Hi friends and strangers.
How are your hearts?
I've spent the last couple weeks of my life riding the waves of change, small and large.
A few weeks ago I closed a show and during the closing performance I lost my voice right as we took our final bow. Funny how life knocks you down. This same afternoon I had work in prison to do, I laid on the floor in the prison lobby without a voice listening to the sounds around me. Grateful that I could hear the soundscape, and angry that I couldn't share my thoughts louder than a whisper. Sometimes having things taken away from you is a good thing, it forces me into a kind of presence I often talk about but can fail to notice. Without my voice, I began to find new ways to communicate. I tried hard to love people with my eyes, with my smile, with the words I sent them through an email or on a card. The loss of my voice felt like a powerful reminder to listen more deeply, in this case, to myself. I give a lot and taking time off is not something I am good at. Self care, yes, but time off is more of a foreign concept to me.
So what at first was just my voice failing me soon became my body as I pushed it harder.
 
A week after losing my voice I had a retreat to lead with a group of ten women. On this retreat we gathered together to move, to talk about the wild and tame in our lives, and to play together. Over the weekend I began to feel worse and on our final night together slept through dinner with a fever on the couch. Being sick is never fun, but when surrounded by female doctors, nurses, midwives, lawyers, writers, and so on, the idea of being sick amongst them felt deeply supportive to me. I was able to move slowly, I was able to drink copious amounts of warm tea, and I rested. Still, my body asked for more rest. A few days later I took myself to urgent care where they diagnosed me with a head cold. A head cold that knocked me on my ass and had me in bed for almost three days.
 
Here is where the beauty comes in.
The beauty of truly seeing.
As I lay in my bed staring up at the windows and watching the light spill in I found the power in pause. The power of pause is something I often speak of in my classes or conversations. It's the moment where we can truly feel and see at the same time, often known as presence. In my own busy life I can cram a million things into a single day without ever pausing. I'm good at filling my tank, and I'm working at finding more pause in my day. The power of pause is when we give ourselves the time to collect or reflect. It's the solo cup of coffee you have at a coffee shop while writing in your journal. Or the quiet time that occurs at my house when the kids have just gone to bed. In getting sick, I was forced to pause. My body gave me a fuck you, listen to me, hard message, and I was forced to the threshold. In the pause, I found gratitude and clarity. Gratitude for this wild and crazy life I live. Gratitude for the friends that dropped off tea, lozenges, and food. Clarity in what lies ahead over the next year, and acceptance in my body failing me. I ask a lot of my body daily, and in these moments of quiet, I felt that I was finally listening in, rather than listening out.
 
This quality of listening meant I slept a lot. I drank a lot of tea, and I practiced going to bed before 10pm.
I also keep thinking of these words from nayyirah waheed:
 
the warmest light is your body.
 
and these words:
 
apologize to your body.
maybe
that's where the healing begins.
-starting
 
I thought about all the ways I had mistreated by body over the years. Lack of sleep, lack of food, binge eating, excessive exercise, lack of exercise, and now here I was curled up in my bed. I began to thank my body for all the ways it had survived my harsh treatment of it. I thought about breathing light into my darkness, and here is where my healing began. From a few days of feeling like death, to a slow upright, walking recovery my strength grew. I felt like a child learning to walk, and a bird learning to find my voice. Slowly, pieces of me came back again. This time I'm listening more deeply. I'm saying yes less, and I'm enjoying saying no.
 
As we move into March, I hope you too will remember that, 'the warmest light is your body.'
 
This month, I'll venture off to Zimbabwe and began exploring a new life in a new place with new people. I'm almost excited, a little anxious, and ready for a wild ride. I'm practicing the art of pausing as I collect all the books I want to journey with me to Africa. Have any favorite reads I should take with me? You'll hear from me during my time away in the form of this little newsletter, but I'd love to hear from you too.
 
During March, my wish for you is this: that you love your body, and that you treat it with the utmost kindness. Your body has held you up a long time, and supported your journeys. May your body support your changing life, your curious heart, and may your body embrace all your uncertainties. May your emotional life teach you to listen, and to express yourself more freely. May your intention to show up awaken the fires within. 
 
I bow to you wherever you may be on your own journeys, and I hope that we may journey together at one of my upcoming offerings this year.
 
In love and gratitude,
 
Nikki
Vibrant Living:
A Women's Retreat in Italy
Co-led with Julie Jeske (pictured below)
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*
Register Here
Be Love/d: You are an Infinite Being
Co-led with Atieno Bird
October 11th-14th, 2019
Portland, OR

Are you ready to be loved, beloveds? Are you ready to be reminded that, as infinite beings, we can meet the challenges of our lives very adequately, and often even brilliantly? Are you ready to join a circle of women and see your divinity reflected in their eyes? Are you ready to be love?

Click Here for more info and to join us!
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