I came up with my new artist initials!
I finally came up with a design for how I’d like to sign my art as “nikiunleashed!” I used it for the first time in the piece above earlier this week. I fiddled around with it quite a bit, playing with print versus cursive, and chose to go with cursive. I love that it’s an ambigram, meaning it looks the same right-side-up or upside-down. I added the dot in the center to differentiate the letters, to make it easier to read, and to represent the world in which we live. My great friend and soul-sister Jobeth also pointed out that it is wavy! I love the ocean and appreciate her helping me see that it can also represent the ebbs and flows of life.
Last week was a challenging week at work. I generally put quite a bit of effort into being an upbeat, positive, energetic person. I don’t think I’m easily defeated or deflated. However, last week was a bit of a different story. Things weren’t going smoothly, and I was handling them well and to the best of my abilities, but that didn’t make things any more pleasant or enjoyable. My outlook on life was less bright than usual and I couldn’t wait until my Friday.
One of my favorite books of all time, that I’ve gifted to probably 10-20 people by now, is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I truly believe it has simple (but not easy!), life-changing advice to implement in your life. I could write a whole post about how much I love this book, but for now, I’d like to focus on the second agreement: “Don’t take anything personally.”
The world is your mirror in that everything anyone ever does or says to you is a reflection of HIM/HERSELF, not a reflection of you. For example, say a person is short with you at work. Had it not been for this book, I would take it personally, ask myself what I ever did to my coworker to deserve such treatment, and try to rectify the situation. After reading this book (several times, I love it that much!), I know now to not take anything personally. How people react in the world is a reflection of THEMSELVES, not a reflection on you, even though you may sometimes be the unfortunate recipient of their attitudes. In this example, perhaps the coworker was up late, didn’t sleep well, spilled their coffee on themselves on the commute to work, and just had a rough start to a long day ahead. His/her shortness with you had nothing to do with YOU, but had everything to do with him/herself.
This book is so simple and easy to understand, but such a challenge to remember and to IMPLEMENT in my daily life. During my rough work week, it took a lot of energy to keep reminding myself that things aren’t happening TO me. Things are simply happening and I am the person on which they’re falling at the current moment. I get to choose how to respond and how best to handle things.
Not taking things personally goes both ways, both positive and negative! It is easy to use this agreement when things aren’t going well, and to say that the person treating me poorly is having a negative reflection of him/herself that day. But what about when someone is praising you? Complimenting you? Cheering you on? This is another case for me where it’s challenging to practice this agreement. While it feels amazing to be heard, accepted, and complimented, even these positive things are not to be taken personally. They are simply a reflection of the person with whom you’re communicating. Yes, bask in your moment, but also remember that you know your worth best. Other people’s thoughts can definitely be inspiring and uplifting, but ultimately, they are a reflection of themselves and how they’re perceiving the world, a.k.a. YOU, in this moment.
We’ve discussed OTHER PEOPLE and how the world is a reflection of them to themselves. Let’s turn inward now, because that’s where the real meat of the matter is: OUR world is a reflection of OURSELVES. The world, YOUR world, is YOUR mirror. Everything you say, do, experience, and project out into the world is a direct reflection of YOURSELF. Having a challenging work week like I did? Aside from looking at other people and their worldy reflection, which does nothing for me since I can’t change other people, I could look INWARD and take response-ability for what I can do about things. I can communicate more clearly, offer suggestions for improvement for the next time the computers go down, and try to make things as smooth as possible for my fellow coworkers. If I instead took things personally and laid the blame on other people, then I would be in for a miserable week, I would feel like a victim, and I would close my mind off from finding solutions.
Do you ever have an amazing day? Everything seems to be going right in the world, you’re feeling GREAT, you have energy, and you’re excited about life? I do, and I am working on having them more often. The world is my mirror. I’m putting out good energy and the universe is responding in kind. Energy feeds on itself. We create the building blocks for our future life based on what foundation we choose to lay down today. The opposite is true as well. When I’m feeling sick with a cold or overwhelmed with something, it is easy for that energy to feed on itself and make me feel even worse. It is especially during times like these that I need to remind myself of this powerful second agreement. Don’t take the negative external things personally. Take a breath, focus on what I can do about the situation, and start living the life I was meant to live.
I love to think about things from different angles and play “devil’s advocate” with myself to challenge myself to see things from different views. One thing that always comes up for me when reflecting on this second agreement is: I do not yet have an answer for why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes life just isn’t fair and some terrible, evil things happen to amazing people. This thought of “the world is your mirror” isn’t a perfect rule; how could it be? Those amazing people aren’t asking for or projecting into the world the awful things that are happening to them. And yet, those things are happening. Even in those extreme cases, people can practice this second agreement and take response-ability for how they respond in these situations. War, rape, murder, genocide; all terrible things. I hope the world someday SOON finds peace. Until then, I am inspired by the stories, books, and movies of true heroes who find themselves in these horrific situations and do something about them. They make life easier for their co-victims; they are a light to those who can only see darkness; they help rescue other people and sacrifice themselves.
The world is your mirror. I am reminded of and inspired by this with my new “nikiunleashed” signature. It is a simple idea, but it is not easy to practice. Whether I look at it right-side-up or upside-down, I am always the only person response-able for living my own best life. Life has its constant ebbs and flows. It doesn’t matter what external forces are upon me today. The size of the waves doesn’t matter. What matters is how I handle them, how I shine my light despite those forces, how I ride these waves. What are you seeing in your world today? How is it a reflection of yourself? Do you like what you’re seeing? What can you do today to change it, to grow with it, to unleash yourself? Let’s get to it!