A Heart-to-Heart Discussion

by Nikki Mark

As I embark on the seventh year of my healing journey (I can hardly believe it myself…), I continue to be confronted by a variety of hard lessons that appear when I least expect them.

Every time a new lesson drops in, I think, Oh no, not another one… then an inner voice whispers, “Oh yes.”

I first became acquainted with this inner voice the day Tommy didn’t wake up. I had no idea where it came from and wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me.

But as my brain shut down and succumbed to grief, I surrendered to this inner voice and began conversing with it. 

I soon learned this voice was not mine.

It spoke in much shorter sentences than I do. Its choice of words was far simpler. And it seemed to be a lot wiser than me.

Over the past six years, I have grown to trust this voice implicitly.

Which is why when I sat down to write a blog article last month and it told me to “Stop!” I leaned back in my chair, and sighed, What now?

When the voice didn’t answer, I started writing again, figuring I was just tired. But then my gut starting throbbing, my body temperature spiked, and my inner voice insisted that I “shut down” my computer and “stop” writing.          

Why?”  I asked aloud.

“Because it’s time for change,” the voice clearly answered, without any audible sound.

Without further discussion, I shut down my computer and went for a walk.

As I strolled around my neighborhood, I briefly reflected on the first forty-eight years of my life when I thrived on routine and structure, and how responsible and practical they made me.  

But then, without warning, Tommy left. All my routines got broken. Every one of my self-imposed rules became meaningless. And life taught me the meaning of “unpredictable” and “messy.” 

“Less is more,” my inner voice told me at the time. And that advice has served me well.

Which is why when I sat down last month to write this article and my inner voice made it crystal clear that I had to “Stop!” I didn’t need to walk around my neighborhood for very long to figure out why.

I am in a routine again, I realized.

Nearly every week for the past year and a half, I’ve been pouring my heart into writing original articles and sharing them with you on Sunday mornings.

And I’ve loved doing it!

I’ve made so many new friends. Learned and shared so many new lessons and resources. And I’ve continued to improve my writing and heal my heart.

But my inner voice has made it clear that it’s time to change things up again. And I know better than to argue with it.

So…what I’ve decided is that, starting today, I’m taking an extended summer break. Not the conservative American kind that lasts a week or two. Not the glorious European kind that lasts six weeks. But the indulgent childhood kind that runs all summer long! 

I’ve also decided that after Labor Day, when I plan to start writing original stories for you again, I will do so just once a month, instead of once a week. I will also sprinkle in some “Dear Nikki” responses on top because your questions keep coming. I love answering them, and it’s clear to me that they are benefiting so many of us.

If you are the kind of person who is wired for consistency the same way I used to be, I should warn you now:

I have no idea on which Sunday I’ll start releasing articles again in September. I’m also not sure if I’ll post articles on the same Sunday every month moving forward or change it up from time to time.

It’s my hope that this dose of inconsistency will benefit all of us in some way. After all,“The unknown is full of sparkling possibilities,” says Carissa Schumacher, an Intuitive Psychic Medium and author of The Freedom Transmissions.

And my inner voice trusts that.

Of course, I’ve been told by a few people I love and appreciate that this is a very poor marketing strategy and “bad” for my “brand.” But I’ve never strived to be a brand. I don’t consider myself a brand. Nor do I think any of you care about a brand.

I’m a regular person sharing lessons I’ve learned through short stories — because it’s fun for me. It’s how I process best. And it’s my way of contributing to all of our hearts. 

Even though I’m gearing up for this summer break full of I-don’t-know-what and am trusting it’s exactly what I need, please also know that I will continue to maintain my website as a living breathing resource for others who have lost, are feeling lost, and are on a personal journey of transformation.

I will also remain available for your emails, your stories, and your questions.  

I’ll even drop in on social media now and then when the moment moves me.

And as I make space for whatever kind of change is in store for me this summer, I’d like to invite you to join me in this adventure and see what happens when we deliberately make changes instead of waiting for life to make them for us.

Maybe schedule less. Create space for something more.

And let the magic of summer begin.

P.S. I’m honored to share with you the following summer treats being offered by members of this community who I know and love:

  1. Illustrator Dave Cutler created the illustration for this article and has made original designs for me in the past. I find his work beautiful and witty, and I love working with him. Ironically, Dave understands loss like I do, and I believe it’s not a coincidence that we found each other. Recently, Dave started an Etsy site selling his work. I ordered some pieces (one for me, and one for my dad for Father’s Day last week) and they came out beautifully. Many of you have asked me about his designs that have graced some of my blogs and resources, as well as multiple covers of various prestigious magazines. CLICK HERE if you would like to peruse his Etsy collection and possibly order a print as a gift for yourself or someone you know.
  1. My soul sister Diane Shader-Smith just released a young adult book called Diary of a Dying Girl, which is a spinoff of her daughter Mallory’s original memoir, Salt in My Soul. Diane and Mallory have been one of my biggest inspirations on this healing journey of mine for many reasons, including the way Diane honors Mallory and continues to grow Mallory’s legacy by advocating for phage therapy, which is proving to save lives for those suffering from Cystic Fibrosis. Diary of a Dying Girlis full of profound life lessons that I wish I had known much earlier in life and will surely impact those who read it.
  1. My other soul sister, Andrea Sonnenberg, honors her son Bradley in a variety of incredible ways, including a children’s book series that helps children learn how to identify and work through common mental health challenges. Panda’s Helping Paw teaches children how to help other children who “hurt on the inside.” Elephant’s Big Climb teaches children how to support friends who get anxious in certain situations. The illustrations are adorable and the messages address what many schools should, but don’t. And anyone with young children or grandchildren will appreciate using these stories as a way to address difficult topics that are also universal.

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