This week I turned 30 years young. Life is truly amazing. I feel like a different person. And despite all the wonderful experiences thus far, I feel as though life has just begun.
My 20s were a time for exploration and self discovery–touching all corners of the globe, fulfilling curiosities, experiencing, and embarking on a journey guided by the heart. I chose to take a deep dive into the unknown and it was all worth it. The unknowns still exist, but I now have a greater understanding of who I am and why I'm here on this planet. And this birthday week was definitely the icing on the cake.
I chose to spend my 30th birthday facilitating my own personal vision quest. This is a rite of passage that many Native American nations use as a means to gain insights, wisdoms and understandings about life. Most notably, this time is spent in nature–in silence and solitude. Though I wish to do a formal vision question with a native elder someday, this sufficed to fulfill my longing for the time being.
I chose sacred land in Ojai, California that once belonged to the Chumash people. In order to connect with the elements and Mother Nature more deeply, I chose to wear my birthday suit. As I swam up the river, I noticed a large rock–an elder stone. It appeared to be the perfect place for a meditation. As I climbed the rock, I touched my forehead to the mineral surface and whispered, "Grandfather, please impart your wisdom unto me."
About 4 hours later, as the sun began to set, I opened my eyes with new vision–a new perspective. Something had changed. I felt inner peace and calmness. I felt a knowing like never before–a knowing about where everything is headed, but I have no idea how I will get there or what it will look like, and that's the fun of this beautiful life journey!
The secrets of the universe reside within. Some of the wisdoms received include:
1. Be More, Do Less
We live in a world that is addicted to doing. Everything is about accomplishing and to-do-lists. We are onto the next thing before we even finish what’s in this moment. Sometimes we completely miss the moment because we are too busy doing on our phones or in our minds. The most common question we ask each other is, “What do you do?”
Constantly doing blocks inspiration from flowing through us. If we are constantly doing there is no space for us to receive the wonders of creation and innovation.
What about just being? When was the last time you stopped to just be? Instead of thinking about what to do, perhaps pondering, “How would I like to be?” “What kind of person do I want to be?” Be more of that and life becomes easier, more enjoyable, more peaceful. Notice how life transforms when you do less and be more. Less anxiety, less depression, less frustration, less noise, less obligation…
We are not robots here to do. We are humans here to be.
2. It's not about what it looks like, it's about how it feels.
Looks can be deceiving. We have become a very visual culture. With TV and social media, everything is about looks. But looks can be misleading. We have these check lists and expectations about what things and people are supposed to look like, and we can become blinded by the smoke and mirrors of the superficial–missing key information.
Imagine a job, partner, or situation showing up just at the right time, it looks great on the outside, but something feels off. You can’t explain, but it doesn't feel "right." "What it is?" Listen to that! Trust feelings.
It’s important to get to the depth and true nature of any person, place, situation, or thing before making the best decision as to whether to invite it into our lives. Things can look and appear perfect but if they don’t FEEL good, that’s ok–NEXT! We can give thanks, take in the lessons, and lovingly set it free. And the sooner the better to avoid any more suffering.
3. Listen to the body. The mind does not know.
This is related to feelings. The body is where we feel. We may feel it in our stomach or tingling or in the knees. That feeling of “Oh Yes!” or “Mmmm No” lives in the body. The body is our guide this lifetime.
Many people are disconnected from their bodies because of the way way we have been conditioned to live. The mind absorbs information, creating belief structures about the way things are "supposed" to be. We are conditioned to believe the mind is the source of intelligence with all the "knowledge" it retains–but it is not. The body is the source of intelligence and provides us with all the information we need. Even subtly though posturing, sensations, and pains, the body is always speaking to us and communicating with us.
Take food for example, we may “think” we should eat a certain “way,” but if the body feels tired or weak, that obviously is not the “way” for us. Each individual is different. Every body is different. Take exercise, perhaps we love to hike but not run. We can’t explain why, but we know how the body loves to move–listen to the body! Even though listening to the mind can get us into trouble, creating injuries and situations of suffering, it is all perfect–heed the lessons and new avenues of understanding for growth when this happens.
4. There is no "right" way. There are many.
The more I experience and learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. I don't know anything really. I have my life experiences guiding me.
There are many ways to build a house and make a salad. The essentials exist such as a foundation, walls, lettuce, and toppings, but ultimately the way in which they are assembled are a result of location and taste preferences of the person creating.
Be open to learning another way, and be brave enough to choose the way that works best for you despite what other may tell you is "the way."
5. The only constant is change.
Life is an ever flowing dance. In every moment we are changing and evolving. Resisting the natural change of life will only bring headache and heartache. People change, we change, relationships change, the earth changes, everything changes–even beliefs. Welcome change with open arms; expect it and be ready for it.
6. Release plans. Go with the flow. Decide in the moment.
How many times has a beautiful moment been cut short because of a schedule that had to be followed? How many times has a wonderful invitation come in but other plans were already made? Life is a river, choose to be in the flow and see how many more serendipitous, life-changing experiences appear.
7. Be surrounded by those who are aligned.
That saying “You are who you hang out with” is true. Energy is contagious and people are energy. People are either inspiring or draining. Choose wisely. Celebrate those you admire and keep those close who are uplifting and bring joy into everyday.
8. Be patient. Slow down. Everything is happening perfectly on time.
In a rush much? When we slow down we gain time. Trust me, I know this sounds ludicrous, but it’s true. I’m the first person wanting to go 0-90mph. Perhaps slowing down allowed us to miss the intersection where an accident occurred.
For most of my life there has been a rushing frequency in my being. Perhaps the New York City lifestyle infused this into me. Now living in California I’ve slowed down tremendously, even the pace at which I walk down the street is much slower.
When I rush into things I find myself thinking if only I had been patient then the red flags would have been revealed. This pressure and rushing was something I put on myself–a pressure to write and create. Most things cannot be rushed.
I’ve started my book 17 times and thank goodness I didn’t write and finish it a year ago because now I have new understandings. Even still I’m in no rush like I once was. The book will be birthed at the perfect time. So will everything else.
When we slow down, we are less likely to make mistakes. Patience is a big lesson this lifetime. Time reveals all.
9. It’s all perfect. Every experience has led to this moment.
I’m thankful for everything that has ever happened in my life–the “good,” the “bad,” the “successes” and “failures.” Regret is silly. It is silly because everything is perfect. If a situation sucked, well, lessons were learned. There is gold in the upsets. Experience is our teacher. Better to say “whoopsy,” than “what if.”
10. Lead by example. Be the change.
Words don’t mean much. Funny to say as I write this post, but it’s true! It is the integrity of our actions that inspire. It is who we are that inspires change in others. It’s easy to talk, but walking the talk is the true test. Wishing for something in this world or wanting to attract a certain type of feeling or person? Be that, then it will manifest.
We cannot fight for peace.
11. Follow inspiration, be guided by the heart–always.
This one can be very tricky because we have been trained to follow the mind, schedules, and rules. This life is meant to be amazing and enjoyable in every moment–without restrictions. We are here to be unapologetically the unique beings we came here to be. Many people do what they are “supposed” to do, and not what they wish to do.
I’ve attempted to rid the word “should” from my vocabulary. I gave up the conventional way of being when I chose to leave Western Medicine. This is my life–I'm going to be the writer, producer, and talent. I still catch myself thinking I’m “supposed” to do this or that, but then I remind myself, “I’m supposed to follow inspiration.”
Inspiration is the guiding compass for innovation and creation. Inspiration, and love, create heaven on earth. They have never led me astray.
12. Be Love. It is the most powerful force.
The ultimate prescription for anything and everything is love. We are here to love and be loved. Choose love in every moment–it’s not about who is right or wrong. Spread love like a love fairy all over the place! Be L.O.V.E. Love, love, and love some more. Be love.
My life is my purpose. I dedicate my life in service to evoking more love, peace, and harmony on this beautiful planet. If I affect the life of just one person on any given day, I have fulfilled my dharma. Ultimately it's about depth and quality, and by “it” I mean everything–life, relationships, actions, intentions...
My intention is to inspire and empower even more love, health, happiness and joy in people. And it begins with me and how I choose to live my life in every moment. I'm not attached to the form in which it happens. For a period time it may be through media, individual sessions, teaching yoga, leading retreats, meditating or writing, and at other times it may be in ways that I have yet to dream possible.
Regardless, I have surrendered to the mysteries of the universe and the unfoldings of the future for I know it will all happen for my highest and best good, and for the highest and best good of humanity.
I invite you to discover your own insights deep in nature at the Ojai, Nature Retreat next weekend! Some spaces are available for those feeling inspired. Register today at www.drnikkinoce.com/empower/ojai-nature-retreat. See you there!
Also, Which of these 12 insights most resonates in your life? #12 was the biggest message for me! Would love to hear your reflections below: