Welcome to 2019 friends, strangers, ex-lovers, and soon to be new friends.
Here we are in January, can you believe it?
I loved so much about 2018 and am also ready for a new beginning.
I spent the last of 2018 on a beach with lots of friends and strangers taking in the sunset, the smell and sound of the ocean, and lots of reflective conversation. 2018 in many ways felt like a big year for me.
I did A LOT, I manifested things I wasn't really sure I could do or make, and then I proved to myself that I could.
For me, it was a year of making and breaking. Making great art, making new friends, making dreams turn into realities. And it was also a year of breaking. Breaking apart who I thought I was, breaking down old relationships and letting them go, breaking down in tears more than once, and breaking down systems that no longer work for me. In 2018 I examined the words: light, intimacy, and joy. My own personal practice, is to pick few words each year that resonate with what I want to focus on or what I want to create. It's helped me become more accountable and fluid in moving my life forward. Want to try it with me this year? If you do, please share your words with me. I'd love to collect a list of what we are all manifesting together and share them (anonymously or otherwise) in my next newsletter.
 
This year I sat, and ran, and yogaed, and hot tubbed and wondered what words would come to me. I even soul collaged (another practice of mine!) with friends on New Year's Eve, and then these words rang true: Abundant Journeys. This year I am all about creating abundant journeys, for myself and for that choose to journey with me as a friend, on retreat, in my work life, or online. I'm manifesting and planning many large and small journeys for 2019, and I hope you'll journey with me, in person or in your own way from afar.
 
This newsletter, getting comfortable with being UNcomfortable, was inspired by three women who have journeyed with me in life for many years. These three women and I are in different decades of our life, living in our own abundance and mess as life has its way. We met in a yoga studio many years ago. I was the yoga teacher and they were my students, over the years I've become the student and they have become my teachers. We call ourselves, "soul sisters", and we share our lives regularly. Sometimes in person, but mostly through a text strand where we divulge, and support, and share the beautiful mess of our lives. In many ways I know these three women well, and in many ways we are still strangers. Such is the stuff of our lives, right? Do we ever really know someone? And yet, I feel this deep connection to all three of them. Recently we started talking about the word uncomfortable, and I shared with them a post that I wrote back in 2015 when I began to explore this word more deeply. Here is that post:
 
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My soul sisters today asked me to share more about how getting uncomfortable has opened me up, and so here I am trying to share just that. Back in 2015, I was coming off a long time journey of teaching yoga and theatre. I needed to step back and reevaluate what I wanted and what I hoped to cultivate. I have always enjoyed a full life, often balancing many projects at once. But I was curious about slowing more scape in my life, so I dug out this phrase: cultivate creative space to create the life you want. Once I decided that I wanted more time to create and play things fell apart and then fell into place. Stripping away my yoga teacher identity was emotional, I felt sad for all the studios and students I was walking away from in. But in return, I received authentic friendships from a handful of students, bosses, and other teachers. Suddenly, I wasn't just a teacher to them, but I became a friend. I was more open to change, to allowing things to flow, rather than trying to create a flow in my classes or in my life. This changed the way I moved about during my day, on my mat, and ultimately what projects I started saying yes too.
 
When I think about the word uncomfortable, ultimately we have to look at all that makes us comfortable. So I made a list: my first cup of coffee, familiar faces, certain clothes, smells of food from my childhood, certain places in the world, the list went on and I kept adding to it throughout the year. I then spent time trying to do things that were not on my list: have coffee with people that make you mad (and try, really try to understand them), get a tattoo ( I did, on my left breast in the midst of breast pumping, it says: I AM FREE), stop teaching for awhile, and this list also changed throughout the year. Slowly, I added things back in that brought me joy, and I let things go (people, projects, and otherwise) that didn't light me up. It was a little like being a secret agent, I was working through my own sense of identity in a public and private way. What I discovered in myself was a greater sense of bravery, a courage to say yes to things that made me feel nervous, and instead of hiding these feelings, I talked about them. I told the woman over coffee that I was having coffee with her because she made me nervous. I told that tattoo artist that I was worried about my breast milk shooting out all over his face. Some of these things were fun to share, but more of these things made me cry or pee my pants just a little.
 
This year, I'm focused on abundant journeys. I'm practicing being open to the unknown in small and large ways.
 
Currently, I'm working on a new play about the Bosnian war and playing the part of a woman who has lost a child. I'm living with PTSD, a great sense of loss and learning to play truth in every breath. It's scary, and fun, and painful, and exhilarating to be figuring out how to live through this piece.
 
In February, I'll journey to Mission Beach to co-lead a retreat with my soul sister, Karen Pride, a space for women to heal and feel together over intimate conversations, nourishing food, daily yoga, creative time, walks on the beach, and nightly music by special guest artists. We have room for one more, won't you join us?
 
In March, my family and I will move to Zimbabwe for three months to work and play in theatre. I'll work on creating new solo shows with a group of Zimbabwean artists and further develop my own solo show. My husband will direct a new Zimbabwean play. Our girls will go to a local public school. We will spend time adventuring together on safari, to nearby countries, and taking in a whole new way  of life. I'm excited and nervous for this time, but ready to take a leap. I just need a little push.
 
In June, I'm planning a birthday trip to Puerto Rico with a dear friend to get lost and discover together. We are adventurous types that love to travel solo and together.
 
In September, I'm co-leading a women's retreat to Italy with dear friend and collaborator, Julie Jeske called Vibrant Living. Whenever we are together, we dive right in to the heart of what matters. Our conversations are messy, vulnerable, funny, and real, this is why I create with Julie. Together, we will practice daily yoga, swim in the pool at our private villa, engage in deep conversations around presence and sexuality, explore local towns and meet artisans, cook together, wine and olive oil taste, and reflect. This retreat is for all levels of life experience, come as you are in all your mess. Don't miss this once in a lifetime offering with us.
 
This year is only just beginning to unfold, and already it holds so much promise. Today, over 200 women are being signed into Congress, doesn't that feel AMAZING?! I feel like screaming and weeping all at once.
 
And, just moments ago one of my soul sisters called me to tell me she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. We laughed and cried as we processed the news together. Then minutes later the four of us soul sisters were texting each other with support, advice, and ideas. One of them said, "Well now we are breast friends!" I suggested a great party where we all gather together and stare at each others breasts. I laughed and cried a little more as I imagined the four of us gathering in this way. Hmmmmm, who knows what the future will bring, right?
 
For today, we are here. Thank you for being here, for seeing the light and the dark. May this month bring you comfort in all the moments that may seem uncomfortable too. May we walk a little lighter together, and share a little more deeply.
 
From my breast to yours,
 
Nikki :)
Wild at Heart: A Weekend Retreat for Women
Co-led with Karen Pride
Mission Beach, CA
Feb 15-19, 2019
Wild at Heart is a place for women to circle up to heal and feel together. A space for you to come as you are in all your messiness and imperfections. A space to hold each other, know each other, and kindle the beginning of new and old friendships in a beautiful place.
*1 SPOT LEFT!*
Vibrant Living:
A Women's Retreat in Italy
Co-led with Julie Jeske
September 7-14th, 2019
Lucca, Italy

Together, we will share conversations and movement on pleasure, presence, ancestry, moon cycles, vulnerability and humility, daily essential oil treatments
, creativity, wholistic living, practices for being grounded & heard, massage, learn from our stories,and practice reiki.
Julie is one of my favorite people to lead with, if you haven’t met her you should, and if you have you are probably better for her presence in your life.
On this retreat we will collect the beauties of Italy, shared with new friends as we cook together, yoga each morning inside the great hall or by the pool, explore local towns, swim, sip wine, taste olive oils, and enjoy art. We hope you can join us for this nourishing experience!
*LIMITED SPACE*
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