his friends and family. What did I miss? There were no obvious signs. He worked hard, he was proud of himself for his efforts. Perhaps it was uncertainty of what’s next after College Graduation. Perhaps he was afraid of not getting into grad school. Perhaps he was afraid of being alone, starting his new chapter in life. Perhaps it was lack of sleep as he tried to excel in his classes, but he didn’t speak about his “maladies” openly to us. Or to anyone, it seems. I have, however, seen notes of encouragement left in his school mailbox. I cannot express how thankful I am for those short, sweet notes.

Because I had allowed myself to become stressed to the point of illness, I did my best to remind him to slow down. Rest. Play. Enjoy Life. He was much like me, in many ways. I could never ever deny him, nor would I want to!

He did Enjoy Life. He travelled. He spent quality time with friends. He knew what he wanted to do, and he did it, with no apologies or regrets, except that he did care whether or not his family supported his decisions. Of course, we usually did! He enjoyed life. Or so it seemed.

Robin Williams. I see now that my child had a soul in resonance with the great comedian.

Someone recently expressed concern over my being alone at my Yoga Studio at night. I assured him I take safety precautions when I’m alone, but that I’ve already experienced so much, that not much else could phase me. Sure, I could be killed, but I’m all good. Death happens, and it’s going to come to me anyway. The worst thing that could happen to me at this point is that something would take away one of my kids.

Damn. I was right about that. So please excuse me while I grieve.

Nothing. And I mean NOTHING is worse than losing a child.

So I write this reminder to myself. Not for sympathy, but to remind myself that I’m strong, determined, and now capable of showing compassion and unconditional love to others. I now know how to share and help others who have struggles, too. I take joy in sharing with and serving others and helping them find their Light again.

I write this as a reminder that I’ve changed tremendously for the better. I’m happy to say I’m not the same person I use to be.

I’ve been through Hell and Back. And I’ve survived. In large part to my parents who always have my back, and in large part because of my Faith in One Higher Than I, for all those times I didn’t feel adequate, capable or able. And of course, Yoga. It makes everything better. 

NOTHING is worse than losing a child. But I’m doing pretty damn good, considering.

And so are you, The Bright Shining Star who is reading this. Go, Do You. Nobody else can do it so well!

Struggling so much you’re not sure you can hold on much longer? Trying to help someone you love?

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline today! 1-800-273-8255



Fear, Forgiveness, Going Forth

Dear Lovely Soul,

I’m in a transitional period.

Changes are taking place on my yoga mat, in my inner being, in my physical body, and in my life. This happens from time to time, and every time I feel apprehensive.

This can be a lonely place. I notice the trend of people walking out of my life. I feel like nobody really understands what is happening, and if they do, they don’t seem to care. The truth is, they aren’t able to comprehend it. All they realize is that they don’t fit into my life anymore.

It has taken time for me to understand this and accept it. In the past, it broke my heart to watch those I care about become less and less involved in my life. Not so much anymore. Now, I see it as a blessing of sorts. By another’s choice to leave, they are usually taking away some type of inner struggle for me, thus creating space for another person or opportunity that will fulfill a current need or desire.

That does not mean it’s easy to watch people go away. It does not mean I don’t miss them. It does not mean I feel no sadness. It does not mean they are gone out of my life forever and that there will never be any contact again. It does not mean that I’m not intrigued when they wander back in a flattering manner. What it means is that eventually I’ll remember they no longer have a lesson to teach me or a significant role to fulfill. I trust that all who have ever entered my life will always know that I love and appreciate their presence, and I will hold them close in my heart.

I am thankful for quality time spent this weekend with my children and their friends. I am thankful for time spent with an old friend whose love never fails, and with a new one who entered my life as unexpectedly as others have walked out. For now, these are my precious people, and I pray not to take them for granted.

This week, I have been practicing Holistic Dr. Kate Flynn’s fear release and one of her meditations to help dissolve any and all physical and energetic attachments to codependency behaviors.

Many fears have come up this week, after a while of not noticing very many. While perhaps not my favorite thing to deal with, I do know that FEAR is real, creates much of my anxiety, and keeps me stuck in unhealthy patterns. Here are some fears I am facing head on: failure, success, relationships, inadequacy, finances, vulnerability, speaking my truth, discovering who I REALLY am, judgment, criticism, rejection, weakness, my own strength and power, not being able to manage everything on my own, transitions, The Unknown, Love.

Over the past few weeks, I have failed to practice ahimsa toward myself. I failed to eat in  nourishing manner, and I failed to practice Brahmacharya or using my energy wisely.

Enter the Daily Yoga Connection over at Dr. Melissa West’s membership community, where I am a proud member of the leadership team. Our focus has been Forgiveness, and at first I thought it would be awesome because I needed some self-forgiveness! I also assumed old issues would arise and my awareness would see those people I unknowingly had been holding deep seated grudges against.  

I was reminded that Forgiveness allows me to move on. Forgiveness is really all about me, as it honors my difficult emotions regarding any unresolved wounds. Forgiveness helps to purify my heart. Forgiveness sets me free.

My forgiveness yoga practice included some heart softening. Just thinking about softening my heart makes me feel weak and vulnerable! Fear arose and offered resistance, but when I was reminded to look at myself truthfully, I was able to continue. Physically, I felt the exhaustion of my adrenal glands. Energetically, Shakti moved me to a full surrendering to the Divine.

Codependency quickly surfaced. AH. I see now my object of forgiveness!

I heard my inner voice clearly say, “I trust that it is now safe to let it all go.”

A beautiful kriya continued to cut away those codependency energetic cords Dr. Kate first brought to my awareness. I was being given the opportunity to let go with more clarity specific aspects of codependent behavioral trademarks. Control, manipulation, judgment, criticism, guilt, shame, anger, bitterness, low self-worth, the need for other people’s approval…I watched them all dissolve. Did you notice some of those were also mentioned on my fear list?

In a forgiveness toward self meditation, I was again reminded to fully trust God, and to trust in my own truth, power and strength, to trust in my own Inner Divinity.

In a yoga practice designed to connect with Veera Lakshmi for Courage, Strength and Power, I found that I was way more wobbly in Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) than usual, and ordinarily this would frustrate me. Instead, I realized that my practice is indeed reflective of my spirit. This pose is representative of taking action, and while I understand that I will move forward with great willingness, I am not yet certain how to proceed from here.

I will be patient, and allow things to unfold naturally instead of overwhelming myself and stressing over The Unknown.

“I am Beauty. I am Light. I am Love. I am Divine. I am Free.”

My friend, I leave you with that until next time.




I teach from my own experiences! If you are looking for a bit of an unconventional yoga teacher, I’m the one!

January 2017 Liberate ThySelf Challenge Day 4: Self-Reflection in a Back Bend

Sweet Reader,

Liberate Thyself with Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Today, I’m exhausted, and other people’s drama has made me feel a bit anxious. My digestion is still a bit wonky since the holidays made too easily accessible certain foods I know make me feel ill. Oops! Did I mention sitting at a desk working at my computer all day created lots of tension in my back, shoulders, and neck?

I greatly appreciate Dhanurasana tonight. It’s been awhile since I visited, but I know I’ll return regularly!

My favorite thing about this backbend after I’ve properly prepared and connected fully with my breath?

I love how that wave-like motion carries me away to a simpler childhood memory where I first experienced this asana in the only dance class I ever took. I loved that dance class! It’s that sweet, child-like girly spirit I wish to get to know again in 2017.

Here’s wishing you playfulness and lightheartedness Today and every day!

P.S. I love this stay put tank from SQUEEZED 😀 The color makes me smile!

Namaste, Nicole


Make 2017 the year YOU get in touch with your inner child! Come practice yoga with me in a fun, light-hearted way!

Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Four

Saturdays. Made for sleeping in, de-cluttering, maybe some errands if I absolutely can’t avoid them, and yoga, followed by long hot detox baths. Not today. Up, showered, makeup on (again with the swollen eyes) and in another dress for the Dressember mission. Anybody who has ever stopped by my house on a Saturday would be shocked! Most Saturdays, I don’t even brush my hair! 😂 Bandannas and headbands, oh how I love you!

Housework in a dress?? If June Cleaver could do it every single day, surely I can today! Yes, I actually did say that! Before housework, though, it seemed wise to spend some time in meditation and video filming for our Daily Yoga Connection section in my yoga membership community lead by the adorable and authentic Melissa West. I’m glad I waited to the last minute so I could experience filming more dressed up than usual. It really did feel different somehow! Maybe one day all this being in front of a camera will stop freaking me out!

Dressember Daily Facts from Polaris on human trafficking:

Although slavery is commonly thought to be a thing of the past, human traffickers generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by trapping millions of people in horrific situations around the world, including here in the U.S.

Traffickers use violence, threats, deception, debt bondage, and other manipulative tactics to force people to engage in commercial sex or to provide labor or services against their will. While more research is needed on the scope of human trafficking, below are a few key statistics:
The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.
68% of them are trapped in forced labor.
26% of them are children.
55% are women and girls.

Wanna help? You can! Here’s how:

Donate, Join our awesome team Sunflowers and Snow

Or simply “Like” and “Share” any Dressember posts you see!

*Sunflowers and Snow is made up of Melissa West, Jenn Ashton, Madeline Hilde, Nicci Rea, Harmony Darling, Aynne Johnston, Laura Moyer. We would love to have you join us!!

Dressember 2016: Welcome to My Day Two

​Dressember…what it’s all about?? I’ll tell you! 

Dressember Mission Satement is dear to my heart: 


As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women. 


At its core, Dressember is an embracing of the inherent freedom and feminity of all women.

In 2013, Dressember took on new meaning: opposing the worldwide trafficking and exploitation of women.”

Each day throught the month, I’ll give you a bit of info on human trafficking, and give you a chance to show support by:
* making a donation

joining our team here 

* helping spread awareness by liking and sharing each and every post you see

My courage came a few days late, so I hope you’ll help me catch up with the rest of my gorgeous team Sunflowers and Snow!

Thank you, Logan, for being my willing photographer!


Full Moon Energy and an Uninvited Guest

The powerful energy of the full moon has my creative energies going in a million different directions when it comes to putting material together for yoga classes, updating my profiles on yoga platforms, studying for an online course I am taking on the Yamas and Niyamas, designing a yoga sequence for my athletic 10 year old son who has just had his first visit chiropractic adjustment with Dr. Kate Flynn, and my own homework assignments for her.

I am getting over a little stomach bug that my precious toddler grandson who lives with me so generously shared with the whole household, so I have resolved to rest today, to the best of my ability. I am not worrying about housework at all, just resting. While I do love a gorgeous full moon, and it was gorgeous indeed last night, its energy was extremely, yet irritatingly intense once coupled with the lingering discomfort of my virus and the fibromyalgic symptoms brought on no doubt by a popular hydrating sports drink. (Lesson learned! I will from here on out always have coconut water on hand!) I was beyond restless last night, and remain that way today.

To counter the moon’s effects on all my energetic levels, I am taking a relatively quiet day, with little interaction with other people. I am practicing meditation and looking forward to a hot detox bath as bedtime nears. I find that during any full moon, it helps me to keep anxiety and overwhelm at bay if I keep to myself as much as possible, my body at ease as much as possible, and allow my thoughts to be expressed through journaling, blogging, and planning.

While I long for a yoga asana practice today, though, my pain-ridden, nauseated body just might not cooperate, and I will have to accept that, for today, that is just how it is. It saddens me, but it will pass soon enough! If I allow myself this time of rest, that is. Perhaps I will find gratitude as the day progresses for the visitors that invaded my body to require me to rest.

REST. It doesn’t come easy for me. I don’t sleep well. I never have. I am constantly on the move. I don’t sit still for long and if I do, I am usually working on the “I have-to’s”.

Today I am practicing sitting still, only to do what I enjoy doing. That is, bringing about healing on all levels of my being, creating yoga-related healing material for myself and others, and enjoying the day. While it may be work, and mostly unpaid at that, it is what fuels my passion, and helps to restore my balance. It is where my heart is. When my heart is at peace, I am at rest.

As part of my creations this weekend, I created a short introductory for this week’s Daily Yoga Connection in the membership area of Dr. Melissa West‘s Yoga Membership site. To see the finished product you have to go there, but I want to share with you how my son’s sweet giggles brought me out of the anxiety I felt about being in front of the camera. I hope you enjoy the silly little mommy/son interaction this video clip. It is out of my comfort zone to share, but that’s real life, real OCD problems, and real goofiness, real laughter. That is that kind of real, the kind of authenticity, that I hope to portray as I continue on to share my yoga passion.

Take time out today for you, to play, to laugh, to rest.

Love and Light!


The Coffee Cup That Speaks to Me

​Every day for several weeks, I have seen this reminder, as I sip my morning coffee at work. 

Every day I’ve thought about all the excuses I’ve made for myself through the years about teaching yoga. Now is not the time. My kids need me too much. I don’t have the support. I can’t afford the training. I’m not good enough. My anxiety will never let me actually teach yoga. The list goes on and on. 

It took me 20 plus years to finally gain the courage and give myself permission to take a training. I knew I wanted it for me, so went into it last year with the goal to increase my own knowledge and deepen my practice. I set a date months ago to teach UT’s yoga club, knowing I was still to afraid to actually do it. I’m comfortable enough teaching one on one, but this was gonna be me, alone, in front of people! 

I thought back to the only semester that I barely got through there. It was just too big and overwhelming. I had such severe panic attacks, I couldn’t go to class unless I knew for sure I would be the first one in the classroom. 

I made my commitment anyway, knowing it would be good incentive to strive to be ready by then. Well the date came yesterday. I felt anxious, but was not paralyzed. By the end of class the room FULL of kids were trying their first mudra and pranayama practice, which sent them into giggles. Just that alone made it worth not chickening out! 

I appreciate their willingness to explore the new and weird! I feel fortunate to have been able to share their space. 

But guess what? I got to go back today, to teach at the Yogafest on campus, which was open to all students and staff. Not only was I more relaxed teaching, but I got to participate in my own first Laughter Yoga class, which was perfect for my prescription to laugh from Dr. Kate Flynn. 

What’s my point in all this? Go Follow Your Dreams. No. Don’t. Go CHASE them! Time passes by quickly. Find your passion NOW. Live it to the fullest every day. Nothing is impossible when you become stronger than your strongest excuse.

Love and Light,


Anxiety Anger

Hi There!
I hope this finds you happy and well!
This past week has been quite difficult. Anxiety decided to become vicious all throughout my household. My ten year old son got bitten, then me, and my daughter had her share of it, too. While genetics may indeed play a part, for us, I believe we mostly infect each other energetically. We are all so in tune with one another, that our sensitivities often cause us to wonder whose stuff is really who’s. It is imperative that we each do our individual things to protect ourselves!
Here where I am in Good Ole East Tennessee, the temperatures have ranged 90-100 degrees daily, and the humidity creates a most suffocating effect. Very little rain, but quite a bit of wind has created a most unique atmosphere this summer. Not with the weather, but rather with my personality! As an Ayurvedic dosha personality type of Pitta-Vata  I have been feeling rather crazy. Errr….crazier than usual, perhaps. My Pitta fiery part often chose to translate anxiety into anger, and my windy Vata part which created the anxiety to begin with took off like a hurricane. It certainly caused me to realize that my yoga practice has been too inconsistent lately!
The intensity of my dosha imbalance also created some issues with me physically. I fell ill with migraines and fibromyalgic pain, both of which I am still struggling to find relief.
What has triggered the anxiety? Thoughts of letting go of things that no longer serve me, creating changes in my home and relationships, starting something new, worries about disappointing others, kids going back to school and all their activities that come along with that, overwhelm at my 8-5 job, the never-ending piles of laundry…
It is just that simple. Life is stressful when it gets out of hand.
Of course, that is only as true as I allow it to be. This time anxiety attacked me with a vengeance. I had failed to be mindful and fell into a life-long habitual pattern of fight-or-flight.
The night I had a panic attack was what it took to wake me back up. It wasn’t the worst ever, but the first in a very long while. I had to make a decision to fight for me.
My fight is one that includes a practice of non-violence. I try to practice ahimsa, creating an atmosphere of forgiveness and gentleness toward myself. I try to give myself more “me” time, and try to get more rest. I have listened to music that encourages and inspires me, and I have reached out to others for their support. More than that. I have accepted their support.
I have a project due next week for which I needed to film today. I am part of an online yoga community, and the Founder/Yoga Teacher there has asked me to put together two week’s worth of her yoga practice videos along with my own video introductions to be published in our Membership Community. I won’t lie. I am not so fond of being in front of a camera. I like hiding behind my pen, paper, and computer screen where it is safe!
My lovely teacher…she knows this. She knows that my anxiety keeps me from yoga teaching opportunities. She knows I need a gentle push, and I am grateful that she is in my life! I feel beyond blessed to have the opportunity to practice stepping out my comfort zones in the atmosphere she provides which offers support, encouragement, and kindness.
My anxiety didn’t want to go away for me to film. I needed to practice yoga, but my exhausted, pain-filled body wasn’t up for a full practice before I needed to start filming. Several times I doubted that I could finish my video task. I had expressed my fear to this really awesome person whose encouraging words kept ringing in my head like the most beautiful mantra. Eventually I started believing that I was capable. To increase the good vibe intensity, I decided to work with a familiar mudra to help overcome anxiety. To see that, visit Prakrti Yoga’s Facebook page. Find it helpful or humorous. Either way, I hope it makes you feel better, too!
I still have work to do to complete my assignment, but my short videos did get filmed. Come see us starting next Sunday for two weeks of Daily Yoga Connection in the Membership Community of Dr. Melissa West, Namaste Yoga. We will be finishing up our monthly focus of anxiety relieving yoga (HA!), and I will be re-committing to my personal yoga practice.
May you be filled with all good things!
Love and Light,