Thursday, September 27, 2012

Old and New Identities

In the past two years I've gotten married, given birth to a beautiful baby boy who is now 11 months old, gotten pregnant again (now 5 1/2 months),  moved to a new home in Marin, California and continue my business as a coach.    As my coach so eloquently reminded me I've been very busy manifesting long time dreams I've held as hopeful possibilities for years.   While I hear this to be true and a testament to the power of intention and action, I also hold a story that in some ways I've not been 'doing' enough, particularly when it comes to manifesting what I want for my business and professional life.   I seem to have lost sight that I've been a little distracted creating and bringing new life into the world.    I also recognize I have extraordinarily high expectations of myself to be able to do it ALL - and do it all very well.  

For years I referred to my business as 'my baby'.   I created it, I fed it, I supported it to grow and I found others who believed in it as well.    I had many self identities created for myself in regards to my business - A coach, an entrepreneur, a business developer and a thought leader.    The majority of my time went to nurturing 'my baby' and measuring its' growth.   

Fast forward today and my time is split between being a mommy, wife, friend, professional and daughter.    All of which come with big responsibilities.    For example being a mommy includes (but is not limited to) being a teacher, a disciplinarian, a calendar scheduler, a cleaner and sometimes an entertainer.  This is no small task - it takes energy, perseverance and willingness to show up no matter what.    Being a wife, while a gift and honor also takes energy and commitment.   It includes things like:   communicating often,  planning schedules, paying bills, keeping the house running smoothly, and giving loving, undivided attention to my spouse.  There are obviously unnamed responsibilities that I inherently take on as part of both of these identities and, on most days I gladly accept them because they give me a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

This process of incorporating new identities into the complex web of who I am has been both incredibly satisfying and at times indescribably frustrating.    My old identity has been thrown a curve ball (in the BEST way).   Most of my life I've been fiercely independent and assertive in every area of my life.    I see something I want and I go after it.   And, in the past I've had the capacity and energy to do so.   Once upon a time my life consisted of me, my business and extracurricular activity that appealed to me.    I now have a different level of time and energy available for everything, including my business.   And, while head says "keep going, grow your business, work harder, focus and anchor my professional identity", my heart and spirit say, "relax, let it emerge, there is no rush and great dreams will come to pass ahead."       This is a true test for me to release the old identity I hold for myself particularly in the area of my career.    It will.....  in the right time.     For once I am learning that I do not have to do life at such a fast pace.  

My experience has shown me that if I'm patient with my process of evolving, beautiful things - ideas, dreams and possibilities will emerge.    And, by giving myself some space to cocoon - go inward and reflect - I know I will be more available to what is happening now AND what wants to happen in the future.   

Here's to space for creating, dreaming and then, ......manifesting.     

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"I am what I am"

Six months ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Carson Thomas Miller.    The process of being pregnant and going through labor was by far the most extraordinary, super-natural experience of my life.   To have a being created inside of you is almost unimaginable.....  Throughout my pregnancy I had feedback from several outside sources that my life would change in remarkable and unsuspecting ways.   And, it has.    As my previous blogs have alluded to this process has been a drastic shift in my identity.   My self-reference as a working, independent woman has been put to the test.    And for this I am grateful.  

As a coach I work with my clients to discover their truest Self.   I help them become more anchored in who they are in the world, what they stand for and what they most value.    I help them grasp the idea that there is more to who they are in the world than playing the role of CEO or stay-at-home-mom.    And of course, as the saying goes, we often teach what we need to learn most ourselves.     Today I am in the seat of discovering who I am in the world amongst all the roles that I play - some new, some familiar.   This is extremely hard to do without judgment as I find there is a lot of credence given to titles and accomplishments.   Additionally, it's hard to stay clear from falling in the trap of living by others' rules or beliefs.    What is MY way of doing things?   What is MY way of being in the world as a wife, mommy, coach, friend and daughter amongst other roles....?     

While I don't have all the answers to the questions above, here is what I do know.... so far.  That I get more satisfaction from being loving, kind and patient to my husband and baby than accomplishing one of my many to-do's (in an attempt to feel accomplished)   That the most important things to a baby are that they be fed, played with, held and given rest.   And that what is not important to a baby are things like my 'title', my paycheck, my outfit or hairstyle or the kind of car I drive.   And, last how very important that this time be acknowledged for what it is (a MAJOR transition) which requires compassion and tolerance toward myself and others AND that this time be CELEBRATED as a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn from my amazing teachers, Carson and Danny.    There is such richness in this time of transition - it's a time to be curious, selfless, open and willing.      All this to say .....maybe (probably) the satisfaction wont come from the title I give myself but rather the way I choose to show up to my responsibilities that I HAVE CREATED for myself.  

This is not a time to be a martyr but instead be grateful and patient.     To have my own family is a long time dream now actualized....    what a miracle.     I've prayed many nights for this reality.    And of course, as with any dream comes the responsibility to manage and accept the new circumstance/s that have become a reality.    A word to the wise, be intentional and 'careful' about what you pray for....  it just may come true! :)    
 Thanks to my loving husband and sweet baby for being patient with mama as she gets her grove in this new, extraordinary phase of life.  

Here's to knowing thyself in the midst of the myriad of roles we all play.

Blessed and grateful,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

King of the Hill

Lately, my heart has been a bit heavy - just sort of a dreary sadness like an overcast day that wants to rain ....  and then drizzles a little.    I can't quite put my finger on it as to why I feel this way given that my life is pretty sweet today.   As of late, the tears stream easier and the insecurity is more readily accessible.  I haven't questioned my identity or security in who I am in years.  This state feels painfully humbling and at the same time somewhat liberating.   I think it's because I don't have the answers.   I love to have the answers.  I love knowing and being a voice of wisdom.   Yet this is an instance where I am clear - I don't know.  For the first time in a while I no longer feel like I'm "king of the hill"  (my own little ant hill of course) but instead feel very much like a freshman starting high school - unsure of how the 'system' works and where I'll excel. 

Today, I look at my life and I have so much of what I ever wanted - including things that I didn't know I wanted but am very grateful to have today.   I have a husband who is kind, thoughtful, loyal and incredibly committed to being a generous provider.   I have a baby who is by all accounts perfect (I am his mom :),  I work in a profession that is fulfilling and fun for me.   And, I have friends and family who love me no matter what.    So then why the heavy heart?  Why the questioning of my identity?   Shouldn't I feel happy, joyous and free?    Shouldn't I feel delighted that I have what so many in this world dream of having?  

I am clear - this is not about what I have or don't have.    This is not about my financial status or having better 'toys' to show off.   This is  not about what my husband is or is not doing that pleases me.   This IS about me and God.   This is about trusting the process of transition and change.   This is about sitting still and feeling discomfort, insecurity in NOT being "king of the hill" any longer.   Which, by the way is not necessarily a bad thing - I think this is my opportunity for growth and learning.     If I staid as king of the hill I would likely get bored and worse, I would get a very big ego.   I would be a know it all and stop being curious.    If I choose to stay still and feel the discomfort I will likely grow and come to understand my pain.   I will also hopefully grow in compassion for others who will endure this ....  there isn't necessarily an explanation for this, it seems that it's just part of life.  

I always have options - I can cut and run (and go where?), I can ignore this by somehow checking out (not appealing at this point in my life) or I can JUST BE - cry if I need to cry, laugh when I need to laugh and be exactly where I'm meant to be.

 Here's to standing still, yet moving forward.   


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Growing Pains

Lately I've had a series of seeming 'mishaps' occur in my life that feel like they're testing my last strand of patience.    Each mishap alone seems trivial but bunched together in a short amount of time they have felt heavy, unfortunate and almost intolerable.    It all started so sweet and innocent.  A few months ago my husband and I with our then 4.5 month old moved to the suburbs.... horray!   We were/are delighted with the great find of a perfect home for us in an area that provides ample hiking, biking and SUNSHINE!!   Truly delightful after living in the city for 18+ years complaining about summer gloom EVERY year as if to experience the chill for the first time.   Anyhow, as I was saying - we now live in a fantastic home with ample square footage and wall space.    Needless to say, we have been on a mission to get our place furnished and decorated (easier said than done when you are caring for an infant - HA!)    Let's just say ONE BABY STEP AT A TIME.    That said, my husband finally found the PERFECT couch for our place - beautiful chocolate brown, microsuede....  the perfect couch you don't want your kids to spill on (that's for another blog!).   So after the much anticipated wait of 4-6 weeks (of course it was closer to 6 weeks) it finally arrived!!  All was great until the delivery men left and I unwrapped the beaut only to find it is TOO long for our living room.    WHAT?!   Where did we go wrong and how who's fault was/is this?    A week + later we are still trying to get to the bottom of this while working with a very resistant furniture company ....   unnecessary stress if you ask me.     I found myself feeling slighted, powerless and enraged.  I've since mellowed out and while consistently following up to right this wrong I'm also working hard to let go of the outcome.... VERY HARD for this perfectionist.  

As if the couch mishap wasn't enough to rattle my flow of ease and serenity (HA!) - in the subsequent weeks I managed to get a ticket while on my cell phone (I swear officer I RARELY do this....) none the less, there is a law against this and I still tend to think that the law doesn't apply to me in most cases.    Very juvenile thinking ....  and unfortunately, not the truth.    Next, I misplaced my credit card, which I haven't done in years .... and for the life of me I cannot recall where I placed it.   So... not only is it a pain to not have my credit card accessible to use but also it's one more 1-800 call to make with options and waiting to reach a live voice so that I can cancel and re-order a new card.   UGH!    And then, the icing (or so I think/hope) is that I threw my back out .....  I cannot recall the last time I had this breath-taking kind of pain - well, aside from labor - and to complicate matters but I had my baby Carson to look after for the day while my back was out of commission.   NOT FUN OR EASY.   My poor baby was crying to be picked up and I would get half way down and with a loud "UUUUUH" get stuck and have to try position number two, then three and usually by the fourth attempt I could safely pick him up.    Talk about moving in slow motion.....   I think Carson even looked at me a couple times with an odd curiosity of what might be wrong with me that day.    As if that's not enough, the chiropractic bill of a whopping $250 came at the end of two very QUICK adjustments.  OUCH on both accounts..... 

It's funny as I write this poor me, sad saga of mishaps I have to laugh....    it's just kind of funny how things like this happen all at one time.    Just when I think I CANNOT handle one more thing going 'wrong' it does and I rise to the occasion and deal with it.   I grow, stretch, complain and move on.   It's just life -   imperfect, funny and sometimes unfortunate with it's timing.    In ten years these 'mishaps' won't mean a thing - what will is that I have love, health and wonderful people surrounding me in my life.  

Here's to life - ordinary and splendid all in one gulp.

~ Nikki

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


During pregnancy I had some extra time to read articles, books and blogs on what to expect when our baby was born. I was also diligent about learning what to expect while I was pregnant .... and even so there were / are so many surprises that no one tells you about. Or, maybe it's just that everyone's experience is so vastly different .... yet, there are SO many similarities between moms, couples and new parents in general. The more I speak to other moms the more I feel connected and bonded in a unique - "yes, I understand you" way. The similarities I hear are lack of sleep, lack of time to do things like take a shower, put on make-up or be intimate with your significant other. It's comforting in some ways and yet, when you're at home alone with your baby, feeling spent and unsure if you have what it takes to show up for the day it can feel lonely and daunting. Lately, these feelings are far and few for me but they do still exist because as every mom (and dad) know, having a child or children is HARD work and persistent. There is no 'time off' for moms and dads.

I marvel at the things that people have possibly mentioned to me but that I (at the time) dismissed and now think ... "OHHHH I get it!" Things like your life is going to change forever once you have a child / children. And how true this is ... in the best and most complex ways. And then of course there are the ways my life has changed from a selfish perspective. It is no longer all about me (and my husband). Traveling is not just about exotic get-aways any longer but rather where we can go that will be children friendly. There is rarely a time I think to lounge and read a magazine - instead it's a race to get what I can done in the time I have allotted (usually an hour per nap).

Motherhood is truly one of the most priceless, amazing experiences I've ever known and one of my best teachers. On the days I think I can't do this I remember it's just a day at a time and I know from experience I can do ANYTHING for one day. On days when I feel a rush that I need to get 'my life' going again (i.e. my business, my house completely decorated, etc...) I remind myself there is NO RUSH and that I only have THIS opportunity ONCE to be with my 5 month old who is soon to be 6 months and growing rapidly by the day. I never want to look back and have regret because of my selfishness. Everyone I meet who has children longingly reminds me this time goes VERY fast - and you can NEVER get it back.

Thank you to all the moms out there who share their experience with me - it comforts me immensely and normalizes the sometimes challenging aspects of being a parent. We all know it's the hardest job I'll/we'll ever love.

Love you Carson Thomas!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Compare and ..... despair

I know this concept so so well and yet, I fall into the trap often. The pattern goes like this - I get something new (or at least new to me) - an outfit, a car, a phone, a house, a job..... and the list goes on. And, at first this 'new' item feels exhilarating and abundant to me. I feel proud of this new item - what it means and the status I think it brings. Mostly, I feel grateful for the privilege of having this 'new' thing. I think I secretly look forward to using or wearing this item in hopes of getting some accolades and showing it off. This lasts for a little while - sometimes a few weeks, sometimes a couple months..... and sometimes only a mere week or so. Then an unfortunate shift happens; I begin to notice what others are doing or what they have and very swiftly begin to minimize the magnificence of what I have. All of a sudden the car I have that I loved when purchased becomes insignificant or mediocre at best. The house that was once amazing and truly perfect becomes O.K. when compared to the Joneses down the street whose house has more bells and whistles or a better view. I remember when I was single and I used to have moments (sometimes weeks or even months) where I was completely content with my life as a single woman. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, with unlimited options of activities. Then as if to poke my head out of my 'bubble' I would see others who were gleefully dating, married or on the brink of having children and I would immediately feel inadequate and panicked. I would feel my body rush with anxiety and urgency - as if I needed to 'make' something happen NOW. How quickly I would lose sight of what was great about my life as it was (or is!). I would shift from trusting the 'process' to feeling like I'd better take charge and enforce change more rapidly than was happening.

Ironically, when I do acquire that thing I thought I needed it NEVER fills that insatiable need for more .... obviously. My husband recently asked me if I needed more 'toys' because I was having an insecure moment. I quickly responded "no". I know without a doubt that my insecurity or feelings of inadequacy cannot be changed with money or items. It's a spiritual void and a lack of gratitude. I once heard someone say, "if you're not happy on the bus, what makes you think you'll be happy in the limo?" How true. Happiness and contentment starts NOW. The rest is gravy.

What I know is that my fulfillment NEVER comes from material things ..... no car, house, outfit or diamond could even begin to compete with my relationship with my husband, my perfect little boy (of course, I'm bias) and friends and family who I cherish deeply. Not to mention and probably MOST important my growing spiritual life ...... there cannot ever be a price tag associated to feeling connected. It cannot be bought, ever.

I once heard that if I was going to compare to others and covet what they have, that I needed to want all of their life. The WHOLE package - not just bits and pieces. When I put things in this perspective - I choose my life. I choose what I've been given ..... I have all that REALLY matters and SO SO much more. There will always be others with more money, a bigger house, a flatter stomach AND there will always be those who have no money, are living in their cars and have very little to eat. Bottom line - appreciate what I have. It's amazing and perfectly enough.

A grateful attitude = gratitude. :)


Monday, April 9, 2012

Send / Receive

Tap, tap, tap..... when will the message get here? I live in an impatient world. I have expectations of texts and emails being immediately answered - especially now that I have an "all inclusive" iphone. I find myself tapping on phone button embarrassingly often to see if anything new has arrived, as though I'm 5 years old anxiously awaiting Christmas morning. I think my little boy (who is ONLY 5 months old) has even picked up on the notion that when I have the phone in my hand, I am not paying focused attention to him. And, while he cannot speak in English yet, he does in no uncertain terms let me know that this is not OK with him.

I think the truth is that I'm addicted to immediate gratification. Or maybe it's immediate escapism. Ugh! How humbling!

Is this because I feel lonely and am seeking connection? Is it boredom? Or am I simply addicted to distraction? I don't even need a computer these days.... my phone contains everything I need- Facebook, Google, email, the weather, games, text messaging and more. On one hand I think - wow, this is fantastic I have all that I need at my fingertips. And on another I think things were more relaxed and simpler when I didn't have all these options. It's ironic that people pay top dollar to get away to resorts that have no t.v.'s, radios or computers ..... do I/we have to pay to not be distracted and catch a break?

In the time I've written this blog post, I've looked at my phone, which continues to receive messages, at least 10 times. It appears that I need to find a new strategy to temporarily part ways with my beloved phone if I want to really practice being present to the NOW. While my phone gives me continual connection to my world around me, it also pulls me away from being here NOW. Things like feeling my body, noticing how shallow my breath is or how the trees outside are moving slightly..... or how the two men sitting in the corner of this Starbucks are having conversation with each other while on their own respective phone calls. It's all random and yet so wonderfully unique and often amusing. It's easy to miss it when I'm tapping my phone to see what messages await me. I think the messages can wait. I think returning the calls can wait. They all have their time and place..... it's not ALL the time. It WILL BE SOMETIMES.

There will always be calls to make, texts to receive and emails to send .... THIS moment will only happen ONCE. It's always my choice. As it is yours.

Signing off so I can be present ; )

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts, Feelings, Actions

I love the saying your thoughts are your thoughts, your feelings are your feelings but ACTIONS are YOUR LIFE! How true this is, at least for me. In the end, doesn't it always come back to the question of "what did I do?" If I let my thoughts or feelings run the show - which I have and occasionally still do, I end up feeling disappointed and unmotivated instead of energized and motivated. I often refer to the analogy of going to the gym. It's so easy for me convince myself that I don't feel 'good enough' to go or that it's not 'that' high of a priority considering all the other items on my to-do list. It's not until I overwrite these thoughts and feelings, get myself dressed and get on the machine at the gym that I begin to experience the benefit that comes from exercising - feeling fit, energized and focused.

I was just complimenting my husband recently because even when it's pouring rain and miserable out he takes action and shows up to meetings he has committed to attending (even when it means getting soaked). I respect this and strongly desire to have this become an innate part of my nature. For some reason I was built with strong negotiating skills which in some cases comes in handy. However, when I find myself negotiating against myself - what my heart and gut KNOW would be good for me I have to be careful that I don't convince myself to stop, quit or cancel. This internal negotiator REALLY likes convenience and comfort. And, to live a fulfilling life, I believe it's crucial to SHOW UP no matter what (assuming I've committed to someone else or myself - obviously there are legitimate reasons for not showing up - but these are the exception, not the norm) I find that when some discomfort and/or risk are involved in an action I take, I find myself EVEN MORE energized after showing up because I just pushed against a limitation I internally set for myself ..... and I WON - not the limiting belief or voice!

My son has been a wonderful teacher in this area in that he is completely dependent upon me for everything, including having new experiences. Some days I just don't 'feeeeel' like getting everything together (bottles, diaper bag, etc, etc...) to get out and go do something. I'm learning that when I do it anyways I always, always feel better - and so does he! It seems to shift both of us in mood and energy. In this case I am responsible for giving my son new experiences and opportunities to learn ..... there is a lot riding on whether I choose to take action. I no longer get to be selfish and subscribe to my mood and comfort zone.

Positive begets positive. Action motivates more action. Positive results stimulate a stronger appetite for more action!!

Go forth and take action!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It's been quite a long time since I've written - a newsletter, a blog post.... much of anything really. This is partially due to having a 4.5 month old and prior to that 9 months of pregnancy (obviously) - AND it's partially due to a strange resistance and insecurity of what to write. So, I've decided NOW it's time. As my husband recently reminded me, anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

So much has happened in the past year and a half..... where to begin? Let's start with the obvious - I've moved (recently to Marin), got married and had a baby - ALL major life changing events in their own right. It's wild - one minute I'm single living with a roommate, dating on (wondering, praying, hoping that SOMEDAY I'd meet Mr. Right.....) and the next I'm living a dream thinking who's life is this?!!

Each of these three amazing changes are teaching me more than I could have ever imagined (or bargained for). My husband is teaching me about how to be patient and accepting of others, amongst other things :). Clearly, I have ideas of how thing should be done and the pace at which they should be done ..... and I'm learning that my time line is NOT that of everyone elses.... how disappointing for me. AND it's the hard truth so I need to be OK with it or I will have NO serenity. And furthermore, it's quite annoying to others (my husband) when I am trying to manage his life and his choices. Right Danny? ; )

Moving has taught me first and foremost, that I LOVE Marin - it's exactly where I'm / we're meant to be right now! Since we've moved into a significantly larger home I'm learning to 'explore' my taste - which I've not necessarily had the opportunity to do living in the matchboxes I've lived in in San Francisco. I'm having to ask myself "What kind of wall hangings do I enjoy, what color schemes do I like, how do you decorate a babies room..... etc ?" It's both very exciting and sometimes completely overwhelming. I can see why people hire interior decorators! Anyone, anyone? It's so interesting that this is bringing up my insecurity..... it reminds me of that book - What Color Is Your Parachute? BIG decisions that in the long run .... are NOT that big of a deal..... but I sure can make it big! Hopefully, I can remind myself to stay curious rather than judgmental and hyper-critical. We can always redecorate next year - NOT!

And last but certainly not least being a new mommy has put me to the ultimate test. What does it mean to have someone COMPLETELY dependent on me?!! I'm an only child with a frequent case of "princess-itus". Needless to say I've been quite independent and bold about asking for what I need. Now - I find myself having to be attentive, loving, giving (like I've never given before) and generous with my time/energy. It's amazing that the days I think there is NO way I can do this today ..... then, I do it. Somehow the energy comes..... maybe it comes with being a mommy - I have no idea. There is truly nothing more humbling than when you are peed, pooped and spit up on all in one sitting! As a good friend of mine reminded me it is the hardest job you will ever love! Needless to say, Carson, Danny and I are all finding our rhythm - one day at a time! I have a feeling Carson (our 4.5 month old) will be one of my best teachers. He is beautiful, ambitious, smiley and very communicative - to say the least.

This has all been quite a journey - and quite challenging to my former identity ..... one that is gradually changing and evolving into something/someone I still don't completely recognize.

More on that later......

Signing off,